Perhaps we could finish the discussion on this section very shortly if the Minister, instead of quoting the Constitution, would tell us what he has in mind about "special circumstances." We had examples from him yesterday of special circumstances which would enable a person to appoint a substitute to act for him during absence necessitated by membership of the Oireachtas. Senator O'Dea mentioned yesterday the case of an officer of a local body who was pursuing a course to get better qualifications for himself. I agree with that. I know, for example, that a national teacher can get leave from the Department of Education to appoint a substitute in his school while he is attending a university course. He cannot get it always, but the possibility is there of his getting it and I know from personal contacts that some of them do. It costs a teacher money, of course, but the Department is prepared to grant leave in certain circumstances for a teacher who wants to go to a day course to get an honours degree. I do not agree with Senator Sir John Keane that the section should be amended so as to provide that the office holder should have nothing to say to the selection of a substitute. I agree with Senator Ryan that "substitute" is a better word than "deputy" because otherwise we are likely to get a bit mixed. I think that provision should be preserved as it exists in the Bill. The Minister, of course, should have power to determine whether the substitute's qualifications are sufficient for the purposes of the post. Neither am I quite sure that we should make an absolutely statutory bar that the person who appoints the substitute should not in any way get some pecuniary benefit from the post. That is a general proposal to which there might be objections. I should like to leave the circumstances of each particular case to the Department involved.
A great deal of extraneous matter was drawn into the discussion yesterday. Nobody is questioning—I am not going to discuss it—whether local officers should be eligible for membership of the Oireachtas and, as long as they are, obviously they must be allowed to appoint substitutes. I mention no names, but supposing a man is a member of the Oireachtas and is living in Dublin and his wife is an officer of a local body in Kerry, Cork or Donegal. Are these "special circumstances" which should enable her to get leave of absence for a prolonged period? Personally, I do not think they are, although I think a member of the Government has quite a sound case. If the Minister would tell us that, we could get over this business quickly. I am tempted to quote the Constitution but I think the Minister's constitutional point is absolutely childish and expressed with all the impudence that ignorance so frequently carries.