An Bille um an Tríú Leasú ar an mBunreacht, 1968: An Coiste. Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1968: Committee Stage.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Before we enter on consideration of the Committee Stage of the Bill the Chair wishes to point out that section 1 provides for the deletion of existing matter in Article 16 of the Constitution and the substitution of the new matter set out in the Schedule. Senators have an opportunity of debating the proposals on section 1 or on the Schedule but not on both as duplication of debate is, of course, not permissible. As amendments have been tabled to the Schedule it is suggested that the debate might take place on it and that sections 1 and 2 be postponed until the Schedule has been disposed of, following which the questions on the sections will be put formally and decided without debate.

In addition, it would be well if I indicated that Amendment 5 standing in the names of Senators Quinlan, Jessop, Sheehy Skeffington and McQuillan is out of order as it conflicts with the principle of the Bill as read a Second Time. The Senators have been notified accordingly.

Sections 1 and 2 postponed.

AN SCEIDEAL.

SCHEDULE.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

It is suggested that amendments 1, 3 and 6 be discussed together since Nos. 3 and 6 appear to be consequential on No. 1. Is that agreed?

Tairgim leasu 1:

I gCuid I, leathanach 5, "dhaonraidh" a scriosadh i líne 28 agus "thoghlach" a chur ina ionad, agus "daonradh" a scriosadh i líne 31 agus "toghlach" a chur ina ionad;

agus

I gCuid II, leathanach 7, línte 14 agus 17 "population" a scriosadh agus "electorate" a chur ina ionad.

I move amendment No. 1:

In Part I, page 4, to delete "dhaonraidh", in line 28 substitute "thoghlach"; and in line 31 to delete "daonradh" and substitute "toghlach";

and

In Part II, page 6, lines 14 and 17 to delete "population" and substitute "electorate".

The case made for this Bill has been made on several grounds but the issue on which the Minister appears to rely most heavily is the issue of the relationship between the population and the electorate. He has said, and there is, of course, some force in his argument, that the distribution of constituencies carried out on the basis of population would tend to some degree to weight the distribution of seats in the Dáil in favour of the urban areas. He has overstated his case but there is a case on this matter, and on the Second Stage, I dealt with it and I accepted that there was a case. My calculations show that as between the west of Ireland, the area to which he referred, and Dublin, there is a disparity on this account of two seats and the rest of the country in between pretty well balances out, there being fractional differences between the number of seats to which constituencies might be entitled up or down from area to area but the greatest difference arises between Dublin and the west. I listed the constituencies in the west in respect of which the discrepancies were significant ranging from about .2 or .3 of a seat up to a maximum of .55, if I recall correctly. I said also that I could see the arguments in favour of either basis of distribution.

It seems to me that one can make a very good case for the present system on the grounds that it is the people of Ireland who are represented in Parliament, and if there are people in some parts of Ireland with perhaps large families, a system based on population may give legitimately more representation as there are more people with large families in such areas. Strict political theoreticians would hold, perhaps, that the purpose of Parliament is to represent the views of the electorate and that it should reflect the views of the electorate rather than those of the population. I think a good case can be made for either basis. If between these two bases, there is one which tends to favour the west and the other which tends to favour Dublin, then in that case, if people share my view that there is not much between the two systems in terms of abstract theory, I would look towards the one that favours the west. This is what the Minister has not done. He has introduced a Bill which not alone makes no reference to this matter, which not alone fails to amend the Constitution to substitute electorate for population as the basis of distribution, but which in providing a tolerance in respect of the distribution of the constituencies on a basis of population fails to permit as one of the reasons for employing such a tolerance the use of those electoral criteria. It is true that coincidentally the application of some of the criteria which the Bill includes may have this effect in some constituencies, although not in all relevant cases, of helping to restore the balance, or perhaps even going beyond restoring the balance, between the electorate and the population bases. But the Bill neither bases the distribution of constituencies on the electorate nor does it permit variations to be made with a view to achieving these things, although it does not prevent variations being made for other purposes so that it may incidentally have this effect. This exposes the dishonesty—which is not too strong a word to use—of the Minister's case, because if he felt strongly on this matter, if the sound and fury were accompanied by a comparable degree of genuine conviction, then he would have brought in a Bill which would have substituted "electorate" for "population", or, alternatively—and this is the less advantageous of the two, the less proper of the two for the purpose he pretends to want to achieve —he would have brought in a Bill which would have permitted the tolerance to be employed for the purpose of adjusting the constituencies to an electorate basis and away from the population basis. He has done neither but has come in here to justify a Bill which proposes to do quite different things, much more extensive things and in that way to get over what he tells us is an injustice.

There is no need to adopt such a roundabout way of achieving his objectives. There is no need to bring in a Bill which lays down that you can have 16 per cent tolerance on a population basis and that you can have this for the purpose of improving representation in dispersed areas. There is no need to adopt that subterfuge in order to achieve the results which he claims he wishes to achieve. It can be achieved by the simple amendment I now propose, and in putting down this amendment, I am calling his bluff and calling on him to stand by the words he used——

Quote them.

——and to stand on the principles that he put forward in regard to the electorate and to accept the electorate as a basis which will benefit the West, as against the population basis that he proposes which can only benefit the West by using this tolerance to distort representation in one direction as against another on a population basis. The proposal I make, therefore, is that we substitute "electorate" for "population", and that we substitute "register of electors" for "census of population". I also propose the deletion of the last paragraph because while I believe it is necessary so long as you work on the basis of the census of population, when we would have a long interval before the publication of the final figures, this paragraph will not be necessary, of course, if you are working on the basis of the register of electors. This is the amendment I propose. I also propose that the tolerance should be increased from the five per cent, which is the present level arising out of the Supreme Court decision of 1961, to one-twelfth or eight per cent. This is approximately half the tolerance which the Minister proposes. The reason is that I believe, and I think I can show, that with the electorate basis and with the eight per cent tolerance——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Senator is discussing amendment No. 4.

I am referring to this point because it is necessary for me to explain these two together in order to explain the purpose of the amendment I am now discussing.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Senator is entitled to foreshadow other amendments but he should be careful not to preclude himself from discussing them.

It was not my intention to preclude myself from discussing them. The combination of the electorate basis and the tolerance of one-twelfth would have the effect of reducing to a small number of cases the cases where county boundaries would have to be crossed, and I think I can show there are only three cases where parts of constituencies would have to be allocatd to other constituencies in order to work within this tolerance using the electorate basis. That being the case, the argument about chopping up constituencies is diminished to the point where it is no longer important. The Minister himself has not claimed his amendment will eliminate the need for such allocation of parts of constituencies to other constituencies in all cases. Even in earlier periods when we allowed ourselves a wider tolerance with large constituencies, there were cases where parts of one county had to be attached to another. The Minister has not claimed his scheme will prevent this; he has said this will continue to happen and has said that 30 per cent tolerance would be needed in order to avoid some combination of counties. I am taking him at his word and proposing that we divide the constituency on an electorate basis with an eight per cent tolerance, and thus avoid more than a handful of county boundaries being crossed, a handful of cases in which the Minister must contemplate breaching the boundaries.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Would the Minister like to ask the permission of the House to include amendment No. 4 with the other amendments?

I think so, with the agreement of the House. To my mind, the two were put together for the purpose of achieving a particular result, and it is easier to discuss them together.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

It is a matter for the House, if they agree.

No. 4 is a completely different thing.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

There would be a separate decision but it is a question as to whether there should be one or two debates.

No. 4 does not appear to be consequential on No. 1.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Nos. 3 and 6 are consequential. There can be a separate decision on No. 4, but the question is whether there should be a completely separate debate.

As I see it, No. 4 is intended to apply even if Nos. 1 and 3 fall: in other words even if the Bill still proposes that the redistribution of constituencies should be on the basis of the census, it would still be the Senator's intention to move No. 4?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Yes.

That was not the way I approached it. My purpose in putting forward this proposal was to show that it would be possible to meet the Minister's point if you, in combination, take an electorate basis and an eight per cent tolerance——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The position in moving amendment No. 1 is that it is necessary to refer to amendment No. 4. If in fact we follow what has been agreed and discuss only amendments Nos. 1, 3 and 6 together, leaving No. 4 for a separate debate, the Chair will be in some difficulty in regard to repetition on the second debate.

I would propose, with the permission of the House, that if the amendments I have down here are not accepted, to withdraw the other, as it will cease to have any relevance.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Senator does not envisage a separate debate on No. 4 if No. 1 is lost?

That seems to be more what I understand by "consequential".

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The House accordingly is now determining that amendments Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 6 will be debated together, with, if necessary, a separate decision on amendment No. 4

I propose, therefore, to show that on the electorate basis it will be possible to avoid the crossing of county boundaries in more than three instances, only three cases where parts of the county have to be detached and attached to another county, so long as one has an eight per cent tolerance, and to my mind an eight per cent tolerance is acceptable if it can be used only for the purpose of preserving county boundaries when there is no alternative; it is not permissible as a means of securing high representation for certain areas of the country as a matter of policy as distinct from a matter of accident. That is why I tied up my two proposals closely.

I am suggesting now that the distribution of the constituencies on an electoral basis can show the result which I claim it can achieve. I do this because I think it is not sufficient for me to assert it can be done. If I am wrong— and I may well be in error on some points—the Minister can show I am wrong, and if necessary I can make an adjustment. The following therefore is the way I would propose to divide the constituencies. I should explain that in my calculations I have had regard to figures given by the Minister in respect of the constituencies in reply to a question in the Dáil last March. It is necessary to make a slight estimation where boundaries are crossed but the margin of error is slight. If my estimation is in error I am sure the Minister will draw my attention to it and the appropriate adjustment can be made.

The electorate in the county and city of Dublin including Dún Laoghaire, is 447,000, giving an entitlement of 37.55 seats. I propose to give Dublin 37 seats. The entitlement on the basis of population is 39.7 seats. On an electorate basis instead of a population basis Dublin loses an entitlement to two seats but my proposal is that Dublin would lose three seats. So much for the allegation that we are concerned in some way to bolster up representation in Dublin at the expense of the West. That is contrary to our intention and can be achieved within the limits imposed by the Constitution and without contravening the considerations of natural justice appropriate to the method of election to Parliament.

Wicklow has an electorate of 36,700 and an entitlement of 3.1 seats which I would round down to three seats. Wexford has a population of 50,000 and an entitlement of 4.2 seats rounded down to four seats. That is five per cent tolerance and it is well within the eight per cent I propose. Carlow-Kilkenny has a population of 55,700 an entitlement to 4.7 seats and a tolerance of between seven and eight per cent would give five seats. Waterford—and this is the one case where crossing the boundary is involved—has an electorate of 43,200 and 3.6 seats due, a number which even allowing eight per cent tolerance cannot be rounded up to a sufficient number. Consequently it becomes necessary to allocate to Waterford a small section of Tipperary perhaps of the order of 3,000 electorate, giving Waterford an entitlement to 3.9 seats which I round up to four.

How can you round it up to four unless you go over the eight per cent?

Three point nine rounds up to four with 2½ per cent tolerance. Waterford has not got sufficient unless something is attached. I propose to attach a small piece of Tipperary which would give an entitlement of 3.9 seats that can be rounded up to four with a 2½ per cent tolerance. Tipperary has an electorate of 74,800.

North or South Riding?

Tipperary as a whole. If the wonderful British idea of North and South Ridings is to be preserved I will have to make some more calculations?

It may be as Irish as the concept of a county.

Tipperary has an electorate of 74,800 and an entitlement to 6.3 seats having transferred 3,000 to Waterford. There would be two three-seat constituencies and a possibility of having to cross the North-South Ridings boundaries. Longford has an electorate of 17,300 and Westmeath has an electorate of 37,900, a total electorate of 55,200, giving an entitlement to 4.05 seats, rounded down to four seats. Kildare has an electorate of 37,900 and an entitlement to 3.2 seats rounded down to three seats, with a 2½ per cent tolerance.

Meath is another case where we have to cross the boundaries. Here we have an electorate of 39,700 and an entitlement to 3.3 seats. I have transferred part of Meath to Louth. I have made all these transfers in the direction which involves the minimum disturbance. Taking 3,600 from Meath would leave an electorate of 36,100 and an entitlement to three seats. Louth and Leitrim with an electorate of 41,800 are entitled to 3.5 seats and with the addition of 3,600 electors from Meath that brings it up to 3.8, rounded up to four seats with a tolerance of about five per cent.

Monaghan has an electorate of 28,300 and Cavan has an electorate of 34,300, a total of 62,600 and an entitlement to 5.3 seats rounded down to five with a tolerance of about six per cent. Laois has an electorate of 26,000 and Offaly has an electorate of 30,200, a total of 56,200, and an entitlement to 4.75 seats rounded up to five with a tolerance of five per cent. The Cork electorate is 204,400 and there is an entitlement to 17.2 seats rounded down to 17. Kerry has an electorate of 70,100 and an entitlement to 5.9 seats rounded up to six.

Limerick has an electorate of 79,450 and an entitlement to 6.7 seats—just under 6.7 seats—rounded up by a tolerance of about five per cent to seven seats. There would be three-and four-seat constituencies as at present. Clare has an electorate of 48,200 and an entitlement to 4.05 seats rounded to four. Galway with an electorate of 87,600 is entitled to 7.35 seats rounded down to seven with a tolerance of about five per cent. Mayo has an electorate of 71,300 and is entitled to six seats. There would be two three-seat constituencies. Sligo with an electorate of 32,400 is entitled to 2.72 seats. With a ten per cent tolerance we could avoid a boundary shift here but I have opted for a lower tolerance. The people of Leitrim are so accustomed to the constituency being chopped up that another adjustment probably may not perhaps worry them unduly. I propose to add in part of Leitrim. There are various ways of doing this, and this is only one solution. I do not claim it is the best.

Is that in relation to Sligo?

I am speaking generally. My solution of the whole question is one only of a number of solutions. I made a general interpolation which was bad oratory. If we add part of Leitrim to Sligo this brings Sligo to an entitlement of 3.7 seats with a tolerance of eight per cent rounded up to four seats. I would call the constituency Sligo-Leitrim. Roscommon has an electorate of 36,400 and an entitlement to 3.06 seats. When we add in the remainder of Leitrim, 7,650, that brings the entitlement to 3.7 again, rounded up to four with eight per cent tolerance. This means that the Sligo-Leitrim-Roscommon area would get an extra seat. One could take a more stringent view and round it down, but I have rounded it up in each case and the result is that there is this extra seat in this area. My note dealing with Donegal seems to have disappeared but the figure here works out almost exactly at 5.93 seats rounded up by one per cent tolerance of these seats—subject to correction because the piece of paper I handed to a colleague has disappeared. I shall take any correction the Minister gives me if I am wrong there but I think it is 5.9 per cent.

There is a distribution which accepts the Minister's basis of the electorate. It gives Dublin three fewer seats than it is entitled to. It gives the West an extra two seats more than it is entitled to on a population basis and the extra seat is distributed somewhere around the country in bits and pieces. It has a bias towards rural areas. It has an eight per cent tolerance. It avoids any undue distortion and, by minimising the crossing of county boundaries, it does not entirely cut across the local loyalties anywhere. However, I may have gone wrong somewhere. My calculations had to be estimated. I have neither the staff nor the information available to me which the Minister has. I was not able to do this calculation on the basis of precise county electorate figures. I have made the best possible estimates. If I am in error in any of these estimates——

The Senator said he got these figures from the reply given to a Parliamentary Question in March last——

——estimated on the basis of the reply.

I do not think I gave the figures for counties.

This is my exact point. I have already explained twice that the Minister gave figures for constituencies. Let me explain, for the third time, that I used that as a basis for calculating the electorate figures for counties by allowing for the varying ratios in each case. If I have made a significant error in any case, I am open to correction. I rather doubt if I have made a significant error.

You guessed, in other words.

Estimated. If I am wrong, the Minister will be the first joyously to inform me.

If I had the Senator's figures, I should.

If the Minister has not the figures then nobody else has.

If I had the Senator's figures, I should correct the Senator.

I am open to disproof. If the Minister does not know how many electors there are in the counties of Ireland, he should not be piloting this Bill.

I do. I did not guess them or make them up. I have not got the Senator's figures.

I gave warning of my intentions the last day in this regard. Subject to one small point, I indicated clearly the intended distribution. I did not mention Leitrim and I should have done so. The Minister's Department should have no difficulty in checking the calculations. I indicated the county boundaries I would cross and the constituencies I would keep intact.

The points are that the population system has a bias towards the rural areas and that the county boundaries should be maintained as far as possible. I commend these points to the House. I should be glad to know if there is any reason why they should not be accepted.

First of all, of course, the first part of Senator FitzGerald's speech in favour of his amendment consisted in ascribing to me a lot of things that neither I nor anybody else on this side of the House ever said. They were merely what Senator FitzGerald would have liked me to say but, as he and everybody in the House knows, these things were, in fact, never said.

I did not make the case that any part of the purpose of the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill was to attempt the ridiculous operation of trying to equate exactly the value of every vote in every part of the country. I should expect Senator FitzGerald to engage in such type of operation. Neither I nor any Member of the Government intended to do any such thing.

The purpose of this amendment, as was explained to the House both in introducing the Second Stage of the Bill and in reply, is to give reasonable scope to avoid the injustice that was done to large sections of the population in numbers of counties. The last revision required by the decision of the High Court on the 1959 revision was strongly objected to by a number of Deputies from the Opposition Parties who represented the areas concerned and, I may say, was objected to quite as strongly by Members of the Fianna Fáil Party as well. Because of this type of injustice, described by Opposition Members as "disfranchising" of the people concerned, described as the "butchering" of counties and of constituencies, described as the "ruthless dismemberment" of them—because this would have to happen all over the country on this occasion—the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill was, in the main, decided upon. Senator FitzGerald knows that as well as everybody else. He will not be able to find any instance where it was stated that anything else was the objective.

It is, of course, a fact that I countered the opposition to the Bill by pointing out that the resultant position from the enactment of the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill would be that the rural vote in general would, for the first time, more nearly approximate to the value of the urban vote in general but that was quite obviously merely a by-product of the Bill. There was never any suggestion that it was part of my objective, or of the Government's objective, to attempt anything so ridiculous as trying to equate exactly the value of every vote in every part of the country. It was because we agreed with the majority view and, as I believe, with the unanimous view of all Deputies—I think all Deputies in the House but certainly all Deputies whose constituencies were in any way affected—that what happened in 1961 was unjust to the people concerned, we decided to comply with the demands that were made at that time for an amendment of the Constitution to provide a limited amount of scope for avoiding such injustices in the future.

The Opposition—who, apparently, purely and simply because this was proposed by Fianna Fáil, decided to oppose it—adopted the unscrupulous and obviously unjustifiable argument that this breached the sacred principle of one man, one vote although they must have known, because the figures were available to them, that this was not so.

Let me quote the principle the Minister asked the House to endorse the last day.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

If the Senator wishes to make a counter argument he may do so later.

I pointed out that, in fact, the present position which the Opposition want to retain resulted in conferring on the vote in the built-up areas in general a greater differential in regard to electing a Deputy than would the proposal and that while the situation resulting from that would be that votes in all parts of the country and in every constituency would not immediately be equal, still the overall result would certainly do no more than to equate the value of a rural vote in general with the urban vote in general. But I never conceded that there was any democratic requirement to ensure that every vote in every constituency would be of equal effect with every other vote. The whole basis of my argument was that far from it having been just on the last occasion to require that a part of the electorate of County Louth, for instance, should vote in Monaghan, it was inflicting an injustice on them. Deputies for County Louth, and Senator Donegan, as he then was, endorsed that view. It was quite clear that so far as the public representatives were concerned, they believed there was no gain for democracy in doing this and the people of the Ardee area who were transferred to Monaghan would not have felt in any way discriminated against if it took fractionally more Louth votes to elect a Deputy than it would Monaghan votes to elect a Deputy in the constituency of Monaghan.

That was no part of the objective of the Bill which was to avoid doing these unjust things both to the people, to their public representatives and to Party organisations.

Senator FitzGerald has argued that there is something to be said for giving a differential voting power to people with families. There may be, but there is not any way of identifying people with families and allocating some fractionally increased value to the votes of these people. There are single people in the cities as well as in the rural areas; there are married people with and without families both in rural and in urban areas; and apparently Senator FitzGerald thinks that this voting power should be given on the basis of the total population as ascertained by the census which is taken on one particular day of the year. Of course, the difference in the percentage of the total population that the electorate comprises in different areas does not arise solely from the proportion of children in the population in these areas. It also arises from other reasons such as the fact that there may be temporary residents on the night of the census in different areas. I pointed out that it is not just the fact that families in general may be larger in urban areas that gives rise to this. There is the question also of residents in hotels, patients in regional hospitals, children and their mothers in maternity hospitals in Dublin, and so on, and Senator FitzGerald thinks that all these should contribute——

I said the opposite.

——to increase the value of the urban vote as opposed to the rural vote.

My amendment is to the opposite effect.

He assumed that the only factor operating was that families were larger in the urban areas and in accordance with that, he sees it as something desirable that every vote in the urban area should have more effect in electing a Deputy than every vote in a rural area. I do not agree with that, and as I said, I think, and the Government think, that it should be sufficient to have reasonable equality in this matter and that there should be a certain amount of scope allowed in order to avoid such anomalies as the breaching of county boundaries and so on. I want to refute the suggestion that it was ever part of the objective that this should be achieved but it does so happen that in the application of the proposed maximum divergence for the purposes laid down in the Bill, the overall result will be that it is much nearer to equating the overall value of the rural vote in general with the urban vote in general.

In other words, the position in that regard, if the Amendment is passed, will be much nearer to this alleged principle of one man, one vote than the position the Opposition have been trying to hang on to. Nobody disputes that if you base the scheme of constituencies on strict parity of the number of electors per Deputy, you will, in fact, achieve equality in the value of a vote in every part of the country, but you will not avoid doing these unjust and anomalous things that had to be done in 1961. A certain permitted divergence from the national average will also be necessary. Senator FitzGerald apparently concedes that and is prepared to agree to half the maximum divergence we proposed. I do not know where he got his figures and as far as I could see he admitted that he guessed them, but quite a number of county boundaries would have to be breached if the revision were to be based on the electorate and unless there was a divergence of almost the same as we have suggested as the divergence for a revision based on the census figures.

In my reply to the Second Stage debate, I pointed out that there were a number of other reasons why it was not considered desirable to change from the census as a basis for the revision of constituencies. The Government considered this question of basing it on the electorate rather than on the population, but we came to the conclusion that it was preferable not to amend the Constitution in that way because even if representation were based on the electorate, a tolerance of much the same order would be required, and there did not seem to be much to be gained in that way. As well as that, there is the fact that the census is compiled on a national basis by the Central Statistics Office and in a much more scientific way, with a much more elaborate organisation, than is the register of electors. It carries much greater authority. The census figures are generally accepted as being both accurate and reliable, whereas anybody who has any connection with political activity knows that there are many complaints with regard to the compilation of the register of electors. It is quite clear that the standard of accuracy in compiling the register of electors varies considerably from place to place. The same elaborate organisation for compiling the register of electors which operates in the census of population is not available.

And it is not within the wit of man to devise a better system?

It is, and, no doubt, the expenditure that would be involved is a matter of no consideration to the Opposition.

It would be cheaper than the £100,000.

The census is taken only every five years while the register of electors is compiled every year.

Surely that is an advantage?

That being so, it is eminently reasonable to set up the elaborate organisation and incur the expense necessary for the compilation of the census, but it would hardly be reasonable to keep a similar organisation there permanently for the compilation every year of the register of electors.

Nobody is suggesting that.

But that is what would have to be done.

Business suspended at 6.5 p.m. and resumed at 7.15 p.m.

I was pointing out that I had not, at any stage, said that any part of the objective of this Bill was to ensure that every vote in every constituency would count exactly the same towards electing a Deputy and that it was not in fact in the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill that we were dealing with the principle of one man, one vote, that that principle was not in fact relevant to the Third Amendment Bill but that it was very much involved in the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill. It may be that that was what was confusing Senators on the opposite benches. They may have mistaken my insistence on the importance of the principle of every vote being treated the same but that was in connection with the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill. What I did explain in regard to this particular Bill was that even if that is accepted, it is quite clear that the position after this amendment is passed will be that the value of a rural vote in general will more nearly approach the value of a vote in an urban area.

I noticed in Senator FitzGerald's approach here today that he is tacitly assuming that the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill will be passed and assuming that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill will not be passed. As I understand it—I admit it is not an easy thing to understand the minds of the Opposition Parties— but as far as I can understand, they are in fact opposing both of these electoral reforms and we are recommending both. The Opposition obviously realise or are admitting that one at least of these will be passed. I think it must be obvious to them and it will become increasingly obvious that both will, in fact, be passed. After all, that is what they are advising, that neither should be passed. We are advising that both should be passed and I think it is reasonable to assume that it will be either both or neither. The Opposition apparently have now come round to assuming that the Third Amendment Bill will be passed and I think it will not be very long until they also appreciate that the Fourth Amendment will be passed with it.

However, for the purposes of his argument on this particular amendment, Senator FitzGerald has been assuming that the Third Amendment will be passed but that we will still have multi-member constituencies and on that basis, he contends, I think, that only seven counties will be affected if his amendment is accepted. On the other hand, in the more likely event of both amendments being passed, 11 counties would be directly affected. There would be 11 counties in which it would not be possible to avoid breaching county boundaries and of course in many of these cases another county would also be affected.

Is the Minister counting two counties in the case of a transfer here?

No; I am talking about 11 single-seat constituencies, that in the event of there being single-seat constituenices and the distribution of seats to be on the basis of electorate with a maximum divergence of one-twelfth, then there would be 11 counties in which it would not be possible to avoid breaching county boundaries, considering those counties on their own.

These would be counties which would lose population to another county?

No; in some cases they might have to get population. They would have to be adjusted with another county.

The point I am trying to make is when the Minister talks of 11 counties, does he mean that where people are transferred, say, from South Tipperary to Waterford he is counting both South Tipperary and Waterford or only the county that loses population.

I am only counting one.

It is possible that in some cases the two might be counted because what I am doing is dealing with each county separately, and I am saying that on the basis of treating each county separately, there would be 11 counties in which the allocation of seats could not completely respect county boundaries. Most of those cases anyway would be involved in adjustments with another county. Senator FitzGerald found a smaller number of counties was affected because he was dealing with the improbable situation of one amendment being passed and the other not, and he was assuming the traditional grouping of parts of counties and he avoided it in that way. I want to point out that there is no reason for assuming this. It is much more reasonable to assume that either both amendments will be lost or both passed.

There is obviously no advantage to be gained by changing from the traditional basis for deciding constituencies on the basis of the census. Senator FitzGerald's proposal is to start out by basing it on equality of votes and then deliberately moving away from that, whereas our proposal is to base the actual revision on the present basis of the census which has always been used, and, as I have shown, the operation of the maximum divergence that we propose would, in fact, move more towards equality of voters.

I was interested in the actual manner in which Senator FitzGerald approached the allocation of seats in accordance with what would be the position if his amendments were accepted. To the Dublin area he proposes to allocate 37 seats and to the western area, the counties of Donegal and Clare and the Province of Connacht, he proposes to allocate 31 seats. In other words, he proposes an increase of three seats in the Dublin area and a decrease of two seats in the western area.

A reduction of three in Dublin by comparison with its entitlement.

An increase of three on the present representation in Dublin. Even on the present basis if no change were to be made and on the basis of the assumption that we make, that the High Court decision indicated that a divergence of five per cent was permissible, if that were applied to the electorate in the Dublin area the minimum number to be allocated would be 36. If it were applied to the western area, the western area could retain 32 seats as against the present 33. The absolute minimum that could be allocated to the Dublin area under the proposals in the present Bill, if it were enacted, would be 35, so that Dublin must get an increase of one seat at any rate and the increase would, in fact, probably be more. Therefore, it is quite clear, or it is likely at any rate, that the absolute number the western area would get under the present Bill would be 32 and they would be entitled to 32 if the present conditions were applied to the electorate rather than population, so there is no need for going to the less accurate and less reliable register of electors rather than the census.

I think then that there is no need for this and that, in fact, what we are proposing is more desirable and will be more effective in avoiding the breach of county boundaries either in the unlikely event of the present system of multi-member constituencies being maintained or in the more likely event of the single-seat system being introduced. In either case under what we propose it would be possible to avoid the breach of county boundaries. Under Senator FitzGeralds's proposal, he himself admits that in the multi-member constituencies, I think, seven counties would be affected and at least 11 would be affected under a system of single-seat constituencies.

I wish to support the amendment, the reason for which was summed up very well by Senator E. Ryan in column 1591 of volume No. 65, No. 15 of the Official Debates of Wednesday, 17th July, 1968:

In these circumstances, it is quite legitimate and only proper and just to try to have some difference between city constituencies and county constituencies to redress this balance and to provide that it will require something in or about the same number of electors to elect a Teachta Dála in a city constituency as in a remote rural constituency.

We are all in agreement on that and what we are asking the Minister and the Government is to put it down in the Bill. In other words, if the Government insist that in the basis of representation one large determining factor will be the number of electors per Deputy and if it is the desire to have this the same, then why not make that change in the Bill? It is obviously wrong to write into the Bill a scheme based on population and then to go round with all the various and nefarious suggestions that were quoted trying to show that, in effect, tolerance would only succeed in redressing the balance and you would have the same number of electors per Deputy in Donegal as in Dublin. It seems totally wrong, if that is to be the basis, to play around with population figures and not to deal with the figure concerned, that is, the number of electors.

On the other hand, if the Government wish to say that all in the population are equal when it comes to representation and that the child counts just the same as the adult, if they hold that viewpoint, the representation should be based on population as given in the Bill. But the Government seem to be trying to get away from that and I suggest that just as the figures quoted by the Minister show that by applying the tolerance he would have roughly the same representation of electors in Donegal as in Dublin, he should do that for all the other counties as well and then the muddle that is created will be self-evident.

In the amendment which I am sponsoring at a later stage, I am seeking to make the basis of representation slightly lower than that produced by Senator FitzGerald and to make it based on those over 18 and then, of course, based on figures that have come from the population statistics and, due to the fact that these population statistics are taken only every five years, then it seems reasonable that a slightly lower limit of 18 would mean that at some stage you would have the vote going down to 18——

Are we discussing amendment No. 2 with this also?

No. We are not discussing amendment No. 2.

We seem to be now.

I am not discussing amendment No. 2.

Confused again.

I am quite satisfied that amendment No. 2 does not need very much separate discussion. The principles contained are essentially the same.

We must wait until we dispose of the other amendments.

I want to support Senator FitzGerald's amendment.

That is all right.

If his amendment is carried, I will withdraw mine.

That may be done without dealing with amendment No. 2.

As Senator Quinlan was good enough to cite me in support of his proposals, I want to make it clear that a study of the ratio between electorate and population in all of the constituencies shows quite clearly that in almost all cases it takes more of the electorate to elect a Deputy in the rural areas than in the city areas. Consequently, I would support any proposal that would redress this in a general way.

But, of course, the point being made that this should be done simply by substituting "electorate" for "population" only meets one of the problems that have to be dealt with in framing suitable constituencies and entirely disregards the other problem, the problem of convenient areas of representation. For that reason, I think the Third Amendment as it stands is a much better way of dealing with it because it deals both with the question of the ratio between electorate and population and with the question of suitable areas of representation. Consequently, I think that, as it stands, it is a much better way of dealing with both than trying to segregate two or three problems and trying to deal with them separately.

Deputy Ryan's speech on the Fourth Amendment would be helpful on that measure but has no relevence to this measure, which is separate from the Fourth Amendment and which could conceivably be passed when the Fourth Amendment will certainly be rejected by the people. Therefore, I do not know quite how to bring it into focus in this debate. Convenient areas of representation is not the issue which the Minister was pressing with us.

It certainly is.

It has been referred to, certainly. Are we to take it, therefore, that all these columns that I have here of the Minister dealing with the electorate and county boundaries are to be disregarded, that this was just a smokescreen by which we were supposed to be blinded and that behind all this what is wanted is not, in the Minister's words, to make it possible to keep the rural Deputy, in general, equal in value to the Deputy in the bigger cities but, instead, to do far beyond that and to give far bigger representation in order to provide convenient areas of representation? Either it is the intention that the Deputies should be equal, in which case the areas of representation will be more inconvenient in rural than in urban areas—and that is what is implied in everything the Minister has said—or, in fact, the intention is to provide a different ratio of representation, even on an electorate basis, in the west. That is what the Bill makes possible. It is what the Minister has throughout tried to persuade us is not the intention. He said most specifically, at column 1204:

...mentioned in the Bill, will do no more than in general equate the value of a rural vote to that of an urban vote—if it even does that.

That is right.

"In general"—that is global—for the country as a whole, not for the westversus the east or the east versus the west. The Bill, in fact, entitles him to go far beyond that. It entitles him to transfer five seats from Dublin to the west, whereas all that is needed to achieve the objective stated is to transfer two seats. If we are to give convenient areas of representation which means giving to the west or rural areas more seats in relation to population than the rest of the country, that would do very much more than “in general, equate the value of a rural vote to that of an urban vote—if it even does that.”

The fact is, the Minister has throughout tried to cover up the fact that the purpose of this Bill is to eliminate the principle of one man one vote and he has introduced this red herring of the electorate, which we have now exposed totally, and this red herring of county boundaries, in order to cover up the fact that his intention is not simply to give fair representation on an electorate basis, on which we are all agreed and which he is now rejecting when I propose it, not simply to prevent, and I quote him I think, "wholesale breaching of county boundaries" but, beyond either of those two objectives, which are reasonable objectives with which we sympathise and would entirely support him in achieving, he wants to distort the representation in order to give extra representation to some parts of the country against others on the grounds of the character of the areas and regardless of the number of people living there.

That is what the Bill enables him to do. It is stated in the Bill that that is the criterion to be applied in determining constituencies. Throughout this debate and the debate in the other House the Minister tried to throw up a smokescreen when talking about the electorate.

For the purposes of the Official Report, will the Senator give the reference?

The reference is column 1204 of volume 65, No. 11. The Minister, in the course of his remarks, said he was endorsing the principle of one man, one vote on an electorate basis. I stood up to challenge him and the Leas-Chathaoirleach rightly ruled that I could make my point when my turn came. I make it now. I quote the Minister's opening speech:

I do not think that city voters expect or want to retain such favourable treatment and I trust that Senators will endorse the principle of one man one vote of equal value which is inherent in the proposals in the Bill.

And that is in the Third Amendment Bill.

That is the Fourth Amendment Bill.

At column 1206, when the Minister was dealing with the Third Amendment. He did not deal with the Fourth Amendment until later.

The Minister is getting confused. He overworked himself last week.

The Minister is maintaining that the purpose of the Bill is to achieve the one man, one vote principle on an electorate basis. He told us the Bill will do no more than to achieve this even if it does that. This was to avoid the wholesale breaching of county boundaries. I have proposed an amendment to achieve these two aims. I have smoked out the real intention which is, not to achieve the principle of one man, one vote on an electorate basis, but to go far beyond it, regardless of the wholesale breaching of county boundaries.

I am glad my amendment has had this effect. It is quite clear now where we stand. It is quite clear what this Party is in favour of: giving fair representation to every part of the country as far as possible and, within limits, in favour of the West. We believe it can be done within the reasonable tolerance of three or four seats. The Minister seeks to go beyond that to enable him to gerrymander the whole country so that people in some areas will have 40 per cent more representation than people in other areas. These are the figures; that is the mathematics; that is the purpose of it.

That is your imagination running riot.

That is the power the Bill gives to the Commission. It requires them to achieve convenient areas of representation related to the population contrast and the ratio of population per square mile of the constituency. It gives them the power and, by implication, the encouragement to exercise it—it is, perhaps, even a legal requirement—to give up to 40 per cent more representation in some parts of the country than others, to give representation two and a half times as great as that required on a population basis in order to equate the electorate, which the Minister said was the objective, in order to equate the value of a vote in the city to a rural vote.

As the Minister said:

I trust that Senators will endorse the principle of one man, one vote of equal value which is inherent in the proposals in the Bill.

Our amendment, if adopted, would make one man, one vote on an electorate basis inherent in the proposals in the Bill. It is not inherent now because the Bill requires the Commission to go far beyond that, giving perhaps two and a half times as much representation to people in some areas as in others, giving people because of their place of residence, 40 times more representation than people in other areas.

The Minister throughout laid great stress on this electorate principle, until exposed, until smoked out, until I presented him with the figures which I challenged him to deny, which was that this principle can be implemented within a tolerance of eight per cent, which I think is acceptable, that this can be achieved, breaching county boundaries in only three cases. There were only three cases where parts of counties would have to be put on to other counties, those three counties being Meath, Tipperary and Leitrim.

The Minister has made no reply to my point. I have given him the figures, constituency by constituency, but he has sedulously avoided dealing with them. All he has to say is that this is a guess on my part. It is not a guess, any more than any projection on solid material is a guess, any more than the Government's own work in relation to the economic programmes, in relation to their capital programme and in relation to any other calculation of that kind is a guess. In fact, it is less so here because I am concerned not with projecting into the future but simply using data in respect of the constituencies in calculating the variation between population and electorate.

The number of cases where there is divergence between county and constituency is relatively small. There are only at present seven cases where portion of one county attaches to another county. The number of population concerned is small. Therefore, the degree of error possible in such a calculation —even one carried out thoughtlessly— would necessarily be small. In any event, as the divergence between those ratios is in most cases between neighbouring counties very small, even if the job were done crudely, the degree of error would necessarily be small. I am quite prepared to be corrected. The Minister has in his Department information on the electorate in every county. If I am wrong to any degree, he will not hesitate to challenge me. If he does not do so, I can take it that my point is proven.

The Minister has said that I said the only factor affecting this distortion was the question of the number of children in a family. I did not say anything of the kind. This is the main factor. There are other factors, such as people in hospitals, but as between constituencies this is not a major factor. Nevertheless, what I was saying — the Minister misquoted me here—was that a case could be made for the population basis on the ground that it gave effective extra representation for families. I did not endorse such a case. In fact, I opposed it by putting down this amendment to say it should be on an electorate basis, accepting the Minister's theory which he does not believe himself. The Minister accuses me of favouring extra votes for families and proposing this. I merely said such a case is arguable: I do not argue it. I accept the Minister's theories about electorate, but he will not accept them when they are proposed. He dodges away from his theories because this does not give him an excuse for this distortion of the population which he thought, if he got away with it, it would give him. He did admit in his remarks that my proposal is much nearer to one man, one vote. It is not much nearer to it: it is one man, one vote.

I did not admit any such thing.

I wrote down the words as you said them.

I said the original basis but not necessarily with the one-twelfth divergence.

The Minister said the proposal was much nearer to one man, one vote. I think the record will confirm that. If the Minister doubts me, I will not press this. As regards his arguments for not accepting the electorate, I never heard anything less convincing. He said this was considered by the Government—the first time we have been told that—but that the census was more scientific and carried more authority than the electoral register figures. This is indeed true to some degree. But I would not have thought that the difference is of any significance, as the electorate who vote are the electorate on the register. It seems odd that the register is good enough for people to vote on but not good enough to distribute seats on. It is a remarkably illogicalnon sequitur.

I would have no difficulty in modifying my amendment if the Minister does not like the electoral register for this purpose—the register his Department is responsible for drawing up— and taking instead the census of the population over 21 or, and I will endorse Senator Quinlan's amendment, of the population over 18. If the Minister has this confidence in the census, as distinct from the figures prepared in his own Department, I am prepared to accept that. The argument that you cannot use the electorate on the ground that the electoral register figures are not reliable does not stand. Let us take the census figures for people over 21, or preferably over 18, if Fianna Fáil are not afraid of the 18 to 21 age group, and we certainly are not. We would wholeheartedly support any proposal to franchise them because we know who would benefit at this time. The argument that the data are not available for this purpose is spurious and untrue. The data are available here from the electoral register or if the Minister prefers, from the census. I suggest the electoral register because it seems convenient and more relevant to an election because it is the people on the register who can vote. The fact that there may be more people entitled to vote if they are registered—the marginal error is small—is irrelevant for this purpose but if the Minister thinks it is important it can be done on the basis of population.

Would the Minister tell me on what grounds he is rejecting the electoral basis we propose? He gave no grounds in the course of his remarks and I can recall no other statement that he made relevant to this point at all. He has said that this principle of the electorate is an important one and he has asked us to endorse the principle of one man, one vote, of equal value, based on this concept of the electorate in a constituency. Then, once we accept that, he says: "No, that is not what I mean; I meant something else, something quite different on this issue." I think we should vote with the Minister on this and give him what he asked for. If members of his Party go the other way—they do not always agree with him—then the country can see who is in favour of an equitable system of election, one man, one vote, and to give a different ratio of electorate to population, and see who wants to rig the constituencies to their own advantage and who is not prepared to stand over his own statement, his own speech, his own endorsement of the system.

The Minister also said that our calculations are based on the assumption that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill will be rejected. I must admit that is an assumption that I tend to favour and the most realistic one to work on in the light of the present state of public opinion, but in fact our calculations do not depend on this, because within the county area, the figures I have given for three, four, or five seat constituencies are within the Minister's tolerances and I have checked carefully to make sure that is so. The Minister, in the course of his speech the other day, named precise figures for the tolerances in three, four and five seat constituencies and I think he will find all my proposals fall within these limits. There is no quarrel between us on that. Therefore, if the constituency I propose is within these limits and it is divided uppro rata, we can see that there will be no problem about boundaries within the constituency being broken up by electoral divisions.

Of course there would.

If the constituency is dividedpro rata, then the individual one-seat constituency will be within the limits imposed.

That is not right.

The Minister has frequently used electoral divisions, especially in city areas, and broken them into units in which there may not be a population of more than 200 and has departed from traditional boundaries and established new boundaries arbitrarily which bore no relation to any past or present administrative division. There is therefore no significant problem and all the figures I have put forward are within the tolerance limits imposed and there should be no problem about subdivisions of this kind. In nearly every case, the tolerance involved gives ample leeway so that it should be possible to break up an electoral division if the Minister decides to do so. The Minister's statement that my calculations are based on the assumption that the Tolerance Bill would be rejected is as untrue as the rest of his arguments which I have refuted.

To recapitulate some of the things the Minister said: he said that if the widespread breaching of county boundaries was to be avoided it was obviously necessary to allow the population per member in constituencies to deviate to some degree from the national average. I have made a proposal which meets his point of view on the electorate and the breaching of county boundaries, since I do not think anybody could reasonably hold that three small pieces of three small counties being involved could be regarded as widespread breaching of county boundaries when it relates to less than ten per cent of the whole. Clearly the Minister is thinking of more than that. I have met him on that since my proposal would avoid it. The proposal also meets him on the question of the electorate which is a valid point on which he has now turned turtle and it would ensure that the balance throughout the country would in fact favour rural areas because my proposal gives Dublin less than it is entitled to on an electorate basis and gives the rest of the country more than it is entitled to on that basis.

Having met the Minister on every point other than his desire to have freedom to introduce a major distortion of his representations between the different parts of the country and totally undermine the principle of one man, one vote, I now propose that he accept the amendment, and if he does not do so, I think it will be our duty to vote for this amendment which meets all the Minister's wishes, but from which he has now run away like a frightened rabbit when he finds that he has been caught out in his attempted confidence trick.

Senator FitzGerald says that the intention here is to make the votes equal or——

More than equal.

——or to increase the value in some cases. The intention, as he knows, is neither of these things. It is to give a certain very small amount of scope to avoid inflicting on people in certain parts of the country the injustice of uprooting them from their own county or constituency in which they have always been and transferring them into another county or constituency. To avoid the injustice of having to do this at five-yearly intervals, moving them around——

How are they moved?

If we were to accept the point of view that it should be done every year——

That was not proposed.

(Interruptions.)

The Chair had to reprimand Senator FitzGerald before.

It is not at twelve-yearly intervals because the Constitution says: "...at any time——"

Delete the words "at any time".

Then, let us accept this amendment, and go back to the Dáil and then propose to delete that next time, and we can keep going back and forward between Dáil and Seanad, which is what Senators opposite would like, to keep on introducing revisions of constituencies, bringing them to the Dáil and the Seanad and then submitting them to the Supreme Court and allowing Senator O'Quigley to get some income from wrangling over them, then bring them back here and by a process of trial and error——

Senator O'Quigley was not in the Supreme Court on that case.

He was the junior counsel.

I was not in the Supreme Court.

No, in the High Court.

He was there anyway.

I was, and I did a good job.

The intention of this Bill is to prevent injustice, in the main, the injustice of breaching county boundaries. As I pointed out, it is by a process of that kind that we move towards the general equation of the value of a rural vote with the value of an urban vote. That is inherent in these proposals, part of what they will do. It is not the objective of the Bill. The Bill is introduced as I showed, in response to demands made from all sides of the House when this injustice was inflicted on people in 1961 in a number of cases but not on a terribly widespread scale. It was sufficiently widespread to arouse from people who were affected——

(Interruptions.)

The Minister should be allowed to speak without interruption.

Senator O'Quigley himself went on record then as admitting that there was injustice but saying that the fault was with the Constitution.

Did I use the word "injustice"?

We are suggesting to the people that they should be given the opportunity of doing what was demanded in 1961, remedying this constitutional infirmity, as Deputy J. A. Costello called it, and that is the purpose of this Bill. It is quite true as I have said, that in my belief the people of Dublin did not want to retain the favourable treatment of their votes which is inherent in the present constitutional requirement as interpreted by the High Court at the behest of the Fine Gael Party. I fully believe that they do not covet this extra representation the Fine Gael Party want to give them at the expense of the people in rural Ireland——

And which it is proposed in the amendment to take away from them.

——and not merely the people in the West.

The Chair wishes to remind the Senators that speeches should be made without interruption. The Minister, to continue without interruption.

This is not referable only to the West. I know the effort has been made by the Opposition Party to arouse a particular prejudice against the people west of the Shannon——

On the contrary.

——and the newspapers have also tried to promulgate this agitation to the effect that this is in some way for the purpose of giving unjustified representation to the west of Ireland. As I said, it is not for any such purpose, and I do not believe that the people of Dublin can be induced by either the Fine Gael or the Labour Party to covet this extra representation to which they would not be entitled on the basis of voters even under what we believe to be the present permitted divergence from the national average of five per cent.

As I showed here before, if what we believe to be the permitted divergence of five per cent were applied to the voters in the Dublin area and applied to the voters in the western area, the most that would be required in the western area would be a reduction from 33 Deputies to 32, and in the Dublin area the increase would be from 34 to 36, instead of, as the Opposition want to insist, the increase in the Dublin area being from 34 to 38 and the decrease in the area west of the Shannon being from 33 to 30. Even though Senator FitzGerald in his allocation of seats that he has described here today pretends to be operating a divergence of eight per cent, it is significant that he has allocated 37 seats to Dublin and only 31 to the west, whereas if you apply five per cent to the number of voters in the west, the reduction will be only from 33 to 32; and if you apply five per cent to the number of voters in the Dublin area the increase will only be from 34 to 36, but Senator FitzGerald, pretending to apply 8? per cent, allocates an increase of three seats to the Dublin area and a decrease of two to the western area.

As I said, I do not think the Dublin people covet that extra representation at all. In fact, I would not be surprised if quite a number of people in Dublin would not see anything wrong if the representation was left as it is at present, that is, 34 for the Dublin area and 33 for the western area, even though the population in the western area is only 81.8 per cent of the population in the Dublin area, and the present representation is 33 in the west and 34 here. Admittedly, that is a little bit out of line, but I believe the ordinary decent Dublin man would not think it completely unjustifiable, to say the least, that some account might be taken of the fact that the area of the western area is 27.3 times as great as the area of the Dublin area; in other words, the area in which there is at present 33 Deputies is 2,730 per cent of the area in which there are at present 34 Deputies. The attitude of Senator FitzGerald's Party is that this must be increased to at least 38 for the smaller area and reduced to 30 for the larger area, and even with this alleged 8½ per cent tolerance as against the present five per cent, as we believe, applied to the electorate, Senator FitzGerald's allocation of seats would be 37 for the Dublin area and 31 for the western area. As I pointed out you need only a five per cent divergence applied to voters in order to retain the 32 seats in the west and to give 36 to the Dublin area.

With regard to Senator FitzGerald's guessed figures, based as they are on the figures I gave, they are not seriously out except in a couple of cases where the divergence from the actual figures amounts, in one case, to a maximum of 1,500 and, in another case, to about 1,000. They are not completely accurate but in any case the actual figures are available for counties if he is interested. I have stated that even operating the divergence that Senator FitzGerald proposes on the basis of the electorate and on the basis of single-seat constituencies, there would be 11 cases of counties in which seats could not be allocated without breaching the county boundaries, and that is not taking into account the other counties that would be affected by the adjustments that would be called for.

I have shown that there is no purpose whatever to be served by this suggested change, that what we propose will not do any more than make the rural vote, in general, equally effective as the urban vote, in general. That is absolutely clear, and it is not so convincingly clear, at any rate, that what Senator FitzGerald suggests will result in a similar approach to equality in the value of votes. What he proposes is that you start off on the basis of the actual number of voters, and that you apply a divergence directly to that, but, as I have shown, by applying the divergence that we suggest to the total population the result over the country as a whole is a rough equalisation of the value of urban and rural votes.

Although all these arguments were made in the Dáil as well as here, it is significant that it was only here that this suggestion was made, and it is quite obvious that the putting forward of this bogus amendment today is simply part and parcel of the campaign that the Opposition Parties have been conducting in the two Houses of the Oireachtas to delay the passage of these Bills.

After Friday last?

There was no delay on Friday. There was nothing more to come before the House last Friday. It did not delay Senator O'Quigley anyway. He was not here.

He was not here because he could not be here.

My speech did not delay the passage of the Bills. The only business before the House was the conclusion of the Second Stage of these Bills.

Seven hours.

Even if I did not do what Senator Rooney wanted me to do, that is, leave it until after the referendum to put the case for the proposals, my speech did not delay the passage of the Bills through the Seanad.

It is quite clear that the only reason for putting down these amendments is not to make any significant change in the resultant position, but in the hope that by further delaying the passage of the Bills, the date for the referendum would have been so close to the last date for the next general election that it would have to be postponed even longer. It is quite obvious that was the reason for the filibuster in the Dáil and here.

Who was filibustering?

It was just another gimmick in that campaign in the hope that this amendment would be accepted —and it is not of any great importance. I admit—purely and simply to further the delaying tactics of the Opposition. The amendment would have little or no practical effect and the effect it would have would not be desirable. It is a fact that the register of electors is an annual compilation and that the organisation for taking it up is not as elaborate or expensive as the census machinery and it does not carry the same weight or authority as the figures in the census. It would also change from year to year and instead of being required by the Constitution to revise the constituencies after the publication of the result of each census, if this were accepted, we would have pressures for a revision of the constituencies annually, possibly, every time the register of electors disclosed that some constituencies had moved outside the constitutional requirements, as they would if this amendment were accepted.

I am satisfied that these amendments were put down purely and simply for the purpose of delay. I can see no advantage in accepting them. As I said, the Government considered this matter and, as we saw from the result of our examination, far from what we are proposing doing any violence to this alleged principle of one man, one vote, in fact it moves closer to it. There is no reason to believe that Senator FitzGerald's series of amendments would achieve any more substantial equality in the value of the vote in other parts of the country than what we propose. It is clear that they would not be effective in enabling the injustice of breaching the county boundaries to be avoided. For that reason I reject these amendments.

After that pathetic effort, I will make merely one point. It is simply this. On a population basis the western counties would be entitled to 34½ seats; on an electoral basis they would be entitled to 36½ seats; and our proposal would give them 37.

Thirty-one.

I do not propose to reply to any of the rest of what the Minister said. It was irrelevant and unconvincing. The case rests. Far from wishing to delay or filibuster, I now press the amendment.

Cuireadh an cheist: "Go bhfanfaidh na focail a tairgeadh a scriosadh amach".

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand".
Do rinne an Coiste vótáil: Tá, 23; Níl, 13.
The Committee divided: Tá, 23; Níl, 13.

Tá.

  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Eachthéirn, Cáit Uí.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Farrell, Joseph.
  • Fitzsimons, Patrick.
  • Honan, Dermot P.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • McGlinchey, Bernard.
  • McGowan, Patrick.
  • Martin, James J.
  • Nash, John Joseph.
  • Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
  • Ó Maoláin, Tomás.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick (Longford).
  • Ormonde, John.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Patrick W.
  • Ryan, William.
  • Teehan, Patrick J.
  • Yeats, Michael.

Níl.

  • Carton, Victor.
  • Davidson, Mary F.
  • Dooge, James C. I.
  • FitzGerald, Garret M. D.
  • Jessop, W. J. E.
  • McAuliffe, Timothy.
  • Malone, Patrick.
  • Murphy, Dominick F.
  • O'Quigley, John B.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick (Cavan).
  • Quinlan, Patrick M.
  • Rooney, Éamon.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Browne and Farrell; Níl, Senators McDonald and Rooney.
Question declared carried.
Faisnéiseadh go rabhthas tar éis glacadh leis an gceist.

Tairgim leasú 2:

I gCuid I, leathanach 5, "ós cionn ocht mbliadhna déag d'aois" a chur isteach i ndiaidh "dhaonraidh" i líne 28 agus i ndiaidh "iomlán" i líne 31; agus

I gCuid II, leathanach 7, línte 14 agus 17, "over the age of eighteen" a chur isteach i ndiaidh "population".

I move amendment 2:

In Part I, page 4, line 28, after "dhaonraidh" and in line 31 after "iomlán" to insert "ós cionn ocht mbliadhna déag d'aois"; and

In Part II, page 6, lines 14 and 17, after "population" to insert "over the age of eighteen".

This amendment is an effort to get precision on what the Government have in mind and the basis on which they wish to reckon the numbers to be served by a Deputy. Over and above these, there would, of course, be a tolerance that would account for other factors. While the Government have given in the Bill that population is the basis, they have spent most of their speeches here endeavouring to get away from the idea of population and to say, as Senator Eoin Ryan has said, that what they want is that the number of electors per Deputy should substantially be the same whether in Donegal or in Dublin. Indeed, that is a principle on which we readily agree. We should feel happier if we saw that written into the Bill rather than having to go through some rather very abstract calculations, such as the Minister has gone into on the Second Reading speech and again today, in trying to prove that 13,000 population in Dublin is only the same as 10,000 population in Donegal.

I suppose there is not very much point in delaying on this at length because the Minister does not seem, in his replies to Senator FitzGerald, to give any indication that he is likely to look any more favourably on our amendment. The idea of over 18 is not in any way tied, as some newspapers have suggested, to the idea of giving the vote over the age of 18 because, irrespective of whatever opinion we may have on that issue, the present Bill has no connection with that. Therefore, there is no suggestion that, on this Stage, we are in any way proposing that the vote should be given to those over 18: I should certainly agree with this if this were the time and place to do so but this is not the time. In my view, people over 18 are fully entitled to a vote. They are entitled to and are prepared to serve in the Armed Forces. They are entitled to get married. They have completed their pre-university education. All of this means that they should be entitled to all the privileges and the rights and duties of citizenship, and in this amendment we are asking that they should be counted as full units served by a Deputy.

I wish to support this amendment. I have always felt that there was something strange in the system by which constituencies were determined by numbers, including infants and young children as part of the interested population. I believe that an effective interest in political matters begins to develop about the mid-teens and can generally be counted on, on average, by about 18, that some people may develop a little earlier and perhaps some a little later and some perhaps never at all. However, at 18 as a reasonable average, people can understand what is being put up to them by politicians and weigh the question. Between the ages of 18 and 21, there is a trial period which gives them an opportunity for reflection on the responsibility they will assume when they do get the vote. By the time they have reached 18, you will have a politically interested population and that should be the basis for determining the constituencies.

This idea of an interval between the stage at which a person becomes eligible to be counted in the determination of the constituencies, and therefore is a target, as it were, for the representatives of political Parties, and the time when he actually gets the vote, is something which I believe might be thought about in itself as possibly a politically desirable thing to have in any case. If the vote were introduced at 18, as it might easily be, and I agree with Senator Quinlan about that, you could then move the age at which the numbers for the determination of the constituency were taken back to say 14 or 15 but there should be a period between the two. On that account I should like to support the amendment.

I want to support this amendment because like a lot of other things, we have not updated our views having regard to modern developments. The law in relation to many things is 50 or 100 years out of date. For a long time we have been trying to get rid of the unfair position in which women were. Because of the medieval idea that a married woman was her husband's chattel she was regarded by law as being in the same position as his furniture. There were the various married women's relief Acts and the crowning event was the Married Women's Status Act which was passed some time in the 1950s which put a married woman on the same basis as her husband. The curious thing through this whole period of reform was that the single woman, or as she is called, thefemme sole, was always in as strong a position legally as a man. She was capable of making contracts and holding property but when a woman happened to have the status of being married, she lost her independence.

Similarly in relation to young people it is permissible under our law for a girl to get married at 16, or indeed I think it is permissible to get married even at 14, and for a boy to get married at 16 and found a family and then they are entitled to reliefs in income tax as married people. However, under our system we will not allow a boy or girl of 18, 19 or 20 to vote and neither will we allow them to make a contract, except for necessaries. A contract made by an infant to buy, say, a motor cycle on hire purchase is a contract he can refute on the grounds that a motor cycle is not a necessary.

In modern times our laws relating to road traffic and licensing appeals permit a person of 18 to ride a motor cycle and, mark, you, to ride a motor cycle carrying a person without any insurance; yet we do not permit a man who is earning and paying income tax at the age of 18 to have a vote. We do not allow him to make contracts and he cannot institute proceedings in his own name. Even if in particular circumstances in an ordinary running-down accident in a case for the recovery of damages, a lodgment is made in his name, we do not permit him to say whether he will accept that sum of money. That has to be determined by the courts. Even if he is advised by lawyers, he has to go to court.

In modern times the young person is far more mature, better educated and much better able to make up his mind than was perhaps his father of 20, 30 or 40 years ago. The standard of literacy and education and the standard of appreciation of public affairs is much greater among the youth today than it was of people of 20, 21 to 30, or 30 to 40, 30 or 40 years ago and signs on it, we see the manifestations sometimes in an undesirable fashion, perhaps, in England, France, America and elsewhere around the globe. Although it is not relevant to this country, young people in England, America and France can be conscripted at the age of 18, 19 or 20 and can be praised in the way they carry arms, for the way they fought and died for democratic principles, but yet we are not prepared to give the same people the vote.

This amendment has nothing to do with the right to vote.

I think it is highly relevant.

The Chair is satisfied that this amendment has nothing to do with the right of young people to vote.

What I am trying to express in a roundabout way is that people of 18 have views and the numbers of these in the community——

It is one thing to say that they have views and it is another thing to say that they have a right to vote. This amendment has nothing to do with the right to vote.

I accept that ruling, but, as I say, people at the age of 18 have views and they form a not unreasonable and a very important section of the community and, in any computation of the number of seats to be filled in Dáil Éireann at any particular time, we ought to have regard to the number of people aged 18 and upwards. That fits in with what Senator Garret FitzGerald was arguing here today in regard to taking into account the electorate rather than mere population figures. One valuable consequence of taking into account those aged 18 and upwards would be the stimulation in these people of an interest that they probably otherwise might not have in political affairs.

If this proposal is not acceptable to the Minister, then taking into account the population over 21 would go nearer to providing the desired equality of voting strength, giving votes the same value that the Minister regarded as a principle to be endorsed in his Second Reading speech on the Third Amendment to the Constitution Bill. There are compelling reasons, I think, for accepting this amendment for the purpose of writing into the Constitution a provision to enable to a greater extent possible than under the law as it stands equality of voting strength throughout the country.

I support the amendment. It is suggested that a responsible number of citizens, those aged 18 and upwards, should be taken into consideration. For the purpose of regulating constituencies, the Minister is taking into consideration children and infants. Surely an even more responsible body of citizens, those aged 18 and upwards to 21, should be considered in order to balance out representation in the various constituencies? I think the case is a very sound one. There is a stronger case in favour of taking this group into consideration for the purpose of regulating constituencies than there is for taking children and infants into consideration. I know a few young couples of 18 who are actually married and have children. They are liable for income tax. I know even younger people who have to pay income tax. Like all citizens, old and young, they have to contribute towards indirect taxation. Young men of 18 are liable for Army service; perhaps "liable" is not the correct word but, when they serve in the Army at that age, they shoulder the responsibilities of Army life. In addition, these young people have had the advantage of a better education than the generations who preceded them, generations who were considered when the last Constitution was being imposed——

It was not imposed.

It was not really imposed.

It was not imposed, really or otherwise. It was supported by the people.

There was a majority of those who voted, a majority of those who took the trouble to vote, but only one-third of the electors voted in favour of the Constitution.

It was not imposed. That is all I am interested in.

It was adopted as a result of support by one-third of the electors in the referendum at that time.

And without the vote being rigged by PR either.

PR was included in that Constitution and, even with that, only one-third voted.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Senator seems to be wandering further and further from the amendment.

He is being diverted.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Chair is only concerned with his wandering. Whether he is diverted or not is another matter.

These young people are educated. They have the advantage of television. The programmes on television are designed to make an impact and young people learn from television because it does make a direct impact. It makes an impression. It helps them to form opinions. It creates a challenge which enables them to make decisions on various issues. The young person today of 18 years of age is more mature than previous generations at the same age. I think these should be specially considered when population is being considered for the purpose of representation in the Dáil.

This amendment is to Part II of the Bill which includes the infamous tolerance issue, which we oppose so violently. If we are to have a provision including this tolerance of one-sixth, then I would much prefer that all the population should be counted in rather than the population of 18 years and over. This is not on the issue as to whether or not people of 18 and over should be given the vote. The Labour Party view is that they should. This does not give these young people the vote. It is not giving them, though other Senators argued this, any special right. The amendment proposes to exclude from the count those under the age of 18. That seems to me to be the correct interpretation of the amendment. If that is so, then I would prefer including all the population, if this infamous tolerance issue is included. To simply count those of 18 and over would only make the position more unbalanced. We could not, therefore, support the amendment. This is not a question of giving the vote, or any special concession, to people aged 18 and over; it is, in effect, an amendment to take out from the count those under 18.

I would not be surprised to find that Senator O'Quigley and Senator Quinlan—particularly the latter—would derive their inspiration from Franco or Salazar, but to find them getting inspiration from Ho Chi Minh and Mao Tse Tung certainly surprises me quite a lot. This left-handed attempt to bring in the question of votes at 18 was rather surprising when one recalls that the arguments put forward repeatedly during the debate on the Second Stage of the Constitution Amendment Bill in regard to the Government's proposals were: (1) that there was no demand for them; and (2) that the Committee on the Constitution did not recommend them. It can be said quite clearly that there was no demand either for anything connected with votes at 18 or having anything to do with that situation.

In view of the slant which Senator O'Quigley attempted to give, that we were sort of backward and not forward looking in this country, that we were more or less isolated from the main stream of what was happening in the world in regard to this question of the age of 18, it is well to realise that no democratic country in Europe has a voting system at 18 years of age. Senator Quinlan's favourite country which he so often quotes—Denmark— is a democratic country all right, but it thinks so little of the value of its citizens up to the age of 23 that it does not allow them to vote. The only countries in Europe where there is anything connected with voting at that age—and it is well that we should realise it——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I am afraid the Senator is tending to develop the theme of voting at 18 which is not at issue in this amendment. The net issue is the counting of those from 18 up and from 18 downwards.

I will change, so, to the giving of responsibility and the counting of those from 18 up. The only area in Europe which is doing that and recognises it is the area east of what is known as the Iron Curtain, whereas west of the Iron Curtain recognition is not given or considered until people have reached the age of 21.

It would be well, before jumping to conclusions in regard to giving responsibility to young people at the age of 18, that the Government should carefully consider the company in which they would be marching if such a thing happened. It is not that I have any objection whatever to any direction in which they marched, providing they kept their heads above water and kept out of trouble. I do not think we should be deluded or that the people of the country should be deluded into believing that not giving responsibility to people of that age group means that we are backward and not in the main stream of progress as we understand it in the democratic world today. I think the amendment should certainly be rejected.

I was in agreement with what Senator Murphy said and I would not be in agreement with the amendment for the simple reason that it does not go far enough. If the amendment went far enough and said not only should these people be included among the electorate but should also be counted as voters——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Senator's suggestion is not appropriate to the Bill.

That is where the trouble is in the amendment. That is why I could never see my way to support it. A few years ago the Minister for Education in Northern Ireland introduced the 11-plus and in the following year, Dr. Hillery, when Minister for Education, reduced the scholarship age and it became the 12-plus. Any average child at the present time will be in sixth class at 12 years of age and will go to secondary school and come out at 17 and go to university. On Friday evening, if you are leaving Dublin, you will get a number of these students thumbing lifts home. One knows them and picks them up and chats with them. They are very mature people at 18 years of the age. It is for that reason that I would not like to support the amendment when it is not an all-out amendment to give votes at 18.

(Longford): May I say that I see in this amendment something different from what other speakers have seen?

Is it left-handed?

(Longford): It appears that I should be saved from my friends at this stage.

His friends are legion.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senators should not reflect on the extend of the friendships of other Senators.

(Longford): This amendment has been misrepresented by some speakers, particularly by Senator Rooney and Senator O'Quigley, to make it appear that the Bill as it stands in some way disfranchises people of 18, whereas, in fact, what the amendment does as Senator Murphy properly states, is prevent people under 18 from being counted as population for voting purposes.

Not for voting purposes.

(Longford): That is, in fact, what the amendment does.

Not for voting purposes.

(Longford): In calculating——

Constituency.

(Longford): Constituency purposes. That may be more accurate.

(Longford): I do think that Senators did properly understand what I was trying to convey.

(Longford): What I see wrong with the amendment is that since it is proposed to have a tolerance factor as between sparsely populated rural areas and densely populated urban areas, when the shift of population takes place from Mayo, Leitrim, Galway, Sligo, Clare and Kerry, many of the people born in the areas I have mentioned will, in fact, have moved to Dublin, Dundalk, Drogheda, Cork or Waterford, and the result will be that people from these areas will be resident in the east and then the amendment would prevent their being counted for constituency arrangement purposes. If this amendment were carried, the result would be that children and adolescents under 18 in Kerry, Donegal and Leitrim would not be counted at all, whereas those over 18 who came from Leitrim to Dublin would be counted. That is my very good reason for saying that this amendment should not be considered.

It would have the effect to some degree of counterbalancing the tolerance factor and I think the tolerance factor is very important indeed. It is the part of these measures that appeals to me, despite the fact that Senator Murphy is intolerant of tolerance—that is the way he put it. I do say that if you were not to count people under 18 in Leitrim, Donegal and Kerry—and that is what this amendment would mean—and if those in Dublin who had reached 18 were counted, it would to some degree defeat the purpose of tolerance.

Tolerance of 16 per cent would be far worse.

Despite the fact that, as far as I could see, every Opposition speaker who spoke here today spoke on the basis that this amendment related in some way to a reduction of the voting age and despite the fact that An Seanadóir Ó Maoláin felt called upon to comment on some of their arguments, I believe the question of the voting age is not relevant to this Bill at all and that, in spite of what Senator Quinlan said, this amendment does not propose that the voting age be lowered. I cannot see any point in discussing this and I appreciate that the references to the voting age are put in purely and simply for the purpose of confusing the issue once again. Obviously, there is a case for and against that which could be put appropriately on some other occasion.

I would point out that an argument that could have been used against the previous amendments was that the proposed change to electorate as a basis for the allocation of seats as between constituencies would logically imply that the same figures should be utilised for deciding the total number of seats in the country as a whole. If this were to be changed, as would be required by consistency, then any future reduction of the voting age would automatically result in an increase in the total number of Deputies. But, as I said, I do not think that the question of voting age is relevant to this amendment at all.

I recognise that the amendment is apparently intended to be an effort to narrow the gap between the value of a vote in the cities and elsewhere by eliminating from the number of population some of the factors on which representation is based at present. But the amendment does not in fact succeed to any significant extent in correcting the injustice inherent in the present system because of course it does not take into account all the factors which give rise to the high number of the voting population in the cities.

I have made out the figures for each country and for the country as a whole of the population over the age of 18. The total comes to 1,819,908. This is quite close to the number of the electorate, which is 1,713,466. But it would make little or no difference in regard to the pattern of the allocation of seats. Obviously, this indicates that it is the transient residents in the urban areas generally which make the greatest contribution to the weighting of the urban vote as against the rural vote rather than the number of children. Even, if in addition to basing the allocation of seats on the population over the age of 18, the Bill permitted a divergence of five per cent, that is the present divergence, and if this were applied, the maximum number of seats that could be allocated to the western area —Donegal, Clare and the Province of Connacht—would be 31 as against 30 if the present system remains and 32 if this divergence of five per cent was applied to the actual number of voters. In other words, there would be one less under this proposal than the number to which the area would be entitled on the basis of voters as against two less if the present system remains.

On the other hand, with regard to the Dublin area, the minimum number that could be allocated on the basis of the population over 18 and applying a divergence of five per cent would be 38. That is exactly the minimum number that could be allocated to the Dublin area if no change at all is made, that is, if it is based on the population as at present. Therefore, this proposal would make no change at all in the Dublin area and it would make a change of only one in the western area. The difference is in fact negligible. As I pointed out, as far as the Dublin area is concerned, if the present divergence of five per cent is applied to the number of voters there, the minimum for the area would be 36 rather than 38 and the maximum to the western area would be 32 rather than 30.

All this amendment does is to disclose the fact that the most effective contribution to the weighting of the urban vote as against the rural vote is the transient population which is not considered at all in this amendment. These are people such as university students and other college students, people temporarly resident in hospitals and institutions, foreigners, tourists and so on—the many other groups who go to make up the relatively large number of the voting population in the city. I can see no point whatever in accepting this amendment. It does not improve the situation in any significant degree, if indeed on closer examination it is not found to disimprove the situation.

I am wondering where the Minister gets his idea that foreigners in our cities are included in the population census. I did not think that was the case. I stand subject to correction in that. As for university students and so on and the distortion they produce, it is only reasonable to hold that if university students spend a considerable amount of their time in the capital city, they are residents of the capital. You cannot lay claim to students as being rural population members when in fact they spend the greater part of their time at the university. The same applies to attendance at secondary schools and colleges. All this type of reasoning is purely anad hoc effort to try to justify the leaving of far too much discriminatory power to the Minister.

We endeavoured to pinpoint what the Minister and the Government considered should be the unit for assessment in this. We wanted the unit as the population above 18 so as to narrow the region of flexibility that would be allowed to the Minister. By all means we would allow a certain modest tolerance, but not the wild extravagant tolerance of plus or minus one-sixth asked for in the Bill.

I do not see there is any hope at this stage of converting the Minister to this. Perhaps he may sleep on it between now and the next Stage. To give him a chance of sleeping on it, thinking over it and coming back with a Government amendment on it, my only course is to withdraw the amendment at this stage.

Although the Minister spoke against the proposal, he argued in favour of it. In doing so, he shot down every point made by Senator O'Reilly. Senator O'Reilly advanced the argument about the increase in the population and the movement of the younger people——

(Longford): I understand that the amendment is withdrawn.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

An amendment is withdrawn by leave of the House. Senator Rooney rose at the same time as Senator Quinlan and I think it proper that he should be allowed to speak.

The point I want to make is that the Minister is opposed to it but he has still argued directly in favour of basing the calculations on an electorate rather than a population which we object to. The Minister's 16 per cent tolerance proposal will be far more devastating——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

When I gave the Senator permission to speak, I was giving the permission to speak an amendment No. 2. I think he is not quite doing that at the moment.

I am sorry. I just want to say that I think the Minister should clarify his position. He is opposed to our proposal and at the same time, he is in favour of having it based on the electorate.

I shall deal with two points made by Senator Quinlan. If the Senator looks at the Census of Population, 1966, Volume 1, he will find in the second paragraph of the explanatory notes under the heading "Coverage of the Census":

The Census figures relate to thede facto population, that is to say the population recorded for each area represents the total of all persons present within its boundaries on the night of 17th April, 1966, together with all persons who arrived in that area on the morning of Monday, 18th April, 1966, not having been enumerated elsewhere. Persons on board ships in port are included with the population of adjacent areas. The figures, therefore, include visitors present on Census Night as well as residents, but Irish persons temporarily absent from the State are excluded.

Including members of the Defence Forces.

The second point that Senator Quinlan made dealt with what he described as "the wild, extravagant tolerance of one-sixth". In fact, as I showed on the Second Stage, this maximum divergence which we propose to allow—I emphasise that it is a maximum divergence which can only be operated in certain clearly defined circumstances—is substantially less than in every other known democracy. I do not know if there are any cases in which a greater degree of rigidity is insisted on than what we are proposing.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Amendment No. 3 has been discussed with amendment No. 1 and is not moved.

Níor tairgeadh leasú 3.

Amendment No. 3 not moved.
Níor tairgeadh leasú 4.
Amendment No. 4. not moved.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Amendment No. 5 has been ruled out of order and amendment No. 6 not moved.

Níor tairgeadh leasú 6.

Amendment No. 6 not moved.

I move amendment No. 7:

I leathanach 7, i ndiaidh líne 33, na Codanna seo a leanas a chur isteach:

"CUID III.

3. 1º Bunóchar Coimisiún Dáil-cheanntar ó am go ham, uair amháin ar a laighead insan dá bhliadhain déag.

2º Mórsheisear comhaltaí a ceapfar ag Dáil Éireann a bheas i gCoimisiún Dáil-cheanntar: ceapfar comhalta amháin díobh (agus is é a bheas ina Chathaoirleach ar an gCoimisiún) as breitheamhnaibh na Cúirte Uachtaraighe agus na hÁrdChúirte ar n-a ainmniú ag an bPrímh-Bhreitheamh, ceapfar triúr as comhaltaíbh Dháil Éireann ar n-a n-ainmniú ag an Taoiseach agus ceapfar triúr as na comhaltaíbh sin de Dháil Éireann a cinntear do réir dlighidh a bheith i bhfreasabhra, ar n-a n-ainmniú mar foráiltear le dligheadh ag comhaltaíbh a cinntear amhlaidh a bheith i bhfreasabhra.

3º Tig le comhalta ar bith de Choimisiún Dáil-cheanntar éirighe as oifig trí n-a chur sin i n-iúil do Chathaoirleach Dháil Éireann.

4º Tig le Dáil Éireann, ar adhbharaibh is leor léi, comhalta ar bith de Choimisiún Dáil-cheanntar do chur as oifig.

5º Ceathrar is córam do Choimisiún Dáil-cheanntar, agus is dleaghthach do Choimisiún gníomhú d'aindeoin folamhantas ina gcomhaltas.

4. Chomh luath agus is féidir é tar éis Coimisiún Dáil-cheanntar do bhunú, rachaidh an Coimisiún i mbun na ndáil-cheanntar do chinneadh.

5. 1º Déanfaidh Coimisiún Dáil-cheanntar, taobh istigh do thrí mhí ó dháta a mbunuighthe, tuarascbháil do thairgsint do Chathaoirleach Dháil Éireann ina leagfar amach na dáil-cheanntair mar a bheid cinnte ag an gCoimisiún de chomhaontadh a gcomhaltaí uile nó le tromlach dá gcomhaltaíbh, ach más rud é ná tairgfear aon tuarascbháil amhlaidh, toisc nár éirigh leis na comhaltaíbh uile nó le tromlach de na comhaltaíbh teacht ar chomhaontadh, déanfaidh Cathaoirleach an Choimisiúin, cheithre mhí ar a dhéidheanaighe tar éis dáta an Choimisiúin do bhunú, tuarascbháil do thairgsint do Chathaoirleach Dháil Éireann ina leagfar amach na dáil-cheanntar mar a bheid cinnte ag Cathaoirleach an Choimisiúin, agus glacfar gurb í tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin an tuarascbháil sin.

2º Ní foláir tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin do bheith fá láimh an Chathaoirligh nó fá láimh chomhalta eile a n-ordóchaidh an Coimisiún dó a lámh do chur léi, agus ní tairgfear aon tuarascbháil mhionluchta.

3º Beidh an Coimisiún ar n-a lán-scor láithreach d'éis tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin do thairgsint.

6. 1º Chomh luath agus is féidir é tar éis do Chathaoirleach Dháil Éireann tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin d'fhagháil, bhéarfaidh sé go leagfar í fá bhrághaid Dháil Éireann.

2º Más rud é go ndéanfaidh Dáil Éireann, taobh istigh de na cheithre lá dhéag is túisce a shuidhfeas Dáil Éireann tar éis an tuarascbháil do leagadh fá n-a bhághaid, rún do rith le tromlach dhá dtrian ag leasú na tuarascbhála, beidh an tuarascbháil ar n-a leasú dá réir sin.

3º Láithreach d'éis an lae dheiridh de na cheithre lá dhéag is túisce a shuidhfeas Dáil Éireann tar éis tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin do leagadh fá n-a brághaid, is iad na dáil-cheanntair a bheas leagtha amach insan tuarascbháil, nó, i gcás Dáil Éireann do leasú na tuarascbhála, insan tuarascbháil ar n-a leasú amhlaidh, is dáil-cheanntair, ach ní thiocfaidh atharrú ar bith dá ndéanfar ar na dáil-cheanntraibh i bhfeidhm i rith ré na Dála a bheas ina suidhe i n-alt na huaire.

7. Fá chuimsiú foráiltí an Airteagail seo, féadfar socrú do dhéanamh le dligheadh i dtaobh ní ar bith a bhaineas le Coimisiúin Dáil-cheanntar nó le dáil-cheanntraibh.

8. 1º Go dtí an lá is túisce a lán-scoirfear Dáil Éireann tar éis an 15mhadh lá d'Aibreáin, 1970, nó is túisce a lán-scoirfear í tar éis cibé dáta roimhe sin a cinnfear le rún ar n-a rith ag Dáil Éireann, is iad a bheas i gcomhaltas Dháil Éireann ná ionadóirí do na dáil-cheanntraibh a cinneadh leis an dligheadh a bhí i bhfeidhm an lmhadh lá d'Eanáir, 1968, agus is do réir an dlighidh sin a déanfar gach toghchán do chomhaltas Dháil Éireann, mar aon le líonadh corr-fholamhantas.

2º I gcás an chomhalta de Dháil Éireann a bheas ina Chathaoirleach díreach roimh aon lán-scor ar Dháil Éireann, féadfar, d'aindeoin foráilte ar bith eile insan Airteagal so, a shocrú leis an dligheadh dá dtagartar in alt 12 den Airteagal so go measfar é do bheith toghtha mar dhara comhalta do dháil-cheanntar a roghnóchaidh sé, is dáil-cheanntar arb é atá ann an dáil-cheanntar, nó a n-áirimhthear ann cuid den dáil-cheanntar, go raibh sé ina ionadóir dó roimh an lán-scor san, ach ní déanfar comhalta a measfar é do bheidh toghtha mar dhara comhalta d'áireamh chun crícheanna fo-ailt 3º d'alt 2 den Airteagal so.

CUID IV

3. 1º A Constituency Commission shall be established from time to time, but not less frequently than once in every twelve years.

2º A Constituency Commission shall consist of seven members appointed by Dáil Éireann, of whom one (who shall be the Chairman of the Commission) shall be appointed from the judges of the Supreme Court and High Court on the nomination of the Chief Justice, three shall be appointed from the members of Dáil Éireann on the nomination of the Taoiseach and three shall be appointed, from such members of Dáil Éireann as are determined in accordance with law to be in opposition, on nomination provided for by law by members so determined.

3º Any members of a Constituency Commission may resign from office by placing his resignation in the hands of the Chairman of Dáil Éireann.

4º Dáil Éireann may, for reasons which to it seem sufficient, terminate the appointment of any member of a Constituency Commission.

5º The quorum of a Constituency Commission shall be four, and a Commission may act notwithstanding vacancies in their membership.

4. As soon as may be after the establishment of a Constituency Commission, the Commission shall proceed to determine the constituencies.

5. 1º A Constituency Commission shall, within three months of their establishment, present to the Chairman of Dáil Éireann a report setting out the constituencies as determined by the Commission either with the unanimous agreement of their members or by a majority, but if, because of failure to secure unanimous agreement or agreement by a majority, no report is so presented, the Chairman of the Commission shall, not later than four months after the date of the establishment of the Commission, present to the Chairman of Dáil Éireann a report setting out the constituencies as determined by the Chairman of the Commission, and that report shall be taken as the report of the Commission.

2º The Commission's report shall be signed by the Chairman or other member so directed by the Commission, and no minority report shall be presented.

3º Immediately after the Commission's report has been presented the Commission shall stand dissolved.

6. 1º As soon as may be after the receipt by him of the Commission's report, the Chairman of the Dáil Éireann shall cause the report to be laid before Dáil Éireann.

2º If, within the next fourteen days on which Dáil Éireann has sat after the report is laid before it, a resolution amending the report is passed by a two-thirds majority by Dáil Éireann, the report shall be amended accordingly.

3º Immediately after the last of the next fourteen days on which Dáil Éireann has sat after the Commission's report is laid before it, the constituencies set out in the report, or, where the report has been amended by Dáil Éireann, in the report as so amended, shall become and be the constituencies, provided that any alteration in the constituencies shall not take effect during the life of Dáil Éireann then sitting.

7. Subject to the provisions of this Article, any matters whatsoever relating to Constituency Commissions or constituencies may be provided for by law.

8. 1º Until the date of the dissolution of Dáil Éireann occurring next after the 15th day of April, 1970, or occurring next after such earlier date as may be determined by a resolution passed by Dáil Éireann, Dáil Éireann shall be composed of members who represent the constituencies determined by the law in force on the 1st day of January, 1968, and all elections for membership of Dáil Éireann, including the filling of casual vacancies, shall take place in accordance with that law.

2º In the case of the member of Dáil Éireann who is the Chairman immediately before a dissolution of Dáil Éireann, the law referred to in section 12 of this Article may, notwithstanding any other provision of this Article, enable him to be deemed to be elected as a second member for a constituency chosen by him, being a constituency which consists of, or includes a part of, the constituency he represented before that dissolution, but a member deemed to be elected as a second member shall not be reckoned for the purposes of sub-section 3º of section 2 of this Article."

7. In page 6, after line 33, to add the following new Parts:—

"PART III

3. 1º Bunóchar Coimisiún Dáil-cheanntar ó am go ham, uair amháin ar a laighead insan dá bhliadhain déag.

2º Mórsheisear comhaltaí a ceapfar ag Dáil Éireann a bheas i gCoimisiún Dáil-cheanntar: ceapfar comhalta amháin díobh (agus is é a bheas ina Chathaoirleach ar an gCoimisiún) as breitheamhnaibh na Cúirte Uachtaraige agus na hÁrdChúirte ar n-a ainmniú ag an bPrímh-Bhreitheamh, ceapfar triúr as comhaltaíbh Dháil Éireann ar n-a n-ainmniú ag an Taoiseach agus ceapfar triúr as na comhaltaíbh sin de Dháil Éireann a cinntear do réir dlighidh a bheith i bhfreasabhra, ar n-a n-ainmniú mar foráiltear le dligheadh ag comhaltaíbh a cinntear amhlaidh a bheith i bhfreasabhra.

3º Tig le comhalta ar bith de Choimisiún Dáil-cheanntar éirghe as oifig trí n-a chur sin i n-iúil do Chathaoirleach Dáil Éireann.

4º Tig le Dáil Éireann, ar adhbharaibh is leor léi, comhalta ar bith de Choimisiún Dáil-cheanntar do chur as oifig.

5º Ceathrar is córam do Choimisiún Dáil-cheanntar agus is dleaghthach do Choimisiún gníomhú d'aindeoin folamhantas ina gcomhaltas.

4. Chomh luath agus is féidir é tar éis Coimisiún Dáil-cheanntar do bhunú, rachaidh an Coimisiún i mbun na ndáil-cheanntar do chinneadh.

5. 1º Déanfaidh Coimisiún Dáil-cheanntar, taobh istigh de thrí mhí ó dháta a mbunuighthe, tuarascbháil do thairgsint do Chathaoirleach Dháil Éireann ina leagfar amach na dáil-cheanntair mar a bheid cinnte ag an gCoimisiún de chomhaontadh a gcomhaltaí uile nó le tromlach dá gcomhaltaíbh, ach más rud é ná tairgfear aon tuarascbháil amhlaidh, toisc nár éirigh leis na comhaltaíbh uile nó le tromlach de na comhaltaíbh teacht ar chomhaontadh, déanfaidh Cathaoirleach an Choimisiúin, cheithre mhí ar a dhéidheanaighe tar éis dáta an Choimisiúin do bhunú, tuarascbháil do thairgsint do Chathaoirleach Dháil Éireann ina leagfar amach na dáil-cheanntair mar a bheid cinnte ag Cathaoirleach an Choimisiúin, agus glacfar gurb í tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin an tuarascbháil sin.

2º Ní foláir tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin do bheith fá láimh an Chathaoirligh nó fá láimh chomhalta eile a n-ordóchaidh an Coimisiún dó a lámh do chur léi, agus ní tairgfear aon tuarascbháil mhíonluchta.

3º Beidh an Coimisiún ar n-a lán-scor láithreach d'éis tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin do thairgsint.

6. 1º Chomh luath agus is féidir é tar éis do Chathaoirleach Dháil Éireann tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin d'fhagháil, bhéarfaidh sé go leagfar í fá bhrághaid Dháil Éireann.

2º Más rud é go ndéanfaidh Dáil Éireann, taobh istigh de na cheithre lá dhéag is túisce a shuidhfeas Dáil Éireann tar éis an tuarascbháil do leagadh fá n-a brághaid, rún do rith le tromlach dhá dhá dtrian ag leasú na tuarascbhála, beidh an tuarascbháil ar n-a leasú dá réir sin.

3º Láithreach d'éis an lae dheiridh de na cheithre lá dhéag is túisce a shuidhfeas Dáil Éireann tar éis tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin do leagadh fá n-a brághaid, is iad na dáil-cheanntair a bheas leagtha amach insan tuarascbháil, nó, i gcás Dáil Éireann do leasú na tuarascbhála, insan tuarascbháil ar n-a leasú amhlaidh, is dáil-cheanntair, ach ní thiocfaidh atharrú ar bith dá ndéanfar ar na dáil-cheanntraibh i bhfeidhm i rith ré na Dála a bheas ina suidhe i n-alt na huaire.

7. Fá chuimsiú foráiltí an Airteagail seo, féadfar socrú do dhéanamh le dligheadh i dtaobh ní ar bith a bhaineas le Coimisiúin Dáil-cheanntar nó le dáil-cheanntaibh.

8. 1º Go dtí an lá is túisce a lán-scoirfear Dáil Éireann tar éis an 15mhadh lá d'Aibreán, 1970, nó is túisce a lán-scoirfear í tar éis cibé dáta roimhe sin a cinnfear le rún ar n-a rith ag Dáil Éireann, is iad a bheas i gcomhaltas Dháil Éireann ná ionadóirí do na dáil-cheanntraibh a cinneadh leis an dligheadh a bhí i bhfeidhm an 1mhadh lá d'Eanáir, 1968, agus is do réir an dlighidh sin a déanfar gach toghchán do chomhaltas Dháil Éireann, mar aon le líonadh corr-fholamhantas.

2º I gcás an chomhalta de Dháil Éireann a bheas ina Chathaoirleach díreach roimh aon lán-scor ar Dháil Éireann, féadfar, d'aindeoin foráilte ar bith eile insan Airteagal so, a shocrú leis an dligheadh dá dtagartar in alt 12 den Airteagal so go measfar é do bheith toghtha mar dhara comhalta do dháil-cheanntar a roghnóchaidh sé, is dáil-cheanntar arb é atá ann an dáil-cheanntar, nó a n-áirimhthear ann cuid den dáil-cheanntar, go raibh sé ina ionadóir dó roimh an lán-scor san, ach ní déanfar comhalta a measfar é do bheith toghtha mar dhara comhalta d'áireamh chun crícheanna fo-ailt 3º d'alt 2 den Airteagal so.

PART IV.

3. 1º A Constituency Commission shall be established from time to time, but not less frequently than once in every twelve years.

2º A Constituency Commission shall consist of seven members appointed by Dáil Éireann, of whom one (who shall be the Chairman of the Commission) shall be appointed from the judges of the Supreme Court and High Court on the nomination of the Chief Justice, three shall be appointed from the members of Dáil Éireann on the nomination of the Taoiseach and three shall be appointed, from such members of Dáil Éireann as are determined in accordance with law to be in opposition, on nomination provided for by law by members so determined.

3º Any member of a Constituency Commission may resign from office by placing his resignation in the hands of the Chairman of Dáil Éireann.

4º Dáil Éireann may, for reasons which to it seem sufficient, terminate the appointment of any member of a Constituency Commission.

5º The quorum of a Constituency Commission shall be four, and a Commission may act notwithstanding vacancies in their membership.

4. As soon as may be after the establishment of a Constituency Commission, the Commission shall proceed to determine the constituencies.

5. 1º A Constituency Commission shall within three months of their establishment, present to the Chairman of Dáil Éireann a report setting out the constituencies as determined by the Commission either with the unanimous agreement of their members or by a majority, but if, because of failure to secure unanimous agreement or agreement by a majority, no report is so presented, the Chairman of the Commission shall, not later than four months after the date of the establishment of the Commission, present to the Chairman of Dáil Éireann a report setting out the constituencies as determined by the Chairman of the Commission, and that report shall be taken as the report of the Commission.

2º The Commission's report shall be signed by the Chairman or other member so directed by the Commission, and no minority report shall be presented.

3º Immediately after the Commission's report has been presented, the Commission shall stand dissolved.

6. 1º As soon as may be after the receipt by him of the Commission's report, the Chairman of Dáil Éireann shall cause the report to be laid before Dáil Éireann.

2º If, within the next fourteen days on which Dáil Éireann has sat after the report is laid before it, a resolution amending the report is passed by a two-thirds majority by Dáil Éireann, the report shall be amended accordingly.

3º Immediately after the last of the next fourteen days on which Dáil Éireann has sat after the Commission's report is laid before it, the constituencies set out in the report, or, where the report has been amended by Dáil Éireann, in the report as so amended, shall become and be the constituencies, provided that any alteration in the constituencies shall not take effect during the life of Dáil Éireann then sitting.

7. Subject to the provisions of this Article, any matter whatsover relating to Constituency Commissions or constituencies may be provided for by law.

8. 1º Until the date of the dissolution of Dáil Éireann occurring next after the 15th day of April, 1970, or occurring next after such earlier date as may be determined by a resolution passed by Dáil Éireann, Dáil Éireann shall be composed of members who represent the constituencies determined by the law in force on the 1st day of January, 1968, and all elections for membership of Dáil Éireann, including the filling of casual vacancies, shall take place in accordance with that law.

2º In the case of the member of Dáil Éireann who is the Chairman immediately before a dissolution of Dáil Éireann, the law referred to in section 12 of this Article may, notwithstanding any other provision of this Article, enable him to be deemed to be elected as a second member for a constituency chosen by him, being a constituency which consists of, or includes a part of, the constituency he represented before that dissolution, but a member deemed to be elected as a second member shall not be reckoned for the purposes of sub-section 3º of section 2 of this Article."

Things are becoming somewhat confused and I want to make one or two points clear in introducing this amendment. The duty of the House and of the Opposition at any time is to try to improve any Bill or measure before it and the fact that one puts down amendments to a measure with which one totally disagrees in no way implies that one supports the particular measure. I want to make it quite clear that any of the amendments we have put down to this Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill and to the Fourth Amendment Bill are put down from a sense of obligation to mitigate as far as possible the worst effects which these measures would have if presented to the people and passed by them. The people must take either Bill as it stands.

In the case of this Bill, we are proceeding on the assumption—it is merely an assumption—that the Bill might be passed by the people. All the indications now are, as the Minister says, that either both will be accepted or both rejected. I think the Minister is right in that and I think all the indications are that both will be rejected. Here and in the Dáil the Minister— and here last Friday night, with his speaking at great length, continuing to talk and talk—is displaying that symptom which is known to the medical profession as an anxiety neurosis.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Chair is suffering from a little anxiety in regard to the relation of these remarks to amendment No. 7.

I trust this anxiety neurosis is not contagious. I want to make clear that in proposing this amendment to the Bill, that this Commission should be provided, we are not in any sense accepting or supposing that this Bill will be accepted by the people. All the indications are otherwise. Even the Minister himself must be dissatisfied and unhappy in his mind in the knowledge that the Fourth Amendment Bill is gone, that it will not be passed, that it is lost before it is put to the people——

We will try them out anyway.

We should be disappointed if you did not at this stage.

Your political prophecies have been so wrong so often in the past.

Our political prophecies have been correct but I am not prophesying. I am merely looking at the facts as they are and interpreting them. Senators must accept on a hypothetical basis that the Fourth Amendment Bill will be defeated and it seems to us right and proper that the provision that is in that Bill, on the assumption that both the Third and Fourth Amendments Bills are going to be passed by this House, which relates to the determination and delimitation of boundaries should be written into the Third Amendment Bill. What we want to ensure is that if it is right and proper, in the context of both Bills being accepted by the people, to have a Commission to determine the constituencies, it is equally right and proper, if the Fourth Amendment Bill is defeated, to have in the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill the Commission for the determination of constituency boundaries.

When both Bills are passed, you would have two Commissions.

There is no difficulty at all, if one is anyway adept as a draftsman, in avoiding consequences of that kind. Let it not be forgotten—I have a good memory for some matters and an accurate memory for most matters—that when the 1937 Constitution was enacted, there were extensive transitory provisions contained in it, running as far as Article 78. Whether there are ten, 15 or 20 such Articles makes no difference to the principle, and there was a directive contained in the Constitution as enacted by the people in 1937, that as soon as these transitory provisions were spent they would be dropped from the Constitution.

At the present time we have a Constitution limited to 50 Articles. If the Government want to go about the business of producing proper legislation for enactment by the people in a referendum and if they want to take account of the contingencies which may arise, foreseeable possibilities such as that the PR Bill might be accepted and that the Tolerance Bill might not, andvice versa, it is right and proper to put in each Bill the provisions relating to the delimitation of constituency boundaries by a Commission, with the provision written in that in the event of one Bill being passed, the provision relating to the constituencies in the other Bill shall be deleted from future copies of the Constitution, with no difficulty at all arising. It is for that reason we have put in this amendment.

I want to make another thing clear. In this amendment we have taken the provisions relating to the Commission almost word for word as they are in the PR Bill, and we are trying simply to get the Minister and the House to accept the general principle of putting in this Commission. We are not parliamentary draftsmen, and we do not have the hierarchy of civil servants the Minister has available to him to draft these matters in the manner in which they ought to be drafted. If the House is disposed to accept in principle this amendment, and I think it is a reasonable one, then a transitory provision can be incorporated which would enable one of the Commissions to be dropped in the event of the Fourth Amendment Bill being adopted. There are other matters which perhaps ought to be attended to and which the Minister's legal advisers and his parliamentary draftsman can decide are proper to be dealt with.

It is as simple as that. I think it is a fair approach to the possibility that one Bill may be accepted and another may not. If the PR Bill were defeated and the Tolerance Bill, which though not a new concept is new in the way it is spelt out in the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, is to be implemented for the first time, it is highly desirable that this should be done by a Commission which is quite independent or which at least would be presided over by a chairman who would be independent of the Dáil and who would, with the persons nominated to it, work out a scheme for constituencies which would command the support of all the electorate. I think there is everything to be said for putting the provision in both Bills, and I cannot see any argument against including it.

Senator O'Quigley has stated correctly enough that he had not got the assistance of the parliamentary draftsman in drafting this amendment. I appreciate there are difficulties involved, but a little commonsense would help. This amendment is simply ridiculous on the face of it. There are two possibilities: first, that both amendments would be passed, which seems the more likely one. In this event what happens? I just do not know. On the one hand, we have the Commission inserted in the Fourth Amendment Bill and, on the other hand, we have Senator O'Quigley's version in the Third Amendment, and since the two are different, it is impossible to conceive what the situation would be. In the Fourth Amendment Bill proposed by the Government, the Dáil has power to amend the report of the Commission; in Senator O'Quigley's version, the Dáil has power to do so but only by a two-thirds majority. I certainly would be interested to see how Senator O'Quigley would argue this situation before the Supreme Court as to which of these, or whether either, should become law.

Take the other possibility, that one of these amendments is rejected by the people and the other accepted. What is the position then? Do we have the Commission or do we not?—because on the same day the people have accepted a Commission and rejected one. It seems to me that, whichever way we look at it, this amendment is meaningless, and I cannot imagine what Senator O'Quigley thinks he is going to gain by it.

The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that, in the event of the Fourth Amendment being defeated, of which many of us are convinced, and the Third Amendment being passed, which one must concede is a possibility, we must not then find ourselves in the position that the constituencies could be adjusted within a very wide range of flexibility politically and without any guarantee that this would be done fairly. The position is that the Government are prepared to have a Commission if they get the Fourth Amendment; in other words—and this is not an unfair way of putting it; it has been put to me this way by people who have no connection with Party politics—if the Government get the Fourth Amendment and see they can be guaranteed, with their 41, 44 or 45 per cent of the votes, majorities ranging up to 98 seats or higher if they improve on the present level of their poll, they are prepared to give up the power to gerrymander constituencies and have a Commission; but if they do not get that and if the present electoral system is maintained, in which case they are likely to be in a minority after the next election, they want to retain the power to fix the constituencies with the extra assistance of a tolerance which would give them much more freedom in doing this to their advantage than has been the case certainly up to 1961. The Commission will be needed, is needed now, because even with the present tight tolerance, there is still some room for manoeuvring. However, in the electoral distribution at present, the solution to meet any given population census pattern is more or less automatic, in the sense that the counties which have to be put together or have to be removed and added to others more or less stand out, and there is not that much room for manoeuvre. However, with the high tolerance proposed, the room for this manoeuvring would be quite considerable. As against that the Minister has claimed—and there is some force in this—the room for manoeuvre is reduced in that, because of the requirement to stick to county boundaries, there will not be the same freedom to detach an area from one county and add it to another.

I might point out that there are 17 seats within Cork and there will be 35 to 40 seats within Dublin, depending on how this exercise is carried out. These 52 seats are over one-third of the seats in the Dáil and they are within two countries where there is freedom to adjust the boundaries according to the political predilections of the Party in power. Gerrymandering is the word which has been used but I try to avoid ugly words if possible. Within those counties there will be reasonable room to manoeuvre. It is a fact that over one-third of the seats in the Dáil are within two counties where there is complete freedom to manoeuvre and any assiduous Minister for Local Government could secure the necessary advantage. Under an equitable system, the next general election could yield the result that Fianna Fáil would have 65 or 67 seats if they do not slip much further. On the basis of their performance to date and discounting the swing in the by-elections and the results of the local elections, 65 or 67 would be an assessment of the likely result. That is the position at this point in time but some miracle may happen and they may come back with about 40 seats or something in that range. With the maintenance of the present system this room to manoeuvre in the constituencies could be sufficient to bring about the extra few seats needed in that difficult situation.

The purpose of not putting a Commission in the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill is quite clearly to leave this room for manoeuvre. The Government are prepared to have a Commission if they have a large majority, but if the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill is defeated, they want to have this room to manoeuvre. That is what we object to. That is what our amendment is about. It is merely trying to be clever to say that you cannot have a Commission in both Bills. This is something which could be dealt with in a transitional manner. The Government want to back the horse both ways. Much as we admire Fianna Fáil, we do not like them backing horses both ways. Senator Sheehy Skeffington is not here to continue the analogy but we do not like horses being backed both ways against us.

The correct and honest thing to do would be to adopt the same practice here as was adopted in the first instance, in the package deal which was got rid of by popular pressure. There should have been a separate amendment in relation to the Commission and we could happily have voted for it. We could have said to the people: "Vote No, No, Yes" or "Vote No, Yes, No." It is easier for us to say: "Vote No, No." We are grateful to the Government for having facilitated us by giving us an easy slogan. Nevertheless the correct thing—and I might say the clever thing—would have been to have a separate amendment. This proposal in regard to the Commission is desirable. It is valid under any system of election and perhaps it is more important in a system which is likely to yield marginal results. Therefore it should not be confined to the single-seat arrangement. It should have been brought before us in a separate Bill. The original package deal was broken —it was a try-on—because of the reaction from the people. Perhaps we should have attacked this with similar vigour and success. We should have been more effective in this respect. We plead guilty on that account. We should have attacked this provision and forced the Government to put it into the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill. The original package-deal was objectionable and it was eliminated in response to popular pressure.

We must now face the fact that there appears to be some problem under the rules of order and that we are prevented from deleting it from the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill. We can propose to include it in the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill. There is no case against it except the clever, clever remark: "What would happen if both Amendments were passed?" It would be a matter for drafting.

What would happen if one were passed?

If one were passed, we would have a Commission and if both were passed——

If one were passed, the people would have rejected a Commission in the other.

If one were passed, they would have accepted a Commission in it. I appreciate the dilemma of Fianna Fáil. It is a fact that the Commission is in the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill and it cannot be deleted because an amendment is in some way out of order. It could be put in the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill and the problem of what would happen if both were passed could then be dealt with. Resistance to this proposal is a clear-cut advertisement to the country that Fianna Fáil want to be able to continue gerrymandering unless they get the straight vote. This proposal for a Commission is a good idea. It would take the electoral gymnastics out of politics. There are some difficulties about it but they could be dealt with. They want to have the situation that if one Bill is passed without the other there could be gerrymandering. We want to expose that. We want to confront the people with Fianna Fáil's intentions. That is the purpose of this amendment and the Government will either have to accept or reject it. If they reject this amendment, it will be clear that they want a Commission only when they have such a majority that gerrymandering will be unnecessary. They are against gerrymandering in a situation in which it is unnecessary. We want to nail this intention. That is what we are doing in this amendment.

Senator FitzGerald in dealing with this question of gerrymandering has more or less conceded that outside Dublin and Cork the tolerance in the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill is such that it would be possible to confine the constituencies to within the county boundaries. Consequently it will be not only possible but obligatory to keep the constituencies within the county boundaries. That being so, there will be little or no room for gerrymandering outside Dublin or Cork. I am not going to deal with Cork because I am not familiar enough with it. I think that if Senator FitzGerald were honest about this— honesty being a virtue which he seems to regard as confined exclusively to his own Party, for some extraordinary reason——

I have conceded it to many individual members of Fianna Fáil.

——he would concede that there is no pattern, no regularity, no distribution of votes in Dublin city and county which would permit of gerrymandering.

Ballyfermot: the Minister.

The distribution of votes in Dublin is such that no one could say that particular areas will regularly vote one way or the other.

Consequently, as far as Dublin is concerned, any attempt to gerrymander would not be a practical proposition. Senator FitzGerald knows that. He should be honest, for a change, and admit it.

Senator FitzGerald, I think it was, said this is their protest in 1968. Of course, they had a different from of protest in 1959.

A different Bill.

In 1959, the proposal at that time, which is similar to the proposals at this time, was in the one Bill and that Bill provided for a Commission, practically the same as this Commission, the only substantial difference being that under that Bill, it would take a two-thirds majority to alter the Commission's decision. The protest the Fine Gael and the Labour Party made on that occasion was that there should not be a Commission at all. An amendment was moved by Deputies T.F. O'Higgins and Declan Costello to remove the provision for a Commission from the Bill.

Apparently one of the tests of honesty on the part of the Fianna Fáil Party is to agree with the views of the Fine Gael Party. If so, surely if we wanted to agree with what could only be believed to be the view of the Fine Gael Party, we would not have put a proposal for a Commission into either Bill on this occasion? It is just not possible to interpret the mind of the Fine Gael Party or, indeed, the Labour Party on any matter under the sun because, in fact, they have not any mind on these matters. They purely and simply decide on the basis that, if a proposal is made by Fianna Fáil, whether or not it is clearly in response to their previously-expressed opinions, they must oppose it whether or not they are able to put forward any reasons for their opposition.

On this occasion, as I said, when we could only have expected another proposal to remove the Commission from the Bill, we find that, instead of being satisfied with one Commission on this occasion, Fine Gael want two separate and distinct Commissions. It was not the decision of the Fianna Fáil Party to separate the proposal for electoral reform into two separate proposals. It was not our wish to confuse the people by giving them two separate ballot papers, two differently-coloured ballot papers. That was done in response to——

——public demand.

——the wails of the Opposition Parties that they were confused, that they could not understand this whole business. Indeed, it could be assumed by any reasonable person that the intention was, when there was this demand to separate the two proposals, to support one of the proposals and to oppose the other. Obviously, however, that element in the Opposition Parties which bases all its reasoning on uncompromising opposition to anything proposed by Fianna Fáil had its way and the decision is to oppose both of these proposals.

But, when a decision had to be made to separate the two proposals, obviously some choice had to be exercised. A decision had to be made as to which Bill the proposals for a Constituency Commission would be put into. I think I explained why we decided to put it into the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill rather than into the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill. The proposal in the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill is to revert to the position that obtained here from 1922 to 1959—until the decision so interpreting the present constitutional provision was extracted from the High Court by the Fine Gael Party. It is quite obvious that the effect of the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill will largely be to require the Government to return to a scheme of constituencies which would be very similar to that which was accepted unanimously by the Dáil and almost unanimously by the Seanad in 1959.

As Senator Ryan pointed out, there is practically no scope for what the Opposition term "gerrymandering" under the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill. If the information were available and if the Minister making the revision were as evilly-intentioned as the Opposition allege, it is obvious that it is in the present circumstances, that require additions of part of one county to another county, that the scope for gerrymandering exists whereas, in the conditions that require a Minister, in order to comply with the Constitution, to utilise the maximum proposed divergence of one-sixth from the national average for the purpose of avoiding the breaching of county boundaries, obviously the scope for gerrymandering would considerably be reduced. Even Senator FitzGerald could not avoid admitting that that was so but he still maintained there would be a great deal of scope for gerrymandering within the confines of the boundaries of County Dublin and County Cork.

Even Senator FitzGerald must know, if he were sufficiently interested and sufficiently objective to consider the matter, that, if the maximum divergence of one-sixth is operated as the Constitution would direct if this amendment is accepted by the people, if it is operated in order to avoid the breaching of county boundaries, it will result in the average population per Deputy in the Dublin area, and certainly in the Cork Borough area as well, approaching the maximum that would be permissible. In those circumstances, obviously there would have to be very near equality of population per Deputy within the confines of the boundary of County Dublin and certainly within the Borough of Cork, if not indeed within the county boundary of Cork. That being so, there would be very little scope indeed for gerrymandering even there.

Anybody with any practical knowledge of politics would agree with Senator Ryan that there is not any Party organisation that could tell how different areas in the city of Dublin voted last time, much less tell how they will vote in the future. It is an indication of the contempt the Opposition Parties have for the intelligence of the people that they assume that the manner in which people voted in the past is an indication of the manner in which they will vote in the future and that they assume that the people are not capable of assessing the issues that are put before them. In any case, I do not believe that anybody has any reliable idea as to the voting patterns of the people in different parts of the city of Dublin. But this amendment proposes to duplicate in the Third Amendment Bill the provisions concerning the Constituency Commission which are already contained in the Fourth Amendment Bill. It was, I agree, the unanimous view of the Committee on the Constitution that in the event of any constitutional change a Commission should be set up to determine the delimitation of constituencies. It was our intention originally to have one single Bill and to provide in it that there should be a Constituency Commission but when in order to comply with the Opposition's complaints, we decided to subdivide the proposal, we had to choose the Bill into which the provision should go. We decided it was more justifiable and more necessary that there should be an impartial Constituency Commission in the proposal that would require the more fundamental change in the system of constituencies because surely if all this detailed knowledge of voting patterns is available in circumstances in which a completely new system of constituencies has to be laid out, this knowledge can be more effectively used by an unscrupulous Minister.

That situation would apply if the Fourth Amendment Bill is passed and therefore when a choice had to be made, we decided that it was into that Bill that the provisions for the Commission should be inserted. I gather that the Opposition do not want to actually suggest that at this stage we should revert to a single Bill——

——but apparently they do suggest that we should further complicate the issue by having three Bills but possibly if you gave them three, they would want four or five——

There are only three issues.

——and we would run out of colours for ballot papers and we would succeed in confusing the issue for the people. In fact, it has been apparent for some considerable time that the only hope the Opposition have is to succeed in confusing the issues because they are becoming more and more aware that these proposals are going to be accepted by the people. Senator FitzGerald argues that this detailed information about voting patterns is available but on the Second Stage of this Bill, Senator Dooge made the point that this was not the case, that there were not these definite areas which traditionally voted one way or another and could be counted upon to do so in the future. He argued that the circumstances that exist in the neighbouring island in that regard do not exist here. There is no way in which we can legally insert this Commission into the two Bills. I am legally advised that the Constitution would not permit of the submission of alternative or hypothetical proposals to the people, that when there is a referendum there must be definite proposals in the form of a Bill passed by the Oireachtas and that the proposal must be put to the people for their approval. If it is approved then it becomes part of the Constitution. There is no way in which the people can be asked to say "put this into the Constitution in a certain eventuality and keep it out in the event of something else happening". Therefore the proposal to have the Commission in both Bills would just not be possible and the situation that might arise if, as it is likely, both Bills are passed, has been already described. We would have two Commissions.

In the Dáil at least an attempt was made to insert a proviso that the provision of a Constituency Commission in the Third Amendment Bill would be effective only if the Fourth Amendment was not enacted but here Senators did not even consider doing that. This whole thing is in fact very academic. As far as I understand it the Opposition intend to oppose both Bills. They claim to be equally opposed to both of them and as far as we are concerned we intend to campaign for both Bills. It is highly probable then that both Bills will be either approved or rejected. I think it seems certain that both will be approved. The Opposition have to all intents and purposes conceded that the Third Amendment will be enacted by the people and I think it is quite clear that since those campaigning for the enactment of the Third Amendment are also campaigning for the Fourth Amendment and those campaigning against the Third Amendment are also campaigning against the Fourth Amendment, it is reasonable to assume that since it is agreed that the Third Amendment is likely to be passed that the Fourth will also be passed. In any case in the extremely unlikely event of the Third Amendment being passed and the Fourth Amendment not being passed, there is nothing to prevent the provision of a Commission to draw up a scheme to be incorporated in a Bill to be brought before the Oireachtas but, as I said, we had no reason to believe that the Fine Gael Party had changed their minds since 1959.

In 1959 as I said, Deputy O'Higgins and Deputy Costello put down an amendment to remove the provision for a Constituency Commission and I quoted a statement in support of the amendment from both sections of the Coalition, Labour and Fine Gael. They are already on record in the Seanad debates but I think I will just give one quotation from Deputy O'Higgins when he was moving his amendment and it is:

We think that this Constituency Commission should not be inserted into the Constitution... Let any law revising constituencies be passed here through the Dáil... ...allow Oireachtas Éireann, at the instance of whatever Government may happen to be in power, to bring in a Constituencies Revision Bill which if it offends constitutional principles, can subsequently be declared unconstitutional by the courts of this land.

He also said that the Minister at the time should take responsibility, bring forward his proposals and defend them in the open in the Dáil with the Press reporting and so on. Even allowing for the inconsistency that it always associated with Fine Gael, we had no reason to believe that they would have changed their minds so completely with regard to the desirability, or otherwise, of having a Constituency Commission. After all, their whole argument about this proposal is that it is unreasonable to assume that 1½ per cent of the electorate could conceivably have changed their minds on this issue in the short space of nine years, despite the fact that they have had so much more experience of the system and, indeed, despite the fact that there has been such a turnover in the electorate since 1959. Here we find, however, that Fine Gael have turned a complete somersault in regard to this question of a Constituency Commission within the short space of nine years. The fact that a so-called responsible political Party, purporting to be in a position to form a government on its own, so far as we know, can change their minds so diametrically within such a short space of time——

Is the Minister not changing his mind now?

The Minister is changing his mind from start to finish.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Perhaps the Chair might take his cue on the word "finish" and point out that it is now ten o'clock.

I have not dealt with everything.

Not at all.

Another six hours to go.

I have to deal with Senator FitzGerald's idea of what the by-elections indicate. I refrained from doing that on the Second Stage because it was so obviously wrong and I must say I did not think the Senator would be foolish enough to resurrect it here.

Is that relevant to the amendment?

It is relevant to the Senator's ridiculous statements.

Who is delaying now?

Since he dealt with it, I should like to deal with it. I understood we were sitting until 11 o'clock.

No, ten o'clock.

Tugadh tuairisc ar a ndearnadh; an Coiste a shuí arís.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
The Seanad adjourned at 10.5 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 24th July, 1968.