ALTERATION IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT FORMS. - ORDER OF BUSINESS.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

That concludes our business. I want again to call attention to the memorandum I received from the Executive Council. It deals with six Bills. I will take them again in order, for we have disposed of two or three of them. The first is the Police Forces Amalgamation Bill, and number two is the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Bill. These we have passed and we will have nothing further to do with them. Number three is the Firearms (Temporary Provisions) (Continuance) Bill, and the statement I have received is that all the stages of this Bill will be concluded in the Dáil to-day. Number four is the Summer Time Bill, which has been disposed of in this House to-day and will not come back to us. Number five is Dáil Eireann Courts (Winding-Up) Bill, which we have passed through Committee to-day and, therefore, we will be able to dispose of the remaining stages at another sitting. The only matter left is the Central Fund Bill, which the Government expect to get through the other House by Friday. What I wish to get the assistance of the House upon is, would they prefer to have a meeting next week for the purpose of disposing finally of these matters, or would they prefer that the House should be adjourned now until 11 o'clock on Saturday. I want, of course, to consult the convenience of members, for it might be more convenient for some members to stay over until Saturday rather than go away now, and come back long distances from the country next week.

Will not the outstanding matters be ready for Friday?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I think not. I understand it will be doubtful if the Central Fund Bill will be disposed of before Friday.

I think it would be more to the convenience of the Seanad generally if they adjourned until Tuesday or Wednesday.

Arising out of this question, could we have any indication of the procedure that will be allowed on the Finance Bill? I think the procedure adopted on the Appropriation Bill last year was found to be somewhat inconvenient. It was desired to discuss a number of questions, and the discussion had to be done in a somewhat hasty manner. Some of us feel that we ought to have more deliberate discussions on these financial matters, for it is the only opportunity this House is afforded to deal with the broad administration of the Government. The Central Fund Bill affords that opportunity, and the Appropriation Bill later on. If you are going to permit a discussion on the Central Fund Bill, perhaps it might take more time than might be contemplated.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I understand this Bill is required to be passed before the 1st April, so that if we do not meet until the 31st March there will not be much time for discussion.

Could not some committee of the House meet and possibly advise on what procedure we might follow when we come to the Appropriation Bill? It will be recollected that when we came to the Appropriation Bill last year we had to adopt a very inconvenient procedure.

I take it there would be no objection whatever to a general discussion on finance on the Committee or other stage of the Central Fund Bill. I think it is reasonably certain that it is almost beyond the powers of anybody in the Seanad to propose any recommendation with regard to the Central Fund Bill. It is largely a formality, but that will not prevent a discussion on the matters which come within the scope of that Bill.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

If you do not meet until the 31st I do not see that there will be much opportunity for discussion if the Bill is to come into operation on the 1st April.

Could we not have the Bill by post when it is through?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The information I have is that it will not be through before Friday.

Then we could have it on Monday.

I think it only deals with Supplementary Estimates.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Yes.

Surely it would be better if we had a day or two to think over the Bill at home rather than rush it through on Saturday.

I move formally that the House adjourn until Tuesday at three o'clock.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Would you say three o'clock or eleven-thirty?

Three o'clock would be a suitable hour for people coming up from the country.

I hope you will not take it that I want to discuss this special Bill. I rather want to know the procedure in the coming session on these financial proposals.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I think it would be well worth while to refer that to a sub-Committee of the House so that they might go into the whole question of the Central Fund and the Appropriation Bills to see whether a better opportunity could not be afforded the House to consider them.

Regarding the suggestion of Senator Sir John Keane, which you approve of, and which I am quite sure would commend itself to the House, I would like to suggest that a special Committee be appointed now that might meet on Saturday and report to the House on Tuesday.

I think that would be rather hasty. If you want to refer it to a Committee there is more than the Central Fund Bill. There are other points regarding our method of dealing with finance matters lately which ought to be included.

Could we not confine the reference to the Central Fund Bill, and deal with the other matters when they arise?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I think what Senator Barrington has in mind is that it should be a Committee for this particular Central Fund Bill; in other words, that some Members of the House should take upon themselves the trouble of looking into this Bill and seeing what matters they would recommend for discussion when the Seanad next meets.

That was not the intention in my mind. It is a question of procedure. We get the Appropriation Bill late in the year, and we do not have the opportunity of dealing with the matters satisfactorily. My object is that some opportunity should be afforded for discussing the matters in detail, but not in such great detail as in the Dáil.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I see that the Minister for Local Government is here now. I do not know whether he is here in consequence of the motion standing in the name of Senator Sir John Keane.

I may take it that the motion to meet on Tuesday is passed?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

It seems to be the general wish of the House.

I am not very well aware of what Senator Sir John Keane requires.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

He has made a statement in support of his motion. There being no Minister present, it is considered by the House desirable that the Minister in charge of the Department should have the opportunity of reading what he has said, and then that I could arrange with the Minister to see if he could attend at any time convenient to him on a future occasion.

That would suit me better.

The Seanad adjourned at 3.55 p.m. until Tuesday, 31st March.