The Dáil will now consider the Adaptation of Enactments Bill as amended in the Seanad. Article 10 is a new Article inserted by the Seanad.
ADAPTATION OF ENACTMENTS BILL—FROM THE SEANAD.
Is the new Article the Article 10 as printed in the Bill?
Yes. It is the Article with the marginal note, "Orders in Council," and is as follows: —"Wherever it is provided in any British Statute that any Act or thing shall or may be made or done by Order in Council, or by the King (or Queen) in Council, or by Proclamation of the King (or Queen) or of the King (or Queen) in Council, then every such act or thing may be made or done in Saorstát Eireann by an Order of the Governor-General of the Irish Free State upon the advice of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State."
I think it would be of considerable convenience if in future an indication were given of those amendments sent down. I think this particular Clause is not objected to. I would like to ask whether I would be in order in moving an amendment now to the Bill as sent down. It is merely a drafting amendment.
I think the matter to be considered now is only the amendment made by the Seanad. If the Deputy's amendment is merely a verbal amendment which would meet with general agreement perhaps it might be taken without discussion. But we should first have a Motion that the Bill as amended be passed.
I beg to move:—"That the Bill as amended in Seanad Eireann be now passed."
I beg to second that motion.
May I ask as a matter of guidance, and for general convenience, what is the general procedure at a stage like this. Has the Bill, having been amended, to be passed through its entire five stages again?
Oh, no. The Motion is that the Bill as amended by the Seanad be passed. Standing Orders are being drawn up bearing upon this matter. But I think, at the moment, there is no occasion for debate; perhaps we could go into committee on this amendment.
The Standing Orders say the Dáil may accept or reject amendments made when they come down from the Seanad.
It is a matter of the procedure to be adopted.
The amendment that I suggest is in Clause 19, and I may say that was intended to be moved before the Bill left the Dáil on the last occasion and would have been moved but for the rather hurried method of legislating. It was to have been moved in the Seanad but for the same excuse. I do not think there will be any objection to it. It is to move after the word "order" to insert the word "regulation" so as to read "every order and regulation made by the Executive Council," and to make the necessary consequential amendments at a later stage of the Clause. I think that is made necessary by the addition of Clause 13, which, as it will be remembered, was brought in by the Minister on the fourth stage of the Bill. The effect of the suggestion is that not only every order made under other clauses, but every regulation made under Clause 13 by the Minister for Finance respecting the routes for trading should also be laid upon the Table, and I think that will be conceded as necessary.
I do not think it is advisable to accept the recommendation, apart from the difficulty that would be involved of again sending the Bill back to the Seanad. I do not think that that Clause can be regarded in the sense as an order made to which Clause 19 refers. Regulations regarding the importation and exportation of goods are things not very lightly done. There is no other course to adopt. One has no selection. One is, as it were, bound by the circumstances of the case, to the particular routes, that would be most advisable, and I do not know that it would improve the situation, from the point of view of the Dáil, that these regulations be laid upon the Table. At any rate, supposing we were getting close up to the time, 1st of April, or any other period, and that sufficient time would not elapse to allow it to be laid on the Table for 21 days, its usefulness for the first few days would be spent. I do not think the Deputy ought to press that amendment.
The argument, I think, lies here, that the Minister for Finance might, by an oversight, propose certain regulations which would hit very severely the constituencies of one or other members of the Dáil, and would be amended on a representation being made by the members. It is undoubtedly a very important power, and without some kind of supervision and opportunity for representations being made before the Order comes into final operation, injustice or damage might be done to constituents and the Deputies concerned would have no influence or say in the matter. If the Minister insists that it is impracticable, I am not going to press it, but, I think it is rather a pity that we had not an opportunity of discussing the effect of such a regulation more fully.
No motion has been moved on this matter, and strictly it is out of order, as there is nothing before us but the amendment of the Seanad. In consideration of the speed at which this was passed, and in the expectation that there might be agreement, I allowed the matter to come up, but I do not think that we can allow discussion.
I do not know that it is a matter of order at all, but I wish merely to recall to your mind and the mind of the Minister that this was really consequential upon a certain understanding when the matter was last before the Dáil. I do not wish to attempt to do anything that might seem to contravene any ruling of yours, but I might carry that reminder a little further and say that in Article 13, the words "the regulations" were brought in as a result of an amendment which I moved, because by turning to the English Act, of which these were an equivalent, it appeared to me, the words "the regulations" had been omitted, and, therefore the two did not tally. The regulations in the English Act are specifically regulations that are laid on the Table of the English Legislature because they are made by the Customs and Excise, all such regulations requiring ratification, inasmuch as these words were introduced into Clause 13, because they appeared in the counterpart to the entire of that Clause. It would be implied that the meaning that the words carry should also come in, and it had been my intention of moving an amendment such as that which Deputy Johnson expresses a wish to move. I was not in the Dáil when the last paragraph came up. I would have made it my business to be here if I thought that he would not deal with it. I think it was consequential and an amendment we ought to make.
I think that the question of order in this particular matter does constitute a real difficulty, because the Constitution lays down that after an Act has gone to the Seanad for 270 days it shall become law in the form in which it was last passed by the Dáil. If the Dáil, having received a Bill back from the Seanad, were to be held to be at liberty to make changes in Clauses which had not been touched or amended by the Seanad, and not affected by the Seanad amendments, it might mean that shortly before the expiry of the 270 days some radical changes might be introduced.
There is no question of allowing that.
It is a question of establishing precedents now.
There is no question whatever of allowing it. The matter of order is quite clear.
It would obviate any necessity of pressing this matter if the Minister for Finance would give an undertaking that he would interpret regulations in Clause 13 to be within the meaning of the orders as expressed in Clause 19.
I could not undertake to give a promise of that sort until I looked into the matter.