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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 23 Nov 1938

Vol. 22 No. 3

Election of Leas-Chathaoirleach.

I ask for the adjournment of Motion No. 1 on the Order Paper. On last Wednesday, when we were leaving the Chamber, we were given to understand that the House was adjourned sine die. In that case, it was our intention to move in connection with this matter. Unfortunately, we were not able to do so since then. Otherwise, we should have had a motion on the paper this afternoon. In these circumstances, I ask the indulgence of the House so that our group may be convenienced and be in a position to put forward a candidate when the House next meets.

Who seconds the motion?

I second the motion.

Can a motion of that kind be moved without the consent of the House?

I asked for a seconder in order to get the matter put in order.

Can such a motion be moved, even with a seconder, without consent of the House?

I intend in due course to ascertain the feelings of the House with regard to the motion.

I should like to say a few words on this matter——

Is there any question at all before the House?

Senator Douglas may propose his motion, if he so desires. Then, we shall take the motion for the adjournment of the debate.

I move that Senator Michael Tierney be elected Leas-Chathaoirleach. I do not put forward his name on behalf of any Party or group. I have not consulted any Party or group with regard to the matter. I feel that he would be eminently suited for the position. He has had considerable Parliamentary experience. A large number of us know him, and are aware of his sterling character. He comes from Galway, and can be properly described as a son of the people. At the same time he represents the National University in this House, and there can be little doubt as to his qualifications to fill the position. He is so well known that it would be superfluous for me to say anything further.

I second the motion proposed by Senator Douglas, that Senator Tierney be elected Leas-Chathaoirleach of this House. I do so with conviction and with high confidence, because I feel assured that the members of this House will fully appraise the eminent qualifications of Senator Tierney for this position—a position of high honour and public responsibility. I feel it my plain duty to sponsor Senator Tierney here this afternoon as a university colleague, as a scholar, and as a man.

I was not aware until I came here to-day that the Labour Party intended to put forward a candidate. Now that Senator Lynch has put the matter in this way—

To get the matter in order, perhaps Senator Lynch would now propose his motion for the adjournment of the debate.

I formally move the adjournment of this motion.

I second that.

As I said, I was not aware until I came into the House just now that the Labour Party had any intention of putting down a motion. As a matter of fact, I thought that they had not any such intention. Now that Senator Lynch has moved his motion for an adjournment, I feel that his attitude is reasonable. Like Senator Lynch, I understood, when we adjourned last week, that we would not be meeting to-day, and that the next meeting of the Seanad would be on Wednesday next. That belief was confirmed by the letter sent out by the Chairman, and by the provisional Order Paper which every Senator received. Because of that, the Labour Party did not, I suppose, move in the matter of a candidate. It is only reasonable, when they have decided to put up a candidate, to give them an opportunity to do so. When we come to a decision then, there can be no further question on the matter.

The Labour Party had every opportunity of putting up a candidate on the same date on which Senator Baxter was put up, and they had plenty of time to consider the question. Moreover, if they really had any active wish in the matter, I think they had time even since we last met to take the same action that was taken in the case of Senator Tierney. I see no excuse for postponing the matter any further, because, in Senator Tierney, we seem to me to have an absolutely ideal candidate for the position. It would only be in the event of somebody manifestly unsuitable having been proposed for the position that we should have any reason for postponing the decision of this question.

I have a very high regard for Senator Tierney, but as I happened to be in the Chair when the Seanad adjourned last Wednesday, it is only fair to say that I gave the House the impression that we should not be meeting to-day. For that reason, I ask the House to agree to the motion that the matter be adjourned until this day week.

I got the same impression as other members from the statement of the Acting Chairman, but, when I received the notice referred to, I ascertained that the House would be meeting, and I took the required action —action which was open to others as well.

After the receipt of the provisional Order Paper, there was very little time to take action. Senator Douglas could, of course, act as an individual, but it would be difficult for a group to meet and decide in the time available. I think on the whole that I should support this motion for adjournment, because it would appear as if everybody had not got equal opportunities of considering this matter from Wednesday, when we adjourned indefinitely, until Friday, when your circular was received by us. I might perhaps correct myself by saying that some of us who were in the hall during that evening heard that there were some Bills coming forward for to-day, but that was not given to us officially. There was only a day given—until 11 o'clock on Saturday—to hand in nominations. I support the motion for adjournment so that we may not have any grievance whatever amongst Senators.

Where is the grievance if the motion is defeated?

I am opposed to the motion to adjourn this election to the next meeting. I think every Senator in this House has had ample opportunity to make up his mind as to the choice of a suitable Leas-Chathaoirleach. So far as Senator Lynch's motion is concerned, I feel, too, that he and his colleagues had an opportunity at their last meeting to make up their minds on this question but, instead of making up their minds on that occasion either for or against the motion before the House, so far as I can see from the division lists, they did not vote at all on the motion then before the House with regard to the proposed election of Senator Baxter. I feel that the time of the House has already been taken up sufficiently long with this question. Apparently a considerable amount of time is going to be devoted to it to-day. As far as I am concerned, I find it very easy to come to a decision on this matter. I approach this question from the point of view of whether the Senator proposed for the Vice-Chair has the essential qualifications for this position and I find that Senator Tierney possesses these qualifications in an eminent degree. He is a man in every way well qualified to fill the position. He is a member of a different Party from the Party which elected you, Sir, and he has a very competent knowledge, indeed, of the native language. I feel that if this application for a further adjournment were granted, a similar application might be made by any one of us at the next meeting if we were quick-witted enough to think of somebody else. The Senator who has been proposed satisfies all the conditions and possesses all the qualifications which, I feel, are necessary for the position of Leas-Chathaoirleach. If we, who voted against the proposed election of Senator Baxter on certain grounds, are to be consistent, I think we cannot vote against the election of Senator Tierney nor even consider any further adjournment of this matter. I feel, in fact, that in Senator Tierney we have an ideal candidate for the position. Like Senator Douglas, I do not want to go into details with regard to the qualifications he possesses, but he does in fact possess these qualifications to a very marked degree. So far as I am concerned, he possesses the two main qualifications, the absence of which in the case of Senator Baxter animated me in voting against him. For that reason, I think the House would be well served by electing Senator Tierney.

I should like to explain my position in this matter. On this day week I had to catch the 6.20 train to Cork. I consulted Senator Quirke and others and did my best to find out when the Seanad would meet again. I would not have gone home at all had I known that the Seanad was to meet to-day, but from such information as I was able to get—from clerks, Senators and everybody else—I gathered that there was no likelihood of the Seanad meeting before this day week. As far as I am concerned, this thing was more or less sprung on me and it looks to me as if somebody is trying to get away with something. I see no reason why we should not adjourn——

On a point of Order, I, as seconder of the motion to elect Senator Tierney wish to say that I am not trying to get away with anything.

We all can have our opinions. It is a fairly free country and I think that there is no reason in the world why we could not adjourn for a week, if we can get a better man for the job.

Why not?

Personally I have a very open mind on the matter. Our Party have decided already that we are not going to contest or to propose a candidate for this office. We are not looking for the job. If there is anybody else who wants to nominate a candidate for the Vice-Chair, I see no reason in the world why he should not get an opportunity. As far as I am personally concerned, at any rate, I would have waited over here and would have tried to ascertain the views of members of the Seanad as to who should be elected had I known that the election was to take place to-day. I, for one, did not get the opportunity because I was left under the impression that the Seanad was not to meet before November 30th. Senator Michael Hayes was present when we were discussing the next meeting and we came to the conclusion that there was no possibility of our meeting to-day. Like Senator Brennan, so long as a man possesses the qualifications for the office, I am perfectly satisfied and we as a group are not looking for the job.

I am puzzled as to whether many Senators in this House have yet to come to appreciate their responsibilities to this House and the responsibilities of this House to the State. You cannot raise people up who will refuse to be raised up. It is time now that we should have done with the sham and hypocrisy that we have had up to the present and come down to a basis of truth and justice, if this House is going to give any service to the State at all. If we are going to continue in this fashion, it were better that this House should go the way that the House in the recent history of the country went. There is a motion, and only one motion before us to-day—the election of Senator Tierney as Leas-Chathaoirleach. Senator Corkery who has just sat down has told us that this thing was sprung on the House.

On a point of order, I said it was sprung on me for one.

It is astonishing that you could spring anything on a Corkman. Now, a Chathaoirligh, I say it is time that we should come down to a basis of truth, at least each to the other. Let us think of the country outside once in a while. Let us think of the example of statesmanship and masterly diplomacy that is so sadly lacking here in the way we conduct ourselves. How very critical some of our Senators would be about local authorities, corporations or county councils, if they behaved in the fashion in which you are asking Senators to-day to behave? I am leaving what they did the last day out of the question but it is not very easy to forget. After the House adjourned the last evening, I was walking along a passage in the building. A Senator was in discussion with some one whom I did not know, not a Senator of my Party, as to what had happened in the House. I heard the stranger say: "I believe he had not Irish." The stranger did not see me and I do not think he would have known me, had he seen me. The reply was: "That was the excuse that was given in that case. Had it been somebody else, it would have been some other excuse."

Now, an adjournment of this matter is asked for to-day? Why? Because some Senators have not had time to make up their minds. Let us remember that when we adjourned after our first meeting after your election, a Chathaoirligh, the decision then was that the Leas-Chathaoirleach would be elected on the next day the House would meet. The nomination to elect Senator Baxter was in for three weeks before the last meeting last week. The qualification and the competence of the particular Senator were apparently very well known. Why was there not an alternative proposition in last week? There was an excuse then and there is another excuse to-day. We are all going to be made a laughing stock of because of a few people in this House who are always jockeying for position. It is time that we would have done with this farce. If there is going to be a division on this matter to-day let us be quite clear. Senator Tierney's capacity to fill the office has not been challenged to-day on the same grounds on which my capacity was challenged. His national record, apparently, is sufficient to withstand any attacks that can be made against him. His knowledge of the language is, I presume, equal to the responsibilities of the post. It may be that his knowledge of the classics gives him an understanding of life and the foundations of life, away in the days of Plato and Aristotle, and that that makes him unacceptable to some of the people on my right. We cannot help these things. There are the facts. I am afraid it is an argument in the minds of some Senators as to why Senator Tierney should not be elected Leas-Chathaoirleach. Well, if these be the reasons, perhaps Senator Tierney would be better out of the post, but I say, let us have truth, frankness and justice here. Let us be no longer content with this sham and hypocrisy and let those who want something which they are ashamed to reveal to the public, not try to make tools of all of us here, because we refuse to accept that attitude.

I assume that the motion before the House is that the debate be adjourned?

Yes, that is the motion.

Is dóigh liom go mba ceart dúinn bheith macánta agus direach ar an gceist seo. I think we ought to be honest here. One of the first statements made by Senator Douglas in proposing Senator Tierney was that he was not a member of any group or Party. I accept that statement from Senator Douglas, but I was in the old Seanad with Senator Douglas, and unquestionably Senator Douglas always voted and acted as if he was associated with a certain Party. The votes given by Senator Douglas are on record and can be looked up. I am in favour of the amendment, and I intend to vote for it, and I have no apology to offer to anybody for doing so. Senator Baxter made some reference to members of the House who were always jockeying for position. That was rather serious statement for a responsible Senator to make, and I do not know exactly what he means by it. The group with which I am associated has voting strength enough to elect a Leas-Chathaoirleach, if they so desire, but in the interests of fair play and open-handed dealing, they decided not to put forward a candidate. If the Labour Party, who, after all, are entitled to certain consideration, not alone in this House but in the country as a whole, did not move on the first occasion—and on this day week some of us expected that there would not be a meeting of the Seanad to-day—it is quite possible that they also felt that they would have sufficient time to nominate a candidate on or before next Friday.

Senator Brennan has made some remarks with which I do not agree, but we can agree to disagree. The Labour Party, in my opinion, have the right to nominate a candidate, if they so please. The Labour Party have practical experience of matters in this country, even though they may not be in Greece, and I feel that they have that right. It is quite possible that they may nominate a candidate possessed of abilities equal to those of any of the professors whose names are before us to-day.

There is only one professor named.

There are many professors here. Senator Hayes is himself a professor.

Is that a term of abuse?

I will say this clearly, that if Senator Hayes was before the Seanad to-day I should be much more inclined to vote for him because of his long association with the language movement, than for Senator Tierney, whose remarks and sarcasm this day week did not appeal to me.

Mr. Hayes

I am overwhelmed, Sir.

I do not see that there is anything wrong in adjourning this election until this day week. The people here who believe that Senator Tierney is the outstanding candidate they say he is will have the right to vote for him then; but also, those who may believe in whatever person the Labour Party may put forward will have the right to vote for him, too. I did not intend to give a silent vote, and I certainly intend to vote for the amendment.

Might I call your attention, Sir, to Standing Order No. 6, and question whether it would be in order for the House to accept a motion for the adjournment of this debate. It is provided in Standing Order No. 6:—

Immediately after the election of the Cathaoirleach, the Seanad shall fix a date for the election of the Deputy Chairman, who shall be designated and addressed as the Leas-Chathaoirleach...

I understood that we fixed the date as the next day the House was to sit.

And you did not elect a Vice-Chairman on the next day.

There was no date fixed.

For Senator Douglas's information, I will read what he said on the last day. He said:—

"Is it necessary to fix a date? Would it not be possible to move such a motion within, say, the next month? I do not know whether we shall be meeting next week or not. In those circumstances, would it be well to force us to have the election at a fixed date?"

Senator O'Donovan then said:—

"We do not know whether the House will be meeting next week or not. In my opinion, a motion can be tabled at any time, provided sufficient notice is given."

To this the Cathaoirleach replied:—

"Perhaps, in the circumstances, it would be better to leave the matter over. Are Senators agreeable to that course?"

That was agreed to. I am quite definite that I did not know the Labour Party had any notion of putting up a man until I came in to-day. My attitude in the matter——

I hope the Senator is not going to make another speech.

I am not. What I want to say is that there are genuine grounds, in my opinion, for people having a grievance. I told a number of the people with whom I am associated last week that we would not be meeting this week, and they went home. I am quite certain, however, that they would not have put up candidates, but other people have apparently met since that time and agreed to put up somebody. It would be much better that nobody should have a grievance in this matter.

On the last day we met we were treated to some very strange political manoeuvres, and the House listened at length and with the keenest attention to Senator Quirke and others making, I must say, a very eloquent case on behalf of the Irish language. I, personally, have no fault to find with the case they made, but I do think they made it under circumstances which did not justify their doing so at that particular time. I also noticed that most of the protagonists for a Gaelic revival were in the unhappy position of myself, that they had to make their case through the medium of English.

Not all.

Not all, I agree, but most of them. We have to-day been treated to another political somersault, and I can only describe the manoeuvres of the Labour Party and some of the members on the other side as being very much in the nature of those of the gentlemen on the flying trapeze. I think they have definitely set out to lower the dignity and national responsibility of this Chamber. I have no doubt that the Greeks had a word for this kind of thing. My classical education does not go so far as to enable me to say what that word is, but I have no doubt that Senator Tierney knows it. What I do know is that any schoolboy in any National School in the country has a word for it, and that word is "codology." All that Senator Quirke, and the other members who are so keen on a Gaelic revival, have been doing is holding the whole thing up to ridicule and contempt. I see no reason for the postponement of this motion. I think it is just a piece of political manoeuvring on the part of the Labour Party, who were sitting on their rights for three months and, as you, Sir, are aware, in legal parlance, you must not sit on your rights.

I think that nothing that I have heard since I came into this House has contributed more to the loss of dignity of the House than the violent speeches we have had on this matter. The words "jockeying" and "political intrigue" have been bandied about, and that beautiful word, which was not coined in Cork, "codology," has been used. We hear much about the dignity and prestige of the House, but when we hear such words from gentlemen of culture, whether their culture be obtained from the classics or from political life and public platforms, I think they do little to raise the dignity of the House. "Much ado about nothing," might describe the situation in classical language. The Labour Party merely appeal for time. There may be very grave reasons why the Labour Party did not nominate a candidate on the first occasion, and there may be very grave reasons why they were willing and anxious to nominate a candidate on the second occasion, if they got the opportunity of doing so.

Why not give us the reasons?

I could give those reasons, but perhaps it would not add to the prestige or dignity of the House, if I did so. I might be unpleasantly quoting things which I should be very slow to quote in the presence of ladies, not to mind members of the House. We feel keenly that we should get an opportunity of nominating a candidate, and we ask for time to do so. We are scattered through the country and we have not got our fingers on the pulse of things like Senator Douglas. I did not know until I came to the meeting to-day that the Labour Party was going to nominate a candidate. We have not the funds at our disposal to call meetings of our Party as the bigger Parties have, but although we are small, we expect to make ourselves heard and we expect the House to give us the opportunity we seek. I think it is very undignified of members to make an attack on other Parties and to accuse them of political jobbery, intrigue, "codology" and all that kind of vulgar behaviour, just because the Labour Party has asked for reasonable time to nominate a candidate.

This Seanad has now been talking for about 40 minutes. We started with a prayer: Direct we beseech Thee, O Lord, all our actions by Thy holy inspiration; but the atmosphere of the last day and of the last 40 minutes is completely at variance with the very policy and principles of Christian charity and co-operation amongst what have been termed the groups in the House. Without that spirit of kindliness and Christian charity and co-operation, we shall never bring this House to that due sense of responsibility and dignity which is expected by the citizens. We met here for a couple of hours a week ago. Will any man controvert me when I say that we were a by-word and a subject of criticism by every man as a result of our deliberations, consisting of bitternesses and political harangues, and the whole atmosphere that was created that day? It seems to me that this is the second act of a comic drama which is to be terminated a week hence. The whole thing would not reflect credit on the Knockbohane Board of Guardians, the members of which were known in their day for doing everything wrong and when called on to vote, were against everything.

While I might be allied with a political Party, I, as a unit, here sit in the House on a purely vocational basis. I was not sure that there was to be a meeting to-day. There was no clear indication given by the acting Chairman—at least, I did not hear it—but being in doubt about it and rather loath to undergo the inconvenience of travelling 150 miles, I made it my business, as a responsible unit of the House, to determine the issue for myself and I asked the Clerk if there would be a meeting of the Seanad to-day. He said: "Certainly; there are Bills coming down from the other House that must be dealt with." I do not know whether the Labour Party went away in doubt on the point or not, or if they took steps to determine if a meeting would be held. But suppose they did not, I ask you, Sir, are they perfectly within their rights in asking for a postponement to-day? That is for the House, I presume, to determine. I am not yet sufficiently cognisant of all the details of procedure to give an opinion.

The last day the issue hinged on the question of Senator Baxter's knowledge of Irish. I did not know then, and it was only during the discussion that it transpired, that the House was not satisfied that his standard of Irish was sufficient to meet the requirements of the Chair. Strange, I am not aware to-day whether Professor Tierney has all the essential requirements in Irish, although I am aware that he is the Professor of Greek in the National University. I am also aware of the very significant, unique and noble part that he has played in the battle and fight for Irish freedom, and in the building up of our country on national, economic and constructive lines. I know all these things, but who is going to satisfy us now? I do not know how you are going to decide it for those of us who do not know. If I were to act strictly by the dictates of my conscience, until the contrary was proved, I should vote in the Lobby against Senator Tierney being ignorant of what most of you think that he has—the essential qualifications in Irish.

I do not want to detain the House, but I do trust for the sake of the honour, the good name and the great things that are expected from the Seanad that we are not going to complete the third act of the drama by sending members of it back to be laughed at and sneered at throughout the country. I trust that will not happen. I thank the House for its kindness and forbearance towards me.

Senator Lynch will now conclude.

What is he to conclude on?

On the motion that the debate be adjourned.

Where in the Standing Orders is there anything to show that a Senator can move a motion of that kind?

There is a general precedent.

Are we to understand that there is a general precedent that when a motion is under discussion a Senator can rise and say: "I desire to move the adjournment of the debate." Will that always be accepted, and, if not, can there be special circumstances which makes it exceptional in a particular case. It is certainly not covered by the Standing Orders, and I suggest that it is a very extraordinary procedure.

Amend the Standing Orders then on that point.

Would it be in Order to-day, for example, to move, on the Second Stage of the Insurance Bill, that the debate be adjourned?

Especially after notice had been given that it was down on the Order Paper for discussion to-day.

My information is that there are several rulings on this, and I have given my ruling. It will be within the recollection of Senators who were members of the last Seanad that the debate on a motion in the name of Senator MacDermot was adjourned until the Taoiseach was able to attend.

That was by agreement.

Before Senator Lynch concludes, may I put this point? His speech will conclude the whole business, will it not?

That will depend on the action of the Seanad in regard to the motion.

Having heard Senator Quirke support the motion to adjourn the debate, I do not think there is any doubt about the result. Perhaps there is. At any rate the situation is quite a simple one. We adjourned last Wednesday evening at a particular moment in the belief that we would have no meeting this week. I think that Senator M. Byrne made that quite clear to-day, and made it clear from the Chair on the last occasion. But, for my own part, I discovered last Wednesday night that the Seanad would be meeting to-day, and I do not think it was beyond the capacity of Labour Senators who are resident in Dublin—some of them, at least—to discover that for themselves on the telephone. There are at least two of them who have a telephone at their elbow all day, and by ringing the Clerk of the Seanad at Leinster House or, by ringing up anyone at Leinster House, they could have discovered that the Seanad was to meet to-day. Senator Quirke and myself were aware on last Wednesday night that the Seanad was meeting to-day. Any Labour Senator who wanted to know whether the Seanad was going to meet to-day or not could have discovered it at any time on Thursday. In the exercise of your own functions you yourself took steps at the earliest moment, lest there should be any difficulty about it, to send out over your own name an excellently worded message to the effect that although Senators might be under some misapprehension, the Seanad would be meeting to-day, so that on Friday morning every Senator knew that. It seems to me that no objection can be taken to the statement sent out by the Chairman. We were all quite clear on Friday morning that the Seanad was going to meet to-day. If, therefore, any particular action was going to be taken it could have been taken.

The situation now is that a certain group here desire, with great virtue, to disclaim any intention of electing a member of their own group as Leas-Chathaoirleach, but they are very anxious at the same time to see that nobody will be elected to the Vice-Chair who is not a person, in fact, selected by them. They opposed Senator Baxter on a particular ground. They set up for him a standard which they did not set up for a member of their own Party on a previous occasion. We are told now that the motion before the House must be adjourned so that another Senator can be proposed from the Labour Party, a Senator presumably persona grata to the Government Party. Now, in this set of circumstances—that Senator Tierney might be elected to-day—presumably the predominant group in this House will accept any port in a storm to avoid the election of Senator Tierney, so that what this motion to adjourn the debate really means is that we are going to adjourn this debate in order that the Fianna Fáil Party and Labour Party combined will have an opportunity of voting next Wednesday for a candidate to beat Senator Tierney. That is the simple fact. One man, Senator Baxter, cannot be elected to the Vice-Chair because he was thought not to have sufficient Irish. Now Senator Tierney cannot be elected because he has too much English and too much Irish——

And too much Greek and Latin.

Yes; the excuse made is that there must be an adjournment so as to give time to consider the matter. It is difficult to believe that Labour Senators who have offices convenient could not have discovered on Thursday morning that there was going to be a meeting of the Seanad to-day and could not then have nominated a candidate if they wanted to do it, particularly in view of the fact that for three weeks Senator Baxter's name appeared on the Order Paper and no alternative motion had been put down. The pretence is made that the minority are to have the Vice-Chair, but the majority are going to see that the minority nominee for the Vice-Chair must be someone that they will accept—in other words, some person who, in their judgment, has not got sufficient character to stand up against them. That is the situation in which we find ourselves to-day. We had the extraordinary situation that before the motion was moved at all by Senator Douglas, another Senator got up to move that the motion be not taken at all. We are creating, it seems to me, a very peculiar precedent. I think that we should not adjourn the matter but go on with it. If certain people have an objection to putting Professor Tierney in the Vice-Chair they should have the courage and honesty to get up here and state their objections, and vote for their objections, instead of doing what they propose to do—voting on a sidewind for a motion to adjourn the debate.

My position is this, that I, like everybody else, am the custodian of my own conscience. On the previous occasion when Senator Baxter's name was put forward I voted against the motion, not on personal grounds as was stated and not on political grounds, but on the ground that Senator Baxter did not possess the requisite knowledge of Irish for the position.

Who knew that?

Another name is before us to-day, and although I do not happen to know the Senator personally, I am assured that he has the requisite knowledge of Irish to enable him to conduct the business of this Assembly in that language if required. Therefore, I cannot see any reason why I should oppose that motion. In fact, I intend to support it.

As the proposer of the motion on the Order Paper, may I be allowed to say this: that I do not think Senators ought to press the Motion for the Adjournment. I am stating the plain truth when I say it that immediately after the debate last week, and having listened carefully to the various remarks made, I went to Senator Tierney and asked him if he would consent to have his name proposed. He said he could not consent at once, but he agreed on Friday. I immediately handed in his name. The only other person, so far as I know, whose consent was obtained was Senator Barniville. I do not see why this matter of an appointment to the Vice-Chair should be made a Party one, in which Party groups have to be facilitated. We agreed on the acceptance of a suitable person, one more or less representing the majority, for the Chair. Let us co-operate with him and accept the decision loyally from all sides of the House. Why not do the same with regard to a suitable person for the Vice-Chair representing a very large number of people opposed to the Government. I urge on the House to have another debate next week, and if the name is not acceptable to vote against it.

When I asked for the adjournment of this motion I did not think that my request would call forth the bad temper which has been expressed in regard to this matter. Our group, because of the nature of the organisation that we have, is not able to move with the celerity with which Senator Douglas and Senator Barniville are capable of moving. They have nobody to consult but themselves. They may ring up one another, having telephones at their elbows, and say "will you move this and I will second it." That is not the position with us. Consequently, for the benefit of Senator MacDermot I want to say that we are endeavouring to move with all the celerity that we can. We have no desire to delay the procedure of this House, but, owing as I have said, to the peculiar nature of our organisation we cannot move with the rapidity that independents, or alleged independents, in this House are capable of moving. We have had the Standing Orders quoted and requoted for us, but those who have done so should recollect that motions intended for the Order Paper must be submitted four clear days before the House assembles.

On last Wednesday we understood that the House stood adjourned sine die. At 11 o'clock on Saturday no time was left to our Party or group to get the authority with which we are empowered here to-day. I trust that will be considered a sufficient explanation of our attitude. Out attitude is not concerned in the least with any political manoeuvring, nor is it associated in any way with the classical statement made by Senator Crosbie. With all the other implications of manoeuvring we have no interest. I do not propose to follow further on that line. I ask the indulgence of the House to adjourn the matter to enable us to do what we desire to do—what we could not do owing to the Standing Orders of this House and owing to what I may refer to as the misunderstanding which took place when the House adjourned on the last occasion.

As one of the oldest members of the House——

I am afraid, Senator, you are not in order, as Senator Lynch has concluded the debate.

On the Order point, as Senator Douglas and Senator Hayes have stated, it seems a very serious matter to set a precedent according to which it will apparently be possible to move that anything on the Order Paper can at any time be adjourned without previous notice. Rather than do that, if we must depart from what I understood to be the rules of order, would it be possible to allow the Labour Party to put forward their nominee to-day and waive the usual four days' notice for that motion? It seems to me that that would be less of a breach with the rules of order than what it is proposed to do.

That would be better.

Before putting the question, I should like to state briefly the considerations that influenced me in accepting Senator Lynch's motion for the adjournment of the debate until the next meeting of the Seanad. I accepted the motion because, by allowing it, it seemed to me I was keeping open the motion proposed by Senator Douglas. To refuse to accept the motion for the adjournment would put me in the position of asking the House to-day to take a decision as to Senator Tierney, and if that decision were adverse his name could not be again submitted. Consequently, from the point of view of the Chair, the better course to adopt appeared to be to allow the House itself to take a decision as to whether the matter should remain open until the next meeting of the Seanad.

Question put: " That the debate on Senator Douglas's motion be now adjourned."
The Seanad divided. Tá, 29; Níl, 21.

  • Byrne, Christopher M.
  • Campbell, Seán P.
  • Colbert, Michael.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Cummins, William.
  • Farnan, Robert P.
  • Goulding, Seán.
  • Hawkins, Frederick.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Healy, Denis D.
  • Hogan, Patrick.
  • Johnston, James.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kennedy, Margaret L.
  • Keohane, Patrick T.
  • Lynch, Eamon.
  • Lynch, Peter T.
  • McCabe, Dominick.
  • Mac Fhionnlaoich, Peadar (Cú Uladh).
  • Moore, Maurice G.
  • O'Donovan, Seán.
  • O'Dwyer, Martin.
  • Nic Phiarais, Maighréad M.
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David L.
  • Ruane, Thomas.
  • Stafford, Matthew.
  • Tunney, James.


  • Alton, Ernest H.
  • Barniville, Henry L.
  • Baxter, Patrick F.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Butler, John.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Counihan, John J.
  • Crosbie, James.
  • Delany, Thomas W.
  • Douglas, James G.
  • Doyle, Patrick.
  • Hayes, Michael.
  • Honan, Thomas V.
  • Johnston, Joseph.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • McEllin, Seán.
  • McGillycuddy of the Reeks, The.
  • Madden, David J.
  • Parkinson, James J.
  • Rowlette, Robert J.
Tellers:- Tá: Senators Eamon Lynch and Campbell; Níl: Senators Doyle and Crosbie.
Question declared carried.