Dáil Éireann - Volume 1 - 09 September, 1922

STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The next business is the appointment of a Committee on Standing Orders.

Mr. McGOLDRICK: I have been asked to move the appointment of a Committee to prepare and design Standing Orders for the Dáil. As everybody knows, Standing Orders are a very vital part of the machinery of every important Assembly and they will be no less important here. It is desirable that they give as much latitude as possible to Members in discussion and at the same time lend themselves to efficiency in the discharge of public business here. It has not been possible in the hasty manner in which it has been done to approach those who might have been conversant with those who would be the best men to put on this Committee. We have taken them at random, and if there is any question as to who, in the cause of his party, ought to be on the Committee, [53] the question could be raised by an individual member of his party. We have to take them as they come. The question in dispute can be raised by the Hon. Members themselves. I propose——

Mr. WM. O'BRIEN: Would it not be better for each Party in the Dáil to propose its own representatives?

Mr. P.J. McGOLDRICK: I propose Mr. W. L. Cole, Mr. Pierce Beasley, Mr. Peter Hughes, Mr. Davin, Mr. M. J. Hennessy, Mr. J. Rooney, Mr. J. B. Whelehan, and Prof. E.A. Alton.

Mr. W.A. DAVIN: As one of the members proposed without authority, I would like to ask you who told you to propose my name.

Mr. W. SEARS: I beg to second the motion.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: That is a matter on which we must have the absolute agreement of the Dáil. As soon as we have this, we can go into the question of who will be selected.

Professor MAGENNIS: On a matter of procedure, would you not permit Mr. O'Brien's motion that we appoint a Committee for this purpose and that the Committee shall be of such and such a number?

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: Might we not use our time in finding out who asked Mr. McGoldrick to propose Mr. Davin. The Deputy said he did not ask him. Now who asked him?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: That question is already registered.

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: We must take advantage of those indiscretions.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The motion before the Dáil, as I received it in writing, is that the following eight Deputies be constituted a Committee of the Dáil to design and form Standing Orders: Deputies Cole, Beasley, Hughes, Davin, Hennessy, Rooney, Whelehan, and E. A. Alton.

Mr. W. O'BRIEN: I propose:—“That the Dáil proceed to appoint a Committee to act as a Standing Orders Committee, after the Speaker and representatives of the various parties of this Dáil have had an opportunity of consulting, following to-day's adjournment.”

[54] CATHAL O'SHANNON: I second the amendment.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The amendment proposed is that the Dáil appoint a Committee of nine members to act as a Standing Orders Committee, and that the Speaker and the various members of this Dáil have an opportunity of consulting, following to-day's adjournment.

Mr. D.J. GOREY: You will have to recognise every party that is here. I suggest to Ald. O'Brien that the Committee be formed in proportion to the strength of the party. Labour should have two and we should have one representative. I think each party should have the privilege of nominating its own representatives. We have here what is called the Treaty, the Labour, the Independents, and the Farmers' parties.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: We cannot have this kind of cross-talk. We will have to do the business in some order. There has been an amendment proposed to the resolution. I have accepted the amendment. The idea presumably is that I will consult with any people in the Dáil who represent themselves as a party and having done so presumably the Dáil will proceed to elect nine Members.

Mr. DAVIN: My objection is that I do not wish to have my name mentioned unless the party sends in the names. I think the amendment now is that the party should be consulted before any name is mentioned.

Mr. A. BYRNE: Is the amendment accepted?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The amendment is accepted by the President on behalf of the Government.

Mr. McGOLDRICK: I have not withdrawn the original resolution. I proposed and it has been seconded that the Committee be selcted. I think that resolution will be as fair to all parties as any arrangement they can make. The sooner you get Standing Orders the better. You cannot go on as you are going.

Mr. GOREY: We will have the privilege of democracy any way. Everyone will decide for themselves.

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: May I hope that Alderman O'Brien will make a slight [55] alteration and instead of confining the Committee to nine it might be considered wise after consultation to make it eight or ten as the case may be. The proposal could come through the Speaker of the Assembly when we meet.

Mr. W. O'BRIEN: I agree to that.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The amendment is:—“That the Dáil proceed to appoint a Committee for Standing Orders and that the Speaker and the representatives of the various parties in the Dáil have an opportunity of consulting, following to-day's adjournment.”

Mr. A. BYRNE: Is that explicit, are we going to have a division?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: We must have it, if someone objects.

Mr. A. BYRNE: I join in asking the Dáil to accept the amendment. It is one of the most serious amendments that has come before the Dáil to-day. The preparation of Standing Orders, and the Standing Orders Committee is one of the most important in any assembly. It prepares the business for the coming week, and if it is a small party, say the farmers, and they want to get something very important discussed during the coming week; if they want Friday they can do so by making representations to the Standing Orders Committee and have the matter discussed forthwith. I think all the parties ought to have representation, and I ask the Dáil to support the amendment, and not let a motion go simply because it is carefully prepared and handed to a deputy who is asked to propose it, which shows that there was a meeting somewhere before this assembly to-day.

Mr. W.L. COLE: I would ask the Chairman what is his definition of a party in this Dáil?

Mr. W. O'BRIEN: At least one.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: Before separating I think it would be desirable to let us know the course of business. We meet on Monday, I understand. Will the policy of the Government be before us then?

[56] The PRESIDENT: If the Dáil wishes to have discussed the policy of the Government during the last few months we will facilitate it. Otherwise the matters taken on Monday will be vacancies, writs for elections, resolutions dealing with the franchise and the Constitution.

Professor MAGENNIS: Would the President formally announce the abolition of Dual Government?

The PRESIDENT: Both have been coalesced for three or four months. Both the Dáil and Provisional Government met in common under a single Chairman, each Member having the same right, liberty, authority and responsibility. That has been going on, and the staffs have been gradually absorbed in each Ministry. There were some Ministries that were not provided for under the Provisional Government and these will not be continued unless under the Government set up to-day. Dual Government, you can take it, ends from to-day. From the date of the appointment of the Ministry here all activities in the country will be carried out under the authority set up which is responsible to you here.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: There is no motion before the Dáil.

The PRESIDENT: I propose the adjournment until Monday at three o'clock, and am prepared to get on with the business outlined or discuss what has been going on for two or three months, whichever you desire.

Sir JAMES CRAIG: I beg to second the motion.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Sir Jas. Craig seconds the motion for the adjournment until Monday at three o'clock.

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: A very happy conjunction of names.

Mr. T. JOHNSON: We would like to know something of the procedure that should be adopted in initiating a discussion such as is suggested. Will there be a suspension of non-existing Standing Orders, or will it come up on a motion for the adjournment? What is the procedure if the Ministry is to make a statement? What is the proper course of procedure?

[57] The PRESIDENT: If it be desired, I will make a statement on a resolution.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: My view is that the Standing Orders of the Dáil ought to be adopted. I intended to make that proposal. Would that meet the position?

Mr. THOMAS JOHNSON: I would like to hear some arguments in favour of the 3 o'clock meeting as against the 11 o'clock meeting. There may be good and sufficient reasons why there should not be a meeting until 3 o'clock in the afternoon, but inasmuch as this meeting was called for 11 o'clock, I was under the impression that it was the intention to hold meetings in the morning rather than in the afternoon and at night, because it is almost inevitable, if you do not meet until 3 o'clock, you will sit right on until late in the evening, and that is not conducive to orderly debate in some assemblies.

The PRESIDENT: This will be a remarkable exception to that rule.

Mr. THOMAS JOHNSON: I do not want to move an amendment as to the rule, unless it is necessary for the purpose of eliciting some views.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I do not know what is in the mind of the President——

The PRESIDENT: I leave it absolutely to the Dáil.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: From the point of view of my own staff, an early morning sitting would not be very suitable.

Mr. ERNEST BLYTHE: It must be plain to Mr. Johnson that tbe normal hour for Meeting could not be 11 o'clock. If the Dáil so desired, it would be possible to meet on any particular day at 11 o'clock, but if the business is to be transacted properly it is necessary for Ministers to be in attendance to answer any questions that may be put to them, and they really cannot do anything unless they are able to give some time to their Departmental work. The only way [58] we can carry on is to devote the forenoon to Departmental work and then come here in the afternoon. I think the necessities of the case demand that the hour for meeting should be some time in the afternoon, say 2.30, 3 or 4 o'clock.

Mr. R. CORISH: Let 3 o'clock be 3 o'clock. 3 o'clock does not mean 4 o'clock.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: There is a motion before the Dáil that the Dáil shall stand adjourned until Monday at 3 o'clock.

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: And the business before us on that occasion might suitably be a statement by the President on his policy.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Are you speaking on the adjournment?

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: Yes. A statement as to the future policy of the Executive we have just created—the policy for which we will be responsible. Let that be the subject of debate on Monday, and not more than Monday. Finish it on Monday.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Before the motion for the adjournment is iaken, let me mention that a message has Keen received from Lord Fitzalan conveying to this Parliament his very best wishes.

Mr. WM. O'BRIEN: The Members on this side do desire a discussion. It is to be understood that will be on the Orders of the Day?

The PRESIDENT: Yes,if I know exactly what it is. I understand the discussion wished for by the Party for which Alderman O'Brien speaks is to have reference to what has happened in the last two or three months.

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: That could arise very suitably on the President's statement of policy, because presumably that policy will be a continuity of past policies.

Motion: “That the Dáil do now adjourn,” put and agreed to.

The Dáil adjourned at 3.30 p.m. till Monday, September 11th.