It is proposed to take Nos. 1 and 2. It is proposed to take No. 2 at the conclusion of No. 1 or at 4 p.m., whichever is the earlier. In the event of the Second Stage of the Criminal Justice Bill not being concluded today it is proposed to sit tomorrow.
Order of Business.
In order to finish the Criminal Justice Bill today would it be possible to have the New Ireland Forum motion postponed until next week? I understand that the Second Stage of the Criminal Justice Bill must be concluded this week because we have to take the Committee Stage next week, and if we could get agreement on postponing the motion we might finish the Second Stage today.
On the proposal just made, should we decide to postpone the debate on the motion I trust that this will not in any way foreshorten the remainder of the time agreed on for the debate in which all Senators were to be allowed 25 minutes. That proposal was agreed to by the Leader of the House in response to criticism from the floor of the House. If we decide to postpone until Wednesday next the resumption of the debate on the motion I hope this will not in any way inhibit the holding of the open debate that was agreed on.
When I suggested a postponement I was not suggesting that we would shorten the time allowed for that motion. I suggest that if we postpone it today we should take it on Tuesday next.
I find myself in sympathy with the suggestion made by the Opposition. We must always be very sensitive to preserve the rights of Members during Private Members' Time. That is very important. In the event of agreement to postpone discussion on the motion, the motion extending the time of the debate to four and a half hours would not be affected by any postponement. I would be more than willing to accept the suggestion of Senator Ryan because there is a prospect that we will finish the Second Stage of the Bill today. It may be we will not be able to do that, and at this stage we should not foreshorten the day more than necessary. It is not proposed to take a luncheon break today.
I wish to ask a question. Last week and again yesterday several Senators referred to the Criminal Justice Bill as being primarily a Committee Stage Bill. Therefore, I presume, we can anticipate some amendments, and it is in that regard that I should like some guidance. If the Criminal Justice Bill is to be part of next Tuesday's business, when is the latest time for placing amendments?
The latest day prescribed by Standing Orders for amendments is 11 p.m. on Friday next.
From the number of speakers offering yesterday I believe we should conclude the Bill by 4 o'clock. Therefore, is it possible to leave the Order of Business as proposed originally by the Acting Leader of the House and make a decision at 4 o'clock?
On the question of amendments, I appreciate, Sir, the information you gave the House in regard to the latest time. I also appreciate the implication of Senator Higgins in relation to the adequacy of time with regard to the preparation of amendments. Anybody who wants to put down amendments should be busy drafting them. If the Second Stage is not concluded today, nothing wrong will have been done. We know at this Stage what the amendments are likely to be. Everybody who wants to put down amendments should be busy drafting them now because of next week's unfortunate timetable. The Cathaoirleach has power to include amendments which arrive late and I am sure he will be generous in that regard because of the intervening weekend.