Order of Business.

I understand that there is a general desire that Motions Nos. 24 and 25 might disappear from the Order of Business. To facilitate that I propose that the Order of Business today should be Nos. 24 and 25 and Nos. 1 and 5.

I propose to withdraw Motion No. 24.

That may be withdrawn when the business is taken.

It is also proposed to withdraw No. 25.

I should like to propose an amendment to the Order of Business so that it be agreed that we take Motions Nos. 24 and 25, which I understand will then be withdrawn, No. 7 on the Order Paper, that is the First Stage of the Family Planning Bill, 1974, and then Nos. 1 and 5. I am asking the House to give the Family Planning Bill, 1974, a First Reading today so that this Bill may be published and become available to the citizens for comment and observation. I will not be pressing for a debate on it in the immediate future. Instead I would ask the Senators to give publication to this Bill.

I would remind the House that the Lower House has amended its rules of procedure to avoid a First Stage. This is the attitude of the Lower House towards a First Stage. It is in general an automatic stage of publication of a Bill. It is particularly so when the subject matter is one of importance to the public interest and when there have already been before this House proposals to change that law in that area. It is not an area which has not come before the Seanad. Senators have been informed privately of the contents of that Bill. I can see only value in taking the First Stage today. I can see no reason why the First Stage would not be supported. I ask the Senators to allow the Order of Business to be amended accordingly.

I take it there is a seconder.

I am seconding the amendment. I have an amendment of my own to propose, but I do not know if this is the appropriate time to propose it.

I think so. The first amendment is seconded. It is properly before the House. The Senator can go ahead and indicate that he wishes to propose a further amendment.

I wish to propose a further amendment. I do not propose to speak on the amendment which Senator Robinson has just proposed. The amendment I should like to propose is, assuming the Order of Business is amended in the way Senator Robinson suggested, to add after No. 7, No. 6 on the Order Paper:

A Bill entitled an Act to provide for the disclosure in the reports of directors of companies of gifts for political and charitable purposes and for that purpose to amend the Companies Act, 1963.

I propose to amend the Order of Business to include this Bill on the very simple grounds that it has been as long on the Order Paper as any other item which appears on it today, certainly within the first half of the Order Paper, with the exception of the Bill of which we are now taking the Second Stage. When I last raised this matter before the Recess I was given the usual vague assurances from the other side of the House that the matter would be examined. It was brought to my attention that not one but two Ministers, the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Justice, were involved in the Bill and that their views would have to be sought on the matter. We also had a specific assurance from Senator Brendan Halligan, on behalf of the Labour Party, that they supported the spirit of this legislation and were anxious to see it given an early First Reading.

I do not know what the Members on the other side of the House have been up to but I have had personal assurances from both Ministers concerned that they have no objection to taking the First Stage of this Bill. I do not even see why their attitude should be relevant to us as a House capable of controlling our own business. However I mention it for the information of the House as an indication that, however dilatory Members on the other side may feel about doing their homework and consulting the people concerned, I have managed to do in five minutes what they have not yet managed to do in six months. I would urge very strongly the incorporation of this Bill in the Order of Business at this stage.

I formally second the second amendment to the Order of Business.

Do other Senators wish to contribute to the discussion?

On a point of order, what precisely is the amendment now to the Order of Business before the House?

It is a proposition that the Order of Business be Nos. 24, 25, 1 and 5. There is an amendment that No. 7 be added and a further amendment that No. 6 be added.

On a point of order, can Nos. 7 and 6 be inserted rather than added?

I stated on a number of occasions that the position in this House is that the House settles its own Order of Business. I have made a proposal as to the order in which business should be taken. As far as I am concerned I am not prepared to accept the amendments which have been made to my proposal, but it is entirely a matter for the House. As regards No. 7 Senator Robinson did Members of the House the courtesy of sending them a copy of her Bill and I understand she extended the same courtesy to the Minister for Justice.

If I may express a personal view it seems to me that a Minister would require rather more than a week—I think I am correct in saying he received it last week—to consider the Bill proposed by Senator Robinson. A further view of mine is that both the Parliament and the people would welcome a rest from this seemingly perpetual peddling of Contraceptive Bills. I do not imagine that Senator Robinson is correct in assuming that there is such a public interest as to demand the immediate publication of this Bill. It is a matter for the House. I am expressing my own views on it. Other Members of the House are entitled to vote exactly as they wish.

The first question to be determined is:

That item No. 7 be inserted into the Order of Business as proposed.

Question put.
The Seanad divided: Tá, 19; Níl, 20.

  • Blennerhassett, John.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Fitzgerald, Jack.
  • Halligan, Brendan.
  • Harte, John.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Horgan, John S.
  • Iveagh, The Earl of
  • Kerrigan, Patrick.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lyons, Michael Dalgan.
  • McAuliffe, Timothy.
  • McGlinchey, Bernard.
  • Markey, Bernard.
  • Martin, Augustine.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Robinson, Mary.
  • Ryan, William.

Níl

  • Brennan, John J.
  • Brosnahan, Seán.
  • Browne, Patrick (Fad).
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Butler, Pierce.
  • Cowen, Bernard.
  • Garrett, Jack.
  • Keegan, Seán.
  • Kilbride, Thomas.
  • McCartin, John Joseph.
  • Mannion, John M.
  • O'Brien, Andy.
  • O'Brien, William.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Toole, Patrick.
  • Quinlan, Patrick Michael.
  • Russell, George Edward.
  • Sanfey, James W.
  • Walsh, Mary.
  • Whyte, Liam.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Robinson and Horgan; Níl, Senators Sanfey and Butler.
Amendment declared lost.

I am now putting the question:

That Item No. 6 be inserted before Item No. 1 in the list.

Question put and declared lost.

I am now putting the question:

That the Order of Business, as proposed, be agreed to.

Question agreed to.