MINISTERS AND SECRETARIES BILL, 1923—REPORT STAGE.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The next matter on the agenda is the Ministers and Secretaries Bill, 1923. The President, being otherwise busily engaged, will not, I understand, be in attendance in connection with this Bill, but the Attorney-General is here, and if it is the wish of the House I shall ask him to take his place for the purpose of attending to this Bill.

Agreed.

SECTION 2.

I beg to propose the following amendment:—

Section 2, sub-section (4) to delete the sub-section and to substitute the following new sub-section therefor:—

"(4) The expenses of each of the Departments of State established under this Act shall be as set out in the Estimates approved by Dáil Eireann and shall be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas."

I am sorry to see that the amendment is not marked with an asterisk which would indicate that it was accepted by the Government. I argued the matter before at some length, and I do not wish to take up the time of the House further.

The amendment stood over from the Committee Stage in order that it might be considered. The Government having considered it, cannot see their way to accept it, I am sorry to say, but on the promise that the Minister has made in regard to accounts and so forth, perhaps Sir John Keane may achieve his object ultimately. As it stands it could hardly work, and for this reason. The estimates under the Constitution must be presented immediately before the end of the year in respect of which they are prepared. Under the Constitution they are debated during the year to which they apply, and under the Standing Orders of the Dáil that debate must be concluded by August. If Sir John Keane would look at the amendment he would find that it would be impossible to carry on the Departments in view of the Articles of the Constitution if this amendment were inserted. I think he will be satisfied to know that his object has received every consideration from the Ministry.

I am satisfied. I withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
SECTION 8.

The next amendment is a Government one. It is as follows:—Section 8, Sub-section 5. Immediately after the word "Defence" in line 57, to insert the words, "but in no case for a longer period continuously than 3 years." This amendment is an amendment in the Section which deals with the Council for Defence. The actual words of this amendment were in the original draft of the Bill, but in some way came to be dropped out. The position of the military members of the Council for Defence has, perhaps, been emphasised, and made intelligible generally by recent events.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Emphasised, yes.

The scheme of the Council of Defence, of course, is this. There are the three great divisions of Army administration, and the idea is that capable and promising officers are withdrawn from the purely military side and put in, for a period of experience, as the principal officials in charge of these respective departments, and during that period they become part of the civil machine. As was asserted elsewhere, it is important that no one should regard himself as having any position of proprietorship of any of these Departments. Consequently the intention is to keep a movement so that a considerable number of officers will have had experience of work in what we might call the War Office, the civil side of Army administration. The object of the amendment, which was, as I say, intended to be in the draft originally, is that no one can be in charge of any of these Departments for a longer period than three years. At the termination of three years he simply reverts to his position in the Army as a military man.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Would it not be better in line 56 instead of saying "that office" to say "his office." What does "that office" mean?

I think it should be "military members." They shall hold office as military members at the pleasure of the Executive Council.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Are you sure that that is what you wish?

Yes. The other two members of the Council of Defence are the Minister and his Secretary, who hold at the pleasure of the Dáil.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The only thing I was wondering is whether "that office" is grammatical.

I think it means military office as distinct from purely political office.

Why not say "office" without either word?

It was intended to distinguish the civil position of the Minister for Defence from his position as a soldier.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Say simply "shall hold office."

I am not so sure that the word "that" has not a value.

It might be wiser to specify the three Military Members referred to in Sub-section 2, because it is possible that the Minister might be a soldier under certain conditions. If he happened in time of emergency to be a military officer he would be excluded also. If you referred to the three Military Members under Sub-section (2) the thing would be quite clear.

The Minister cannot possibly be a soldier between the Military Act and the Electoral Act.

I am glad to hear that.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I shall put the amendments separately. The first amendment is to insert in Clause 8, Sub-clause 5, line 55, the word "Military."

Amendment put and agreed to.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I shall now put the original amendment as altered.

Amendment put and agreed to.
SECTION 17.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The next amendment is:—

Immediately after this Section to insert a new Section 18, as follows:—

"18. Every mention or reference contained in any Act of the Oireachtas passed before this Act or which shall be passed in the present Session of the Oireachtas or in any order, rule, or regulation made or to be made under any such Act, of or to any of the Ministers mentioned in the first column of the Tenth Part of the Schedule to this Act shall be construed and take effect as a mention of or reference to the Minister, head of a Department of State established under this Act, mentioned in the second column of the said Tenth Part of the said Schedule opposite the Minister mentioned in the said first column."

In a number of Acts passed during the last 15 months there are references to various Ministers, and it is important that the references under those Acts should be made to read as references to the Ministries constituted under this Act, and the object of the amendment is to effect that purpose.

Amendment put and agreed to.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The next amendment is:—

To add at the end of the Schedule the following:—

TENTH PART.

Ministers named in former Acts.

Corresponding Ministers under this Act.

Minister for Finance.

Aire Airgid (Minister for Finance).

Minister for Home Affairs.

Aire Dlí agus Cirt (Minister for Justice).

Minister for Local Government.

Aire Rialtais Aitiúla, agus Sláinte Phuiblí (Minister for Local Government and Public Health).

Minister for Education.

Aire Oideachais (Minister for Education).

Minister for Agriculture.

Aire Tailte agus Talmhaíochta (Minister for Lands and Agriculture).

Minister for Industry and Commerce.

Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála (Minister for Industry and Commerce).

Minister for Fisheries.

Aire Iascaigh (Minister for Fisheries).

Postmaster-General.

Aire Puist agus Telegrafa (Minister for Posts and Telegraphs).

Minister for Defence.

Aire Cosanta (Minister for Defence).

Minister for External Affairs.

Aire Gnóthaí Coigríche (Minister for External Affairs).

During the Committee Stage I agreed to put in "department" instead of "Ministries" in the various parts of the Schedule. I find the word used in the Constitution is "Roinn," and I want to have the word "Roinn" inserted instead of "Aireacht."

Amendment put and agreed to.