I have the Committee now that has been agreed upon. The names are:—Deputies Alderman Wm. O'Brien, Gorey, Dr. Keogh, Professor Whelehan, Dolan, Hughes, and D. McCarthy. I have got another nomination and I presume that I may read it out also, that of Deputy Professor Magennis. I move that Committee to consider the question of the appointment of the Comptroller and Auditor-General.
[DAIL RESUMES.] - COMMITTEE ON COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR-GENERAL'S APPOINTMENT.
I beg to second that.
The Committee is to be seven, I think.
I am informed that Dr. Keogh's name has been taken off and Professor Magennis's substituted for him. I have no objection to the eight.
I have no objection, but I would like to know where we are.
I am quite prepared to have mine taken off. Mine was the last name upon it and with propriety it ought to be the first to come off when there is an excess.
It was agreed that there should be a Committee of seven, so of course there can be a Committee only of seven. Certain parties have nominated their men and the only question then would be between Dr. Keogh and Professor Magennis, each of whom is an Independent or a party in himself.
Professor Magennis is put on.
That is the point I want to raise. Deputy Magennis repudiated the fact that he belonged to an Independent group or party in this Dáil, with the result that Mr. O'Connell, the Whip on the other side, and myself, did not consult any of the Independent Deputies, but we put down Dr. Myles Keogh's name. That was an agreed list. Is there an Independent Party here or is there not, so that the Whips can get in touch with them?
The point was made very clear that there is a group of Independents here to put forward names. We agreed with regard to the name of Deputy Magennis now.
I would very much prefer not to be included in the list inasmuch as it gives rise to trouble and discussion. I do not ambition the place to any extent.
That is not why I raised the point. If there is a Party there, we could deal with them. Let one act as a Whip for them and we can get in touch with them.
They are all independent of each other.
I think that applies to the whole Dáil. If not, it ought to.
If there is not an Independent Party, it is difficult to see how the Whips could put on anybody representing an Independent Party.
I take it they are not an Independent Party, but they are an Independent group of Independent units, each of which is a party in itself.
Deputy Gorey has put the thing very skilfully, and from that group so aptly described we are in agreement that Deputy Professor Magennis should go on the Committee.
I think the time has come when we should make our minds clear as to what is the situation. This designation of Independent member came into being at a time when there was a panel in accordance with the Pact. I think in Clause 4 of that Pact any and every interest in the country was allowed to put forward candidates. The newspapers for convenience described all candidates who went forward outside the Panel as Independent candidates. Now, as I conceive it, for an Independent Party to exist, there should be a number of Deputies here united in pursuance of a common policy. That policy should explicitly, to some extent, have been formulated and be the basis of their joint action. That has never been formulated so far as I am aware. It is not correct, therefore, to describe certain members as forming an Independent Party. Scrutinise the division lists of the Dáil, and you will find that some of the staunchest supporters of the Government, even a Minister, have voted in the minority against the Governmental majority. Consequently, I suggest that even a scrutiny of the lists would not indicate whether A, B, C or D was a Deputy who belonged to an Independent Party. That those of us who have exercised a certain amount of independent judgment with regard to the Constitution are not recognised as belonging to any party—we are political pariahs—is an undoubted fact, and that for certain political purposes certain Deputies could find it convenient to perpetuate that view I have not the slightest doubt. I seize this occasion to repudiate the description of attempting to pose as a party in myself, and I am quite sure that some Deputies described here as Independent will repudiate that epithet with equal force.
It may be well to clear this point up. There is nothing in the Constitution or the Standing Orders that recognises the existence of any parties in the State. It is simply for the convenience of business that we have grouped ourselves in parties. You, sir, have no right to recognise parties, except for the purpose of convenience, and as a matter of convenience those members who have not attached themselves to any existing parties formed themselves into a little block, and suggested a certain name. That is all that is required in this matter, surely.
That is the point I want to raise. If they have done that we can deal with them, but they repudiate the fact that they are an Independent Party. Professor Magennis tells us that they are men who stood outside the Pact, but Deputy Figgis told me that Deputy Gavan Duffy is a member of their Party and he stood on the Pact.
He is a Panel member.
If there is any definite Independent Party, our Whips could deal with them.
We are not discussing the general question; we are simply discussing this simple thing, that certain persons here have put forward a name and Deputy McCarthy as Chief Whip chooses to exercise his discretion as to what we ought to do for ourselves.
The truth of the position is that the names that have to be submitted must be moved by an individual Deputy and any other Deputy could move an additional name and if there is a division on it, the decision of the Dáil can be taken.
I want the onus put on the Dáil now of appointing seven, and there has been a question as between two names, Professor Magennis and Dr. Keogh. I think the best thing would be to take the names one by one.
Would the Dáil not allow me to withdraw my name? As a man of peace I protest against being made a bone of contention.
Deputy Keogh is not present and as this Committee wants to get to work at once, I think there should be no objection to allowing Deputy Magennis's name to go on.
I have not the slightest objection.