DISTRICT JUSTICES BILL—FROM THE SEANAD. - DAIL IN COMMITTEE.

The Dáil went into Committee on the Amendments from Seanad Eireann to the District Justices (Temporary Provisions) Bill, 1923.

With regard to these Amendments from the Seanad, what exactly is the position? Is it necessary for someone to move them here?

The new Standing Orders say that the Dáil will go into Committee on amendments or recommendations coming from the Seanad. They can be taken one by one on a motion that they be agreed to.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

It occurs sometimes—it has in fact occurred in this case—that amendments are inserted which if it were left to my judgment would not be inserted, but which at the same time are not so important that I would favour the sending back of the Bill to the Seanad.

On a point of order, is it not necessary for someone to father each particular amendment which comes forward?

In the absence of such percentage can there be any discussion upon it?

I think we could have no discussion except someone move that we agree or that we do not agree.

Suppose it were to happen that an Amendment was moved by the Seanad and tabled here and nobody wished to father it, does it mean that it would not be proposed at all, even though it is allowed under the Constitution to make such an amendment? Are the provisions of the Constitution made dependent upon the agreement of some one or other Deputy with Senators across the way?

I do not think that that Constitutional question will worry lawyers very much.

SECTION 1.

(1) It shall be lawful for the Governor-General of the Irish Free State on the advice of the Executive Council from time to time to appoint fit and proper persons being Barristers-at-Law in Saorstát Eireann or Solicitors of the Supreme Court in Saorstát Eireann to be Magistrates with the title of "District Justices" and to perform the duties and have the powers prescribed by this Act.

(2) Every person appointed to be a District Justice may be dismissed or removed at the pleasure of the Governor-General of the Irish Free State on the advice of the Executive Council.

(3) Every person so appointed to be a District Justice shall while he holds that office be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas a salary and allowances in accordances with a scale to be prescribed by the Minister with the concurrence of the Minister for Finance.

(4) No person shall while holding the office of District Justice be capable of holding any other office or position of emolument or of being elected to or of being a member of either House of the Oireachtas.

(5) Every person so appointed to be a District Justice shall before entering on his office subscribe and make a solemn declaration in the form contained in the First Schedule to this Act.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

With qualified enthusiasm I move that we agree to Amendment 1, which sets out "In Sec tion 1, in line 20, to insert after the word `Eireann' the words `of at least two years' standing."' The effect of this amendment is that a barrister of less than two years' standing may not be appointed District Justice. What exactly two years' standing means in that connection might need to be cleared up. A man could be called to the Bar and have never practised his profession. He might have taken up literature or some other calling, and I would be glad if some lawyer in the Assembly would enlighten me as to whether two years' standing means that he must have been qualified not less than two years before his appointment, or whether it means that he must have been, in fact, practising his profession.

Question put: "That Dáil Eireann agrees with Amendment 1 sent from Seanad Eireann."
The Dáil divided:-Tá, 37; Níl, 11.

  • Liam T. Mac Cosgair.
  • Donchadh O Guaire.
  • Seán O Maolruaidh.
  • Seán O Duinnín.
  • Darghal Figes.
  • Seoirse Ghabháin Uí Dhubhthaigh.
  • Deasmhumhain Mac Gearailt.
  • Ailfrid Ó Broin.
  • Risteárd Ó Maolchatha.
  • Domhnall Mac Cárt aigh.
  • Sir Séamus Craig.
  • Gearóid Mac Giobúin.
  • Eoin Mac Neill.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • Pádraig Ó hOgáin.
  • Padhraic Ó Máille.
  • Seosamh Ó Faoileacháin.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Fionán Ó Loingsigh.
  • Séamus Ó Cruadhlaoich.
  • Criostóir Ó Broin.
  • Rist árd Mac Liam.
  • Caoimghin O hUigín.
  • Próinsias Bulfin.
  • Tomás Mac Artúir.
  • Aindriú Ó Láimhin.
  • Liam Ó hAodha.
  • Seán Mac Eoin.
  • Próinsias Mag Aonghusa.
  • Eamon Ó Dúgáin.
  • Peadar Ó hAodha.
  • Séamus Ó Murchadha.
  • Seosamh Mac Giolla Bhrighde.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Tomás Ó Domhnaill.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Séamus de Burca.

Níl

  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Riobárd Ó Deaghaidh.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Liam Ó Briain.
  • Tomás Ó Conaill.
  • Aodh Ó Cúlacháin.
  • Liam Ó Daimhín.
  • Seán Ó Laidhin.
  • Cathal Ó Seanáin.
  • Domhnall Ó Muirgheasa.
  • Domhnall Ó Ceallacháin.
Motion declared carried.
SECTION 4.
(1) The Minister may from time to time by warrant under his hand appoint and remove such and so many fit and proper persons as he shall think expedient in each county to be called "Parish Commissioners," and to perform and exercise within such County the duties and powers prescribed by this Act.
(2) A Parish Commissioner shall have all the powers and authorities which immediately before the passing of this Act were vested in a Justice of the Peace in respect of the several matters following, that is to say:—
(a) signing Summonses;
(b) signing Warrants;
(c) Administering oaths and taking declarations, affirmations and informations;
(d) committing dangerous lunatics and idiots to Lunatic Asylums under Section 10 of the Lunacy (Ireland) Act, 1867 (30 & 31 Vict., ch. 118);
(e) signing certificates for the admission of lunatics and idiots to Lunatic Asylums;
Provided always that any summons against any member of the Civic Guard shall be signed by a District Judge.
(3) Whenever any person charged with having committed an indicatable offence shall be arrested by a member of the Civic Guard such person shall forthwith be brought before a Parish Commissioner, who after hearing such evidence as may be offered shall remand such person either in custody or in such bail as the Parish Commissioner shall think fit and remit the case for hearing before a District Justice on a date not later than the next District Court to be held in the Court District where such person was arrested.
(4) Whenever any person charged with having committed an indicatable offence is brought before a District Justice it shall be lawful for such District Justice to remand such person to a date not later than the next District Court to be held by him in the Court District where such person was arrested.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I move an Amendment: "In Sub-section (1) to delete the word `Parish,' and to insert in lieu thereof the word 'Peace,' and to make all consequential alterations." So Parish Commissioners become Peace Commissioners under this amendment.

Might I ask the Minister to say if any, and what, arrangements are being made for the appointment of Peace Commissioners under the terms of this Bill.

No. This is a motion to change the name, and nothing else.

It seems rather strange that though the Minister appears to have been present when these amendments were carried in the Seanad that he is not prepared to father them in the Dáil, or to give any explanation arising out of the amendments carried in the Seanad.

That is a different thing altogether.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I beg to move:—

"After Sub-section (2)(e), to insert the following:—`(f) signing the certificate required by Section 2 of the Statute entitled the Registration of Clubs (Ireland) Act, 1904.' ” This amendment was moved in the Seanad at my request. It rectifies a slight omission in the matter of the powers of these Peace Commissioners. There is a certificate which has to be signed under the Registration of Clubs (Ireland) Act, 1904, and before the applicant is heard in Court it has to be signed by a magistrate. It is proposed to add this signing to the powers of the Peace Commissioner.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I beg to move:— In Sub-section 3, Section 4, after the word "shall" to insert the words "unless a District Justice is immediately available." The force of the amendment merely is that it ought not to be made absolutely cast-iron that a person arrested on an indictable offence shall, in all circumstances, be brought before a Peace Commissioner. If a District Justice is available, for instance, if it happens to be on the day that the District Justice is holding his Court in that locality, it saves time, and it is a better procedure to bring him immediately before the District Justice. That is simply the effect of the amendment.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 9.
(1) Each of the persons named in the Third Schedule to this Act having been appointed under the Constabulary (Ireland) Act, 1836 (6 & 7 Will. IV., ch. 13), by the Governor-General of the Irish Free State to be a Magistrate under that Act shall be deemed to have been appointed and to be a District Justice under this Act.
(2) Every act, matter and thing done after the 28th day of October, 1922, by any of the said persons named in the Third Schedule to this Act in exercise or purported exercise of any authority purported to have been at the time of his doing such act, matter or thing vested in him by reason of his having been appointed or purported to have been appointed by the late Provisional Government of Ireland or any Minister thereof to be a District Justice shall notwithstanding any failure (whether by way of commission or omission) to comply with any statute, rule or order or any other irregularity be as valid and effective as if the same had been regularly done by a Magistrate duly appointed under the Constabulary (Ireland) Act, 1836 (6 & 7 Will. IV., ch. 13), or (in the case of acts, matters and things which are by law required to be done by two Magistrates appointed under the Act aforesaid sitting together) by two such Magistrates sitting together.
(3) No action shall lie against and no penalty shall be incurred by any of the said persons named in the Third Schedule to this Act for or on account or in respect of any act, matter or thing done by any such person after the 22nd day of October, 1922, in exercise or purported exercise of any such authority as is mentioned in the preceding sub-section or any failure (whether by way of commission or omission) to comply with the terms of any statute, rule or order or any other irregularity in the doing of such act, matter or thing.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I beg to move:— In Section 9, Sub-section 2, to delete the words "appointed under the Act aforesaid" in lines 37 and 38, and to delete the words "sitting together" in line 39. The amendment improves the sub-section without in any way altering the sense or the effect of it.

Question put and agreed to.