Wednesday, 10 October 1923
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: Before we enter upon the Orders of the Day, there is one matter I would like to raise which would be for the convenience of the Dáil, I think. It will be in your memory that I raised the same matter in the last Dáil on one or two occasions. On to-day's Orders I notice that item 5 deals with the Governor-General's address—there is a motion for a resolution of thanks —and then there are various matters in connection with the Courts of Justice Bill. Inasmuch as there is no definite information before the Dáil as to how long item 5 will occupy our time, Deputies have no method of ascertaining whether items  6 or 7 are likely to arise. Would it not be convenient to enter upon item 5 at, say, about 4 o'clock, and deal with the other items later? A time could be arranged so that whether this earlier business has or has not been concluded, it can be postponed. Then Deputies would be able to know at what hour certain business in which they are interested will be entered upon.
The PRESIDENT: It has been the practice up to this to suit the convenience of Deputies with regard to the Agenda, or any business that has been brought forward. For example, it will be within the recollection of Deputies that certain votes were postponed or allotted to certain days in order to suit the convenience of Deputies.
In that case, unless there was pressing Government business, business pressing by reason of special circumstances, it was not insisted on taking the Agenda in the order in which it was arranged. It was left generally to the Dáil, but, personally, I would prefer if the item on the Order Paper, No. 5, came before the Dáil that it would be only for a short period, limited, say, to half an hour, and that we should then take up item No. 6, or what Deputy Milroy calls the more serious business.
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: It would be better, I think, to say that item No. 6 would arise at a particular time, because if what the President wishes were agreed on, that item might come on before 6 o'clock.
The PRESIDENT: If the Deputy has an appointment for any particular hour, and if he would tell us the time that the appointment is likely to occupy, we would do our best to convenience him. But if, on the other hand, he has no particular appointment, I would suggest that we allow half an hour for discussion on item No. 5.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: The President will be relieved to learn that I have no appointment. I was merely  choosing this as an occasion to raise a matter that, I believe, would be for the convenience of the Dáil. I am merely raising it now because this is the first time in which this has occurred in this Session. I, therefore, suggest that certain definite business should be set down on the Orders for the Day at a certain time, and if earlier business has not been disposed of at such a particular hour, then we would be in a position to know exactly at what hour of the day certain definite business is to be entered upon.
Mr. JOHNSON: I do not know what is the view of the Minister as to the relative importance of these matters on the Agenda, but I would have thought that a motion dealing with the Governor-General's address, which, of course, may be regarded as a declaration of Government policy, ought to be allocated something like a reasonable period of time for discussion. To suggest half an hour for a discussion on such a motion strikes me as rather slighting both the Governor-General, the mover of the Address, and the Dáil.
The PRESIDENT: I did not mean to limit the discussion on that particular subject to half an hour, but I think Deputy Johnson will recollect that last year it formed the subject of business for a considerable number of days, and it is our intention to allot ample time for discussion on it. The other matter is one of pressing importance, but there is no desire to bring it into relative comparison, in the matter of importance, with the motion of thanks on the Governor-General's address.
Mr. JOHNSON: I do not know what the line of discussion will take on these other items, but it seems to me to be  relegating the discussion on the Governor-General's Address, which will really be a discussion on Government policy, to the background, and I would not participate in the discussion in these circumstances.
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