As I see the Minister for Industry and Commerce present, I want to call the attention of the House to a complication that has arisen with regard to the Shannon Electricity Bill. Just as we were concluding our business on Friday, a discussion arose about the Arterial Drainage Bill, and it was suggested by some Senator, who said that he would be away to-day, because of matters connected with the local elections, that he would be glad if the Seanad would take that Bill on Thursday, and accordingly that was agreed to. Then a suggestion was made that the Minister might like to have the Shannon Bill taken on Thursday. He said, however, that that would not suit him at all, and accordingly I there and then said that the Shannon Bill would be taken on Tuesday, that is to-day. Unfortunately, Mr. O'Sullivan, our Assistant Clerk, had just been called away at the moment and he had previously provisionally settled the Agenda for Tuesday with me. In that Agenda we had left out the Shannon Electricity Bill, and being away when this promise was given by me, he sent out the Agenda as we had provisionally fixed it, and the Agenda set out that the Shannon Bill would not be taken until Thursday. The position is, that the Minister will be up to his neck and shoulders, if I may use the expression, on to-morrow and Thursday in the Dáil. His estimates are coming on and are pretty certain to occupy him for the whole of the two days. The Dáil is not sitting to-day on account of the elections.
We have got then to accommodate the convenience of the Minister. On the other hand, I think we are bound to consider the convenience of Senators, and more particularly of minorities. We all know, of course, that it is the privilege and the right of minorities to pursue their opposition, if they wish to, up to the very last minute, and that will include the final stage of this Bill. Senator Sir John Keane intimated to me last week his great anxiety to say something on the Fifth Stage of this Bill, and accordingly I told him it would not be on until this week. In that prophecy I was correct, but he did not know, and, in fact, the matter escaped my notice that it would be on to-day. He is engaged to-day looking after the county council elections in his own county and could not be here, but he will be here on Thursday. I would suggest to the Minister—I may say that I want to convenience him in every way because his position is a difficult one— that the matter might be met in this way: supposing we were to meet on Thursday at 2.30, and were to take up this Bill the first thing, I could then allow a quarter of an hour to Senator Sir John Keane to speak on it, and the Minister who has thrice slain the slain in this matter might perform the operation for the fourth time in another quarter of an hour. That would enable the Minister to get back to the Dáil at 3 o'clock. I suggest that an arrangement of that kind would be the best for all parties. Of course, I am mainly responsible for the mistake, because I should have corrected the Order Paper. I did not notice the mistake, however, until the Order Paper had been sent out, and that is the difficulty. Senator Sir John Keane would have a grievance if we were to take the Bill to-day, and the Minister will have a grievance if we do not accommodate him in some way. What I have suggested is, I think, the best way out of the difficulty.