1. Le Rún a rith an Seanad an 15adh Eanair, 1924, ceapadh Coiste Cheapa na gCléireach chun breithniú do dhéanamh i dtaobh na fuirinne bheadh in Oifig an tSeanaid feasta. Siad atá ar an gCoiste ná: an Cathaoirleach, an Leas-Chathaoirleach, Tomás Beinéid, Sir Tomás Easmonn, Tomás O Fearáin, Oiliféir Mag Fhógartaigh, Sir Seán O Gríobhtha, Aindrias Mac Séamais, Eamonn Mac Giollaiasachta, an Coirnéal Muiris O Mórdha, Micheál O Deagha, Séamas Mac Peáircín agus Siobán Bean an Phaoraigh.

1. The Special Committee on the appointment of the Clerks was appointed by resolution of the Seanad on the 15th January, 1924, to consider the future staffing of the Seanad Office. The Committee consists of the following:—

Cathaoirleach, Leas-Chathaoirleach, Senators Bennett, Sir Thomas Esmonde, Farren, Gogarty, Sir John Griffith, Jameson, MacLysaght, Colonel Moore, O'Dea, Parkinson and Mrs. Wyse Power.

2. Tháinig an Coiste Speisialta le Chéile an 7adh lá d'Fheabhra, 1924, ar 11.30 a.m. Bhí na Baill seo a leanas i láthair:—An Tiarna Lannaibhidh (sa Chathaoir), Tomás Beinéid, Sir Tomás Easmonn, Oiliféir Mag Fhógartaigh, Sir Seán O Gríobhtha, an Coirnéal Muiris O Mórdha, Séamas Mac Peáircín agus Siobán Bean an Phaoraigh.

2. The Special Committee met on the 7th day of February, 1924, at 11.30 a.m. The following members were present:— Lord Glenavy (in the chair), Senators T. Westropp Bennett, Sir Thomas Esmonde, Oliver Gogarty, Sir John Griffith, Colonel Moore, J.J. Parkinson, and Mrs. Wyse Power.

3. Bhí os cóir an Choiste na comhairlí ar a dtáinig an Có-Choiste Seasaimh i dtaobh Fuireann an Oireachtais agus tar éis roinnt díospóireachta, in ar mhínigh an Cathaoirleach gur aontuigh an Coiste Seasaimh sin gur fé údarás agus fé smacht na Dála a bheadh Baill na Có-Fhuirinne nuair a bheidís ag gabháil do ghnó na Dála agus gur fé údarás agus fé smacht an tSeanaid a bheidís nuair a bheadh gnó an tSeanaid ar siúl acu, do thairg an Coirnéal O Mórdha agus do chuidigh Tomás Beinéid leis, go molfí na comhairlí ar a dtáinig an Có-Choiste Seasaimh ach amháin chó fada is théigheann na focail deiridh d'Uimh. 5, a bhaineann le ceapa Chléireach agus Leas-Chléireach an tSeanaid. Cuireadh an tairisgint seo fé bhráid an chruinnithe ón gCathaoir agus nuair a cuireadh fén vóta í do diúltuíodh di agus do moladh comhairlí an Chó-Choiste Sheasaimh agus d'iarr an Coirnéal O Mórdha go mbreacfí ar na miontuairiscí go raibh sé i gcoinnibh an mhír dheiridh d'Uimh. 5 do mhola.

3. The Committee had before them the findings of the Joint Standing Committee in reference to the Oireachtas Staff, and after some discussion, in the course of which the Cathaoirleach explained that it had been agreed at this Standing Committee that the Members of the Joint Staff would when employed in the business of the Dáil be under the authority and control of the Dáil, and when employed in the business of the Seanad under that of the Seanad, it was moved by Senator Colonel Moore, and seconded by Senator Westropp Bennett, that the Committee approve of the findings of the Joint Standing Committee save in respect of the concluding words of No. 5 dealing with the appointment of the Clerk and Assistant Clerk of the Seanad. This motion having been put from the Chair was rejected on a division and the findings of the Joint Standing Committee approved, Senator Colonel Moore desiring his protest against the approval of the concluding paragraph of No. 5 to be recorded on the minutes.

4. Tuairiscíonn an Coiste dá réir sin.

4. The Committee report accordingly.



22adh Feabhra, 1924.


Cathaoirleach an Choiste.

Chairman of the Committee.

I beg formally to move the adoption of the Report.

I beg to second.

My amendment is:

"To delete all after the word ‘Finance' in paragraph 5 of the Report of the Committee on the Oireachtas Staff."

My name appears in the Report as having proposed to the Committee that the Report be accepted in its entirety with the exception of this particular clause. The Cathaoirleach and myself are not quite in agreement as to that. There is no use in making a statement as to what happened at the Committee, but I want the Seanad to understand that I am not responsible for any portion of the Report whatsoever. The proposal in the clause I wish to have omitted is a reversal of statements that have been made in this Seanad for a long time. The proposal is to take away from the Seanad the appointment of its own clerks, and to hand over the nomination to the Cathaoirleach and the Minister for Finance and the appointment to the President of the Dáil.


President of the Executive Council.

I beg pardon. He was called the President of the Dáil. Now it is President of the Executive Council. It will be necessary for me to recall what happened over a year ago, when the Seanad first assembled. A Committee was appointed about December 20 to select and recommend persons to be appointed as clerks of the Seanad. On January 10 of last year that Committee reported to the Seanad, and recommended certain persons to be appointed on the staff as clerks on probation, and a proposed scale of salaries. The report was, in the main, accepted by the Seanad. The clerks were to be appointed by the Seanad alone. One recommendation of the Committee was amended by the Seanad. It was a minor amendment, but it shows how meticulously careful the Seanad was to keep the appointment of its own officials in its own hands. The Committee recommended that the minor officials, typists and other persons, should be appointed by the Cathaoirleach alone. The Seanad disapproved of that, Senator Fitzgerald proposing an amendment that the appointment be "subject to the approval of the Seanad." According to that regulation even minor positions, such as typists and messengers, were retained under the control of the Seanad. It will also be remembered that the President of the Executive Council had anticipated the Seanad by nominating Major-General Dalton to the position of Clerk. The Committee of the Seanad found that in front of them. It placed the whole matter in a rather complicated position, both for the President and Cathaoirleach. A compromise was effected mainly through the efforts of the Cathaoirleach, I think, by which the Seanad should appoint Major-General Dalton to the position, thus retaining the right of appointment in its own hands, but accommodating the President of the Executive Council in what he had done on account of the difficult position that had arisen. The President agreed to this. I daresay a strong statement of the Cathaoirleach will be remembered in which he stated that he considered the President had gone back in his agreement, by a statement he made in the Dáil. On the 24th January the Cathaoirleach made a statement in the Seanad. He said:—"In my conversation with the President of the Executive Council, I told the President quite frankly that I did not believe the Seanad, for a moment, would accede to such a position," meaning the decision of the President to appoint an official to the Seanad. He went on:—"I was quite certain that the Seanad would resent a suggestion that they were not to have the ordinary right possessed by every public board and body in the country, unless taken from them by resolution, of appointing their own staff." He continued:—"I brought it before the Committee, and they were unanimous in contesting such a claim on behalf of the Government, taking the view I had foreshadowed, that if there was anything at all within their powers, that they were entitled to fulfil, it was the nomination and control of their staff." That Committee of 10 was drawn from all interests represented in the Seanad, and was unanimous in asserting the right of the Seanad to make these appointments. "I obtained," the Cathaoirleach said, "a distinct admission from the President, of the inherent right of the Seanad to appoint, control, and dismiss its own staff," Senator Sir Thomas Esmonde said: "If the Dáil is to have a vote in our appointment obviously, as the Chairman points out, we are entitled to a voice in their appointments." The late Senator McPartlin spoke in similar terms, and congratulated the Cahaoirleach on maintaining the independence of the Seanad. The Seanad unanimously agreed with the Cathaoireleach's statement. Now, the Seanad is asked to go back on its defectly unanimous on that occasion. Of course, the Cathaoireleach might say, that that was only his private opinion, but, after all, he was making a statement about the rights and liberties of the Seanad from the chair, and he was supported, as he generally is, by every stood that in making this statement, I am not at all trying to find fault with the Cathaoirleach, or saying that he was inconsistent.

There was a joint conference of the Seanad and the Dáil on the 15th March, at which the status of the clerk was not questioned. The clerks were exculded form the common staff of the Oireachtas, and no attempt was made to go back on the decision of the Seanad. At that time it was found that the Cathaoirleach had not carried our an arrangement about the minor appointments, and that the Dáil had filled these appointments. I think the Senators took the very sensible view that it was not really of very much importance who appointed the minor officials and left it that way.

On the 28th March, in the absence of the Chairman, by a strange coincidence a message came from the Dáil to the Seanad asking for a Joint Committee of both Houses to determine the number, grading, remuneration and terms of office of the staff. It was called the Oireachtas staff, not a staff of the Dáil and Seanad. In view of what had been said before, I think every Senator understood that that did not include the clerks to the Seanad. Their names were never mentioned.

On a point of order, is this ancient history, which is, no doubt, very interesting, relevant to a discussion on the report?


I do not like to interrupt the Senator. From the Senator's point of view I think it is quite relevant.

The Chairman was absent, but he was delegated to represent the Seanad on the Joint Committee. It was clearly understood by all Senators that there was to be no interference with the clerks of the Seanad. On the 20th December a motion was put down on the Order paper for the appointment of a Seanad Committee to consider the question of appointments to the Seanad which would soon end. These appointments were only made for a year, and would come to an end early in January. The Chairman asked the Seanad not to press that motion because there was a Joint Committee sitting at the time to consider the whole question, and he thought it would be better that that committee when it did sit should have before it the report of the Joint Committee. Some discussion arose because Senators did not clearly understand what was meant by this Joint Committee. The chairman was asked several questions, and he answered them in this way—this was on the 20th December, when the Joint Committee was sitting, and when it had nearly finished its work. The chairman was able to state what was going on. He said that the Joint Committee had agreed that with the exception of the clerk and assistant clerk to the Seanad the staff should be a joint staff. He further said that the idea of appointing this Joint Committee was that it should define what the joint staff was, and expressly eliminate from it the clerk and assistant clerk. They remained absolutely officials attached to the Seanad who had control over them. We the sole right of appointing them. We went into the question of the entire staffing of both Houses, and one proposition we discussed was what exceptions, if any, should be made to the joint staff. It was suggested that there should be no exception, but the chairman went on to state that "in view of what happened in the early days of the Seanad I would not give way in regard to the clerk and assistant clerk, and accordingly the Committee arranged that the clerk and assistant clerk should not belong to the joint staff, but should remain separate officers of the Seanad, and be appointed by it."

I took that at the time to be a sort of pledge by the Chairman that the staff would not be interfered with by the Joint Committee. On the 20th December it will be seen that when this Joint Committee was sitting it was arranged and settled that the clerks were not to be included in this. What happened after that, of course, I do not know. The curtain was drawn down, and we have not heard up to now the reason for changing this arrangement, and I do not know who it was on the Committee who persuaded the Chairman to change his opinion. Like Juliet, swearing she would ne'er consent, he consented. He changed his opinion, and when the report came up we found that all his fine statements that the clerks were not to be included were wiped out, and that the whole thing was handed over to the Chairman and the Minister for Finance to recommend to the Chairman of the Executive to carry out the decisions. It may be a good way or not. I do not go into it, but I know that the Seanad arranged otherwise, and having asserted its rights in the beginning it is now asked to stultify itself by surrendering these rights. I, for my part, am not prepared to do that. I believe it is wrong and improper, and that having held out for our rights throughout we should not now surrender them. Therefore I suggest that that portion of the report be omitted, and that the Seanad retain its rights in this matter.

As a general rule I feel that reports of a Committee ought not to be subjected to much discussion when presented here, but in this instance I feel that a very grave injustice was done to the clerks whom we appointed, and who were appointed under certain conditions for a probationary period. I take it that that meant when the term of probation expired they would be installed in office under the conditions and on the basis of the salaries which we arranged with them.


There is a second amendment dealing with salaries, which is the matter you are speaking on. This amendment is a different one.

This deals with the powers of the Seanad. All through our controversy here we were of the opinion that we had power to retain the power of appointment of the Clerk and Assistant Clerk of the Seanad. That principle was adhered to by our Chairman, and a Joint Committee was appointed of which he was one of three members. He who runs may read. Committees are largely a question of compromise, and in this case the matter did not emerge as well as we wished. I feel that we have not acted loyally to our Clerk and Assistant Clerk and that for the future we have surrendered to the Dáil the appointment of our staff. When this Joint Committee of the two Houses was appointed it was appointed to consider the Oireachtas staff, not the Seanad Staff, and I submit that when that Committee took upon itself to discuss the Seanad staff and to alter the manner of its appointment they went outside their duty as a Committee. I take it that the Seanad staff was not the Oireachtas staff but was a distinct staff, appointed by the Seanad just as the Dáil staff was a distinct staff appointed by the Dáil. For that reason I feel that the arrangement they came to whereby they abrogated to the Dáil the appointment of the Clerk and Assistant Clerk to the Seanad ought not to be adhered to, and I therefore beg to second Colonel Moore's proposal that that part of the report be deleted.


Perhaps I should say a word or two on this matter because I have been brought directly into it by the statement made by Colonel Moore in moving the amendment. I have no complaint to make of the amendment or of anything its proposer said in support of it. He dealt with it in a good-humoured and temperate way, and I have no complaint to make on that head. It is very difficult to ask the Seanad to recall here the history of this matter.

I will do it briefly because I am rather at a loss to know whether Col. Moore regards my utterances from the Chair—as sometimes I think he does— as the concentrated wisdom of Solomon or whether he looks upon them as containing the guile of the serpent. He differs as my utterances accord with his own views. Be that as it may, I hope I have been consistent in the attitude I took up in the interest of the Seanad on this somewhat difficult question. Originally when we were trying to put our house in order we had no idea what would be the nature of the staff we would require. We were entirely in the dark and accordingly the Seanad very wisely, in my opinion, determined that any appointments made should be of a temporary character only. We did anticipate then that we would require a number of minor officials such as typists, messengers, attendants and so on, and it is quite true, as regards these minor officials at that time, that the Seanad, while asking the Chairman to take upon himself the appointments, made it subject to their concurring in the recommendation. I mention that to show how the entire position has changed with the knowledge and acquiescence of the Seanad. Not only have they acquiesced in reversing all that because now they have no minor appointments of their own to make at all, but from the point of view of manifest economy they have acquiesced in a new arrangement altogether by which those minor appointments are to be drawn from the joint staff of both Houses. That is a wise and economic change and it was done without any express resolution on the part of the Seanad by their acquiescence in what they saw was an obvious change in the interests of economy. Once you had disposed of the question of the minor offices, which has been satisfactorily disposed of by drawing them from a joint staff which will serve and accommodate both Houses as each House requires their services, there remains the appointment of the senior staff including the Clerk, the Assistant Clerk and the Second Assistant Clerk. At the outset a complication arose by reason of the fact that the President asserted a claim to have the right to make the appointment. I, with the assent of the Seanad, put up as good a fight as I could against that proposition. Now that the matter is closed. I want to say that there was perhaps a certain amount of bluff in the position I took up but it succeeded, and we did obtain from the President a reluctant admission that the power to appoint these senior officials was to remain in the hands of the Seanad. I might say that subsequent investigation did not leave me quite as confident as to the accuracy of my position as I had been at the time I took it up, because I have learned that in Canada the Clerk of the House of Commons is appointed by the Crown and that the Clerk of the Senate in Canada is also appointed by the Crown. It was just as well that I did not know all those facts at the time as I was able to make a most strenuous opposition on behalf of the Seanad and its rights. We got that right conceded and provision was made for the appointment of the Clerk and the two assistants. As it was making a new start the Seanad limited those two appointments to a year.

Accordingly, when the year expired it became necessary to provide for their appointment in the future. In the meantime, in the month of March last year, when I was away in England for three weeks owing to illness in my family, a communication was received without my knowledge, and without reference to me, from the Dáil in those words. It was a resolution passed by the Dáil on the 23rd March, 1923: "That the Minister for Finance and Ceann Comhairle be appointed a Standing Committee to determine the number, grading, remuneration and terms of office of the Oireachtas Staff, and that Seanad Eireann be requested to nominate a member of the Seanad to act on this Committee." That resolution of the Dáil came up before the Seanad on the 28th March, and in my absence it was moved and unanimously agreed to that I should act upon this Joint Committee in conjunction with the Minister for Finance and Ceann Comhairle. When I returned a fortnight later I did not know that such a resolution was passed, and I was not aware that I was appointed to this Committee until I had a communication from the Ceann Comhairle asking me when it would be convenient to meet him. I looked at the records and found that on the 28th of March I was nominated on this Committee, and that the Seanad had expressly agreed that this particular Committee was to have plenary powers. Consequently this Standing Committee was to be in a position that it had no occasion at all to report to the Seanad. All it had to do was to agree on its findings and those would be binding on both Houses. I went into consultation at once with the Ceann Comhairle and the Minister for Finance over the reference which was made to us by this Committee, and after many meetings and a great deal of trouble and difficulty, ultimately we were able to come to an agreement on all the points in dispute. The points in dispute between the Ceann Comhairle and myself were practically confined to the question of the appointment of the Clerk and his two assistants in the Seanad, because the idea of the other members of the Joint Committee was that this was a reference to deal with the entire Oireachtas staff. You will see that there is no limitation in the reference, and it has been so construed and so accepted by the Dáil, and if you look at it you will see that all these appointments to what are called the joint staff are to be filled up by the Ceann Comhairle and myself, whether they are serving with the Dáil or serving with the Seanad. But then, when we came to the question of putting the Clerk of the Dáil, the Assistant Clerk of the Dáil, the Clerk of the Seanad on the same footing, I said no, I could not do that as regards the Clerk of the Seanad and the Assistant Clerk, because they should be appointed on the recommendation of the Chairman of the Seanad alone.

After a good deal of discussion and controversy, we ultimately came to an agreement that you will find referred to in paragraph 5: "The appointment of the Clerk and Clerk Assistant to the Dáil is to be made by the President of the Executive Council on the recommendation of the Ceann Comhairle and the Minister for Finance. The appointment of the Clerk and Clerk Assistant to the Seanad to be made by the President of the Executive Council on the recommendation of the Chairman of the Seanad and the Minister for Finance." In other words, no appointment can be made, either to the Clerkship or the Clerk Assistant of this House, unless a recommendation of your Chairman is adopted. So that your Chairman is given a veto upon the person to be appointed to either office. Exactly the same thing has been done as regards the Clerk and Assistant Clerk of the Dáil. Their appointment is not left to the Dáil; it is left to the President of the Executive Council, on the recommendation of the Ceann Comhairle and the Minister for Finance.

Now, this report was completed in the end of December. It was laid upon the Table of this House—and it shows how valuable that performance is— about the 2nd of January, and for six weeks it lay there, and no complaint or objection to it of any kind was received from any Senator. But I am not making any point about that. As a matter of strict interpretation of our rules, I do not think that that report is now open to discussion; first of all, because it was a report by a Committee with plenary powers, and, secondly, because after the time it has lain on the Table and been in the possession of members and no objection of any sort has been taken to it, it seems to me that the time for objecting had gone. But I do not want in the least to take this matter out of the consideration of the Seanad. It is a matter of absolute indifference to myself personally, because I know I shall never have an opportunity of exercising this power that is conferred upon the Chairman. It will never arise in my case, except on this particular occasion; at least I hope not, for the sake of the Clerks themselves, and as regards this particular occasion, if this report is confirmed I have no hesitation in informing the Seanad, as I informed the Committee, that I should recommend the retention and re-appointment of the two gentlemen who served it for the past twelve months. I stated that to the Committee, of which Senator Colonel Moore is a member, and this will be in all human probability the only occasion probably on which I shall ever be called upon to exercise this power. That is the position. I have stated it quite frankly, fairly and fully to the Seanad, as far as I know it, and I do suggest to them that so long as it depends on their Chairman, in whom, I presume, from time to time they will have confidence, as to who is to be appointed Clerk and the Assistant Clerk, they are sufficiently protected in a somewhat difficult and complicated position. The Dáil, perhaps, might be said to be a more democratic House than ours, and they have accepted this report.

This report puts the appointment of their Clerk and Assistant Clerk on precisely the same footing as I have put the appointment of Clerk and Assistant Clerk of the Seanad, and I do suggest to the House that this is a much more convenient arrangement in every way, because I can conceive nothing more injurious to the position and usefulness of our staff than that their names should be made the subject matter of a heated and controversial debate in the Seanad itself. I think that there always ought to be unanimity in the view that we take as to the individuals who are to fill these offices and that it would be very unfortunate indeed, both for them and for us who have to come in contact with them, if their rival merits and claims were to form the subject of debate and controversy here.

Might I be allowed to supplement, very briefly, what you, Sir, have stated. As is known to most members of the Seanad, on two or three occasions I acted as your deputy on this Committee, with regard to the particular clause which you are now discussing. Senator Colonel Moore's statement was, I am quite certain, obviously meant as a fair statement, but there was one matter which, quite unintentionally, he omitted to mention, that a report was received from a Joint Conference—this was after the Seanad had suggested that they should be appointed by the Chairman of the Seanad—recommending that there should be a joint staff appointed, practically as civil servants. That was passed and assented to by the Seanad, and it was not simply a matter of arrangements taking place without their knowledge, because a report actually came here. Further, I would like to correct another matter. I do not wish to misinterpret Senator Colonel Moore in any way. I am quite sure he wished to be fair. He stated that our minor appointments were filled by the Dáil. That is not correct. I think that that is possibly a slip on his part. The minor appointments, that is, the typists, were made by request for a loan of typists from the ordinary Civil Service, made by our clerks, which is quite a different thing from the suggestion that the Dáil appointed our staff.

I should like, briefly, in support of what you, Sir, have stated, to point out that the net result of the whole of this Report means that our staff will be part of the State Civil Service, will be appointed and chosen in like manner as all other Civil Servants. I would like to point out that this Section 5 means that our Clerk will be appointed in practically the same manner as the chief official of a Government department is appointed. That means that first of all the Minister concerned— who in our case would obviously be our Chairman—looks round amongst the Civil Servants and amongst suitable persons for one who has the requisite qualifications to fill the position. Then he gets in touch with the Ministry of Finance and obtains their consent, and the appointment is then made by the President. I suggest, and I would like to support you strongly in your statement, that now that we have got a Civil Service Bill and we have restrictions and care taken in the appointment of Civil Servants, and we have the whole matter regularised, it would be infinitely better for the Seanad that our staff should feel themselves under the same obligations, and with the same rights as the Civil Service has, and that they will be appointed as in the case of almost every other department.

May I remind the Seanad that this is in the nature of a temporary arrangement? I think it is paragraph I which says that this Oireachtas staff shall, for the time being, and so on, as set out in the Schedule, and it is further reinforced in paragraph 7, which says that the establishment set out in the Schedule is not to be taken as final, but will be subject to increase or diminution, and so forth, as the situation demands. I think the Seanad can quite safely agree with this Report. It was produced under conditions of difficulty, as you have explained, Sir, more than once. The chief points about appointments of our more important officers, I think, has been abundantly safeguarded. The Report says that our chief officers shall be appointed by the President of the Council, and with the sanction of the Minister for Finance, on the recommendation of the President of the Seanad. After all, if there is any meaning in these words, it is that the President of the Seanad shall nominate a person whom he thinks fit and proper to occupy the post, and the President of the Council merely comes in to ratify the appointment of the President of the Seanad. There is every reason why the Finance Minister should be brought into consultation in this matter, for he is the gentleman responsible for the expenditure of public funds. Therefore, it is obviously of the first importance that he should have a say in the matter of the salary of an official, whoever the official may be. I take it that so far as the independence of the Seanad is concerned, and that is the only thing I am in the least concerned about, it is abundantly safeguarded by the fact that our chief officials are to be appointed on the nomination of the President of the Seanad. A similar arrangement has been created in the Dáil. The Speaker of the Dáil nominates his principal appointments, and when exception is taken to the fact of the President making these appointments, it must be remembered that somebody has to do it, and there is nobody, in my mind, better qualified to do it than the President of the Executive Council. The fact is, when the matter comes before him it will be merely a formality on his part. That we have agreed to a joint staff alters the situation considerably. I do not for a moment object to the appointment of a joint staff, as far as our minor officers are concerned. Our chief officers are our own appointments, and we are absolutely independent as far as that is concerned. In a time of high taxation it is obvious that we should make it our duty to conduct our business on the most economic basis possible. Therefore, I cordially concur that there should be a joint staff of the Oireachtas. The only point with which we are concerned is that we should have absolute control over our own officers. We practically have the appointment of those officers, and I do not suppose any Chairman of the Seanad will appoint a chief officer who is not approved by the majority of the Seanad. I cannot conceive that possibility. I think, having secured our independence in the matter of our chief appointments, and for obvious reasons having agreed on a joint staff of the Oireachtas, there is no reason why we should not agree with this Report.

I do not rise to express any positive opinion as to which is the best method of appointing clerks of the Seanad. Senator Colonel Moore has given us the history of this question. My recollection in the matter is that from the very outset the Seanad claimed the right to appoint its own clerk and assistant clerk, and that right this House reiterated on more than one occasion. The objection that is now taken, so far as I can understand, to Colonel Moore's point of view, is that the Seanad has never withdrawn that. It possibly would have, had its opinion been asked, or had it been requested to do so, or if some better method had been submitted to it. It possibly would have rescinded its own resolution, and acquiesced in the other method. It is not within my recollection that that was ever done. When the joint committee was appointed, of which at the outset he was given no notice that he was one of the members, in March or early in April, that committee met. Even if the Report of that joint committee was laid on this Table as a joint Report, and if reference was made there to a joint committee having dealt with the Oireachtas staff, every member of this House would have it in mind that that Oireachtas or common staff——


The words "common staff" were never mentioned.

I am simply amplifying the thing, that I always thought that whenever the Oireachtas staff is mentioned we in our own minds excluded our own clerks. That was always my view. I always interpreted "Oireachtas staff" as meaning the staff common to both Houses, and always bearing in mind that whenever such arrangement was referred to, that our chairman, with the consent of this House, always expressly excluded, as he did in December, the clerks of the Seanad. I hold that that is the position the Seanad has always maintained. I maintain, as a representative of a public body, that if a body appoints a committee, it does not delegate powers to the committee or any one of its members, and that committee is confined to the powers given to it, and can only enlarge its powers by coming back to the appointing body and asking for an enlargement of its powers. In any Resolution passed by the Seanad there was no delegation of powers granted to them. I take it that is the crux of the whole objection taken here. The objection is that things have not been done in what I might term an orderly way, and that when there was a change, or when the chairman realised that in his view the joint committee appointed for the purpose of bringing into existence the Oireachtas staff, had also included within its powers the appointment of clerks to the Seanad, he did not make that clear to this House, because in December, subsequent to the appointment of the joint committee, when a Resolution proposed here was subsequently withdrawn, it was simply on his assurance that the retaining of the appointment of its clerk and assistant clerk, was absolutely excluded from the purview of this joint committee.

These are inconsistencies that have struck Senators like myself. I do not rise for the purpose of objecting to anything that has been done by any Committee or by the Chairman. I raise these points so that the Chairman and others affected by them may have an opportunity of explaining away the seeming inconsistencies.

The beginning of this debate was more or less out of order, and I hope, Sir, you will extend to me the privilege also of being out of order.


I said that the discussion was out of order, but, at the same time, as I was personally brought into it I did not like to stop the discussion nor did I wish to withdraw the matter from the Seanad.

On a point of order may I say that I formally moved the adoption of the Report to the Seanad, which I respectfully suggest is in order.

With a great deal of what Senator Colonel Moore has said I am in agreement. When we found this Resolution of March and the subsequent laying on the Table of the decisions that the Committee had come to, we felt that we were up against a wall; that the Report was there and we could not do anything but accept the findings of that Committee. It appears to me that we are young to our business and that we do not pick up the Papers off the Table in time. However, somebody has provided us now with a Table and the Papers, and I hope we will be more mindful in future of what we ought to do. What I really want to say is, that in the Report circulated it is stated that Senator Colonel Moore moved the adoption of the entire Report. When the Report, as printed, came down to me and I was asked did I agree with the Report, I said "Yes." Since that Senator Colonel Moore has written to me and told me that he did not move the adoption of the Report. You will understand that sitting round a table you do not particularly notice who moves a Report, and when Senator Colonel Moore says he did not move it, subject to the deletion of the paragraph, I think every member of this Seanad will take his word that he was not the person who moved the adoption of the Report, and I think that it is only due to him that that portion of the Report should be deleted.

If Senators had taken the trouble to read the report of the proceedings on the 28th March, it would have saved all this discussion, because that was the date on which the Seanad gave up the right to appoint its own staff. I looked up the report, and I find that the resolution of the Dáil is:—"That the Minister for Finance and the Ceann Comhairle be appointed as Standing Committee to determine the number, grading, remuneration, and terms of office, of the Oireachtas staff, and that Seanad Eireann be requested to nominate the member of the Seanad to act on this Committee." It was actually proposed by Senator Bennett, who now seconds Senator Colonel Moore's amendment complaining of the effect of it. That resolution was supported from every quarter of the Seanad. Senator Farren said that he did not agree with an amendment of Senator Sir T. Esmonde trying to retain for the Seanad the powers to appoint its own staff. Senator Farren said: "I think the suggestion contained in the message from the Dáil is most satisfactory. It is a sensible proposition." The resolution was acquiesced in almost unanimously, after you, Sir, had pointed out that this was the method and procedure adopted by other countries. I do not see what we have to complain of now, and I think we have wasted an hour over a futile discussion.

My name has been specially mentioned by Senator McLoughlin, and I wish to make an explanation. The Senator points out very properly that I did move a resolution on a certain date, but I moved a resolution explicitly stating in the terms of reference to the Committee that the terms of appointment and the terms of office of the Oireachtas staff be considered. My point is, and I tried to make it clear, that those appointments were quite outside the terms of reference of the Committee. I am making a personal explanation that this had reference to the Oireachtas staff. I maintain that our Seanad staff was not the Oireachtas staff, but the Seanad staff. Therefore, I maintain I was justified in making the complaint which I now do.


May I say in my justification, that I had nothing to follow except the Official Report, because I was not here. When I read the Report and found no distinction whatever was taken as to any officer of the staff of either House, but that the reference was to deal with the whole staff of the Oireachtas—that is both Houses —I came to the conclusion that what was intended was obvious.

I wish to answer a few of the remarks made. I was rather sorry to hear the Chairman state that when he was making that statement from the Chair, in a very responsible position, as to the liberties of this Seanad, that there was some bluff about it.


I did not. What I said was that when I was putting up the position that we had an absolute and inherent right to make the appointments, it was to some extent making the best case I could. You may call it bluff or anything else you like.

We will pass that by. Perhaps I was wrong in mentioning that. I will just take the question that one Senator raised about the 15th March. On that occasion there was no question of clerks being raised. The Seanad had decided previously that the clerks would not be included in it and the clerks were never mentioned at all. It was clearly the Oireachtas staff. Somebody has made a mistake because the words used were: "one common Oireachtas staff." If it is looked up in the Report it will be seen that that was so. As to the plenary powers claimed by the Chairman——


The Senator is really misrepresenting me repeatedly. I must correct the last misrepresentation. I did not say that I claim plenary powers. I said that it was expressly declared in the Seanad in my absence that the Committee was to have plenary powers. The question was put to Senator Sir Hutcheson Poë, who moved or seconded the motion. He was asked "Do you propose to give this Committee plenary powers" and he said: "Certainly." That is all I know about it.

If the Chairman had waited for a second he would perhaps see that that was what I was going to say.


That is quite wrong. You stated that I had said from the Chair to-day that I had claimed plenary powers for that Committee. I never made any such statement.

For the moment then I withdraw. Anyway, the Cathaoirleach was given plenary powers by the Seanad, and the Joint Committee was given plenary powers to act. That is all I meant to say. I readily admit that the Committee was given plenary powers, but plenary powers within the resolution, not plenary powers to do anything they liked all over the country. They had only plenary powers to do everything within what they were instructed to do, and, of course, they had no right to go beyond it. They had no authority at all to deal with the clerks. The clerks were specially excluded by the Seanad long before and admitted on the 15th March. When the Oireachtas Staff was referred to everyone understood that the Seanad staff was excluded. The Chairman has stated that the position in the Dáil and the Seanad are exactly the same. What happened? In the Dáil the Minister for Finance and the Ceann Comhairle were to nominate. From the Seanad there was only one member, the Cathaoirleach. The Seanad has to decide now if it will go back on what was adopted at the beginning. From the statement in the report of the Committee it would appear that I proposed, and Senator Bennett seconded, the adoption of the report, with the exception of one clause. Senator Bennett, who was beside me, agrees with me that we did not do so. I do not think it is fair that having made that statement the Cathaoirleach should insist in including our names in the report. May I ask that my name and Senator Bennett's be excluded from the report.


I am not dealing with that, but as you have raised it, I wish to say distinctly that my recollection is absolutely clear on the matter. I was struck by it at the time. You may have forgotten it, but you got up and said that you could approve of every portion of the report except the concluding words of paragraph 5, and that you would move the adoption of the report, omitting these words. May I also say in further confirmation of what I have said, that I sent out a copy of the report without comment to the members who were present and asked them if it was found correct to return it signed. Every one of them returned it signed, without any comment, including Senator Bennett, except that Senator Bennett was kind enough to add, it was correct.

In common courtesy may I——


I will have no further discussion.

Amendment put, and declared lost unanimously.


You are late. However, I will take it that you voted for the amendment.

I move:

To delete Schedule C of the Report of the Committee on the Oireachtas Staff and to substitute the following new Schedule therefor:—

Schedule C.

4 Principal Clerks, £550—20—700 (one of whom shall act as Second Assistant Clerk to the Seanad).

5 Senior Clerks, £400—15—500.

I hope this amendment will cause less friction than the last one.

On a point of order. You said in your speech that this Report had been laid on the Table and that no objection was made to it. We have wasted an hour and a quarter discussing a matter that was laid on the Table and that had no right to be discussed, as the time for doing so had passed. In future I hope the Standing Orders will be strictly adhered to. There are a number of important amendments sent back here by the Dáil and they should be dealt with. There is also a Bill. I desire to make this protest, and I hope it will be entered in the Official Report so that the Standing Orders should be strictly adhered to and that time should not be wasted discussing such questions.

May I say, in reply to Senator the Earl of Mayo, that it is quite correct to say the Report was laid on the Table.


I have not ruled you out of order, but please do not discuss the matter any further.

My amendment now is to delete Schedule "C" of the report of the Committee. The object is to take out of the senior clerks' list our second assistant clerk and put him amongst the principal clerks. When the clerks were appointed I was a member of the Committee, and the Cathaoirleach brought them up one after another and explained to them, before appointment, the terms and salaries. He explained the conditions, and said that they would get the ordinary increments of pay, which, at that time, had not been decided on. In explaining that to the Seanad, the Cathaoirleach said that the report was an interim one and that it would be necessary for the Committee to deal with their remuneration so far as increments of salary and pensions were concerned. He also added that he did not wish the officials to consider that the arrangements being made were permanent ones, but that they would be entitled to the increments that would ordinarily accrue. Now a change has been made by which the salaries of the clerks have been reduced. The assistant clerk should be taken out of that grade and put into another one. I am not objecting at all to moving the second assistant clerk, but I think he should be given a fair chance of getting at least as good a position as he had before. It was very clearly understood at the time that these clerks would not receive any worse terms than they then had.


Is there any seconder for this amendment? As there is no seconder, the amendment is lost.

Question—"That the Report of the Committee on the appointment of the Clerks be adopted"—put and agreed to.

I dissent.