At this stage I do not think it is necessary to say anything except to congratulate the Government and the Minister on the agreement that has been reached.
ORDUITHE AN LAE. - MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS BILL, 1927.—SECOND STAGE.—(DEBATE RESUMED.)
In the absence of the Minister I should like to acknowledge the great pains and the great care he took in considering this matter. It has been under consideration for a long time, and no unnecessary delay took place. Those who are acquainted with the delicacies of the situation—if I may so describe them—realise perfectly what a difficult task it was, and I certainly pay my tribute to the work which the Minister for Industry and Commerce put in with regard to this matter. I think it is very satisfactory that a solution of it has been found, a solution which, I think, will get its due meed of praise from both sides of the controversy, because I suppose we will admit that there were two sides to it. There was, unfortunately, a good deal of feeling expressed, and a good deal of doubt given expression to by many people that this particular agreement would not be arrived at, and that the schools here would suffer. I regret that so much stress was laid on that, because the people who gave expression to those ideas certainly injured the schools. They did not wish to do it, but there was some damage done. Now, all the time we had in mind the necessity for keeping these schools up to their full standard, and I am glad now, after the long period that has elapsed, that a settlement has been arrived at which, in practice, I think, will be found to be an excellent one, one which secures the schools, one which secures all national rights in this matter, and one which, I hope, will work smoothly in the years to come.
I desire to say that on the question of details I am reserving what I have to say on that for the Committee Stage.
When is it proposed to take the next Stage?
I asked my Parliamentary Secretary to interview the Whips of the different parties in connection with next week's business. I am fairly satisfied that if we sat late on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week that would enable us to dispose of next week's business. That might be more acceptable than to meet on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. If that were agreed to, then I would propose that the next Stage of this Bill be taken on Wednesday next, and that the adjournment this evening should be until Wednesday. If we sat late on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week for the disposal of next week's business, I think it would only be necessary to meet afterwards for one or two days to consider any amendments that might be sent down by the Seanad to the Bills before it.
Perhaps the President would give us a little more light on this. The Finance Bill and the Appropriation Bill are down for consideration on Tuesday next, and I assume that there will be some amendments to the Finance Bill and some discussion on the Appropriation Bill. I do not know, of course, what the House will do regarding the late sitting, or regarding discussions, but it does not seem to me to be of any advantage if there is the probability of having to come back the week after to rediscuss Bills coming down from the Seanad. I take it that if the Seanad completes any Bills this week, they will be available for discussion in the Dáil some time next week. What is the view of the President regarding procedure in the case of Bills that are only now being considered by the Seanad? What I am driving at is: Has the President made up his mind as to when there shall be a dissolution?
From all the calculations and estimates that I have made of the time required for the various measures, I should say that it will be possible to dissolve on the 24th or 25th May, and that it would be possible to deal with the Bills mentioned by Deputy Johnson—the Finance Bill, the Agricultural Credit Bill, and the Appropriation Bill—next week. Although there may be amendments, I should say that one stage would dispose of them. I cannot deny to the House this right, at any rate, that the House is doing its business in considering those measures. It is considering them at a loss of time in going through the electorate. There are other people busy with the electorate, and I do not like to put an undue strain on attendance here, in view of the imminence of the election. I am satisfied, from the examination I have made of this programme, that it would be possible to get through the business we have by sitting on three days next week—Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Assuming that the Seanad is in a position to deal with the various Bills sent to them, Tuesday, 24th, and Wednesday, 25th May, should be sufficient to enable us to deal with any amendments made by the Seanad. It will have been observed that the management of the business of the Dáil has been such that a fairly constant succession of Bills has gone to the Seanad—that it has not been a matter of sending three or four Bills to them on one day, but that the sending of Bills from the Dáil has been such that it was possible for the Seanad to consider them. Although a number of Bills will be before the Seanad, I should say that with a little accommodation it would be possible for us to receive them all back by the 24th instant.
If we come back on the 24th May to discuss, say, the amendments to the Electricity Bill made by the Seanad, how long will it take the Dáil to deal with those amendments, which then may have to go back to the Seanad again? I really want to know whether the President is determined that the Electricity Bill, for instance, is to be passed before the election?
Yes, that is the intention.
And the dissolution put off until that is dealt with?
Or that it will be expedited in order to admit of the dissolution.
I understood the President to say that the Whip of the Government Party had consulted with the Whips of other Parties with regard to the arrangements. I want to say as Whip of this Party that I was not consulted.
This is the first time I heard that the Deputy was Whip to any Party. I was not aware of it before.
The Government Whip has been aware that I am a Whip of the Farmers' Party.
I understood it was Deputy Baxter.
He has consulted with me frequently in regard to other matters. I only raised the point because it looks like a slight on the Party that I belong to—I will not say it was intentional.
If the Deputy will look up my statement, I think he will find that what I said was that I had instructed my Parliamentary Secretary to see the Whips of the various Parties, but that I did not know whether he had succeeded.
By way of personal explanation, I may say that it was not any intentional slight, because the Deputy was not around the House when I looked for him.
Third Stage ordered for Wednesday, 11th inst.