Local Government (Dublin) Bill, 1945—Committee and Final Stages.

Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.
SECTION 3.

I move amendment No. 1:—

In sub-section (4), page 2, after the word "number" in line 42 to insert the words "but not exceeding ten".

The purpose of the section is to enable the Minister, by order, to divide the City of Dublin into electoral areas, and he is required in sub-section (4) to divide the city into not fewer than five electoral areas. The purpose of the amendment is to fix the number at not exceeding ten, thus giving the Minister power to fix any number between five and ten that seems to him to be proper. It occurred to me that a serious assault, if I might call it so, could be made on the system of proportional representation if the City of Dublin were to be divided into a greater number of electoral areas. I do not know what the Minister considers is a desirable size for an electoral area in relation to numbers, but it appears to me that if there are 45 members of a municipal council the number of divisions should not be more than, say, nine—each division returning approximately five members. It seems to me that that is the most equitable and sensible way of maintaining the principle of proportional representation in regard to local bodies. Perhaps the Minister will have no objection to accepting the number of ten which is proposed here, in view of the fact that at the moment the number of electoral areas in the city is five.

I think, Sir, that this amendment is entirely unnecessary. The section, as drafted, provides that every Order made under the section shall he on the Table of the House for seven sitting days after the Order is made. That should give the members of the House ample opportunity of satisfying themselves that the Minister has not tried to nullify the provisions of the Constitution relating to the principle of proportional representation. Apart from that, my objection to the amendment is that this would mean tying up our hands in exactly the same way as was done by the Act of 1930.

That Act provided that the city should be divided into five divisions for the purposes of municipal elections. That, after a very long period of trial, has been shown to be a very inconvenient and, I think, a quite unnecessary restriction and one which has served no useful purpose, but one which, on the contrary, has created, on occasions, embarrassment. I, therefore, ask the Seanad not to accept this amendment because I do not think that the necessity for it has been proved, and I certainly would say that, having regard to the provisions of the Constitution in relation to proportional representation, it would be, if not inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution, at any rate, not quite consistent with its letter. There is a constitutional provision that electoral constituencies shall not have less than three members. I think that the Seanad should be satisfied with that limitation and that what restriction is good enough for the First House of the Legislature should be good enough for the corporation.

On that point, might I point out that three-member constituencies would involve dividing Dublin City into 15 constituencies? If the Minister were to bring a scheme before both Houses of the Oireachtas shortly before an election providing for 15 constituencies, each electing three members, this House might take the view that it was an unreasonable arrangement, defeating to some extent the basic principles of proportional representation and might consider that the scheme should not be ratified or, in other words, that the proposal should be annulled. That might be a proper thing to do in certain circumstances, but if the Minister were to come here and say: "Well, the election is due, and arrangements must be made rapidly to enable candidates and Parties to know where they stand in relation to the selection of candidates and the preparation of the machinery to contest elections", we might be asked, having regard to these considerations, to forgo the right of annulling his regulations. I think if this amendment were inserted, giving the Minister a wide discretion and allowing him to subdivide the city into not more than ten areas, it would be an indication to him that the House desires that he should not reduce the areas to three-member constituencies. I think the Minister will agree that proportional representation does not and cannot serve its true purpose of giving representation to substantial minorities, if there are three member constituencies for the corporation or for Dáil Eireann elections. I am quite sure that, being as familiar as any of us with the theories of proportional representation, the Minister knows quite well that the principle of securing, through proportional representation, representation in a municipal or legislative body for a substantial minority cannot be achieved if there are three member constituencies.

Let me relieve the Senator's mind of any fear he may have that I propose to divide, if I am given the power, the electoral area of the Dublin Corporation into 15 electoral divisions. That is not, in my mind, and it is not my intention. Therefore, so far as the present Minister is concerned, I think the safeguard, as he would like to describe it, is unnecessary. He has based his argument for this amendment on the ground that in future this House would probably take the view that the representation to be allotted to any electoral division in the city should not be less than say five, and that if the Minister were to divide the city into 15 electoral areas, this House would not have the opportunity in certain circumstances of expressing its opinion upon that matter. I am not accepting the Senator's view that they would not. He suggests that there is a possibility that in certain circumstances this House might not be able to express its view in that regard, and that, even though the House felt it was undesirable that the representation for an electoral division should be reduced to three members, nevertheless it would have to acquiesce in what would be afait accompli. The Senator forgets that, although this House might have a certain view in that regard, the other House is equally entitled to its view. Not merely that, but whatever might be the views of the present Seanad, a subsequent Seanad, the successors to this body, would have the right to express its views also. Similarly, the successors to the Dáil would have the right to have their views and to give effect to them. What the Senator proposes to do here is going to fetter not merely the hands of the Minister, but also the hands of the other House of the Oireachtas and the hands of the successors of both Houses of the Oireachtas. I think that the Senator errs from an excess of caution. After all, we are not entitled to fetter unduly either the complementary house of the Oireachtas or to fetter unduly those who will succeed us.

Surely, those who will succeed us will have an equal right to amend legislation?

I was going to refer to that.

I am sorry for anticipating the Minister.

We have listened here to a debate for over three hours on another Bill, the greater part of which arose entirely from the fact that most of those who were advocating the retention of Senator Douglas's amendment have had no practical experience in the art of government or administration. They do not know what is involved in the preparation of legislation. They do not know how much the preparation of legislation absorbs the time, not merely of the officers of a Department of State, not merely of the draftsman's office but of the Minister concerned and of the Government as a whole. Therefore it is not a simple matter any time to introduce legislation. We know that my Parliamentary Secretary has had to devote at least three days of his time to that Bill here, and that sitting beside him was the principal officer of the section of my Department which has to deal with electoral and franchise matters, obliged to listen to speeches of inexperienced Senators in relation to this matter. My suggestion is to leave the hands of the other House free, to leave the hands of the present Seanad free and to leave the hands and the judgment of those who will come after us free, because every time legislation has to be introduced to amend an existing statute it involves a great deal of administrative dislocation. The Seanad is supposed to be a businesslike body and I am suggesting that, in this matter, they should behave in a businesslike way and leave the matter open.

I suggest that the Minister has not met the point I put to him in the manner in which he is capable of meeting it. He knows as well as I do that anything we do here will not tie the hands of Dáil Eireann. If this amendment is inserted by this House, and Dáil Eireann takes the view that the Minister has expressed here, it will refuse to accept the amendment and refuse to tie his hands, if that is the purpose of the amendment. At the same time, we have a job to do and that job is to express our view, such as it is, on all legislation passing through this House.

If the House takes the view that it ought to indicate to the Minister that it is undesirable to have more than ten electoral areas in Dublin, we think we ought to say that, leaving it to his successors to change the law if they think fit. The Minister himself gave me the clue to the suggestion of the 15 members by mentioning the fact that what is good enough for the local areas ought to be good enough for the Dublin Corporation, and adverted to the fact that the Dáil has five constituencies in Dublin. From that, I took it that three-member constituencies are sacrosanct, and I feel they are not. I appeal to his own judgment that they are not, if we desire to give effect, in true fashion, to the principles of proportional representation.

In regard to the expression "tying our hands" there is no such tying suggested here. There are already five constituencies, five electoral areas in Dublin City. I am suggesting the Minister should not create more than ten. There is not much tying in that if there is no objection to the amendment.

I am going now to enter on a province which is more particularly the province of members of the Seanad than of members of the Dáil. I would suggest that the Seanad, having regard to its constitution, should not make amendments to Bills which are likely to be rejected by the Dáil, and that means they should not make an amendment in a Bill which comes from the Dáil unless there is an incontrovertible case for it. Because, what happens? The Seanad may say "This is our right; it does not matter what the representatives of the Government may say, or the representatives of the Dáil may say, we are going to carry through this amendment because it pleases us". That amendment goes back to the Dáil and is rejected by the Dáil.

Does that redound to the prestige of the Seanad, or enhance its reputation? I would rather take the other line, and say to myself: if a sufficient case is made to justify a proposal which comes from the Dáil and, therefore, represents the opinion of the Dáil in relation to any legislative matter, then, even though I might like it otherwise, even though I might think it better if it were otherwise, unless I can prove it to be a matter of principle, I will not press my colleagues to carry an amendment which will, almost inevitably, be rejected by the Dáil, because, if I do that, I am not going to enhance the prestige of the Seanad, and I am not going to secure for the views which it expresses the amount of consideration which, perhaps, it would be entitled to.

I mentioned that because I note that Senator Duffy seems to take the other line, which is that if a proposal which has been fully considered in the Dáil comes along here, then notwithstanding any argument that may be used against the view which he puts forward, he inevitably tries to get all his colleagues into the same boat as himself. The constitutional relationship between the Seanad and the Dáil has been designed to ensure that there will not be any conflict between the two Houses in which the Dáil will come off the worse. Therefore, I think it would be much better if the Seanad would try rather to influence, if it can, the representative of the Dáil when he comes here, to change his views, by a rather different line of approach than that which was adopted in regard to the Bill just disposed of.

I want to say this: I feel, having regard to what is the position under the Act of 1941, in relation to the country as a whole, that having regard to the inconveniences and embarrassments which the Act of 1930 has occasioned, not to the Minister for Local Government so much as to the citizens of Dublin in regard to the present electoral areas, it would be unwise to fetter the judgment and to tie the hands of any Minister in relation to a matter of this sort. We have ample provision in sub-section (7) of Section 3 of the Bill for the discussion of any Order which the Minister may make in both Houses.

That discussion will, as I have indicated, take place in both Houses, and in relation to a precise proposition, the Seanad would have full opportunities of addressing itself to the considerations which are put forward in support of it. If, for instance, I make, as I hope to do, the first Order under this Bill when it becomes law, and instead of providing for nine electoral divisions, as the Seanad would think desirable, I provide for 15, well, the Seanad would have an opportunity of discussing the matter. I undertake that they will have the opportunity of discussing it in due time, and well before there is a possibility of an election taking place under this Bill, but the Seanad will then be discussing a precise proposition, something in black and white, and Senators will know whether it is wise for the Seanad to annul the Order and overrule the Minister.

In relation to Section 7, the position of the Seanad is very different from what it is in relation to the amendment of this Bill, because, under Section 7, if the Seanad annuls the Order, then its decision in that regard becomes effective, and there is no possibility that its decision will be overruled by the other House of the Oireachtas. I suggest, therefore, in all the circumstances, that it would, from the point of view of the Seanad, be a much more desirable procedure, and much more effective, to let the section go as it stands, and reserve its fire until the Order is actually tabled and before it.

I do not attach much importance to the amendment, but I do place considerable importance on the reasons given as to why it should be rejected. The principal reason given by the Minister is that it will not be accepted by the Dáil, and that it is contrary to the dignity of this House to pass amendments which it thinks may not be accepted. The Minister further gives the reason that the constitutional position was so devised that there cannot be a dispute between the two Houses in which the Dáil would not come off best.

I doubt very much, with great respect to him, if he has the right to tell us in this House what our duties are, and with his arguments I profoundly disagree. If he reads the Constitution he will find it provides for the circumstances in which the two Houses disagree, and its limitation on the powers of delay of this House, clearly envisage—although I will not say it is to be desired—occasions on which there would be disagreement. How are we to know what is likely to be accepted in the Dáil? So far as I can recollect, we have inserted only one amendment in the past few months contrary to the wishes of the Minister in charge of the Bill, and the Dáil accepted it when it got to that House. How are we possibly, with any kind of dignity, to go on the principle that because a particular Minister, on the spur of the moment, is opposed to an amendment, that on further consideration the Government, or the Dáil, apart from the Government, will not accept it? If we were to adopt that principle, we would, to my mind, be stultifying ourselves, and if that were the principal reason, I would be tempted to vote for it, if only to assert that position.

We cannot possibly tell. We may take the Minister's view, a cynical and absurd view, that because a certain Party has a majority in the Dáil, nothing on earth could ever prevent that Party from disintegrating, that nothing could prevent a few of its members from acting contrary to the instructions of the Whips. We have nothing, as a chamber, to cause us to assume anything of the kind. Our function, to my mind, is to propose amendments here, and to ask for the consideration of them. If the Dáil rejects those amendments, it is not then a matter for us to decide whether they become law or not—we have no say in that. All we can do is to decide whether we should delay the proposals for a few months longer. In 99 cases out of 100, I would say that there was no object in so doing, but we should not allow the remarks of the Minister to pass as if we accepted them, that we should consider, before we pass an amendment or not, whether it is going to be accepted in the Dáil or not, whether the Minister in charge of the Bill accepts it or not. If the Minister considers it, he will see that we could not at all adopt the principle that we know what is going to happen in the other House. Actually, it is difficult enough to know what is happening in this House, and it is not always easy to see what is going to happen. If we are to know what is going to happen in the other House, it would be suggesting that we have second sight. None of us has that.

I can only hope that the Minister, on reflection, will realise that he gave us these views rather in the heat of debate. He has read us a lecture in the most unwarranted terms. In this House we are responsible for dealing with matters independently, matters of judgment, and we cannot for a moment be concerned with what may happen if the other House does not accept our amendments. The suggestion is that we should abstain from certain courses of action lest our prestige should suffer in the eyes of some people in the other House. We are the judges of our own prestige, and not the Minister. I hope that the Minister has spoken without consideration, and that he will realise on reflection that he has no right whatever to read us the lecture he did.

In view of the statement of the Minister, that he would not recommend the other House to accept this amendment, and judging by his statement that he knows in advance what the other House will do, I will, with the leave of the House, withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
SECTION 3.

I move amendment No. 2:—

In sub-section (5), page 3, in lines 1 and 2, to delete the words "and rateable valuations".

I do not know the attitude of the Minister towards this amendment. There is a provision in the Bill to which he has already adverted, sub-section (8) of Section 3, which provides that Orders made by the Minister prescribing electoral areas in Dublin City will be tabled in both Houses, and are capable of being annulled by the decision of either House. It should be noted in this case that there is a period of seven days given in which to table the Order, seven Parliamentary days to table a motion for annulment. I can well appreciate——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Is the Senator speaking to amendment No. 2?

I beg your pardon; that is amendment No. 3. Sub-section (5) has to do with the manner in which the members to be elected in each electoral area will be determined. Under the sub-section, in assigning the number of members to be elected, the Minister is required to have regard to two things—the population of the area and its rateable valuation. Now, the latter provision is new, so far as the legislation of this country is concerned. So far as I know, there is no provision in any other Act which imposes upon the Minister an obligation to have regard, in determining the number of persons to be elected, to the rateable valuation of the area concerned. If that were so generally, it would create a very extraordinary situation. It may, and would mean, in relation to Parliamentary elections, for instance, that 30,000 people in Meath would elect a greater number of representatives than 60,000 or 70,000 people in Mayo.

That is quite contrary to the whole conception of our legislation in the past 25 years. I think the Minister, on reflection, will agree that in this small Bill relating only to the City of Dublin, he is interjecting a new principle which will have repercussions. It will not end here. If there is an amendment of the law generally it is bound to influence, if not the present Minister, some future Minister in relation to the representation of the people, not only in local authorities but also in Dáil Eireann. I think the Minister ought to reconsider this matter very seriously.

When his predecessor, the present Minister for Finance, became responsible for the Department of Local Government, one of his very early proposals was incorporated in a Bill to abolish the commercial register which had been set up by the previous Government for the specific purpose of giving representation to property in the corporation, as distinct from people. The Government of the day had almost universal support for their proposal to abolish the commercial register.

What is being done in this Bill is to introduce, in a rather slick manner, the principle of the commercial register. The Minister, of course, will tell us that he is not going to be overawed in the division of the electoral areas or in the appointment of the number of people to be elected by the influence of property considerations, but I assume the provision in the Bill must have some meaning, when the Minister provides that he shall have regard to the rateable valuation of each area, and that it is intended to impose on him an obligation to have regard to the rateable valuation of the area in determining the number of persons to be elected in respect of such area. I do not know whether the House would approve of that proposal.

It will be argued, of course, that the Dáil has already approved of it. I do not know if the matter was raised, or if there was a vote on it, how the different elements of the House would regard the decision, but I want, so far as I am personally concerned, to be placed on record as definitely and emphatically opposed to the principle set out in this sub-section (5).

This proviso, that the Minister must have regard not only to the populations but to the rateable valuations of the several electoral divisions areas, has been put in to give the Minister, so to speak, some slight freedom of action. If it was felt that if the Minister were confined to the one consideration in determining the electoral division, he might not be able to make a broad and simple division of the citizens, and therefore some other variant was looked for that would give some freedom of action. The difficulty was to find additional factors to which he might have regard. We know the population of the electoral areas because they happen to be based on the census.

Outside that there was nothing else we could see, except rateable valuation, that would enable the Minister by taking more than one factor into consideration to make such adjustments as between one area and another so as to give a pretty simple division. Another factor remains. How are we going to deal with this outlier which is attached to the City of Dublin in the form of Howth district? I think it would be convenient if this second proviso were not in the Bill. I will put it no further. If the Seanad feels very strongly in the other direction, and I have no indication that it does, I am not prepared to press the matter, but I think that it would make for administrative convenience if this second factor were left there.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Is the amendment being pressed?

No Sir, if I am on record as being definitely opposed to this proposal.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 3:—

To delete sub-section (8) and substitute the following sub-section:—

(8) An Order made under this section shall not have effect unless or until it has been laid before each House of the Oireachtas and has been approved by resolution of each such House.

This is the amendment to which I referred a moment ago, It will be observed that in sub-section (8) which is a new section introduced into the Bill on the Committee Stage, the Minister undertakes to lay on the Table of both Houses every Order prescribing electoral areas and determining the number of persons to be elected in respect of each area. Provision is made for the annulment by resolution of either House of any such Order made by the Minister. The motion to annul the Order must be made in seven days. The usual practice has been that there shall be 21 Parliamentary days in which to make a proposal of that kind.

In a later provision in sub-section (7) of Section 5, 21 days are allowed for a consideration of a motion to annul other Orders. I am not going to complain about the limitation of seven days here. I can well understand, particularly in respect of the first of these matters, that there may be little time and it would be unreasonable to hold an Order in a state of suspended animation for 21 Parliamentary days which in certain circumstances might represent two or three months. Twenty-one sitting days might be spread out to cover two, three or four months. If such an Order were tabled in June it is possible that nothing might be done until the following November.

I am going to suggest, however, that a much better plan to ensure that the Minister would bring his Order before the House would be that he should put down a motion for its ratification. He can do that the moment the Order is made. I think it is accepted in this House that Government business gets precedence. I do not know if there is any rule to that effect, but I recognise that it is the practice in this House to give priority to the claims of Government business. In the other House the Government orders the business. Therefore, there might be considerable difficulty in getting consideration for a motion moved by a member of this House for annulment of an Order. It does not put the Minister in any worse position. After having made his Order and having got it tabled he can immediately put down a motion in the name of the Government or the Leader of the Government side of the House for its ratification. I think that this provision will be found actually in some of the earlier legislation. I think it is in the 1925 Acts. I may say that this amendment is actually taken from one of the Local Government Acts. As there is such a tendency to rely on the sanctity of legislation piloted by the previous Government I assure the Minister that it was taken from one of the Acts piloted by the previous Government.

I think that if the Minister looks at the section dealing with the incorporation of Howth in the city he will find that the procedure there was that the matter would be dealt with in the manner provided in the amendment, that is that the Order will have no effect unless it is approved by resolution in each House. He will find that that has been the procedure. I will at least certify that the actual amendment is copied out of one of the Local Government Acts of the previous Government.

I would ask the Seanad not to accept this amendment. It would, I think, put matters into a quite unnecessary state of instability and suspense. Notwithstanding what the Senator has said, a provision of this sort is not to be found in the 1930 Acts. In the 1930 Acts, as I explained when the matter was last before the House, the Minister had absolute power in the making of an Order. Under the 1941 Act, which applies to the rest of the country, the Minister is in the same position. The sub-section in the Act is an amendment of the original section which I accepted in the Dáil in order to give both Houses an opportunity of discussing the Minister's Orders. My objection to the proposal here is that it practically amounts to a veto on the action of the Minister because the Order which the Minister makes would not be effective until adopted by both Houses. I think that is going too far. I think that after all there must be in these matters some degree of trust. I am not pressing that very far, I am merely saying that as a matter of administrative convenience there ought to be that trust. If the Minister makes an Order which either House desires to annul, I think that from the point of view of the Minister it does not matter very much whether the election had been held or not, because his position will be the same and he is not likely to make an Order which would be unfair and improper having regard to the fact that if he does make an Order which is unfair he will have to run the gauntlet.

The amendment should not be pressed; it would mean this, that if next month I should make an Order, and if I did not get an opportunity of moving the resolution in the crowded state of the business in the Dáil, the Order would not become effective and, so far as the forthcoming municipal elections are concerned, the changes which everybody thinks desirable and which the Dublin Corporation have requested me to make would not be made. In these circumstances I think it is really unnecessary to take the precaution which the Senator suggests.

The Minister is under a misapprehension if he thinks that there is any absence of confidence on my part. That was not my intention and there is nothing in the amendment to suggest it. On the contrary, if the Minister makes an Order, it is open to either House to annul the Order within seven days on which the House is sitting. Let us assume he makes the Order and tables it on next Friday and this House rises on Monday, the Minister will be doing a number of things under that Order, and it is open to anybody to put down a motion to annul the Order. Probably, in the interval, it may take six, seven or eight weeks before that motion comes up for consideration. If it is carried in this House irrespective of anything done in the Dáil the Minister's Order is annulled. His previous actions will not be prejudiced, no doubt, but his future activities under the Order are brought to a standstill. If the Minister makes an Order and desires to get speedy ratification he would have a motion put down confirming the Order. In this House Government business gets precedence over any private business. In the Dáil the Government has the ordering of the business and the motion can be taken as first business next day. Instead of showing lack of trust and causing inconvenience I had in mind that we were proposing something that would expedite the ratification of the Order so that the business proposed in the Order would not be held up and the Minister would get on with his job. If the Minister says that he does not wish that, I do not want to press him.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 agreed to.
SECTION 10.

I move amendment No. 4 as follows:—

4. Before Section 10 to insert the following new section:—

10. As and from the passing of this Act, Section 70 of the Local Government Act, 1925, shall in the application of that section in the City and County of Dublin have effect as if the words "or within twelve months after he has ceased to be" now contained in sub-section (1) of the said section were deleted.

This is a proposal to amend to a very limited extent the provisions of Section 70 of the Local Government Act of 1925. Section 70 of that Act provides that no person shall hold any office of profit or be employed for remuneration by or under any local authority from and after the holding of the election or appointment of members to such local authority held next after the passing of this Act while he is, and 12 months after he ceases to be, a member of such local authority. No doubt that section applies to the country as a whole, but for practical purposes its application is almost exclusively in Dublin City and County. A number of instances have arisen in which members of local authorities have resigned and ceased to hold office, and subsequently became candidates for appointment to local authorities of which they had been members. They were debarred by Section 70. I can understand the inclusion of this provision concerning 12 months after they ceased to be members in the year 1925 when the local authorities had wide powers in regard to the making of appointments and in regard to the giving of contracts and in a number of matters in which certain precautions had to be observed. But once you have provisions which now operate in regard to city managers and county managers who have complete power to make appointments and enter into contracts it seems unreasonable to retain Section 70 at all.

I do not wish to raise the case of any special individual, but it will be within the knowledge of some members of this House that a certain gentleman who was a member of the Oireachtas and a member of a county council ceased his membership of these bodies and simultaneously applied for the very menial post of doorkeeper in a county council office. He was appointed to the post, but it was discovered he could not hold office for 12 months. The Order was got over in the way these Orders are got over by the ingenuity of some official who found some means of keeping him in the service until the 12 months had passed, and the door keeper became an established officer. I think it is a bad system to seize upon that kind of principle, especially when all these functions which have hitherto belonged to the councils have been transferred to officials like county managers and city managers. The only kind of position that normally would arise is something like one of a doorkeeper. In Dublin it may be a teacher, say, under the vocational committee or the agricultural committee. These committees may desire to appoint somebody who has held office, and it may not be an important post. As a rule they are part-time positions. I think one member of the Dublin City Council was debarred from holding a post bringing in something like 30/- a week. I do not think the Minister desires to retain this position. I think he will realise that the consideration which suggested the inclusion of Section 70 no longer obtains. It is really the sensible thing, since we are amending the law in regard to local authorities in Dublin, that we should amend it to get rid of this provision which in at least two cases to my knowledge has caused considerable hardship.

I am in rather a difficulty about this amendment. I am prepared to consider the principle of it. I do not say at this stage that I am prepared to accept it. Unfortunately, the present Bill relates to Dublin only, and Section 70, which the Senator proposes to amend, applies to the country as a whole. I propose to bring in a Bill to amend the Local Government Act, 1941, and I undertake, in connection with that Bill, to consider the feasibility of amending, if not repealing, Section 70. I do not undertake to do that, but when the Bill comes before the House Senator Duffy will have an opportunity of pressing this matter on what I think will be a more appropriate occasion.

I recognise that this is not a very suitable occasion for proposing the amendment.

I should, perhaps, be more receptive to the Senator if it were not for that. A difficulty may arise in connection with this amendment. It is quite true that in respect of most of the officers of the local authorities the power of appointment rests with the Local Appointments Commission. Nevertheless, there are such positions as rate collectorships, in respect of which the power of appointment still rests with the appropriate local authorities. If, on consideration, I found it desirable to accept the principle of the Senator's amendment, I should place myself in a very embarrassing position if I were to accept it in relation to Dublin City only and not to the country as a whole. With the reservation I have mentioned —that I must consider the matter more fully—I undertake to give consideration to the Senator's proposal in connection with the Local Government Bill which I hope to introduce during the coming year. If I find myself unable to accept the Senator's proposal, he will have an opportunity of raising the matter on that Bill. I suggest that that would be a more appropriate occasion than the present.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 10 and the Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Agreed to take the next Stage now.
Question proposed: "That the Bill be received for final consideration."

I want to appeal to the Minister to let the citizens know the divisions or constituencies in which they will be voting. Reference has been made here to the size of the divisions and to their representation. It was suggested that they might have three members each. I suggest that that would not be at all workable. We have certain political bodies in the city such as Labour, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, and Independents, and it would be very inadvisable to have three-member divisions.

Are you not going to abolish all these Parties except Fianna Fáil?

Perhaps Senator Hayes would have a little patience.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Might I point out to Senator Healy that the Bill cannot be amended at this stage?

I am merely making those suggestions.

Will not Senator Healy hear all about this in the Fianna Fáil club?

We hope to have a scheme ready in about a month and there will be no three-member constituencies in it.

Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take the Fifth Stage now.
Question—"That the Bill do now pass"—put and agreed to.
Bill ordered to be returned to the Dáil.
Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.