I have not been allowed to make my statement. I proceeded to say that this Bill should be refused a First Reading on the ground that it proposes a constitutional change of much greater importance than might be covered by the Title of the Bill, or than might be ascertained from a superficial reading of recommendation 8. I believe, and I have discussed the matter with some Deputies, that some of the Deputies who assented to this proposal never contemplated that it made it mandatory upon the Dáil to pass, within two months after it was presented to the Dáil, a Bill which had been initiated in the Seanad. I think, when I am attempting to prove a case of this description, I am entitled to the fullest latitude and should not be crabbed, cabined and confined within the mere personal discretion of the Ceann Comhairle. I think that the statement I have made is a sufficiently grave one. I note that the President finds many matters to laugh and joke at in this Constitution—this Constitution which he defended by force of arms, this Constitution for which he spent twenty millions of the people's money, this Constitution for which he sent men to their graves. This Constitution, which was a matter of life and death for Irishmen, has become for him the subject for jest and laughter. We are here endeavouring to make operative and real the principle which is enshrined in Article 2:—
All powers of government and all authority, legislative, executive and judicial, in Ireland are derived from the people of Ireland, and the same shall be exercised in the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) through the organisations established by, or under, and in accord, with this Constitution.
We who wish to make that principle a real and vital, a governing and determining, principle in the constitutional evolution of this body are entitled whenever the Executive introduces a Bill which proposes to overthrow and to emasculate that Article of the Constitution—not only Article 39 but Article 2 of the Constitution—we are entitled to oppose that to the uttermost in our power and to state as fully and as clearly as the facilities which have been given to us permit, our reasons for the objection. I submit that if in making a statement upon those lines we fail to carry conviction, that is the only penalty which can be meted out to us; but we should be permitted that.
If Deputies will turn to recommendations No. 7 and No. 8 and Articles 38 and 39, and study them clearly, they will see that this Bill which it is proposed now to introduce will have the effect of placing Seanad Eireann in a privileged position, making it a privileged component in the Oireachtas under the Constitution and making it possible for it to enforce its will against the decision of the Dáil by the mere automatic lapse of time. That is a very serious matter; that is a very serious constitutional amendment to take lightly, even to take so lightly as to go to the extent of permitting a Bill embodying that amendment to be introduced into the Dáil. For those reasons, therefore, I ask the Dáil to refuse permission to introduce the Bill. If I were permitted time I could develop and prove that case, but in deference to the ruling of the Chair I shall not do so. Not being allowed to adduce reasons for my statement, I will content myself with saying that I believe this amendment would very seriously affect the Constitution and I ask the Dáil to refuse a First Reading.