It should be remembered, in the first instance, that the provisions of this section are an improvement on the present law from the point of view of Senator Cox and from the point of view of persons who have certificates of naturalisation. Under the present law, the Minister may revoke at will any certificates of naturalisation. That provision is now very much modified by the sub-section of Section 19, but, if the amendment were accepted, I think it would need considerable re-drafting because, as it stands at present, it would not do.
Under the Bill as we have it here, the Minister may revoke a certificate of naturalisation "if he is satisfied". The court will be called upon to say that he is not satisfied. It is a rather difficult matter. You would want to reframe the whole business, if you are to provide for appeal to the High Court. It seems to me that the general view in all countries that I have been able to make acquaintance with is that the Minister grants a certificate of naturalisation and generally takes it away with no safeguard whatever.
In Section 19, a safeguard is provided by the setting up of a tribunal. Senator Stanford referred to matters of loyalty to the State as being rather vague compared with the crime of treason, but I should like to say that it is not quite for the courts to establish these things and in all the circumstances it would be much better to leave it to the Minister.
There is, of course, some theoretical advantage in giving the person an appeal to the courts, but you give an alien a certain privilege, and I think it is fair that he should be deprived of that privilege by the Minister who gave it to him, subject to certain safeguards; but there is always this, that if he is deprived unjustly, there is always resort to the members of the Dáil and Seanad, because it is ultimately an administrative act which can be challenged in either House. In that way, something could be done about it. I am not sure that the precise circumstances which would surround the removal of a certificate of naturalisation are exactly the kind of circumstances to be dealt with by the courts.
On the whole, it seems to me that the section itself is an improvement upon the present law from the point of view of the holder of a certificate and that it does make substantial advances, and it would not be advisable to take the further step which Senator Cox desires.