SEANAD IN COMMITTEE. - TEMPORARY ACCOMMODATION OF THE OIREACHTAS.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Before we rise for the luncheon interval, I would like to get the views of the Seanad as to whether they would like to take on at any time to-day this question which is on the agenda, with reference to the temporary accommodation of the Oireachtas. The matter was postponed, as the Seanad will recollect, for a fortnight, in order to give the Senators who are interested an opportunity of seeing the Reports with reference to the precautions against fire. The matter, therefore, is now ripe for discussion. Those reports have been in the office of the Clerk and, I think, were accessible to Senators. I notice when the question was raised the other day in the Dáil that the President stated that he would like the matter adjourned, as he wished to bring certain Estimates before the Deputies of the Dáil. It occurred to me that perhaps it would be more convenient if we knew what took place with regard to the discussion, and knew what these estimates contained before we came to any conclusion on the matter. Of course, we can proceed to-day or to-morrow independent of any action taken in the Dáil. But as it is the intention, apparently, of the President to bring some new figures to the attention of the Dáil, I thought that perhaps the Seanad would permit further discussion on this matter to stand over.

To what length of time is it proposed that the discussion should stand over?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Until they are finished in the Dáil.

Will we sit on Friday?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

That will depend on the business, and I do not like to give a definite answer just now. If we sit to-morrow at 3 and begin on Friday at 3, there will be work for both days, but I cannot definitely say so yet.

I would propose that the question be raised to-morrow and not adjourned until Friday. It has been a long time now awaiting consideration. The question as to whether the Oireachtas should get accommodation elsewhere has overshadowed the question as to what precautions are necessary to safeguard the treasures in these buildings.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

That question is a different one altogether. It arises, of course, as an argument in dealing with the other question. But it is not as an independent question. It does in a sense arise, and will, of course, be considered when we come to discuss the question of the housing of the Oireachtas. The only matter at present, and I would like to convenience the Senator, is whether it would be wiser for us to wait for this new information which the President says he has collected.

Do you rule out altogether the question of the treasures in this building?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

No, certainly not. That would be a very pertinent matter for anybody to argue against continuing to sit where we are.

That question would be independent of the other.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

While there may be some Senators who might agree or disagree with you about the possible danger to the Museum, they might have their views completely influenced one way or another by this further material which the President is now in possession of.

I wonder if that is necessarily so?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I think really we would gain nothing by discussing that now. The whole question is: Is it to the advantage of the Seanad as a whole that they should have, first of all, before them and in their possession these new estimates that the President has promised?

I would propose to ask a vote of the Seanad on whether they would consider, owing to the extreme urgency of the case, that we should have a discussion to-morrow on whether sufficient precautions are being taken.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

If the Senators would talk the matter amongst themselves during the adjournment for luncheon, we would then be in a position to say what we would do.

Would the President send out the figures to the members of the Seanad so that we could consider them at the same time as they are considering them in the Dáil.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

There is no urgency about it.

Might I suggest, in order to suit the convenience of the Seanad, that we might sit at 11 o'clock on Friday.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The alternative would be to sit to-morrow at 11, and then we may not require to meet on Friday at all.

Sitting suspended at 1.30 and resumed at 2.30.