Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 25 Jul 1973

Vol. 267 No. 11

Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) and Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices (Amendment) Bill, 1973: Money Resolution (Resumed).

Question again proposed:
That it is expedient to authorise such charges on and payments out of the Central Fund or the growing produce thereof and such payments out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas as are necessary to give effect to any Act of the present session to amend the Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) Acts, 1938 to 1968 and the Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Acts, 1938 to 1972.
—(Minister for Finance.)
The Committee divided: Tá, 63; Níl, 49.

  • Barry, Peter.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Begley, Michael.
  • Belton, Luke.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Bermingham, Joseph.
  • Bruton, John.
  • Burke, Dick.
  • Burke, Joan T.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Cluskey, Frank.
  • Collins, Edward.
  • Conlan, John F.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cooney, Patrick M.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan.
  • Coughlan, Stephen.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Kieran.
  • Cruise-O'Brien, Conor.
  • Desmond, Barry.
  • Desmond, Eileen.
  • Dockrell, Maurice.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Pattison, Seamus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, John J.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Enright, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, John G.
  • Finn, Martin.
  • Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan).
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hegarty, Patrick.
  • Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • L'Estrange, Gerald.
  • Lynch, Gerard.
  • McDonald, Charles B.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • McMahon, Larry.
  • Malone, Patrick.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • O'Brien, Fergus.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Sullivan, John L.
  • Taylor, Frank.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Tully, James.
  • White, James.


  • Ahern, Liam.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Barrett, Sylvester.
  • Brady, Philip A.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Brugha, Ruairí.
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Callanan, John.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Colley, George.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Crowley, Flor.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Fahey, Jackie.
  • Farrell, Joseph.
  • Faulkner, Pádraig.
  • Fitzgerald, Gene.
  • Fitzpatrick, Tom (Dublin Central).
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • French, Seán.
  • Gallagher, Denis.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Healy, Augustine A.
  • Herbert, Michael.
  • Hussey, Thomas.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Leonard, James.
  • Lynch, Jack.
  • MacSharry, Ray.
  • Meaney, Tom.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Murphy, Ciarán.
  • Nolan, Thomas.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • O'Connor, Timothy.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Desmond.
  • Power, Patrick.
  • Timmons, Eugene.
  • Walsh, Seán.
  • Wyse, Pearse.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kelly and B. Desmond; Níl, Deputies Browne and Andrews.
Question declared carried.
Money Resolution reported.

The Chair desires order quickly restored in the Chamber.

Question proposed: "That the Resolution be agreed to."

I just want to reiterate the disappointment — I could use an even stronger term — that this side of the House feels at the manner in which our case was treated yesterday by the Minister for Finance. I put up our case in what I thought was a reasoned, balanced and temperate manner. I thought I made it clear what the purpose of our case and of the amendments was. I am quite aware of the purport of the advice you have just got, Sir, one speech and one speech only. I said we put this up in the spirit of adhering to a principle that has long been established.

On a point of order, how come that a Member may now make a speech? I understood we were now proceeding to Committee Stage.

I would advise the Minister to read Standing Orders. I am entitled to speak on the report of this Money Resolution.

Every tradition of this House has been broken.

The report is now before the House and Deputies are entitled to make their comments thereon.


Read Standing Orders.

We are going to have another filibuster.

For the second time during the course of the debate on this Bill the Minister has displayed not only his ignorance of Standing Orders but his inherent arrogance in dealing with matters before this House.

I am trying to stop a filibuster.

If the Minister keeps up that attitude he will know what a filibuster is. Again, I am trying to approach this is a reasoned manner and I am inviting the Minister to reciprocate if he finds it possible, if he can get over his impetuosity, and the manner in which he has been dealing with this matter ever since it was introduced in the House indicates to me he is unable to do so. Again, I want to go back to a reasoned level of debate and if the Minister wants to divert it from a reasoned level, then be it on his own head.

We have been trying to maintain a principle here, and the Minister tries, in effect, not only to abandon that principle but to cash in on it as far as another proposition is concerned. I put the case clearly yesterday and I want to say to some of the political commentators — I am not going to be popular for this — that we are neither being a varicious nor confused in the manner in which we are approaching this. I would invite each of them again to read my Second Reading speech, to read, if they have time, the provisions of the various Acts dealing with this matter away back since 1938. They will see in my references to the relevant sections of those Acts a positive pattern developing: first of all, the introduction of the principle of the allowance for the Opposition, and the pattern in four successive Acts of continuous increases in that Opposition allowance to try to have regard to the rising cost of living during that period of some 35 years.

That pattern kept pace, by and large, with the increases given to Deputies and Senators over that period, except in 1968 when what was described here as a spectacular increase was given. That increase was given in recognition of the extra burden imposed on the Opposition by reason, first of all, of the passage of time, the inflationary trends then obtaining and, more particularly, the extra burden of work that the accelerated pace of administration imposed on the Opposition. It was an easier matter for the Government, in that they have the Civil Service at their hand and they had the facility not only of recruitment but also of increasing the rate of recruitment in all grades to deal with the accelerated growth of administration. That was done on the Government's side and we recognised in 1968 that it was necessary, and that it was also necessary to catch up between 1964 and 1968 by providing an extra allowance.

I want to say again for the benefit of the paper that circulates mainly in my own city that my speech was not confused yesterday, that it was clear and concise, and separated the issues that were involved. I would invite the editor of that paper to read my Second Reading speech when the report appears.

Again, I want to be clear and concise on this matter. There is and always has been a special allowance for the Opposition to provide the kind of services that an Opposition needs, the kind of services which the Civil Service provides for the Government. There is a clear and established principle, one that has been accepted by Fianna Fáil Governments down through the years and, indeed, by the first and second Coalitions. Now there is an attempt to confuse the issue by introducing into this principle the question of giving Opposition Deputies and Government Deputies an allowance for themselves, an allowance to provide secretarial and other services. We as a Government never enjoyed that allowance. We as a Government party provided secretarial services out of subscriptions paid by our own members. We have continued that practice to date and will, in any event continue that practice, because these secretarial services are necessary for the proper conduct of Deputies' constituency problems. On any given day scores of Fianna Fáil Deputies can be seen dictating their constituency letters to a pool of typists we have employed especially for that purpose, and that will be continued. If the idea is now that the Government will provide the kind of expenses required for that service, well and good, but let it be on an equal basis between all Deputies in the House, and let it not be confused with the overall issue of a special allowance for the Opposition.

Those are the terms in which I spoke yesterday. If they are confused now I can only say the intelligence of a lot of people must be rather dim. I think the point I am making is as clear as daylight, and I ask the Minister again to recognise that principle. We are quite prepared to go along with whatever proposals he wishes to bring forward in relation to allowances for Deputies per se, but these allowances ought to be paid on an equal basis.

As Deputy Blaney says, the proposals now would exclude individual Independent Members or Independent Members as a group, because of the provisions of previous legislation whereby they would not reach the required numbers to be recognised as a party, that is, seven. I think this would be inequitable, and if the position were reached in which we had several Independent Deputies or a number of groups with less than seven Members attached to those groups, all these groups would be excluded under the Minister's proposal.

Therefore, let us maintain the principle of an Opposition allowance, and if we want to introduce a special measure or special facilities to provide Deputies with the kind of clerical assistance that is now being provided out of party subscriptions, by all means let us have that as well, but on a fair basis.

Question put and agreed to.