DAIL IN COMMITTEE. - DAIL RESUMES.

Bill (as amended on recommittal) reported.

When is it proposed to take the Report Stage?

I move that we take the Report Stage at once.

The Motion is:—"That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration."

I move an amendment to omit from the new Section 26, which was inserted in Committee, the last paragraph, which deals with the salaries of District Justices. The amendment is to delete the words, "The several salaries aforesaid shall be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas."

Is it in order that an amendment of that kind which has actually been decided upon can be taken upon a Report of the Committee?

Yes, the decision of the Committee was to insert the Section, and the Committee has to report to the Dáil, which has the power of reviewing the Section as decided upon by the Committee, or making any alteration it pleases, I take it.

The amendment that was passed in Committee, or rather the new Section that was passed in Committee, dealt with salaries of Justices, and it is quite in accord with one's desire that these salaries should be fixed, and therefore it was not competent to vote against the Section. But while the paragraph declared that the several salaries provided aforesaid shall be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas, that seems to call for an expression of opinion from the Dáil. There is no need to discuss the matter that was the subject of discussion that took place upon the Section as a whole, and therefore I do not intend to cover that ground again. I just formally move the deletion of that sub-section.

Mr. O'CONNELL

I beg to second.

Only that it might seem cynical I would accept the amendment. Even if the amendment were carried the Government would still have to come to the Dáil each year for the salaries, so that I propose not to accept it.

The difficulty I see is that while it is laid down in Section 44 how the money is to be provided, the amendment of Deputy Johnson means that the method in which this money is to be provided is taken away. As there is no consequential provision it is open to question whether the Ceann Comhairle might not rule out the consideration of these salaries when considering the estimates on the ground that the machinery which was provided in this Bill has been deleted by vote. I do not know whether the Ceann Comhairle would take it upon himself to do such a responsible act as that, but I do say that there would appear to be some grounds for doing it. These salaries are not a charge on the Central Fund. In the case of Circuit Judges, Section 44 sets out that the remuneration and pension payable for a Circuit Judge shall be charged upon and payable out of the Central Fund. I can understand Deputy Johnson's idea with regard to striking out the payment by the Oireachtas, but without a corresponding amendment, specifying where the moneys are to be paid from, I do think that the District Justices would be left without their salaries.

Of course I realise that the Minister could insert an amendment of that kind in the Seanad.

Could the Seanad do it? This is money.

The Seanad could certainly do it.

I do not think they could.

If the President desires that the form of the amendment should be altered I am quite satisfied.

Yes, it is only a matter of form.

An amendment to delete "moneys provided by the Oireachtas" and substitute "Central Fund" would certainly provide the District Justices with salaries and relieve the Ceann Comhairle of the enormous responsibility that this particular discussion seems to be placing upon him. The whole question of the payment of District Justices seems to be weighing on the Ceann Comhairle more than anybody else.

Might I say that, quite apart from any question of form, I think it is desirable that the Dáil should declare itself on this question, and if there could be general agreement that the amendment should be put to the Dáil in this form—"That the several salaries aforesaid shall be paid out of moneys to be provided out of the Central Fund"—it would be a clearer issue to put before the Dáil.

I would agree, if the Deputy so desires, that he should move the adjournment of the debate so that this matter might be taken up to-morrow in order to give Deputies an opportunity of seeing this amendment and having it put before them. I do see the point of the Deputy that a division was not taken on this particular matter, and that he probably would like to have a division. I do not like to take an advantage of him. I am sure he appreciates that merely moving out the part which provides that the Oireachtas shall make good the money does not cover his point.

I realise that, but the Bill would be still a Ministerial Bill, and it would then be the business of the Ministry to find ways and means of inserting a provision for finding the money.

It might meet the case if, instead of that particular provision, for the deletion of which Deputy Johnson has moved, the words of Section 44 should be taken as they stand, with the change of "Justice of the District Court" for "Circuit Judge."

It would take a little time to explain that.

It can be done now.

I asked if this was going to be considered this evening or to-morrow. If it is going to be considered this evening we will have to take the amendment. If it is going to be considered to-morrow the amendment can be altered.

Unless the Minister is going to consider the possibility of acceptance it is better to take it now.

We cannot say for certain how many of these District Justices will be required. That is a point Deputies appear to have given no weight to. It is possible we may reduce them to 25. We cannot say at present. We are dealing with an abnormal situation, even though it is daily and gradually becoming normal. We cannot estimate the number of these men that will be required. The argument has been that it is undesirable we should come to the Dáil looking for a Vote. It appears to me it would be much weaker the other way—if we were to say we wanted 33 and were to commit the Dáil and the country to that number, when possibly we could work down to a smaller number. At any time vacancies must occur, and if a redistribution were to take place, and if the Ministry continued to appoint and reappoint to those vacancies, then there is an opportunity left to the Dáil to criticise the Government for keeping up the service beyond its requirements. Everyone knows, I am sure, that for years past the work of a County Court Judge was looked upon, I think, as a sort of preparation for the next world —at least that it allowed ample time for preparation. We do not want to perpetuate that three months of work in the year. That is why we feel so keenly on it. Even if it is necessary in years to come to introduce a Bill placing them on the Central Fund, just now is not the time to stereotype the number at 33.

Would it not be possible to create a maximum number of justices and not necessarily a minimum? Would it not be possible to set it out that not more than a certain number should be appointed, but not necessarily that a certain minimum must be appointed?

Mr. O'CONNELL

Does the President wish us to understand that if these salaries are now payable out of the Central Fund the Government must continue paying them?

Not at all. There is no opportunity for the Dáil criticising it.

Mr. O'CONNELL

I maintain so that there is no point in the President's argument if that is the case. The fact that they are payable from the Central Fund does not bind the Government to have a certain number of Justices, and there is nothing to prevent them reducing the number of Justices, in view of developments, if it is advisable to so reduce them.

We have got into the anomalous position of the Government standing up for the rights of private members and private members wishing to confer more power on the Government. I do not quite see the President's point because if it happens that the Dáil really and sincerely desires to reduce the number of District Justices, surely it would be easy to bring in a Private Member's Bill of one clause, and if there was strong feeling it would be very simple to get it through. In the same way if the Government wished to reduce the number they could do it by one stroke of the pen.

We can do it now without one or the other.

Amendment put.
The Dáil divided:— Tá, 15; Níl, 45.

  • Seán Buitléir.
  • John J. Cole.
  • Bryan R. Cooper.
  • Darrell Figgis.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha.
  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Donchadh S.O Guaire.
  • Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
  • Tadhg P.O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
  • William A. Redmond.
  • Tomás O Conaill.

Níl

  • Ernán de Blaghd.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Próinsias Bulfin.
  • Louis J. Dalton.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileáin Bean
  • Uí Dhrisceóil.
  • Patrick J. Egan.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • John Good.
  • William Hewat.
  • Conor Hogan.
  • Domhnall Mac Carthaigh.
  • Liam T. MacCosgair.
  • Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.
  • Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
  • Pádraig Mac Giollagáin.
  • Seán P. Mac Giobuin.
  • Risteárd Mac Liam.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • Pádraig S. Mag Ualghairg.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Mícheál O hAonghusa.
  • Criostóir O Broin.
  • Seán O Bruadair.
  • Proinsias O Cathail.
  • Aodh O Cinnéide.
  • Conchubhair O Conghaile.
  • Peadar S. O Dubhghaill.
  • Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
  • Eamon S. O Dúgáin.
  • Mícheál R.O hIfearnáin.
  • Séamus O Leadáin.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Pádraig O Máille.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Seán M.O Suilleabháin.
  • Andrew O'Shaughnessy.
  • Caoimhghín O hUigín.
  • Seán O Príomdhail.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
  • Liam Thrift.
Amendment declared lost.

I would like to raise a point as to the expenses of these District Justices.

That is on the question of the Bill being received for final consideration?

As to why it should not be.

The Deputy is quite in order.

I contend that the travelling allowance which will be supplementary to this £1,000 a year ought to be excluded and that the £1,000 a year should include travelling expenses. I do so in order that it may be definitely understood that we consider £1,000 a year sufficient for these gentlemen, who, by means of cheap motor cars, can travel around the whole area and stop at home at night at practically no cost. For these reasons, therefore, I should like to amend the Bill, making the salary £1,000 a year including travelling expenses. This is in aid of economy and we should have some economy in this direction.

The Deputy cannot propose the amendment at this stage, because he is proposing to amend the second last paragraph of the Section after an amendment has been taken to the last paragraph. Therefore, the amendment is not in order.

When this particular amendment was passed we voted on two or three separate items, and there was no vote directly confirming the salaries of these District Justices at £1,000 a year. This particular item in this amendment was not debated and was not carried. The whole section as it stood was carried, and Deputy Johnson has moved on one matter. I think that I ought to have some opportunity of bringing up this matter.

This is a new Section and it cannot be amended backwards.

Might I suggest to Deputy Wilson that these travelling expenses will have to come before the Dáil on the estimates. If travelling expenses are allowed it will be for the Minister for Finance, who sanctions them, to justify that sanction and to persuade the Dáil to vote the money.

took the chair at this stage.

Question: "That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration," put and agreed to.
Next stage ordered for Friday next.

I would not have time to put in an amendment for the next stage by Friday. I would have to give proper notice.

You can only move a verbal amendment on the next stage.

This is a verbal amendment.

I will leave the Ceann Comhairle to deal with it when it comes forward.