I am going now to enter on a province which is more particularly the province of members of the Seanad than of members of the Dáil. I would suggest that the Seanad, having regard to its constitution, should not make amendments to Bills which are likely to be rejected by the Dáil, and that means they should not make an amendment in a Bill which comes from the Dáil unless there is an incontrovertible case for it. Because, what happens? The Seanad may say "This is our right; it does not matter what the representatives of the Government may say, or the representatives of the Dáil may say, we are going to carry through this amendment because it pleases us". That amendment goes back to the Dáil and is rejected by the Dáil.
Does that redound to the prestige of the Seanad, or enhance its reputation? I would rather take the other line, and say to myself: if a sufficient case is made to justify a proposal which comes from the Dáil and, therefore, represents the opinion of the Dáil in relation to any legislative matter, then, even though I might like it otherwise, even though I might think it better if it were otherwise, unless I can prove it to be a matter of principle, I will not press my colleagues to carry an amendment which will, almost inevitably, be rejected by the Dáil, because, if I do that, I am not going to enhance the prestige of the Seanad, and I am not going to secure for the views which it expresses the amount of consideration which, perhaps, it would be entitled to.
I mentioned that because I note that Senator Duffy seems to take the other line, which is that if a proposal which has been fully considered in the Dáil comes along here, then notwithstanding any argument that may be used against the view which he puts forward, he inevitably tries to get all his colleagues into the same boat as himself. The constitutional relationship between the Seanad and the Dáil has been designed to ensure that there will not be any conflict between the two Houses in which the Dáil will come off the worse. Therefore, I think it would be much better if the Seanad would try rather to influence, if it can, the representative of the Dáil when he comes here, to change his views, by a rather different line of approach than that which was adopted in regard to the Bill just disposed of.
I want to say this: I feel, having regard to what is the position under the Act of 1941, in relation to the country as a whole, that having regard to the inconveniences and embarrassments which the Act of 1930 has occasioned, not to the Minister for Local Government so much as to the citizens of Dublin in regard to the present electoral areas, it would be unwise to fetter the judgment and to tie the hands of any Minister in relation to a matter of this sort. We have ample provision in sub-section (7) of Section 3 of the Bill for the discussion of any Order which the Minister may make in both Houses.
That discussion will, as I have indicated, take place in both Houses, and in relation to a precise proposition, the Seanad would have full opportunities of addressing itself to the considerations which are put forward in support of it. If, for instance, I make, as I hope to do, the first Order under this Bill when it becomes law, and instead of providing for nine electoral divisions, as the Seanad would think desirable, I provide for 15, well, the Seanad would have an opportunity of discussing the matter. I undertake that they will have the opportunity of discussing it in due time, and well before there is a possibility of an election taking place under this Bill, but the Seanad will then be discussing a precise proposition, something in black and white, and Senators will know whether it is wise for the Seanad to annul the Order and overrule the Minister.
In relation to Section 7, the position of the Seanad is very different from what it is in relation to the amendment of this Bill, because, under Section 7, if the Seanad annuls the Order, then its decision in that regard becomes effective, and there is no possibility that its decision will be overruled by the other House of the Oireachtas. I suggest, therefore, in all the circumstances, that it would, from the point of view of the Seanad, be a much more desirable procedure, and much more effective, to let the section go as it stands, and reserve its fire until the Order is actually tabled and before it.