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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 3 Aug 1932

Vol. 15 No. 30

Private Business. - Control of Manufactures Bill, 1932—Report Stage.


There are fourteen amendments to this Bill and a number of them, in the name of Senator Douglas, have already been discussed on the Committee Stage and have been tabled again for Report. I would like to say, as regards this particular Bill, that, on the Committee Stage, we had certain intimations from the Government that they would have amendments for the Report Stage to meet certain points of view. We have received no such amendments and I would like to tell the House that I have no power to accept any amendments now. We are, therefore, absolutely limited to the amendments on the Order Paper for to-day.

I think that the amendments which we were discussing on the Committee Stage, and which we intimated that we would be prepared to consider, are, in the main, covered either by those already passed by the House and which will go forward to the Dáil or those that are at present down for Report Stage. That is the position as I understand it.

That means, I think, that where a subject is dealt with, a substitute amendment, if suggested by the Minister and agreed to, could be introduced?


No. A substitute amendment will not be in order. I am specifically bound by the Standing Orders and the Standing Orders give me no power to accept amendments at short notice on Report Stage. That is the position. The only way we could deal with it, if there is a desire on the part of the House to consider new amendments that may arise, would be to adjourn the Report Stage until Friday and that notice be given of these new amendments. They could then be considered on Friday morning. There is no other course open to me.

Might I suggest that, at the end of the Standing Orders, there is a provision that, with your permission and the unanimous consent of the House, Standing Orders may be suspended to enable a certain thing to be done?

Might I further explain that, in respect of such amendments as are embodied in to-day's Clár, and as are being accepted it is only a matter of minor adjustments? We were not in a position to have the amendments ready any earlier because we only got the amendments on to-day's sheet yesterday. In view of the fact that these amendments had to be received and considered by us, with a view to seeing how we could meet them, there was no opportunity for us to do anything further.


I agree that that is perfectly right but I am considering the position of the House and of the Chair. I have power under the Standing Order suggested by Senator Douglas, in a case of necessity, but nobody could maintain that there is necessity for doing certain things to-day, which are in contravention to Standing Orders, when we have an opportunity of meeting the position on Friday.

Without questioning you, in any sense, might I suggest that the only ground of necessity is the position of the staff? So far as I am concerned, Friday will suit me equally well, but I am most anxious that it should not lead to a postponement of the holidays of the staff any longer than we can help. That is the only ground.


I quite agree that the staff should be given proper consideration, but I cannot rule that it is a necessity. I would like, above all things, not to be here on Friday. I do not desire to be here but from what Senator Connolly says, if these amendments embody all he says, why not accept them and let there be an end to it?

I propose, when we reach these amendments, to suggest alternatives to the proposers, covering the same points already covered by the amendments. In some cases there is a difference in draftsmanship, which, as I say, we could not possibly face up to until we had the definite amendments before us yesterday. I suggest, with all respect, and if it is agreeable to you, sir, that when we reach these amendments, we could possibly see how little difference or otherwise might be in them, and decide whether they are in keeping with the amendments on the Clár. I submit, with all respect, that that might be one way out.

I think that possibly this might go through, as Senator Douglas has suggested, by suspending Standing Orders. Practically anything can be done by suspending Standing Orders for the purpose.


I hope the House accepts my position, but I have no option. I get specific power in Committee Stage but that power is specifically withdrawn on Report Stage. That was designed so that, as this is the last opportunity of the House of dealing with a Bill, nothing should be rushed on Report Stage to prevent discussion. I think Senator Douglas remembers that it was specifically designed with that object. Therefore, all I can say is this, that, if there is a minor adjustment to be made, and Senator Connolly agrees, those amendments could be suggested in the Dáil and adopted there.

That is what I was going to suggest.


If Senator Connolly agrees, they could be considered and adopted in the Dáil. That is the only course I can see, or, alternatively, to meet on Friday.

I submit that, in effect, that would be the same. If we can agree to the amended form suggested here of the amendments already down, and if they are satisfactory to Senator Douglas, in whose name these amendments are down, it seems to me that it would be one way of doing it.

Do I take it that we would have to insert these with the understanding that they would come back to us with the suggested alterations? What I am afraid of is this, that if I withdraw these, it will be found that, according to the rules of the House, when the Bill goes back, the Dáil can only consider amendments made by us.


They would come back with the suggested alterations, as you say.

There are two amendments here which I withdrew definitely, having agreed with the Minister on the substance of the change and in order to obtain the wording. If we put this in and send it to the Dáil, it will put the House in rather a peculiar position, and if we do not do so—I am not questioning at all the good faith of the Minister—but, with the best intentions in the world he might find himself unable, according to the rules of the House, to insert the amendments he had accepted.


I have given my ruling on the matter and I cannot take fresh amendments. I think that if they were only minor adjustments the Dáil could accept them and return them to us. We could deal with them when they came here.

Would it be in order for you, Sir, to accept alterations made in the debate now in Senator Douglas's amendments?


I am afraid not. They would be new amendments.

Even if they were agreed to by the whole House?


I am afraid so. I am very sorry. I would like to point out to the House the specific difference between the two stages. Standing Order 80 says "...When a Bill is to be considered in Committee, proposed amendments shall be notified before 4 p.m. on the second preceding day and shall be arranged in proper order; provided that in the discretion of the Chair amendments may be moved without notice." That is the Committee Stage. Standing Order 91 says: "When a Bill is to be considered on Report, proposed amendments shall be notified before 4 p.m. on the second preceding day and shall be arranged in proper order." There is thus a deliberate withdrawal of the power in the Chair to accept amendments without notice on the Report Stage.

I do not want to raise too many points but it is quite obvious that at the end of this stage, we shall have to adjourn it until Friday, under your ruling, because we cannot deal with the matters that are here. Is there then any use in going on with it? I am quite ready to go on.


I think it would be better to wait until Friday morning.

I want to be clear about this. I am assured by the draftsman that such amendments as we definitely agreed to on Committee Stage are embodied in these amendments that are accepted as inserted in Committee. The others that were left over, I suppose, are embodied in the amendments put up by Senator Douglas to-day.


Can you accept these?

There are some we can accept and others we can accept in an amended form. I am at a loss to understand how anything can be charged against us in the matter of neglect of any of the things that were put up on Committee Stage. There are amendments here numbering twenty-one. A number of these were agreed to on Committee Stage and others were left over for Report, I assuming that these would be embodied with those coming from Senator Douglas for Report Stage. I am prepared to indicate our view on these and to accept certain amendments but the terms and draftsmanship will have to be slightly changed.

Might I suggest a way out?


I would be very glad if you would.

I have not got the Standing Orders in front of me, but I think it provides that, at any time, during Report Stage, the whole Bill may be referred back to Committee. If we refer this Bill to Committee, you will be able to use your discretion with regard to the amendments and we can take the Report Stage afterwards.


But not to-day.

If it is referred back—


We would still have to meet on Friday.

We can get over the difficulty to-day, at any rate. I think I am correct in stating that at any time during Report Stage the House can refer a Bill back to Committee.


That is so.

And that would get us out of the difficulty so far as to-day is concerned.


But we would still have to meet on Friday. I think it would be better, on the whole, to adjourn the Report Stage until 11.30 on Friday morning. Would that meet with the approval of the House?

Would it not be in order to meet to-morrow for the purpose of taking the Report Stage? It would only take a few minutes, I think.


To-morrow is not a very suitable day, I think.

Have we power to suspend Standing Orders?


I am afraid not in this particular instance.

Is there no power?


I do not think so.

May I ask why to-morrow would not be suitable? It is extremely inconvenient for members from the country to have to come up on the following day.

If we could find a way out it would be convenient not only for ourselves and for the Dáil but for the officials. The Dáil is meeting to-morrow, and it was felt that if the Report Stage of this Bill were finished to-day, they could have such amendments as were made before them to-morrow, and have them dealt with. If by any means, such as the suspension of Standing Orders, we could get the Bill through the Report Stage, and get through the rest of the work it would facilitate all concerned.

If we could recommit this Bill all these questions could be considered.


I will take that motion.

I move that the Bill be recommitted.

I second.

Question put and agreed to.