SEANAD IN COMMITTEE. - COURTS OF JUSTICE BILL, 1924.—FROM THE DÁIL.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Before we go to the next business on the Order Paper, the Seanad will recollect that we had the final stages of the Judiciary Bill before us last week, and the Bill was then sent back to the Dáil. There were 44 amendments inserted in it in the Seanad. The Dáil have sent a message to say that they have accepted 42 out of the 44 amendments. The two which they did not accept were, first, the one that altered the description "District Justice" to that of "District Judge," and the other was the one that transferred the liability for the salaries of District Justices and made them a charge upon the Central Fund. The Seanad will remember that a suggestion was made—I think it came from me—that the objection of the Government to the last clause, which transferred the salaries to the Central Fund, might be met, if for the first two or three years they were made payable annually on the Estimates, and at the end of two or three years they were then transferred and made a charge on the Central Fund.

The Dáil, on the suggestion of the Government, have accepted an alternative amendment to ours to that effect, and I understand that their reasons for rejecting the amendment which proposed to alter the title "District Justice" to that of "District Judge" were owing to the fact that a number of Acts have been passed, most of them temporary, in which the expression used throughout is District Justice, and it would be necessary to bring in amending Bills, if that amendment were insisted on, in all those cases. Once the House has got the concession from the Government and the Dáil, by which those salaries are to be transferred to the Central Fund, it seems to me that the question of title sinks into comparative insignificance. The Attorney-General is present, and I will mention the two amendments.

There is nothing about this in the Order Paper.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

It is not on the Agenda, and it can only be by leave of the House that it can be taken now. I have been specially asked by the Government to bring it up, and in view of the fact that it satisfactorily disposes of any matter of contention there is between the Seanad and the Dáil on this Bill, I think it should be disposed of now. It will be sufficient to say that the House now proceed to the consideration of the Courts of Justice Bill.

I do not think I can add anything to what you have stated. The two amendments, 22 and 25, hang together. The object behind them was that there should be no question as to the judicial position of the District Justice. Having accepted the principle that their salaries should be like that of other judges, a charge upon the Central Fund, you have the principle established that they are taken out of the realm of discussion of their functions as a District Justice. The amendment, with all respect to Senator O'Farrell, could not work out. It would have to be insisted on in the form of 20 different amendments. Besides, there are several other inconveniences, but the principle, that the position of the District Justice should be recognised as that of a judge, is established by the alternative amendment we propose to Amendment 25. I think I will leave it at that to the Seanad, and we can compromise on the amendment.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The motion is that this House do not insist on this amendment 22, to Section 66.

As the person responsible for the original amendment, I move that the Seanad do not insist on this amendment. The amendments go together, and the object of the first was to establish the fact that District Justices had all the rights and privileges of judges, and that for that reason their salaries should be placed on the Central Fund and lest there should be any doubt about that, that their title should be changed. Now, the principle has been met, and consequently the real object of both amendments has been met. To an extent the dangers we apprehended will continue for three years, but beyond that there is no question as to the position of those justices.

I second the motion.

Question put and agreed to.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The next is an alternative amendment which was framed by the Government to meet the amendment, this House passed in Section 71. In Section 71 the Seanad passed an amendment transferring the salaries of the District Justices as a charge upon the Central Fund. In the Dáil they have altered this amendment but accepted the principle. They have altered it in this way "until the end of the financial year ending on the 31st March, 1927, the salaries shall be paid out of monies to be annually provided by the Oireachtas, and shall thereafter be a charge upon and be payable out of the Central Fund or the growing produce thereof."

I move that the Seanad do not insist on its amendment.

Question put and agreed to.

There is one small consequential amendment in amendment No. 27 of the Seanad, to change the word "judge" to "justice" in clause 74.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The amendment proposed is "In clause 74 to delete the word ‘judge' and to substitute therefor the word ‘justice'" in the Seanad's amendment No. 27.

Amendment put and agreed to.