IN COMMITTEE ON FINANCE. - LOCAL AUTHORITIES (OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES) BILL, 1926—THIRD STAGE.

Tuesday, 8 June 1926

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 16 No. 6

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[575]Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  Before we go on to the Sections, perhaps it would save some discussion if I were to say that, following upon the debate on Second Reading, I had an interview with the Minister on my own behalf and on behalf of one or two other Deputies who had put down amendments. Agreement was arrived at regarding the acceptance or modification of the amendments. The general lines of the amendments which I put forward were conceded by the Minister, and, subject to what might be called “minor alterations,” the proposals I put forward will not require to be moved.

(1) In this Act the expression “local authority” means and includes the following bodies and persons, that is to say:—

(a) the council of a county, county borough, borough, urban district, or rural district, a board of guardians, a port sanitary authority, and the commissioners of a town, and

(b) any body, persons, or person established or appointed by or under a statute to perform the functions or any of the functions of any such council, board, or commissioners, and

(c) a committee or joint committee of or appointed by any one or more of such councils, boards, commissioners, bodies, or persons.

MINISTER for LOCAL GOVERNMENT and PUBLIC HEALTH (Mr. Burke): Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move amendment 1:—

In sub-section (1), line 32, after paragraph (c) to insert a new paragraph as follows:—

“(d) a school attendance committee appointed under the School Attendance Act, 1926 (No. 17 of 1926).”

This is a drafting amendment. It was intended to insert it originally in the Bill, but, as the Compulsory [576] School Attendance Bill had not been passed into law at the time we could not introduce this particular clause. The amendment is now in order.

Amendment agreed to.

Question—“That Section 1, as amended, stand part of the Bill”— put and agreed to.

(1) In this Act the expression “office to which this Act applies” means and includes—

(a) the chief executive office under every local authority, and

(b) every office and every employment (not being an office or employment as a teacher) under a local authority the qualifications for which are wholly or in part professional or technical, and

(c) all such other offices and employments under a local authority as the Minister shall from time to time with the concurrence of the Commissioners declare to be offices to which this Act applies.

(2) Every question or dispute as to whether any particular office or employment is or is not an office to which this Act applies shall be decided by the Minister after consultation with the Commissioners and such decision shall be final and conclusive.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Amendment 2 stands in my name. It is as follows:—

“In sub-section (1) to delete paragraph (c), lines 11 to 14.”

The effect of this amendment is altered to some extent by the Minister's amendment later on in Section 6. Inasmuch as the Minister is conceding to the local authorities the right to make the appointment following a report from the Local Appointments Commissioners, I shall not move the amendment.

Amendment not moved.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  I move amendment 3, which stands in my name and [577] in the name of Deputy Baxter. The amendment is as follows:—

In sub-section (2) to delete all words from the word “decided,” line 17, to the end of the sub-section, and substitute the following words:—“by a committee consisting of a representative of the local authority, a representative of the commissioners, and a representative appointed by the Minister.”

The idea of this amendment is that the decision as to whether any office is an office to which this Act shall apply shall not lie with the Minister but shall lie with a committee to be appointed as suggested in my amendment—that is, a committee consisting of a representative of the local authority, a representative of the commissioners and a representative appointed by the Minister. This is a very reasonable amendment and I think it ought to be accepted by the Minister. The whole intention in this Bill as it stands is to concentrate the power with regard to appointments in the Local Appointments Commissioners and to concentrate all rights of sanction and all rights of decision in regard to the type of appointments which are to be filled, in the hands of the Minister. I want to give the local authority a voice in such matters.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I cannot agree to this amendment. Committees of this kind cannot be called together very easily. Many small cases will probably arise from time to time when sub-section (c) of Section 2 comes into operation. Moreover, a variable committee of this kind might give conflicting decisions in similar cases. Nobody would know what sort of decision to expect. One local authority might bring a particular type of official within the scope of the Bill and another local authority might not include such an official at all. If we could not get some kind of unity in the general working or administration of the Bill, it would be practically impossible to function at all. If the Deputy reconsiders the matter, I think he will see that his amendment would not work out in practice.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  In view of the amendments put down by the Minister, and in view of the power he is giving [578] to local authorities with regard to appointments, I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question—“That Sections 2, 3 and 4 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any enactment in force at the commencement of this Act, no local authority shall appoint any person to fill an office to which this Act applies save in so far as such appointment is authorised by this section.

(2) Whenever an office to which this Act applies becomes vacant the local authority with the consent of the Minister may within two months after such office becomes vacant appoint to such office any person who at the time when such office became vacant either—

(a) held a pensionable office under the said or any other local authority or any two or more local authorities the duties of which related to matters the same as or similar to the matters to which the duties of the vacant office relate, or

(b) was in receipt of an allowance from the said or any other local authority or any two or more local authorities in respect of his having ceased to hold an office under the said or any other local authority or any two or more local authorities the duties of which related to matters the same as or similar to the matters to which the duties of the vacant office relate.

(3) Every appointment made under the foregoing sub-section shall be subject to the sanction of the Minister.

(4) Whenever an office to which this Act applies becomes vacant the local authority, if satisfied that the circumstances of the case so require, may with the consent of the Minister appoint any person to fill such office temporarily, and every person so [579] appointed shall hold office until a person is appointed to such office under the provisions (other than this sub-section) of this Act or the expiration of six months from such office becoming vacant whichever first occurs.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move amendment 4:—

To delete sub-section (1).

The object of this amendment is to fall in with the wishes of Deputies Johnson, Baxter and Heffernan. There seemed to be considerable opposition to the idea of appointments being made by the Minister. It was urged that the initiative should be left in the hands of local authorities. It was necessary for us to cast the whole section in order to bring this about. This amendment is to be read in conjunction with the next amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move amendment 5:—

In sub-section (2), page 3, to delete lines 50 to 54 and substitute the following words:—

“(2) An appointment of a person to fill an office to which this Act applies may, subject to the sanction of the Minister, be made by a local authority without requesting or obtaining a recommendation from the Commissioners under the subsequent provisions of this Act if but only if the appointment is made within three months after such office became vacant or (in the case of an appointment to a new office) was created and the person so appointed is a person who at the time when such office became vacant or was created (as the case may be) either.”

This is an alternative to the present ub-section.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment 6 (in sub-section (2), ine 51, to delete the words “with the consent of the Minister”) not moved.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move amendment 7:—

To delete sub-section (3).

Amendment agreed to.

[580]Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move amendment 8:—

In sub-section (4), page 4, line 8, after the word “vacant” to insert the words “or (in the case of a new office) is created.”

This is purely a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment 9 (in sub-section 4, line 9, page 4, to delete the words “with the consent of the Minister”) not moved.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move amendment 10:—

In sub-section 4, page 4, line 9, after the word “appoint” to insert the words “and without requesting or obtaining a recommendation from the Commissioners under the subsequent provisions of this Act.”

Amendment agreed to.

Question—“That Section 5, as amended, stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

(1) When an office to which this Act applies becomes vacant, if the local authority does not within two months after such office becomes vacant appoint, with the sanction of the Minister and under and in accordance with the powers in that behalf conferred on them by this Act, a person to fill (otherwise than temporarily) such office, the Minister shall at the expiration of the said two months (unless in his opinion such office should not be filled) request the Commissioners to recommend to him a person for appointment to such office.

(2) On receiving such request as aforesaid from the Minister, the Commissioners shall select in accordance with this Act and recommend to the Minister one person for appointment to the said office, or shall, if they so think proper, select in accordance with this Act, and recommend to the Minister two or more persons for such appointment.

(3) On receiving from the Commissioners their recommendation [581] under this section, the Minister shall appoint to the said office the person recommended by the Commissioners, or, where more than one person is so recommended, such one of the persons so recommended as he shall think proper.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  In connection with amendment 11, a new form for Deputy Baxter's amendment (No. 15) was suggested, because, if the Minister's amendment was carried, Deputy Baxter's amendment could not come on later. I am taking the Minister's amendment and, instead of amendment 15, amendment 11 (a) by Deputy Baxter, which will give the same effect as the amendment on the paper later.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—

To delete sub-section (1) and substitute two new sub-sections as follows:—

“(1) Save as is otherwise authorised by this Act, every local authority shall, before making an appointment to an office to which this Act applies, request the Commissioners to recommend to them a person for appointment to such office.

(2) Whenever a local authority does not, within three months after an office to which this Act applies becomes vacant or (in the case of a new office) is created, either request the Commissioners to recommend to them a person for appointment to such office or make an appointment (other than a temporary appointment) to such office under and in accordance with a provision of this Act dispensing with such request, the Minister may on behalf of such local authority request the Commissioners to recommend to such local authority a person for appointment to such office.”

This amendment has been drafted to meet the views of Deputy Johnson and Deputy Baxter. The second part extends the time for the local authority to make an appointment from two to three months, and in case the local authority does not act within that time the amendment still preserves the power of the Minister to bring the [582] machinery of the Commission into operation.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  It is some satisfaction to see that the Minister recognises that his first intention, as set out in the Bill, would not prove satisfactory, and that the procedure was not such that he could very well stand over. Inasmuch as the Minister accepts the principle that appointment to an office under a local authority is to be made by that local authority, I am asking the Minister to agree to an amendment of his amendment which would enable the Commissioners, instead of recommending one person for an appointment—I might say flinging one person at the heads of the local authority and saying: “We will give you that man. Take him”—to send to the local authority “in their order of merit with the marks obtained a panel of candidates adjudged by them in accordance with Section 8 of this Act to have reached the standard of qualifications necessary to perform the duties of such office.” That amendment has to be taken in conjunction with Section 8, which states that the Commissioners are to make their selection by competitive examination, and it has also to be taken in conjunction with the fact that no appointment is made until the sanction of the Minister is obtained.

What would the position be under the Minister's amendment? You would have a competitive examination with, presumably, the candidate securing the highest marks coming first. The name of the candidate would be sent to the local authority who would have to appoint him. What would be the difference supposing the amendment I suggest is accepted by the Minister? I can see, even under my amendment, the possibility that the panel would contain only one name. I say that the panel shall be “of candidates adjudged by them (the Commissioners) in accordance with Section 8 of this Act”—and Section 8 makes for competitive examination—“to have reached the standard of qualifications necessary to perform the duties of such office.” It would lie with the Commissioners to adjudge whether or not candidates have shown that they possess [583] the standard of qualifications that would enable them to perform the duties of the office.

After deciding that, the names of those who have the qualifications would be put on a panel in their order of merit, and against their names would be put the marks secured at the examination. That would then be sent to the local authority. What position would the local authority be in then? The Minister's point is that in all cases the name of the individual securing the highest marks in a competitive examination should be sent to the local authority, who would have no alternative but to elect him. I suggest that there is a possibility that the local authority would still select the candidate getting the highest number of marks when they were given the names of two or three candidates, and I say that the possibilities of that are great. I confess that I can see very little reason why local authorities, given two, three or four names, with the marks obtained by each, would not select the candidate placed first on the list. There might be certain reasons why they would not.

There might be, for instance, a case where a candidate from Cavan would obtain the highest number of marks in an examination for a post in Cork, and I could then understand the position of the Cork County Council, when the gun of the Commissioners would be placed at their heads, and they would say: “You must take this Cavan man, regardless of the fact that two or three Cork men who sat for the examination were only a couple of marks behind.” Undoubtedly the Commissioners would have no alternative but to place the name of the best candidate at the examination before the local authority, regardless altogether of local circumstances. I think that that would be expecting a little too much from a local authority, and I consider that some discretion should be given where the difference in the qualifications of candidates is very small.

The case cannot be made out that a very grave injustice would be done if a local authority elected an individual [584] who was second of a number of candidates and who might be a few marks under the first. The possibilities would be that the individual coming second would, with experience, perform the duties with almost the same efficiency as the man who beat him by, perhaps, five or ten marks. You must also take into account the fact that that individual would be a native of the county, with local claims, and also the fact that on local bodies there are, as there are members of the Dáil, men of considerable experience of affairs, men who are just as anxious to have efficiency in local administration as the Minister, or any other Minister. You must also take into account that the decisions of those local authorities are taken openly in public in the presence of the Press, and that every ratepayer in the county will read what the opinion of every individual is, in the decision that is taken.

The position is different, and very different, indeed, from that of the Minister. He receives from the Commissioners the name of the best of a number of candidates, and he must appoint that one, if he is to make any appointment at all. He takes his action behind closed doors. The position of the local authorities is very different. A local authority consists of thirty or forty individuals scattered over a big area, who have to take the consequence of their actions in local administration. If there is a case, and there may be a case, where out of two, three or four names, submitted to the local authority on a panel, the first on the list transcends in ability any other of the candidates at the examination by a considerable number of points, and that in spite of that fact the local authority proceeds to elect an individual lower down on the panel, a great number of marks below the man placed first, the Minister still has his power. He need not sanction that appointment. We know that at present the Minister is refusing to sanction appointments in different counties for various reasons; he has held up and prevented local authorities making appointments in some cases. These powers exist to-day without any of the powers sought under this Bill.

[585] If the Minister refuses sanction to the appointment of an individual who has not, by long odds, claims as good as another individual who is, also, a candidate, and if he refuses sanction for that reason, he will have numbers of people, who want honest administration, behind him. I suggest to the Minister that he would do well to trust to that spirit of fair-play and the desire, on the part of honest people, in every county, to see that the best men are put in charge of the administration of affairs. It would be just as successful, and, perhaps, more successful, than the position he would place the local authorities in, of having the Commissioners flinging one man at the head of a local authority, saying, “Take him or leave him,” and if they did not take him, making no appointment.

The Minister has gone a certain distance to meet us and I suggest that what we ask now is not too much. It will give him effective administration, and will give him the same power and authority as he is seeking under this Bill. He may not sanction, nor should he sanction an appointment in any case where the local authorities have committed a glaring injustice by appointing an individual who is obviously not nearly as capable as another who is a candidate for the position, and when the Minister holds that power in his hands I think it is really all he wants.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  I wish to oppose this amendment of Deputy Baxter. I do not think he has made any case for it at all. Deputy Baxter said in effect it was too much to expect a local authority to appoint the best man. His whole argument for the amendment is that we should give the local authority the right to appoint the worst man. That is his whole case. I have certain objections to this Bill, as introduced, but I must say the Minister has gone a long way to improve it. But I think the whole effect of the Bill would be killed if this amendment were carried. We know, if an appointment is to be made, and if it is a question of sending down a panel of four or five names——

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  After a competitive examination?

[586]Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Yes, after a competitive examination. But supposing that the man highest on the panel, away altogether above the others, is a workman's son, and the other four are farmers' sons or shopkeepers' sons, the farmers and the shopkeepers being very much in the majority on the county councils, does anyone think that the workman's son is going to get the appointment?

Mr. WILSON: Information on Richard Wilson  Zoom on Richard Wilson  Yes.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Oh, no, he will not. If he does there is no necessity for Deputy Baxter's amendment.

Mr. WILSON: Information on Richard Wilson  Zoom on Richard Wilson  But he might come from Cork.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  He might be from Cork, but you cannot have it both ways. If Cork men, according to Deputy Wilson, are all in the Civil Service, they will not be looking for work on public boards. It seems to me that if the county councils, and other local bodies, are going to appoint the best men there is no necessity for this amendment. If this amendment were carried it would merely leave it open to the local bodies to appoint the worst men, and on these grounds I shall have to oppose it.

Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  On the Second Reading of this Bill I objected to the panel system because I believe it would work out as Deputy Morrissey has said. I think the amendment proposed by Deputy Baxter is impracticable. It would have the deterrent effect of preventing men reading for a competitive examination unless there was an assurance that would they get first place and prove themselves the best on the list of candidates. In any other circumstances I believe men would not go for the examinations. As to the argument about a man being appointed for his native county, I think it is a distinct disadvantage for any man to discharge public duties in his native county. As I am one of those people who in this House possess all the frailties of human nature I can speak with some experience. I worked in my native county [587] and considered it no advantage. I had innumerable friends, and they expected from me that in the discharge of my duties I would treat them nicely. That I considered a great disadvantage, and I believe every Deputy should consider it as a disadvantage. If a Cavan man should get a position in Cork, what about it? Why should there be any boundaries for Irishmen? If a Cork man gets a job in Cavan, again I ask what about it? Is he not entitled to it if he is the best man? It would be better, sooner than this amendment, which would vitiate the whole scheme, should pass, that a man, when he comes up as candidate for a position, should get so many marks because he was a native of his own county. I hope the committee will reject the amendment.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  I very often have to oppose the Minister, but on this occasion I must defend the Minister's proposal against Deputy Baxter. I think Deputy Baxter has not appreciated the important changes that have been wrought in the Bill by the amendments set down. Radical changes have taken place in the Bill, and one of these changes makes the proposition of the Deputy quite unnecessary and, I think, undesirable. The Local Appointments Commissioners will henceforth, under the new scheme of the Bill, be the agents of the local authority, not as originally proposed, the agents of the Minister. The local authorities will have handed over the right to select the person or the official whom they are seeking. Unless there is one outstanding person—or shall I put it the other way—when there is one outstanding person the Local Appointments Commission will send down the name of that person. The local authority will ask for the name of the person, and it will then depend upon the discretion of the Local Appointments Commission that is still retained in what was Section 7 (2), who will have the discretion of sending down more than one name if they so desire. That is to say, unless there is one man outstanding it will be in their discretion to send down two or more [588] names from whom the local authority will make its choice.

The distinction between Deputy Baxter's proposal and the proposal in the Bill is that the Local Appointments Commission must send down more than one name. Now, an illustration was given on the last occasion, and I think it is as well to bear it in mind, because it is particularly effective in respect of this argument of the dispensary doctor. The dispensary doctor will have been, by virtue of his qualifications as a doctor, a qualified person. Whether it is contemplated that such an officer would have to undergo a competitive examination of a distinctive kind I am uncertain. But the dispensary doctors will almost necessarily be local men, and in that way, I think the evil which has been complained about as existing in some parts of the country would not be removed at all if the panel were to consist of local men. If the panel were necessarily drawn from all parts of the country there might not be much harm in it.

But where the panel might be drawn from the locality, as it may well be in a number of cases, where the salary is not a high one, and where it obviously fits the case for the local residents, the evils which have been complained about, and which, as I say, are necessarily in existence in some parts of the country, would still remain. The canvassing and perhaps the bribery would still exist, and no change in that respect would have taken place. Now, I think the Deputy must bear in mind, in considering the proposal put forward, that there is a distinct change in the relation between the local authority and the Local Appointments Commission, and that that Commission will be acting on behalf of the local authority in making a selection. For that reason I think the proposal of the Deputy is not an improvement, and the proposal of the Minister is vastly superior.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I cannot understand Deputy Morrissey at all. Deputy Johnson makes the point that the changes the Minister has brought about by his suggested amendments are of such a character that now the Local Appointments Commission, being the [589] servants of the local authority, will do this work of final selection that I urge the local authority should be in a position to do. How is this body or board of commissioners to be constituted? Are any of them to belong to the locality and the district where the candidates are to come from? What will be their policy to secure information as to the capacity of every individual candidate, and the character of every individual? How will they ascertain all those things that are known locally about every individual who is a candidate for any post under a local authority, as dealt with under this Bill? Henceforth we are conceding that every appointment that is to be made by any local authority, must come within the scope and work of this Commission. Each rate collector, each rent collector, each official such as the Home Assistance officer is to be appointed by the Local Appointments Commission. Let Deputy Johnson understand that.

The final selection for every one of these positions that are to be filled is to be in the hands of the Local Appointments Commission. I urge honestly and candidly that I cannot see how any body of commissioners may be found competent to make a final selection in cases where the difference in a competitive examination or selection may be but a few points—two, three, four or five points, perhaps. I am confident that the local authorities will be more competent because of local information to take a final decision and a sensible decision that any Local Appointments Commissioners that you are going to set up under this Bill. It is right for Deputy Dr. Hennessy to urge his point of view. Deputy Hennessy, I have no doubt, has in mind the selection of the officer for such a position as the county medical officer of health, and one or two other such important posts as that. These important posts are very few, and no doubt everyone will urge that the best possible man should be selected for these posts. But a number of other posts will be filled in a similar manner.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  The Deputy objects to the filling of the lower posts in [590] that way. Why not have the test for lower posts?

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Let Deputy Morrissey imagine how a board of commissioners who are to make a final selection for a local authority down in Tipperary, could point out to the men there, the most competent man to be appointed as, say, rate collector, from thirty applicants.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  The Deputy agrees, as he says, that the Local Appointments Commissioners can appoint the best man for the position of county medical officer of health. If that is so, why should not the same body be able to find out who is the best man to be appointed rate collector?

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  That is an indication of Deputy Morrissey's idea as to the responsibility of the two posts when he compares the county medical officer of health with the rate collector. I trust that the Deputy's interpretation of the work that the county medical officer of health has to perform is not what one would gather from his statement. The men who are to be eligible as medical officers of health in any county are, in numbers, few. The numbers of very competent people will be limited. Not alone would the Local Appointments Commissioners have little difficulty in arriving at a decision, but ordinary individuals in the country would have very little difficulty in arriving at a decision, because certain qualifications are necessary, and people with less qualifications should not be appointed to these posts. The work of the selection board in such a matter as that is very light, indeed. It is when they come down to making the smaller appointments, greater in number, but in importance much less, that the difficulties arise for the Commissioners to select the best man. I do strongly hold that it is going to be difficult for them to select the best man. They will make appointments, and the best man will not be selected, and everybody locally will know that the best man was not selected by the Local Appointments Commissioners, and when they fail to [591] select the best man for a small post they will fail, not through want of ability, but through want of local knowledge.

Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  The Civic Guards and local clergy will supply that.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  There you are again; that is bringing us down to the very thing that I was trying to get at. The Local Appointments Commissioners will have to go round the district, and wires will be pulled. Are we to have the local clergy and the Gárda Síochána and the T.D.'s giving their opinion to the Commissioners as to the merits of these individuals? We know very well that a good many things can be said about candidates which one would not like to shout about in the light of day—things that would influence the Commissioners in making a decision. That is the difficulty that will face these Commissioners. They will have to obtain information locally, unless they are composed of a type of individual which I hope is not going to be brought in to do this work. For small appointments, local information is absolutely necessary if the best men are going to be put into these positions. As to the best men, there are other considerations that must weigh with the the people who are making the appointment other than their mere ability to make a show at an examination which may be part of the test. Commissioners cannot get local information that will enable them to make a decision that they can stand over and that can stand the test. When they have made a few appointments and when the public know that the men appointed are not the best men to fill the posts you are going to put the Local Appointments Commissioners in a very difficult position in filling such posts as that of the secretary of the local county council or the medical officer for health.

Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Supposing a Cork man is put in a very outstanding position by the Commissioners, how are the Cavan Board to find out all about him locally? The Deputy is [592] working all the time for a local selection.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  It is very evident that Deputy Dr. Hennessy has in mind the appointment of individuals to one or two particular posts. Deputy Dr. Hennessy is, I suggest, very strongly influenced all the time by appointments to such positions as county medical officer of health or similar appointments. I am trying to urge that the number of local appointments to be made will outnumber by six or seven to one the number of those important posts to be filled. Neither Deputy Dr. Hennessy nor anyone else is going to argue that for every post such as that of home assistance officer, rate collector, rent collector and so on men are going to be taken from one county and brought to another county to do the work. That is not so, or at least I hope not. Economically it would not be possible to get men in that way. That matter has to be taken into account in passing this measure. We are providing that all appointments are to be filled in accordance with this Bill when it becomes an Act—appointments big and small, important and less important. I urge that the ability of any commission set up to do this work is limited, and that the measure of success which they will attain will be limited.

They will not get the best men and three-fourths of the local people will know that the individual who was recommended to them is not as capable as others who were applicants for the post. They will have no alternative but to take that man, but that fact will undoubtedly mean a want of confidence in the ability of the Local Appointments Commissioners, and when a more important appointment has to be made the fact that the local people will know that previously the best selection was not made will weigh heavily in the balance against any recommendations that the Commissioners may make. The Bill is aimed at getting the best men for important posts. and if the Dáil is not going to prejudice the position by asking the Local Commissioners to do something which, because of the personnel [593] of the Commission, they will be incapable of doing, I urge that you do what we are asking in this amendment. On the other hand, the Minister will have all safeguards for getting the very best men, and by the very best men I mean and agree that we have in mind the very best men for the very important appointments. No local authority can stand up against the recommendations of the Local Appointments Commissioners when they declare definitely the man who, in their opinion, in order of merit is most capable for the post. I urge that if a man less fitted is appointed by the local authority, the sympathy of every individual who wants clean administration will be with the Minister if he takes action to prevent a man getting a post who is inferior to any other candidate.

Mr. D'ALTON: Information on Louis Joseph Dalton  Zoom on Louis Joseph Dalton  I am very pleased the Deputy has brought forward this amendment. I am opposed to the Bill on principle. I believe that local affairs can best be managed by local boards. I believe, however, that where local boards have not done their duty to the public, to the people who sent them there and to the people whose interests have been placed in their charge, these boards should be dissolved and a Commissioner appointed. I believe that all appointments should rest finally in the hands of the Minister for Local Government. Believing that, I want to have clean administration, but by the local boards and not by an authority outside the local boards. I do not want any outside authority to be in the position to tell members of local boards: “You are not qualified because under certain councils and certain boards appointments have been made that should not have been made.” I want to see in future that only qualified persons will be appointed to any position.

Deputy Baxter's amendment makes clear what he is aiming at. In the first instance, he is anxious that those who will be appointed to any position will be qualified. He wants it definitely understood that any names that go forward to the Local Commissioners, the Local Government Department, the Minister, or any authority that will [594] have power to select candidates for any position will be the names of qualified persons only. I think every Deputy is in absolute agreement with that. Deputy Baxter points out that where you have two or three candidates of almost equal merit, all of them qualified, applying for a position, the appointment should be left to the local body.

I maintain that those who seek a certain position should be fully qualified. They should be able to pass a certain examination and, what is of equal importance, and it is a matter I am afraid we have lost sight of, they should have gained knowledge through experience. I am aware of certain men who could not pass an examination as well as others but who are nevertheless fully qualified for the work. It may happen that others with whom they are competing have been through their school course later and may have a better knowledge of the subjects put up at the examination; but when it comes to actual work the man who has gained experience can do much better. I have seen men who had practical experience doing far better and far more efficient work for their councils. They had a full knowledge of the work they were expected to do, but they were not able to go through an examination as well as others who, though they might pass the examination, had very little practical experience.

If you have two or three candidates going forward fully qualified and possessing equal merits, the final selection should, in my opinion, be left with the local boards. Of course if you have one candidate of outstanding ability, I say that candidate should be selected irrespective of whether he comes from Cavan or Cork. I do not think Deputy Baxter's amendment asks for anything else.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  You cannot ensure that under the Deputy's amendment.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Have you not the right of sanction? Are you not at present engaged turning down the appointment of a medical officer in Monaghan for the second time? Did you not refuse to sanction him because he has not the qualifications? Have you not these powers under this Bill?

[595]Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I have not the power to insist on the appointment of a man 100 per cent. better qualified than another man.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Have you not the right to refuse sanction if you consider a man is 100 per cent. lower than another?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That has nothing to do with the subject matter under discussion.

Mr. D'ALTON: Information on Louis Joseph Dalton  Zoom on Louis Joseph Dalton  The Minister says he has not power to choose between candidates. What is the value of the examination if an inferior man is going to be allowed through? Why should a man of superior qualifications and superior merit and fitness for the post be put aside to make way for an inferior man? I cannot read anything like that in Deputy Baxter's amendment. The Deputy does not ask for a man who is not qualified for the post he seeks. The Deputy is perfectly clear on that; he does not want a man of experience to be put aside for a man of inferior merit who has just managed to scrape through the examination. Deputy Baxter is anxious that when candidates of equal merit are put forward the local authorities should be given the chance of making a selection, particularly where there is a panel of local men sufficiently qualified to fill the post. The Deputy certainly does not approve of the selection of a man very much inferior to the other candidates, simply because he may have sufficient support or influence.

When names of candidates come before local authorities it is not fair to suggest that the local representatives will choose an inferior man because he happens to come from the district, and turn down a superior man. I know councils on which the very opposite has occurred. I know boards of health that have suggested to the Local Government Department that no medical officer should be appointed to a dispensary district unless he had spent at least three months, and preferably six months, in a maternity hospital dealing with cases of midwifery, [596] which is one of the most important matters in a dispensary district. That suggestion went from two boards of health. A good many statements have been made against boards of health. I know of cases where they turned down nurses, even though they were local nurses, because their qualifications were not the highest, and they appointed instead nurses who had the highest qualifications and who were recommended by various doctors and by hospitals where they had served.

It should be put up to public boards in this country that they ought to make their administration perfectly clean, and they should be asked to choose a fully-qualified person from the panel of candidates sent down. If it is only a question of degree between two or three candidates of equal merit it should be left to the local authority to make a selection, subject to the sanction of the Minister. As regards the question of rate collectorships, the important point touches on the matter of sureties. Any rate collector who is not known locally and who has not solvent sureties will certainly not be selected by any county council. Generally, a local man is selected because people of position and property will guarantee him for the collection of the rates. It is, I think, a position that might well be dispensed with at the present time because rate collectors are a body which in my opinion, should not be in the country.

Mr. WILSON: Information on Richard Wilson  Zoom on Richard Wilson  There should be no rates.

Mr. D'ALTON: Information on Louis Joseph Dalton  Zoom on Louis Joseph Dalton  I think rates should be collected just the same as land annuities are collected. I am prepared to support Deputy Baxter's amendment, and I strongly recommend it to the Committee. I think the Deputy's viewpoint has not been sufficiently considered by some Deputies.

Major COOPER: Information on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Zoom on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Not for the first time do I disagree with Deputy D'Alton. I do not disagree with him on the ground of mistrusting the local authority. I think it is to some extent a misfortune that in the earlier discussion of this measure too much was [597] said about the jobbery and nepotism of local authorities. Such cases have existed—more, I think, of nepotism and jobbery; more of a desire to do a good turn for the son of a friend than of a desire to reap personal advantage. There are, I think, exceptions to the rule, and I would not justify this measure on arguments of that kind. I do justify it on the argument that there is a big idea behind the measure which I think opponents of it have not fully realised; that is, a desire to build up a local government civil service.

I am not going to argue the question of rate collectors. It might be very difficult to make rate collectors civil servants. There may be some grounds for an exception there. But the broad principle that a man entering the employment of a local authority should feel that he is putting his feet on the bottom rung of a ladder which may lead him to great advantages, is, I am quite convinced, a sound principle. At present the trouble in this country is that there are too many small local authorities that cannot pay high enough salaries to get a good man, and yet when a man enters into the employment of a small urban district council he is in a blind alley; he goes in as a young man at a small salary and he continues for forty years very possibly still at the same small salary, with slight increments, getting steadily less efficient as he goes on. That sort of prospect does not attract the best men whom you want to get for local service.

You want to try to create a situation in which an ambitious young man will take a very small job in the office of a county council or some higher job in the office of an urban district council, believing that it is going to lead him to promotion. That can only be done by permitting an interchange of officials between the different authorities, and the only co-ordinating body that can do that is the Department of Local Government. If I have a quarrel with this Bill it is that it does not go far enough. I would like to see competent officials of local authorities brought into the Department of Local Government to serve there for a term of three or four years and to become acquainted with the different aspects [598] of the problem of local government, and then go back to become secretaries of county councils and so on. I believe that would promote greater efficiency than even this Bill will as it is.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  May I suggest to the Deputy that we are not discussing the principle of the Bill?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I was expecting the Deputy to come to the amendment.

Major COOPER: Information on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Zoom on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  The Deputy is in some doubt as to which amendment is under discussion. There are three of them. However, I am grateful to the Minister for Justice that he did not interrupt earlier.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  I do not know whether the Deputy has spoken on the Second Reading, but he has certainly delivered a speech now on the general principle of the Bill.

Major COOPER: Information on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Zoom on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  It appears to me that the general principles of the Bill are covered by the amendments. The whole question of the Bill is raised by the amendments under discussion.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  The amendment under discussion is one brought forward by the Minister— Amendment No. 11. Deputy Baxter has another amendment—Amendment No. 15—which, in the form in which it appears on the paper would not be possible, if the Minister's amendment were carried. Therefore, we are discussing the amendment by Deputy Baxter in a slightly different form to the Minister's proposed new sub-section.

Major COOPER: Information on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Zoom on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Except for a slight digression I have been arguing that the Minister ought to deal with these appointments, and not the local authorities. That is a question that arises on Deputy Baxter's amendment.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Not at all.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Perhaps if the Deputy reads the amendment he will know where he is.

Major COOPER: Information on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Zoom on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  I have. It reads: [599]“To delete the word ‘Minister,’ and substitute ‘local authority.’”

Mr. WILSON: Information on Richard Wilson  Zoom on Richard Wilson  That is not it.

Major COOPER: Information on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Zoom on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  I have not received the Stop Press amendment. There has obviously been some failure to supply me with it.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  It is Amendment 15.

Major COOPER: Information on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Zoom on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  In that case I will accept the correction of the Minister for Justice, having said what I wanted to say.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I thought when Deputy Baxter was rising a second time that he was going to withdraw this amendment. I think he would have done credit to himself and to the House if he had carried through what appeared to be his intention when he was getting up. Even Deputy Baxter was not able to make any serious case for this amendment. It seems to me that there are two ways whereby we can get a suitable person to fill these appointments under local authorities—either by competitive examination or by a selection board. If competitive examination is the proper system to adopt, I do not see what benefit is going to accrue from submitting the results of that examination to what is probably the worst qualified body you could select to decide the final results—the members of the local authority.

If it is a case for a selection board, if a competitive examination will not give the best results, then we should try to get a body who will be as far removed from all local influences as possible, and that body can only be selected by a body constituted such as the Civil Service Commissioners, who are not subject to any local influences whatsoever. Deputy Baxter mentioned the fact that it would be only fair, in cases where there were two candidates who were nearly of equal merit, one of whom happened to be a native of the county where the appointment was being made, and the other happened to be from another county, that the native should get the position. I have a certain amount of sympathy with that view, but provision is made [600] in the Bill for restricting examination to natives of a particular county if it is considered desirable.

There is also a provision in the Bill, where there are several candidates of equal merit, to submit these names to the local council. The only difference between Deputy Baxter and myself on this point is that Deputy Baxter insists on sending a panel down to the local authorities even though you might have one man one hundred per cent. efficient and another man only fifty per cent., whereas under my sub-section to Section 6 it is not obligatory on the local appointments commissioners to send more than one name unless there are two or three candidates of almost equal merit. The only purpose served by Deputy Baxter's amendment is to limit the number of unsuitable candidates going forward for the position, and in the case of a corrupt council it may possibly mean that a man may not have to pay so much for the appointment.

In cases of nepotism, of course it will limit that to some extent, but I might say that the intention of the Bill, as drafted, was to close the door on jobbery and all the abuses we are trying to stamp out. The only effect of Deputy Baxter's amendment would be to open the half-door. It may not open the door to all these abuses, but it would certainly let in a great number of them. Until the Deputy has something stronger to urge than anything he has so far brought forward I think he will get very little support.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  I think the Minister must have a very bad idea of local councils, and I think the local councils will not thank him for the reputation he has given them here to-day. A lot has been said about local councils—that there is a great deal of corruption and nepotism—and a great many of these things are not true. The greater number of the councils have been above suspicion in this regard. Many of the appointments made by the local councils have been suitable appointments, and the men appointed have filled their offices and justified their appointment thoroughly.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  On a point of order, [601] have I, or has any other Deputy, suggested that they have not?

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  My view of the amendment of Deputy Baxter is that it is the keystone of the Bill, and the whole principle of the Bill depends on the acceptance or the non-acceptance of that amendment. The Minister has put down a lot of amendments. He has made the Bill to appear as if he had done a lot to meet our point of view, whereas in actual practice he has not met our point of view at all. He simply prevents the intervention of the Minister between the local authorities and the Local Appointments Commission. It simply means that, as the Bill stands, if the Minister's amendments are accepted, the local authorities will have the right to appeal directly to the Appointments Commissioners to make the appointment, but the Minister's sanction is still retained and to all intents and purposes the change he has made is simply a nominal change. It certainly gives local authorities no more real power in the future than they would have under the Bill as it originally stood.

I look at this Bill from a point of view that has not been mentioned so far, namely, the lack of confidence which the Minister's amendment, if passed, suggests in regard to local authorities. We are attempting to build up a new system of local government, and counties are being practically run by county councils composed of a limited body of men who are called upon to do a great deal of work. This Bill brought in by the Minister proposes to take from these men the only authority they have, and the only thing that suggests that we have confidence in their integrity and ability. Now it is to be understood, according to this Bill, that they are only to be authorised to do work in which the question of their integrity does not arise, but that, where the question of their integrity or honesty arises, we have no confidence in them. We talk a lot about the possibilities of corruption and nepotism, but have we any guarantee that the Local Appointments Commissioners will be absolutely free from all suspicion, and that they cannot be got at? Is there not a possibility that men may get on these [602] Local Appointments Committees who will not be above suspicion, or that future Governments may not be as pure as the present Government?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  That is the truest word you said.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  Or that some future Government may not appoint their own henchmen, or some future Minister for Local Government appoint his own henchmen, under this Bill?

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  We have no power to appoint anyone under this.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  Well, the Executive Council, acting on the Minister's advice, will appoint. I want to say that as our public boards are constituted at present it would be a difficult thing to bribe, say, the majority of the thirty-five men in South Tipperary, but it might be a comparatively easy thing to bribe two out of three of the Commissioners appointed by the Executive Council. I am not one of those who have implicit confidence in competitive examinations, and I think you are riding this competitive examination horse to death. I hold, as regards appointments under the local boards, that the method of competitive examination is not really the best selection you can make. It can only be a part of the selection when we want to make appointments. Take, for instance, such appointments as secretaries to county councils and officials employed in the county council offices, such as accountants, and such officials as rate collectors and home assistance officers. These are the kind of appointments to which, in nearly all cases, senior men would be appointed—men fairly well advanced in life. Some of the necessary qualifications for one of these appointments would be experience of life, a knowledge of the people, local reputation, administrative ability, and who is in a better position to judge these qualities than the members of the local authorities?

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Selection Boards.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  The Minister says that the local authority would be the worst qualified body to select such [603] men. I say that the local authority is the best qualified body and the only body to do that. You have three men forming a Selection Board which sits in Dublin. You have an examination, forsooth, for the position of rate collector. In itself, it is a ridiculous idea to have an examination for the position of rate collector because the actual literary knowledge required for such a position is not of a very high standard. There are other characteristics required for the position which must be given very serious consideration, such as qualities of integrity and reliability in regard to money matters. Who could know these things better than the members of the local authority, the people in touch with the man and his family for years?

Instead of leaving the appointment to the local authority you send the candidate before the Selection Board. I defy any Selection Board to find out by means of a short interview if a man has the qualities that are required for filling a position of that kind. You may ask him a number of questions about subjects with which he is not very well acquainted. You may ask him, as I heard one Deputy say: “Do you play golf?” Perhaps the man never played golf and knows nothing about the game. You may ask him about many things as to which he knows nothing, but he may know about things that the Selection Board would never ask him. As Deputy Wilson reminds me, he may be able to collect money, which is the number one qualification for a rate collector. We are not asking, as the Minister knows, that the whole authority for the appointment be left in the hands of the local authority. We are asking that a competitive examination be held and that the Minister should look at this from the common-sense point of view. We are not going to ask that the Minister would sanction any man who gets 50 per cent., while another man gets 100 per cent. The fact of the local authorities appointing the man getting the 50 per cent. marks, in view of the fact that the results of the examination would be published, would be a full justification for the Minister appointing [604] the man who got the higher marks as against the man who got the 50 per cent. marks.

That is not what would happen in actual practice. You will have one candidate getting 70, another 68, another 67 marks, and so on. When a return of that kind is submitted to the local authorities they will be the proper people, in view of their knowledge of the candidates, to make the selection, and they are the only men in the position to make the selection. The Minister has always the right of sanctioning or refusing sanction to an appointment, and if he refuses to sanction an appointment he would be justified in the court of public opinion if he is supported by the results of the examination in refusing sanction.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Who is going to make the appointments?

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  The local authority. The Minister gave us the ridiculous example of one man getting 100 per cent. more than another. Of course that is a thing that could not happen. A great deal of capital has been made by Deputy Dr. Hennessy with regard to appointments by county councils of candidates in their native counties. I think there is very little in that, and that most of the appointments by local bodies have been made from men who are natives of the county, and who has a better right to get an appointment than a native if he is fully qualified? The work of the local authorities has been well done in most cases, and I think the Minister will not deny that. The Minister, in my opinion, is not justified in adhering to his amendment, and I think the Dáil ought to support Deputy Baxter's amendment.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Might I ask the Minister a question? The Minister is vague in his statement with regard to the appointment of Commissioners. Will he give us some information as to what he contemplates would happen with regard to the making of appointments? What is to be the constitution of the body who is to make the recommendations for appointments to any of the posts mentioned by myself or [605] Deputy Heffernan—rate-collectors, motor-tax collectors, home-assistance officers? I ask the Minister to get his mind down to the actual making of these appointments by the Commissioners, and tell us what would happen. Will the Minister tell us how these Commissioners are to get reliable information so as to make it certain that they are the most competent body to make the final selection to one of these smaller posts?

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  With regard to the cases mentioned, none of these officials comes under the Bill as it stands.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  None of them?

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  None of those you mentioned. They may come under sub-section (c). Some of them probably will never come under it.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I want to be clear on this. I am not satisfied with the Minister's statement that they may not come under the Bill. I have in mind a case in a neighbouring county where an appointment was to be made, and there was no reference whatever to the Civil Service Commission, or any other commission, though this was an appointment to the highest administrative post in that county. There was no reference to a commission or selection board until there was another appointment to be made to an inferior position [606] later on, and then there was a reference to the Civil Service Commission. That is a post that is not specifically mentioned in this Bill. I recognise that immediately this Bill passes you will have one body in a county asking for a competitive examination. When they come along, will these Commissioners refuse to make their recommendation? If called on to act, how are they going to act? The Minister must justify everything in the Bill.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  You are reading things into the Bill that are not in it. It will be a question for the Minister, the local authority and the Commissioners, to decide what class of officers are coming under the Bill, and naturally they are not going to concern themselves with roadworkers and people of that kind. As I said on the Second Reading of the Bill, I cannot say how far its scope will extend at the outset, but at present it includes only two classes who come under sub-sections (a) and (b). The Civil Service Commissioners will have all the information of all the departments of the Government at their disposal in coming to decisions with regard to any candidate.

Deputy Baxter's amendment (11a) to the Minister's amendment (No. 11) put.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  took the Chair.

The Committee divided. Tá, 12; Níl, 52.

Pádraig Baxter.
John Conlan.
Louis J. D'Alton.
Séamus Mac Cosgair.
Patrick McKenna.
Risteárd Mac Liam.
Patrick J. Mulvany.
Criostóir O Broin.
Mícheál O Dubhghaill.
Seán O Duinnín.
Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
Nicholas Wall.

Earnán de Blaghd.
Thomas Bolger.
Séamus Breathnach.
Próinsias Bulfin.
Séamus de Búrca.
Máighréad Ní Choileáin Bean Uí Dhrisceóil.
Séamus Eabhróid.
Osmond Grattan Esmonde.
Desmond Fitzgerald.
David Hall.
Thomas Hennessy.
John Hennigan.
Patrick Leonard.
Seosamh Mac a' Bhrighde.
Liam Mac Cosgair. [607]Tomás O Conaill.
Parthalán O Conchubhair.
Aodh O Cúlacháin.
Liam O Daimhín.
Eoghan O Dochartaigh.
Séamus O Dóláin.
Eamon O Dubhghaill.
Peadar O Dubhghaill.
Eamon O Dúgáin.
Séamus O Leadáin.
Fionán O Loingsigh.
Seán MacCurtain.
Tomás Mac Eoin.
Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
Risteárd Mac Fheorais.
Patrick McGilligan.
Eoin Mac Néill. Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
Liam Mac Sioghaird.
Liam Mag Aonghusa.
Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
Tomás de Nógla.
William Norton.
Peadar O hAodha.
Mícheál O hAonghusa.
Ailfrid O Broin.
Seán O Bruadair. [608]Risteárd O Maolchatha.
Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
Tadhg O Murchadha.
Séamus O Murchadha.
Máirtín O Rodaigh.
Seán O Súilleabháin.
Mícheál O Tighearnaigh.
Caoimhghín I hUigín.
Seán Príomhdhall.
Liam Thrift.

Amendment declared lost.

Amendment 11 put and agreed to.

Amendment 12—In sub-section (1) to delete all after the word “office” in line 20 and substitute the words “the local authority shall at the expiration of the said two months (unless in the opinion of the Minister such office should not be filled) request the Commissioners to recommend to it a person for appointment to such office.” (Tomás MacEoin)—not moved.

13—In sub-section (1), line 20, to delete the word “Minister” and substitute the words “local authority.” (Pádraig Baxter, Mícheál O hIfearnán)—not moved.

14—In sub-section (1), line 21, to delete the word “his” and substitute the word “their.” (Pádraig Baxter, Mícheál O hIfearnáin)—not moved.

15—In sub-section (1), line 22, to delete all words after the word “recommend” to the end of the sub-section, and substitute the words “to them in their order of merit with the marks attained a panel of candidates adjudged by them in accordance with Section 8 of this Act to have reached the standard of qualifications necessary to perform the duties of such office.” (Pádraig Baxter, Mícheál O hIfearnáin)—not moved.

16—To delete sub-section (2). (Pádraig Baxter, Mícheál O hIfearnáin)—not moved.

Amendment 17—In sub-section (2), line 24, to delete the word “Minister” and substitute the words “local authority or the Minister (as the case may be),” and in lines 26 to 28 to delete the word “Minister” and substitute the words “local authority.” (Aire Rialtais Aitiúla agus Sláinte Puiblí) —put and agreed to.

Amendment 18—In sub-section (2), lines 24, 26 and 28, to delete the word “Minister” wherever it occurs and substitute in each case the words “local authority.” (Tomás Mac Eoin)—not moved.

19—In sub-section (3), line 31, to delete all words after the word “section” to the end of the sub-section, and substitute the words “the local authority shall appoint from the panel submitted to them by the Commissioners a person to fill such office.” (Pádraig Baxter, Mícheál O hIfearnáin)—not moved.

Amendment 20—In sub-section (3), in line 31, to delete the word “Minister” and substitute the words “local authority,” and in line 34 to delete the word “he” and substitute the word “they.” (Aire Rialtais Aitiúla agus Sláinte Puiblí, Tomás Mac Eoin)—put and agreed to.

Question—“That Section 6, as amended, stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

(1) When the Minister requests the Commissioners to recommend a person for appointment to an office to which this Act applies the Commissioners shall with the consent of the Minister prescribe the qualifications as to age, health, character, and (where in the opinion of the Commissioners the duties of the office so require) sex for such office.

(2) When the Minister requests the Commissioners to recommend a person [609] for appointment to an office to which this Act applies, the Commissioners may on the application of the Minister and if they think proper so to do prescribe as a qualification (in addition to the qualifications prescribed under sub-section (1) of this section) for such office, membership of, or inclusion in, a specified class delimited in such manner or by reference to such matter as the Commissioners with the consent of the Minister think proper.

(3) Before recommending a person to the Minister for appointment to an office to which this Act applies the Commissioners shall satisfy themselves in such manner as they think proper that such person possesses the qualifications prescribed under this section for such office.

Amendment 21—In sub-section (1), line 35, to delete the word “When” and substitute the words “Whenever a local authority or.” (Aire Rialtais Aitiúla agus Sláinte Puiblí) —put and agreed to.

Amendment 22—In sub-section (1), line 35, to delete the words “the Minister requests the Commissioners” and substitute the words “the Commissioners have been requested.” (Pádraig Baxter, Mícheál O hIfearnáin)—not moved.

23—In sub-section (1), line 35, to delete the words “the Minister” and substitute the words “a local authority. (Tomás Mac Eoin)—not moved.

24—In sub-section (1), line 36, to delete the word “person” and substitute the word “panel.” (Pádraig Baxter, Mícheál O hIfearnáin)—not moved.

25—To delete sub-section (2). (Pádraig Baxter; Mícheál O hIfearnáin)—not moved.

Amendment 26—In sub-section (2), page 4, line 41, to delete the word “When” and substitute the words “Whenever a local authority or.” (Aire Rialtais Aitiúla agus Sláinte Puiblí)—put and agreed to.

Amendment 27—In sub-section (2), line 41, to delete the words “the Minister” and substitute the words “a local authority.” (Tomás Mac Eoin)—not moved.

[610] 28—In sub-section (2), line 43, after the words “on the application of” to insert the words “the local authority with the approval of the Minister or on the request of.” (Tomás MacEoin)—not moved.

Amendment 29—In sub-section (2), page 4, line 44, after the word “Minister” to insert the words “or (whether the request was made by the local authority or by the Minister) of the local authority.” (Aire Rialtais Aitiúla agus Sláinte Puiblí); Rialtais Aitiúla agus Sláinte Puiblí) —put and agreed to.

30—Before sub-section (3) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

“The Commissioners if they so think fit may at any time, with the consent of the Minister and after such consultation as may be possible or convenient with such associations or bodies as the Minister for Local Government and Public Health may consider to be representative of local authorities, prescribe generally the qualifications for all offices comprised in any particular description, class, or grade of offices to which this Act applies and may so prescribe generally any qualification which they could prescribe specially under either of the foregoing sub-sections of this section in respect of any particular office combined in such description, class or grade.” (Aire Rialtais Aitiúla agus Sláinte Puiblí) —put and agreed to.

31.—In sub-section (3), line 50, to delete the words “the Minister” and substitute the words “a local authority.”—(Aire Rialtais Aitiúla agus Sláinte Puiblí, Tomás MacEoin, Mícheál O hIfearnáin, Padraig Baxter)—put and agreed to.

Amendment 32—To insert at end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

“The Minister may, after consultation with the local authorities or with such associations or bodies as he may deem representative of the local authorities, request the Commissioners to prescribe the qualifications for all offices to which this Act applies which are of a specified nature, class or grade, and any appointment to an office in the service [611] of any local authority, of the nature, class or grade so specified, shall be made upon recommendation as provided in this Act of a person possessing the qualifications so prescribed.” (Risteárd Mac Fheorais)—not moved.

Question—“That Section 7, as amended, stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

(1) Subject to such exceptions as are or may be made by or under this Act, the Commissioners shall select every person to be recommended by them to the Minister under this Act solely by means of competitive examination conducted according to regulations made by the Commissioners.

(2) Every such competitive examination shall be open to all persons desiring to attend the same who possess or claim to possess the qualifications prescribed by or under this Act for the office in respect of which the examination is held and pay the fees prescribed by the Commissioners in respect of such examination.

(3) The Commissioners may, after consultation with the Minister, make regulations for the conduct (including time and place and subjects) of competitive examinations to be held by them for the purpose of this section, and such regulations may relate to such examinations generally or to one or more classes of such examinations or to one or more particular examinations.

Amendment 33—In sub-section (1), line 57, to delete the words “the Minister” and substitute the words “a local authority.” (Aire Rialtais Aitiúla agus Sláinte Puiblí, Tomás Mac Eoin, Mícheál O hIfearnáin, Pádraig Baxter)—put and agreed to.

Amendment 33—In sub-section (3), line 67, after the word “Minister” to insert the words “and the local authority.” (Mícheál O hIfearnáin, Pádraig Baxter)—not moved.

35—To add at the end of sub-section (3), page 5, line 4, the words “and shall also provide for the publication of the results of such examinations and for the furnishing to [612] competitors thereat of the marks obtained by them in each subject at such examinations.” (John T. Nolan) —not moved.

Question—“That Section 8, as amended, stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

Whenever the Minister requests the Commissioners to recommend a person for appointment to an office to which this Act applies and the Commissioners with the concurrence of the Minister are of opinion that, having regard to the nature of the duties of that office, the knowledge and experience necessary for the efficient performance of those duties, and the qualifications prescribed under this Act for that office, the person or persons to be recommended for appointment to that office cannot be satisfactorily selected by competitive examination the Commissioners may dispense with the competitive examination required by this Act and may select the person or persons to be recommended by them to the Minister by such means and in such manner as they think proper.

Amendment 36—In line 5, after the word “Whenever” to insert the words “a local authority or.” (Aire Rialtais Aitiúla agus Sláinte Puiblí) —put and agreed to.

Amendment 37—In line 5 to delete the words “the Minister requests the Commissioners” and substitute the words “the Commissioners have been requested” (Mícheál O hIfearnáin, Pádraig Baxter)—not moved.

38—In line 5, and in line 16, to delete the words “the Minister” and substitute in each case the words “a local authority” (Tomás Mac Eoin)—not moved.

39—In line 16 to delete the word “Minister” and substitute the words “local authority.” (Aire Rialtais Aitiúla agus Sláinte Puiblí, Mícheál O hIfearnáin, Pádraig Baxter)—not moved.

Question: “That Section 9, as amended stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

(1) When the Minister requests the [613] Commissioners to recommend a person for appointment to an office to which this Act applies, the Minister may in the request ask the Commissioners to recommend a particular person named by the Minister in the request and thereupon the Commissioners may if they think proper and are satisfied that the person so named possesses the qualifications prescribed under this Act for the said office, and is a person who may under this section be so recommended, dispense with the competitive examination required by this Act, and recommend such person for appointment to such office.

(2) No person may be recommended under this section for appointment to an office unless at the time such office became vacant he either—

(a) held a pensionable office under the said or any other local authority or any two or more local authorities the duties of which related to matters the same as or similar to the matters to which the duties of the vacant office relate, or

(b) was in receipt of an allowance from the said or any other local authority or any two or more local authorities in respect of his having ceased to hold an office under the said or any other local authority or any two or more local authorities the duties of which related to matters the same as or similar to the matters to which the duties of the vacant office relate.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—

To delete the section.

I am rather reluctant to agree to the deletion of this section, but owing to the pressure of time on the House I defer to the views of Deputies who put down other amendments.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Amendment 41—In sub-section (1) line 18, to delete the words “the Minister” and substitute the words “a local authority” (Tomás Mac Eoin)—not moved.

42—In sub-section (1), line 20, to delete the words “the Minister” and substitute the words “the local [614] authority with the approval of the Minister,” and in lines 21/22 to delete the word “Minister” and substitute the words “local authority” (Tomás Mac Eoin)—not moved.

Question—“That Section 11 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

(1) The Minister shall have power with respect to all persons now employed or hereafter to be employed by any local authority in any office to which this Act applies to define and prescribe the duties of such persons and the places or limits within which those duties are to be performed, and to determine the continuance of such persons in or the removal of such persons from their offices, and to regulate from time to time the remuneration payable to such officers and the mode of payment thereof.

(2) In the event of this section being extended under the power in that behalf hereinafter conferred to an office or employment which is not otherwise an office to which this Act applies, no person shall be appointed by a local authority to any office or employment to which this section is so extended without the consent of the Minister, and the Minister shall have power to define and prescribe in respect of every such office and employment the qualifications to be possessed by every person appointed thereto.

(3) The Minister for Local Government and Public Health may by order under his seal extend the application of this section and apply the same to such offices and employments or to such class or classes of offices or employments under a local authority which are not offices to which this Act applies as he shall think fit, and when any such order is made the offices and employments to which this section is hereby applied shall for the purposes of this section but no further or otherwise be offices to which this Act applies.

(4) Section 15 of the Local Government (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1923 (No. 9 of 1923) is hereby repealed.

[615]Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  What I said in the case of Section 10 also applies to Section 12. I move: To delete the section.

Question put and agreed to.

Amendments 44—In sub-section (1), line 53, to delete the word “Minister” and substitute the words “local authority,” and after the word “shall” in the same line to insert the words “subject to the sanction of the Minister.” (Mícheál O hIfearnáin)—not moved.

45—In sub-section (1), line 54, to delete the words “now employed or.” (Criostóir O Broin)—not moved.

46—In sub-section (1), line 55, after the word “applies” to insert the words “by order,” and before sub-section (4), page 6, to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

“(4) Every Order made by the Minister under this section shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and if a resolution is passed by either House within the next subsequent twenty-one days on which such House has sat annulling such Order such Order shall be annulled accordingly but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under such Order.” (Tomás Mac Eoin)—not moved.

47—In sub-section (1) to delete all words after the word “offices,” line 59, to the end of the sub-section. (Criostóir O Broin)—not moved.

48—To add at end of sub-section (1) the following words:—

“Provided that where the rate of remuneration of any such officer has received the sanction of the Minister such rate of remuneration shall not be reduced by the Minister by virtue of the powers given him by this section.” (William Norton)—not moved.

49—To delete sub-section (2). (Mícheál O hIfearnáin)—not moved.

50—To delete sub-section (3). (Mícheál O hIfearnáin)—not moved.

51 To insert a new sub-section before sub-section (4):—

“Before exercising the powers conferred by this section the Minister shall consult the local authorities [616] or such associations or bodies as he may deem representative of local authorities and shall also so far as practicable consult any association or body representative of persons holding office or employment under local authorities of the same or similar character to the offices or employments in respect of which it is proposed to exercise the powers conferred by this section, and shall lay before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after each such consultation has taken place a summary report thereon.” (Risteárd Mac Fheorais)—not moved.

(1) Whenever there is in the opinion of any local authority or of the Minister reason to believe that an officer or servant of such local authority has failed to perform satisfactorily the duties of his position or has misconducted himself in relation thereto or is otherwise unfit to hold such position, such local authority or the Minister (as the case may be) may suspend such officer or servant from the performance of his duties while such alleged failure, misconduct or unfitness is being inquired into and the disciplinary action (if any) to be taken in regard thereto is being determined.

(2) The suspension of an officer or servant who is suspended under this section by a local authority or the Minister shall continue until terminated by the Minister.

(3) An officer who is suspended under this section shall not receive any remuneration from the local authority during the continuance of his suspension, and at the termination of his suspension the remuneration which he would have received during the period of suspension if he had not been suspended shall be wholly or partly forfeited, or paid to him, or otherwise disposed of, as the Minister shall direct.

Amendment 52—In sub-section (2), line 26, after the word “by” to insert the words “the local authority with the sanction of.” (Mícheál O hIfearnáin)—not moved.

53—In sub-section (3), after the [617] word “as” in line 33, to insert the words “the local authority with the sanction of.” (Mícheál O hIfearnáin) —not moved.

Question—That Sections 13, 14 and 15 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

An Act to establish a Commission charged with the duty of selecting the persons to be appointed to situations in the employment of local authorities and to make other provisions for ensuring the appointment of suitable persons to such situations, and also to make better provision for controlling the duties, suspension, removal, and other conditions of service of persons holding such situations.

Mr. BURKE: Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I move:—

In the Title, page 2, line 15, to delete the word “controlling” and the word “duties” and to delete the whole of line 16.

This title is necessary owing to the limitation in the Bill.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Question—“That the Title, as amended, stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

The Dáil went out of Committee.

Bill reported with amendments.

Fourth Stage ordered for Wednesday, 16th June.


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