I was glad to hear Senator Barrington's opinion, and also Senator Farren's. They will excuse me, however, in not arguing some of these questions with them, as Senator Sir John Keane will excuse me for not having answered some of the points that he raised yesterday. With regard to Cork, I am rather disturbed by some of the things Senator Haughton mentioned. He remarked that something was going on behind the scenes of which they were not being informed. He made use of the word "unworthy," and he suggested that a large number of people should be consulted, and he spoke of other friends working behind the scenes. I want to be perfectly frank in this whole matter. We have the question of Cork arising now, and what strikes me is this: I am associated with the Ministry of Local Government since June. It is now December. On many occasions since, the question of the postponement of urban elections has been referred to, but I have not had one single word from any citizen, or Deputy, or Senator concerned with Cork raising the question that the elections in Cork ought to be held on a day earlier than contemplated under the Local Government (Dissolved Authorities) Act, 1926. Not one single word.
The question has arisen, I certainly felt, in a haphazard way in the Dáil and Seanad, because the matter is a very important one, and representations might quite reasonably be expected to be made from time to time by a number of people if it was desired that we should depart from the policy implied by the Local Government (Dissolved Authorities) Act, 1926. Dealing with the question in a more detached way, I know of no desire on the part of anyone in Cork to take up and to press this matter. There is a particular file in my office with practically no papers attached to it, but a draft copy of the outline of the Bill which I understand certain people in Cork were going to shoulder as a private Bill of their own with a view to testing opinion in this matter. That lies on the file. What happened in regard to it, whether it was dropped or how it was dropped, I do not know.
In reply to Senator Hooper, I may say I have a kind of physical and mental tendency to go rapidly but I want to be clear before I can find such a desire on my part to go rapidly and I am not clear as to what the nature of the government of Cork ought to be. I have a general idea but without the suggestion of a plan I would not attempt to do it. I have, in reply to a question raised in a casual way— really it was a casual way even though it was raised in the form of an amendment—said I would be prepared to accept any help from the city of Cork or the citizens as to how the city is to be governed. But what I have asked is that I should not be looked to to take the initiative in the matter, so that the elections can be held in June. I do not think I ought to be pressed into coming forward with proposals initiated by myself to hurry on the matter earlier than was contemplated as a matter of policy when the Act of 1926 was going through, because I have not changed from the policy then contemplated nor indeed have I had an opportunity of changing from it. So that if there is to be initiative or driving coming from any section of the people of Cork, even before holding an inquiry I would like to see evidence of serious consideration and discussion given to the matter by those people, locally, who are alleged to be interested.
I could not even think that there had been a lot of rapid and clear thinking. The problem of the government of the city of Cork is a very important one. The necessity of guarding the interests of economy and efficiency, if the interests of the citizens are to be looked after, is such that with all the rapid and clear thinking we can get I do not think the additional nine months would be mis-spent if we simply pondered and looked at the decision we might have taken before June and examined it for another period of six or nine months. I suggest that Cork is losing nothing and no one is losing anything by holding up the decision and we certainly cannot contemplate an election in Cork as early as June next.