CENTRAL FUND BILL, 1924.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

As a matter of convenience to the Government I propose to ask the Seanad to take as first business No. 5 on the Orders of the Day, the Central Fund Bill, 1924. I wish to say that under ordinary normal conditions I think the Seanad would have a very good reason to complain that they have received such short notice with regard to this particular Bill, and also that we are compelled, under the circumstances, to put this Bill through all the Stages to-day. I know, however, that the Government realise that they are making a strong demand on the indulgence of the Seanad, but they are doing it under very exceptional circumstances, as we know that their time and attention have been occupied in very important and critical matters for some days past. Under the circumstances, I think the Seanad will be prepared to yield to the request of the Government. It will be necessary for this purpose that the Standing Orders should be suspended, if this Bill is to be put through the different Stages to-day.

I beg to move the suspension of the Standing Orders to enable the Central Fund Bill, 1924, to be put through all its Stages to-day.

I beg to second.

Motion put and agreed to.
Question put: "That the Central Fund Bill, 1924, be read a Second Time."

I should like to ask the Minister for Finance whether he has considered the motion that the Seanad passed unanimously on the question of a revised form of accountancy and whether he proposes to take any action on it.

I have had the motion that was passed by the Seanad before me. I intend as soon as practicable to have an investigation carried out in regard to the revision of the form of accounts. I have had certain memoranda prepared with regard to the subject matter of the Resolution, but I have not had time to have the matter fully considered. Another cause for the delay is that the Comptroller and Auditor-General, whose opinion in this matter will, I think, be of considerable importance, has been busily occupied on his first year's work. He has now completed that, and his first report has been presented to the Oireachtas. Now that the pressure on the office of the Comptroller and Auditor-General has eased off I hope it will be possible for him to consult with representatives of the Ministry of Finance with a view to seeing what are the best steps to be taken to look into the matter that was brought forward by Senator Sir John Keane.

Question put and agreed to.
Bill put through its further Stages and passed.

I thank the Seanad for its indulgence in this matter, and I sincerely hope that I will not have to ask them again to rush a Bill of this sort. In fact, I can promise that it will not occur again.

I would like to express satisfaction with the statement of the Minister. While we all agree that this was a wise course to take, the Seanad would desire to have an opportunity such as this, without detailed criticism, which is hardly desirable, to express its opinion on the general policy of the Government with regard to finance. This could be done on a Bill of this kind. That is the reason I welcome the statement.