Business of Seanad.

I should like to propose that the Seanad meet tomorrow morning to take the Illegitimate Children (Maintenance and Succession) Bill, 1974. This Bill was ordered for today, we had some debate on it and an Independent Senator spoke on the matter. None of the political parties had an opportunity of making a contribution and the Minister has not had an opportunity of making a contribution. We have stressed—I think this goes without question—that this is a very important social issue. This House has not sat since last July. We sat today for six hours and surely we can sit again this week without straining ourselves. I propose that we sit tomorrow morning and continue the discussion on the Bill before us.

I should like to hear from the Acting Leader of the House.

It is proposed that we adjourn tonight since die.

There is business before the House. It is a very important social issue. Surely we will meet tomorrow in the normal way to continue the discussion on it. We only adjourn sine die when we have no business, but we have business. We have a Bill being discussed. I do not know how Senators can in all conscience say that they will adjourn sine die when we have before us a serious proposal to change the law relating to children and to remove existing discriminations. Surely we are not that cynical.

I should like to second that proposal and to add that from my observation of the debate this evening it seems to me (a) unlikely that the debate will take any great length of time to conclude and (b) that the Minister appeared to be anxious to speak tonight, indeed as anxious as we are to hear his views on the matter. It would seem to be a very simple matter to agree to sit tomorrow until the Second Stage debate is satisfactorily concluded.

What has been said today has given us food for thought. We could wait until next Wednesday to continue the Bill. I ask Senator Mary Robinson to agree that we resume the Bill next Wednesday.

The Chair is in the difficulty that there was an order of the House made earlier today that a certain matter would be discussed on the adjournment from 9.30 p.m. until 10 p.m. Now, that having been done, it is somewhat disorderly to continue a discussion after that debate has concluded. I allowed this to arise in order that the matter can be clarified, but I do not think it is either orderly or profitable to enter into a long debate on the question of the nature of the adjournment.

On a point of order, might I have your guidance on whether it is normal practice when there is a matter ordered before the Seanad, a Bill which is still being debated, to sit the following morning to continue discussion of that matter?

This is not a matter for the Chair. It is a question for the House to establish what it wants to do. It is a matter for the House to determine at the conclusion of every session what its adjournment should be. I was advised that the Leader of the House wished the House to be adjourned sine die and that is why I made the announcement at the conclusion of the business. On the point of order, taking it that the proposal was implicit, perhaps it would have been preferable if it had been explicit at 9.30 p.m. when we commenced the adjournment debate.

I should like to support Senators Robinson and Horgan that we should meet tomorrow at 10.30 a.m. and I think we would conclude the business quickly. It is an important Bill and I think we should finish it now while it is on our minds. Perhaps Senator McAuliffe could sleep on it.

Is it the procedural situation that there is a proposal before the House to which an amendment has been submitted and seconded?

If the House wishes to dispose of the matter in that way, the Chair is prepared to do so.

To the proposal that the House do now adjourn sine die, the following amendment has been moved by Senator Robinson:

To delete "sine die” and substitute “until 10.30 tomorrow morning”.

I am now putting the question "That the amendment be made".

The Seanad divided: Tá, 11; Níl, 17.

  • Browne, Patrick (Fad).
  • Cowen, Bernard.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Garrett, Jack.
  • Horgan, John S.
  • Keegan, Seán.
  • McGlinchey, Bernard.
  • Quinlan, Patrick Michael.
  • Robinson, Mary.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • West, Timothy Trevor.

Níl

  • Blennerhassett, John.
  • Boland, John.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Harte, John.
  • Kerrigan, Patrick.
  • Lyons, Michael Dalgan.
  • McAuliffe, Timothy.
  • Mannion, John M.
  • Markey, Bernard.
  • O'Brien, William.
  • O'Toole, Patrick.
  • Owens, Evelyn.
  • Russell, George Edward.
  • Sanfey, James W.
  • Walsh, Mary.
  • Whyte, Liam.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Robinson and Horgan; Níl, Senators Sanfey and Kerrigan.
Amendment declared lost.
Question: "That the Seanad do now adjournsine die” put and declared carried.
The Seanad adjourned at 10.15 p.m.sine die.