CONSTITUTION (AMENDMENT No. 7) BILL, 1928—REPORT.

Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 will be taken together.

I move:—

In page 2 to delete all words from and including the word "and" in line 29 to and including the word "Constitution" in line 33.

In page 2 to delete the word "nine" in line 34 and substitute therefor the word "six."

I put down these amendments because some Deputies opposite said, or rather indicated, when this matter was being discussed, that if they were there they might give the whole matter fuller consideration.

No, not at all.

Then I cannot see what the purpose is in talking about an amendment not being there. The amendment is there, and it is put down in order that the House will have an opportunity of expressing itself on this question as to the length of term of office for Senators. The object of the amendments is to reduce the term from the proposed period of nine years in the Bill to six years. The rest is merely consequential. If the first amendment goes, then there is no use in bringing forward the remaining amendments. When we were talking about it on the Committee Stage, I said that no case whatever had been made out by the proposers of the Bill for giving such a lengthy period as nine years, and no attempt was made, so far as I could see, to defend their action in that respect. It was passed over in just the same way as a related question, namely, the size of the Seanad. I expected to find amongst the series of Bills brought forward a Bill to reduce it from the unnecessarily large number of 60 to reasonable dimensions. During the Second Reading debate, Indicated that our view was that, if there was to be a Seanad at all, a Seanad of 36 would more effectively carry out the intention of those who were in favour of a Seanad than a large Seanad of 60, I gave numbers from other countries to show the practice elsewhere. I mentioned, for example, that in Australia they had a number like 36, and in a number of other places you had Senates of much smaller dimensions for much larger countries and much larger populations. We cannot, unfortunately, at this stage deal with the question of the number of the Seanad, and I see from the Bill, which makes provision to change the period from twelve to nine years, that the number of Senators is to remain as it is. I had hoped that the whole of the series of Bills might be supplemented by a Bill reducing the number from 60 to some reasonable dimension. If we ask ourselves what would be the number that would be natural we ought to say what would be the effective number of those who would be present. I mean what would be the average number of those who would attend. We ought to leave a margin for those unavoidably absent and leave a number behind which would be considered as a proper deliberative body. The Minister for Local Government thinks that 15 are sufficient, and if you increase the number you do damage. I wonder why he would not use towards his colleagues in the Executive Council the same arguments as he used for the reduction in the number of representatives in Cork.

Do not confuse a municipal council with a legislature.

There is no question of confusion. There is a far better case to be made for larger numbers in the case of Cork, when you are putting executive powers into the hands of a single individual, than can possibly be made for a large Seanad, considering the functions it has to perform. The number of 36, such as in Australia, would be a reasonable figure to aim at. Any figure in that neighbourhood would satisfy us, if there is to be a Seanad at all. As I have said, that whole matter was passed over, and the House got no opportunity of expressing its opinion by a vote on the question as to what the numbers in the Seanad should be. Though it was quite obvious from remarks made on the Committee Stage that a large number of Deputies objected to such a long period of office as nine years, no attempt has been made on the other side to justify that long period. On the contrary, arguments have been put forward from our side to show that the period of nine years is harmful, because during the greater part of that period you will have a condition which resulted in the figures quoted by Deputy Davin from the records of attendance. In Committee I gave some figures with regard to other places, and it is no harm to repeat them. The period of office in the case of the United States is six years, in Belgium it is four, in CzechoSlovakia and Denmark it is eight in each case, in the Netherlands it is six years, in New Zealand seven years, and in Australia six years. When you go over the list of the Senates of the States of the world you find that the period of office of Senators here is one of the longest. There are only one or two others longer. There is no reason for it, so far as we can see, and consequently we put forward this amendment in the hope that the majority of Deputies will express their views to the effect that this period ought to be reduced from nine to six years.

Deputy de Valera's arguments fell into two portions—in the first place, that the Seanad was too large, and, in the second place, that the term of office was too long. He quoted various precedents in each case. From the point of view of size he took Australia as a model. The Australian Senate and the Senate of the United States cannot fairly be compared with our Seanad, because Australia and the United States are countries with a Federal Constitution, and their Senates are framed expressly for the purpose of giving exaggerated representation to the smaller States. They are given an excessive representation.

What is the difference?

And the conclusion?

I will come to my conclusion, but surely I may be allowed to make my arguments before stating my conclusion. I heard Deputy de Valera's conclusion, but I did not hear much of his argument. My argument is that you cannot compare institutions formed for a different purpose, formed to serve the specific purpose of giving representation to small States. We are not a Federal power, and we have no States. The provinces have no legal existence. They have a traditional or historical existence. If you had a Seanad representative of Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught, then there would be something to be said for Deputy de Valera's parallel and for his amendment. As it is, there is nothing. On the other hand, one of the purposes for which the Seanad has been created, as defined in the Constitution, is to give representation to various interests and aspects of national life—I can quote it verbatim if Deputy de Valera wants me —which might not otherwise find representation, and for that purpose a large Seanad is almost a necessity. Now we come—I have been out of order, following Deputy de Valera—to the purpose of the amendment reducing the term of office. Deputy de Valera quoted Australia and Belgium. He did not quote Canada. Why did he ignore the Canadian precedent? In Canada, Senators are appointed for life. I do not think myself that it is a perfect precedent, because such a Senate tends to become extraordinarily old, but we might just as well follow the Canadian precedent as the Australian one—every bit as well. Deputy de Valera naturally sees that the Canadian precedent does not suit his argument but the Australian precedent does.

The Canadian precedent does not suit.

It does not suit Deputy O'Connell either! The Seanad does not meet very frequently. Possibly it should meet more frequently, but it does not. If you had a very short term of office, particularly for Senators who are not accustomed to Parliamentary debate, you would find that the Senators were retiring just as they were beginning to be most useful and just as they had learned their work. That seems to me to be a practical reason. Of course, the Dáil understands the purpose behind Deputy de Valera's amendment. He wishes the term of Senators to be as brief as possible in order that they may be as indecisive as possible, and he wishes to make the Seanad as small a body as possible in order that he can abolish it without being observed.

Deputy de Valera told us on the Second Stage of the Constitution (Amendment No. 11) Bill that practically his policy in regard to the Seanad, seeing that he was not going to get his own way at once, was to make things worse in order to make things better. He states that his reason for bringing forward these amendments was that he was challenged to bring them forward in order to have them discussed. He suggests that he had hoped all along to have an opportunity of saying whether the number in the Seanad should be 60 or not. The Executive Council made it perfectly clear, in dealing with the matter of the Seanad and with constitutional amendments connected with it, that they were giving effect to the report of the Joint Committee which considered the constitution of the Seanad early this year. That report recommended that the period of office for a Senator should be reduced from 12 years to 9 years.

Only on the Report Stage of the last Bill that in any way affects the Seanad election do we come up against this amendment by Deputy de Valera that a reduction should take place from nine years to six years. We can only assume that it is brought in for the purposes of further obstruction and, if possible, destroying the legislation we have been passing here dealing with the Seanad. Before the Summer Recess there was a very considerable amount of obstruction in dealing with these Bills. Now we are asked, at the last moment, to discuss this question in this particular way of nine years against six years. If we examine the amendment that Deputy de Valera has put down to Section 3, we can see his process of making things very much worse in order to make things better. For instance, if the Seanad elections were carried out in accordance with his amendments, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 to Section 3, we would get, after that election, a Seanad that would consist of five members due to go out in 1930—in two years; fifteen members due to go out in 1931—in three years; eight members due to go out in 1932; eighteen members due to go out in 1934; fourteen due to go out in 1937, at a time when we had the Constitution amended to say that one-third of the Senators should go out every two years. I do not know who would be expected to remedy the legislative state of affairs that would be brought about by the passing of these amendments. So that dealing with these particular amendments, we can only deal with them as matters of obstruction. The recommendation that the Senatorial life should be nine years is the recommendation of the Joint Committee. That one-third of the Seanad should be elected every three years is involved in that. Under the Constitution, the life of the Dáil may be six years. According to the legislation passed, it may be five. To reduce the period of office of a Senator to nine years, and to have an election once every three years, brings the period of office of a Senator practically on parallel lines with the life of the Dáil. So much so that, taking it that this Dáil assembled for the first time on the 11th October, 1928, and that it will run its full five years; that another Dáil will assemble, say, on 1st September, 1932, and run for its five years, and assemble again on the 1st September, 1937, the Dáil that would assemble on the 1st September, 1932, would deal with three Seanad elections. That is, that the whole personnel of the Seanad would be completely changed by the three elections inside the life-time of one Dáil. We suggest that that is not desirable. The period that has been carefully thought over and examined by the Joint Committee, and that the Executive Council puts before the Dáil after full consideration of the matter, is nine years, and in that spirit we very definitely oppose the amendments in Deputy de Valera's name.

I have listened very carefully to the speech of the Minister for Local Government and to the speech of Deputy Cooper in the hope that I would receive some indication as to what argument induced the Executive Council to decide upon a nine years' tenure of office for Senators. Not merely have I listened to those speeches, but I took the trouble of going back over the official records and read the speeches made on the Second Reading of this Bill both by the Minister and the President, and by the Minister on the Committee Stage. On no single occasion since this Bill was introduced has any single reason been advanced in support of a nine years' tenure of office. We have been told that the Executive Council considered it very carefully and decided upon nine years; that the Select Committee set up to consider the Constitution of the Seanad recommended the period of nine years; but not one single argument in favour of that period has yet been advanced. Have they any argument? Is there any reason whatever in support of this Bill except the fact that the Select Committee reported in favour of nine years—a Select Committee half of whom were Senators, and by far the greater proportion of the other half friends of Senators. They recommended nine years in preference to six, and it is on their recommendation alone that this Bill was introduced. If the Executive Council had any argument that they thought would convince Deputies in favour of that period of office they would produce it, but they have not. On the Second Reading, the President went back to 1922 and talked about the things that happened then, and the circumstances which then existed, until the Ceann Comhairle closed him down.

Much to the Deputy's displeasure.

Yes, to my displeasure. I would have much preferred that the President had been allowed to go on. If I recollect rightly, he was giving the whole game away on his Party, having directly contradicted the speech made a few minutes before by Deputy Tierney. If he cannot recollect that, I would advise him to read the official report. The President carefully avoided any reference to the Bill, just as the Minister for Local Government to-day, instead of dealing with the particular amendments we are discussing, selected four or five others which will come up for discussion later, and just as Deputy Cooper, instead of producing any argument in favour of the Bill, trots out the one solitary example of Canada, and tells us that because Canada elects Senators for life, we should do likewise. Deputy de Valera was able to produce a number of examples in other States where the period of office of Senators is much less than that suggested here, and Deputy O'Connell, who has just returned from Canada, in an interruption, informed us that the particular system in Canada does not seem to suit the natives there.

Nobody, except the Senators.

Deputy Cooper tells us that the situation in Australia is different from the situation here, and therefore no proper comparison can be made between the Australian Senate and our Seanad. He said that it was necessary to give an exaggerated representation in the Senate to the various States of the Federation. In order to give an exaggerated representation to the various States in the Australian Senate, they have constituted a Senate which is very slightly over half the size of ours—a Senate which consists of 36 members, while our Seanad consists of 60. It was also thought desirable that we should give exaggerated representation to certain interests, and Deputy Cooper blandly told us that the reason the Seanad was brought into existence was to give representation to various interests in our national life which would not get representation otherwise. I hope I am quoting the Deputy correctly.

I think the Deputy is quoting perfectly correctly from the agreement which Deputy de Valera came to with certain representatives of the minority in Ireland shortly before the Truce.

That is worse than 1922.

The fact, in any case, is that the only argument produced in favour of a Seanad of sixty is that it is necessary to give exaggerated representation to various interests in our national life which would not get representation otherwise—I draw attention to the latter part of that phrase particularly, "which would not get representation otherwise"—who, if they had to go before the people and seek the people's votes, would not get them. That section, that interest, in our national life, which is incapable of being elected by the people, is placed in a position of authority in this State by this device of a Seanad.

If we are to have a Seanad constituted for that purpose, surely it is in the national interest and in the interest of democratic government that the necessary steps should be taken to ensure that this Dáil will be able to exercise some degree of effective control over it. It is not advisable, for various reasons, that the Seanad thus constituted should exceed, in duration, the life-time of the Dáil, that the period of office of an ordinary Senator should be the period of two successive Dála. That is not advisable. I do not know what the Minister for Local Government and Public Health was driving at when he was criticising the other amendments on the Paper in Deputy de Valera's name. He pointed out that if these amendments were passed, a scheme having elections for the Seanad every three years could not be put in operation, and in the next breath he tells us that in the five years between 1932 and 1937 there are going to be three elections for the Seanad. If Deputy de Valera's scheme destroys triennial elections for the Seanad the Minister's does the same, on his own admission.

Personally, we believe, if we are to have a Seanad at all, it should be one over which the representatives of the people would exercise effective control and that will not be empowered to interfere in any serious and decisive manner with the will of the majority of this House. Our views, of course, with regard to the existence of a Seanad at all are well known. We do not believe a Seanad, under present circumstances, should exist in this State. We do not believe it serves any useful purpose or that it can possibly serve any useful purpose. We think the machinery of government would act much more smoothly if that House did not exist. The majority in this House decided to keep it in existence. We want if possible, therefore, to try to persuade that majority not to overdo it, not to give the Seanad too much power or to leave them in existence under conditions which would make it impossible for them or some other majority properly to control them in a crisis. The argument in favour of a six-year period of office appears to me very much stronger than any argument that could be advanced in favour of any longer period. I say deliberately "any argument that could be advanced" but that has not yet been advanced. I hope, before this debate concludes, that some member of the Government will give us the exact reasons that influenced the Executive Council to introduce this.

The point raised by the Minister for Local Government that the moving of these amendments on this side of the House is designed for obstructive purposes is nonsense—and he knows it. This is not the last Bill, unfortunately, dealing with the Seanad, but this is the particular Bill that deals with the period of the office of Senators. It is on this Bill and this Bill only that amendments of that kind can be moved. An amendment could not be moved on the Second Reading, and an amendment was not moved on the Committee Stage for various reasons stated at that time.

I did not hear one of them.

On the contrary, if the President looks at the official report he will find that Deputy Flinn and he debated the reasons for over an hour. But the fact remains that the amendments are being moved here now on the Report Stage of the Bill.

That is right.

And if the President wants to take advantage of the fact that they are here to give us some argument in favour of his idea he can do so. The Minister for Local Government has not done so, and Deputy Cooper has not done so, and he himself did not do so on the Second Reading Stage.

Deputy Lemass, in his description of the history of this particular case, has scarcely dealt fairly with the Joint Committee. There was a Joint Committee, which consisted of certain members of the Dáil and certain members of the Seanad. I find, on looking up the membership of the Joint Committee, that of the Senators on that Committee, three were elected at the election in 1925, one was elected by the Dáil, and two had been nominated members. They, in their wisdom, brought in a recommendation to the Committee that the term of office for Senators should be nine years. Now, mark, the initiative lies with this body. Then Deputy de Valera suggested the number should be made six. Fortunately, we are saved from having to read the speeches of the representatives of the Joint Committee, as the mere fact that the amendment was defeated is recorded. We introduced, in accordance with the wise recommendation of that Committee, proposals that the term of office should be reduced from twelve to nine years. In a fit of rather abysmal innocence on the part of Deputies opposite, the Bill was, for some time, opposed by them. They were going to vote against it only I warned them of the danger of recording their votes against the reduction of the term of office from twelve to nine years—I think my recollection is right—and seeing at once the danger into which they were falling they withdrew their opposition and let the Bill go through without a division on Second Stage.

Then we came along to the Committee Stage. On Committee Stage we heard that the term of office of Senators should not be longer than six years. I pointed out there was a method by which an attempt might be made to effect that purpose even on this measure. They made many excuses and explanations. Deputy Lemass said that arguments were brought forward by Deputy Flinn. I would not dignify them by such a term. I think they were very poor explanations of lack of attention to this matter during the Recess. Now we find we have a long list of recommendations that the term should be reduced from nine years to six years. As usual, the principal argument in favour of that is suspicion. You should not trust anybody for nine years. I think Deputy de Valera himself holds a position for a longer term than nine years. It is not a good argument. Experience is of immense value in connection with public matters, and in the case of membership of important institutions in the country. One learns in this way, and Deputies opposite will admit the amount they have learned during their short period of service here. Just imagine how much more able and competent they will be in nine years time as compared with to-day. And so with the Seanad. They increase in age and wisdom, in accordance with what we have heard from the Scriptures. Deputy de Valera has come in on this with his sledge-hammer. His proposal is to reduce the term of office from nine to six years. He will admit, as a person having some knowledge of figures, that it is a barbarous method he has adopted to effect his purpose. I suggest his purpose would be much more easily effected without these extraordinary jolts he is preparing to inflict upon the national institutions of this country. It would be possible to reduce the term of office in three years time from nine years to six years without this sort of thing, because then a situation would arise much the same as now. The Deputy will admit at once the wisdom of the majority of the Joint Committee when they recommended the reduction from twelve to nine years.

It is possible that the figures lend themselves to it. The terms of office and the recommendations which are made in Section 3 point how clear-cut a decision of that sort may be, how easily it may be accomplished, and how there will be no such extraordinary irregularities in the numbers of persons to be elected, and in the various dates on which they would be elected in order to effect the purpose he has. I submit that the Joint Committee showed wisdom in the first instance in recommending a reduction of the term of office of Senators from twelve to nine years. The Deputy was unable to convince a single member of the Joint Committee on which, I think, there were three persons returned by the electorate. Some of them are members of Deputy O'Connell's Party, to whom, I suppose, when they have a meeting of the Party, he will have to render an account for any vote he casts here which would be against their wishes. Secondly, there was an opportunity during the course of the Third Stage of this measure of arranging that the term of office, three years from now, could have been six years without precipitating those extraordinary jolts the Deputy has perpetrated, or is attempting to perpetrate in the series of amendments he has down. If the Deputy came and asked me how to do this, with advantage to himself and credit to his Party, I would have told him.

If possible.

Question put: That the word "nine" stand.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 64; Níl, 62.

Tá.

  • Aird, William P.
  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Cooper, Bryan Ricco.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Craig, Sir James.
  • Crowley, James.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • De Loughrey, Peter.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Dwyer, James.
  • Egan, Barry M.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Leonard, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James E.
  • Murphy, Joseph Xavier.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Shaw, Patrick W.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • Vaughan, Daniel.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Níl.

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Clancy, Patrick.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Colohan, Hugh.
  • Cooney, Eamon.
  • Corkery, Dan.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Kerlin, Frank.
  • Killane, James Joseph.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Flinn, Hugo.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • French, Seán.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Holt, Samuel.
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
  • O'Leary, William.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas.
  • Powell, Thomas P.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Tubridy, John.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers—Tá: Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle. Níl: Deputies Gerald Boland and Allen.
Question declared carried.
Question proposed: "That the Bill be received for final consideration."

I take this opportunity of replying to some of the statements which were made by the President in connection with the amendment. First of all, we were told that this whole thing was carefully thought out, that this whole period was carefully thought out in the Committee. Well, most of the members of the Committee, as was already pointed out by Deputy Lemass, had vested interests, so to speak, in this particular decision, and I would have preferred by far in connection with the question of the period of office, that an independent committee had been set up. So I do not think we can say that a Committee composed one-half of those directly interested and of a portion representing the majority here, whose policy has been very definite in respect to that Seanad, was desirable. It is quite clear from the legislation that the majority here have regarded that Seanad as a definite addition to their own forces. Therefore, when we say it was carefully thought out, I think anyone who examines the situation will doubt it very much. The Minister for Local Government, speaking of a shorter period, made a statement which I cannot understand. He said we were going to have three Seanad elections within the lifetime of a single Dáil. I do not see how that is going to come off. I was listening, of course, to Deputy Cooper. He wanted to say that there was no analogy. I was not pushing any analogy beyond the point that countries with larger populations and with larger territories have been content to work with very much smaller Senates in numbers, and a shorter period of office, than ours. He brought up the one example of Canada. That was a notoriously bad example, because, as was pointed out by Deputy O'Connell, in Canada it has been the cause of agitation for a long number of years, and it is probably going to be ended. Then he made a very curious contribution, in the way of argument, by saying that there was a peculiar condition in the case of federal States that necessitated giving exaggerated representation to States. It seems to me that if that meant anything it meant that in these cases you ought to have a much larger Senate than we have here in a unitary State.

Deputy de Valera did not quite get my point—exaggerrated representation to one or two small States, such as Tasmania in Australia. The principle in federal States, as Deputy de Valera knows, is equal representation of States. Therefore, Tasmania, having large representation in proportion to population, larger States such as Victoria and New South Wales have very much less representation than they are entitled to.

It is not a bad attempt, a Chinn Comhairle, to explain the conclusion which Deputy Cooper wished to have drawn from his statement, but I think the obvious conclusion was that if you have to give exaggerated representation to States you are exaggerating the size of the Senate and, consequently, we would expect here not to have a larger but a smaller one. If the idea had occurred to me I certainly would have used it, and believe fairly soundly used it, for the purpose of showing that we do not need here as large a Senate as they would need in the case of a federal State. For example, in the United States it is obvious that they could hardly have a Senate less than they have, of 96, because nobody likes to see a State represented by a single individual. They would like, at least, to have some balance. Therefore you reduce it to the smallest possible number, in equal representation, and they are compelled practically to have a Senate of 96. They could not have the whole idea worked out with a smaller number.

The President taunts us with the impossible position that would follow if we were to reduce the period. If we had the management of this whole affair we would have been able to get a much easier solution even than the one proposed here. Because we would have changed not merely the period of office but we would have changed the number of seats. We could very easily bring about a situation in which my amendment and the consequential amendments would be very simple. We would have brought it down to a very simple number. The President says: "Give us another three years before you change it." Well, possibly it will be changed altogether before that period.

Not at all; nobody knows it better than the Deputy himself, not the slightest chance of it. You are looking for that for six years.

I am perfectly sure that the changes which we indicate would get support. You would get an overwhelming majority of the people in support of a much smaller Seanad that would do its work and not a Seanad that would be kept for nine years in a position that when the record of their attendance is shown it is found that they have hardly turned up once a year to do the work—I am sure there are such cases and——

Your own attendance here was not so good.

There is no good in presenting any argument to those benches opposite. They have made up their minds that they want this Seanad to assist them in their policy. There is no other reason that I can see for it. Deputy Cooper made a remark about some agreement that I am supposed to be a party to. I do not know whether he used my name by mistake or not.

If I misquoted Deputy de Valera, I apologise. I understood that the Deputy entered into some agreement before the Truce with the representatives of the minority at the Mansion House that they would have some representation. If Deputy de Valera says that I am mistaken, I withdraw at once.

I am only interested in it because there have been so many misstatements made that I thought I should refer to it. There was no such agreement that I know of.

I accept that absolutely and apologise.

My position then and my position now is that I believe that all sections of the community should get fair play and should be fairly represented in all representative institutions. But I do not believe now, nor did I believe then, that any section of the community should be given exceptional privileges. I believe that is exactly the position that is created in the Seanad.

I should have imagined, listening to the speech of Deputy de Valera, who was a member of the Joint Committee, that he would have gone to the Joint Committee with a regular series of proposals embodying what his ideal of a Seanad would be. Looking through the various decisions and proposals which were put forward, I find that the Deputy was always in the second place, and that when a recommendation was put up he either supported it or opposed it or proposed an amendment. But he had no definite plan of his own.

As the Ceann Comhairle knows, that is not a fact. The Ceann Comhairle was Chairman, and he is aware that I had a very definite series of amendments. In view of the situation of the various amendments, the Ceann Comhairle naturally arranged a certain order in which the business would be taken. He arranged matters so that business would be got through expeditiously. That was why my amendments came up in the manner suggested by the President.

I will accept that. In any case, the proposals, such as they are, come from a Committee of which the Deputy was a member. I was not a member of that Committee. These are not the recommendations that I would have put up. If it were by my own will, wish and desire that the report was framed, the proposals would have been different.

How different?

There would have been quite a number of differences. May I suggest that the original intention was that they would bring in recommendations? It was pointed out to us there were two bodies concerned, the Dáil and the Seanad, and that a Committee from those two bodies ought to be asked to consider the question and make recommendations. Even with the addition of the Leader of the Opposition, the recommendations have not come up to the standard of excellence that the members of the Party opposite expect. I would have approached the matter from an entirely different angle.

From what angle would the President approach it?

I would have approached it from the angle of what was best for the country and not in what way one could score off one's opponents.

The Seanad did not come into it at all.

The whole question should have been: What would be the best for the country? It should not be a matter of whether or not it would be possible to get something which might score off one's opponents. I am in the fortunate position, no matter what subject I take up, that I have such poor material in the country to attack me that victory is inevitable, as they would say. Why should Deputy de Valera say that on this question of the numbers of the Seanad the country would give a decision in his favour? That is not a big enough question to go to the country. That is purely a parochial view; that is the view that I would expect Deputy Cooney to take, but not Deputy de Valera; I would expect a much wider outlook from Deputy de Valera. When a general election takes place, it takes place on a whole series of proposals. I do not see any great improvement made or attempted to be made in connection with the Seanad. I say that we might reasonably have anticipated some better support for the recommendations the Deputy did make. The Deputy even opposed his own child, the recommendation that the age should be reduced from 35 to 30 years. I stood for his child and got it passed.

That was only support for a favourite son.

Question—"That the Bill be received for final consideration"—put.

That means reducing it from twelve to nine years. If the Bill is beaten it means that it will be twelve years in future.

We will change it all.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 75; Níl, 53.

Tá.

  • Aird, William P.
  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Clancy, Patrick.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Cooper, Bryan Ricco.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Craig, Sir James.
  • Crowley, James.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davin, William.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • De Loughrey, Peter.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Dwyer, James.
  • Egan, Barry M.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Leonard, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James E.
  • Murphy, Joseph Xavier.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearoid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Shaw, Patrick W.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • Vaughan, Daniel.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Níl.

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Colohan, Hugh.
  • Cooney, Eamon.
  • Corkery, Dan.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Flinn, Hugo.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • French, Seán.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Holt, Samuel.
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Kerlin, Frank.
  • Killane, James Joseph.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
  • O'Leary, William.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas.
  • Powell, Thomas P.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (Tipperary).
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Tubridy, John.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers—Tá: Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle. Níl: Deputies G Boland and Allen.
Question declared carried.
Fifth Stage fixed for Thursday, 18th October.