What is the proposal, Sir, about the other Bills from the Dáil? Could we not settle that before we finish?
Business of the Seanad.
Perhaps the Minister would wish to make a statement?
There is one Bill which I am particularly anxious should be given if the Seanad can see its way to do so. That is the Bill relating to the Presidential Establishment. The introduction of that Bill was somewhat delayed, and it is one that we are particularly anxious about, if the Seanad would be willing to facilitate us. The proposals in the Bill, as the House will understand, are founded entirely on the recommendations made by the very representative commission set up a considerable time ago. I have not the exact date, but it was early in 1937. For a variety of reasons it has not been possible to get this Bill before the Oireachtas until quite recently. I had hoped that we should have all stages in the Dáil last night and that the Bill would be on the Agenda of the Seanad in the ordinary way this morning.
I may say that one of the reasons why we are anxious that the Bill should become law at the earliest possible opportunity is that we have no statutory authority to provide for the President the emoluments and allowances referred to in the Constitution. We have in fact been meeting certain of the expenses of that establishment out of the Contingency Fund. That was entirely unavoidable. Naturally, as Minister for Finance, I am anxious that that practice should not continue longer than is absolutely necessary and therefore I should be glad to get all the stages of the Bill through as soon as possible.
Is there any difference between to-day and to-morrow?
There is no great difference but I thought the Seanad might prefer to dispose of the Bill to-day rather than meet to-morrow. I shall be satisfied, however, with to-morrow.
I understand that the Bill was only circulated to-day.
It was circulated, as amended, this morning.
I personally do not happen to have received my copy at all.
We will give you a copy.
I must say that I would like to have an opportunity of studying the Bill.
Would it be possible for us to hear the Minister on the other Bills and come to a decision whether we will meet to-morrow or meet next week? If we were not going to meet to-morrow for any other business some of us might be rather unwilling to come here only for this Bill.
The other Bill is the Industrial Alcohol Bill. As Senators know, that is the Bill under which it is proposed to set up a statutory company to manage, control and operate the industrial alcohol concern. It would be desirable that we should have that Bill through all its stages, that it should become law before both Houses of the Oireachtas adjourn. It passed the Dáil this afternoon.
About the urgency of that Bill. I am not sure. I do not know the views of the Minister for Industry and Commerce but I think he would be quite content if it were taken to-morrow. The other Bill, the Telephone Capital Bill, merely gives authority to the Minister for Finance to provide an additional £1,000,000 for the extension and improvement of the telephone system. Again, that Bill could do as well to-morrow as this afternoon. That is the whole legislative programme coming from the Dáil and it is a matter for the Seanad itself to determine whether it would be more convenient for the Senators to deal with these Bills to-night or to-morrow or, with the exception of the Presidential Establishment Bill, next week.
My own feeling is in favour of completing all the business to-morrow. I should have thought that it would be quite practicable to do so.
Is this a debate on the Adjournment?
No. We are endeavouring to arrive at an arrangement on Bills that have come from the Dáil last evening and to-day.
Is é mo thuairim gur bhfearr dúinn an obair atá práidhneach indiú a dheanamh agus an obair cile do chur ar athló go dtí seachtmhain ó indiú agus an Bille atá ar an chlár indiú agus an Bille adeir an t-Aire atá práidhneach tig linn iad sin a ghlanadh indiú, agus mura bhfuil ghabhadh leis gan teacht le cheilé go dtí Dia Ceadaoin seo chughainn. Tá sé níos socaraighe teacht le chéile i ndiaidh am dinéir ar ár suaimhneas.
There are only two proposals before you, Sir. Senator MacDermot's is to meet to-morrow to do the Industrial Alcohol Bill and the Telephone Capital Bill. Senator MacGinley's proposal is to do the Presidential Establishment Bill to-day and adjourn until next Wednesday. For myself, I am in complete agreement with the Minister that the Presidential Establishment Bill should certainly be passed as soon as possible, if not to-day, then to-morrow.
I think we would agree to dealing with those Bills urgently as long as it is not to be taken as creating a precedent. In the old Seanad we were faced frequently, without the abnormal circumstances of the present time, with a rush of Bills at the end, but as a matter of abnormal procedure I would be prepared to accept the Presidential Bill now. Under normal circumstances I think it is largely agreed that Bills should go through this House in about a fortnight. I think, however, that we have to face the fact now that, owing to the general election and the circumstances of this House, there is likely to be some urgency, but it is entirely a matter for the convenience of the House. On previous occasions we have found it difficult to get a quorum on Friday morning, but if Senators could attend to-morrow I would be quite satisfied.
I see no reason why we should not meet to-morrow, and I am quite sure that the Minister would not ask for the Bills unless it was a matter of urgency. I think it would be desirable that we should finish the business to-morrow if possible, and as far as I know Senators would be agreeable to that.
Regarding the Presidential Establishment Bill, I take it that Senators wish to proceed with the consideration of all stages?
Is that the feeling of the Seanad as a whole? Like Senator MacDermot, I got the Bill only this morning, and it is one upon which I should like to have a little more time to think over and, if possible, I would like to see it discussed to-morrow rather than to-day.
Take the first stages to-day and the further stages to-morrow.
If you are going to meet to-morrow you might as well.
Am I to take it that the Seanad wishes to dispose of all Bills to-morrow and not meet next week?