European Assembly Elections (No. 2) Bill, 1977: Motion for Earlier Signature.

I move:

That, pursuant to subsection 2º of section 2 of Article 25 of the Constitution, Seanad Éireann concur with the Government in a request to the President to sign the European Assembly Elections (No. 2) Bill, 1977, on a date which is earlier than the fifth day after the date on which the Bill shall have been presented to him.

Could I ask the Minister why this Bill requires a motion for earlier signature under Article 25 of the Constitution? I am not disposed to oppose it. It is not a matter of particular concern to me on which day the President signs it, but I am surprised that it requires earlier signature which is normally reserved for urgent Bills or perhaps Money Bills. If the time scale for the actual holding of direct elections is as far away as some pessimists think, then it does not seem to have that degree of urgency.

The earlier signature is necessary because I will have to come back to the Seanad again before the recess. One of the principal reasons for getting everything completed before the recess is the fact that the electoral lists are now being compiled. If we fail to do so before the Christmas Recess, we will not have an up-to-date electoral list. We must still assume that the election will take place in May or June until somebody decides otherwise. It has not been decided otherwise, so it is probable that we will be using the electoral list now being compiled whenever the elections take place within 12 months.

Question put and agreed to.