Private Deputies Business. - Legal Practitioners (Qualification) Bill, 1928—Report Stage.

I beg to move the following amendment:—

In page 3, Section 4 (3) to delete lines 5, 6 and 7, and substitute therefor the words:

"(8) Where a person is exempted by or under the Solicitors (Ireland) Act, 1898, or by or under that Act as amended by the Solicitors (Ireland) Act, 1898 (Amendment) Act, 1923, from any of the examinations referred to in the foregoing sub-sections of this section, such person shall be required notwithstanding."

The amendment really does not make any change in the text of the Bill, and it is mainly to rectify an error which occurred in the section dealing with exemptions from examinations. The exemptions are made by the Act rather than by examinations.

Amendment agreed to.

I move:—

"That the Bill, as amended, be received for Final Consideration."

On the Second Reading Deputy Conlon said that he wished to inflict as little hardship as possible on anybody. I recognise that by accepting amendments in Committee he has materially lessened the hardships on individuals both as regards the lowering of the age and the extension of the period in which persons may become qualified in the Irish language. The Deputy has undoubtedly lessened the hardships, but he has not, however, met my objections to the Bill. I think it would be more in order and more in accordance with the practice of the House if I stated my objections on the final stage. Accordingly, I do not propose to put the Dáil either to the trouble of listening to a speech now or to a division at this particular stage.

In connection with this Bill, perhaps I will be permitted to read a resolution passed by the Incorporated Law Society. There were 118 members present at the meeting, and all but eight of the 118 members were agreed "That this special general meeting of the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland, summoned by the Council to consider the proposals contained in the Legal Practitioners (Qualification) Bill, 1928 (as amended in Special Committee), desires to place on record that the Society is opposed to the Bill so far as it affects the solicitors' profession, and instructs the Council to use every possible effort to secure its rejection." These are the views of the legal profession. When this State was being established we heard something about vocational government and the right of certain bodies, such as Universities and the Incorporated Law Society, to be autonomous and to prescribe their own procedure. Even the minority of the Incorporated Law Society, who gave qualified support to the Bill, included the following in their amendment: "...that they deprecate the tendency in a degree to take the training of aspirants of our profession out of our own hands and demand that such amendments as shall be in accordance with the dignity of the profession may be made in the Bill." I think that is a sufficient commentary on the Bill. I do not propose at the moment to say anything beyond giving the views of the profession regarding the Bill. I look upon this Bill as merely an effort to show that people, whatever their standing in the State, must be ready to bend the knee and bow the head to the powers that be.

Is dócha liom gur fíor é go bhfuil Cumann na nDligheadóirí i n-aghaidh an Bhille seo ach is iongnadh liom ná raibh siad in ánn abhcóide no atúrnac d'fháil chun an rúin do chur os cóir na Dála.

There is not much necessity to debate the Bill now. Every phase of it was fully discussed on the Second Reading. Deputy Hennessy has mentioned that the Incorporated Law Society has passed a certain resolution. He said there were 118 members present. I do not know whether the 118 members can be regarded as representative of the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland. I would be surprised if 118 was representative of that body at a general meeting. As was pointed out over and over again, the Society had sufficient time to take up this question voluntarily if they wished to do so; but since they did not think fit to do so, it then became necessary to introduce this Bill. I submit the only compulsion in the Bill is to make parents see that children of 15 years of age and under are fully equipped for any profession that they may take up in later years. I commend the Bill to the House, and I ask Deputies to agree to my motion.

Question put and agreed to. Fifth Stage fixed for Wednesday, 6th March.