I rise to call attention to a matter of public importance in connection with the business of this House during the remainder of the present Session. I take it that every member of this House has seen the statement made the other day in the Dáil by the President, that it was the intention of the Government if possible to bring the Session of the Dáil to a close on or about the 4th July. Now, we all know there are at present in various stages some fourteen or fifteen Bills going through the Dáil. I am also aware that there are certain other Bills, of a more or less formal nature, which will not excite any lengthy discussion but which it is important should be passed before the end of the present Session. This is the 21st May and there are only six weeks between the present date and the 4th July. From what you have told us there will be no business for the Seanad next week, which means that we will not meet till this day fortnight. That leaves us only four weeks to get through the legislative work of the House before the Dáil rises. It is, therefore, impossible that the Seanad could deal with those matters of legislation before the 4th July. We all sympathise with the Government who, at the close of a long and trying Session, are anxious to get their legislation through, and I am sure every member is anxious to unite and assist them in this matter. After all that will not excuse us for hasty and unconsidered legislation.
We had in the past, from time to time, owing to the state of the country, legislation of an emergency type. I think I may say that this House recognises on all occasions the necessity of coming to the assistance of the Government and passing legislation of that kind. We all hope the necessity for that kind of thing is now gone and that in the future we will have time to give due consideration to all Bills that come before us. If we are to do that we must have time to consider them. I, therefore, suggest that in the case of Bills of any importance we should insist under our Standing Orders on having the full time allotted to us between the Second Reading of a Bill and the Committee Stage, and between the Committee Stage and the Report Stage. I hold that the most important intervals for this House are those between the Second Reading and the Committee stage and between the committee and the Report Stages. We have only a week under our Standing Orders to prepare necessary amendments. Many of us are business men, and many of us live in the country. It is also necessary when the Bill has been discussed in Committee to have at least a week to consider the effect of the amendments passed and to see the Bill with those amendments in it before Report.
I suggest, therefore, that for the future we should take the full time allotted to us by our Standing Orders and insist on it except in the case of emergency legislation. If this is to be done it is clear that in the case of the Bills now in the Dáil we cannot deal with them in one month before the 4th July. It is for this reason that I have thought it necessary, as a matter of public importance, to bring this before the House. I think the Government should let us know which of the Bills now before the Dáil, and the Bills that are to be introduced between now and the 4th July, they think should be carried through both Houses before they rise. I am certain that this House will facilitate them to the utmost to carry out their intentions. All I insist on is that it is impossible to carry through all those Bills in the present Session. We are willing to carry through what the Government thinks are the more pressing of their Bills, but we ought to take the necessary time for the discussion of those Bills. Another question that will arise, after we have obtained the opinion and the wishes of the Government with regard to this Session, has reference to the fact that the Dáil will have Bills which we will not be able to pass this Session. It will be a question for this House when they are to deal with those Bills. It would be important that those Bills should be ready before they meet again in October. Therefore, it would be necessary for us to sit on when the Dáil rises, or rise with the Dáil and sit some time before October in the autumn so that our Bills shall be ready for the Dáil when they meet again.