Dáil Éireann - Volume 1 - 09 September, 1922

ELECTION OF CEANN COMHAIRLE.

The ACTING PRESIDENT: It is necessary that the Dáil should now proceed to elect a Ceann Comhairle. The Clerk of the Dáil will accept a Motion for that purpose.

Mr. LAURENCE GINNELL: May I ask at this stage whether all Deputies are supposed to sign the Roll?

The ACTING PRESIDENT: Yes. All are supposed to have signed it.

Mr. L. GINNELL: I have not signed the Roll. I want some explanation before I sign. I have been elected in pursuance of a Decree of Dáil Eireann, which Decree embodied the Decree of May 20th, 1922. I have heard nothing read with reference to that Decree, nothing but an Act of a foreign Parliament. I have not been elected to attend any such Parliament. I have been elected as a Member of Dáil Eireann. Will anyone tell me with autlority whether it is——

CLERK of the DAIL: There is no Ceann Comhairle in the Chair and you cannot address the Dáil in those circumstances.

Mr. L. GINNELL: Oh, bosh! Will anyone tell me——

CLERK of the DAIL: The election of a Ceann Comhairle will now be proceeded with.

Mr. L. GINNELL: Will anyone tell me with authority whether this is Dáil Eireann or a Partition Parliament?

The ACTING PRESIDENT: It is now necessary that the Dáil proceed to elect a Ceann Comhairle.

Mr. L. GINNELL: I want a definite answer to my question. The public are watching. I want to know whether this is Dáil Eireann or a Partition Parliament. [9] I want to know that, and I want to know if the Republican Member for Fermanagh attends here will he be heard?

Mr. E. BLYTHE: I beg to propose that Prof. M. Hayes be elected Ceann Comhairle.

Mr. P. HOGAN: I wish to second that.

CLERK of the DAIL: Are there any other nominations?

Mr. L. GINNELL: I do not want to create a scene in the Dáil, but I am going to continue talking here until I get an answer. If the answer is not satisfactory, then I will walk out and there will be no harm. If the answer is as I wish it to be, I will sign the Roll and keep my seat. Is this Dáil for the whole of Ireland?

ACTING PRESIDENT: The usual procedure is to have a Speaker elected. When the Ceann Comhairle is elected the business of the Dáil proceeds.

Mr. L. GINNELL: The business of the House cannot proceed while a Member of Parliament in my position is not given a definite answer. It is easy to say yes or no. Is this Dáil for the whole of Ireland?

Mr. THOMAS JOHNSON: Before the motion is put I want to ask for a general understanding for every Member of the Dáil, that the Speaker or the Chairman, whatever be the title, is the Officer of the Dáil and not a Member of the Ministry.

Mr. LCE. O'NEILL: Hear, hear.

Mr. T. JOHNSON: Are we to understand that his duties will be to safeguard the interests of the Dáil, or the Members of the Dáil, against any authority within the Dáil or outside the Dáil? I think it is well we should understand right from the beginning that there is a difference between a Minister and the Chief Officer or Guardian of the liberties of the Members.

Mr. L. GINNELL: This business can go on as peacefully as you wish, and as I wish, if I get an answer. I want to know whether I am entitled to sit here or not. I am not entitled to sit in a Partition Parliament. I am entitled to sit in Dáil Eireann. Can someone say whether this Dáil is for the whole of Ireland or not? A courteous answer will satisfy me and there will be no more friction.

[10] ACTING PRESIDENT: A Ceann Comhairle has been proposed and seconded. As I understand his duty, he is to discharge the duties of his Office impartially. The Ceann Comhairle who has been proposed is not or will not be proposed for membership in the Government, and there is really no necessity for mentioning such a matter at all. We are not such children in the matter of Government that we would propose to put a Minister holding Office or holding a Portfolio in the Government, in the Chair.

Mr. L. O'NEILL: I think the proper procedure to take is to elect a temporary Chairman for the time being, and then put a motion afterwards for the election of a Speaker. Consequently I beg to move——

CLERK of the DAIL: I cannot take any amendment to this. It is only a proposal that Prof. Hayes be made Ceann Comhairle. It is proposed by Mr. Blythe and seconded by Mr. Hogan. No opposition? I therefore declare——

Mr. GINNELL: The matter cannot be disposed of that way.

CLERK of the DAIL: If there is no other nomination I declare him elected Ceann Comhairle.

Mr. GINNELL: You have not waited for a nomination.

At this stage the Chair was taken by Mr. Ml. Hayes.

Mr. GINNELL: Before the Speaker takes the Chair I want to support a few remarks made by a gentleman on the other side.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Do hiaradh orm an Chathaoir a thógaint annso. (I was asked to take the Chair here.) When the Ceann Comhairle is speaking, you, Sir, cannot speak. That is an elementary rule of debate.

Mr. GINNELL: Before you——

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: You cannot speak while I am addressing the Dáil. That is an elementary rule of debate. Do hiarradh orm an Chathaoir seo a thógaint. Do cuireadh an cheist orm an mbeadh an Cathaoirleach 'na aire don Rialtas nú an mbeadh sé sa Chathaoir chun saoirse na dTeachtaí do chosaint. Ní bheidh aon bhaint agamsa leis an Rialtas agus tabharfad cheart do gach aoinne sa Tigh. Is mór an onóir [11] dómhsa bheith sa Chathoir. Ní dóich liom gur gádh dhom a thuille a rá.

I thank you for the honour you have conferred on me in electing me Chairman of the Dáil, and I should like to say in reply to, I think, the very proper question that was put that, as Chairman of the Dáil, I can promise no more than to do my very best to give absolute fair play to any and every member of the Dáil. The idea of a Minister of the Government being Chairman of the Dáil is preposterous, and I would not accept such a position. If the statement I now make that fair play will be given to every member of the Dáil is accepted, I shall go on with the business. If it is not accepted, it will be obviously impossible for me to remain in the Chair.

Mr. THOMAS JOHNSON: My desire was that there should be a general understanding that the position of the Speaker of the Dáil should be that of a servant of the Dáil directly, whose business it would he to safeguard the interests of the members. I accept your statement unreservedly, and I only desire that it should be recorded at the beginning of the business of this Assembly.

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: Arising out of that matter, I am perfectly certain that we will receive on all sides impartial justice from you. Now, I am speaking of the administration of the Dáil, of which, presumably, you are in charge. Can this Dáil assume that the administration will be conducted by you impartially—the ordinary administration?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The Dáil may be assured that any administration under my authority will be impartially conducted.

Mr. GINNELL: May I ask whether you will reply to me, please? I have not signed the roll, and I am willing to do so if this is a Parliament for the whole of Ireland; otherwise not.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The Dáil has been constituted and the Chairman elected, and Deputies who have signed the roll have the right to speak; Deputies who have not signed the roll have not the right to speak.

Mr. GINNELL: They do not want to speak.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Very well.

[12] Mr. GINNELL: They don't want to speak.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: This summons is to the Dáil for the whole of Ireland, and I am unable to solve these other problems.

Mr. GINNELL: Will any member of the six counties be allowed to sit in this. Dáil?

ACTING PRESIDENT: It is my pamful duty to move that this gentleman be excluded from the House. Only members who have signed the roll have the right to appear here.

Mr. GINNELL: I want to know——

ACTING PRESIDENT: Everyone recognises what his position is, and what his responsibility is, and what this Parliament is.

Mr. GINNELL: No. Is it Dáil Eireann?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: You are not entitled to speak here since you have not signed the roll.

Mr. GINNELL: I have been elected to Dáil Eireann. Are my constituents to be disfranchised by you, sir?

A DEPUTY: By yourself.

Mr. D.J. GOREY: I ask you to exercise your authority in the Chair. This is not a baby show.

Mr. GINNELL I have been referred to the Chair and I want to leave quietly. If this is Dáil Eireann I am bound to sit here. Will you not answer the question? You promised to be impartial.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: To members of the Dáil.

Mr. GINNELL: Is this Dáil Eireann or is it not? You began by shifty conduct. I am prepared to sign the roll if this is Dáil Eireann.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The motion is that the gentleman who has not signed the roll be and is hereby removed.

Mr. GINNELL: I began by testing your fairness; you begin by shifting.

The motion was put and declared carried.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The motion, is declared carried, and the gentleman must be removed from the House.

[13] Mr. GINNELL: Is this Dáil Eireann or not? Is it Dáil Eirearm for the whole of Ireland, or is it a Partition Parliament?

Mr. Ginnell was then requested to leave by one of the officials.

Mr. GINNELL: You have to begin your proceedings by expelling a member.

A DEPUTY: It has been done.

Mr. GINNELL: Then this is a Partition Parliament. I am a member of Dáil Eireann. Take care about expelling me.

Having been again requested to retire by an official Mr. Ginnell again asked: Do you expel a member of Dáil Eireann? Do you expel by force a member of the Dáil?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Mr. Ginnell has not signed the roll of this Parliament, and therefore cannot be in this Parliament.

Mr. GINNELL: I want to sign the roll. If it is a Partition Parliament I do not want to do so. Am I allowed to sign as a member of Dáil Eireann? You have promised fair play. Your position in the chair entitles us to fair play.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The motion has been carried that the person interrupting be removed. I see no other method of conducting the business.

Mr. GINNELL: I am being put out.

Mr. Ginnell was then conducted from the precincts of the House.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The next business of the Dáil will be the election of An Leas-Cheann Comhairle. We will now receive nominations for the post of An Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

Mr. PIERCE BEASLEY proposed Pádraic O Máille.

LIAM de ROISTE seconded.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: It is proposed by Deputy P. Beasley, and seconded by Deputy de Róiste, that the name of Pádraic O Máille be accepted as An Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

There were no other nominations.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: If there are no other nominations I may take it that the name of Pádraic O Máille as An Leas-Cheann Comhairle has been [14] accepted. I therefore declare Pádraic O Máille elected An Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

PADRAIC O MAILLE: Gabhaim buidheachas libh i dtaobh gur toghadh mise chun na Leas-Chathaoireach. An fhaid a bhead-sa sa Leas-Chathaoir tugaim geallúint díbh go dtabharfa me ceart do gach éinne anso.