I propose to take from Item 3 to Item 7 in the order in which they are set out on the Orders of the Day. At the conclusion of that business, I propose to move the adjournment of the House until the 19th February.
PUBLIC BUSINESS. - CHRISTMAS RECESS—PRESIDENT'S PROPOSAL.
I take it the President proposes to move that to-morrow?
I propose to move that when those items are concluded.
Does that mean that the motions on the Order Paper, which have been down for several months, will not be taken this session?
I want to say that we object to that.
There is a very strong feeling of protest amongst the members of this Party against any such proposal as the President has now made, unless the Government are prepared to say what they are going to do in the case of the unemployed during the long adjournment proposed. We had a discussion here the other day. This matter was discussed very fully. There is no doubt that since then the position has become very much aggravated in the country. This is the only place in which we have an opportunity of calling attention to existing conditions from time to time. Are we now going to disperse and allow the unemployed to face this long period without saying what is going to be done for them? It is up to the House to make a very strong protest against any such proposal.
The President announces that on the conclusion of all the Stages of certain Bills, from No. 3 to No. 7 inclusive, on the Orders of the Day, he will move the adjournment of the House until the 19th February. If it is intended to move the adjournment of the House to-morrow for a period longer than the normal period, that motion ought to be made at the beginning of public business to-morrow. The matter will then be open to debate.
Does that mean that we will have an opportunity of discussing the position?
If the motion is to be made for an adjournment longer than the normal period, for a recess of any particular length, it is usually made at the beginning of public business on the day the House proposes to adjourn.
Is the President prepared to introduce a supplementary estimate for the relief of unemployed before this adjournment takes place? It is unfair to the unemployed, to the small farmers and to the fishermen who are in distressed conditions in various parts of the country, who are in a state of poverty, to leave them unprovided for during this proposed adjournment of ten weeks. The President must be aware of the conditions of distress in Dublin, Cork and throughout the country, and I consider it is scandalous that the House should be asked to adjourn for ten weeks without making any provision for unemployment or to alleviate the conditions of fishermen and small farmers who are in need.
All that matter will arise to-morrow.
On a matter of procedure, if we do get rid of all the business on the Order Paper to-day, will the motion for the adjournment be taken this evening? If the business is disposed of this evening, can the motion be made at a late hour for this proposed adjournment?
On that point the Deputy means that if the House consents to take all the Stages of these Bills this evening, could the motion for the adjournment be made. If the House so consented, the motion for the adjournment could be made, but it would not necessarily be concluded.
Is it the intention of the President to take all the time between this and to-morrow for the transaction of public business? Will there be no time given to private Deputies' business to-morrow?
I had intended to put the Deputy's motion down for consideration in the time that would be at the disposal of the House to-morrow.
Will the President answer the question I put to him about a supplementary estimate?
The Deputy will have every opportunity to make a speech about the matter he has in mind to-morrow. He can then get full publicity for the democratic views which he has so carefully kept to himself during the last ten weeks.
It is not publicity we want. What we desire is relief for the unemployed. The President should not endeavour to evade the issue in that particular way.
I do not want to pretend that I am not anxious for the holidays, but my motion has been on the Order Paper for six months, and I am not going to move it if I can only get two hours for a discussion on it. If the Government is going to take all the time to-day and to-morrow, then I would ask that the consideration of my motion be postponed until February next, or whenever the Dáil resumes after the Christmas adjournment.
I see that the Cork Management Bill is going to be one of the items for discussion to-day. Deputy Flinn's suspension is a very serious matter from that point of view, and I would like, under Standing Order 27, to move the adjournment of the House on this urgent matter.
Standing Order 27, dealing with adjournment on matters of urgent and public importance, reads:—
A motion for the adjournment of the Dáil on a definite matter of urgent public importance may be made if a Deputy at the commencement of public business rises in his place and states that he requests leave to move the adjournment of the Dáil for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, whereupon he shall state the matter and deliver to the Ceann Comhairle a written statement of the subject to be discussed.
What is it exactly that the Deputy wants to raise? Is it a matter of a Deputy's suspension?
The motion is that Deputy Flinn's suspension be hereby terminated.
The Standing Order does not contemplate a motion of that kind. It simply contemplates a motion for the adjournment of the Dáil. The Standing Order means that, if leave is granted for the adjournment of the Dáil, it is to be for the purpose of calling attention, by way of debate, to a definite matter of urgent public importance. I take it that the Deputy's point, therefore, is that he wants leave to move the adjournment of the Dáil for the purpose of calling attention to a matter of urgent public importance, namely, a Deputy's suspension. Is that exactly it?
That is it.
And if we agree the House adjourns.
I do not think that calling attention to a decision of the House reached with regard to the suspension of a Deputy would be a definite matter of urgent public importance contemplated by this Standing Order. The Ceann Comhairle could not give his consent to have the adjournment of the House moved to draw attention to the suspension of a Deputy which has already taken place. In this case the matter perhaps is in process of solution.
Well, it does not seem to me that it is. We have been waiting for some time to see whether any solution was forthcoming, and no solution appears to be forthcoming.
We cannot discuss it now, but, as I say, it may be in process of solution. The Committee on Procedure and Privileges had some discussion on the matter to-day, and a solution may be found this evening. It may not, of course; but in any event, I think the matter could not be raised under this particular Standing Order as a matter of urgent public importance. I think it could not be done that way.
My point with respect to urgency is that there is a Bill to come before the House to-day that definitely affects Deputy Flinn's constituency, and, taking all the circumstances into account, I think there is hardly a member of the Dáil who would think it fair to deprive Deputy Flinn's constituents from being represented here by him in a matter of that kind. Therefore, it is urgent, and I hold also that it is a matter of public importance.
I have ruled quite definitely that I could not accept that particular motion under Standing Order 27 now.
Is there any means by which we could bring the matter up before the Cork City Management Bill is taken?
I am afraid there is not.
Could a motion be put on the Order Paper fixing the taking of that Bill for some time in February?
Would the Ceann Comhairle take a motion to adjourn the Dáil? Personally, it is my opinion that the Dáil should not be asked to consider this Bill in the absence of Deputy Flinn, and in the circumstances of his absence.
I will not take a motion to adjourn the Dáil from Deputy Lemass, and I could not agree to take a motion for the adjournment of the House to call attention to this particular matter.
Would not a motion of that character be a vote of censure on Deputy Seán French in suggesting that he does not represent the constituency?
The matter has been decided now.