I move the first amendment which has been put down in pursuance of an undertaking which I gave on the Committee Stage. I think it should read: "In Section 1, line 27, to add at the end of sub-Section 3 a new Section as follows:— Every appointment and every removal of a Commissioner under this section shall immediately be published in the `Iris Oifigiúil.' " That means a full notice shall be given of any change in the personnel and that there can be no, as it were, private removal or appointment of a Civil Service Commissioner.
CIVIL SERVICE REGULATION (No. 2) BILL, 1923. - FOURTH STAGE.
This carries out the undertaking which the Minister gave me. It does not carry out my wishes fully but I shall not reopen the case. I thank the Minister for what he has given.
I move in Section 8, line 31, page 5, to insert immediately after the word "Statute" the words "or other authority." This amendment is one originally proposed by Deputy Bryan Cooper. I opposed it on the last stage, but I am not able to argue now that it does any harm.
It certainly does not do any harm. Let us hope it will do some good.
With your permission, I do not propose to move the whole of this amendment, that is, the proposed new Sub-section (3). I think that is unnecessary, and with your permission I only move the first part, which provides that regulations to be made by the Minister for Finance shall be laid on the Table of the Dáil and may be annulled by resolution of the Dáil. The Rules Publication Act provides that 40 days notice shall be given of statutory rules. There is also a provision in it whereby the rule-making authority, in case of urgency or other special reasons, may make provisional rules which come into effect immediately. That would give all the protection and security that I want, and I think it is unnecessary to have this proposed new Sub-section (3). I simply propose to add the new Sub-section (2).
I am glad that the Minister has decided that this Sub-section should not be moved. The points he has urged were present in my mind, and I thought it carried with it very much more than was desirable to adopt, but on paragraph 2 I think it will be in the memory of the Dáil that the Minister generously conceded the point that the ordinary provision of Bills relating to the laying on the Table of the Houses of the Oireachtas should be made to apply in this case, and it was generally understood, I think, that that ordinary provision should be brought forward in the form of an amendment. I certainly expected to see that that would be the case, but unfortunately the new Sub-section proposed by the Minister does not carry out that undertaking, or what I understood to be the undertaking. We have just inserted in the Courts of Justice Bill what is the ordinary Clause relating to these rules, which reads:—
"All rules of court under Part I. of this Act shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas within 14 days after they are made, if the Houses of the Oireachtas be then sitting, or, if not, within 14 days after the commencement of the next session of such Houses, and if a resolution is passed by either House within one month after the rules have been laid before such House to the effect that the same or any of them should be annulled, the rules or rule referred to in such resolution shall be null and void, without prejudice however to the validity of any proceedings meantime taken under the same."
That is pretty much the same as the Clause which appears in a number of Bills, but the Section proposed to be inserted says:
"All regulations made by the Minister under this Section shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after they are made, and if both such Houses shall, within the next twenty-one days on which either House has sat after such regulations are laid before the Houses, pass resolutions annulling such regulations, such regulations shall be annulled accordingly."
For both Houses to pass such resolutions is a very much larger order than for either House to do so, and I think the promise of the Minister is, to that extent, at any rate, not fulfilled. I hope it is a mistake on his part in the formulation of this amendment, and I would urge that the usual section inserted in Bills regarding the placing upon the table of rules and regulations should be inserted in this Bill, and not the section submitted.
I think Deputy Johnson is labouring under a misapprehension. This clause is the usual clause, and is the one that is in all Bills. The form that is in the Judiciary Bill is an unusual clause. I think it was taken from the Judicature Act of 1877, and the clause I have put down in this amendment is the usual form. Moreover, a great number of these regulations that may be made by the Minister for Finance under this Act will be regulations dealing largely with financial matters, and as to some of which there will be a doubt as to whether they ought to come before the Seanad at all, but in any case they will deal with financial aspects of the matter, and it is undesirable that the Seanad solely or by itself should have the power to annul them.
I acquit the Minister of any breach of faith, because my amendment as originally drafted was worded, "either the Dáil or the Seanad." Then I came to the conclusion that it would possibly be unconstitutional and certainly undesirable to give the Seanad power to override the Minister for Finance on a question as to the financial conditions of the Civil Service. Therefore, I accept the wording now proposed. It would be very desirable if a form was made to allow the Dáil to do it, and not make it necessary to seek the concurrence of the Seanad. I think the best form of all would be, instead of both, to say the Dáil or both; but I do not see that we can make the Seanad supreme arbiter in a financial question. That would be contrary to the Constitution.
I think if the Dáil passes the resolution the Minister for Finance would be bound to take notice of that and to amend the regulation.
I think the proposition to ask both Houses to pass such a motion is asking almost an impossibility. The Minister says most of the regulations will be dealing with finance, and it will be doubtful whether the Seanad should have the constitutional right to interfere at all. If the regulations are laid upon the table of the Dáil I would be satisfied, but I think that the Minister will find, if he looks back through a number of Bills we have passed, that the term "Either House" appears in more than one recent Bill. I will not say it is usual or unusual, but certainly it appears.
I think it has not occurred very often. This was the form I had in mind when I was giving the undertaking. I also think that there might be Regulations which would be desirable, especially Finance Regulations, that would be of more general importance, and that it would be desirable to allow the Seanad to raise the matter. I do think that if the Dáil annuls a Regulation or passes a resolution calling for the annulling of a Regulation, the Minister for Finance responsible to the Dáil would be in a position whereby he would proceed to make new Regulations.
In that case the change that Deputy Johnson is seeking might be agreed to. It is the course that the Minister for Finance says would be adopted. Then why not adopt it now?
I have already stated the reason.
I move that the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration.