It has been represented to me that it would convenience the Government if all stages of Bills on to-day's Order Paper, and of four Bills which it is anticipated will be received from the Dáil this evening, could be concluded by the Seanad by to-morrow evening. The Bills which it is expected will be received from the Dáil this evening are:—the Old Age Pensions Bill; the Presidential Establishment Bill; the Industrial Alcohol (No. 2) Bill, and the Telephone Capital Bill. The matter of concluding the stages is, of course, one for the House itself to come to a decision on, and I am merely communicating to the House the representations made to me. Perhaps Senators would be good enough to let me have their views upon the suggested programme. The arrangement, I should say, would be conditional upon the Bills expected from the Dáil being received this evening.
Business of Seanad.
Do you wish to have them all passed through all stages to-day?
I think myself that, in the special circumstances of the time in which there has been a general election since the Minister for Finance introduced his Budget, detailed discussion on the Finance Bill would not be very desirable and, perhaps, not very fruitful. But, with regard to the Appropriation Bill, it does give to the Seanad, under the procedure adopted by the last Seanad, the only opportunity the Seanad gets of discussing administration. I believe the practice was to give notice to the Minister of raising certain matters of administration on it. That, perhaps, need not occur to-day, but any procedure adopted to-day, I take it, will be adopted in the special circumstances and will not form a precedent. For my part, I have no objection to all stages of the Finance Bill and the other Bills being taken to-day. If that were to be done, might I suggest that, on the Second Stage of the Finance Bill, we should have a discussion on finance generally which might be appropriate to the other Bill, and then let the Appropriation Bill through without debate?
The Appropriation Bill, which is the only Bill on which we can discuss in detail either the principles or the facts relating to the different Departments, is more important to us in the matter of discussion than the Finance Bill. There is one matter, for example, on the Appropriation Bill which I have been waiting for the last six months to talk about. If I were certain that, six months from now, I would be back here, it would be all right, but it may be the last opportunity I shall have of addressing this august assembly. Therefore, I do not intend to forfeit my right to discuss this particular topic on the Appropriation Bill.
The Senator will get his opportunity.
It seems to me, as a matter of normal procedure in a Second Chamber, that it would not be desirable to take all stages of the Finance Bill or the Appropriation Bill in the one week. But, while I would not stop Senator Milroy or anybody else from having an adequate opportunity of discussing the general principles of the Appropriation Bill, I think that, in the peculiar circumstances this year, it would be unreasonable not to accede to the Minister's idea by taking all stages either to-day or to-morrow. My reason is, that this year we are rather unusually circumstanced. It is very rare that a Government goes to the country immediately after a Budget, and, apparently, in this case the people liked the taxation; either that, or they have hopes of its being reduced and are more optimistic in that matter than I am. At any rate, it does not seem to me to be the general function of a Second Chamber to discuss the details of finance immediately after a general election. Our function is not responsibility for finance but generally to advise in matters appertaining to it. For that reason, I would agree to the course suggested, if it were not in any sense to be taken as a precedent, because the Seanad has this one opportunity normally of discussing them and to take them in one day would, I think, be mistake. But I certainly would agree on this occasion, assuming that there is adequate discussion to-day or to-morrow on one stage of the Bills.
If we finish the programme to-day and to-morrow, I think we will have opportunity for adequate discussion.
Any arrangement we arrive at will not put Senator Milroy in the position that he cannot exercise his rights. If he has something to raise on the Appropriation Bill, he will be quite in order and within his rights in doing so.
We shall listen to him with pleasure. I take it there is general agreement on the arrangement suggested.
As regards other business to-day, the Taoiseach regrets that he will not be able to attend this evening on the resumed motion of Senator MacDermot, and asks that the matter might be postponed further until to-morrow. I understand Senator MacDermot is agreeable to that course.
Yes, Sir, but if we are putting a number of Bills through to-morrow, will there be time for the motion to be discussed?
The suggestion is that the motion should be taken as the first business to-morrow, if that meets with the general convenience of Senators.
That is, to take a motion as first business before financial measures. That is creating another precedent of a very remarkable nature.
If Senators are agreeable. If not, of course, it will not be taken.
If the Taoiseach wishes to attend and to speak when the Seanad meets to-morrow, we should facilitate him, and then we can leave the motion to be continued by other Senators afterwards.
That is all right.
I am fully in agreement with that suggestion.
The Minister for Local Government and Public Health, who will be unable to be present until later in the evening, asks to have item No. 3—Public Hospitals (Amendment) Bill—taken after No. 4. To meet the Minister's convenience, I propose, if there is no objection, to take these items in that order.