It is proposed to take No. 1.
Order of Business.
I should like to raise a point of order. In relation to the termination of proceedings last night, Standing Orders require:
When any question is to be put to the Seanad, or to a Committee of the whole Seanad, the Cathaoirleach, or Chairman, shall rise and announce that "The question is——
whatever it may be. The Standing Orders continue:
After the Cathaoirleach, or Chairman, shall have declared the result, in his opinion, of the putting of any question, any Senator may claim a division upon that question....
The Standing Orders later require:
When the doors have been locked and the division lobbies cleared, the Cathaoirleach, or Chairman, shall again put the question and declare afresh the result, in his opinion, of the putting of the question. If such fresh declaration is challenged he shall order the Seanad, or Committee, to divide and shall nominate two tellers for each side...
and so on. Last night you put the question that the House shall adjourn until 10.30 a.m. today, a motion to which I personally took no exception. It seemed to me a sensible proceeding, though I understand there were other views on this side. Subsequently, however, when the bells were rung and the lobbies were cleared, you put a motion which had originally been moved by the Leader of the House and to that motion I was strongly opposed. I can say for myself—I have since learned that the same applies to other Members of this side—the confusion was such that we were in doubt as to how to vote and in the circumstances I sought clarification of the position and was ruled out of order. Consequently, I was unable to determine afterwards how to vote.
The only matter that could have been put in that division was the one which had been put by you originally that we should adjourn until 10.30 a.m. today. I, therefore, should like it to be recorded in the Journal of the House. If the Chair accepts my statement that the motion put last night was that the Committee adjourn until 10.30 this morning, and that that was the issue on which Members on this side of the House abstained, I think it will be agreed that they were in an impossible situation when the motion was changed in midstream. Some of us might well have thought it was non-contentious to meet at 10.30 this morning and might well have gone home. I submit that to put a different motion the second time is contrary to Standing Order No. 48 in relation to Seanad Éireann which reads:
When the doors have been locked and the division lobbies cleared, the Cathaoirleach, or Chairman, shall again put the question and declare afresh the result, in his opinion, of the putting of the question. If such fresh declaration be challenged he shall order the Seanad, or Committee, to divide and shall nominate two tellers for each side: Provided always that the Cathaoirleach, or Chairman, if in his opinion a division is unnecessary, may call upon the Senators who claim the division to rise in their places, and if fewer than five Senators so rise he shall forthwith declare the result, and the names of the Senators who so rise shall be recorded in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Seanad.
You abstained because the Fine Gael members were not here.
I have just read out what Standing Order No. 48 says in relation to this House. Standing Order No. 46 reads:
(1) When any question is to be put to the Seanad, or to a Committee of the whole Seanad, the Cathaoirleach, or Chairman, shall rise and announce that "The question is that...", thereupon reading or stating the question, requiring that as many as are of that opinion shall say "Tá" and as many as are of the contrary opinion shall say "Níl". He shall judge from the answers to his question, and declare the result, in his opinion, of the putting of the question.
(2) After the Cathaoirleach, or Chairman, shall have declared the result, in his opinion, of the putting of any question, any Senator may claim a division upon that question, whereupon a division shall, subject to Standing Order 48, be taken.
This did not, in fact, happen.
On the same point of order, I should like to have it recorded that my abstention from voting was for the same reason as that of Senator FitzGerald.
You were awfully confused.
What was decided last night?
That we sit from 10.30 this morning until 10.30 this evening.
What, in fact, was decided last night?
He is well aware of what was decided last night.
Is there any possibility, after sleeping on it last night, that the Chair might have second thoughts on it?
The motion was put in that form in order to facilitate Senator FitzGerald and his agreement with the Leader of the House.
How could it be put to facilitate me by changing it to a motion that I was on record as disagreeing with?
What the Senator has said will go on the records of the House.
This seems an extraordinary procedure and an extraordinary way of facilitating somebody.
You are not that innocent.
With regard to the amendments discussed last evening, amendments Nos. 4, 8 and 7, the Chair is now suggesting that a decision is sought on these two groups. Senator Murphy's group, amendments Nos. 11, 15, 17, 18, 19 and 22 are concerned with section 3. We could postpone these until we come to section 3 and then deal with them. Is that agreed?
Are we changing, then, from the order of last night?
If amendment No. 4 is accepted, is it not a fact that section 3 would go by the board? If that is the case, I submit that all of these amendments, amendments Nos. 4, 7, 8, 11, 15, 17, 18, 19, 22 and 31, should be discussed, as was the decision last night.
That was agreed by the House.
Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.
The Chair is anxious to help the House to clarify matters. If the House wishes to proceed along the lines of last evening, the Chair is agreeable.
That was the decision yesterday.
Has somebody suggested that that should be changed?
I think the approach to it now is the more sensible approach. The first amendment, amendment No. 4, in the name of Senator O'Quigley, deals with section 1 and we have not yet disposed of section 1. I think it would be more sensible to approach the matter along the lines now suggested. I agree. I think it is a better arrangement.
They are Senator Murphy's amendments.
I understood we were discussing that whole group of amendments last night.
That is what was agreed last night.
What does the House wish?
I am quite agreeable to the order agreed last night.
The present suggestion would simplify matters very much——
That is the trouble.
——and get the debate back to something of an even keel. May I take it that the House is agreeable to reaching a decision on amendments Nos. 4, 8 and 7?
They are all that have been discussed so far.
I understand that Senator O'Quigley was asked to move amendments Nos. 4, 8, and 12. I understand he did so. Is this not correct?
Surely only one amendment may be moved at a time? In plain fact, you can have only one motion before the House. Therefore, only amendment No. 4 was moved. The others may be discussed with it. I think the new arrangement suggested by the Chair is sensible. If we decided to discuss all this group together we would, in fact, be discussing section 3, which seems absurd. The discussion of section 3 would have taken place before we had finished with section 1, before the section as it stands or as amended was discussed, and before section 2 was discussed. If there is to be one general debate on all of these amendments, what would have to happen is that when we come to section 3, there could be decisions on various amendments but no discussion, the debate having taken place a considerable time before. I cannot see the difficulty in pursuing, as the Chair suggests, certain alternatives which are of a broad nature and letting the details be settled later when we come to section 3.
There is something in that but the Chair's proposal is to decide on amendments Nos. 4, 7 and 8. However, amendments Nos. 7 and 8 are fundamental to section 3. It does not seem that Senator Sheldon's proposal would achieve what, perhaps understandably, he wants to achieve.
The necessity to discuss Senator O'Quigley's proposed substitute for section 3 arises because Senator O'Quigley does not use the word "licence". He uses a different phrase. If it is to operate, this requires the disappearance of part of section 1 so that the two things must be discussed together to make sense or to attempt to make sense. Here is an alternative section 3 which has to be discussed because of the suggestion that we do not use the word "licence". If you suggest one alternative to section 3, it is proper that the other alternative, in the name of Senator Stanford, and so on, should be discussed in order to avoid duplication of debate. I cannot see the reason for the confusion.
Amendment No. 12 seeks to eliminate the Minister's discretion in giving licences. This is involved in the licensing system and yet this is to be discussed separately.
It does not prevent amendment No. 12 from being discussed later on. May the Chair take it, then, that the suggestion is accepted —that we get decisions on amendments Nos. 4, 8 and 7?