I move: "That the Oireachtas (Payment of Members) Bill, 1928, be read a second time." As Deputies are aware, the payment of travelling expenses to members of the Oireachtas is at present confined to railway fare. That has been found to be inconvenient and unfair to Deputies in many cases. The development of the bus traffic throughout the country has meant that many Deputies can more easily, speedily and conveniently travel by bus than by rail, but if they do so, at present, it means that they have to pay their own expenses. There are also Deputies who own private motor cars who could much more easily and conveniently to themselves come to town in their cars than by rail but if they come in their own cars they must do so at their own expense. The purpose of this Bill is to make it possible for Deputies who travel by bus or by other public conveyance to do so, if it is more suitable than by rail, and also if Deputies find it more suitable to come in their own cars, that they can be paid an amount not in excess of the first class railway fare. I think that arrangement would be more satisfactory to Deputies than the existing one and the cost would not be much greater. As Deputies will see, we propose slightly to alter the present arrangement in one respect. In the Act:—
the expression "travelling facilities" means the provision of free, first-class railway travelling and the repayment of such other travelling expenses as the Minister for Finance shall be satisfied to have been reasonably incurred.
In the Bill we set out in sub-section (b) of Section 1:—
"the repayment of such other (if any) travelling expenses as the Minister for Finance shall be satisfied were reasonably incurred."
In fact we have not paid any other travelling expenses but there may be circumstances in which it would be reasonable to repay certain other travelling expenses. For instance a Deputy might find that he could travel home by rail but that if he did so it would mean passing a night at some place on the way. There are Deputies who have complained of that, that when they go home by rail, it means that they must pass a night somewhere on the way because the trains did not suit. It is proposed to make regulations in consequence allowing members to use their own cars, but that a Deputy who has not his own car and travels by rail to a certain point, and who would, if he were to make the whole journey by rail be compelled to pass a night on the way, to allow that Deputy to hire a motor car for the completion of the journey. Regulations will have to be drawn up covering that. There are at present a few difficulties of that nature and it is proposed to meet them under this paragraph. However these are minor matters. The main purpose of the Bill is to meet the case of Deputies who travel by bus or those who travel in their own cars.