Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Bill, 1952—Recommittal.

Government amendment No. 1:—
Before Section 13, to insert a new section as follows:—
13. Part V of the Principal Act is hereby amended by the insertion after Chapter IV of the following chapter:—
CHAPTER V
Death or Disqualification of Candidate.
79A. (1) Where, before the latest time for receiving nominations at a Seanad by-election, a nominating body satisfies the Seanad returning officer that a person nominated by the body has died or become disqualified for membership of Seanad Éireann, the Seanad returning officer shall forthwith cancel such nomination and thereupon it shall be deemed never to have been made.
(2) Where, before the latest time for receiving nominations at a Seanad by-election, the Seanad returning officer is satisfied that a person nominated by members of the Oireachtas has died or become disqualified for membership of Seanad Éireann, the Seanad returning officer shall forthwith cancel such nomination and thereupon it shall be deemed never to have been made.
(3) In the counting of the votes cast at a Seanad by-election, all the preferences recorded for a candidate of whose death (whether before or after the ruling upon nomination) the Seanad returning officer is satisfied before the close of the poll shall be disregarded and regard shall be had in lieu thereof to the next available preferences.
(4) Subject to the foregoing provisions of this section, the fact that a candidate has (whether before or after the close of the poll) died or become disqualified for membership of Seanad Éireann shall not invalidate or prejudice the nomination of the candidate or any preferences recorded for him and, if he is elected, his election shall not be invalidated by reason of his having so died or become disqualified, but he shall be deemed to have vacated his membership of Seanad Éireann immediately after his said election thereto.
Amendment agreed to.
SECTION 13.
Government amendment No. 2:—
In page 7, line 27, to delete "33, 34 and 35" and substitute "33 and 35 and sub-section (1) of Section 34."

In this case I would like some explanation from the Minister, because it does not seem to me that this is clear. If you turn up the original Act, Section 34, you will find that it contains two sub-sections, sub-section (1) and sub-section (2). The effect of this amendment is to repeal sub-section (1) and leave sub-section (2). When you read sub-section (2), which is still left, it says: "In sub-section (1) of this section..." If sub-section (1) is gone that expression means nothing. I am not at all clear as to why that was put in, and failing an explanation I feel that you should now make a further amendment deleting those words in sub-section (2).

My officials have discussed this matter with me and have given me to understand that the parliamentary draftsman regards this as all right. I am prepared to accept the assurance and unless a member of the Seanad were to press me for further consideration of the matter I would be quite satisfied myself to say that this would be all right as it is.

It is not clear what it means.

This definition is referred to in Section 7 of this Bill and it is considered therefore that sub-section (2) should not be repealed even though it has no significance for its original purpose.

I can quite understand why the provisions of sub-section (2) should stand. I cannot understand why you retain the words "in sub-section (1) of this section the expression ‘appropriate number' means." It is purely technical and I am not, of course, going to press the Minister. I am quite sure the parliamentary draftsman has far more experience of this than I have although I am not prepared to accept his infallibility. In any case it is our job here to draw attention to matters of this kind. Although I do not intend to press the Minister, it looks to me to be a mistake. However, this Bill will come before the other House and there will be plenty of opportunities to refer to this amendment.

Perhaps I might be allowed to call the attention of the members of the House who are not on the committee to the fact that this Bill was amended unanimously. There were no differences of any kind on Party lines. We received very great assistance from the Minister when he found there was agreement in preparing the amendments required and we also had particularly useful and impartial assistance from the officials of the Department. Although not perhaps strictly in order, I think the House will agree that it is desirable that that should be said by someone on the committee because there were many technical difficulties in regard to which we received invaluable assistance. Even though it may not contain by any means all the amendments we should like to see, the public should know that this Bill is non-Party and has the general support of the members of the committee.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendments reported and agreed to.
Agreed to take remaining stages now.
Question—"That the Bill be received for final consideration"— put and agreed to.
Question—"That the Bill do now pass"—put and agreed to.
Business suspended at 5.35 p.m. and resumed at 6.45 p.m.