DAIL IN COMMITTEE. - LOCAL GOVERNMENT BILL, 1924—FROM THE SEANAD (RESUMED).

Thursday, 12 March 1925

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 10 No. 12

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Amendment 93.—Before Section [980] 63 a new section inserted as follows:—

(1) A county or borough council may, with the consent of the Minister, delegate to such person or persons as the Minister shall from time to time appoint for the purpose, all or any part of its powers, duties and functions (including all or any of the powers, duties and functions of a board of health) and such powers, duties and functions shall thereupon be exercised and performed by such person or persons until the holding of the next triennial election of county councillors.

(2) The remuneration of any person appointed under this section shall be paid as part of the general expenses of such council.

MINISTER for LOCAL GOVERNMENT and PUBLIC HEALTH (Mr. Burke): Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I beg to move:—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 93.” The object of this amendment is to permit a county council, having been elected, to appoint, if it so desires, commissioners to carry out its duties. At present many local bodies have got into considerable financial difficulties, and a great many likely candidates are rather nervous about accepting responsibility of trying to put these local bodies into proper shape. Some of them are anxious to have power, if desirable, to get commissioners appointed to do that work. There were several amendments somewhat similar to this in the Seanad, but I considered that they were objectionable from the point of view that they did not give local representatives or the people an opportunity of deciding whether such commissioners should be appointed. This amendment gets over that difficulty. I accepted it, and I ask the House to agree to it.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  I hope the House will not agree to this amendment. It is, of course, in keeping with the policy that has been enunciated so frequently and that has been practised so often within the last two or three years of eliminating elected local authorities and substituting for them paid commissioners. [981] The object of the amendment is clearly to allow county councils by a majority, shall I say, to conspire with the Minister to destroy local government institutions over the heads of the electors. Whether it is to eliminate these wholly, or delegate part of their functions to a paid commissioner, or to any person or persons as the Minister shall from time to time appoint for the purpose, that commissioner is not to be responsible to anybody, not even to the Minister. A county council or borough council, once it has decided under this section to delegate all its powers, duties and functions to a person, asks for no return or no report until the next triennial election. You are, therefore, invited now to declare that any county or borough council by a majority, with the consent of the Minister, may hand over its duties and functions despite the electors to any person or persons until the next triennial election. First of all, you go to the electors and invite them to carry out their duties, to appoint a local authority to undertake the duties of that authority, but under this Bill you are telling that local authority that they may deny their responsibilities to the electors, that they may shirk these responsibilities and hand them over to a paid or unpaid commissioner, as the case may be, and he has complete charge without any responsibility to anybody until the next triennial election. This goes a long way, of course, to revolutionising the system of local government and destroying all local responsibility.

The county council, under this section, may appoint a board of health which, to a great extent, does the work of the county council. Having done that, it may appoint a commissioner to carry on all the work of the council in respect to other matters outside the board of health, or it may decide to appoint commissioners to look after health and sanitation, and retain its powers over other functions, or it may decide to appoint commissioners to do all these things, notwithstanding the fact that the electors have, within a period of three years beforehand, elected these people to do the very work which these people are transferring [982] to somebody else. That again is a movement towards limiting and minimising the amount of responsibility which a locally-elected authority should have. The tendency to elect authorities and then say that they are not worthy of election, not worthy of their functions and responsibilities, is going to bring local government into derision and disrepute. Under this section the only check is the Minister's wish.

A bare majority of a council may decide to eliminate itself and, if the Minister is prepared to sanction that elimination, then it shall be eliminated, and the electors have nothing to say. No report on the work of the council is to be made to the electors. The Commissioner is not responsible to the council and not responsible to the Minister. He is the absolute authority under this proposal. I can only say, if we are going to treat local government institutions in this way—first of all to suggest to them that they may eliminate themselves, to suggest to them that a majority of them can come together some day and say, “it is going to be to our advantage to hand over this job to so-and-so, and we can persuade the Minister to appoint such-and-such a person to do this work”—we are going to deprive the local governing authorities of their prestige, dignity, and power. It will simply destroy the prestige that local authorities ought to have, and, I think, move against the system of local responsibility for local affairs. Again, as I have suggested many times during the discussion on this Bill, the movement is towards centralisation and bureaucracy, but in this particular case, apparently, little thought has been given to the consequences of this amendment, and the effect of it is that you are not merely centralising not merely leaving power to the Minister in this case, as in so many other cases, but you are giving power to appoint commissioners who have not responsibility even to the Minister. I hope the House will not agree to this amendment.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  In stating that this officer will not be even responsible to the Minister. Deputy Johnson certainly exaggerated the position. If the Deputy reads the amendment he will find that

[983]“A county or borough council may, with the consent of the Minister, delegate to such person or persons as the Minister shall from time to time appoint for the purpose.”

In other words, if one Commissioner is found unsuitable I can have him removed and can appoint another in his place. Even at the present time a Commissioner is subject to the sanction of the Minister. I have authority over him during the whole time that he exercises this particular jurisdiction. There is a considerable demand in the country at the present time amongst a great body of the people for Commissioners. I have no doubt that if I were to introduce a measure practically imposing Commissioners on local authorities it would get a very considerable amount of support in many parts of the country. It would get such a volume of support as, I believe, would surprise Deputy Johnson. I am not resorting to such a high-handed measure as that may appear to people with a certain political outlook, who might be called ultra-democratic, and who might regard it as a high-handed attitude. Certainly, I think it is only fair that where the elected representatives of the people, perhaps after putting this very issue to the people at the elections, decide in the interests of economy and the proper carrying out of their duties, that they should have a manager appointed, either to do all the work of the local authority or perform particular functions of the local authority, they should be permitted to do it.

At the present time local government is becoming more technical, requires more skill and more efficiency and a greater length of time to be devoted to it. There are very few people in the country who can afford to devote the time necessary to the proper discharge of the complicated duties of local authorities, particularly of the county borough and county councils. It is becoming increasingly difficult to get people to carry out these duties. In a great many cases the tendency is to have these duties delegated to experts who can devote their whole time and their technical [984] skill to them. Where a demand comes from the elected representatives of the people I cannot see that it is any offence against democracy or any other principle to allow that view to be carried out. Accordingly, I strongly recommend this amendment to the Dáil.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  I would like to disabuse the Minister's mind of the notion that I am opposed to giving a county council power to delegate responsibility to a Commissioner, or a person who may be called a Commissioner. I think it is probably a beneficial development that popularly elected bodies will have to delegate some of their functions to individuals. A very great deal of the responsibility for detailed work ought to be delegated to small numbers. I think it may have come before the Minister's notice that, so far as the Party I am associated with is concerned, we have advocated the election of popularly elected bodies for local purposes, and the appointment of a small executive, even two or three persons, to do most of the actual executive work and be responsible to the popular elected bodies.

The argument of the Minister does not affect my contention towards this amendment. The amendment means that a popularly-elected body at the end of two of its term of three years' service may say: “Well, we are not likely to be returned again. We have mismanaged our business, and we are going to ask the Minister to consent to hand over our duties to a Commissioner whom he will appoint.” They do not go to the electorate or resign their seats. They are not held really responsible. They simply hand over their responsibility to an outside person. If they can resign their responsibility in that easy way, then the sense of responsibility is lessened. The Minister says that these persons will be responsible to the Minister because they would be such as would be from time to time appointed for the purpose. That certainly will not bear the interpretation he puts on it that because he appoints them from time to time, they must report to him and be responsible to him for the [985] carrying out of the duties that have been delegated to the Council. That may be the intention. It may possibly be the practice that will follow, but it is not ensured by this amendment.

I object to the suggestion that popularly-elected bodies, having faced the electors and asked for certain responsibilities which have been imposed on them, can then be able to shuffle off their responsibilities upon a paid Commissioner who will not have to answer to the electors, who may have to answer to the Minister, but so far as the section goes, that is all he will have to do. I think it is cutting at the principle of local responsibility for local affairs, and I have stood for that right through the discussion on this measure. I believe this is simply a crowning act of the Seanad to bring the whole system of local government into disrepute. It would be far better and more honest in its effects if the Minister would say that the whole business of local government will henceforward be managed, under his Department, by a person appointed by him and responsible to him. Do the thing in a bold, clear and open way like that rather than pretend to give local responsibility while depriving the locally-elected bodies of their real authority or, if not depriving them of their real authority, giving them hints and suggestions as to how to get out of their responsibility. I think the purpose of this amendment is a bad one, and the effect of it is going to help to destroy the system of local government.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  The Minister said it is becoming more difficult to get men to attend to the duties of local public bodies, as the work demands more time than local representatives can afford to give it. Who has been responsible for that? The Minister. The Minister has put so much work on the county councils——

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  When did I put more work on the county councils? This is the first legislation I produced.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  In this Bill.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  It does not affect the present situation.

[986]Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  It affects what the Minister stated about how difficult it will be to get men to give the time required.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  How difficult it is.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  I am glad the Minister, from day to day, makes much more clear the respect and the faith he has for men and public bodies whom he was responsible, to no small extent, in getting elected himself. The Minister said if he brought in a Bill to abolish all the local authorities he would get a lot of support for it in the House. He might get a lot of support for it in the country but I doubt it very much. But I believe the Minister would then be doing what he honestly believes to be right, that is, to abolish all local authorities and it would be better to have the thing straight and open than to abolish them gradually, as he is trying to do at the present time.

The Minister contended that the commissioner appointed would be responsible to him. Like Deputy Johnson, I cannot see there is anything in this amendment that will give the Minister any authority over the Commissioners to be appointed—nothing at all so far as I can see. The sub-section says “the remuneration of any person appointed under this section shall be paid as part of the general expenses of the council.” Who is to fix the amount of the remuneration? Is it the Minister or the council that has got tired of their duties? Will the Minister have the right to say that the amount of remuneration fixed by the council, if the council has the right to fix the remuneration, is too much or too little? Will he have the right to stipulate what remuneration should be paid and how far will he have the right to interfere with the officers of the council? For instance, to interfere with the making of roads? Will this Commissioner have the right, if he is appointed in place of the county board of health, to issue instructions for the reduction of outdoor relief? I would like the Minister to explain this amendment much more clearly than he has done, and I should be glad if he should tell us as clearly as he can what would be his own powers in regard to these Commissioners. [987] Will he tell us whether the Commissioners, if this amendment is passed, will have the right to do any of the things that I contend it is possible for them to do under the amendment? And will he tell us whether the remuneration paid to them will be fixed by the council that appointed them or by the Minister, and whether the Minister will have the right to say whether the remuneration fixed is too much or too little or is just enough?

Mr. CORISH: Information on Richard Corish  Zoom on Richard Corish  As far as I am concerned. I am perfectly satisfied the Minister has power in the matter. I am also perfectly satisfied as to the duties that the Commissioners can carry out, but what I am really concerned to know is whether, if the councils appoint Commissioners to do this work, it is mandatory upon the Minister to order an election when election time comes round, or can he exercise the power he has already under the Bill of keeping a Commissioner in office for two or three years? Because I can foresee a position such as that. If a council has carried out some very unpopular things in a certain area, and they know before election that they are not likely to have the members of their Party elected again, they might appoint a Commissioner, thinking that the Minister would keep him in office for two or three years.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  The amendment makes it plain.

Mr. CORISH: Information on Richard Corish  Zoom on Richard Corish  That is what I want to be clear about. If a council of its own volition appoints a Commissioner, will the election be held at the proper time or will the Minister take power under another part of the Act to keep the Commissioner there for two or three years?

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  The amendment makes it quite clear.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  It makes it clear that the kind of Commissioner appointed by this amendment is [988] not the kind of Commissioner appointed under Section 62, and that is what makes me believe that the Commissioner appointed under this proposed section is not responsible to the Minister. He is a different kind of Commissioner. He is a Commissioner appointed by the council, the only requisite being that he shall be a person nominated by the Minister. The proposition that the Minister makes in answer to Deputy Corish is that the Commissioners who are appointed under this new section will not be one of the kind that could be kept in office for a period not exceeding three years. If that is the correct interpretation that would be placed upon this section by the courts, it simply means that the person appointed is not responsible to the Minister. He is not responsible to the council; he is not responsible to anybody. His remuneration is to be paid as part of the general expenses of the council. The council is to appoint him, and is to state what the remuneration will be, and then it has nothing further to say. He may do what he wishes, the only question being whether the Minister has power to remove him. I say that whatever may be the intention of this section, the powers that are given under the section are very much greater than the intention the Minister has indicated as being behind the amendment itself.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I always have power under Section 62 to dissolve a council not performing its duties, and that would be applied equally to the Commissioners to whom they have delegated their powers. I could abolish the council along with the Commissioner and put in another Commissioner for another three years if I wish to do that. That would be irrespective of this amendment altogether. Under this amendment I can only have a Commissioner appointed until the next triennial election, and I think that safeguards Deputy Corish's point.

Question put.

Richard H. Beamish.
Earnán de Blaghd.
Séamus Breathnach.
Séamus de Búrca.
John Conlan.
Máighréad Ní Choileáin Bean
Ui Dhrisceóil.
Patrick J. Egan.
William Hewat.
Connor Hogan.
Séosamh Mac a'Bhrighde.
Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
Liam Mag Aonghusa.
Patrick J. Mulvany.
Seán O Bruadair.
Séamus O Dóláin.
Tadhg O Donnabháin.
Eamon O Dúgáin.
Donchadh O Guaire.
Séamus O Leadáin.
Fionán O Loingsigh.
Pádraic O Máille.
Pádraig O hOgáin (Luimneach).
Caoimhghín O hUigín.
Liam Thrift.
Seoirse de Bhulbh.

John J. Cole.
John Daly.
Séamus Mac Cosgair.
Tomás Mac Eoin.
Risteárd Mac Fheorais.
Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha.
Tomás de Nógla.
Ailfrid O Broin.
Aodh O Cúlacháin.
Eamon O Dubhghaill.
Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
Tadhg O Murchadha.
Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).

Motion declared carried.

Amendment 94.—Before Section 66 a new section inserted as follows:—

Sub-section 7 of Section 9 of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, shall be amended by the omission of all the words in the sub-section from the words “and the expenses” to the end and by the substitution therefor of the following words, that is to say: “and the expenses of each half-year ending on the 30th day of September or the 31st day of March shall be defrayed by the several counties in proportion to the number of lunatics from each county maintained in the lunatic asylum in such half-year, and the committee for the asylum shall be a joint committee of the councils of the counties with a representation of each council (determined in case of dispute by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health) in proportion to the number of lunatics from each county, according to the average of the three local financial years which ended next before the last triennial election of county councillors.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 94.” This amendment was moved originally by Deputy Thrift and the Dáil agreed to it. The object of it is to change the basis of contributions in cases where there are several counties joined together to form a committee having control over a lunatic asylum. The change outlined in the amendment is considered to be a very desirable one, and I accordingly ask the Committee to agree with the Seanad in it.

Question put and agreed to.

Amendment 95.—Before Section 66 a new section inserted as follows:—

“Section 16 of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1902 (which empowers a county council to pay a subscription for the association of county councils of Ireland) shall be and is hereby amended by the substitution therein of twenty pounds for ten pounds as the limit to the amount which in any one year may be paid as a subscription to the funds of the association.”

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment.” This gives legislative effect to a Dáil decree. The sum of £10 has been found to be quite inadequate for the purpose, and accordingly it is proposed to change it to £20.

[991]Mr. GOREY: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Might I inquire how the £20 is proposed to be expended?

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  The preparation of reports, the secretary's salary, and various things.

Question put and agreed to.

Amendment 96.—Before Section 66 a new section inserted as follows:—

“All district lunatic asylums maintained by county councils under Section 9 of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, shall henceforth be styled and known as district mental hospitals, and the title of every such district lunatic asylum shall be and is hereby amended by the substitution therein of the words ‘mental hospital’ for the words ‘lunatic asylum.’”

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment.” This was proposed by Deputy Thrift originally, and through an oversight it was not inserted. It was inserted in the Seanad. It is merely to change the name “lunatic asylum” to “mental hospital.” I think everybody is in sympathy of the proposal.

Question put and agreed to.

Amendment 97.—In Section 68 (1), page 31, line 20, the word “from” deleted and the word “on” substituted therefor.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment.”

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  This is covered by previous amendments which we have agreed with.

Question put and agreed to.

Amendment 98.—In Section 69, page 31, line 41, the word “jointly” deleted.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment.” It is merely a drafting amendment.

Question put and agreed to.

Amendment 99.—Before Section 70 a new section inserted as follows:—

[992] (1) This section shall apply to any rate made by the council of a county or urban district before the first day of June, 1925, for the service of the local financial year ending on the thirty-first day of March, 1926.

(2) Every rate to which this section applies shall be raised and collected as if this Act had not been passed.

(3) The proceeds of every rate to which this section applies, raised for the expenses of any duty of a rural district council, may be expended in the performance of such duty by the county council or board of health to which such duty is transferred under this Act.

(4) Where the area upon which before the passing of this Act the expenses of the performance of any duty of a county, urban district or rural district council were charged has been extended by this Act either directly or by reason of the transfer of such duty from such council the proceeds of any rate to which this section applies may be expended under this Act in the performance of such duty in such extended area.

(5) If the amount of any rate to which this section applies raised and levied upon and in any area exceeds or is less than the amount of the rate which would have been raised and levied upon and in such area under this Act for the service of the said local financial year, such excess or deficit shall be taken into account by way of adjustment in the rate to be raised and levied for the service of the local financial year ending on the thirty-first day of March, 1927.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment.” This is also consequential on a previous amendment which changed the appointed day from the 1st April to 1st October, which would give rise to considerable changes in the collection of rates. In order that anomalies would be prevented and that proper machinery would be set up to collect these rates, and in order to adjust them afterwards, this amendment is necessary.

Mr. HEWAT: Information on William Hewat  Zoom on William Hewat  What happens if the Bill is held up by the Seanad?

[993]AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  A new situation and a new problem.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  In that case a very difficult situation would arise.

Question put and agreed to.

Amendment 100.—Before Section 70 a new section inserted as follows:—

“The Local Elections Postponement (Amendment) Act, 1924 (No. 39 of 1924), is hereby repealed and in lieu thereof it is hereby enacted that the Local Elections Postponement Act, 1922 (No. 4 of 1922), shall be construed and have effect as if the expiration of two months from the passing of this Act was substituted therein for the first day of January, 1924, where that date is mentioned in sub-section (1) of Section 1 and sub-section (1) of Section 2 of that Act.”

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment.” This is necessary as a result of the delay in the passing of the Bill. At present I have only power to postpone elections up to the end of this month. The Bill will not come into force by that time, and it will accordingly be necessary to have a certain length of time, a couple of months or so, in order to set up the machinery for the next Local Government elections. Accordingly it has been proposed that Local Government elections should be postponed until some time within two months of the passing of the Bill.

Mr. CONNOR HOGAN: Information on Conor Hogan  Zoom on Conor Hogan  Will the local councils function as heretofore during the two months after the passing of this Bill and before the elections? Nominally I understand that their lease of life expires on the 31st March next. Will they continue to function until April or May?

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Yes.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  I might make a suggestion to the Minister that the period be extended to three months to permit of the elections being held on the register that will come into force on the 1st June.

[994]Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  Would that extension allow it? It is a question whether if this Bill becomes law, say, by the 25th March, the register will be in force by the 1st June. I think that the suggestion of the Minister for Justice is better for another reason, that it is only two months after the passing of this Bill that the first signs of life and understanding will appear in the public as to what has been done by this Bill. It will take two months for the people really to wake up. Then we may have a month's real consideration of the problems that are being effected. I think it is quite desirable that more than two months after the passing of this Act should ensue, because unless the machinery is already well in hands I think it will hardly be thoroughly in tune within that two months, apart from the question that the Minister for Justice has raised.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I share Deputy Johnson's anxiety that the people should thoroughly understand everything that is in this Bill before they vote. I am sure that if they do, those candidates that are put up under the aegis of the Government Party will be returned in great numbers. But the main argument in favour of it is the argument adduced by the Minister for Justice. If we are limited to two months we will be in a position of having new councils elected perhaps within a couple of weeks of the coming into operation of the new register on the 1st June, and it would be a pity to have the elections on the old register when it would be so near the time when the new one would be available. Elections held on the new register would much better represent the views of the people. If we get three months I think we will be able to fix the date of the elections for about the 11th June. I think that that would be the best date, and that it would be much better from everybody's point of view to have the elections at that time.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  The Minister for Justice proposes to delete the word “two” and insert the word “three” instead, in the Seanad amendment.

[995]Mr. CONNOR HOGAN: Information on Conor Hogan  Zoom on Conor Hogan  We are overlooking, in speaking of an election in June, the fact that the Seanad, under the Constitution, has ample powers, should they disagree with some of the amendments that they have put up and should there be a deadlock, to postpone this Bill for nine months after it leaves this House. If you add to that the three months that is now proposed it would amount to a year. Of course this may be hypothetical, but the possibility is there. I do not think in a sense that this new amendment is a fair one. The point I see in it is this: It is not that I object to the elections coming a year hence, but I do make a strong protest against the continuance of the present local bodies. They have long outlived their mandate from the people, if they ever possessed a mandate, which I deny. They simply represent an antique system in administration and they have no longer the confidence of the people.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Do not be so hard on the farmers.

Mr. CONNOR HOGAN: Information on Conor Hogan  Zoom on Conor Hogan  There are very few farmers on those boards. In any case they are in a minority. If we give these councils another year of power what answer can we make to the people who protest against high rates and extravagance? The councils elected in 1920 normally should have gone out two years ago. Is it proposed that we should double their lives? There is just the possibility that we may do so, and I submit that we have no right to do it. I suggest that their authority should cease on 31st March next and that the Minister for Local Government should put a Commissioner in every county to administer its affairs. I make this appeal in the interest of the ratepayers, I make it in the interests of economical, efficient, clean and decent administration. I ask the House to turn down this proposal and that provision should be made for terminating the lease of life of these local authorities on 31st March.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Deputies raised a point as to what would happen if the Seanad by any chance hold up the Bill nine [996] months. In that case the elections would automatically take place on the 31st March, because the elections cannot be postponed beyond that date unless and until this Bill comes into operation. If this Bill never comes into operation the elections must automatically be held in March.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Question—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in the amendment as amended”—put and agreed to.

Amendment 101.—In Section 70 (1) (c), (ii) page 31, line 61, after the word “health” the following words inserted: “in such manner that units of cost for comparative and control purposes can be established.”

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 101.” The object of this amendment is to bring about a change in the systems of accounting in such a manner that units of cost for comparative and control purposes can be established.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  I do not know whether the Minister has considered the effect of this amendment. I suggest that it may mean that he has not power to issue orders regulating the accounts, audits, and annual estimates of boards of health, unless “in such manner that units of costs for comparative and control purposes can be established.” It may be his intention to alter the system of accounting. It may be very desirable that should be done, but I suggest it is not wise to limit the powers, as this amendment implies by inserting it. After all, it is a suggestion that any regulations respecting accounts that may be made by the Minister shall establish that units of cost for comparative and control purposes shall be made. That is a very good suggestion I have no doubt, but it seems to me if we put in this amendment the only kind of regulations he will make will be such as will do this—at least it limits him to a certain kind of accounting, and I question the wisdom of that in an Act.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I do not think this [997] amendment will make any change, because I intend to do that, and I have the power to do exactly what this amendment sets out I should do, when I bring in a new Procedure of Councils Order.

Question put and agreed to.

Amendment 102.—In Section 70 (1) (c) (iv), page 32, line 2, after paragraph (iv) a new paragraph (v) added as follows:—

“(v) the actions of county councils, rural district councils, urban district councils, boards of health, committees and officers during the period between the passing of this Act and the appointed day.”

Amendment 103.—Section 72, page 32, line 27, the figures “1924” deleted and the figures “1925” substituted therefor.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in these amendments.”

Question put and agreed to.

Amendment 104.—In the Second Schedule, page 32, Rule 2, a new Rule inserted as follows:—

“The members of the board of health shall be elected as follows:—

(a) for each county electoral area in the county health district one member of the board of health shall be elected from among the county councillors elected for that area;

(b) of the other members (in this rule called additional members) any group of county councillors comprising the necessary number of such councillors may nominate a councillor to be a member of the board of health, and such member shall be elected on such nomination without any voting;

(c) the remainder of the additional members shall be elected successively by a majority of the votes of the county councillors who are not members of any such group of county councillors as aforesaid;

(d) the number of councillors necessary to form a group for the purposes of this rule shall be the number obtained by dividing the [998] total number of county councillors present at the election by the number of additional members to be elected, or where the number so obtained is not a whole number, the whole number next greater than the number so obtained;

(e) no county councillor may be a member of more than one group.”

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 104.” This amendment was agreed to in principle in the Dáil. It was afterwards proposed in the Seanad. The object of it is to ensure first of all that on the board of health every electoral area shall be represented, and secondly that after that representation has been secured every party in the county council can also secure representation on the board of health if they have sufficient numbers to constitute a quorum under the rules of proportional representation. It really combines the two systems of elections, and I think that it meets the difficulty very well of trying to give two systems of representation, that is, representation according to party and representation according to area. There was a good deal of criticism about boards of health, that they would not be representative, and I think this is an effort, as far as it is humanly possible, to secure that these boards of health will be in every possible way representative.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  I would not like it to go forward that this is accepted as meeting the objections raised from these benches. I do not think it will ensure that the boards of health will have proper representation of the urban districts and local electoral areas. All it requires is that one member of the board of health shall be elected from the county council as from each electoral area. The others may form themselves into groups of various kinds—that is, groups of people, not local electoral groups or areas. The Minister has begun to speak of persons to be elected at the next county council elections representing his Party. He now speaks again of parties. That was not the suggestion [999] with regard to representation at all, but that the representatives of a locality should have some clear kind of supervision over the work of the boards of health in their localities. This does not at all ensure that that supervision shall be given to the local people, and I think it is a bad attempt to meet the objections that have been raised from this side.

Mr. GOREY: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Before this amendment is put I would like if the Minister would explain it more fully, particularly (b) and (c).

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Section (a) says:—

“The members of the board of health shall be elected as follows:—

(a) for each county electoral area in the county health district one member of the board of health shall be elected from among the county councillors elected for that area.”

Mr. GOREY: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  That is quite clear.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Yes. It means that every electoral area will have at least one representative on the board of health. (b) says:—

“of the other members (in this rule called additional members) any group of county councillors comprising the necessary number of such councillors may nominate a councillor to be a member of the board of health, and such member shall be elected on such nomination without any voting.”

(d) says:—

“the number of councillors necessary to form a group for the purposes of this rule shall be the number obtained by dividing the total number of county councillors present at the election by the number of additional members to be elected, or where the number so obtained is not a whole number, the whole number next greater than the number so obtained.”

It really is the same principle as proportional representation, but in order to illustrate it and make it clear I would want to have a blackboard here. It is not a thing that can be put into words clearly. In ensures that any [1000] group having a sufficiently large proportion will have representation on the Board.

Mr. GOREY: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  These groups will have the option of electing those who will be put up, and who will be elected without voting by the general body.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Yes. Each group would have the opportunity of electing one man. If they so desire they need not form a group.

Question put and agreed to.

Amendment 105.—In the Second Schedule, page 33, Rule 5, line 21, the word “council” deleted and the words “councillors present” substituted therefor.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment.”

Question put and agreed to.

Amendment 106.—In the Second Schedule, page 33, Rule 13, the following words added at the end of the Rule: “but where the casual vacancy is occasioned by a member of the board of health elected for an electoral area under paragraph (a) of Rule 2 of these Rules, the casual vacancy shall be filled from among county councillors elected in that electoral area.”

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 106.” The amendment is consequential on amendment 104.

Question put and agreed to.

Amendment 107.—In the Fourth Schedule, page 34, line 25, the word and figure “Part IV.” deleted, and the words and figures “Parts IV. and V.” substituted therefor.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment.” Part 5 of the Act of 1907 deals with boarding-houses, and this is quite properly made universal. The section is now being made compulsory. It deals with regulations as applied to boarding-houses, and it is a very necessary provision.

Question put and agreed to.

[1001] Amendment 108.—In the Seventh Schedule, page 37, the following words and figures inserted in the appropriate place in the Schedule: “61 and 62 Vic., c. 37. The Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898. Sub-section (2) of section 3.”

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment.”

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  Would the Minister explain what it means?

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Under the Act originally, provision was made to have two councillors co-opted by the county council. Under the present Act the county councils are being increased, and it is necessary to have this power of co-opting members. Accordingly that particular section is being deleted.

Question put and agreed to.

Amendment 109.—In the Seventh Schedule, page 37, the following words and figures inserted in the appropriate place in the schedule: “9 Edw. VII., c. 32. The Health Resorts and Watering-Places (Ireland) Act, 1909. The whole Act.”

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment.” It is consequential on amendment 89.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  On this point I would like to draw the Minister's attention to the effect of this section and of Section 89. There has been, perhaps, an omission in the introduction of this section. The powers in relation to advertising are confined to health resorts and pleasure resorts. Now it has been found desirable in other countries that places, believing they have advantages as industrial centres, should have power to advertise those advantages. That power is not given by this Act, and it is obviously an omission that, perhaps, cannot be remedied on this occasion. It is as well, however, to draw attention to it. We only give powers to local authorities to advertise their amenities as health and pleasure resorts, and not as industrial centres. When the Minister for Industry and Commerce finds himself with power to [1002] sell—I mean motive power—some of the centres might desire to advertise the fact that their place is specially fitted for this, that, or the other kind of industrial development. Under this Bill, however, no power is given to any local authority to do that.

I draw attention to this merely to illustrate the method you have adopted and are continuing to emphasise in this Bill, a method tending towards the cramping of the initiative of local authorities. We would have to get a special Act passed to allow a local authority to advertise its centre as an industrial centre. You have a special Act to allow a local authority to advertise itself as a health resort. You will have to have a new Act to allow it to advertise itself as a place where certain mineral deposits lie at hand, or where certain industrial facilities may be found.

Mr. HEWAT: Information on William Hewat  Zoom on William Hewat  Might it not be that the Minister looks forward to the possibility of making industrial districts into health resorts?

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  They say St. Helen's is the healthiest place in England.

Mr. GOREY: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  The bogs are as healthy a place as any.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—“That the Committee agree with the Seanad in the Title.”

Question put and agreed to.


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