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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 19 Nov 1947

Vol. 34 No. 12

Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 1947—Second Stage.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

The need for this Bill arises because of the requirements of Article 16.2.4º of the Constitution which directs that the constituencies, as determined by law, shall be revised at least once in every 12 years. The Constitution came into operation on 29th December, 1937, so that the 12-year period began to run from that date and is now drawing to its close.

When asking the Dáil to give the Bill a Second Reading, I explained that it was desirable to implement the provisions of the Constitution in this regard without delay, because the enactment of the legislation to give effect to them would, of course, take some time, while the necessary administrative arrangements to give effect, in turn, to the Bill, would take still further time. Since then, the by-elections have taken place and the Taoiseach has announced that a general election is to be expected early in the coming year.

It is true that the Dáil did divide on the Bill, but the desirability of holding the forthcoming election on the basis of the revised constituencies was not questioned at any time during the debate, and indeed a general desire, I think, was evinced that if the election were to come early next year it should be fought on the basis of the new constituencies.

The urgency of the matter has, therefore, been greatly heightened, and I am asking the Seanad to help to meet the desire of the other House by making this Bill law as soon as possible.

The principles underlying the proposed rearrangement of constituencies have been made very clear both to the Dáil, in the explanatory memorandum circulated with the text of the Bill and during the discussions on its various stages, and to the public through articles and correspondence appearing in the Press. On the one hand, you have the requirements of the Constitution and, on the other, certain sensible rules dictated by common sense.

These rules, naturally, have not the firm binding force of the constitutional directives. As always in such matters, the claims of two or more practical criteria may conflict, and then, of course, one or more must yield to what wisdom tells us is the best. That should not blind us, however, to the fact that these rules are dictated by the political experience of our time and the physical, social and administrative features of the State, and as a body, therefore, are almost as unavoidable as the fixed rules of the Constitution, that is, provided we accept the need for a stable but democratic Government.

The first aspect of the scheme to which some criticism has been directed is the over-all number of Deputies fixed for the new Dáil. The constitutional requirement in this respect will be found in Clause 2, Article 16, which prescribes that the total number of members of Dáil Eireann shall from time to time be fixed by law in such a way that there will be not less than one member for every 30,000 of the population nor more than one for every 20,000.

The preliminary Report on the Census of Population, 1946, shows that the population of the State is 2,953,452. I should say, in connection with that figure, that in the preface to the report it is stated that this figure is provisional and subject to amendment; nevertheless I think it is sufficiently definite when a unit of 20,000 or 30,000 is concerned.

After full consideration, it was decided to apply the lower ratio of population in fixing the total membership of the Dáil and accordingly the membership of that House, as proposed in Section 2, was fixed at 147. This proposal would give the next Dáil nine members more than the existing House.

As I have said, this was one of the points on which criticism of the Bill was raised. It was argued that extra expense was involved, and that the increase would go to the city areas rather than to the country. I submit that the expense involved is inconsiderable and insignificant, having regard to the importance of the institution and of the principles involved. In any event, it is unavoidable if the people are to be granted their fundamental right to proper and fair representation.

The second argument against the increase rests, as I have sought to show the Dáil, on a misunderstanding of the true position. The movement of the population from the country to the cities and towns, as revealed in the census preliminary return, involves that on the present basis of representation the urban dwellers are under-represented relative to the rural population. The Constitution requires that the ratio between the number of members for a constituency and its population shall, so far as it is practicable, be the same throughout the country.

If the size of the Dáil, therefore, were to be retained at its present level, or reduced, the only way to give effect to the Constitution would be to reduce the representation of the country districts, and that is a step that nobody, no matter how much he may have argued against the proposed increase, has felt able to advocate.

I suggest there is no sound reason why it should be advocated or why it should be resorted to. On the contrary, for the proper association of a Deputy with his constituents it is necessary that his constituency should be convenient in size, both from his point of view and the point of view of the electorate, and indeed this close association of a Deputy with his constituents is essential for the proper working of our system of representative democracy. It is difficult enough to secure this at present and to make it more difficult in the future would. I suggest, be indefensible. The maintenance, therefore, of the present rural representation in the Dáil is essential.

Once we accept that proposition, that is to say, that we cannot reduce the present rural representation, then, in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution and indeed in accordance with the letter of the Constitution, the need to increase the size of the Dáil from 138 to 147 members becomes inescapable.

The size of the new Dáil having been determined, the problem remained of dividing the country into constituencies so as to secure the best possible division.

The Constitution sets two limits in this respect: Firstly, the member to population ratio is to be uniform as far as practicable; secondly, the number of members to be returned for any constituency shall not be less than three. But, of course, when we come to determine what is practicable, there are certain other factors to be taken into consideration.

For instance, as I have already stressed, the area of the constituency must not be so large that effective representation of its inhabitants is not possible, nor should it be broken up by difficult physical features, so that sections of its population are virtually isolated from each other. And last, but not least, the constituency should be as administratively convenient as possible. Coming to apply this last-mentioned principle to the existing system of constituencies, the first thing that emerges is that administrative convenience can hardly be claimed for quite a number of them.

Take, for instance, the present constituencies of Wicklow and Wexford. Both of these include large portions of the administrative County of Carlow, so that the constituency which is at present called Carlow-Kildare only includes the remnant and not the whole of Carlow. Other examples of such like anomalies will be found in the constituencies called Meath-Westmeath, Roscommon, Athlone-Longford, Clare, Leitrim, Waterford, and so on.

The difficulties and confusion occasioned by these anomalies have moved several authorities in the administrative units concerned to protest against them and to request me by resolution to make the scheme of Dáil constituencies consistent with the existing local government administrative units. These resolutions have been kept in mind in formulating the new scheme. Therefore, the new constituencies have been delimited so as to be consistent, within reason and where practicable, with the boundaries of the administrative counties. As is well known, of course, an administrative county is the functional area of a county council. So far as the general public are concerned, there can be little doubt as to the constituency in which they are entitled to vote and so far as the officers are concerned there can be little difficulty in making the necessary arrangements to permit the taking of a poll in each constituency.

In some instances because of the number of the population involved and the size of the constituency it has been necessary to sub-divide an administrative county. In such cases the division has been made on the lines of well-defined smaller units and in rural areas invariably the district electoral division has been taken but the division has also been made in such a way that the population to member ratio will be reasonably uniform in the same county.

As an example, we could have the case of County Cork, which has been divided into four three-member constituencies, in each of which the ratio is practically identical, ranging from 19,503 in Cork South to 19,936 persons per member in Cork East. In applying this principle of uniformity within the county I did, however, advert to the position of existing constituencies and where these already existed and where they were convenient in size and there was no grave discrepancy between the population ratios, I did not consider it practicable or desirable to alter the boundaries of them merely in order to equalise the population ratios where the difference between them was not too great. In making the revision, every effort has been made to keep the ratio of members to population, so far as is practicable, uniform throughout the country but it will be understood, I am sure, that this uniformity cannot be more than partial because of the wide diversities in the area, population and geographical characteristics of the different counties. It is obvious that if the administrative county generally is to be taken as the fundamental unit, there must be variations of appreciable size between the constituencies found in one county and another. As against this, if the constituencies were to be defined upon a purely mathematical basis so that the ratio of members to population was identical everywhere, the artificial areas so created would be difficult to clearly identify and define, and I think a great deal of confusion would be caused in the minds of the electors and a great deal of difficulty would be experienced by the officers who would be called upon to make provision for and to supervise the polling at the general election. We would have this further consideration, that the people in the areas concerned would not be bound together by any of the affinities which constitute the essential feature of a real constituency. I am glad to say that the Dáil fully appreciated the wisdom of adhering to the boundary of the administrative county and in this respect at any rate the scheme met with uniform approval.

The final feature of the actual redistribution is the number of members allocated to each constituency. In preparing the revision my aim was to secure as many three-member units as possible and to avoid four-member units wherever I could. As I said before, other considerations also exist and have prevented exact uniformity of treatment in this respect as in others and, as a result, the Bill proposes that there should be 22 constituencies returning three members, nine returning four, and nine returning five, a total of 40 constituencies in all. In no case does a constituency return more than five members.

In the present scheme we have 34 constituencies in which 15 are three-member, 8 are four-member, 8 are five-member and three are seven-member. In the Dáil the point was made, although not pressed, that because the Bill created a large number of three-member constituencies and as few as possible constituencies of larger size, the principle of proportional representation was being abused and that even the Constitution itself was being violated. That position is, I think, not tenable. The single transferable vote and constituencies each returning not less than three members are what the Constitution stipulates, and these are amongst the electoral instruments which, should the Bill become law, will still be used in the general election. But we have got to remember that the Constitution has to be read as a whole and we have to have regard to the general purposes of the Constitution as well as the purpose of every Article of it.

The Constitution does more than merely set up a Legislature. It also sets up an executive organ, the Government, and for these two arms of the State to function properly something more than an Assembly which will be a mathematical replica of all shades of opinion in the country is necessary. That Assembly, besides being one of the legislative Houses, must be able to provide the country with a viable Government, one that will have the ability as well as the right to govern. If we want to receive a sharp lesson on this we have only to look at the present condition of some continental countries where the principle of proportionalism in the Legislature has been carried to extremes. Indeed, we do not have to go abroad for a lesson of this sort. Our own recent history shows that on no less than four occasions since 1923 general elections have failed to give a decisive result and there has had to be a further recourse to the people for a firm answer. The fact is that to enable it to act with authority, decision and leadership, a Government needs the support of an adequate majority in the Dáil. The alternative to such a Government is coalition, which is a shifting, vulnerable and unstable body. Indeed, it may mean not only one coalition but a succession of coalitions in which ultimately the authority and prestige even of the Dáil would be dissipated by reason of the unseemly proceedings which generally accompany the formation of coalitions. It is hoped, accordingly, that the new scheme of constituencies, with its emphasis upon the three-member constituency, will go far to secure a decisive result in favour of one or other of the parties seeking a mandate to govern.

It will not have the effect of the British system of single-member constituencies and the majority vote, but at least it should avoid the excesses of proportional representation while at the same time adequately safeguarding the representative character of the Dáil. The scheme, I readily admit, is not a perfect one, but it is the best that could have been devised, having regard to all the circumstances. It was not possible to dispense with all four-member units, and though the five-member constituencies, of which there are nine, are not wholly desirable either, I will concede that they are less objectionable than the four-member constituencies are.

The Dáil, although it formally divided on the Bill, paid a tacit tribute to it and to its fairness, in that very few amendments—and they related only to very minor adjustments—were moved. There was no amendment that proposed to alter in any serious way the boundaries of the constituencies which were included in the Schedule to the Bill and the only question of any gravity which did arise in the Dáil was the question as to whether one constituency rather than another should have four members instead of five. So far as possible—and particularly where the major principles of the measure were not in danger—I yielded to the movers of those amendments. Slight alterations were made, therefore, in Dublin City and County constituencies, at the suggestion of members of the Opposition, while a small adjustment was also unanimously accepted in the case of Kerry. Again, on an open vote of the House, Mayo, as I have hinted, ceded one seat to Wexford. The Seanad will, I hope, agree that I have shown that the new scheme of constituencies is fair and sound, based within the limits fixed by the Constitution and on the practical requirements of administration and of common sense.

Sections 3 and 4 make the allocation of Deputies among the several constituencies in accordance with the particulars set out in the First Schedule, which also defines the new constituencies. Section 5 deems the constituency of South Galway to be the constituency corresponding to East Galway for which the Ceann Comhairle was deemed to have been elected in the Revision of Constituencies Act, 1935. Section 6 is a necessary consequential provision, whereby the register of electors will indicate the existing and new constituencies. It also enables a new postal voters' list to be compiled in the case of a constituency not identical in name and area with an existing constituency.

Section 7 defines the returning officers. There is no real change here, but the sheriff for a county or county borough will be the returning officer where a sheriff is appointed. In Dublin County, however, the under-sheriff will continue to be returning officer for the area approximate to the area for which he is under-sheriff.

I may say that the Bill represents a consolidation of the law relating to the revision of constituencies. In the Second Schedule, the provision of the 1923 Electoral Act dealing with the division of the country into Dáil constituencies and the entire of the amending Act of 1935 are repealed; their provisions are, where necessary, reenacted in this Bill.

As I mentioned at the beginning, the passage of this Bill is very urgent, both from the point of view of the returning officers and of those who may have to make polling schemes for new areas and also from the point of view of the several Parties who may be seeking election under it. I would be very grateful, therefore, if the Seanad could see its way to give me this Stage and, if I am not asking too much, all the remaining Stages either to-day or tomorrow, so that the existing uncertainties in regard to the present position may be cleared up and so that all those who will have responsibilities under the Bill may be able to take appropriate measures to fulfil them.

During one portion of the Minister's speech, when he discussed proportional representation and coalition governments, I thought that the general election had already begun, but when I considered his tone I felt that he was not on the hustings, as his tone was rather unusual for him on the hustings. The Minister talks about the absurdity of some of the present arrangements. The present arrangements, of course, were made by the Minister's predecessor in office and by the Minister's own Party. In this Bill, he has reverted to the intelligent arrangements made by the previous Government. For example, he is going back to Longford-Westmeath and removing the monstrous Longford-Athlone with ten miles of Roscommon in it. He is also going back to Sligo-Leitrim and generally doing what his Government have done on so many occasions after a very expensive education—not at their own expense, but at public expense. He is going back to the common sense, intelligent things done by his predecessors and for which his predecessors were covered with mud, slime and slander and told that they were callow and ignorant.

I do not know if I heard the Minister aright when he said that the Constitution came into operation in . Surely it came into operation in 1922.

That is quite wrong.

It is absolutely right. They were various amendments to the Constitution, one of which came into operation in 1937 by virtue of the first Constitution of 1922. That is absolutely correct and there can be no doubt whatever about it. The Minister is wrong in his dates and does not understand simple words.

Similarly, he talks about proportional representation, from which some general questions arise—one is whether we should or should not have proportional representation. There are arguments to be made for and against it, but it is in the Constitution—or at least the principle of the transferable vote is in the Constitution. Here we are doing our best to nullify its effects. There is an argument for the British system of single non-transferable vote, but the three-seat constituency has been increased enormously in this Bill. Out of 40 constituencies, 22 are three-member, nine are four-member and nine are five-member. Ministers themselves seem to have a preference for proportional representation in its purer form in the five-member constituencies, as they all seem to be in such constituencies except the Minister himself, who is in a three-member constituency. I suppose it will not make much difference, perhaps, after a bit.

One point ought to be observed—if they were all three-seat constituencies, there might easily be a Dáil consisting of three even parts, with all the dreadful woes which the Minister feels when he has not a majority, but we might well have outside the Dáil another Party with nearly a quarter of the votes and no representation at all. Three-seat constituencies are not as good, from the point of view of representation and workability, as the British single non-transferable vote constituency. We are doing what has been done so frequently, producing one principle and adopting a different practice.

The system which gives a preponderance of three-seat constituencies is not good in principle or in practice, nor will it achieve the mathematical result of giving adequate representation to all Parties. My first reaction to this Bill was that we ought to discuss the general principle, but that the particular matter of the constituencies was something which was peculiarly a matter for the Dáil. We have a constitutional right to deal with it, but it is rather a matter for the Dáil to settle its own business than for us to endeavour to settle it for them.

We are going back now to 147 members for a population of under 3,000,000, which seems almost exactly the same proportion as 153 was in 1922 for the population then. Again, the Minister has gone back to his predecessors and is doing what they did and about which he ranted and made the welkin ring. We are going back to the principle of 1922.

I personally have no amendment to propose and it is not clear that it is easy to amend the Bill at all. Dublin City and County—the place I know best—is divided in a very peculiar way. Dublin County is everything from Howth to Balbriggan but not including Rathfarnham, and to call it "Dublin County" is like calling the Twenty-Six Counties "Eire" or the Six Counties "Ulster". We have got into a position where geography and nomenclature have gone haywire. Between constituencies, names and labels we have got all mixed up. Dublin County is a most peculiar constituency. The Dún Laoghaire Borough extends not far from Dún Laoghaire and Dublin County is defined by exclusion as consisting of Beann Eadair and everything that is not in the borough, which seems to me, as a Dublin man, to be a rather peculiar arrangement.

The Bill is good in so far as it reverts to certain more workable constituencies than were made in 1935, for what reason I do not know; and the Bill is bad in so far as it purports to keep the transferable vote but increases the number of three-seat constituencies, which might leave an even vote for each of three different Parties and leave a fourth with no representation at all.

The case for an increase in membership of the Dáil is that any given Dáil at any given moment ought to contain not only one but two Governments and the smaller the Dáil the less likely you are to have two Governments. That is the argument, but the Minister did not give it. I think it is the classical argument and the sound one. Some of the constituencies are more workable than before, but the three-seat constituencies are a grave mistake.

On this Bill, I would like to say that if we are to accept the principle of the greatest number of three-member constituencies which can be carved out, the Bill is very satisfactory. For my part, I want to say that while I believe that three-member constituencies do not give free play to proportional representation, I concede this point, that in many of our rural areas they are very much more convenient to operate than the larger constituencies. I remember that, prior to 1935, the County Galway was a nine-member constituency. That of course is a tremendously large area. It makes it very difficult for a Deputy with a sense of responsibility towards all sections of the people in the constituency to keep in touch with them. Take Tipperary as it stands to-day. It extends from the borders of County Waterford to the borders of the County Galway, a distance of 90 miles. That, obviously, is a case in which there ought to be sub-divisions, as there are in this Bill, making two constituencies out of Tipperary, and three constituencies out of Galway.

I would like, however, to contest the view that the three-member constituency is going to give you a strong Government. It may or it may not. As the Minister was speaking, I was making some calculations as to how the present Bill, for instance, with so many three-member constituencies, would produce a new Parliament, assuming there were only two Parties. What would apply to two Parties would apply to blocks of Parties. I made the calculation that the 22 three-member constituencies in this Bill could easily give you for "A" Party or for "A" Group 30 members, leaving 36 for "B" Party or "B" Group; the nine four-member constituencies could give you 18 on each side; the nine five-member constituencies could give you 23 on one side and 19 on the other. These totals would give "A" Group or "A" Party 71 and the "B" Group or "B" Party 73. That is not going to make for a strong Government, so that unless you can foretell what the electors are going to do in the new constituencies it is impossible to say whether the system in which three-member constituencies predominate will give you a strong Government or not.

I do not think it should be the desire of this House or of the other House of the Oireachtas to set themselves out deliberately to create strong Governments. All kinds of people have been in favour of strong Governments at various times, from Oliver Cromwell down to our own day. I do not think that strong Governments have conferred very great benefits on the European Continent.

It is not the weak Government that does the bully: it is the strong Government that does the bully at home and abroad. I feel, notwithstanding all that is said about the dangers of a coalition, that a coalition Government in Ireland, consisting of two or three parties willing to sacrifice their individual identity for the purpose of promoting the common good, is far preferable to the kind of Government that provides a personal dominating dictatorship. That is hardly an issue, but it is an issue that was raised by the Minister. I was utterly surprised to see that in the Dáil—not in this House —he defended his theory of strong Government by appealing to the views of what might be described as the blue-shirt sociologist. A case is weak that wants a defence of that kind. If that is the best kind of prop that the Minister can provide for this Bill, then he should not proceed with it, and the Fianna Fáil Party should not vote for it.

There is one aspect of the Bill, already referred to by Senator Hayes, to which I want to refer, and that is the manner in which the constituency called the County Constituency of Dublin is divided. Anybody who looks at the Schedule of the Bill will find set out a constituency, known as the constituency of County Dublin, which is only a very small part of Dublin so far as population is concerned, and less than half Dublin so far as the land area is concerned. When we come to the titles of the constituencies we find such monstrosities as "Dublin North" with the word "east" in brackets; "Dublin North" with the word "central" in brackets, and "Dublin South" with the word "east" in brackets, and so on. We find six constituencies in Dublin in which there has not been a solitary name used that would remind one of the traditions of Dublin. The Minister and myself are in this unfortunate position that neither of us is a Dublin man, but there are members of this House who are Dublin men.

There are members of the Minister's Party who are Dublin men and Dublin women, too, and they must feel indignant at the disappearance of such titles as "Clontarf" and "Fingal". Would not "Fingal" be a better title for the constituency which is described as the constituency of the County Dublin than the present title? What is wrong with the old division of St. Patrick's, the first division ever to return a woman to Parliament in these isles? After all, St. Patrick's has great traditions. It contains a famous cathedral. It was the constituency which first elected Madame Markievicz to Parliament. Then we have St. Michan's on the north side of the city. We have a long list of historical titles which might well have been introduced into this Bill when selecting names for the constituencies of the County and City of Dublin.

I would remind the Minister that even in Stormont they have not always forgotten the historic places in the Six Counties when selecting titles for their Parliamentary divisions. Why should we forget them, and why should we insult the people of Dublin by these meaningless titles: "Dublin North (East),""Dublin North (Central),""Dublin South (West)," when we have glorious traditions that we ought to write into this Bill, and which in that way would induce our schoolchildren to look with pride on the traditions perpetuated in our legislation? I would appeal to the House to recast the titles, the nomenclature for the Dublin County and City constituencies. I should prefer that the Minister would introduce amendments for the purpose rather than that any member of the House should have to do it, but if nobody else does it I undertake to move amendments for that purpose. I am saying that with a good deal of regret, because I do not think this House ought to interfere unduly with an electoral Bill which relates solely to the other House. I would be very slow to do anything to delay the passage of this Bill or to alter its framework if it were not for the fact that I feel very keenly that we should not allow another 12 years to elapse before making use of the opportunity that presents itself to us now of inserting proper titles in the case of the Dublin constituencies.

I have listened to Senator Duffy talk about traditions and about the old names of places. Quite recently, in the case of the County Dublin by-election the main theme in the speeches of Senator Duffy and of every other group was to forget the past. That was the main theme in the speeches of all the Opposition Parties—forget the past, forget traditions, forget services and records, and forget everything such as decency, effort and self-sacrifice. That was the policy of the Opposition Parties in all the by-elections.

Is the Deputy saying that the policy of this Opposition Party was to forget decency?

That was the main theme.

You are daft.

We saw it on the placards and on the handbills.

You never saw it on the placards or posters of the Fine Gael Party—to forget the past. I know that.

I am very glad to hear Senator Hayes say that on behalf of the Fine Gael Party.

I am trying to keep you right.

We cannot have arguments about the by-elections on this Bill.

Fine Gael may not be the main Opposition after the next election.

Fianna Fáil may be and that is the point.

Senator McEllin should deal with the Bill.

In any case, I want to tell Senator Hayes, who has interrupted with his usual arrogance, that the principal theme with some of the principal Opposition Parties was to forget the past. I do not think it makes a whole lot of difference whether the old names of these constituencies are retained or not. It is a good thing, however, to remember that a very big number of the Irish people do stand for their traditions. The future will be all the safer by doing so. I do not know that at a time like this, when a general election is so near, that reason or sanity prevails amongst politicians in any arguments that are made when a Bill like this comes up. A constituencies Bill, such as this, is, I suppose, accepted by all Parties because it is admitted that there are certain defects that have got to be corrected. In the framework of the Bill we have a number of three-member constituencies, four-member constituencies and five-member constituencies. That is done for the purpose of getting round proportional representation. I would like to say that in my opinion proportional representation is not going to lay the foundation for this country's security in the future because it can lead to the frustration of Parties and of the people's intentions. We have had the results of it over the last 25 years. We have seen by experience the difficulties that proportional representation may create.

Are we going to have a debate on proportional representation on this Bill? If so, we should all have an opportunity of expressing our opinions on it.

We are debating the principle of three-member constituencies. That, naturally, brings in the system of voting, and the effects of that system. It naturally brings us to what people in other countries have done in the matter of reorganising constituencies. Quite recently, in England, there was such a reorganisation and a commission was established there to study the system of voting which, after serious consideration, reported definitely in favour of the simple vote. England is a country with hundreds of years of tradition in government.

Lord Craigavon was also very keen on it.

As a result of their experience, they decided in England not to change to any other form of voting and they have a system which throws up a team which can work together as a team. They have a common policy as a team and there is no frustration of effort. At the time of the Treaty and the enactment of the Constitution here —I do not know to what extent England interfered with it—it was arranged that we should have proportional representation here, and, as a result of our experience——

Surely this is an attack on the Constitution which was voted on by the Irish people in 1937?

Surely it does not prevent me from expressing my opinion?

I submit that this is not germane to the Bill and that, when a Senator refers to Britain imposing something upon us we ought, surely, to advert to the facts.

Senator Duffy, as usual, is far removed from fundamentals.

I take it that it is only a passing reference.

I do not care what system of voting obtains here in future, but the period is overdue in which all groups should have a common principle and should decide on a national policy which will enable the people to give the country a team, or, if you like, teams, which will be able to work together and stand firm in times of crisis, from either the internal or external point of view. That is the fundamental to be secured and that is what the people want in casting their votes.

I notice that in this Bill there is an alteration so far as the legislation dealing with local Government elections is concerned in relation to the areas for which people are elected and for which they are responsible after election. If such a principle were embodied in this Bill, it would be a considerable step forward. The system of having three or five members representing a large constituency area, none of them being responsible for any particular area, does not lead to the service which the people are entitled to get from their representatives. It leads also to misunderstandings amongst colleagues because they are all depending on the one area. That is what proportional representation does in the case of general elections. Quite often, these misunderstandings are more misunderstandings between colleagues in a group than as between opposing Parties and anything which can be done to avoid misunderstandings of that kind should be done.

With regard to the Mayo constituency, it will be remembered that South Mayo always had five seats. That representation was reduced to four as a result of a free vote in the Dáil. I am rather reluctant to deal with matters affecting Dáil constituencies, but I nevertheless feel it my duty to mention that South Mayo is the largest constituency in point of area. It extends from Achill Island on the west coast to Sligo and Roscommon in the north and to Galway in the south. It is a very large area to work and it is not easy even for five Deputies to cover the ground in any reasonable time. The work and the correspondence in that constituency are very heavy, and I do not know if it was wise to scoop a seat as between that constituency and another and to reduce the South Mayo representation to four members.

I believe the population there has gone down, but in that connection a great deal depends on the time at which the census is taken. It is well known that there is a large outflow of population from that county in the late spring, an outflow which returns about Christmas week, and when the census is taken at any time between these periods, a big fall is naturally shown, but, if it were taken between December and mid-March, a substantial increase would be shown and that point should have been taken into consideration. However, there has been a reduction, and I am not a bit surprised, because it is a rather remarkable fact that the five Deputies for the constituency are bachelors. It is no wonder that we have complaints so far as population is concerned. Of these five, I am afraid that two are beyond redemption in the matter of bachelorhood. The Minister wishes to get this Bill as soon as possible and I have no desire to hold it up, but I should like to hear members of the House supporting any proposal to give that constituency its full representation.

The appeal made by the Minister that the House should discuss this Bill in the minimum time is a fair one and there might be general consent to put it through as quickly as possible. There is also pretty general consent that our function in this matter is like our function in relation to a Money Bill—we may make recommendations which we think will be improvements, but it is not a matter on which we should seriously attempt to raise a political issue, even if any of us desired to do so. I do not know whether Senator McEllin intends to recommend a provision with regard to celibacy in the case of Dáil members. It would be extremely interesting, and, if it were practicable, I, as a married man of considerable years, would have a lot of sympathy with him, but I am afraid that, even on a free vote, it would be a matter on which the team spirit which he is so anxious to achieve might not manifest itself so obviously. I remind the Senator that, when we speak of an all-Ireland team, whether it be in Gaelic football, rugby or any other sport, we refer to a team on which there are people from all over Ireland, people representing different clubs with completely different points of view, who, when the interest of Ireland arises, play together and the man who does not join in and play the game, the man who is perhaps too individualistic, is unpopular. I cannot see why the same team principle could not be applied as occasions require and, if necessary, to political issues, which may be somewhat more important even than winning football matches.

I do not think we can possibly discuss the merits or otherwise of what is known as proportional representation. So far as my recollection serves me—I have not looked it up—the original Constitution provided for "the principles of proportional representation". Exactly what that means, it would be very difficult to argue before the Supreme Court. I am sure lawyers could argue it, but I should not like to give any opinion on what the result would be. The present Constitution forgets about principles and provides that there shall be a single transferable vote and there may not be fewer than three members in a constituency. That is a kind of concession to the principles of proportional representation, but, whatever it is, it provides that the British system cannot be put into operation here without amending the Constitution—and that would mean a two-thirds vote of the people—so that we are completely wasting out time in discussing whether the British system would or would not be a good system here.

It is, however, in order and proper that we should express our view on whether it is a good thing to have a large number of three-member constituencies or to have constituencies with four or five members. Everyone will agree that the difficulties for the individual Deputy are increased when the constituency is large. That is one of the reasons why, so far as this Bill is concerned, the smaller constituency is not unpopular, but personally I believe it would have been very much better to have had as many five-member constituencies as possible, because, if you attempt to operate the single transferable vote, which is designed to achieve some measure of proportional representation, it can be really effective only in a five-member constituency, and when you come to four and three, and particularly three, you are definitely limiting its operation and you will not get a better result.

By a better result, some people mean what they call a strong Government. When the Minister and Senator McEllin speak of a strong Government, they mean a Government which has a majority of people against which there is no danger they will vote, a Government which can, outside Parliament, decide a matter, knowing that, whereas it may occasionally make a change as a result of debate, it can force through Parliament exactly what it has decided outside. That, I think, is what is commonly called a strong Government. I do not want to put words into Senator McEllin's mouth with which he does not agree, but that is in many quarters regarded as a strong Government, that is, a safe majority. I doubt very much if, from a democratic point of view, that is a strong Government. It may work for a time but I am by no means convinced that it is superior to or stronger than systems which operate in some other countries. Take the United States, which has a somewhat different system. President Roosevelt, who was certainly a leader—I think nobody will dispute that—had to bring into consult ation, and did bring into consultation, the various Parties in Congress and made proposals, after discussion with them, proposals which he found met with general support. To my mind, that was far stronger than if he had the British system and had been Prime Minister and Leader and had settled it outside knowing he could carry it through. That is, of course, a matter of opinion. President Truman has to do the same in peace time. I think a Government which consults and reaches a more or less common agreement on important issues, particularly in times of crisis such as we have at the moment, may conceivably be a far stronger Government. It is not as strong an Executive but it is a stronger Parliament. I do not think that there should be undue worry as to what the result of this Bill will be. The Dáil, for good or evil, has decided on trying three-member constituencies. That can be attempted. I do not believe there is anybody here, the Minister or anybody else, who really can prophesy how that is going to work.

I could argue that it would work one way and someone else could argue that it would work another way. Neither would know what he was talking about. It would be pure conjecture. I do not know how it is going to work but I am convinced that it is not good for this country to hold out the idea that when a Dáil is elected it will not be able to govern unless some particular group, some particular team, or whatever you like to call it, is in a dominant position. Other small countries, particularly the Scandinavian countries, from time to time have been governed with a very large measure of success without a dominant Government. A Government with commonsense is not necessarily weaker because it has to consult with the members of Parliament and occasionally to give in on matters because it recognises that the elected representatives of the people are not prepared at the particular time to go with them.

I am not a pessimist and even if it should transpire, as is possible and as Senator Hayes pointed out might be possible, that with so many three-member constituencies you may have no Party which has even near a majority, I would not be pessimistic about it. I could imagine a number of things that might happen but I would not be pessimistic about it. Sooner or later we will have to get down to the recognition that it is the elected representatives and Parliament, not the Executive, which should be the true Government of the country. The Executive should only be carrying out, not what it forces on Parliament, but what are the wishes of Parliament taken as a whole. In the Constitution we have provided for the transferable vote and, whether you have three-, four- or five-member constituencies, there will be a very fair measure of proportion. As that was put into the Constitution, all Parties should face up to the fact that that will mean, sooner or later, a situation in which there will have to be a considerable measure of give and take.

Senator McEllin made some rather peculiar remarks about forgetting the past. I do not know exactly what he meant but what I would say is, do not forget the past but do forget past differences. It is a very different thing. Forget the things that are not so good in the past, particularly in the recent past. It was a pleasure to me to hear Senator Duffy, as a true Conservative, advocating that we should not forget our traditions and I would like, for that reason, to support him. Whether I shall like his names, when he does produce them, or not, of course, I do not know. I did make the same remark, but not in public, about the Dublin constituencies. Apart altogether from tradition and sentiment, people get hopelessly mixed up. South-east or north-east are not good or convenient names. It would be very much better, even though not necessarily logically correct, to take names which are established and, unless public opinion in future went entirely against three-member constituencies, and it was necessary to increase them to five, I would rather hope that the divisions established now would not have to be very much changed. Already people are puzzled and several persons have asked me: "Am I in south-east or where am I under this Bill?" It is not very easy, without a very large-scale map, to find out. Constituencies named in that way will create difficulties and I think candidates and canvassers will find it quite inconvenient. There is a lot to be said for the names but I am afraid, at this time, it will be probably much more difficult to find names which will be accepted all round as being consistent with tradition and that in the long run we will have to leave these inconvenient, very modern and rather uninteresting names we have in the Bill.

In regard to the question of increasing representation, I wish to point out that there is a number of people in this country who consider that there are too many representatives in the Dáil and that if representation there were considerably reduced, business would be at least as well done. I am not saying whether I agree or disagree with that point of view but I do agree with Senator McEllin that in the present proposal to increase representation, Mayo is not being treated well, in losing one seat as a result of a free vote in the Dáil. As I think the Minister pointed out in introducing this Bill in the Dáil, in constituencies like South Mayo a big part of the population is migratory. There is no doubt that thousands of boys and girls leave Mayo periodically and return there. They cannot be considered as exiles and it would certainly not be fair to those who left Mayo last April or May if they found on return for Christmas, and if there was a general election early in the new year, that they had not a vote. I consider that the decision in the Dáil to reduce representation in one constituency and to increase it in another was rather ill-advised. Until such time as a Bill designed to reduce representation generally is introduced, I would not be in favour of reducing representation for South Mayo constituency. It was Senator Meighan who drew my attention to that matter this evening and I think he intended to speak on it. If anything could be done to reverse that decision before this Bill becomes law, it would be advisable to do it.

I would like to refer to Senator McEllin's exhortation about forgetting the past. My views on that matter completely coincide with the views expressed by Senator Douglas but it would be too much to expect that we could forget instances where practices or customs that were considered vices under our particular Party suddenly became virtues under Senator McEllin's Party. That would be too much to expect and I do not think Senator McEllin expects it.

While I do not approve of increasing representation in the Dáil, I certainly disapprove of the reduction of the representation for South Mayo, for the reason I have given. By the time the country decides the matter of a very much reduced Dáil I do not say that I will not be in favour of it, but, as things are, I consider that the decision by a free vote of the Dáil should be amended and I hope the Seanad will see fit to amend that particular section before this Bill becomes law.

I wish to say a few words in relation to the Limerick Constituency. From a geographical point of view the proposed arrangement is grotesque and amounts to a mathematical absurdity. It is unjust and inequitable. Curly Wee and Gussie Goose would have made a better job of it. The Minister told us that he wanted to keep the ratio of members to population as uniform as possible and also to have the thing administratively convenient. It is proposed to give three seats to Limerick City and four to the county. Consider that in relation to the urban area with a small added rural area and the total rural area called Limerick County. The population of Limerick City is 44,000, approximately, and the population of the county is 130,000, mainly composed of an agricultural community. Limerick County is one of the chief agricultural and dairy counties. This division is considered equitable and in the interests of democracy, according to the Minister. Where is the justice and equity in giving Limerick County, with a population of 130,000, three seats and giving Limerick City, with a population of 44,000, four seats?

Mr. Hawkins

Surely that is not correct.

That is entirely wrong.

Would the Senator tell me where I am incorrect?

Mr. Hawkins

I would like to explain to the Senator that he is entirely wrong. There are two constituencies now in Limerick, one west and the other east. East Limerick comprises four parts of the county of Limerick and the City of Limerick.

I am glad the Senator told me that. Some rural districts are about to be added. One is Kilbeheny and one is Anglesborough. These are 40 miles from Limerick City. On the other hand, Ballycummin and other places, which are regarded as suburban areas, are included in west Limerick. There is grave hardship being inflicted on the people of Kilbeheny. These people scarcely ever market their goods in Limerick City. Their principal market is Mitchelstown, in the County Cork. Even when a rural community of 20,000 is added to the 44,000 population of Limerick City, there is no justification for giving greater representation to the city than is given to the county. It is not democratic. It is scarcely equitable and I want to draw the Minister's attention to that point. If in the other House there was a proper identity of interests and a proper democratic arrangement, the ratio would be five to two. Unless the Minister is willing to reconsider a rearrangement of these constituencies, I will be compelled, in the interests of justice and fair play and of the agricultural community of which I am a part, to hand in an amendment to this particular part.

The Minister is anxious to get this Bill through and I have no desire to impede it. However, I must express the general view held in Mayo over the taking of this seat. I have no desire to challenge it in the Bill, but I believe it is wrong in principle and that a mistake has been made. South Mayo is a very straggling mountainous constituency. It is hard for Deputies to get through it. We have a large floating population, consisting of thousands of migratory workers and it depends on the date of the census as to whether the result will show a lower or a higher population than Wexford.

I agree with the general principle, if it is carried out to the letter all over, that a certain population must have a certain number of representatives. I accept that, if there is a general revision, but I think it has been a mistake to reduce South Mayo to three seats. I have no desire to say anything against Wexford or any other constituency. It is a matter of principle and it is the general view I find amongst all parties. I wish strongly to press an amendment on that point and have sent forward an amendment for the Committee Stage.

It is only right that we should discuss the method of election to the other House, as on the Order Papers circulated to members of both Houses, there is a Bill dealing with the constitution of this House and the system of election to it. I am sure that that Bill will get great attention and debate in the Dáil and here. Therefore, it is only right that we should discuss matters like this concerning the system of constituencies for election to the Lower House.

It is amazing and amusing how we can circumvent the rule of the Chair in getting outside the matter before us. Senator Hayes gave a bad example in some of his references. It is not the first time I have heard him say that the Constitution enacted by the people in 1937 is not a new Constitution but an amendment of the old one. Anyone down the country or anywhere else with much less intelligence than Senator Hayes will appreciate that the 1937 Constitution was not an amendment of the old one enacted by Dáil Eireann in 1922 and in which a Constitution was adopted as a Schedule to an Act. Subsequently, it was amended 17 times by the Government which was in office up to 1931 and from 1932 to 1936 it was amended eight times. These eight amendments were reversions of the amendments which had been passed by the previous Government in its period of office from 1922 to 1931. In all, 25 amendments were passed to the Constitution up to 1936. The 1937 Constitution was an entirely new document, without any reference whatsoever to what was in the Constitution previous to that. Its Preamble concludes with the statement:

"We ... do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution."

There is no reference to anything else there. We adopted, enacted and gave to ourselves the Constitution of 1937, independent of anything there before.

Senator Hayes, unfortunately, gave a bad example by reference to mud, slime and slander. That was not a good lead to give on a Bill of this kind. Senator Duffy and Senator Douglas have difficulty regarding the compass. I have often thought and heard that to appreciate the compass and your directions in the city you have to come to the city from the country. City people do not know the points of the compass as well as those reared in the country. Country people know the north, south, east and west, at any rate. It seems that Senators Duffy and Douglas do not know where north-east and south-west are. To me, coming from the country, it is quite easy. I understand the north-east corner of Dublin just as I understand the north-east corner of Ireland. I agree that in coming to a street you might not know exactly in which constituency the residents on either side were. Boundaries generally run through the middle of the streets and, consequently, at the boundaries one side must be in one constituency and the other side in the other. It is necessary to draw a line somewhere and consequently those on one side of the street in one constituency must be in contiguity with a different section on the other side of the street.

I do not see any difficulty in the definitions and I do not think that the application of historic names would bring us much further. It might make us remember the past and the people and districts to which these names were attached, but if Clontarf were called the "Constituency of Brian Boramha" it would not bring us to any better understanding than when it is called "North-East Dublin" of which it is a portion. Senators referred to the constituency of "County Dublin", but I do not see any such constituency in the Bill. On page 5 there is a constituency defined as "Dublin" consisting of the Beann Eadair Ward and the administrative County of Dublin except Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown. I believe it will cause confusion if you call "Dublin" what is mainly a rural portion of Dublin with Beann Eadair, Howth and Sutton and the remainder of the rural portion of County Dublin, with the exclusion of the urban portion of Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown. That large portion is called "Dublin". On page 4 we have several other constituencies with the prefix "Dublin" attached—Dublin North (East), Dublin North (Central), Dublin North (West) and others. I think the constituency I have mentioned would be far better described as "County Dublin".

Look at the heading of the page.

The heading says "County Constituencies", but to my mind it does not make it satisfactory. If a person gets a register and sees "Dublin" on the cover, he will not take it as referring to a county constituency but as referring to one in the city.

I do not think the difference between the three-member and five-member constituencies means much to any Party. It gives proportional representation fairly satisfactorily. If there are three Parties, it is easier to get one out of three than to get two out of five. It does not make such an extraordinary difference and, where the boundaries are such that a three-member constituency is not appropriate, the fact of making it a five-member constituency does not make it a whole lot better, in the ideal of giving minorities satisfactory representation under the system of proportional representation as enacted in our Constitution and explained satisfactorily by Senator Douglas.

The proportional representation system is embodied in our Constitution and cannot be altered without a reference to the people and a referendum. The Minister has done a satisfactory job in presenting this Bill and putting this scheme before us. There are more three-member constituencies, but those of us interested in elections and election work will find it easier to work a three-member constituency than help in a big area, whether it be a city district or a county district. The West Cork constituency, as it stood, went from one end of Cork to the other and was practically as far as from Cork to Dublin. It is ridiculous to think that people would know some of the candidates from the other end of the constituency. When a district is too big, it does not give a coherence for the candidates, nor does it give such an opportunity to the electorate to know the candidates as it would in the case of smaller districts. The greater number of three-member constituencies should appeal to most people, whether they be members seeking to be a majority or people recognising the fact that they will always be in the minority.

Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil mórán sa Teach ná fuil sásta leis an mBille seo, sásta ligint dó dul i bhfeidhm agus dlí a dhéanamh de. Ní fhuaireas puinn cáinte air agus is dóigh liom go bhfuil na téarmaí cothrom agus cóir agus ná fuil puinn éagóra déanta sna nithe a bhfuil tagairt déanta dhóibh ann.

Maidir le toghchán den tsórt seo, a bhfuil an guth-neamh-inaistrithe ann, ní ceist dúinn an modh sin a phlé anois. Is ceist í a bhfuil a mhalairt dethuairim ag daoine ina thaoibh, cé acu is éifeachtaí agus, sa deireadh, cé acu is feárr; ach ní bhaineann sé sin leis an gceist inniu.

Ag tagairt don phointe a bhí ag an Seanadóir Ó Dubhthaigh, ní mór dhom a rá go bhfuilim ar aon aigne leis gur trua go bhfuiltear ag dul níos sia gach aon lá san obair phoiblí le comharthaí gan stair agus le hainmneacha gan stair a chur le teoranna na tíre. Ní fada, is dóigh liom, go mbeidh an tír, i gcúrsaí áirithe, riartha amach faoi A.1, A.2 agus Z.16. Mura stadfaimíd, is mar sin a bheidh ainmneacha na tíre ar deireadh. Is trua, mar sin, ná fuil na sean-ainmneacha i gContae Bhaile Átha Cliath agus áiteanna eile á gcur i bhfeidhm san Bhille. Bheadh "Cluain Tairbh" chomh maith le "North East", mar shampla, nó Fingal nó Ráth Fearnain in ionad na téarmaí eile. Ní raibh "North East" nó "South East" riamh ina n-ainmneacha ná ina gcomharthaí staire.

Tá rud eile a chur i bhfeidhm anseo ar leathanach a 6. Ba mhaith liom fios d'fháil ón Aire, cad é an chúis ná fuil Contae Chiarraighe agus Contae Mhuigheó ag fáil na gcomharthaí céanna. Tá. ‘Cork North" ann agus ansin tá "North Kerry". Cad faoi ndear an difríocht? An bhfuil aon chúis faoi leith leis? Bhfuil aon chiall bunaithe ann, nó an faillí é? Is deacair domsa a thuiscint cén fáth ná fuil an riail chéanna ann.

Maidir leis an ainm "North Kerry" anseo, ní ainm ceart é sin ar an gcuid sin den Chontae, mar tá "East" ann chomh maith le "North" agus "West" chomh maith le "South". Tá cuid de Chiarraighe ansin atá chomh stairiúil le haon chuid eile den Chontae, agus is masla é an chuid sin a chur isteach le "North Kerry".

Ní mór dhom beagán a rá i dtaobh ainm—amháin atá anseo. Tá an rud seo le fada ann, ina dhearmad ó thús, agus anois tá sé buanaithe sa dlí. I "North Kerry", tá ceantar toghcháin a dtugtar an ainm "Glin" air. Níl aon "Glin" ann agus ní raibh riamh. Ní heol d'aon duine san áit—agus níl a fhios agam fhéin—cad as a tháinig an t-ainm sin, atá daingnithe sa dlí. Ba mhithid dúinn stop a chur le ceapadh téarmaí nua den tsórt sin.

Tá ainm eile ann, "Baurtregaun". Ní raibh aon duine riamh san áit sin. Is bárr chnoic é, 3,000 troigh ar aoirde. Bheadh sé chomh maith an t-ainm "Cnoc Braonáin" a cheapadh toisc duine darab ainm "Braonán" a bheith ina chónaí ann. Cén fáth a bhfuilimíd ag cur ainmneacha i bhfeidhm le dlí nuair ná fuil éifeacht agus ciall leo? Níl mé ach ag lua samplaí de na ainmneacha bréige atá déanta, le faillí nó trí neamh-eolas.

Ba mhaith liom a mholadh don Aire ainmneacha éigin a bhaineann le stair na cathrach, nó imeall na cathrach, do chur sa Bhille seo agus gan bacaint le "North East" agus "South West" agus mar sin. Gheobhfaí ainmneacha a bheadh fírinneach go leor agus a bheadh, do na daoine, mar chomharthaí níos feárr don taobh den Chontae nó den Chathair a bheadh i gceist.

I am afraid if I were to follow and to controvert the criticisms of Senator Hayes even with my well-known self-restraint, I would feel myself slipping.

It would be grand exercise.

As we shall both very shortly, I presume, have the opportunity of speaking elsewhere I propose to reserve my reply for that opportunity and for a place where it would be more effective. However, I can say this, that except for the few reservations which he made in relation to my remarks upon the desirability of applying proportional representation in a rational way, so that the main purpose of the Constitution will not be defeated —the main purpose being to provide the people with a Government which will be an effective Government and an efficient Government—I think the Senator was in general agreement with the proposals in the Bill.

Senator Duffy was not quite so clear in his exposition of his own position in relation to it. He welcomed the Bill, I think, on the ground that he had no objection in principle to three-member constituencies, and then he proceeded to say that three-member constituencies would not invariably give us a strong Executive. I do not differ with Senator Duffy in that regard. I do not say that three-member constituencies will invariably give us a strong Executive.

I do not think any person who is, generally, in favour of restricting the general application of the principle of proportional representation, so far as it may be done legitimately and judicially, by confining it to three-member constituencies, I do not think, I repeat, that any person who held that view contended for a moment that it would invariably result in a strong Government. We may have freak election results based on constituencies for which this Bill provides just as there have been freak election results elsewhere. But I do think that freak elections and freak results are less likely to occur with three-member constituencies than if we are going to have a Parliamentary system based on constituencies returning seven, nine or more members, or returning members for constituencies the representation of which is based on even numbers. I do think a system of Parliamentary representation based upon three-member constituencies is more likely to get a definite decision at an election and that the country is more likely to have in consequence a stable and strong Government.

I suggest that experience has shown us that a stable and strong Government is necessary if the people are to have clear and decisive leadership and the country efficient and clean administration.

Senator Duffy said that he is against a strong Government. He seems to regard such a Government as being something evil. He is not alone in that view. Totalitarians in Opposition are invariably against strong Government when that Government is democratic.

That is a very good description of Deputy Seán MacEntee.

He was never very vain.

I have been in Opposition. I have never been totalitarian. I have always been democratic. I was saying that these totalitarians, when they get into power abandon Senator Duffy's principles and then become in favour of a government so strong that they will brook no opposition. I am glad to see Senator Hayes accepting that point of view. After all we must remember that there was a time—and I do not want to go back too far in history—when we had an organisation wanting one Party Government here——

On a point of order. Does the Minister want this Bill to-morrow or to-morrow month?

To-morrow. Nevertheless, the time of the Seanad, and the time spent splitting hairs about names, is not so precious that they cannot throw their minds back to reflect upon 1933 and 1934.

Or on 1921, 1922 and 1923.

We are even, now that Senator Hayes and myself have grown older and wiser. I regret that Senator Duffy still retains the imprudence of perennial youth. He is not in favour of anything except coalition. In fact, he said he was very strongly in favour of coalition, because he said that by coalition you have men prepared to sacrifice Party interests for the common good. That raises a very interesting proposition indeed, because we must first ask ourselves, what are these Parties? I take it that Parties are organisations of public-spirited men, with certain political principles and certain public aims who band themselves together to advance those aims and principles. They band themselves in these organisations in order that they may persuade the people that their principles are sound, that the aims which they seek are for the public good and in order that they may secure the assent and authority of the people to give effect to them. That I take it is what Parties are for.

What happens when these Parties form a coalition? Senator Duffy told us. They throw their principles overboard. Having persuaded the people to vote for them on the ground of principle, then, when they succeed in securing election, they proceed, in order to secure themselves in office, to throw overboard the principles which they persuaded the people to accept. So that Senator Duffy's coalition might be more accurately described as a combination of men who are prepared to trade their principles for the sweets of office.

Is that what the Minister thought in 1927 when coming into the Dáil?

When he tried to make a coalition in the Shelbourne Hotel with the farmers. We are going round and round.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Better deal with the Bill.

May I say that the coalition we proposed to form then was a coalition based upon a common principle, that the law should be enforced in accordance with the Constitution and that an Act found by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional should be opposed—the Constitution (Amendment) Act, 1927. That was the principle on which we wanted to form a coalition.

That Act has been passed in a worse form.

I do not want this.

Neither do I. I am teribly nice.

I tried to point out what, in fact, is the character of the coalition which Senator Duffy and others who are a minority are so fond of. What they are recommending to the people is that we should be governed by men who have forsaken their principles in order that they may enjoy office.

Senator Duffy and others took exception to the nomenclature in the Bill. He waxed indignant at the fact that so far as the County Borough of Dublin constituencies are concerned, we have given them the somewhat prosaic names of Dublin North (East), Dublin North (Central), Dublin North (West), Dublin South (East), Dublin South (West) and Dublin South (Central). May I say that these are practical names, which are as geographically accurate as it is possible to conceive them, and are not without certain local significance. They are true and unambiguous.

They relate to the great physical feature of our city, the great river which flows almost due east through it. A person looking at the constituences, as they are named in the Bill, will have no difficulty whatever in finding their approximate position. He knows that the constituency called Dublin North will lie north of the Liffey, if it be Dublin South he knows it is south of the Liffey, if Dublin North (East) he knows that not only it is north of the Liffey, but that it is the easterly portion of the city. Dublin North (West) is the westerly portion of the city north of the Liffey, and Dublin Central comes in between east and west. The same applies to constituencies which are south of the Liffey. A person, whether a voter or a citizen, who is an elector in a constituency, or even a person from the country, has no trouble in identifying a constituency by the name we have given it. What would be the position if we were to adopt some of Senator Duffy's suggestions? He suggested that we should call that part of the administrative County of Dublin, which we have simply called Dublin, Fingal. But surely Fingal is only one district in North County Dublin. Why not call it "Beann Eadair" or any other name of equal historical interest?

I have no objection.

But if we were to accept them I would have this objection that they would all be misleading, much more misleading than any names which we have applied to the constituencies in the Bill. If any person reads the description of the area given in the Bill he can immediately identify it. It will be "the Beann Eadair Ward"—that is perhaps something of an anomaly that we cannot cure in this Bill but which we may cure in another Bill dealing with another matter—"and the administrative County of Dublin except the portion thereof which is comprised in the county constituency of Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown." At once a person who is familiar at all with Dublin knows where Dún Laoghaire is, and he knows where the old Rathdown rural district was, and he can picture for himself what is the constituency which is described as "Dublin". What would be his position if we were to call that constituency "Fingal", which is only a comparatively restricted area in North County Dublin? What would spring to his mind if we were to call it "Lucan", which might also be described as equally historic, or "Tallaght"?

Is it not a fact that Dún Laoghaire is comprised in the old rural area of Rathdown?

But there is now, for good or ill, a definite local administrative unit there, the Borough of Dún Laoghaire, and it is of sufficient importance, I think, in view of the fact that it contains over 45,000 people, at least to identify the constituency of which it is going to be the major part by applying its name to it in association with the remainder of the rural district of Rathdown.

Again, if we were to apply "Clontarf" to Dublin North (East), then why not apply "Drumcondra"? When we come to the constituency which the Senator suggested might be described as St. Patrick's, what is wrong with St. Michan's, or what is wrong with Stephen's Green or with the Mansion House, or what is wrong with College Green or Trinity College? Nothing except this, that they are not applicable to the constituency as a whole. That is the only thing that is wrong with them.

Now, I may say that we did give a great deal of consideration to this question of nomenclature. We did try and see whether we could find suitable historical or geographical names which would not mislead people, because it is important that this Act of the Oireachtas should be clear and easily understood. Ultimately, we came to the conclusion that, unless there was an historic name which was clearly applicable to an area, we should describe it in simple geographical terms which would be easily understood and apprehended by everybody and which would not mislead. That was our problem, and that is why we have taken the four points of the compass as being directives which would be clearly understood by everyone. I do not see that there is any reason why we should apologise, since the Almighty makes the sun rise in the east and set in the west. We know where the sun rises and sets and we know fairly closely where we are.

Senator Madden attacked the proposals in the Bill which related to County Limerick and described them as monstrosities. He said they were monstrosities which were going to do some injustice, I think, to the rural population of Limerick. He talked of the city as having a population of 40,000 and of the county as having a population of 130,000, and said that we were giving to the city four members and to the county only three. Well, of course, there is not a word of truth in that. Limerick county as a whole is divided—I hope Senators can see the map which I hold in my hand—on a line running as closely as possible due north and south through the county. On one side you have the constituency of East Limerick and on the other side the constituency of West Limerick. It is true that the constituency of East Limerick includes Limerick City, which has a population of over 40,000. There have been given to it four members, two of whom may be properly allocated to the city on the basis of 20,000 persons per member. There are two to that portion of East Limerick which might be properly ascribed to the city and two to the remainder of East Limerick.

In West Limerick there are three members. What is the position in relation to the population of these constituencies? In East Limerick, including Limerick City, there is a total population of 84,000 people to whom it is proposed to give four members. That is a population ratio of about 21,100 per member. West Limerick has a population of 58,000 to whom we propose to give three members representing a population ration of 19,344 per member, so that in fact so far from operating to the disadvantage of West Limerick as compared with East Limerick, we are giving West Limerick a larger representation on the basis of population than we are according to East Limerick. The fact of the matter is that it may properly be said that out of the seven members which are to be given to the two constituencies in the administrative County of Limerick, only two can be properly ascribed to the City of Limerick while the other five may be ascribed to the rural area. As I have said, there is no foundation whatever for the criticism which Senator Madden has made himself responsible for.

The city population will always overrule the rural parts.

I never found any country man or any country voter to be very slow in exercising his rights as a voter and as a citizen during a general election. They come out and vote with just the same enthusiasm and with just the same zeal as the urban people do.

I think the Minister might have added "and with the same frequency".

Well, I am not as well informed on these matters as Senator Foran. However, if he professes to be an authority I will accept his judgment in that regard.

May I be permitted to clarify something I have a doubt about? I want to put myself right on this point. The Minister stated that the population of Limerick City would be about 40,000 and that, added to this would be the rural area with a population of 60,000.

Oh, no. The population of the city is approximately 40,000 and of the rural area, approximately 42,000.

My point is that the rural area, the agricultural area, will be overridden by the majority in the city and that the rural community will be denied their proper representation.

I do not accept that contention. It was advanced in the Dáil but it did not appeal to the general body of the members there because a motion to amend these proposals in the Bill was defeated and it was defeated on good grounds. Senators will see here on this map a black spot built around the City of Limerick and also this huge white expanse. It was proposed to make a three-seat constituency around the City of Limerick and to leave the present constituency of Limerick virtually untouched. That proposal did not appeal to the commonsense of the majority of the members of the Dáil. It was defeated and I trust the proposal will not be revived here in the Seanad.

Senator Ó Siochfhradha agreed with some of the criticisms expressed by Senator Duffy in regard to the names of certain of the constituencies. Well, I suppose we might have proceeded to name them with more uniformity but there was this in mind. We could have referred to the Cork constituencies as West Cork, East Cork, North Cork and South Cork but it just did not happen that way. We had Cork North East there already and we took it as we found it without changing it. After all, does it matter very much if we cannot find a territorial name which we can apply uniformly to the whole of these constituencies without misleading the people or creating a wrong impression in their minds as to exactly what their particular territory is? Does it matter whether we call it Cork North or North Cork? Possibly the latter might be associated with an old militia and for that reason it might be as well to abandon it.

We have North Kerry and South Kerry. The County of Kerry is divided into north and south by a line running from east to west. Except we work on the principle by which Donegal was once referred to as being in Southern Ireland I do not see how we can refer to the existing constituencies of North and South Kerry as East Kerry and West Kerry.

But a certain section of Kerry is known as North Kerry and it does not include West Kerry or East Kerry.

I think the Senator is under a misapprehension as far as Kerry is concerned because we are not altering in any way the existing constituencies there. The administrative County of Kerry was divided into two constituencies by the 1935 Act and is divided into the same two constituencies by this Bill. The constituencies were called North Kerry and South Kerry in the 1935 Act and we are not changing that. We have endeavoured to do nothing that might confuse the people or make it more difficult for them to understand where they were entitled to vote and that is the reason why you will find existing names retained throughout this Bill where possible.

A suggestion has been made that the Seanad should alter the names of some of these constituencies. I appeal to the Seanad not to put down amendments of this sort. In view of the fact that a general election is imminent a great many things are being done upon the assumption that this Bill will go through substantially without amendment. A great many arrangements have to be made for the over-printing of the register in accordance with the provisions of Section 6 and everything that has been done up to the present in regard to this matter will have to be scrapped and abandoned if mere changes in nomenclature and nothing else were to be made by the Seanad. In view of this consideration particularly, I am afraid I would have to go back to the Dáil and ask it to reject any amendment of this sort.

Indeed I suggest that unless the Seanad feels that a great injustice is being done to the electors of any part of the country by some of the provisions of this Bill, it should not amend it at all. On this point I would say that Senator Douglas and Senator Hayes took what might be described as the correct attitude, namely, that this was more or less on the lines of a Money Bill, which is of more concern to the Dáil. Therefore, as the Dáil has seen fit to send it up to the Seanad in this form, the Seanad, unless it feels that some momentous proposal violating the principles of the Constitution or doing an injustice to the electors is involved, should not make any amendment of any significance.

Question put and agreed to.

In regard to the Committee Stage, while I do not like to ask the Seanad to give it to me now I would like if I could have it to-morrow. Some Senators have expressed a desire to put down amendments.

We have no objection to giving you the Committee Stage to-morrow.

There is no reason why you cannot have it to-morrow. I think we had better be quite frank about it. There is going to be an election and everybody is interested in fighting it out when it comes and it is in everyone's interest to have the register and other matters ready.

I have handed in some amendments which I am willing to have taken to-morrow.

I have no objection, either.

Committee Stage ordered for to-morrow, 20th November.