It is proposed to take business as on the Order Paper, Nos. 1 to 8, inclusive, omitting No. 7. If not already reached, No. 8 will be taken at 6 o'clock and the business interrupted will be resumed not later than 7 o'clock. If Votes Nos. 52 and 53 are not finished by 7 o'clock, the other business will not be resumed until they are concluded. When the business as ordered has concluded, the Dáil will adjourn until Wednesday, 16th February.
Order of Business.
I understand that the adjournment until next Wednesday is for the purpose of taking the Shops (Conditions of Employment) Bill. Might I direct the attention of the Minister for Justice to the fact that the Minister for Industry and Commerce has stated that a good deal of co-relation work will have to be done between that Bill and the Bill that we are asked to consider to-day, after the Bill which we are asked to consider to-day has been amended. Would it not be more convenient for all concerned if the consideration of the next stage of the Shops (Hours of Trading) (No. 2) Bill were postponed until after the three-week adjournment which it is suggested should take place next Wednesday? The alternative will be to bring up Deputies for one day's sitting next week. I think a great many Deputies would find it convenient if the Shops (Hours of Trading) Bill were postponed to give them an opportunity of studying the amendments to that Bill in the light of the amendment suggested by the Minister to the other Bill.
I think it is desirable that these measures should be completed if possible next week rather than carried over to a later period when finance business and other work is likely to occupy the whole time of the Dáil. There would, of course, be other business for next week, such as items Nos. 3, 4 and 5. I do not suppose there will be more than a day's work next week but I think it would facilitate the work of the Dáil and make for the convenience of Deputies generally, if we were to aim at the disposal of these Bills next week, particularly the two Shops Bills which have to be brought into operation this year and which cannot be brought into operation until some time after they have passed.
My suggestion was made for the purpose of expediting and facilitating the business of the House. I have no doubt that the House will be anxious to assist the Government in every way in regard to the passage of the minor Bills — the Sheepskin (Control of Export) (Amendment) Bill, the Shannon Fisheries Bill and the Scrap Iron (Control of Export) Bill — but I do not think it will expedite business if the Government brings the House up to consider the Conditions of Employment Bill next week. There is no question whatever of there being any undue delay in the Conditions of Employment Bill passing through all its stages easily after the adjournment. There is no question of violent contention about it.
That is not the point. The Department of Industry and Commerce is naturally anxious to get those Bills passed by the Dáil. The Department can only proceed to take the measures necessary to bring it into operation when the Dáil has passed the Bill. We cannot merely act on the assumption that it is going to pass unamended at a later stage. It will be some weeks or even some months after it is passed before it can be brought into operation, because various regulations, orders and exemptions will have to be made. At all events I think the amendments to the Hours of Trading Bill should be circulated in time to have it considered next week, and we can dispose of all the stages of both Bills without difficulty.
It is as much a matter for Government Deputies as for the Opposition, but I cannot see what is the point in bringing the whole House up to settle one Bill, when it could be just as expeditiously done during the week.
In my opinion it is much better to meet for one day next week than for another week next August.
I can assure the Minister that the majority of Deputies do not want to make the journey for one day's work, while we will perhaps have only one day's work this week.
I cannot forecast that.
I presume there will be no Private Deputies' business taken to-day?
As far as we are concerned we do not press for it. I should like to point out that in every matter we express our readiness to convenience the Government, but when in one matter we ask the Government to consider our convenience we are informed that it is legislatively and administratively impossible.
It is merely that we have a better view as to what your convenience is.
Is this sabotaging the Opposition, I wonder?