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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 10 Jun 1925

Vol. 5 No. 6



We have one or two important matters to deal with still, and we have got further Stages in some of these Bills to consider. I refer to Bills that have been read a Second Time. We may, perhaps, deal with them to-morrow and take it with this other business; if that is the wish of the House, this, perhaps, would be a convenient hour for adjourning now for to-morrow.

I beg to move that we take item 9, "Report of the Committee on Matters Affecting the Interpretation of the Constitution" before item No. 8, "Report of the Joint Committee on Standing Orders (Private Business) on the position in Saorstát Eireann of Bills relating to matrimonial matters (consideration resumed)," on the Order Paper to-day.


I do not think we can do that very well.

With your permission we can.


I do not think you can, for this reason: this other matter is hanging over a long time, and it comes first in order of time by months and I do think that it ought to be disposed of.

That matter was discussed already and in the ordinary course of events the report of the other sub-committee (Matters Affecting the Interpretation of the Constitution) should come on before this matter is discussed again.

Was that the order in which these matters stood on the Agenda before?


I took it by seniority.

The order of the two was reversed the last time we met.


I confess that I think it is not creditable to the Oireachtas as a whole that this other matter should, at the end of three years, be still undetermined and undischarged and I think this Report should be disposed of at the earliest possible moment. There is plenty of time for the consideration of both to-morrow. I should not like this second matter which I consider a most important question, the question of divorce, to be disposed of in a scanty House. If it is taken on first it will secure a good attendance at 3 o'clock to-morrow. I think we ought to take it on and dispose of it.

I made no suggestion whatever that the Report relating to matrimonial matters should be postponed or delayed. I was only referring to the order in which both these would come on to-morrow.


What do you say about what I have said? The first question on the Order Paper, as I say, is one that has been hanging fire for three years. It is a question in which the Seanad takes great interest. They may discuss it. They may not get an opportunity of discussing it at all at the fag-end of to-morrow evening.

The point I wish to make is that the other matter arises out of a similar discussion before and in the ordinary order of things it should come first. It arises out of the same matter.


I cannot see that at all. I cannot see anything in that why it should displace a matter of greater importance.

I know that there is a great number of Senators who are in favour of the reversion to the original order in which these stood. They do not think it is possible to discuss the divorce question until they have heard the report of the Committee.


The report of the Committee has nothing whatever to do with the divorce question. Each member of the Committee started by making that clear. Senator Bennett who was on that Committee made that clear, that the question of divorce had nothing whatever to do with that Committee. We reported for procedure for all time in connection with all matters.

But it was on the matrimonial question that the whole thing arose.


I certainly will not alter the fixtures for to-morrow unless I am satisfied that it is the unanimous wish of the Seanad, because I feel that it is not creditable to the Oireachtas that we should leave this matter hanging over for three years. I sent out a special notice inviting the Senators to attend in order that we should have a chance of getting rid of this matter.

Will you put it to the Seanad?


If it is the unanimous wish of the Seanad I will alter it. Is it the unanimous wish of the Seanad?

I would like to know what are the grounds before voting on this matter. I am afraid that this is an indication of mixed thinking, because we could not decide in a calm, intelligent way, number nine, unless we dissociate it from any particular question. That is the point of view in which I approach it and I understood it was the point of view from which other Senators approached it also.


That was unanimously agreed.

How we are going to bring in questions relating to No. 8 in Number 9 baffles me, unless we can decide the subject of discussion together. To me it is immaterial which is discussed first. The implication seems to be that we are discussing both together.


I will prevent that. I will keep them separate. The House, in fact, agreed upon it and I leave it as it stands.

When is the Report Stage of the Shannon Bill to be taken? We do not want to see it unduly delayed.


We cannot unduly delay it, because we wind up this session at the end of June.

Will the Committee Stage of the Fisheries Bill be taken this week?



The Seanad adjourned at 7.25 p.m. until 3 o'clock on Thursday, 11th June.