I beg now to move the adjournment of the Seanad, and in doing so I would like to ask if we have any reasonable hope that we shall meet regularly in the future?
INDEMNITY (BRITISH MILITARY) BILL. - ADJOURNMENT OF THE SEANAD.
The Standing Orders provide for either an adjournment to a fixed date, or simply an adjournment, leaving it to the Cathaoirleach to call the Seanad together as soon as there is business ready. If there is to be any regular meeting day, it would be necessary to have a definite resolution fixing the day, or it will be necessary to make some specific provision. At present, as it stands the Seanad can adjourn to a fixed date, or it can, as has been done up to the present, leave it open to the Cathaoirleach to call it together. There has been some discussion already about meeting regularly on Tuesday and proceeding with such business on we have, but nothing definite has been done. I think that, as regards next week, probably Wednesday would be the most convenient day. We have the Committee stage of this Bill, which we could take if it is desired to meet on Tuesday. I do not think any other Bill is likely to be ready before Wednesday.
I think we ought to meet regularly. I do not think it is fit that the Seanad should have those off-days here and there. I think we ought to meet regularly and do our work. I do not see why we should not continue our work to-morrow and go on regularly, doing our work until the Bills before us are finished. If we have three or four Bills on top of us there is a rush. We have two of them to-day before us, and it is very inconvenient to have a number of Bills coming on at one sitting. There is the rush, and we cannot study and work out the details as we would wish. Sometimes you have a Bill before you which you are told must be finished that day or next day. I think we ought to be given more time. That is my opinion. We ought to be given time to consider the Bills carefully, so that we can come up here with properly considered motions for alterations if desirable. I do not know whether there is anything to do to-morrow. I suggest that we should meet to-morrow, or that we should meet not later than Tuesday—in fact, that we meet regularly on Tuesday in future, unless notice is sent to the contrary.
I think there is good reason why we should not meet to-morrow, the only business being the Committee Stage of the Bill which had its Second Reading. In order to do our business efficiently, a reasonable time should elapse after the Bill is received from the Dáil before it is considered by the Seanad. If we are to do our work properly a reasonable time should elapse. So if there is no other business ready I think it would be unwise to meet to-morrow. As regards the other matter, personally—I am not speaking now as Chairman, but as a member of the Seanad—I think we should meet every week, and that if no business were notified to the Cathaoirleach on Saturday morning that telegrams could be sent out to the Senators saying there would be no meeting the following Tuesday. I think, however, it would hardly be in order now to do anything more than adjourn until a fixed day next week. Possibly some member of the Seanad may have a definite motion to propose which could be discussed at the next meeting.
I propose we adjourn till next Tuesday.
I beg to second that.
Why Tuesday? We have been meeting on Wednesdays all the time.
We have not any fixed day. It is a matter for the convenience of the Seanad at present.
I beg to propose that we meet on Wednesday. Tuesday is a very inconvenient day for people who have to come a long way.
I beg to second that.
Do you press Tuesday?
I press Tuesday. I notice that at one of the previous discussions several members here pressed and pressed, I think, very rightly, that we ought to meet and do our business as early in the week as possible so as to give ourselves a full week to do it. If we begin on Wednesday there is only Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and we may not be able to do it. I suggest that we meet on Tuesday every week unless a change is made. It is our duty to do our business, and not to say it is inconvenient to come up to town. I know all these things are inconvenient, but we have duties to perform, and I think we ought to do them. People are taunting us in the Dáil with not doing our duty, and I think it is our business to do it. I think there is something in what they said.
I strongly support the proposal to meet on Tuesday. Up to the present we have hardly got under way at all, and, consequently, it has been possible to discharge what duties fell to us on Wednesday and Thursday. But in view of the large amount of legislation at present going through the Dáil and the number of Bills which, we understand, are on the stocks, it will be necessary for us to meet more than two days per week, later on. I think we shall have of necessity to meet on Tuesday for the future and, I think, we might well begin now. We have the Committee Stage of a very important Bill to take on Tuesday next, if we meet, and I think we should meet on next Tuesday. After that somebody can put down a motion for, at least, a temporary Standing Order providing for us to meet on Tuesday of each week unless there is a lack of business, and the Chairman considers it necessary to postpone the meeting.
The position, I think, is clear that we must decide now as for next Tuesday or Wednesday, or leave it to the Cathaoirleach. As to the future it must come, I think, by a definite motion. There has been a strong expression in favour of Tuesday. Do those in favour of Wednesday press the motion, or must we put it to a vote? I want to make the position as clear as I can. If we meet on Tuesday we will have the Committee Stage of this Occasional Powers Bill. There is no other business now, and I am informed that there will probably not be any other Bill from the Dáil, but that probably on Wednesday we shall have the Justices Bill sent up from the Dáil. Of course, other matters may arise on Tuesday.
If there is no certainty of having business and if we have hitherto been able to discharge our duties in two days, why make a change immediately? I think that the convenience of persons who live a distance away ought to have some little consideration. It means that we have to leave a day before, and if we get home on Saturday and have to leave again on Monday that gives us very little time indeed. I am not saying that if there were any necessity for it we should not do it, because I think we should, but if there is no necessity for it, as on the present occasion there does not seem to be, why bring us up here on Tuesday?
I understand we have already a very important Bill to go through the Committee Stage. That will take some time, I presume, if it is properly considered. We have another Bill, as you say, coming up practically for certain on Wednesday, which will occupy us on Wednesday. Perhaps the one we have already will not be finished on Tuesday. It may go over until Wednesday, and on Wednesday another one will be coming up, and possibly a third.
There is a motion that the Seanad should adjourn until Tuesday. To that an amendment has been proposed to substitute Wednesday. I will now put the amendment.