An Bille um an Tríú Leasú ar an mBunreacht, 1958—Céim na Tuarascála (Atogáil) agus an Cúigiú Céim. Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1958—Report Stage (Resumed) and Fifth Stage.

D'atógadh an díospóireacht ar an leasú ón Rialtas seo leanas:—
AN SCEIDEAL.
Alt 2.
1. I gCuid I, leathanach 5, roimh alt 2. 3º, fo-alt mar a leanas a chur isteach, is é sin, an fo-alt a scrios an Seanad i gCoiste:—
"2. 1º Is ionadóirí do dháilcheanntraibh comhaltaí Dháil Éireann, agus ní toghfar ach comhalta amháin do gach dáil-cheanntar ar leith";
agus
I gCuid II, leathanach 11, roimh alt 2. 3º, fo-alt mar a leanas a chur isteach, is é sin, an fo-alt a scrios an Seanad i gCoiste:—
"2. 1º Dáil Éireann shall be composed of members who represent constituencies, and one member only shall be returned for each constituency."
Debate resumed on the following Government amendment:—
SCHEDULE.
Section 2.
1. In Part I, page 4, before Section 2. 3º, to insert a sub-section as follows, being the sub-section deleted in Committee by the Seanad:—
"2. 1º Is ionadóirí do dháilcheanntraibh comhaltaí Dháil Éireann, agus ní toghfar ach comhalta amháin do gach dáil-cheanntar ar leith."
and
In Part II, page 10, before section 2, 3º, to insert a sub-section as follows, being the sub-section deleted in Committee by the Seanad:—
"2. 1º Dáil Éireann shall be composed of members who represent constituencies, and one member only shall be returned for each constituency."

In resuming, I should like briefly to sum up a few points. First of all, we have the very compelling fact that all the comparable democracies in Western Europe—comparable with ours in size and, roughly, in population range—have got some form of P.R. as their method of election. I take Denmark, Holland, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden, to mention but a few. All of these are highly successful countries with highly successful Governments, with increasing populations and a rising standard of living. In fact, for years we looked on the achievements of these countries as an example of what we might do.

We find now that the system of election in those countries is being rejected out of hand here with out any impartial inquiry into how it works, and being substituted by the system we can see working so disastrously in our unfortunate Six Counties across the Border. That is a most irresponsible approach by the Government to changing our fundamental electoral system. In those countries I have mentioned, the key-note of government is co-operation; the key-note of the life of those countries is co-operation. We have heard about the wonderful co-operative movement in Denmark, the wonderful co-operative movements in Holland and in the other countries, and we have seen their spectacular success in providing for the British market.

In fact, to our regret, we find we are not competing very successfully with them, and I might go further and say that the form of government in those countries—coalition government—should more properly be called co-operative government. That is the type of government we want here-government by co-operation of all the Parties pulling together for the welfare of the country. Even under the stress of great events, we find that England has been forced to adopt that policy in her major wars, as the only way of getting a co-operative spirit of her people to the task in hand.

Also, we find this catch-cry of multiplicity of the Parties—that P.R. brings a multiplicity of Parties. There could be nothing further from the truth, as seen in these countries which provide the examples, the small countries in Western Europe. Where is the multiplicity of Parties in those countries? They have in Denmark, Sweden and Norway the same number as they had at any time.

As for multiplicity of Parties, could anything be more compelling than the 13 Parties which contested the last election across the border? Surely, that is multiplicity of Parties, fed by the so-called straight vote system? Here we reject the system which has worked so well in Western Europe. It is proposed, in a very irresponsible manner, to substitute here a system which will breed Party and class warfare, which will divide our nation into two groups, the "haves" and the "have-nots". If that is the foundation on which we approach and tackle our grave economic problems in the future, then I say "God help Ireland."

To sum up, we see the evils which are likely to flow from the introduction of the "Belfast system" of voting. These are, first, excessive Government majorities, with an Opposition which would be almost as helpless as the Opposition which is at present in the Six Counties. It has been calculated, and it has not been refuted, that had the last election been conducted under this system, there would be at least 120 to 130 Government Deputies in the House and fewer than 20 Opposition Deputies. Does anyone suggest for a moment that that would be a desirable system of government? Not even the Government themselves at present would desire that, as they say this new system will give the best of everything —a great Government, a great Opposition, a great Labour Party, a great Fine Gael Party, a great Farmers' Party, and so on. They cannot have it every way.

Again, this system, with its excessive Government majorities and weak Opposition, is bound to lead to intolerant and arrogant government. Surely, we have grave reason to fear that, when we see the way in which much of this debate has been received by members of the Government Benches, where it is taken that the debate and the criticism are wrong. In fact, we had a statement from Senator Mullins yesterday referring to "obstructionist tactics", where in effect we were doing our duty in investigating and debating the matter.

It is clear that the Senator did not listen or could not understand my reference to obstructionist tactics.

Again, we find that such intolerance on the part of the Government would lead further to the division of our country. It would lead, as I put it, into the division of the "haves" and the "have-nots". We see that system working badly enough at present in the making of appointments of judges and others; we do not want that intensified and taken further.

Thirdly, it is agreed by all that the period facing us is a critical period in the life of our nation, where a great effort towards economic expansion is called for, where the very economic independence of our nation is at stake. Will we get that effort by dictatorial Government or by co-operative Government? Will we get it by a Government which is arrogant and which dictates, or will we get it by a Government which gives leadership, consultation and reason? I suggest that the latter is what the Irish people wish and that it is the only type of Government for us, where we all pull our weight, where we all put our shoulders to the wheel. That is the only type of government or by co-operative govvival as an independent economic unit.

Fourthly, the proposed change would mean that the electorate would be deprived of all choice of Party candidates. One of the greatest fallacies introduced during this debate has been the fallacy that the change will give improved candidates. Nothing could be further from the truth, as shown by what is happening in England and elsewhere. Here the Party voter would be faced by one candidate only, put up by the Party in the constituency. What is the voter to do? Is he to vote for that candidate or desert the Party? That will be the choice; there will be no other. As it is at present, in Cork City alone, anyone wishing to vote for Fianna Fáil there had a choice at the last election of four candidates; anyone wishing to vote for Fine Gael had a choice of three candidates; anyone wishing to vote Labour had a choice of two. Does anyone suggest that that is not a better system, a system giving more responsibility to the voter, than the system of simply putting X before the candidate given to him by his Party? It is no wonder that under such a system over half the seats in the Six Counties were uncontested in the last election. Is it there we are facing? If it is, let us be fair about it and let the spokesmen for the Bill not claim that this change will give better candidates.

Under the proposed system, it will be far more important that the candidate should acquiesce and keep to the Party line, rather than that he should show ability or be capable of making valuable contributions in Parliament. We have seen that only too recently in the case of Mr. Montgomery Hyde across the Border. Would that happen here under our present system? Clearly, it would not. If the man were rejected by his Party, he could go forward as an Independent or as an independent member of the Party. In fact, on a few occasions we have had independent Party members going forward. We had, for instance, Mr. Maguire in Sligo-Leitrim. The system, therefore, gives to Party members an independence which is denied under the so-called single-vote system. Again, you have the case of Mr. Warnock in the North and of Mr. Nicholson in Britain, to mention but two.

If, as a result of the next election, we get a Government with a very large majority and a weak Opposition we shall ultimately find ourselves with an arrogant and dictatorial Government imposing harsh laws, without having either the co-operation or the understanding of the people. If we reach that position, surely then we are preparing the ground for the ensuing election in which there is bound to emerge a reaction on the part of the people. A Left Wing Party will rise. That Party will have the opportunity of sizing up the situation and laying the plan of campaign to gain power. There is no secret about the methods used to gain power in such circumstances. All a Party has to do is appeal to a section of the voters, a section greater than 50 per cent. of the voters.

In this country there is only one line of cleavage at the moment. That is the cleavage between town and country, between the rural voter and the urban voter. That is the line that any Radical Party will strive to exploit because a rising Radical Party will preach class warfare and will appeal in such a way to the electorate as to arouse class instincts. If rural Ireland remains sound, then that Party will appeal to the urban voter. It will brand the farmers as the culprits, as the people who have let the country down, the people who have not played their part. It will preach the hair-shirt policy for the farmers and it will preach the doctrine of compelling farmers to sell their produce at a price in the cities and towns.

That is the kind of propaganda that will appeal to the misled and underprivileged sections in the cities and towns. Such a Party need gain only 40 per cent. of the votes in city constituencies in the second or third election after this in order to gain control. When that day comes Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will still be fighting each other and the Radicals can rely on them to split the other 60 per cent. of the vote leaving the Radical Party to romp home with 40 per cent. That will give a Government with a majority in Dáil Éireann, a Government which will hold it has a mandate from the people, whereas, in fact, at best, it will have only 40 per cent. of the votes or 60 per cent. of the constituencies. It will have, in fact, about a quarter of the total vote.

That is the stage the Government are setting by their proposal. If a Party is prepared to exploit class welfare, knowing how that has been used in other countries, then by commanding 40 per cent. of the urban vote, or a quarter of the total vote in the country, it can impose its will on the people and claim that it has a mandate from the people to do so.

The Senator is talking about P.R.

Under P.R. such usurpation of power could not possibly take place because, even though one may reduce the proportionality of the system, as we have done here with our three seat constituencies, the basic fact remains that a Government must get at least 46 per cent., 47 per cent. or 48 per cent. of the vote. Consequently, no Government can afford to antagonise either the rural or the urban section of our community. Neither Fianna Fáil nor Fine Gael have ever sought to antagonise sections. That is a good thing. A balanced policy between the two has had to be preserved. If this proposal is adopted, the floodgates will be opened. The stage will be set for any Party ruthless enough to exploit class warfare and impose its will on the people, having got something in the region of 25 per cent. of the votes. That is the greatest condemnation we can offer of the proposed change.

Surely, this should not be described as the "straight" vote. Surely this is not democracy. It is not democracy as it operates in the Six Counties. Neither will it be democracy as it is proposed to operate it here. Calling it the "straight" vote is a misuse of words. I have gone through theEncyclopaedia Britannica and through a number of books dealing with electoral systems. In none have I found a system called the “straight” vote. The usual term used for such a system is the plurality system, the majority system or, as it is called in England very often, the “first-past-the-post” system. These are correct terms. It is somewhat sinister to discover here that no commission has been appointed to investigate and hold an impartial inquiry into the system of voting and, at the same time, a deliberately misleading epithet has been used to describe the system—a term which implies that what is being done is fair and impartial and not something intended to mislead the electorate.

I would appeal for the withdrawal of this incorrect classification. Let the Government face up to the implications of the term they are using. Let them call it the plurality system, or any other system; it is not the "straight" vote. Let the Government be specific and designate it correctly as the "Belfast" system. That describes it exactly. I commend that description to all Parties. I commend it to the people and I appeal to the people not to permit their liberties to be filched away from them by this ill-considered effort to impose on them a system which has operated with such disastrous results in the North.

We are dealing now with the Report and Final Stages of this Bill. Many Senators are anxious to speak and I shall, therefore, be as brief as I possibly can. I join with Senator Hayes in complimenting the Minister on his approach to this matter. He had both the courtesy and the good sense to put forward arguments as to why the sections should be put back into the Bill. The fact that this debate has been more orderly than it was last week is, I think, due in large measure to the good example given by the Minister in his remarks on the Report Stage of the Bill. I think I should attempt to deal with the arguments put forward by the Minister in proposing these amendments. He said the problems facing us necessitate forthright and bold decisions by the Government of the day and that the system most likely to give such a Government would be the system of election proposed as an alternative to our present P.R. system. I think we should, first of all, look at our present system and see if in fact it has failed to give us adequate Governments with sufficient strength to take necessary decisions.

The P.R. system of election has been in existence since the foundation of the State. It is as old and as Irish as it could possibly be. It has been in existence here 37 years—a comparatively short space of time—but, from the foundation of the State, it has been the system of election. Do we find it has produced results where the Dáil has been made unable to elect a Taoiseach, where the Taoiseach has been unable to get a Government accepted by the Dáil; in other words, where there has been deadlock and stalemate? That has not been the case.

We cannot point to any instance where the Dáil has not been able to elect a Taoiseach and where the Taoiseach has been unable to get a Government acceptable to a majority in the Dáil. Do we find that the P.R. system leads to coalition, as is now suggested by Fianna Fáil? Over the past 37 years, as far as I know, we have had an inter-Party Government which Fianna Fáil labelled "Coalition" for six years. For the other 31 years of the 37, there has been a one-Party Government with sufficient majority. Granted they have run into difficulties on occasions. They have had to appeal to the electorate. What is wrong with that? They have had their troubles and have had to go back to the electorate at various times. The result has been that P.R. can be shown to have worked here since the foundation of this State. It has enabled Governments to operate and for only six of the 37 years has there been a Government composed of a group of Parties rather than one single Party.

The second argument the Minister used was that P.R. tended to lead to a multiplicity of Parties. Where is the multiplicity of Parties in the Dáil at the present time? I think there probably has been a tendency to reduce the number of Parties under the P.R. system than the opposite. The Dáil at the moment is composed of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and I suppose you could say Clann na Talmhan—four Parties. There are other Independents but it is admitted that under any system of election you will tend to have Independents. Those four Parties, what one would call main Parties, are supposed to be a multiplicity of Parties—two main Parties and two similar Parties—in the Dáil at the present time. Whether they are big or small, whether they are numerous or few, they are there because they have got sufficient support from the people.

The Minister went on to refer to minorities. He said the only minorities mentioned were religious minorities. I do not think he was quite fair to himself in that respect. The Seanad Reports show quite clearly that more than religious minorities were mentioned in the debates here. I must come back to the point I made on the Second Stage of this Bill that there is a minority Party in the Dáil at the moment. There are a few but the one I am particularly interested in is the Labour Party. It is a minority Party in the sense that it has not anything like the support of Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael.

I believe the minority of the electorate who support the Labour Party have the right to representation. They have had that right since the State was instituted. I must again advance the argument that no majority has a right to take away the rights of the minority. If 51 per cent. of the electorate in this referendum, or 52 per cent., or 60 per cent., decide to take away the rights of representation from a minority, that is no more just than if it were 80 per cent., 90 per cent. or any other percentage. It still is wrong to take away the rights of minorities. They have been written into the Constitution. Indeed, it can be said that the whole Constitution is built on the framework of P.R. and the rights of minorities. It is quite wrong and an injustice to attempt to deprive those minorities of their rights of representation in Dáil Éireann.

Let me bring the argument nearer home to the Minister. He was elected in Cork City. There, in Cork City, as I pointed out before, you have three Fianna Fáil Deputies, one Fine Gael Deputy and one Labour Deputy. Of the first preference votes cast in the last general election in Cork City Fianna Fáil got 21,000-odd, Fine Gael got 11,000 and Labour got 6,000-odd. The result is a fair and proportional result. It has meant that you have three Fianna Fáil Deputies representing Cork City, one Fine Gael Deputy and one Labour Deputy. Does anybody think it right that the system should be changed with the result that the 6,000 voters in Cork, the 6,000 Labour supporters, should be deprived of representation in Dáil Éireann and that instead of three Fianna Fáil Deputies one Fine Gael Deputy and one Labour Deputy in Dáil Éireann representing Cork City you should have five Fianna Fáil Deputies? That is what the Government propose and that is what they are aiming for. I still say that is not right or just.

There are other minority Parties, minority groups—Clann na Talmhan and Sinn Féin, even though that latter Party is not represented in Dáil Éireann. These are minorities. Under our present system of election, these are entitled, if they get sufficient support from the electorate, to have their people representing them in Dáil Éireann. I agree and accept that if the working of that system meant that government was impossible or resulted in the rights of the majority being interfered with, it would be just to rearrange the system so as to prevent that from happening. In fact, as I have shown, P.R. has enabled government to take place and to continue in the State since its foundation. It has worked in the Republic of Ireland.

The Minister went on to say—here he joins me in my abysmal innocence, as the Leader of the House put it— that the main streams of political division in this country were largely based on the Treaty. When I used that argument, Senator Mullins corrected me and produced a mass of figures to show the support which he alleged the Republican Party obtained in 1922 and how that support has varied since. I accept his figures as being correct, but there is a very unfortunate inference from those figures. I shall not attempt to develop that point, but I do say that it is a shocking thing that we have had these troubles if, as Senator Mullins says, the support was so small at that time.

No matter that what Senator Mullins may say, the tendency in families which took one side or the other in the Civil War is to continue to take the side of Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael as year follows year. The Minister said that that tendency is dying out, that people are forgetting that clear-cut division—those may not be his exact words—and that new groups can emerge under P.R. which can secure representation in government. What is so terrible about that? It should be the wish of all, if we are really sincere in desiring that the divisions of the Civil War should be forgotten, that the main Parties should not continue to be divided on the historic basis of the Civil War, that new groups should emerge and that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael should forget their old division and unite for the good of the country.

I should like to see that happening, not alone for the good of the country, but because it would be for the good of the Labour Party. Ever since the Civil War, the Labour Party has been between the two main forces. It is to the credit of the Labour Party that it has been able to preserve its independence, that it was able to form an Opposition in Dáil Éireann immediately after the Civil War, that it was able to maintain parliamentary government so that Fianna Fáil, in their own good time, could enter the Dáil and eventually become the Government.

Let us at some stage in our development get away from that historic division. If, as the Minister says, P.R. can result in those divisions being forgotten, in new groups emerging, that is a very good argument for the retention of P.R. in our Constitution as the system of election to Dáil Éireann.

All that could be said on this stage has been said on Second Reading and repeated on Committee Stage. In re-inserting this section, we are restoring thestatus quo. This Section 2 is of the very essence of the Bill. It enshrines the principle of the Bill which was accepted by the Seanad on Second Reading. The Opposition can be charged with inconsistency, if having passed the Second Reading, they then try to tear to pieces the Bill as passed on Second Reading.

Senator Quinlan suggests that under the straight vote system, a candidate must be accepted and that no other candidate can present himself for election. I think that is a correct interpretation of what the Senator said. What is to prevent a person who thinks he has sufficient support in a constituency from presenting himself for election? The Senator referred to the case of Mr. Montgomery Hyde in Northern Ireland and suggested that what has happened in that case would not happen under the system of P.R. Does Senator Quinlan not know very well that Mr. Hyde has offered himself as a candidate, in spite of the fact that he has been rejected by his Party? What is there to prevent any person who has been rejected by his Party from going forward as an Independent supporting that Party or as an absolute Independent? There is nothing in the straight vote system to prevent him from going forward for election or to prevent him from being elected, except the voice of the people. Senator Quinlan knows that very well.

Senator Quinlan has referred to the Belfast system. Last week, it was referred to as the British system. It is not referred to as the American system. That would not do. It is more useful to call it the Belfast system. The fact has not been mentioned that, in spite of the gerrymandering that has taken place in the Six Counties, a large number of people who are entirely opposed to the Government there have been elected from time to time and continue to be elected. They are not being wiped out, in spite of all the gerrymandering that has taken place there. The catchcry is used that all others will be wiped out here, except Fianna Fáil. Surely Senator Quinlan or anyone else who makes that allegation does not anticipate that there will be the same system of gerrymandering here as there has been in the North?

It has been suggested that a better type of representative will not be obtained under the straight vote system. I maintain that there certainly will. When, under the proposed new system, a candidate is elected by a small constituency as the sole representative for that constituency, the people will very soon evaluate his worth and in a following election, it is they who will select and elect the candidate. It is the people who will decide whether that candidate is good enough or whether he should be rejected for a better man. There is nothing wrong in asking the people for their verdict, in asking them to select and elect the man who, they think, is the best representative for their area.

I agree with Senator Murphy that the tone of the debate on the Report Stage of this Bill has greatly improved. I was horrified by the behaviour of the Minister for External Affairs here on the Committee Stage of the Bill. Beyond that I shall not go, but I do think the Minister for External Affairs did not help towards a dispassionate and constructive debate on the Bill. Indeed, it struck me that if the current rumours are correct that the Taoiseach's cloak is to fall upon the Minister for External Affairs, it would indeed be a very bad day for the Government and the Fianna Fáil Party.

The Minister for Education was obviously in a chastened mood yesterday afternoon when he was addressing the House on these amendments. He felt that there was not much point in saying anything; that the people were not open to persuasion. It was a pitiable condition in which to find a Minister of the Fianna Fáil Government, that he really did not feel like saying anything, but that he had to say it. It is something of a change. Indeed, it may merely be a prelude to a change in the country when they come to bring this referendum to the people. They may find that when they have talked to the people, they will be just as dispirited and dejected as the Minister for Education was yesterday evening.

A curious line of argument that has been introduced in the debate on this stage of the Bill by the speakers on the Government Bench is that people who are in opposition to them are all conspiring, are all in a huddle, to bring about the defeat of this measure. I am glad to know that that is not so, but the idea that the unity of thought among Parties and the Independents here suggests there has been some such conspiracy is the type of thing with which, perhaps, Fianna Fáil members would be more familiar than people on this side of the House.

The same theme was taken up by Senator Mullins when he referred to certain statements published in theIrish Independent which had been made by me at some meetings prior to the Second Stage. At column 288 of the Official Report, Senator Mullins was moved to say:—

"I was interested, again, in Senator O'Quigley and, remarkably so, in the leading article of the Fine Gael daily newspaper which, in almost the same words, had the same idea."

Then he went on to quote it. Then he continued:—

"And this Fine Gael daily organ, a few days later, came out in almost the same words—Senator O'Quigley must have inspired them or they him; I do not know which—with the same proposition."

The idea apparently is that because this leader writer, whoever he is, and I seem to have the same idea, there must be some kind of conspiracy. It does not occur to him or the members of Fianna Fáil that people thinking independently on a problem can have the same views. They apparently have experience only of people having the same view when it has been laid down for them from the top.

I was extremely interest and amused to read in no less a paper than theIrish Press some extracts from the Pastoral of His Eminence Cardinal D'Alton which deals with the Ecumenical Council. The Cardinal was talking about the purposes of the Ecumenical Council, and dealing with the history of the schism out of which the Ecumenical Council arises. Among other things he referred to the principle of cujus regio eius religio in the Peace Treaty of Westphalia. On the Second Reading, I had pointed to the impossibility of people being moulded into the strait-jacket of two Parties; that there were already Parties in this country and that these Parties represented the amalgamation of the views of different sections of the community and that history should teach Fianna Fáil that you cannot compel the people to form themselves into two blocs. History was all against it. I cited, as one of the things in history, the failure of the Peace Treaty of Westphalia and the principle of cujus regio eius religio. I wonder whether Senator Mullins thinks that Cardinal D'Alton and I were in a huddle on this aspect of history?

Yesterday the Minister for Education came along with what has now apparently become a scientific principle among Fianna Fáil speakers— that P.R. leads to a multiplicity of Parties; that a multiplicity of Parties leads to coalitions; and that coalitions leads to instability of government. The Taoiseach was on the same subject many times both in the Dáil and in the Seanad and spoke about the political issues which divided this country when P.R. was first introduced. He is reported at column 254, Volume 50, of the Seanad Debates as saying:—

"We all know there were issues here which divided the country into two major Parties. As long as that was so and there was no public support of any kind for the smaller Parties, they found it very difficult to operate and had not operated to any extent."

I shall not deal with that. At the moment, we have about the same number of Parties as we had since 1923. In spite of the big political issues which divided the people in 1922 and from then onwards, some people in this country thought that political Parties based solely upon political division were not good enough. From a very early stage, we had smaller Parties and we have not really got any more effective smaller Parties at the present time than we had in 1922 and 1923.

In the 1923 election—and I am relying for my figures on the figures given in the book by Dr. Ross,The Irish Election System—there were four major Parties—Republican, Cumann na nGaedheal, Labour, Farmers and minor Parties. In 1927, there were five Parties and this, mind you, at a time when there were supposed to be big political divisions which resulted in fair stability of government and the P.R. system worked. We had as many Parties in 1927 contesting the election as we have at the present time. We had Fianna Fáil, Cumann na nGaedheal, Farmers, National League and minor Parties, who got seven out of the 152 seats. In the second election in 1927, there were again five major Parties and a number of minor Parties who, between them, got only one seat. In 1932, we had Fianna Fáil, Cumann na nGaedheal, Labour, Farmers and minor Parties who got no seat. In 1933, we had still four Parties, Fianna Fáil, Cumann na nGaedheal, Labour and the Centre Party who had 11 seats, Labour having nine. In 1937, we had four Parties—Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and Farmers. In 1938, we had the same situation. In 1943, we had five Parties—Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour, Farmers and Clann na Talmhan. To come up to the present time, in 1957, we had Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour, two Independent Farmers, Clann na Talmhan, and Clann na Poblachta— with one seat—which may not be regarded as a Party, so that in reality you have about the same numbers of Parties now as you had in 1923. Therefore, it is not true to say that as long as there were big issues dividing the country, there were no small Parties. In fact, there were many small Parties, and small Parties apparently will persist in this country because the people want them.

The extraordinary thing about it is that with all that experience, and with the knowledge that these different Parties were presenting themselves for election at all elections from 1923 to 1937, the Taoiseach, at that stage, did not seem to think that P.R. was such a bad thing and did not leave the Constitution in such a way as would enable P.R. to be dealt with to meet changing circumstances. More extraordinary still—and we have pointed this out before, but it is necessary to repeat it— is that from 1937 to the present time, with the exception of Deputy MacEntee as Minister for Local Government in 1947, and the Taoiseach at election times and for a particular purpose, not a single member of the Fianna Fáil Party, or any political theorist in this country, saw that there was anything wrong with the P.R. system.

The Minister for Health has as great facility for unearthing all kinds of quotations about all classes of people. He would have made a great researcher into history or a great biographer but he has not been able, with the one exception of the quotation from his speech on the Constituencies Bill in 1947, to produce another quotation from himself, or from any other Fianna Fáil speaker, in the same vein. It is very little wonder, at this stage, that people should ask themselves why it is sought to introduce the single member constituency and to abolish P.R. One thing we can be certain of at the present time, and one thing that is a legal fact, is that the Constitution, the law, at the moment provides for P.R. and for the multi-member constituency, and that represents the will of the people until it is changed.

That cannot be controverted and, what is more, the people have given, as recently as 1954, expression to their will in the election results of that year. They had the experience of 1948 and from 1948 until 1954, a period of six years, they had continuous condemnation of Coalition Governments by every member of Fianna Fáil in the Dáil and in the Seanad, at Party meetings all over the country, and in daily issues of theIrish Press. There was a continuous condemnation of the so-called, supposed evils of Coalition Governments and, in 1954, the people were sternly warned by the Taoiseach of the gloom and disaster that would follow if Fianna Fáil were not returned with an over-all majority. In spite of that intensive and well-organised propaganda over a period of six years, and in spite of the warnings issued to them by Fianna Fáil speakers at all elections, the people decided in 1954 that Coalition Government was the form of Government which they wanted. They voted for it and they got it. I do not know what could be a clearer indication of the will of the people than what is contained in the Constitution, and in what I might call the latest ratification of the Constitution in the 1954 election.

The Taoiseach speaking at Mullingar, as reported in theIrish Press of Monday last, 16th March, stated that “the straight vote system made for unity and a coming together. The P.R. system made for disunity and dispersion”. I want to weigh these words against what he had to say on Second Reading of the Bill. Having referred to the divisions which kept people apart, in column 254, of Volume 50, he went on to say:—

"It is different when the aims and objects which divided the major Parties are no longer there."

In other words, P.R. has produced what he says the straight vote system produces, unity and a coming together. It is there already. What the Taoiseach wishes to do is to create disunity and dispersion by introducing the straight vote system. He then continued:—

"One of the reasons we did not have the evils stemming from P.R. which were to be seen in other countries was that the divisions were so sharp that they prevented the development of small Parties, which leads to Coalition Governments.

"Again, the war kept us fairly well together, but immediately after the war we were obviously entering into a new phase in which the antagonisms—I do not like to call them that, but I may as well use the word here—which divided us into two main Parties were disappearing."

The Taoiseach is right that the old antagonisms of 1922 are not still there to keep the people apart so that he and his Party can be identified as the great republicans and the rest as substandard republicans. He added:—

"When these disappeared, you were going to have, as a normal feature, the growth of a lot of artificially-created Parties, splinter Parties, and so on."

We have Senator Lahiffe saying that the people will judge. The people know what they want and, if the people know what they want, the people are intelligent and, of course, they will not support the artificial or splinter Parties which the Taoiseach says P.R. leads to. If the Taoiseach is really sincere in saying that the people are intelligent, then intelligent people will not be voting for Parties which will make organised government quite impossible, but it seems to me that the Taoiseach, in spite of all his professions of regard for the intelligence of the people, has not got the regard which he says he has.

The debate on this Bill has been characterised by one thing more than another, by the sweeping assertions made by members of Fianna Fáil of what they say are facts but which upon investigation and upon being challenged, do not stand up to investigation. We had the Minister for External Affairs stating that there are three countries in Europe where the whole country is turned into one constituency for the purpose of P.R. I have asked the Minister for External Affairs, and have asked the Minister for Education to-day through you, a Chathaoirligh, which are the three countries in Western Europe that conduct their elections under P.R. on the basis that each country is a whole constituency. I do not know which countries they are and I should like to be informed. If that is the kind of "factual" information that Fianna Fáil speakers will give the people when they begin to talk upon this referendum, I can well see the need for Senator Quinlan's plea for a commission that would, at least, establish and set beyond dispute the facts relevant to P.R. in this country, and in the other countries where it is operated.

Would the Senator mind giving the exact quotation from the Minister for External Affairs in regard to the matter he has just mentioned?

I am afraid I may not have the words here but I have no doubt at all in my mind, as I have read it several times, that the Minister made the statement, and I shall find it later. Perhaps some other speaker will mention it, if that will meet the wishes of the Seanad, but the Senator may rest assured the Minister made the statement.

We have had criticism of the Danish, the Dutch and Finnish Governments but there are many people who, as Senator Quinlan has said, would wish that our economy was as buoyant and our people as well off materially as the people who live in those countries. We know the single member constituency system has operated in Britain. Yesterday the Minister for Education quoted that authoritative journal,Time, on Coalition Governments in a number of countries but I want to commend to the Minister the issue of The Economist of 29th January this year where he will find that journal is entirely dissatisfied with the position under the single member constituency system, and where it is stated that five-sixths of the seats are safe seats and that generally a large proportion of them are uncontested.

We also know from quotations read by Senator Quinlan from a review in last Sunday'sSunday Times that there is a large body of opinion in Britain which is becoming concerned about the abuses which the single member constituency is leading to in Britain. It is quite useless for Senator Lahiffe to say that if a person is a member of a political Party and is not put forward for election under the new system he can always go up as an Independent. They have had that option in Britain and a case occurred recently in Southend where one candidate put up was a son of a former holder of the seat. Another person was minded to stand for the constituency and the local Party wanted him to stand but headquarters, the Party bosses about whom we have been talking, would not sanction the man the local people wanted. The local people then had the option of supporting the person nominated by the Party bosses or putting up their own local man. If they did that, what would happen was perfectly clear. The seat would have gone to neither of them but to the Labour Party. That situation would arise here in a constituency where, say, Fianna Fáil had a candidate, a sitting member, who wished to offer himself for election. If the local people wanted him and headquarters wanted to nominate somebody else, all the supporters of Fianna Fáil would want to support the Party and because of their allegiance to it they would not feel like overriding the wishes of the Party bosses. If they did, it would mean that the Party would be injured and that neither the Party bosses' nominee nor the local nominee would be elected.

That is the practical difficulty that arises in the single member constituency. Senator Lahiffe must be extremely untutored in Party political matters if he does not realise that this situation will be created and that in effect it means under the system proposed in this Bill a candidate can be foisted on a constituency whom the constituency does not want. That is one the abuses which can arise from the single member constituency, one which has occurred in Britain and which has given rise to increasing anxiety among thinking people there. We are now being asked to adopt a system that is not working out so well in Britain and we may find ourselves in the ironic situation, as has happened in other instances, that in 20 years or less Britain will have gone over to the single member constituency with the transferable vote or some form of P.R. and we will have the British system enshrined in our Constitution and we will be quite unable to get rid of it.

There seems to be a fundamental difference between the Fianna Fáil Party and the rest of the country on the purpose of the Dáil. I have always understood that elections were for the purpose of electing members to the Dáil, and that the purpose of the Dáil was that it should represent the people and be the master of the Government. Apparently that is not the view of the Taoiseach or of the Fianna Fáil Party. The Taoiseach as reported at column 871 of the Seanad Debates, Volume 50, said:

"Now, let us go from Parliament to Government. It is true that the Dáil is the father, so to speak, of the Government. It creates the Government; it brings it into being by nominating the Taoiseach and by supporting by its consent the Government which is chosen by him. Which is first? In order of time, undoubtedly, the Parliament comes first, but the fact is that once the Government is selected, the Government is the main-spring of action; every member of the Government is engaged whole-time on the job of endeavouring to get action taken in the public interest. It is the main-spring of political action in the Parliament. It prepares the programmes within the general programme of the Party to which it belongs and which has been accepted by the country and by virtue of which they get into office.

"Therefore, when we talk of Parliament and try to put it in contrast with Government, we must admit that, in the end, it is the Government that counts most."

I do not at all agree with that nor do the people of the country agree with it because that is not what is in the Constitution. The Constitution provides, in Article 28, that the Government shall be answerable to the Dáil and if somebody is answerable to me that means I am the master. They are responsible to me and I am the boss. Our system of parliamentary institutions and the whole system of government is so constructed that no organ of government can ever become too strong. The Government are kept in check by the Dáil and are answerable to the Dáil from day to day, in their annual Estimates and in regard to all their legislation. The Dáil is kept in check by the Constitution and the courts which are under obligation to see that the Constitution is upheld and that none of its provisions is transgressed.

Under the straight vote system I do not understand how, if you have a Government with an overwhelming majority in the Dáil, much bigger than it is at present, it can be said that the Government are answerable to the Dáil. That, apparently, is not what the Fianna Fáil Party think should be the position. The Fianna Fáil Party want the Government to discuss its programmers, not in the Dáil or subject to the approval of the Dáil, but in the Party rooms. We have heard that stated here, that the Government should get agreement from its supporters in the Dáil to the proposals which it intends to enact as legislation or execute as Government schemes, that then it should come into the Dáil and that the Dáil should be merely a rubber stamp which would cloth its actions with the appropriate legal authority. If that is the conception of parliamentary democracy which Fianna Fáil have, it is not the conception which is embodied in the framework of our Constitution. If we reach the stage where we have one Party with a preponderance of support in the Dáil, then the Government are answerable only to themselves. The Party will do whatever the Government tell them, and being answerable to the Party is only putting a gloss on what, in effect, will be dictatorship by the Government. We have had reference to the experience of elections in countries where there is only a single Party. If Fianna Fáil fare as well as they expect under this new system they want to impose on the country, in my opinion, there will be very little difference between the kind of control exercised in Dáil Éireann and the kind of control in countries like Hungary, Roumania, Czechoslovakia and Russia.

We are being asked here to-day to reverse our decision of the other day and to re-insert the two clauses, one prescribing single seat constituencies and the other prescribing the single non-transferable vote. We, in our wisdom, decided to remove those two, and we are now being asked to change our minds and put them back in again.

Listening to the Minister for Education yesterday, I was suddenly filled with a wild surmise because I heard him say—not with very great hope, but still he did express the hope—that some of us at least in the Seanad might be open to persuasion in this matter. As I say, he did not appear very optimistic, but he expressed the wish, at any rate, that we should be open to persuasion. It occurred to me that he would not say that, unless he himself were open to persuasion. He would hardly come in here and tell us that we were worthy of reproach because we had already made up our minds, if he himself were in the same position. My wild surmise therefore is that he must still be open to persuasion.

I think that is very gratifying and I should like to picture our persuading him here—perhaps we have already done so and possibly he has changed his mind—because he has here to-day the power and authority to withdraw these two amendments to re-insert the clauses. We know that political Parties are entirely democratic, and once they give power like that to a Minister, he would not in any way incur reproach. I can imagine the scene at the Cabinet meeting. The Minister goes back and says: "I was persuaded by the Seanad. Their reasons were so good and cogent, and I was as open to persuasion as any of them were. So I changed my mind, and said I felt that we should withdraw these amendments, and so I withdrew them." I can imagine the Taoiseach putting his hand on the Minister's shoulder and saying: "My boy, you did well, and acted in the best traditions of a democratic Party, where everybody is free to have an opinion differing from the Party line, if they feel, in their own conscience, that they must act in that way. Therefore, I feel you were quite right to allow yourself to be persuaded." It is in the hope, therefore, that we may be able to persuade the Minister to withdraw these amendments that I should like to advert to some points that, admittedly, have been covered many times, but I shall try not to be too long in doing so.

The first point is one which received a certain amount of special discussion on Committee Stage: the size of the constituencies. We are being asked to have single seat constituencies brought back. It was revealed for the first time by the Minister for External Affairs on Committee Stage that the constituencies under this Bill will vary considerably in size and population. I myself had hoped, owing to the terms of Section 4, sub-section 2, which says "that the population of each constituency ... shall... be the same throughout the country", that perhaps they would be the same, and that the escape clause which is also in that section, "so far as it is practicable" would not be abused, and that the variation in size and population would be very small, since, in fact, the words are "the population in each constituency... shall, so far as it is practicable, be the same throughout the country." But the Minister for External Affairs not only refused to accept an amendment which would permit a variation of not more than 500 either way, but was unable to say, when challenged by me, whether that variation might be bigger even than 5,000, or 6,000.

Now, the total minimum population in these constituencies we are proposing will be 20,000. If the Minister is unable to say whether the variation may or may not be bigger than 5,000 or 6,000, then I am afraid we shall have constituencies which will vary very considerably in size, and far more than the phrase in sub-section 2, Section 4, would lead one to think, when it claims that the population of each constituency shall be the same throughout the country.

I am afraid that is a matter for a later stage.

I shall pass to another point, and that is, a certain sense of dismay which was placed in my mind by one of the things Senator Mullins said. He was challenged by members of Fine Gael, whom he had just told that they, too, could get into power under this new system, and he said they could do so "by telling the people the truth." The implication of that is that if the electorate knew the truth, they would elect Fine Gael to power! I do not accept that implication, and I was a little dismayed that it should come from Senator Mullins. I am sure he said it quite sincerely. I do not accept the view that all you have to do is tell the people the truth and Fine Gael will be elected. I do not think they would have any more chance than Fianna Fáil, if the people knew the full truth.

Let the Senator tell us what the truth is.

I might tell the Minister that I spend a good deal of my time endeavouring to tell the people and the Seanad the truth as I see it, but at the moment I am concerned with the two amendments the Minister is asking us to pass.

We are asked to abolish the multiple seat constituency and to substitute for it the single seat constituency. On that point, I should like to state my conviction that by the multiple seat constituency, you get far more effective national representatives of the electors —representatives in the Dáil who are closer to the opinions and desires of the voters than by the single seat contituency. That applies even to three seat constituencies which, in my opinion, are not as good as five or seven seat constituencies. I think you get at the national level far more effective representation by a team of people with a variety of views than by just one person. Furthermore, I believe that you get far more effective local representation by a team of several T.D.s than by just one person of one Party. I believe, therefore, that in matters of local concern and of national concern, it is of great value to the voter to be able to approach a variety of people representing his constituency in Parliament.

It is very good for a Government T.D. to know that if he does not take action on a particular point, of either national or local interest, his fellow T.D.s for the same constituency will be approached, and are being approached, by those concerned about a particular issue, be it national or local. It is very easy for a T.D. to become lazy if he is the only representative for a constituency, and that applies just as much to an Opposition T.D. as to a Government T.D. If they know there are others representing the same body of voters, being briefed about the same matters, either national or local, they will be more likely to be kept up to the mark. That seems to me to constitute a worthwhile rivalry between T.D.s representing the same constituency, and it is one of the most valuable aspects of our present system. Therefore, I am strongly opposed to bringing back the single seat constituency, and I believe the effects of such a change would be perceptible reasonably soon in a slackening of activity on the part of T.D.s who felt themselves without local rivalry in Parliament.

Another point which seems to me to be of major importance, and which I have not heard being really effectively countered, is one to which I might ask the Minister to devote his mind. The point is this, if you have simply the right to mark an X against one candidate, as opposed to the right to have a transferable vote saying: "I would like candidate B. best, but if I cannot have him, I would like candidate C., or if I cannot have him, I would like candidate P. or Q.", one major effect, in my opinion, of insisting upon the voter just voting once and expressing no further choice is that the power of the voter is reduced. I do not think that that can be controverted.

Under the non-transferable vote, the power of the voter to express his opinions, his desires and his choice, and to give a full expression to those, is reduced. If you say: "You cannot express any choice or any variation, you cannot have a second, third or fourth preference but you must just put X against one candidate; that is all you can do," it may be defended on the grounds that it is a good thing to clip the wings of the voter. I do not think that that is a good thing. I think the more power you give the voter, the better; and let the representatives realise that they are pretty closely answerable to the voters. Any measure for clipping the wings of the voter, or cutting down his power to express a coherent choice is, in my opinion, a betrayal of the democracy which we now have. That power is clearly reduced if you simply say to the voter: "You can plump for one candidate and that is all."

Senator Mullins made a point yesterday in answer to something I had said in regard to the type of candidate who would be approved by the Parties. I said that the favourite type of candidate would be the good, docile, meekly obedient candidate, the sane and safe candidate, the mediocre candidate. The Senator said that perhaps I and others did not know how candidates were chosen, by the Partly convention, and so on. He failed to answer the point that the Party convention at present chooses three, or four, or five candidates for one constituency, but leaves the final choice to the voter and that under the single seat constituency, the final choice will be in the hands of the Party convention, the Party bosses, or the Party administration, but it will certainly not be left to the voter. To-day the final choice as between members of the same Party in one constituency is left to the voter. If we abolish the transferable vote, that final choice will be left to the Party. It will be left to the Party convention or the Party executive. That will not be as good as the present system for it represents a transfer of a section of power from the voter to the Party, and that is certainly a bad thing. I have not seen that point answered.

Fianna Fáil are worried about coalitions, and the possibilities of coalitions, little Parties exerting pressure upon big Parties, and a whole lot of little Parties ganging up to throw Fianna Fáil out of power. I have already admitted that there is a measure of justification for that concern, but I have asked Fianna Fáil to look into their own hearts with a little humility and to ask themselves whether there is anything in themselves, or in their policy, that after 16 years of power, might have led the people into wanting to see them thrown out. I should like to suggest that what needs changing is not the multi seat constituency, or the transferable vote, but the range of policies put before the country. People are befuddled by fake differences of policy. The policy put before the people by most of the big Parties is the same: a class society based on a system of privilege and poverty side by side. It is only the personnel which is different, and the people can see little difference between the Parties. It does not matter much whether you have an inter-Party Government or a Fianna Fáil Government. You get the same thing, and you are going to get the same thing, whether you change the electoral system or not, so long as the people are kept in ignorance.

I should now like to ask the Minister to put this question to himself and to the Seanad: supposing Cumann na nGaedheal in 1925 or 1926 had decided to abolish P.R. with the single transferable vote, does he in all conscience believe that the Republican Party would have welcomed that change? If Cumann na nGaedheal had said: "We are going to change the electoral system for the good of the country; we are going to have the single seat constituency and abolish the transferable vote", does he really think the Republican supporters at that time would have welcomed it? Does he not know that there would have been a major outcry that this was a denial of democracy and designed to keep the Cumann na nGaedheal Party in office?

It would hardly have arisen. They could only command 30 per cent. of the votes in 1927.

In 1927, the Minister's Party swallowed a nonexistent oath and got into the Parliament, but not into power. It took them another five years of going before the electorate before they got into power and the Minister believes that Cumann na nGaedheal at the time, commanded only 30 per cent. of the votes——

That is a fact, not a belief.

——of the electorate. He forgets that there were other Parties and Independents who were supporting Cumann na nGaedheal and it might well have happened that the single seat constituency system would have favoured a Party, even though it could not command a clear majority in each constituency and could so split the Republican Opposition that it could get into power, just as Fianna Fáil now want to split the anti-Fianna Fáil opposition in order to maintain themselves in power, whether or not they have a majority. That is the main point of having single seat constituencies. If such a change had been suggested in 1926-27, there would have been an outcry against it, as representing a major betrayal of democracy.

The system we have had so far— and it was built up by all the Parties —is a system of which we have every right to be proud. It has given us Parliaments, not all the actions of which I personally would approve, but surely we can claim that we have had democratic government in Ireland since 1922. One could argue about whether or not Fianna Fáil should have come into the Parliament in 1922. Personally, I think they should have recognised a bit earlier than they did their duty to do that. One could argue about that, but I do not think one can argue as to whether we have had democratic Government or not. We have had keen and wide parliamentary discussions and free elections. This system which we have developed and worked to build has set a headline to the world, and I am unimpressed by Senators like Senator Lenihan who tell us there are only one or two other countries that have it. So what? Surely we can lead the world in something. Surely we do not have to go tagging after dozens of other countries in this respect. This system which we have worked for a great number of years has produced free elections and democratic government in times of peace, and in times of war abroad and the maintenance of our neutrality here.

If we have had Governments with which we have had reason to be dissatisfied, it is not the fault of the electoral system, and to think so is ridiculous. A very limited choice is frequently put before the people, but at least the electors under P.R. have the right to express a graded choice. The system is progressive and intelligent. It is a finely adjusted electoral machine, which is both sensitive and sturdy, in the taking of a discriminating consultation with the people. I hold, consequently, that this multiple seat system of P.R. with the single transferable vote is good, because for one constituency you get several representatives of various political shades. It is good because the voter is not forced to vote only for his fourth, fifth or sixth choice, so as not to waste his vote. He can express his first, second, third choice, and so on, which enables our Parliament to reflect the true pattern of our political thought, or thoughtlessness, if that is the case.

That is the point about P.R. as we know it: the true position is reflected, not created. If you have a multiplicity of Parties in Ireland, that situation is not created by the electoral system; it is revealed, and if it is the case, we ought to know it. If there are existing differences or varying shades of political thought, we ought to be proud of the system that reveals and does not smother them.

It is a good system, again, because the final discriminating power as between Party and Party, as between candidate and candidate in the same Party, is left in the hands of the voter. I fail to see why that is considered highly dangerous.

It is a good system, finally, because the Government under it are not so stable that they cannot be shifted, no matter what they do or what they fail to do, as was the case with the British Government between 1931 and 1940. It took Dunkirk and Narvik to shift them. That kind of stability is not good. In Britain, it led the country to the brink of disaster because they could not shift the Government, they were so firmly entrenched and had such colossal stability, admittedly, but very little else to recommend them. It is not a good thing to have a Government so stable that no matter what they do or fail to do, they cannot be shifted. I am not convinced by this argument on the virtue of steering a ship with its anchor.

If, then, we are now shamefully, or shall I say shamelessly, to abandon this system of ours, of which we have every reason to be proud, this abandonment will represent a major retrogressive step. The results of this retrogressive step may not become immediately apparent, the reason being that there is a lack of real difference now between Party policies, but in the future, if we throw away this fine, progressive and well-balanced electoral machine, we shall all learn to regret it, and, I believe, to regret it bitterly.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senator Tunney.

Before Senator Tunney speaks, may I remind the House that we expressed the hope here last night that we would conclude all stages of this Bill around one o'clock, of course, giving the Minister an opportunity to reply to the debate?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I take it the House has no desire to prevent anyone from expressing his views on the subject. Could we get any indication as to how many Senators wish to speak?

My speech will take only five minutes.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senator Tunney has been called. He is all right. Is there anybody else?

Senators L'Estrange and Lenihan rose.

I suppose the Minister needs half an hour.

If possible, but I could squeeze what I have to say into less.

I suggest the Minister be called on not later than 12.45 p.m.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

There are three speeches to be made in that time and I hope Senators will take note of the fact.

I would not have spoken at all were it not for a remark made by Senator Mullins, a gentleman for whom I have great regard. However, he used the word "satellite" which I resent very much because I want to assure him and every other Senator that I am the most independent man who ever stood within a council chamber or this House, and that I would not support anybody if I did not think he was doing what was right.

I am very disappointed that these amendments should be forced back on this House. As a member of the Oireachtas for almost a quarter of a century, I want to say that there is no Bill that has ever come before this House that has received the same consideration, in a friendly and good humoured way, with every point threshed out. The Government Party should realise that we on this side of the House are expressing the views of the people and that this is the most representative, vocational Seanad that could be in existence. You have the commercial view, the farming view, the labour view and, in fact, every view. You have also the university view. The six elected representatives of the universities are not tied up with any political Party. On the election of the Cathaoirleach, they voted three and three and nobody can say they belong to Fine Gael or any other "Gael". That showed a very independent type of vote. Those people are elected by about 22,000 voters who must belong to an educational or other panel. They are united in their demand that the Government should not proceed with this measure.

On the other hand, you have the commercial interests. On this side of the House, you have labour interests, farming interests, commercial interests and all are united. I want to say in all sincerity to the Taoiseach that if he is not prepared to take notice of such clear-cut and united statements of opinion from such diverse people, instead of setting up a commission to revise the constituencies, he should abolish the Seanad. It is an insult to the Seanad if, when views are expressed so clearly, the Taoiseach will not accept them. When the Minister is replying, if he does not agree that the Seanad should be abolished, will he at least tell me what the Seanad is here for, because, as I said, the Bill has been discussed at length and strong points of view have been put forward? I go further and say I believe there are Senators on my right who, if they were free to express their opinions, would express them in a similar manner.

First and foremost, there was no demand for this change. Senator Mullins spoke here yesterday evening. He was in very good humour and he was very interesting to listen to. He put a bad case very well when he talked about the danger of dictatorship. I shall go so far as to say that we have got it—it is here. It is the nearest thing in the world to dictatorship. The fact is that nobody wanted this change. Not one Fianna Fáil cumann throughout the country sent in a resolution that they wanted it. Not one county council, not one district council asked for this change. Not one farmers' organisation or one branch of Muintir na Tíre asked for the change. No one but the Taoiseach himself wants it. The Taoiseach said he wanted it and the Cabinet agreed and each member of the Fianna Fáil Party and each Fianna Fáil member of the Oireachtas has to vote for it or he will be expelled from the Party. Is not that purely and simply the case? If that is not dictatorship, I do not know what is. That is my honest point of view.

The Taoiseach should have respect for the views of the members of the Oireachtas because, after all, he is not Taoiseach for any one section of the people; he represents all the people. When we hear this cry that it will go back to the people for their decision, we must remember that at another time the people gave a decision and it was not respected. So far as bringing back these amendments to this House is concerned, a very clear and decisive decision has already been reached here and I am very disappointed that the Taoiseach has not taken notice of that decision. As I said at the outset, there are no satellites in the Seanad. There are some men on this side of the House to whom I have not even spoken and yet we are all united on this matter. Nobody has approached me on the attitude I should take. The whole thing has been clearcut and free. When people of such varying views as, say, Senator Burke and myself or Senator Barry and myself are so united, surely there can be no bond in any shape or form except our desire for the future good of the country.

On the Second Reading of this Bill, far more important questions were raised to which the Taoiseach should devote his attention. I understand the statement of the Bishop of Cork, Most Rev. Dr. Lucey was read here last night, but I should just like to read a few lines again and I am sure Senators will agree that it deals with matters which are of much more importance to the future of the country than the system of election. It reads:—

"The Bishop, who said he had no good tidings to announce to the million and more of our exiles, went on——"

This is a very serious statement of which the Government should take notice:—

Worse still, those who could and should put things right accept this catastrophic and unnatural state of affairs with the fullest complacency and regard as a crank anyone who even calls attention to it."

That is a very serious statement in connection with emigration.

I have just one further quotation which I take from theEvening Press of 27th February—a time when we were discussing the merits of P.R. It was made at a meeting in the Taoiseach's constituency:—

"Emigration destroyed our fine senior team, and it is galling to see some of our best players leaving our shores year after year."

That statement was made by Rev. D. Kenny, C.C. at the annual convention of the Doonbeg, County Clare, G.A.A. Club. Would it not be more fitting that the Government should concentrate their efforts in trying to keep these people in the country? Those are the views of the Bishop of Cork and a curate in Clare and no one can say either of those statements was political. They are agreed on the tragedy that has happened to this country now under the Fianna Fáil régime. More people are leaving this country now than left at any time since the Famine. I defy the Minister to deny that. It is a serious position but here we are discussing the system of election we are to have in the future.

What section is the Senator dealing with?

I did not interrupt the Senator. I am speaking on the national position as it is to-day. My point of view is as I have already stated. I understand the time is limited at the moment, but I should like to ask Senator Lenihan one question. He claims to be an expert on P.R. Would he think it fair or honest in the Dublin County Council, where there are 25 members, if there were four candidates for election as chairman—an Independent, a Fine Gael man, a Labour man and a Fianna Fáil man—and if three of them got six votes each, that would be 18, and if the Fine Gael man got seven and was elected? Does he think the Fine Gael man should be elected? Is that his idea of a majority? In the Dublin Corporation, there could be a vote for Lord Mayor of 16, 15 and 14. Does he think the person with 16 should be elected? Has he got a majority? There is no majority unless you get at least 51 per cent. of the votes cast. No matter what way those who are trying to put this across may twist it, there is no majority unless you get 51 per cent. As I said on the Second Reading, I have no objection to the single seat constituency. As a matter of fact, I am in favour of it and would be a believer in it, but with the transferable vote, that no person be elected unless he gets 51 per cent.

Finally, I would appeal to the Minister that in view of the united expressions which have been made here, the Government should reconsider this whole matter. In the case of the university representation, the six university representatives represent 22,000 people. Should every one of them have to agree before they cast their votes? The fact that these six are united—leaving out the fact that there are men so wide apart as myself and Senator Barry who are united, or myself and other members of the Fine Gael Party who are united——clearly means that the Government and the Taoiseach should take note of this united expression of such a cross-section of the community.

There was no demand for this scheme from anyone but the Taoiseach. I would be unfair if I did not add that, on one occasion, the Minister for Health gave expression to something similar, I believe Senator Mullins should not be one bit afraid as far as dictatorship is concerned. I feel we have it now. He spoke about conventions. I should like to ask him have the candidates selected at different conventions— such as County Dublin, County Kilkenny and County Clare—always been accepted and ratified?

My last word is an appeal to the Minister to ask the Government to have some respect for the future of the people, to do something for the people and forget this nonsense. Six months of the time of the representatives of the people has been wasted, instead of being spent in doing something for the people. It has been taken up with this matter, which no one but the Taoiseach wants.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Minister, to conclude.

I have listened attentively to the debate and I do not think anyone can claim that he has put forward a new point of view. However, some Senators have expressed their views in my hearing for the first time and I think it is due to them that I should deal with the specific points they have put to me.

The most important point was the suggestion of dictatorship which, it has been said, lies behind the introduction of this Bill, its passage through the Dáil and its introduction here. On a number of occasions when I have spoken on this issue, I have indicated that nothing could savour less of dictatorship than that a duly elected Dáil should debate such a measure—a Dáil elected on universal suffrage—pass it by a majority and that it should then be submitted to the Seanad. When it will have been passed or deemed to have been passed in accordance with the Constitution, it must be submitted by way of referendum to all the people, who, again on the basis of universal suffrage, will have to give it a clear majority before it can be inserted in the Constitution. Is there anything which could savour less of dictatorship, or of the bulldozing tactics to which Senator Hayes referred? Every step on this Bill has been taken in accordance with the principles of democracy enshrined in the Constitution and in accordance with the procedure laid down for the administration of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

Dealing with the more specific points made by Senator Hayes, he referred to the question of a minority getting a majority of seats. Senator Mullins has already answered that, but I should like to add that in only one case in the past half century's history of Western Europe did a Party under P.R. succeed in getting a majority of the votes cast. There were three cases in all—one in Germany and one in Britain. By that time in Germany, in 1953, they had abandoned P.R. and in Britain, they never had P.R. or at any rate not at that time for the purpose of parliamentary elections. Therefore, only once in the course of European history since P.R. was introduced has a Party succeeded in getting a majority under that system and returning a Government; and that happened here in our own country in 1938. Therefore, it is untrue to suggest that only under the straight vote system or the single non-transferable vote system is it possible that a Party which got only a minority of the votes could succeed in getting a majority of the seats in Parliament.

The suggestion that the introduction of this Bill has caused the Government to ignore the economic problems of the country is clearly unfounded. Even after the intention to introduce the Bill was announced, in a matter of weeks, the Government White Paper on Economic Development appeared. In a matter of weeks again, at least ten Bills were introduced to implement what was contained in the White Paper. Some have been passed already —for example, the Bill to increase the capital of Bord na Móna from £14,000,000 to £19,000,000. There was also a Bill to increase the capital of Irish Shipping Ltd. Decisions have been taken in principle to increase the capital of Irish Steel Holdings by £2,000,000 in order to make its products more competitive. A decision in principle has been taken to commence the production of nitrogenous fertilisers based on our own raw materials, the expenditure on which will amount to several million pounds. In the last few weeks before the Dáil adjourned for the Easter recess, a supplementary Estimate was introduced for the lime and fertiliser subsidy, amounting to £500,000. In the current Estimates, there is provision of £1,500,000, under that heading, more than was provided in the previous year.

I can instance several other practical steps taken by the Government, even while this proposed change in the system of election was being contemplated, while it was being passed through the Dáil and while it was being discussed here in the Seanad. With regard to the other suggestion of wastage of time in the Dáil, it is no harm to remind the Seanad and the country that the Dáil came together specially in January last to consider the further stages of the Bill, the stages which had not been completed before the Christmas recess. The House reassembled at a time when it does not normally sit and all stages of the Bill were completed before the end of January. The Dáil came together again in February in the ordinary way, and no later than it would normally have reassembled, to consider the nation's financial business appropriate at this particular time of the year.

Senator Quinlan referred yesterday to emigration. He said that while emigration persisted and continued at its present level it was wrong for the Government to introduce a measure such as this, a measure which would divide rather than unite the country. The Senator ignored the facts. He ignored the statistics readily available to him, statistics which he, as a scientist, could very easily assess. The fact is that in 1958 as compared with the previous year there was a drop in emigration. In 1957, 60,000 more people left the country by sea and air than entered it. The net balance for the 12-month period ending June, 1958, was 48,000 and the net balance for the 12-month period ending 31st December, 1958, was 40,255.

That is the average.

It is not fair, of course, to put forward these figures by themselves and without having regard to the unemployment register because emigration figures can decline while the numbers registering at the employment exchanges can increase. But that was not the position in 1958. The figures for every month are made available to Senators and Deputies. Those figures show a continuous decline. At the end of December, 1958, there were 5,300 fewer on the unemployed register as compared with the same period in 1957, reflecting an overall decline of 7 per cent. In order to give force to these figures, one can refer to the British Ministry of Social Insurance figures as to social insurance cards issued to Irish immigrants. In these there was a steady decline from an estimated 60,000 in 1957 to 48,000—in fact, probably less—in 1958. These figures, the one supporting the other, give force to the contention, and prove conclusively, that there has been a steady decline in emigration.

Two speakers quoted the remarks of Most Rev. Dr. Lucey, Bishop of Cork, a strong critic of Government policy. But Dr. Lucey does not refer to one Government more than another. I should like to deny the suggestion, however, that this Administration, or any Administration for that matter, is, or has been, complacent about emigration. I am saying that deliberately and, in doing so, I am denying the contention of my own bishop.

That is a serious statement to make.

It is a serious statement, and it is a statement made with due deliberation. I am not complacent about emigration. Neither is any one of my colleagues. I am reasonably sure that the previous Government were not in any degree complacent about the level of emigration obtaining during their period in office.

We brought them back.

Senator Quinlan spoke of co-operation being the keynote of government. I agree that co-operation is highly desirable in the administration of any organisation, whether it be a club, a company, or a country. I think, however, that decision is the real keynote of government. Unless we have the capacity for decision and unless, as I mentioned in opening yesterday, we have a Government that can take decisions, we cannot have any economic progress.

The Senator suggested, too, that this measure was introduced in an irresponsible manner. If a measure is introduced in accordance with democratic principles, in accordance with the procedure laid down and in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution how can anyone suggest that it is brought before the Oireachtas in an irresponsible manner?

He suggested that the Government are both arrogant and intolerant of criticism. Surely, the fact that this measure has been debated for a longer period than any other measure ever introduced, has been criticised at length and every criticism made answered, or a reasonable attempt made to answer it, does not savour of either intolerance or arrogance.

Senator Quinlan's remarks would seem to suggest that all-Party Government is the desirable solution. Surely democracy, and every Government, requires reasonable and responsible opposition. The Senator said that we on this side of the House cannot have it both ways. But neither can the Senator have it both ways. There cannot be an all-Party Government if we are to fulfil the ideals of democracy and if the people are to be permitted to have a reasonable alternative to the Government in power, should they see fit to remove that Government from office.

Senator Murphy this morning naturally had regard for his own Party. He referred to the Labour Party as a minority Party. I wonder did Senator Murphy examine his remarks home? The Labour Party draws its support from what they choose to describe as the working classes. I like to describe anybody who does an honest day's work, whether it be with his pen, with his head, or with his hands, as a member of the working classes. Manual workers alone are not entitled to be designated the working classes if the implication is that everybody else does not work. But, accepting the Labour Party's own definition of the working classes, most of the working classes are members of one or other of the different trade unions. Those who elect the Labour Party are usually represented in these unions. I understand one union has a membership of something in the neighbourhood of 500,000. Surely they cannot be described as a minority. The fact that the Labour Party cannot command more than a minority of support from their own trade union members does not in itself make these people a minority.

The Senator seems rather timorous about Labour's future as a prospective Government. He seems to suggest that there is no hope of Labour ever becoming a Government on its own under the non-transferable vote and the single seat constituency. I should like to remind the Senator that the counterpart of the Labour Party in England had five seats in 1905. In 1923 they were the largest Party in the British House of Commons.

It took them 40 years.

1905 to 1923——

——is a period of 18 years in my calculation. They were the biggest Party in 1923.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Minister must be allowed to speak without interruption.

I do not mind interruptions.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Chair does.

I can accept or ignore them as they suit my case. The Labour Party has not done too well under the P.R. system either. It might be pertinent at this stage, as I have done on a number of occasions, to ask what the Labour Party propose to do in future elections. It might be pertinent to ask the Fine Gael Party this question, too, in the same connection.

If, at a future election under P.R., Labour and Fine Gael combined succeed in getting a higher number of seats than Fianna Fáil, what does Labour, in particular, propose to do in such circumstances, having regard to the fact that they have solemnly declared they never again will coalesce with Fine Gael. I hope I am not misrepresenting the situation in any way.

You are, but go ahead.

Will we find a position in which this wonderful degree of co-operation that is now being advocated will be thrown overboard or that the solemn declaration of the trade union movement, taken in congress, will be thrown overboard? May I repeat the words of Senator Quinlan that you cannot have it both ways? The people ought to know what the position will be.

To what declaration of the trade union movement is the Minister referring?

I said a solemn declaration of the trade union——

——at the annual meeting of congress immediately after the defeat of the last Coalition Government and the formation of the present Fianna Fáil Government. Such a declaration was made in annual congress.

In the City Hall, Cork.

The Labour Party said it, anyway.

I do not know if it did but I will take Senator Lenihan's word for it. Senator O'Quigley described me as coming in here dispirited and dejected. I have the capacity and the training to see, or rather to try to see, both sides of a question. In coming in here, I tried to put my views as objectively as I could without bitterness or rancour.

And we appreciate it.

If that attitude can be mistaken for dispiritedness or dejection, perhaps I should adopt a more truculent attitude the next time I come here. I can assure Senator O'Quigley that I have been in no way dispirited or dejected in asking the Seanad to reconsider these two provisions and to restore the Bill to the form in which it was originally introduced.

Passing from that, the Senator challenged the statement that P.R. leads to a multiplicity of Parties. We can only, in examining that situation, see how P.R. developed and what effect it had in other countries throughout the world. The history of P.R. is fairly well-known now to the majority of us. Before this Bill was introduced, many of us did not think much about it. We did not know where it came from.

One of the first suggestions in relation to P.R. came from the pen of a man named Thomas Hare. We have here the Hare system of P.R. It is rather appropriate that we are discussing it in the month of March. Two other books were written by two other Europeans about the system about the 1850's. Within a short time after that many countries throughout Europe began to adopt the P.R. system in different forms, I will readily admit. But almost in every case, with possibly only one or two notable exceptions, there was an increase in the number of Parties that got themselves elected to this Parliament. There was a notable exception in, I think, Belgium and there was an exception too in Holland but even in Holland at the present time——

And Ireland.

I shall deal with Ireland in a minute. Even in Holland at the present day, there is a tendency to increase the number of Parties according as they now find that different smaller Parties can exercise influence over the formation and life of Governments.

In Ireland, since Senator Murphy referred to it, I have said already that the political thinking of the country was largely divided into two main streams. Even if there was a tendency for small Parties to be formed, they ultimately found that the established lines of political thought were too strong to enable them to develop. But the time is bound to come when that political thinking, based on the original division, will decrease. I do not want to repeat what I have already said.

There is another aspect which is worth considering in this respect, namely, that a number of these small Parties became absorbed into Fine Gael over the past 20 years.

What about your own Party?

As far as I know, no Party was absorbed by Fianna Fáil. Perhaps single members of them infiltrated now and again but, generally speaking, Fianna Fáil established itself on its own policy and attracted the members to its ranks on the strength of that policy.

Personally speaking, I was too young to have any views on the Treaty split. I joined Fianna Fáil, since I did intend to come into politics, purely of my own volition and as a result of objective examination. I was in no way influenced by family ties one way or the other.

Senator Sheehy Skeffington referred to the possibility of my going back to the Taoiseach with the story that I had decided of my own volition to withdraw these two amendments. I thought he referred to it with a degree of cynical levity. If I am wrong, I apologise.

Is it entirely impossible?

It is not. I want to explain my position, as I have tried to do in a different way yesterday. This decision was come to by the Fianna Fáil Party. Senator Sheehy Skeffington as an Independent possibly does not appreciate or, if he does, he does not seem to agree with the manner in which political Parties make their decisions. We arrive at our decisions like any other Party as a result of debate within the Party meeting whether as a result of a majority or a unanimous decision. If I disagree so fundamentally with the decision taken that I cannot accept it, I am not obliged to stay in the Party. I can leave it and give publication to my own opinions and the reasons for my withdrawal from the Party. I agreed with the decision taken. It is a decision of a Party, arrived at in a democratic fashion. Therefore, I do not feel I have authority to withdraw these two amendments, even if I felt inclined to do so. The fact is that I do not. Therefore, the matter does not arise.

The Senator also referred to P.R. giving within a constituency a degree of rivalry that will keep Deputies on their toes. Again, he is referring to a matter of which he has, perhaps, little experience except from observation. I happen to be a representative of a five seat constituency. If I were representing a single seat constituency I would have to work far harder than I might do now. With the position of Fianna Fáil, in a five seat constituency, there is always a good chance of a second man getting in irrespective of how hard he works or how little he does for his constituents. There is a good chance that I may always be that second man. In many cases throughout the country there are people who are prepared to leave the work to others and who can get in on the strength of the vote of the first candidate in a constituency. There may be quite a lot of soft pedalling or taking things easy on the part of some candidates or some Deputies when they have been elected. The Senator referred to the fact that the power of the voter——

May I make it clear that I was thinking of the value of the multiple seat constituency to the voter, not to the T.D.?

An Leas-Cathaoirleach

The Minister.

I was coming to that. The Senator suggested that the power of the voter was reduced. I take it that we all agree that the purpose of the exercise of an electoral system is to elect a Parliament from which a Government may be elected. The ultimate purpose is the election of a Government. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the primary concern of the electorate is to have influence and power over the formation, the life and activities of government. I contend that the single non-transferable vote will give much more power in that respect to the electorate.

The single transferable vote will require Parties to declare their policies and their intentions before an election. It is freely admitted that it will tend to single-Party Governments but, if the electorate becomes dissatisfied with such Government they can displace that Party and with it the entire Government and immediately cause a complete change of Government. Therefore, I suggest that the power of the voter over the formation of Governments will increase rather than decrease, as Senator Sheehy Skeffington suggests.

On the other hand, consider this situation that one might well find and that could have arisen here on the two occasions when a Coalition Government was defeated if there were not a strong, unified Party responsible in every way, like Fianna Fáil, to which the people could turn. If there were not such a Party and if the Government were defeated, instead of having a new Government there would be a realignment of the different factions comprising the existing Government, some small groups dropping out, perhaps, and some other groups coming in to take their place. That would not reflect the intention of the electorate in removing the Government from office. Therefore I suggest that the single non-transferable vote will repose in the hands of the people more power over their Governments.

Senator Tunney asks what are the functions of the Seanad. I am sure he will not disagree with me when I say that the functions of the Seanad are to do its duty and fulfil its tasks under the Constitution. Under the Constitution, the powers of the Seanad are limited in a certain way. That is the will of the people. Nothing could be clearer than that the measure which the people passed in 1937 represented the will of the people. The people gave the Seanad certain limited powers and they gave the Dáil the power to defeat a decision of the Seanad. Therefore there is no suggestion whatever that because the Seanad might not see eye to eye with the Dáil or with the Government it should be abolished. The Seanad is a deliberative assembly. This Bill has been debated generally in a deliberative fashion. If the Government refused to accept the decision of the Seanad there is no suggestion that the Seanad should be abolished; it is acting fully in accordance with the Constitution.

Senator Tunney also referred to the possibility of people being elected individually with less than 51 per cent. of the votes. I would ask him to reflect on what the position is at the present time. According as constituencies are five, four or three seat constituencies, it requires only one-sixth, one-fifth or one-fourth of the valid votes cast to elect a Deputy and many Deputies are elected without receiving even the one-sixth, one-fifth or one-fourth. In fact, at present there are in the Dáil approximately 30 Deputies who have succeeded in securing election without the quota. Is it the Senator's contention that these Deputies should have received 51 per cent. of the votes cast before being entitled to election? I believe that under the straight vote system the percentage of the votes that a Deputy will get in order to secure election will be far higher than the average percentage that one gets at the present time.

Provided that there are four candidates.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Will the Senator permit the Minister to conclude?

I have dealt with the points made generally, except with the point made by Senator Hayes——

Take it as read.

There was a note that I intended to refer to. Unfortunately I cannot find it.

Just as well.

I shall have to take it as read. I cannot find it at the moment. With regard to the position generally, I should like to repeat what I said when opening yesterday, that it is admitted on all sides that we are facing a critical period in the economic life of our country. We are not only facing it; we are already experiencing it.

Will this cure it?

It has been suggested that Fianna Fáil have got a sufficient majority under P.R. not to require to change the system if the intention only is to enable us to face our economic difficulties with more capacity to solve them. It is true that at the present time Fianna Fáil, under P.R., have got a sufficient majority to enable them to carry out any measures for improvement in our economic situation. Senator Mullins said yesterday that whenever Fianna Fáil had a majority P.R. of itself did not prevent the Government from doing anything to improve the country's situation. It is true that during the period when Fianna Fáil had a majority under P.R. they were able to do most good work in the interests of the nation. One would think that no progress whatever has been made in this country over the past 37 years since we secured a measure of native Government, but those who make those charges, who say that economic problems have been generally ignored because of squabbling between Parties deliberately ignore the facts.

We have, as was referred to yesterday, made many strides in our economic development. We have what O.E.E.C. observers have described as an infra-structure second to none in any part of Europe. By infra-structure they meant that we have made provision for hospitals, houses, roads, transport generally, water, sewerage and those other amenities that make for an increased standard of living. We have the capacity to make this country a more prosperous one.

We have, unfortunately, the history of emigration. I have referred to that on a number of occasions. People in Ireland emigrate too readily. We have a common language with England and America which renders more easy the capacity for people to emigrate and take up employment in these countries. That is an economic fact which, perhaps, is fortunate or unfortunate according as one may look at it. Nevertheless, we have down through the years our history of emigration.

I referred to the fact that people here are only too ready to decry conditions in our own country until they go abroad and then they often work harder abroad than they were prepared to do at home. I remember Deputy Morrissey making that statement one time in public. He was criticised for it but I admired him for his courage in making the statement. He was the first I heard to make it. He said if people were prepared to work half as hard here as they worked abroad there would be no necessity for them to emigrate. There is a lot of truth and force in that statement.

I believe, too, that people have taken advantage of the conditions we have provided for them in the way of learning and equipping themselves generally for life. Those who have any extra ability ought, if they can, to apply it here even though they will get less for their efforts at home than abroad. I feel they have a duty towards their own country. Whether the system of election is P.R. or the single non-transferable vote, they should have sufficient patriotism in them to apply their talents, to sell their services at home rather than abroad.

Senator Quinlan made the suggestion that we were not equipping our people for emigration and since many of us have to emigrate we ought to equip them. It has been stated on a number of occasions that so many of our young people fail to get education beyond the age of 14 or 15 years. The fact is, however, that when people make comparisons with the number entering secondary and vocational schools they make comparisons, not with the year the people leave the primary schools, but with the entire bulk of the people attending these primary schools. The result makes it appear that the number of people entering for further education is reduced considerably. It is far more accurate to make the comparison with the particular year people leave the primary schools to undertake secondary and vocational education. In the 14-15 year group there is 60 per cent. and in the 15-16 year group you have 48 per cent.——

Are we discussing P.R.?

I am replying to a point made by Senator Quinlan. Surely if Senator Quinlan was entitled to say that we are not equipping our young people for emigration, I am entitled, as Minister for Education, to refute or at least to comment on the points he made? These are just general remarks suggested as a result of the statements made by Senator Quinlan and others.

I believe that this whole problem is bound up with our economic future. I am quite prepared to concede that P.R., as it has evolved at the present period at any rate, has not hindered this Government in the slightest in implementing a broad programme of economic expansion. Not only has it not hindered the Government but the Government have given proof that they are carrying on with that programme. It is possible, however, that against the background to which I have referred and in the changing political scene in this country, we might in the years to come see a situation arising whereby many small groups representing minority interests will have a say in government far in excess of that to which they are entitled.

Senator Sheehy Skeffington referred to the anchor steering the boat. I think I could refer him to the extreme example of the tail wagging the dog which was evident in the break up of the last inter-Party Government, when three Deputies who did not take part in but supported that Government broke up the Government because they decided to withdraw their support.

Was that democratic?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

It is enough to have to deal with one Senator at a time.

The electorate, when they had the opportunity on the two occasions on which we had experience of an inter-Party Government, dealt very effectively with it. The people became disappointed. I do not believe they were disappointed so much with the performance of the inter-Party Government as with the manner in which they were able to break up and disintegrate from within. They were particularly disappointed with the manner in which the last inter-Party Government broke up. They dealt more severely with the Party to which the three Deputies belonged and who were responsible for the break-up of that Government than they did with the other component parts. They were reduced from three members to one. We believe it is possible for situations such as that to arise in the future, that a Government composed of many groups can be influenced in its actions by the threat of small groups to withdraw their support, that decisions which must be taken by the Government in order to achieve progress could not be taken unless they get the goodwill, co-operation and acquiescence of those small groups. Many of these small groups must have regard for the interests which elected them and many of these decisions might, for a time at least, adversely affect those interests. Therefore, such groups can and will threaten withdrawal from the Government unless a particular measure is shelved, or considerably watered down.

We believe it is impossible for a Government to make progress under such conditions. We believe that it is not only possible but very probable that such a situation could develop here and, it is for that reason we ask the Seanad to restore these two provisions in the Bill which we will ultimately ask the people of the country to adopt in their own interests, in the interests of the economic future of the country, and not in the interests of any Party.

I have said before, and I should like to repeat, that I am in disagreement with the suggestion that the Bill is designed to perpetuate Fianna Fáil. I have no more interest in the perpetuation of Fianna Fáil than I have in any other organisation. As long as Fianna Fáil acts in a responsible manner, acts in the best interests of the country, acts as it is doing now, then it will have my allegiance. As soon as it departs from certain fundamental principles which I and others hold dear, it will no longer have my allegiance.

The Bill is not designed to perpetuate Fianna Fáil as such. It is designed to perpetuate a spirit of responsibility in approaching the country's problems and we genuinely believe, in bringing this matter to the people to decide, without bitterness or rancour, that they can be left to make their decision so that their economic, social and other interests can be advanced under future Governments.

Cuireadh an Cheist: "I gCodanna I agus II, go gcuirfear isteach ansin na focail atá tairgthe."

Question—"That in Parts I and II, the proposed words be there inserted"—put.
Rinne an Seanad vótáil: Tá, 28; Níl, 29
The Seanad divided: Tá, 28; Níl, 29.

Tá.

  • Ahern, Liam.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Cole, John C.
  • Colley, Harry.
  • Connolly O'Brien, Nora.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Dowdall, Jane.
  • Farnan, Robert P.
  • Fitzsimons, Patrick.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Lahiffe, Robert.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lynch, Peter T.
  • Nic Phiarais, Máighréad M.
  • Ó Ciosáin, Éamon.
  • Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
  • Ó Grádaigh, Seán.
  • Ó Maoláin, Tomás.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • Ó Siochfhradha, Pádraig.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Ruane, Thomas.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Teehan, Patrick J.
  • Walsh, Laurence J.
  • Walsh, Louis.

Níl.

  • Barniville, Henry L.
  • Barry, Anthony.
  • Baxter, Patrick F.
  • Burke, Denis.
  • Carton, Victor.
  • Connor, Patrick.
  • Crowe, Patrick.
  • Crowley, Patrick.
  • Davidson, Mary F.
  • Donegan, Patrick.
  • Fearon, William R.
  • Hayes, Michael.
  • L'Estrange, Gerald.
  • McGuire, Edward A.
  • Murphy, Dominick F.
  • O'Brien, George A.T.
  • O'Donovan, John.
  • O'Keeffe, James J.
  • O'Leary, Johnny.
  • O'Quigley, John B.
  • O'Sullivan, John L.
  • Prendergast, Micheál A.
  • Purcell, Frank.
  • Quinlan, Patrick M.
  • Roddy, Joseph.
  • Sheehy Skeffington, Owen L.
  • Sheridan, Joseph M.
  • Stanford, William B.
  • Tunney, James.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Ó Donnabháin and Carter; Níl: Senators L'Estrange and Murphy.
Question declared negatived.
Faisnéiseadh go rabhthas tar éis diultú don cheist.
Leasú ón Rialtas Uimh. 2:
2. I gCuid I, leathanach 7, roimh alt 2. 3º, fo-alt mar a leanas a chur isteach, is é sin, an fo-alt a scrios an Seanad i gCoiste:—
"2. 2º Is do réir an aon-ghotha neamhionaistrighthe a toghfar na comhaltaí agus is é an t-iarrthóir i ndáil-cheanntar a gheobhas an líon is mó bhótaí a toghfar, ach féadfar socrú do dhéanamh le dligheadh chun a chinneadh cé a toghfar i gcás gan a leithéid d'iarrthóir do bheith ann toisc gurb ionann an líon bhótaí a bheas faighte ag beirt iarrthóir nó níos mó.";
agus
I gCuid II, leathanach 11, roimh alt 2. 3º, fo-alt mar a leanas a chur isteach, is é sin, an fo-alt a scrios an Seanad i gCoiste:—
"2. 2º The members shall be elected on the system of the single non-transferable vote, the candidate in a constituency who receives the largest number of votes being elected, but provision may be made by law for determining who is to be elected where there is no such candidate because two or more candidates receive the same number of votes.".
Government amendment No. 2:—
2. In Part I, page 6, before section 2. 3º, to insert a sub-section as follows, being the sub-section deleted in Committee by the Seanad:
"2. 2º Is do réir an aon-ghotha neamhionaistrighthe a toghfar na comhaltaí agus is é an t-iarrthóir i ndáil-cheanntar a gheobhas an líon is mó bhótaí a toghfar, ach féadfar socrú do dhéanamh le dligheadh chun a chinneadh cé a toghfar i gcás gan a leithéid d'iarrthóir do bheith ann toisc gurb ionann an líon bhótaí a bheas faighte ag beirt iarrthóir nó níos mó.";
and
In Part II, page 10, before section 2. 3º, to insert a sub-section as follows, being the sub-section deleted in Committee by the Seanad:
"2. 2º The members shall be elected on the system of the single non-transferable vote, the candidate in a constituency who receives the largest number of votes being elected, but provision may be made by law for determining who is to be elected where there is no such candidate because two or more candidates receive the same number of votes.".

Could we accept the decision on that?

Yes.

Cuireadh an Cheist: "I gCodanna I agus II, go gcuirfear isteach ansin na focail atá tairgthe."

Question:—"That in Parts I and II, the proposed words be there inserted"—put.
Faisnéiseadh go rabhthas tar éis diultú don cheist.
Question declared negatived.
Tairgeadh an Cheist: "Go nglacfar an Bille chun an breithniú deiridh a dhéanamh air."
Question proposed: "That the Bill be received for final consideration."
Faisnéiseadh go rabhthas tar éis glacadh leis an gceist.
Question declared carried.
Cuireadh an Cheist: "Go rithfear an Bille anois."
Question put: "That the Bill do now pass."
Rinne an Seanad vó táil: Tá 28; Nil 29.
The Seanad divided: Tá 28; Níl 29.

Tá.

  • Ahern, Liam.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Cole, John C.
  • Colley, Harry.
  • Connolly O'Brien, Nora.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Dowdall, Jane.
  • Farnan, Robert P.
  • Fitzsimons, Patrick.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Ruane, Thomas.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Lahiffe, Robert.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lynch, Peter T.
  • Nic Phiarais, Máighréad M.
  • Ó Ciosáin, Éamon.
  • Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
  • Ó Grádaigh, Seán.
  • Ó Maoláin, Tomás.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • Ó Siochfhradha, Pádraig.
  • Teehan, Patrick J.
  • Walsh, Laurence J.
  • Walsh, Louis.

Níl.

  • Barniville, Henry L.
  • Barry, Anthony.
  • Baxter, Patrick F.
  • Burke, Denis.
  • Carton, Victor.
  • Connor, Patrick.
  • Crowe, Patrick.
  • Crowley, Patrick.
  • Davidson, Mary F.
  • Donegan, Patrick.
  • Fearon, William R.
  • Hayes, Michael.
  • L'Estrange, Gerald.
  • McGuire, Edward A.
  • Murphy, Dominick F.
  • O'Brien, George A.T.
  • O'Donovan, John.
  • O'Keeffe, James J.
  • O'Leary, Johnny.
  • O'Quigley, John B.
  • O'Sullivan, John L.
  • Prendergast, Micheál A.
  • Purcell, Frank.
  • Quinlan, Patrick M.
  • Roddy, Joseph.
  • Sheehy Skeffington, Owen L.
  • Sheridan, Joseph M.
  • Stanford, William B.
  • Tunney, James.
Tellers: Tá: Senators Ó Donnabháin and Carter; Níl: Senators L'Estrange and Murphy.
Question declared negatived.
Faisnéiseadh go rabhthas tar éis diúltú don cheist.
Business suspended at 1.45 p.m. and resumed at 3.15 p.m.