SEANAD IN COMMITTEE. - JURIES AMENDMENT BILL, 1924—COMMITTEE.

Question—"That Sections 1, 2 and 3 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
SECTION 4.
In addition to the persons now disqualified for serving on juries, any person who is not registered as a Dáil or Local Government elector shall be absolutely disqualified from serving on any jury, inquest, or inquiry whatsoever, and the names of such persons shall not be inserted in any jurors books or jurors lists.

I beg to move:—

Section 4. To delete in line 16 the words "inquest or inquiry whatsoever" and substitute therefor the words "or inquest (other than an inquest held by a coroner by virtue of his office)."

As the Bill was originally drafted, I think this particular clause was made wider than the proposals of the Bill intended, and if the Senators read Section 4 they will see that it applies to all jurors, whereas it was originally meant that it should only apply to those jurors whose names are on the jurors' list. It was not meant to apply to coroner's cases where jurors can be summoned from the ordinary citizens. The Bill originally included coroner's inquests.

My amendment proposes to eliminate them.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question—"That Section 4, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.

May I ask a question relating to the exemption of certain persons on which I am not quite clear? I think Senators and other such people ought to be entitled to claim exemption from serving if they so desire. It has always been the custom in the case of professional men and others who might be more profitably employed at their own business. If this Bill takes away that right I should like to move an amendment restoring it.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

A more comprehensive measure dealing with the jury system as a whole will be introduced at a later date. The position at the moment is that existing exemptions are not interfered with, and no additions to the exemption list have been made, with the exception that members of the Oireachtas, it is recognised, are not liable, and Registration Officers are advised to remove their names from the list.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

There is another exemption in favour of married ladies and widows.

That meets my point.

This is an important matter for members of this assembly and for the Dáil. In another assembly we were exempted from attending petty juries, and I am glad to hear from the Minister that we are still to be exempted from attending them.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

As an old hand in addressing juries, I think it would be a calamity if the jury box were to be deprived of the intelligence of members of the Seanad and the Dáil.

Question—"That Sections 5 to 14 inclusive, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Question—"That the Schedule and Title stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Bill, as amended, ordered to be reported.