The Seanad is now about to go into Committee on the Dairy Produce Bill, 1924.
DAIRY PRODUCE BILL, 1924.
Before the Seanad goes into Committee on this Bill, I have a suggestion to make which I hope will meet with approval. In this case I will put myself in order by moving a motion. I have gone very carefully through the very large number of amendments touching on this Bill, which are on the Order Paper for to-day, and although some of them are only drafting amendments and others are amendments which I have no doubt Senator Keane will not insist upon, there is, at the same time, a large number of amendments which are of very great importance. They deal with subjects of a very technical kind, and they occur in sections which are so interwoven with other sections that I am greatly afraid due and proper discussion of them will be very difficult in the Seanad sitting as a Committee of the whole House. Having regard to the technical nature of the amendments and the difficulty of arriving at any just appreciation of some of them without a very intimate discussion, I suggest that the Bill should be sent to a Special Committee of the House. I am prepared to move that the Bill be committed to a Committee consisting of Senators Keane, Irwin, MacLysaght, the Countess of Desart, Counihan, Linehan, Butler, Duffy and myself.
I beg to second.
I rise to oppose the motion. We came here to-day to discuss one of the most important Bills which I believe has been passed by the Dáil. The suggestion is now that it be referred to a Committee, because many of the amendments put forward are, presumably, of a technical nature. I have taken a great deal of pains to go into the various amendments that have been tabled, and I agree with Senator Brown that many of them are much interwoven. I do not think any of them have, however, any particular complexity which would prevent us, in the time at our disposal, from considering them thoroughly. I am sure Senator Keane will agree that many of the amendments need not be pressed. Those which he considers it necessary to press could be discussed fully and adequately in a moderate space of time.
That is my principal reason for opposing the motion. I also think that a Bill of this nature would be benefited by having the full opinion of the whole Assembly in dealing with it. Many of the questions involved are questions not so much of technical matter as of matters which, from a broad and commonsense point of view, would lead to the clearing up of the points in dispute. I do not think that I need say any more, but I feel that the business of the country would be better served by doing the work to-day which we came up here to do and which I think could be fully dealt with this afternoon. That is my reason for opposing the motion.
I understand, if the motion is carried, that the Committee would be able to sit at once.
It is proposed that we should sit to-day, at once if necessary, and if not concluded to-day the business could go on to-morrow. Might I add that we were most anxious that Senator Bennett would act on the Committee.
I would act on it to-day as long as it would be possible for me to do so; but at the same time I do not think it would be wise to refer it to a Committee.
However, Senator, if the Seanad thinks that you ought go on it, I take it you have no objection to serve?
Not the slightest.
I agree with Senator Bennett in this matter. I do not think it is right to refer questions of this sort to a Special Committee. If it were a question with which there were only a few people in the Seanad fully conversant it would be a different matter; but we are all conversant with this matter, and for that reason I think it would not be right to take it from the Seanad and send it to Special Committee. As I say, if it were a question of which only three or four Senators had any technical knowledge, it might be right to do what is proposed; but this is a subject which is known to a great many here, and for that reason it should be discussed in a full House. Unfortunately, I was not able to be present yesterday when, as I understand, the Bill got general support throughout the Seanad. I also know that it has passed the Dáil. For these reasons I do not see the necessity of referring the matter to a Special Committee.
Of course it would only be a question of sending it to us as Special Committee after it had got a Second Reading. There can never be any reference to a Select Committee until the Bill has first been accepted by the Seanad on Second Reading.
But this Bill has been generally accepted by everybody and that is the reason I should like that it should be dealt with now by a committee of the full House.
I would like to support the motion made by Senator Brown. I do think the business would be better handled in a small committee. Though not technical, still the sections are very much interwoven and the business for that reason would be got through more expeditiously by a select committee than by a full Seanad, without sacrificing any of the principles to which the House agreed yesterday.
If it would be any advantage to the committee, I think it would be desirable if the sitting were conducted here. I might also say that if there was any Senator present whose name has not been put on this Select Committee, but who would like to act, I am quite certain the Seanad will agree that his name should be added. The committee suggested is a very representative one of all the parties who are really interested in the question.
The Seanad rose at 3.15 p.m. until 3 o'clock on Wednesday, 26th November, 1924.