I have looked through these two Bills, which seem to be more or less of a formal nature. There does not seem to be anything controversial in them, nor was anything controversial suggested in the other House, and the only question is whether it would be desirable to allow them to remain until we meet again for the Committee Stage, or whether the House would like to take any other course with reference to them. If no other course is proposed they will appear on the Order Paper for the Committee Stage on the next day we meet.
PUBLIC BUSINESS. - CIVIC GUARD (ACQUISITION OF PREMISES) AMENDMENT BILL, 1924. SECOND STAGE.
Might I say that I have looked through these Bills, and certainly as far as the first is concerned, it is a purely formal measure. I do not think that there is anything contentious in the second either. Inasmuch as we have such a large programme looming before us in the shape of legislation, the Seanad might consider it advisable to go on with these two Bills to-day, if we could do so, by moving the suspension of the Standing Orders, and get them out of the way. I propose that that should be done.
I have a little hesitation in deciding that there is anything urgent about these two Bills, and it is only in cases of urgency that the power is conferred for suspending the Standing Orders. If, however, it is the general desire of the House that the Standing Orders should be suspended for the purpose of passing these two Bills, possibly and probably the contingency hinted at by Senator Sir Thomas Esmonde, as to the congestion that will occur later on would be sufficient reason to bring them within the Order. Therefore I will raise no point of order if any Senator desires to move the suspension of the Standing Orders in order to enable these two Bills to be put through their remaining stages. Senator Sir Thomas Esmonde has proposed that Standing Orders be suspended in regard to these two Bills to enable them to be put through their concluding stages.
I second the motion.
One of these Bills, it is true, is merely a formal Bill, that is the Civic Guard (Acquisition of Premises) Bill, but the other is an important measure, and though on the general principle there may be no great difference of opinion, it is possible that in Committee some amendments might suggest themselves to Senators, and I think that in view of the very important body that it covers, some time should be given for the consideration of amendments. I would favour the suspension of Standing Orders for the first Bill, but not for the other, and I would suggest to the House that it should not pass the second without some further consideration.
The alternative would be to utilise the precedent we set the other day, and refer those two Bills to a Select Committee. If we can be certain to get the services of eight members of the House to-morrow who would be prepared to meet for the purpose of passing those two Bills through a Committee, it may meet the situation.
I think it would be a great mistake to take a Bill which makes all the provision for what is, after all, the principal police force in Ireland, and to pass it through all its Stages in a few days when many of us have not read it from the point of view of seeing if there are any amendments to be suggested. I think that Bills on which there is no serious difference of opinion on a matter of principle, could be usefully referred to a small Committee. The Bills would then come before the Seanad on Report. I support your suggestion.
If the Seanad wishes to refer those Bills to a Select Committee to sit to-morrow, I shall have much pleasure in seconding the motion.
I would suggest to-morrow is a little early for the purpose. Would it be possible to suggest some day early next week? It is too early, and that is the reason we ask that it be postponed.
As soon as we know at the end of the sitting when we are to meet again, a date could be fixed for the meeting of the Committee. It may meet any day between this and the next meeting of the Seanad.
Once the House appoints its Committee then that Committee will have it in their hands to determine when they will sit. If the House is willing, those two Bills can be referred to a Select Committee, and if a motion to that effect is passed now, the Committee can fix a convenient date for its meeting. Do you move, Senator Douglas, that those Bills be referred to a Select Committee.
I move that the two Bills be referred to a Select Committee.
I second it.
Do not the Standing Orders for Private Bills and our own orders provide that the Committee should be nominated to-day?
Our own Standing Orders provide that the Committee shall be nominated by the Selection Committee unless the House decides otherwise. It is open to them now to appoint them.
That would obviate the delay of a Selection Committee having to meet. Perhaps, Senator Douglas, you could find out the names of eight willing to attend, and mention them to the House before it rises.
I would be willing to do that if those willing to serve would send down their names to me. If I do not get a sufficient number of names in this way, I shall try to find others.
Perhaps Senators, particularly those who live in Dublin or its vicinity, would kindly indicate to Senator Douglas their willingness to serve on this Committee. It will occupy only half an hour. It would be convenient if we knew in advance the names of Senators to whom it would be convenient to attend.