DUBLIN ELECTRICITY SUPPLY BILL, 1924.

SECOND STAGE.—RESUMED.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Before the House proceeds to discuss this Bill I think I ought to mention that I have received a communication from the Joint Committee on Standing Orders. It is to the effect that they are recommending to the House the adoption of the following additional Standing Orders in connection with Private Bills:—

(1) That no member of either House in or before the Dáil or the Seanad or any Committee of the Whole House be entitled to vote upon any Private Bill in which he is personally interested, pecuniarily or otherwise.

(2) That no member of either House should bring forward, promote or advocate in the Oireachtas any proceeding or measure in which he may have acted or be concerned for or in consideration of any fee or any pecuniary reward.

(3) That no member of either House should act as Parliamentary Agent or in the capacity of counsel in the matter of any Private Bills or other proceedings in the Oireachtas.

Probably when we meet next these will appear before you for reference, either to adopt them or to refer them to your own Committee on the Standing Orders, but I thought I would mention them now, because I think it would be fitting that we should have regard to them in the discussions that may, or may not, take place on the Second Reading of these Bills to-day.

As Chairman of the Joint Committee I might point out that we did not definitely suggest that these should be made Standing Orders; we simply passed these as Resolutions expressing our opinion of what should be the practice, and we sent a copy to the Chairman of each House, leaving it to each House to decide, as was the case in England, whether they would pass Resolutions to that effect, or, as in the case of South Africa, introduce a Bill to give legal effect to them. We passed them in the hope that pending a joint decision on the question they would be adopted in general practice. I formally move that the Dublin Electricity Supply Bill, 1924, be read a second time.

I ask for a ruling as to whether or not it is in order for this to be put, in view of the fact that the Standing Order provides that private business shall be taken at the beginning of each day, prior to public business. As this matter is private business I suggest that it is not in accordance with the Standing Orders. It should have been taken before public business was taken.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I do not think that there is anything in this objection. These two Bills were taken at the beginning of our business, but an objection was then raised, quite within the rights of any member, to the passing of the Second Stage at that time. Accordingly, as I pointed out, it became my duty to fix the time at which the Second Stage must be taken and disposed of. I do not consider that the Standing Order that Senator Farren has called my attention to applies in that case, and the time I am entitled to fix is independent of any particular business that the Seanad may be engaged in.

Have these Bills been printed and circulated, or are we to take the advertisements that appeared in the newspapers as representing the Bill?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I understand the practice in other places, and I think it has been adopted here, has always been that any member who wanted a copy of any Private Bill could get it on application to the Private Bill Office. Of course these Bills were advertised, and very fully advertised, in the public Press, but, you see, at present we are only dealing with the Second Stage. If the Second Stage is passed the Bill has only got over the first of its difficulties. The real investigation occurs when the Bill is before the Committee.

I want to raise a further point. I want to know if it is in order for the officials of the Oireachtas to be used for the distribution of propagandist literature in favour of Private Bills that are before the House.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I have no difficulty in answering that either. What happened was this: after the discussion that arose on the Second Stage, when this Bill was mentioned first to-day, a request was sent to me in writing on behalf of the promoters of one of these Bills to know would there be any objection to a short statement in regard to its contents being circulated to the House. But inasmuch as the practice has been that the promoters are entitled to circulate amongst members of the House by post or otherwise any information with regard to a Private Bill, in view of the fact that by my ruling I did not give them the opportunity of doing that through the post, I allowed them to be circulated to-day to the Seanad.

I want to know further if people who are promoting these Bills were not members of the Oireachtas would they get the same privilege.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Certainly, in similar circumstances. I want to make it clear to the Senator because he seems to have some suspicion in his mind about the subject that as regards these Bills I know nothing whatever as to their contents, as to their promoters, or anything else, save and except what I have read in the public Press, and I may say I have not read them with any close attention.

Question put: "That the Dublin Electricity Supply Bill be read a second time"—and declared carried.
Division called for.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I want to call the attention of the House to the fact that under our Standing Order 40, which deals with all divisions, up to the present we have adopted no Standing Orders providing any other course—on a division on a Private Bill all Senators present when a division is taken must rise and vote. That is our Standing Order, so that if there is any Senator who for any reason, interest, or otherwise, feels he is disqualified, and does not wish to record his vote on a division, he should not be present when the division is taken. As I pointed out, any Senator present when a division is taken must rise in his place and record his vote.

Question put:
The Seanad divided: Tá, 17; Níl, 6.

  • Samuel L. Brown, K.C.
  • Mrs. Eileen Costello.
  • John C. Counihan.
  • Peter de Loughry.
  • Dowager Ellen Odette, Countess of Desart.
  • Sir Nugent Talbot Everard, Bart.
  • Mrs. Alice Stopford Green.
  • Right Hon. Andrew Jameson, D.L.
  • Sir John Keane, Bart.
  • Patrick Williams Kenny.
  • Thomas Linehan.
  • Joseph Clayton Love.
  • James MacKean.
  • George Nesbitt. Bernard O'Rourke.
  • Col. Sir William Hutcheson Poë,
  • Bart., K.C.B.
  • Earl of Wicklow, D.L.

Níl

  • Michael Duffy.
  • Thomas Farren.
  • Thomas Foran.
  • Oliver St. John Gogarty, M.D.
  • John MacLoughlin.
  • Mrs. Jane Wyse Power.
Motion declared carried.