Before the business of the Dáil is taken up, I would like to make a statement. When questions were raised yesterday with regard to tickets for admission to the public gallery, one Deputy stated that he saw a bundle of tickets addressed to an official of the House. I have made the most careful enquiries possible, and I cannot find any particulars in regard to any such happening. In so far as the statement might be taken to mean that an official of the House, or any other official, could distribute tickets to his friends while Deputies were unable to get any tickets, that statement is, of course, without foundation. The question raised with regard to the admission of a member of the Northern Parliament has been completely and satisfactorily settled.
On the general question of the rights of Deputies, my attitude, and the attitude of the staff under my instructions, down to the humblest member, has been that every Deputy has an equal right. I have never received any complaint that that has not been the practice. On the contrary, I am told by Deputies who are not leaders of Parties, and who are not particularly attached to any Party, that they have always experienced the utmost courtesy. In a case like yesterday and the day before yesterday, Deputies might, perhaps, realise that a very serious strain was placed upon that portion of the staff which deals with the admission of visitors. Ushers are told that every member of the House is equally their master. That is an excellent principle, but Deputies will realise that it places the unfortunate officials in rather a difficult position.
I would suggest that when Deputies are confronted with the statement, "My instructions are that you cannot do this," their attitude should be not to discuss the matter with the particular subordinate official at the moment, but to find out some responsible person and get the matter cleared up. As a matter of fact, yesterday an incident occurred which was of much more importance than anything to which allusion was made in the House; but it was taken in a proper way by the Deputy concerned. The Deputy himself was prevented from going into the public gallery. That, of course, was completely wrong. The Deputy mentioned the matter to me last night about 9 o'clock. He said he quite realised the probability was that some strict instructions were given and for the moment the usher on duty, carrying out his instructions with great zeal, did not realise that they did not apply to the Deputy.
Deputies have a right to go anywhere they like in the House and in the buildings. Visitors have a right, under the Standing Orders, to go into such places as may be reserved for them by the Ceann Comhairle. On certain occasions I find it necessary, largely because I am so requested by Deputies, to prevent visitors going into the Lobby. It has been represented to me that on certain occasions considerable lobbying goes on and visitors should not be allowed to go into these places. Accordingly, I have given instructions and Deputies will have to realise that that is the position.
Another question arose yesterday evening. Deputy Johnson raised a particular matter on the adjournment, and at the end of the discussion Deputy Nagle made a contribution which I described yesterday evening as being delightfully irrelevant. He raised a particular matter with regard to the Official Reports. He stated a remark attributed in the newspapers to an extern Minister had appeared in the newspapers but had not appeared in the Official Report. He said it was completely ignored in the Official Report recording that day's proceedings. The facts appear to be that the interjection was in the nature of an aside. It was not clearly heard by the Reporter—that is the Official Reporter concerned—and in pursuance of general instructions given to the Official Reporters, that casual interjections and comments imperfectly heard were not to be reported, he made no report. That particular instruction was issued after a repudiation by a Deputy here of a remark, by way of an aside, attributed to him in the Official Report, to which remark exception was taken by another Deputy. I am sure Deputy Nagle had no intention, when he was speaking yesterday evening, of implying that something would be done in the Official Reports for an extern Minister that would not be done, for example, for Deputy Morrissey.