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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 23 Feb 1927

Vol. 8 No. 7


Motion by Senator the Rt. Hon. Andrew Jameson:—
"That in the opinion of the Seanad it is expedient that a Joint Committee of both Houses, consisting of seven members of the Seanad and seven members of the Dáil, be appointed to consider and report upon the advisability of amending the Articles of the Constitution which prevent members of the Seanad being appointed members of the Executive Council; and that a message be sent to the Dáil to inform that House of this Resolution."

I beg to move the adoption of the Report of the Select Committee appointed to consider the Constitution (Amendment No. 5) Bill. The report is to this effect:—"That it was unanimously agreed that the Committee recommend that the further consideration of the Bill should be postponed and that in the meantime a Joint Committee of both Houses should be set up to consider and report on the question of the eligibility of members of the Seanad for membership of the Government, and that the Dáil should be asked to concur in the appointment of such a Committee."

I do not think that many words need be used in recommending this report to the Seanad. We had a long discussion upon it, and the opinion, undoubtedly, of Senators present was that the disability of members of the Seanad from being selected by the President as members of the Executive Council should, if possible, be got over. It is recognised that even in the present Bill now before the House there was a further removal of the slight claim that members of the Seanad had to become extern Ministers or secretaries to Ministers. It also became clearly evident that the position was very complicated. There were a great many things that had to be considered that would not occur at all to an ordinary individual looking at the Constitution. The only way to deal with that part of the matter is to have it considered by a Select Committee of both Houses where all these points could be dealt with and examined. I think that is the gist of the report.

The Bill now before us does not require any immediate attention. There is no immediate hurry for passing it. It might be possible that on a Report from the Select Committee the wishes of the Seanad could be achieved by some amendment in this particular Bill. The general opinion is, it could not be done by this Bill as it stands, and that it would not be a wise way of doing it. There is a possible way, and that is to set up this Committee with a view to providing amendments of the present Bill. Therefore we should postpone the further consideration of this Bill until a Committee is set up and has decided what they consider right as to the new Bill, to enable members of the Seanad to be selected as members of the Executive Council, and to remove their disability from obtaining such office.

I beg to second the motion.

I desire to support the motion moved by Senator Jameson. I think it is the logical and obvious way to meet this difficulty. I am in favour, and always have been in favour, of this Seanad sharing directly in the administration of the country and having a share of responsibility in the Executive Council of the country. I think it would be good, whatever Government would be in office for the time being, and I think it would be for the benefit of the country at large. There are certain technical difficulties in connection with the matter. Senator Jameson goes the right way about clearing the air. These matters can be discussed in a Joint Committee, and I have no doubt, with good will, that it would be possible in that Committee to arrive at a satisfactory settlement. I think, at any rate, Senator Jameson has taken the initial and necessary step in this matter.

Is this motion in substitution of the Report of the Committee?


It is adopting the Report.

It is adopting the Report and making an addition.



Question put, and agreed to.