I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time." This is perhaps the most striking of the Bills recommended by the Joint Committee and I propose to leave it to the consideration of the Dáil. My own view is that the Dáil might reasonably consider a Bill which would give power to have one Senator appointed as a member of the Executive Council. There is a prohibition on that at present. I think it would not be unreasonable that a Bill of that sort should be brought in. I do not know if the particular recommendation in this case will meet with the approval of the Dáil. It does not follow that if this Bill were to pass, Senators would be appointed members of the Executive Council. It is on the nomination of the President to the Dáil that the Executive Council is formed, and it is on that occasion, even if this Bill were to pass, that the question has to be decided as to who should comprise the Executive Council— whether they should be Deputies or Senators. I do not think it is at all likely within the next twenty years, even if this Bill were passed into law, that any more than one—possibly not even one—member of the Seanad would be either nominated or accepted by the Dáil as a member of the Executive. I do think, however. that, as we have two Houses. it would not be unreasonable to have at least the power to nominate a Senator for the Executive Council, if it were thought desirable by the person appointed by the Dáil as President of the Executive Council so to do. However, as I have said, the matter will be left open for the discussion of the Dáil. In my own view, there ought to be, as I have said, provision for the nomination of one member of the Seanad, if the person appointed as President of the Executive Council thought fit to make that recommendation.
Money Resolution—Industrial and Commercial Property (Protection) (Amendment) Bill, 1929. - Constitution (Amendment No. 15) Bill, 1928—Second Stage.
We intend opposing this Bill. First of all, there is no indication in the Bill that there is any restriction as to the number. I agree with the President that in practice a very large number of the Executive Council would not be chosen from the Seanad. But the House knows our attitude with regard to the Seanad, and we think that even while the present arrangements stand it is only right that the Executive Council should be completely composed of members of this House, who have to face their constituents afterwards and would be able to face criticism here. Members of the Seanad are in a specially privileged position. As far as I can make out, the Constitution originally envisaged having an Executive Council, and also extern Ministers. Recently there has been an amendment of that which makes it possible for the President to nominate all the Ministers as members of the Executive Council. There is no reason why, under the existing arrangement, if there is a particularly able member of the Seanad whose services the President wants for the Ministry, he could not use his power and get an extern Minister appointed as such. But just as you have three specially mentioned Ministers here, namely, the President, Vice-President, and Minister for Finance, who must be members of the Executive Council, so I believe that the idea which was at the basis of that should be extended completely to the members who have joint responsibility. I do not think it is necessary to argue the matter at great length. The main point is that we think that those who have joint responsibility should all be members of the Dáil, and secondly, that if there should happen to be some outstanding members of the Seanad, these can be availed of as heads of departments by the President.
No, not at present.
I should like the President to explain that.
The position with regard to the appointment of a Minister not in the Executive Council is that he is selected by a Committee of the Dáil—the President has no authority.
I have no doubt that if the President, being the head of the majority Party in this House, has a good case to make for the inclusion in the Ministry of any particularly able member of the Seanad, he would never be prohibited from getting him.
I do not think so.
There is another objection which has been suggested by the remark made by the President—that it has not been the practice up to the present to ratify individually the Ministers nominated. We have objected to that. The President brings forward the names of those whom he proposes to form the Executive Council and you have to take them en bloc. That is a very serious objection to this particular measure, because if the President wanted to include some individual whose abilities might not be regarded by the rest of the House as very high, he could manage to do so——
The objection is often to the ability, not the lack of it.
——by covering up that member by other people whom the House would like to have. These points indicate our objections to the Bill, and we intend to vote against it.
This is a matter on which I have not very strong views, but if it goes to a vote I should be inclined to vote against it. I should be inclined to do so especially in view of the changed method of electing Senators. In future, Senators will not be elected by the people, and I think it is objectionable from many points of view that men who are nominated and even elected by this House should hold responsible positions. I am quite prepared to say that there may be exceptions, but I think that the power given here is too wide, and if the matter goes to a division I shall vote against it.
It will be remembered that the Party opposite secured election very largely upon their stand with respect to this Constitution. They maintained that they were the one party that really desired to preserve this Constitution and all it stood for. I think, therefore, that it is rather deplorable, when a Bill to amend the Constitution in a very important clause is before the House, there should be only half a dozen members of the Government Party present. I should like, therefore, to have a count of the House to see if we could fill it up.
House counted and twenty Deputies found to be present.
Now that a number of the upholders of the Constitution are here to be informed of its fate, I want to make some objections to this Bill which I do not think should be overlooked. The main purpose of the Bill is to enable Senators to become members of the Executive Council, but it goes a step further. It sets out to provide that while the President of the Executive Council, the Vice-President, and the Minister for Finance shall be members of Dáil Eireann, all the other members of the Executive Council shall be members of the Oireachtas. The Oireachtas, according to Article 12 of the Constitution, consists of the King and two Houses. Therefore, one purpose for which this Bill could be applied would be to enable the King, who in this Constitution I have no doubt is the King of Great Britain, to become a member of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State. We have a strong objection to the King becoming a member of the Executive Council. We do not think that he has either the ability or the intimate knowledge of affairs in this country to justify any Government in including him amongst its members. I think it a very extraordinary proposal for the Executive Council to bring before us—a proposal to enable them to appoint the King of Great Britain Minister for Posts and Telegraphs or Minister for Fisheries.
I am sure that those who went campaigning during the year 1927 on the ground that they stood for every syllable and comma of the Constitution did not at that time contemplate that the Constitution might, at one time, provide for the election of His Majesty the King of Great Britain to a position on the Executive Council. There are, however, decided objections to the taking of that course. Deputy de Valera said that one particular section of this Bill, if passed, might mean that we would have not merely unrepresentative persons on the Executive Council but, also, persons of very doubtful ability. Of course, we have those at the present time but the danger that the number might be increased, as a result of the passage of this measure, is fairly substantial and should be borne in mind by all those interested in the preservation of the Constitution.
Do Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies seriously think that the value of the Constitution would be enhanced, or that the ability of the Executive Council would be enhanced, if the King of Britain became a member of it? Do they think that the British King would be more effective in dealing with the Department of Fisheries than the gentleman who now occupies the position? A number of members on this side of the House are convinced that that would be so but we hardly expect a public admission from members of the Cumann na nGaedheal party that that would be so. A number of them perhaps would be quite prepared to substitute the King of Great Britain for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs as the King of Great Britain has probably a larger number of followers than the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs in this House —but whether that is so is doubtful. Even if they included in the position of Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the King of Great Britain they would not have strengthened their position in any way, because those who stand for the British King here can be relied upon to support the Government.
In fact, we have this morning's edition of the "Irish Times" to remind us that not merely do they support the Government, but as it says every voter in North Dublin who wants to see Ireland retain its place in the British Empire should come out and vote solidly for the Cumann na nGaedheal candidate. But even if the President is prepared, as I suggest he ought, to amend this Bill so as to exclude the possibility of the British King becoming a member of the Executive Council, there would still remain very decided objections to it. As I pointed out before, there are six good men in the Seanad, and one good woman, but if the situation should ever arise in which the Executive Council might desire to include amongst its members one of those six good men in the Seanad, we think that other machinery could be devised to secure that end, and machinery different from that suggested in the Bill. These six good men, out of the sixty Senators, do not constitute an argument for the retention of that body, nor an argument for this Bill. If the Executive was constituted of members picked merely because of the political influence which they exercised it is not unlikely that some persons would be brought forth from the seclusion of the Seanad Chamber into the turmoil of the Dáil as Executive Ministers who possessed no ability whatever except the ability to pull strings when their own interests were at stake. The members of that body, even the six good men to whom I have referred, are in no sense representative of the people. We think it is a very wrong principle that there should be placed in charge of any of the big spending departments of the State persons who cannot claim that they themselves received a direct mandate from the people to act on their behalf. Not merely have we got to provide against the danger of inefficient Ministers in the consideration of this Bill, but we have also to provide against the dangers of damaging the foundations of democratic government.
The fundamental principle of democracy is that all power comes from the people. The people themselves decide what is to be the amount they will pay in taxes, in what manner that amount is to be expended, and what are the laws under which their lives are to be regulated. They decide that by proxy through elected representatives. But we find an Executive Council endeavouring to take out of the hands of the elected representatives of the people these essential powers and to give them, in part at any rate, to individuals in the case of a great majority of whom their only claim to occupy the position is that they have rendered good service on some particular occasion to the present Executive. There are in that Seanad over 50 members now in a position to influence the course of legislation here, but if they had to go into an Irish constituency and get a vote of the majority of the people in order to give them that power they would never get it. We must take it because that is so that the people do not wish to see these individuals exercising any influence whatever in the making of the regulations which are going to order their lives.
This is a proposal to do by a backstairs method what cannot be done by straightforward methods, a proposal to give these, rejected of the people, powers which they could not otherwise secure. We have already given them considerable power. During the last two or three sessions we have been passing Bills to increase their power, but not satisfied with increasing the powers of the House to which they belong, we are to get selected individuals from amongst them and bring them down here to influence the Dáil in their deliberations. When they come here they will not, it is true, have the right to vote on any questions, but the right to vote is a very minor matter. We know from our experience in this House that the Executive Council do all the thinking and talking for the Party which elected them. Those who sit on the benches behind them are mere voting machines.
The President or a Minister of the Executive Council stands up and says white is black, or black is white, and all the Cumann na nGaedheal Party troop into the Division Lobby and vote to confirm what the Minister or President said is true, and whether it is true or not, it becomes true, having received the impress of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party. A Minister from the Seanad, if he cannot record his vote in the Lobby can influence the Dáil to a much greater extent than 55 members of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, who never attempt to influence it at all. We therefore ask those who are interested in the Constitution, and who are anxious to make it one that people will read with respect, those who do not want to see idiotic action taken by the Government, to vote against this Bill. Deputies on this side of the House who are not particularly interested in the Constitution, and who do not care what way people regard it, and who expect nothing but idiotic action from the Executive Council, will vote against this Bill for no other reason than that it is a Government measure, but we think in this matter we are entitled to expect, that which we do not hope to receive, some assistance from the silent members opposite.
We are all acquainted with the eloquence of Deputy Lemass. We are acquainted with his ingenuity, which is even greater than his eloquence, and the fact that there is no more to be said against this Bill than he has said, proves that there is a strong case for it. I need not follow his fantastic suppositions, as to the fact that the King may become Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. He does not himself believe it. He would not try that argument even at a by-election. If Deputy Lemass is seriously concerned I think I can promise him that an amendment to substitute for "members of the Oireachtas""members of Dáil or Seanad Eireann" would be accepted. That is to meet a danger that simply does not exist.
Will the Deputy propose that?
The Deputy will, subject to the leave of the Party meeting, support that amendment. Deputy Lemass is very concerned about past elections and how we stood for every word in the Constitution. I do not know any Deputy in this Party who said the Constitution was incapable of amendment. I certainly did not. In fact, in the First Dáil, I had advocated this particular amendment as a ground for making the Seanad more efficient. I know Deputy Lemass does not want to make the Seanad more efficient. It is his desire to make it thoroughly inefficient, to abolish it as soon as possible. One cause that it is not as efficient as it might be is that it has not enough guidance. There is not a Minister or even a Parliamentary Secretary to give it a definite lead. The Seanad probably might vote down that Minister or Parliamentary Secretary, but it would have definite guidance. I will not take a hypothetical case. I will take a definite example. Imagine, as might arise, a Government formed from one of the smaller Parties in the Dáil subject to the tacit support of a larger Party. Imagine the Leader of the Labour Party forming a Government assured of the support of Fianna Fáil. It is less than two years since that possibility arose. How could a Labour Party form an efficient Executive Council if it were politically limited to the Dáil? If they could call on the help of one or two Labour Senators they would form a very much better Government. They would form a Government that would have some power of continuing in such a manner as to retain Fianna Fáil's support.
Deputy Lemass last week told me that he did not understand me because my argument was inconsistent. I did not quite understand Deputy Lemass to-day, because he was inconsistent. One moment he said that a Senator may come down here as a Minister, address us and influence hundreds of votes. The next moment he said that members of the Cumann na nGaedheal party paid no attention to speeches. The Senator is not going to influence fifty Deputies of a party who pay no attention to speeches. I think Deputy Lemass knows he exaggerates the power of the spoken word in a parliamentary assembly. I do not think that this hypothetical Senator-Minister is going to be so terribly powerful as all that. I certainly say you will not get a good Senator if you say to any man who goes into it "whatever happens you cannot be a Minister."
Deputy Lemass talked to us about the possibility of having in the Executive Council a member of no party whatever because Senators may be allowed to be in it. Can he show us any safeguard, if we continue to confine membership of the Executive Council to the Dáil, against having members of no party whatever in it. I can imagine a Fianna Fáil Government containing one or two members of no party whatever if they are swayed by the back benchers to the extent that they are now swayed in debate. There is a safeguard. Of course Deputy Lemass ignored it. It would not suit his case. There is a safeguard for democracy, a comparative safeguard for efficiency, and that is whether a Senator becomes a member of the Executive Council or not his nomination by the President has got to be approved by the Dáil. The Dáil has the last word, and if any hopelessly inefficient Senator is nominated the Dáil would have the power of rejecting the nomination of the President, not the individual nomination but the nomination of the whole Executive Council. It is at least a safeguard for democracy. I think when Deputy Lemass reflects on one or two recent debates that took place in the Dáil and Seanad, for instance, on the confirmation of the Kellogg Pact, he will have to recognise that there are certain Senators who are not entirely devoid of ability.
Six of them.
Seven. There are possibly more. I must say I admire the altruism of the Fianna Fáil Party in putting its best men in the Seanad. I admire the inconsistencies of this. There might be very much-needed reinforcements of them here when eventually some of their members come from the Seanad. But there are some Senators who are not entirely unknown and who are not entirely incapable. In fact, I believe if a citizen of the United States or of Italy read over the names of the Seanad and Dáil he would probably find that he heard of more Senators than of members of the Dáil.
Try the same experiment with an Irishman.
The Constitution is not perfect. I never said it was. I think no Deputy of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party ever said that the Constitution was perfect and could not be improved. The spirit of the Constitution is a good thing, and the spirit of the Constitution will be best carried out by minor amendments that will make the Seanad a more workable body and create in it regular efficiency, not to obstruct but to construct.
Deputy Cooper complains that he does not understand Deputy Lemass. That is not Deputy Lemass's fault. Deputy Lemass can give Deputy Cooper an argument, but he cannot give him understanding.
There is a quality known as invincible ignorance.
If I were to find a typical personification and embodiment of it its name would be Deputy Cooper. Deputy Cooper cannot understand how Cumann na nGaedheal people could be influenced by a Senatorial Executive Minister of whom they had not heard. How are they now influenced by non-Senatorial Executive members of whom they have not heard? The procedure is that the bell rings for prayer. They come in, they ask what division they are to go into: then they ask what it is about, and then they legislate with their feet. It is the only part of their bodies or minds which they are accustomed to use, and they can use them in relation to a Senatorial Executive officer in exactly the same way as they use them in relation to a non-Senatorial Executive officer. I hope that Deputy Cooper has now completely understood, after my clear disquisition, that which he was not able to follow from my friend Deputy Lemass.
Personally, I cannot see any justification whatever for an Executive Council which is made up or can be made up of people who have had no contact with the ordinary electors of this country. In another country where they have a House of Commons and a House of Lords, as Deputy Cooper is perfectly well aware, those two Houses are used for certain purposes. Where a Minister has become ineffective or inefficient he is sent to the House of Lords. That is a way of getting rid of him. Another use that is made of it—and this may become part of the machinery in this particular case—is where someone who has not been elected is wanted in by the existing Executive in the Parliament. Someone is persuaded to go to the House of Lords and provide a vacancy. We are improving on that machinery. We are in the position under this Constitution amendment not merely to make a Senator a member of the Executive Council, but to pick up anybody in the street we want so long as there is a majority in the Seanad and the Dáil of a particular Party, and put him straight into the Executive Council. All we have got to do is to arrange that one of the people whom, for one reason or another, you have sent to the local House of Lords is to cease to be a member of the local House of Lords. There are other compensations. The Seanad has got to be compensated, as you know, for vested interests; that has been laid down as a constitutional principle and as a principle of honourable conduct in this State. The part cannot be greater than the whole, and the morality of any particular Senator cannot be regarded as any higher than the doctrine that has been laid down in relation to the whole. If the Seanad is entitled to compensation for the invasion of invested interests—that is what all this litter of Constitution amendments is for— in the same way a member of the Seanad is entitled to compensation for invasion of his particular position and he can be persuaded by compensation to remove himself from the Seanad and provide a vacancy. Now the road is perfectly clear. You can pick up anybody on the street, elect him to the Seanad, and by that means bring him straight into the Executive Council. I do not know whether that is part of the idea. I do not know whether that is an alternative to the job which, I understand, is now being attempted by which a member of the Dáil was sent to the Seanad in order to provide a vacancy for a contingent Minister.
I think the Deputy will agree with me that that is not a very desirable thing to say about a member of either House of the Oireachtas.
I have no desire to say anything that is wrong. I have said that it is possible that a vacancy has been created in the House for the purpose of having elected to that vacancy someone who will be promoted to a Ministerial position. If there is anything wrong in that——
I think the Deputy said a member of this House was sent to the Seanad in order to create a vacancy here. I think that is a statement that should not be made in regard to a member either of this House or the Seanad.
If a member of this House is sent to the Seanad——
I think the Deputy knows quite well the meaning of these words, and I say that it is not a desirable statement to be made in this House.
With every possible respect, I have told you that it is a constitutional practice in other Parliaments to send men——
The Deputy will allow me. It is not the practice in this or in the other House to criticise in the way in which the Deputy is endeavouring to do members of the other Chamber, and the Deputy will not be allowed to do it here.
What we have to decide here is whether or not members of another chamber can be members of the Executive Council. If it is clearly understood that we must not criticise the capacity of those men in relation to their capacity to be members of the Executive Council, that, as far as I can see, is the meaning of that particular remark.
It is not the point, and the Deputy knows quite well it is not the point.
Because the members of the Seanad are not elected by the ordinary electorate of this country, and because this provides the machinery by which people who had never been elected to the Seanad in the ordinary way can be elected to the Seanad for the purpose of becoming members of the Executive Council without having been subjected to the criticism of the electorate, I object to this Bill.
Most of the arguments that we have listened to are really not directed to the Bill before the House. Many of the arguments would not apply to a Bill to amend the Constitution. If Deputies consider the Constitution they will see that a good many of the arguments actually apply to the Constitution and not to the Bill. I think I am interpreting Deputy Lemass rightly when I say that one of his principal objections was that if the Bill gets through it will allow men to occupy positions as heads of Departments and be elected to a Ministerial position without having had the privilege of being elected at an ordinary constituency election. I think that was one of the principal arguments that Deputy Lemass put forward. Well, that is the position under the Constitution as it exists, as the Deputy knows. The head of one of the big spending departments may be a Minister. That is, a man may be appointed to be a Minister for one of the big spending Departments and yet not be a member of the House—not be elected by the people. I think a proposal was more than once put forward by Deputy T. O'Connell, who was rather keen on the point, that the head of the biggest spending department should not be a member of the Executive Council. If that proposal were adopted it would mean that that particular Minister need not be a member of the Dáil. He would need to be a member neither of the Seanad nor the Dáil. Therefore, so far as what I consider one of the principal arguments put forward by Deputy Lemass is concerned, it applies with equal weight to the Constitution as it does to this Bill. After all, the control of the Executive is got in one particular way; that is, the Executive is approved by this House when nominated by the President. No member of the Seanad can be a member of the Executive Council unless the approval of this House is got. That is the real control the people have over the Government. The control, according to our Constitution, is exercised through this House, and, as long as the Government is responsible to this House, it does not diminish that indirect control that the people have through the House over the Government, whether an individual member happens to be a member of this House or of the Seanad. At the present moment it is possible for a majority in this House to appoint a number of Ministers who are members of the Seanad. There is nothing to prevent that.
The only change the Bill proposes to introduce is to allow a member of that kind, the head of one of the big spending departments, to use Deputy Lemass's words, if he is so approved by the House for the position, to become a member of the Executive Council. That is the main change that the Bill introduces. It in no way interferes with the great principles brought forward by Deputy Lemass and Deputy Flinn. Deputy Flinn seems to think that it is an unheard of thing that a member of an Executive should not be a member of the popularly elected House, and yet in some of the big democracies of the world that is so. In the case of the American Executive that is so, and in the case of the German Executive it is so. They are both countries in which nobody would suggest there is not full democratic control—full democratic Government.
If you take the individual sections of the Bill—they are not very many —there were certain points raised with which I would like to deal. One point was raised about the power of a Minister, who is not a member of this House, to address this assembly. Everybody will admit that the Constitution would require, not exactly, perhaps, the amendments that are down in Section 2, but a similar amendment, if it was thought well to appoint a person as Extern Minister. Strictly speaking, he would have no right of audience here, but a member of the Executive Council has the right of audience in the Seanad. An Extern Minister who is not a member of this House would not have the right of audience or the right to speak for the Department of which this House would have made him head. The main purpose of the Bill is not of the far-reaching character suggested by certain Deputies. It is limited to one particular purpose, namely, to allow Senators to be elected members of the Executive Council. As things stand at present, there is nothing to prevent Senators being appointed Ministers and being placed at the head of the principal spending departments. Nothing can prevent that. The Bill, in my opinion, aims at a very reasonable thing. If men are in a position of trust of that kind they can also become members of the Executive Council. That is the main object.
When a sheaf of Constitution amendments, numbering up to 16, were rushed upon this House, and amongst the number this particular amendment of the Constitution which we are now dealing with, I did think that on mature consideration the Government would at least have withdrawn this Constitution amendment which I regard as a most revolutionary amendment. The Constitution in its second Article says that all power is derived from the people of Ireland. I think I read in an election speech a few days ago that the people own the country. Now we are asked to pass a change in this Constitution which means that with the exceptions mentioned in this Bill—the President, the Vice-President and the Minister for Finance—all Ministers may be men who have never gone before the people for election. That is the proposal, although we have it in the Constitution that all powers are derived from the people, and we have it from the Minister that the people own the country. To my mind this is Constitution amendment gone mad. It has been stated by the Minister for Education that in some of the big democracies of the world there are people at the head of spending Departments who are not elected by the people. Surely members of the Seanad——
I did not say that.
The Minister mentioned words to that effect.
I did not mention members of the Seanad in that connection.
In any case, the Minister wanted to point out that countries even more democratic than this country——
No. I never said more democratic than this country. I never used the phrase, "more democratic than this country."
I would regard a country that elected Ministers who are not the elected of the people as a very undemocratic country and it would not deserve the title of being democratic. It has been customary in this House to reflect on the people. The people, in fact, according to this change in the Constitution, are not capable of selecting men who will deal with Free State affairs. This is a further evidence that the people do not know what they are doing when they are voting, when they cannot select by their own votes ten or twelve men who are capable of carrying on the Government of the country. If this form of Constitution amendment goes on, we will have the Constitution so reconstituted that there will be no Constitution at all.
I most strongly oppose any system by which the governors of this country, those who are to be at the head of the spending departments of this country, are not in touch, and in very direct touch, with the people who pay the piper. I am not quite clear whether this measure was introduced before or after the new form of election to the Seanad—and it does not really matter whether it was before or after—but it was brought in in such a way that the President when making up his Executive Council is in this position: "The people have elected to this House a certain number of representatives, who, in my view, are not fit. Not one of them is fit to occupy the position of Minister in a spending department. Therefore, I will change the Constitution in such a way as to give me a free hand to put in charge of the government of this country men who have not been before the people but who are likely to give satisfaction." I am not now speaking of the present President of the Saorstát, but of any man who may be elected to that position. This Bill places him in the position of being able to say: "I do not agree with the people's choice of representatives. I am going to another House to constitute my Cabinet, and I will do it despite the votes of the people." That is a thing I will never stand for and I will vote against this Constitution Bill.
I think that Deputy O'Hanlon, in quoting Article 2 of the Constitution, got on rather a fundamental issue. If all power is derived from the people, surely the Ministers should be themselves elected directly by the people. If we are going to amend this particular article we will have as big an anomaly as Article 51 is at present. Article 2 says that "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 through the organisation established by or under and in accord with this Constitution." This would appear to be one of the organisations which we are about to establish. Having a Senator appointed a Minister will, as I said already, be almost as ridiculous as Article 51, which says that "the Executive authority of the Irish Free State is hereby declared to be vested in the King." If we regard the King as one of the organisations established under this Constitution in whom all power is to be vested, it is not altogether surprising that we should select a member of the other House as one of our Executive Ministers.
Deputy Cooper in talking about the members of the other House said as a sort of apologia that if these men's names were mentioned along with the names of the members of the Dáil in America it would be found that the members of the other House would be better known. It is quite possible that they would be better known for various reasons. They are known in organisations in America, such as members of Rotary Clubs, and in that way they are better known than members of the Dáil. And they would be better known for another reason. There are in America many descendants of the Irish people who were driven to America during the Land War, and they would possibly recognise some of the names of those members of the Seanad, having heard them from their fathers or mothers. Deputy Cooper declared that Deputy Lemass said that we had put our best men into the Seanad. I do not think that Deputy Lemass said that. I agree with Deputy Lemass that we have put good men into the Seanad—the best men there—but we have good men left here and in other places.
Deputy Cooper's big objection to the present arrangement was that there was no inducement, as it were, to a man to become a member of the Seanad; that there is no promotion; that a Senator cannot expect to be anything but a Senator, and that, therefore, there is no inducement at present to any man to go into that Chamber. That may be, and perhaps it is as well that it should be like that. Perhaps it is as well that men should be left in the Seanad until they get ambitious. If they are really efficient, if they become ambitious enough to become members of this House, they can in that way work their way up and become Ministers eventually. No matter what we have in this House we cannot have too many good men who are worthy of promotion. In spite of the explanation given by the Minister for Education that it is at present possible for a member of the Seanad to be at the head of one of the departments and that this makes it possible for a Senator to be a member of the Executive Council, I think that we ought to vote against this Bill.
As the Constitution stands at the moment it is quite possible to have seven extern Ministers appointed. Those seven extern Ministers would, I presume, be eligible for appointment as heads of spending departments. Nobody who mentioned the word "spending" gave any explanation of what it meant. I presume what was meant was a department that would have a considerable sum of money to be disposed of in accordance with the regulations or statutes of the Oireachtas. We had some extern Ministers in the Dáil from 1923 to 1927. One of the departments in question spent very considerable sums of money. I think the amount was in the neighbourhood of two millions. Another very important Minister who was an extern Minister was the Minister for Local Government and Public Health. It is possible as things stand at present if this Bill were not passed that if the President of the Executive Council were not to nominate as Ministers a sufficient number from the Dáil, members of the Seanad would not be entitled to be considered for those various posts.
The only alteration in this is that a bar, which hitherto existed against members of the Seanad being appointed members of the Executive Council, would be removed. I am not one of those who agree with all this talk about ability which comes from the other side. To hear some Deputies opposite speak about ability one would think that all the ability in the country reposed in them. They have given no evidence of any ability—I, at any rate, have never seen any suggestion of it—in the whole course of their political activity. Until they make some progress in that direction they ought not throw ridicule on people about whom they know nothing. It is not fair and it is not just. The solutions they offer for every problem which comes before them is to set up a Board. In regard to housing, about which they speak so much at election times, their solution is the setting up of a Housing Board.
And your solution is Vincent Rice.
We put up houses. That is our solution. Setting up a Housing Board as a method of solving the problem is simply a method of relieving Deputies opposite of their responsibilities.
What has housing to do with this Bill?
On the question of ability, I thought I might draw attention to it. The same suggestion is made about wheat.
Where did the President get his information about wheat?
In some document signed by Deputy Ryan and Deputy Lemass. It did not get as far as a green paper. It is a white paper, but I understand it is one of the scratched horses in this national race.
No; it is running.
If there is any Party in the State who should talk little about ability it is Fianna Fáil. The evidence of it is that they selected a person who has changed his mind twice in two years as a candidate for a coming election.
Now, now. Speak to the Bill.
As I say, there is a bar on Senators becoming members of the Executive Council. I think that that bar ought to be withdrawn. In the case of one Minister, it would have been within the competence of the Ministry during the last six years to appoint a Senator to the position of Parliamentary Secretary. It has not been done. This is simply removing the bar. It is unlikely, as I have said, if this Bill becomes law, that some time in the next ten, fifteen or twenty years a Senator would be nominated as a Minister. Deputies have not read this report very carefully. There is one Senator who voted for this proposal who got many more votes in a contest than any Deputy who is criticising him. He got more votes than the highest number of votes cast for any Deputy on those benches opposite. Senator O'Farrell got something like thirteen or fourteen thousand votes.
What was the constituency?
The constituency was the whole country, a pretty big constituency. There were, at any rate, nineteen other Senators who were elected by the whole country. They got votes, and they are just as representative, far more representative than some of the Deputies who criticised this Bill——
Both of you stopped that plan.
Yes, on the direction of the Joint Committee, who said that election by the people to the Seanad was undesirable. That was subscribed to by most important members of the Fianna Fáil hierarchy. The position with regard to administration generally is what is for the best interests of the State. One would think, if it were possible to find more capable administrators in the Seanad, it would not be fair that the fact that they had not been elected by the people should be a bar to their inclusion in the Executive Council—men who would be of considerable benefit in the counsels of the Executive Council. That is a proposition that I do not agree with, that there should be a bar on the person nominating the Executive Council taking some person from the Seanad who would be of national use or national benefit.
Might I ask why the President does not go a step further and get the Executive Council outside this House altogether?
Certainly not. I do not subscribe to that. But the fact that it is possible to get an extern Minister from the Seanad is conclusive evidence that there was in the minds of the framers of the Constitution an idea that there was some advantage in that proposal. This amendment of the Constitution proposes to place the same opportunities at the disposal of the Dáil because the Dáil has to approve of the nomination which is made by the President of the Executive Council.
Alton, Ernest Henry.Beckett, James Walter.Bennett, George Cecil.Blythe, Ernest.Bourke, Séumas A.Brennan, Michael. Cooper, Bryan Ricco.Cosgrave, William T.Craig, Sir James.Daly, John.Davis, Michael.De Loughrey, Peter.Dolan, James N.Doyle, Peadar Seán.Duggan, Edmund John.Dwyer, James.Egan, Barry M.Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.Good, John.Haslett, Alexander.Hassett, John J.Heffernan, Michael R.Hennessy, Michael Joseph.Hennessy, Thomas.Hennigan, John.Henry, Mark.Hogan, Patrick (Galway).Holohan, Richard.Jordan, Michael.Kelly, Patrick Michael.Law, Hugh Alexander.
Brodrick, Seán.Byrne, John Joseph.Carey, Edmund.Cole, John James.Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.Connolly, Michael P. Leonard, Patrick.Lynch, Finian.Mathews, Arthur Patrick.McDonogh, Martin.McFadden, Michael Og.McGilligan, Patrick.Mongan, Joseph W.Mulcahy, Richard.Murphy, James E.Myles, James Sproule.Nally, Martin Michael.O'Connell, Richard.O'Connor, Bartholomew.O'Leary, Daniel.O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.O'Reilly, John J.O'Sullivan, John Marcus.Rice, Vincent.Roddy, Martin.Shaw, Patrick W.Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).Thrift, William Edward.Tierney, Michael.Wolfe, George.Wolfe, Jasper Travers.
Anthony, Richard.Blaney, Neal.Boland, Gerald.Boland, Patrick.Brady, Seán.Briscoe, Robert.Broderick, Henry.Buckley, Daniel.Carty, Frank.Cassidy, Archie J.Clancy, Patrick.Clery, Michael.Coburn, James.Colbert, James.Colohan, Hugh.Conlon, Martin.Cooney, Eamon.Crowley, Fred. Hugh.Crowley, Tadhg.De Valera, Eamon.Fahy, Frank.Flinn, Hugo.Fogarty, Andrew.Gorry, Patrick J.
Goulding, John.Hayes, Seán.Jordan, Stephen.Kerlin, Frank.Killane, James Joseph.Killilea, Mark.Kilroy, Michael.Lemass, Seán F.Maguire, Ben.McEllistrim, Thomas.Moore, Séamus.Mullins, Thomas.O'Connell, Thomas J.O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.O'Hanlon, John F.O'Kelly, Seán T.Powell, Thomas P.Ruttledge, Patrick J.Ryan, James.Sexton, Martin.Smith, Patrick.Tubridy, John.Walsh, Richard.Ward, Francis C.
- Money Resolution—Industrial and Commercial Property (Protection) (Amendment) Bill, 1929. - Constitution (Amendment No. 14) Bill, 1928—Second Stage.
- Ar ais chuig clár ábhair
- Money Resolution—Industrial and Commercial Property (Protection) (Amendment) Bill, 1929. - Constitution (Amendment No. 16) Bill, 1928—Second Stage.