SECTION 2.

The Minister may collect, compile, abstract, and (subject to the provisions of this Act) publish statistics relating to any matter affecting the general economic and other activities and conditions in Saorstát Eireann and in particular all or any of the following matters, that is to say:—
(a) population;
(b) vital, social, and educational matters;
(c) local government;
(d) employment and unemployment;
(e) emigration and immigration;
(f) agriculture;
(g) sea and inland fisheries;
(h) industry;
(i) commerce;
(j) banking, insurance, and finance;
(k) railways, tramways, shipping and other forms of transport.

I ask leave to move " after the word ‘ Minister ' in Section 2, line 1, and before the word ‘ may ' to insert ‘ on submitting a scheme and regulation as hereinafter provided and obtaining the approval of the Oireachtas to the same.'"

This amendment is far-reaching, and I am afraid the President may tell me again I am very nervous, but it deals with the whole principle of the very wide powers in this list, and it will throw more light upon what they would be. The intention is that the Oireachtas should be in a position to know exactly for what purpose these wide powers are required. It would tend to sub-divide the thing in exactly the manner that Senator Jameson thinks desirable. Then it would focus attention on one particular field of statistics rather than having general statistics taken together. Whenever a new lot of statistics would be required the Minister would have to submit a scheme of regulations and would have to obtain the approval of the Oireachtas.

That would seem to be provided for in amendment 23, which indicates that any Order made shall be laid on the Table of both Houses and may be annulled by resolution of either House within 21 days of its being so laid. Section 16 (1) deals with the nature of the information they are going to seek.

I suggest that there is a difference between Senator Sir John Keane's amendment and mine. His amendment is negative in character and mine is positive.

Under Section 16 the Minister may prescribe certain matters and make regulations. The section sets out what the Minister may do by order. All this has to be done by an order of the Minister. If Senator Keane's amendment is carried, it would aim at having those orders Tabled in both Houses for 21 days.

What difference is there between that amendment and Senator Bagwell's amendment?

One is a question of annulment; one is a positive amendment, and the other is a negative

The principle of Senator Bagwell's amendment has been discussed I think it would need to be re-drafted in order to provide some specific method.

Some amendment of the sort is very desirable.

The amendment proposed suggests, after the word " Minister " in Section 2, line 1, to add the words, " on submitting a scheme and regulation as hereinafter provided and obtaining the approval of the Oireachtas to the same."

I think that meets Senator Keane's point.

But this matter is very important and I think it is necessary to have every safeguard in relation to statistics.

I am absolutely in favour of having those matters brought to the notice of the Oireachtas and subject to their approval. Such a safeguard is most useful. I do not suppose the Minister would have any great objection. All you would have to do would be to draw up rules and regulations and lay them on the table.

The object aimed at is very desirable. I would like to know what objections there are.

The President states that there is no intention to misuse those statistics or to make the inquiry inquisitorial. I am perfectly prepared to accept that assurance. I believe that there is no such intention; but at the same time such a condition of things is not quite satisfactory. The arrangement should be such that statistics cannot be misused. The scheme and regulation would, so to speak, establish thebona fides of what is proposed in each case and the two Houses would have an opportunity of making their own decision. I daresay the amendment could be better drafted, but I am sure the Committee will realise what is in my mind.

I do not think it can be said that the amendment is out of order, but I think it is clear it will have to be dealt with in a slightly different manner. It would be necessary to state specifically how the approval of the Oireachtas would be obtained.

I quite realise that.

I do not think there is any precedent for amendments by resolution of the Oireachtas.

Suggestions could be made to the particular Minister who could withdraw his order and bring in another order; but I do not think there is any power to amend by resolution. I do not think that at this stage we could get any further with this amendment. I suggest that Senator Bagwell should withdraw the amendment. It seems plain to me that on further consideration the Committee will decide, which, if any, of the amendments will be inserted and they will decide the exact form in which it is proposed to insert it. It would be much better to withdraw the amendment; otherwise it will be difficult to keep order.

I am willing to withdraw the amendment in order to facilitate business.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The amendments that are withdrawn can be brought forward again when the sections come back. It is proposed to take the sections again after we have gone through the Bill and there will be an opportunity of bringing those amendments forward if Senators think it wise.

Let it be understood that I am not at all in favour of that amendment; I am not subscribing to it.

It is withdrawn now.