PUBLIC BUSINESS. - CONSTITUTION (AMENDMENT No. 6) BILL, 1928—FIFTH STAGE.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be received for final consideration and do now pass."

I feel compelled to take advantage of the last opportunity that will be afforded me to make one further protest against the passage of this Bill. I oppose it because it is bad for the people as a whole and bad for the Seanad in particular. The new method will not give the best Senators; it certainly will not give independent Senators. It removes the incentive to the efficient, conscientious and industrious discharge of public duties. Instead of working in the general interests and for the merit and appreciation of the general public, it will be to the interest of the Senators of the future to work merely for the purpose of winning the favour of ten Deputies or fellow-Senators. That is not in the interests of efficiency. It is not in the interests of the conscientious discharge of public duties; it is not calculated to give this House the power which will make it a desirable and effective Second Chamber. It is, moreover, open to disreputable canvassing practices which have already begun. On the last day we met Senators informed me that they had already been approached in the anterooms of this House and canvassed for their votes for the forthcoming election. I have myself certainly had letters asking for my support, and I heard one man proclaim joyfully and victoriously that he had devoted a week of his holidays towards securing the necessary support to enable him to be elected to the Seanad for nine years to come. He was able to come back to work confident in the knowledge that already he was as good as elected. I think that is a most undesirable possibility to place within the reach of anybody who can get within speaking distance of Leinster House or who can approach sufficient Deputies and Senators outside it.

It was alleged that the old method was a method that favoured people mainly in possession of money. Well, it is a notorious fact that amongst the defeated were some of those who spent the most money, while amongst the elected were people who had little or no money at all to spend. But the new system certainly gives overwhelming support to the man with the money bags. The golden silence will be infinitely more effective than the silver oratory in the future. The man who can contribute a substantial amount to Party funds will have an infinitely greater chance of being elected to this House to legislate for the people outside than the man who, with any other qualifications, is capable of fulfilling a public or legislative function.

It has been stated that the people elected in 1922 by the Dáil have, on the whole, been a credit to themselves in the conduct of their business, and I am not going to say that they have not. I happened to be one of those elected. I also had the advantage of being elected at the one and only popular election. But I would point out that there was a difference there as compared with what will obtain in the future. In the first place, there was not that mad rush for the Seanad in 1922 that there will be in 1928. It was not then quite safe to be a Senator, as many Senators have reason to know, and the type of person who will approach Deputies and Senators in 1928 was very silent and kept very much in the background in 1922. Moreover, those who were elected in 1922 by that method were convinced that they would, in 1928, or in whatever year their term of office expired, have to face the people as a whole, and they have worked with that belief in their minds. But the people who will be elected at the forthcoming election will have no such incentive to discharge their duties in a conscientious way. All that they will have to do will be to please the ten people that are necessary to elect them to this House. I do not know but that in certain circumstances the much-despised British method of creating hereditary peers, much as we abhor it, is not calculated to give a more independent House, and a more public-spirited House than we are going to have under the new system. As I say, I abhor it and I think it absurd, but it certainly gives a more independent form of legislature than we will have when this Bill becomes law.

Already this Bill is being used by the enemies of this House as a document under which the House may be deprived of effective legislative powers, and it certainly will be used as a further argument for its final extinction. Those who vote for the Bill, whether they know it or not, whether they care or not, are helping towards the final elimination of this House as a part of the Legislature. We are told that we will get under this system independent Senators, and that it is desirable, above all things, that they should be of an independent type, even though they may have certain Party affiliations. Whilst these statements are being made it is well known that a small group of people in this House who dared to act independently in regard to this Bill were called together last week and severely castigated by a junior Minister for having the great daring to vote against a Government measure. If that is the case under conditions as they are, what, in the name of Providence, is going to be the state of dependence of this House when Senators owe their election and when they are dependent upon their re-election by members of the other House? That is one indication of the sort of influence that is brought to bear on Senators who are ostensible supporters of the Government but who dare at times to show a little independence of spirit, particularly in a matter affecting the Constitution and affecting the whole future of this House. We are very anxious to-day to see, when a Division is called on this measure, if there is going to be any turnover of votes. I am convinced that there will not be, and I do hope that each of the Senators who received what was considered a well-merited lecture and castigation will show that they have not changed their opinion.

I would like the Senator to give the name of the Minister who administered the lecture and the names of the people who received it. It is not fair to make a charge of that kind.

I will name the Minister. He was Deputy Heffernan.

I had not the privilege of being present when the Second Reading of this Bill was taken, and lest it may be thought that I have escaped a castigation under false pretences, or that I wittingly avoided it, I would like to say that I think this Bill is reactionary in its tendency and in its purpose. I read very carefully the speeches that were made on that occasion, especially Senator O'Farrell's speech, and I cannot say for a moment that that deserved the epithet that it was hysterical. I thought it was a fair, honest argument, and I was specially impressed by his statement of the countries in which the Second House is elected by popular vote. I admit that the present method is somewhat cumbrous, but that is no reason for its complete abolition and a complete swing over to a method which I think contains most undesirable features. In fact, in all the constitutional amendments, what I have objected to is the total swing-over. There has been no attempt to examine the principle of the old method; there has been a total abolition, instead of examining the old principle on its merits and modifying it.

As I conceive this Bill, you will not get an independent House. It will be what I might call a prize for the good boy, the one who is amenable and tractable and who will not show any independence of spirit, who can be trusted to do what he is told. I was impressed by the argument of Senator Jameson that in the last election certain outstanding individuals who were well known to this House failed to secure election, largely because they were personally reluctant to put forward their claims by advertisement, or whatever the way was, and partly because they were not generally known public figures. But I was not impressed by his statement that nobody but a person supported by the ticketed vote or a person of wealth could secure election on a popular basis. Senator O'Farrell has rather stolen my thunder in this matter. I can see a man of wealth securing election under the new process far more easily and with far less trouble than under the old, though perhaps with a little more expense. But it is because this new measure will make this House entirely tied and subordinate to the Dáil and will develop to the most dangerous and humiliating stage the principle of lobbying, and all the other features of that kind, that I shall vote against the final stage of this Bill.

I was not present on the last occasion that this was under discussion, and I want first and foremost to try to remove the idea that Senator O'Farrell expressed on one of the occasions on which he spoke, that certain Senators were lined up with the Government and were backing up the Government with regard to this legislation. I wish to make it quite clear that I am not in any way under an obligation to the Government or to anyone else. I always give my honest opinion on any matter that comes before the Seanad, and I am always prepared to do so. When this question about changing first arose in connection with the election of nineteen Senators I thought that to follow the old arrangement would be rather cumbersome, in view of the strain of the last election. A Committee was appointed to decide what was the best method. I thought that it would be a dangerous thing to make any change in the Constitution when it was working fairly satisfactory, that, in a sense, it was a wise precaution to let well enough alone, and that we should be very slow to make any change. But when a change was to be made, my view was that, instead of the method now proposed the different counties should be grouped together to lessen the expense and the trouble that was attached to the old method. This Committee was composed of representatives of both Houses and of different Parties, and when the Government decided upon the change that they recommended I came to the conclusion that I should abide by it. It is not a very sensible or a very complimentary thing to be trying to make out to the people that the members of this Committee were poor types. It is time enough to go into this matter when it has been tried. If it is a failure some other method can be tried. When we had the President here on the last occasion he gave what was, to my mind, a very clear indication of what the Government decided to do, and that was to prevent power being used in an unfair manner, to the injury of the community at large. One of the things I always believed in was "How oft the means to do ill deeds makes ill deeds done." I think the Government have come to a wise conclusion and that, in the circumstances, it is our duty to vote in favour of the measure.

I had the honour of expressing my views on the Second Reading of this Bill, but unfortunately I was unable to be present at the recent consideration of it. But I have not changed my opinion on the question of the principle of this Bill in the least degree. I do not think that the Seanad would be acting in its own interests in passing this Bill. I think that this Bill will weaken the influence of the Seanad, and I certainly think it will weaken its independence. We have had examples of other Second Chambers where the members are appointed by the Government of the day, and that is what this Bill amounts to. That procedure has not been found to work satisfactorily, and I have heard many complaints of its working in practice. Curiously enough, it may have the effect of considerably affecting the position of a Government. When it turns into an Opposition, as may very often happen, instead of having a Seanad in which it can claim a majority it will be faced by a Seanad in which its opponents are in a majority. That does not affect in the least degree my objection to this measure. I think it will weaken the Seanad, and I think it is liable to affect the independence of the Seanad. I believe in the old-fashioned democratic idea of trusting the people. I do not think it is wise to remove from the direct influence of the people one of the co-equal parts of this Parliament. If you abandon the elective principle you abandon your sheet anchor. I agree with Senator O'Connor that the principle might have been modified. In fact, I outlined on Second Reading a scheme under which it seemed to me that it might be preferable to deal with this question. But I still think it is a great mistake for this House to agree to the abandonment of the electoral principle, no matter what may be put in instead, and I will vote against the Bill.

The chief objection, I think, to the old method was that it asked each Senator to take upon himself one hundred and fifty-two times the work of an ordinary Dáil member. He had to approach the whole country as his constituency, whereas Deputies have to approach only their own localities, where they are well known. There is another serious objection too. Looking at the last results, one sees that people who commanded organisations—I know the different kinds of organisations, but it would be invidious to mention them; I am not speaking of political organisations, but organisations of transport, and things of that sort—can get known by means of these organisations, and can be pretty sure of being returned.

Organisations such as the medical profession.

That interruption has given me a chance of mentioning the railway organisation, which I did not intend to mention. Each station-master could be a canvasser if necessary. I do not for a moment suggest that, but I think it might be possible. I think the old system put undue work on a Senator that it was not fair to ask him to do. Then there is a third example, the case of men who, by public work, by patriotism, and by undertaking an immense burden of a reconstructive kind, are entitled to election, and one of the most outstanding men of that type, I suppose, in this country is Dr. Douglas Hyde. He was unable to secure his return when the election was with the whole country as a constituency, and when you see that happening you know that it is all nonsense to say that the country has been obtaining what it wants.

I wonder if he will be returned the next time?

Well, I will not be on the hustings.

You will have a vote.

I will not have a vote to spare. I am sure the Seanad resents any suggestion that they would stoop to bribery, or that the Government would accept bribes. We have been told that the rich men will get in. I have seen rich men who did not get in. But if there was any exception it would be the expense of creating organisations such as are already in the country. One cannot make a tour of the Twenty-six Counties, and one cannot be expected to, seeing that the House that has the least power has its work multiplied many times. That is the only reason why I will vote for the Bill, because, as I say, I will be removed from the scene of action, and even Senator O'Farrell might think that I would be inclined to cast an independent vote.

As one of those who was engaged in the last election, and lest I would be suspected of coming under the ban of the Ministry, I wish to say that I am sorry that I was unable to be present when the Second Reading of this Bill came on. Had I been present I certainly would have voted against the Bill. I intend voting against it to-day, without any influence whatever being brought to bear on me. That is the least I might do, the least return I might make to the people who gave me the support they did at the last Seanad election, and I think I can safely say that I was not one of the wealthy people who went forward on that occasion. I claim to be a very humble man, and I had no organisation at my back on that occasion either.

Except a few graveyards.

I challenge Senator MacLoughlin to name the organisation that I had at my back.

The organisation you had at your back, as I understand, was the united priests and people of Monaghan. I do not say, as the Labour Party did, that the presiding officers were part of that organisation.

If that is the organisation I had at my back I am very proud of it, and I think that if I were not worthy of their support, and if I had not an unblemished character up to that time, I certainly would not have been supported by the priests of Clogher. When you think of the difficulties that there were, when you consider that 50 per cent. of the electors of Saorstát Eireann took no part in the election, when you take into account that this was the first time that such an election was held in the Saorstát, and when you take into account the remarkable weather that we had, it must be considered that the election was fairly satisfactory. We never had such a bad day for an election before. Taking everything into account—the short hours of polling and everything else, I think the election was not at all unsatisfactory. I certainly have no right to complain.

I think the result was a proof that it was a very good test. I think there were about thirty-four constituencies, and in every single one I received votes except in one, and that was North Cork. I think it is a terrible mistake to take from the people the right to elect members to the Seanad. It is a very backward step, and I am afraid the Government will regret it. I certainly will vote against the Bill. I think they could have made many changes. The constituency was unwieldy, but if they thought it necessary to make changes they could have divided it up into four provinces, or make some other change of that sort, instead of leaving it in the hands of an almost nominated body.

I intend voting against this Bill, and I think I am entitled to give my reasons for doing so. I do not take the view at all that many other Senators who have spoken take in this matter. I think the Bill strikes rather more deeply than appears on the surface. To my mind the Parliament, consisting as it does of the Dáil and Seanad, was brought into existence for one purpose only, that is, to make laws for the people. The people are most intimately concerned with the laws that are made by the Oireachtas. They affect their daily lives and their means of existence. Every law we make has some intimate relation to the people, and in that sense they should have at least a voice in the election of those to whom they delegate the power of making their laws. Up to this point that has been the policy. The people elect the Dáil. In a lesser sense they elected the Seanad. This also strikes at the independence, the character, and, if I might term it, the dignity of this House, and we should take these aspects of the question very seriously into account. In time, under the proposed change, this House will inevitably, and must logically become, a replica of the Dáil. The change will be gradual, but seeing that the voting power will rest with the Dáil, as they will have five-sevenths of it when we assemble jointly to decide the final issue as to who shall be members of this House, their predominance of voting power must in time make its impression on this assembly. That is an unfortunate thing, and it strikes at the character of this House. What was the intention of the Constitution? Was it ever intended that this House should be a replica of the Dáil? It was not. By the nature of the election, by the nature of the qualifications of candidates for the Seanad, it was clearly intended that this House should be of an entirely different character from the Dáil. The Dáil is largely elected on the political Party principle. The Seanad was not elected on that basis. When the Seanad was brought into existence it was elected with a view to giving representation to the dominating interests of the country and the principal aspects of the national life. It was elected rather on a sectional basis, and it was intended to be a revisory body, that it should review legislation that was enacted in the Dáil, and that it should review that legislation from an entirely different standpoint to that of the Dáil, from the viewpoint, as it is described in Article 30 of the Constitution, "of important aspects of the nation's life." Theoretically, the people are entitled to have the ultimate voice in the making of laws, seeing that they concern them so intimately, but they know that it is practically impossible for them to enact laws. What they do to make the position practicable is to elect delegates, and they give them plenary powers to make laws for them, with certain reservations. These reservations are contained in the Constitution. The Referendum was one, but that reservation was never invoked in the seven or eight years during which the Dáil has been in existence. I do not think that people paid very much attention to it, although much unpopular legislation was introduced in that time. They have made this concession to their delegates, and they have invested them with that power. We all know that Bills going through the ordeal of the two Houses have been submitted to the rigorous investigation that members of the Dáil have at their disposal, with a full library for reference, and they can put questions to Ministers and approach matters from every aspect. When a measure has gone through that ordeal in the Dáil it comes to this House, and this House has to approach consideration of it from an entirely different standpoint.

That is the very foundation of our legislation here. Senators, before they can be nominated, must have reached a certain age, and the electors who are eligible to vote for Senators must have reached the age of thirty years. The Constitution provides that this House is to be differently constituted to the Dáil. The first election to this House had particular reference to these very matters, to the sectional interests and the various dominating aspects of the national life. It was with that in mind that the personnel of this House was constituted as it is.

If that be so, and if that was the intention of the Constitution we should see that any proposed change will not alter the character of that representation. Let us ask ourselves if the results of the last Seanad election afford sufficient reason for the radical change now proposed to be made. What happened at that election? It was stated that nobody who had not an organisation at his or her back could possibly succeed in that election. What are these organisations? Do they represent important aspects of the nation's life? If they do, and if they are made active to return representatives to this House, what fault is to be found with that? Was that not exactly in conformity with the original intention of the Constitution, and with the latter portion of Article 30? I am not referring at the moment to the first portion of that Article, which states that Seanad Eireann shall be composed of citizens who shall be proposed on the grounds that they have done honour to the nation. I do not think that we have yet reached that stage. We are still in the state that we have only practically ceased from turmoil, and I do not think, until the country has settled down to stable conditions, possibly in the course of a few years more, that the first recommendation in the first paragraph of Article 30 will be given very great consideration. What the people do give consideration to at the moment is their own personal interests, and, after all, that is the factor that actuates us in most of the affairs of life. Coming to elections, if there are large organisations active in the work which these organisations are supposed to carry out, the question is: do these organisations represent important aspects of the nation's life? If they do, what fault is to be found with the system whereby the representatives of these organisations are being returned to this House? That is absolutely in line with the Constitution and with the provisions of Article 30.

Who were the representatives returned to this House at the last elections? We had men returned representing various interests. Some were returned representing the professions, others farming, some others the cattle export trade, and others representing the teachers, education and the licensed trade. Might I say in passing that the licensed trade is only a distributing trade. It is not an industry, but it represents a very important industry indirectly. In the ultimate argument it represents the farming industry of this country, and certainly it represents the distilling and brewing industry. Although it is of very vital importance, the licensed trade itself is only a distributing trade. Representatives of Labour, of the Army, and of the Press, and of the manufacturing industries of the country were also returned. as well as representatives of the horse-breeding industry, which is a very important one in this country. The people, exercising their horse sense and the peculiar intuition they have, no matter how clumsy their method may have been, returned to this House representatives of these various interests, and that is really the acid test of the system. The members returned certainly represented prominent aspects of the nation's life. That being so, are we not entitled to ask ourselves is the Government justified in altering that system and taking away that right from the people. The people actually did what the Constitution pointed out to them they ought to do. The people cannot go very far wrong in their elections. We ourselves are responsible for submitting the panel to the people, and presumably every person whose name appears on that panel that is submitted to the people is eligible to take a seat in this House. So that the people act within certain limitations, and if they allow their intelligence to work, as it has been stated here, through the activities of organisations which are ranged up and down throughout the country, so long as these organisations represent great sectional interests in the community or important aspects of the nation's life, the thing is all right, and it is absolutely fair and sound. That will not be the case under the Bill that is now before us.

The people are entitled to have the Parliament that they elect themselves. Nations, like individuals, will make mistakes, but if the people make mistakes they will learn from them, and eventually they will evolve and work out their own salvation, though possibly through turmoil. As a result of mistakes which the people may unwittingly make, they will in time become educated, and eventually when more settled conditions obtain here, you will have an entirely representative Parliament derived from the people and based on the fundamental and sound principle that the Parliament represents the voice and will of the people. We are here for the services of the people. It is for the people to say who shall make their laws. If, under this Bill, you take away from the people the right to elect one branch of the Parliament, because remember the Seanad is an integral part of the Parliament and that you cannot separate the Dáil and the Seanad, then you are doing something that is opposed to a fundamental right which the people should have. Both Houses fulfil one and the same function, and that is to make laws for the country. Therefore, it is only logical and right that the basis of representation in both Houses should rest on the same foundation. Under this Bill you are proposing to radically alter this basic foundation on which the Parliament now rests.

It has been suggested that we are going to lose our independence under this proposal. We are certainly going to lose caste throughout the country by this thing. We do not hold, I think, a very prominent position in the goodwill or good estimation of the people, and we cannot afford to jeopardise such little reputation as we have. But such attributes as we have—independence, character, and the dignity that we try to surround ourselves with—are going to be absolutely undermined and swept away under this Bill. It may be said that I am taking up a rather illogical attitude by not backing up the Referendum and taking up this position on the larger question. I always considered the Referendum to be a cumbersome and costly thing and not efficient for the purpose for which it was designed. Proof of that is to be found as to whether the people availed of it or not. Despite the fact that during the last few years we have had a good deal of unpopular legislation, the people have never invoked the Referendum, and I do not think that they were ever likely to do it. The people never asked for it, and I do not think that they appreciated it. For all these reasons I am very sorry that I will have to vote against the final stage of this Bill.

As one who got elected by the people to this House, I want to say a few words, as I do not intend to give a silent vote upon this matter. I hope that no one who got elected by the votes of the people will betray the trust reposed in him by voting in favour of this measure. Two of the Senators who have already spoken were elected by the votes of the people, and elected in an honourable place too. I think it would ill-become any man who was so elected to betray the confidence reposed in him in that way. It has been said that without an organisation behind one, one could not get inside the precincts of this House. There were men who got high places at the last election who had no organisations behind them. It was suggested, in fact, that the medical profession did not have an organisation in the country. Surely, where there are medical men in such numbers as there are in this country and occupying positions of influence as they do, they certainly should have a very strong organisation behind them. If they fill the dignified and honoured place that they should fill in the life of the country, then I take it that they should constitute one of the strongest organisations in the country, and that their sectional interests should be properly represented. I say that it is a great injustice to outstanding men who represent sectional interests that this Bill should be introduced. It will afford one excuse to the enemies of this House when they get into power to say that its members are elected by a party or by a clique, if you like, and that it does not represent public opinion, that it does not even represent sectional interests of great masses of people in the country, that it represents nobody but three, four or five men who in this House claim the right to put forward members for this legislative body. I should be surprised indeed that anyone who, so to speak, climbed in here on the shoulders of the people would betray the trust reposed in him by voting in favour of this Bill.

I think we should not lose sight of the simple fact that it is more desirable and more important to have able men in this House than to get representative men into this House. Looking down the list of Senators who will be going up for re-election—I am not one of them—I am certain that the ablest men on that list stand a better opportunity of returning to this House if this Bill be passed, than they would stand if the Bill be not passed.

This Bill embodies one of the recommendations of the Joint Committee which sat to consider——

By a majority of one.

At any rate, it was one of the recommendations of the Joint Committee. If the Senator was elected to this House by a majority of one, I think he would resent any particular reference to that fact. Senator Jameson put the case the last day when he asked the House to make up its mind as to what it wanted as regards a second chamber. A second chamber elected by practically the same machinery as the Dáil is not, in my view, the best method of selecting a second chamber, even if one wanted the second chamber to be an exact replica of the Dáil. Obviously there is likely to be a conflict between the two Houses. Senator Cummins said it was mentioned on the last day that unless one had an organisation behind him that one could not get elected to this House. He disputed the fact that it was necessary for one to have an organisation behind one in order to get elected. The fact is that there were certain strong organisations behind certain of the candidates at the last election, and that only nine Senators got the quota, and that less than 25 per cent. of the electors voted. The case that is really made for a continuance of the present system is a case in respect of particular organised sections of the community. It is not a case for a good Seanad that is being made, but a case for organised sections of the country.

I would like to hear something more intelligent from the Senator than simply saying "nonsense." Is it or is it not a fact that only nine Senators got the quota at the last Seanad election, and that those who were backed by organisations secured representation in the Seanad to a degree that was out of proportion even to the numbers in those organisations in the country. The system is not a good one and could not be a good one where you have the whole country as a single constituency. It may be that some people in Donegal never heard of some of the candidates that were up for election, and it may be that some people in Cork never heard of others of them. The people were presented with a list of something like 70 or 80 candidates to choose from. I submit that it is perfectly unreasonable to ask the people, merely from advertisements in the newspapers or from reports of the Seanad, or even from the organisations supporting the candidature of certain groups, to get into touch with forty or fifty names on the list. In the event of the old system being continued this year, the list might have extended to 90 names. I put it to the common sense of the Seanad that that is a perfectly unreasonable task to put before the people.

In the circumstances we have to consider what is the best method of electing the Second House. The Dáil and the Seanad sitting together is not the best method, but at least it is better than the existing one. I would not pay the slightest attention to the fears of Senator Cummins that the continuance of this House is likely to be prejudiced in the future in the event of a change in the personnel of the Dáil by the fact that the election of the Seanad took place by the two Houses sitting together. That is like a good deal of the nonsense that we hear not only here but in other places in regard to the Seanad. It is not on the personnel of the Seanad, but on the work that the persons who constitute this House do that the Seanad in the future any more than in the past ought to be judged, and the sooner the people who criticise it consider that aspect of the situation the better it will be for all of us. There is no use whatever in entering into a discussion of our public institutions with coloured spectacles. That will get us nowhere.

Senator Yeats really struck the true note when he said that you want ability here. I am not by any means inferring that there is no ability in the Dáil, but I say that you want ability here. There are people who think that this House should be more forceful and should have a stronger policy than the Dáil. That is not my conception of what the Seanad should be, but rather that it should be a body which would review and act as a sort of jury upon the work of the Dáil. I stated that at a meeting which was held in my Kilkenny constituency to consider and recommend to the people the persons they should vote for. I was pressed to make a statement in regard to the list of persons that they should vote for, and I said that I regarded the Seanad as a jury that would consider the legislation sent up from the Dáil, but I do not consider it any part of my duty to select the jury. That is for the people. It may be that much more interest will be taken in the next Seanad election than there was in the last one. In my view, having the whole country as a single constituency is all against that. It would be impossible to do it, and perhaps not more than 30 per cent. of the people would vote, if so many did vote. That is not democratic. That is not getting the true opinion of the people.

Senators who talk very loudly about the rights of democracy know that when the people want rights they assert their rights, and assert their privileges in that connection. Obviously they were not satisfied with the Seanad election the last time, because otherwise a larger number would have voted. It is not any credit to the institutions of the country that in an election for 19 members for the Seanad, only 23 per cent. of the people voted. Obviously that is a bad system. If the system proposed now is not the best system, at any rate it gives three years in which to consider a better method of what is really required here. We will not get that by these kind of cheap sneers. You will get nowhere by simply saying "nonsense." It was nonsense to have an election in which only 23 per cent. of the people voted, and those who stand for that are not standing for democracy.

Question put.
The Seanad divided; Tá, 23; Níl, 12.

  • Sir Edward Bellingham.
  • P.J. Brady.
  • Samuel L. Brown, K.C.
  • Mrs. Costello.
  • John C. Counihan.
  • The Dowager Countess of Desart.
  • James G. Douglas.
  • Sir Nugent Everard.
  • Dr. O. St. J. Gogarty.
  • Mrs. Stopford Green.
  • Benjamin Haughton.
  • P.J. Hooper.
  • Right Hon. Andrew Jameson.
  • Francis MacGuinness.
  • James MacKean.
  • John MacLoughlin.
  • General Sir Bryan Mahon.
  • William John Molloy.
  • James Moran.
  • Sir Walter Nugent.
  • Joseph O'Connor.
  • Bernard O'Rourke.
  • W.B. Yeats.

Níl

  • William Cummins.
  • James Dillon.
  • Sir Thomas Grattan Esmonde.
  • Thomas Farren.
  • Major-General Sir William Hickie.
  • Sir John Keane.
  • Patrick W. Kenny.
  • Thomas Linehan.
  • John T. O'Farrell.
  • Michael F. O'Hanlon.
  • Siobhán Bean an Phaoraigh.
  • Thomas Toal.
Motion declared carried.