Tuesday, 9 July 1935
Dáil Éireann Debate
1. The Second Stage of the Bill shall be the first Order of the day on Tuesday, July 9th, 1935, and the proceedings on that Stage, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 7 p.m. on the said day by putting from the Chair forthwith the Question: That the Bill be now read a second time; and after the said hour no Question shall be put from the Chair on any amendment to the motion for Second Reading.
2. The Committee Stage of the  Bill shall be proceeded with immediately upon the conclusion of the Second Stage and the Questions necessary to bring to a conclusion the proceedings in Committee on the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, and shall be decided without amendment or debate.
3. The Fourth Stage of the Bill shall be proceeded with immediately upon the conclusion of the Committee Stage, and the Question necessary to bring to a conclusion the proceedings on the Fourth Stage shall be put forthwith and shall be decided without amendment or debate.
4. The Fifth Stage of the Bill shall be proceeded with immediately upon the conclusion of the Fourth Stage and the proceedings on the Fifth Stage, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 9 p.m. on the said day by putting from the Chair forthwith the Question necessary to bring the proceedings to a conclusion.
There is only one fact which it is necessary to mention in connection with the Bill which is brought under this motion, and that is that it must be law by 29th July. It is, therefore, absolutely necessary that the Bill should pass through all its Stages to-day.
General Mulcahy: The Parliamentary Secretary says that this Bill must be law by 29th July. Why? Let us take the Emergency Imposition of Duties Order, No. 66, imposing an excise duty on tyres. It was issued on 12th April, 1935. I have already pointed out that, under Section 2 (1) of the Act which empowered the Executive Council to make that order, that tax stands, and will continue to run until 12th December next. What does the Parliamentary Secretary mean by saying it must be law by the 29th July? With regard to Emergency Imposition of Duties Order, No. 58, it was issued on 30th November last— seven months ago. Would the Parliamentary Secretary say why it was not discussed before this? It was not discussed before this because that Emergency Imposition of Duties Order,  which last year began by an Order issued on 15th May, a few days after the Budget statement of the Minister for Finance, is on a par with the Cement Order which was made on 14th May this year. After the Budgetary statement of 1934, the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Agriculture went to a back room and they put an Excise duty on every pig that was killed in the country, for the purpose of collecting moneys in revenue, hiding completely from the people of this country that those moneys were going to be raised during the year, although their Budgetary statement was made a few days before the issue of the Order.
They raised during last year £289,441 as a result of an Emergency Imposition of Duties Order issued in May, increased in October, and increased in November of last year. But it was part of their Budget scheme, issued a few days after the Budget statement was made, just as the £68,000 they propose to get on cement this year is part of the Budget scheme this year, the Order having been made the night before the Budget statement. They talk of urgency. Why this matter is being dealt with in this way is that the Ministry are not prepared to stand over their proposals here and have them examined properly. Look at the extremes to which they are prepared to go to obscure what they are doing by means of these Orders.
The Government one day last week allowed us the privilege of seeing a list of the business they wanted to get through before the summer recess. These items were run through and we figured out how much time it would take to deal with these matters in an effective and orderly way. Here we have a motion to deal with one of them and the motion solemnly sets down that the Second Stage of the Imposition of Duties (Confirmation of Orders) Bill will be the first business the Dáil will begin to-day and it may run on until 7 o'clock on the Second Stage and until 9 o'clock on the other stages. That is, the guillotine is put on to confine the discussion of this measure to five and a half, or, you might say, six hours. The Government  were informed that our opinion was that it would take three hours to put the measure through all its stages, conducting the business in an ordinary and orderly way, and yet they introduce a guillotine motion. This is a measure which they have been told will take three hours to discuss in an ordinary and orderly way.
General Mulcahy: They do it in a way that will prevent a short discussion which will expose what the position is, but which, at the same time, will enable the Minister for Finance to stand up here in indignation and say:
“We have been obstructed; a terrible lot of time has been spent on finance business this year and it is necessary to introduce very strict and harsh guillotine motions in order to get the business through.”
By this particular guillotine motion to-day the Ministry are preventing a reasonable discussion on four individual items, some of which are of considerable importance. They are preventing the Dáil taking a decision of them on their merits. The Government are attempting to paint a picture that they are being obstructed in their business. They give six or six and a half Parliamentary hours to a discussion in this kind of way of a measure that they were told, I think, on Thursday night, would in our opinion take three hours. The excise duty on pigs could have been discussed at any time since 30th November last. Why was it not so discussed? The imposition of duties on ink could have been discussed any time since the 4th of January. The excise duty on tyres can be discussed any time between now and the 12th December.
Why does the Minister for Industry and Commerce or the Minister for Finance want to force through this discussion on tyres without allowing the House to come to a decision on tyres? If the House votes against tyres here it must vote against ink and against cutlery. Suppose the House says it cannot trust the type of Ministerial mind that puts on a  cement tax on the eve of the Budget this year, that puts on an Excise duty on pigs on the morrow of the Budget last year for the purpose of bringing in revenue that it will not disclose in the proper way to the Dáil it is getting. Suppose the House says it cannot trust that type of mind not to continue the tax on pigs when the Pigs and Bacon Bill comes into operation and the House decides that it is not going to sanction the continuance of the Excise duty on pigs. The point is, we cannot take a decision on such matters without declaring that we are not going to have a Customs duty on ink.
I wonder what amount of sincerity there is in the protestations of the Minister for Industry and Commerce that he wants to assist Irish industry in a reasonable kind of way when he consents to the mixing of these four items and introduces a resolution that prevents the House discussing them one by one. Some of them could have been discussed during the last six months and others could be discussed any time during the next six months. They have set aside twice as much time under a guillotine motion for the discussion as they were told it would take to discuss the items in a reasonable and a sensible way. These are the facts. It would be a pity to say anything else that might tend to obscure them. Possibly it is because the facts that would be brought out would be very striking and would be very informative for our people that an attempt is being made to have them smothered and smoke-screened by guillotine resolutions and shouts of “obstruction.” The Government have made themselves utterly silly and have made this House and you, Sir, silly by putting you into the position that they make you exercise your discretion and allow work to be done in this particular way.
Mr. Lemass: I want to make a suggestion to Deputy Mulcahy. If we can have a public assurance that the Bill will pass through all its stages to-day we are prepared to postpone this motion and let the discussion on the measure proceed in the ordinary way.
General Mulcahy: As I have pointed out, we gave our opinion that an orderly and ordinary discussion on this Bill would take about three hours and that it could be put through all its stages in that time. Now we have this guillotine proposal submitted for consideration and the Government's proposal is to give six or six and a half hours to a discussion of this kind.
General Mulcahy: I would like to help the Parliamentary Secretary. Does he deny that there were two items indicated to us, the Approved Investments (Amendment) Bill and the Imposition of Duties (Confirmation of Orders) Bill, which were entering on the Second Stage? The Government were told we thought one hour would finish the Approved Investments Bill and three hours would finish the other Bill.
Mr. Little: I understood it was three hours for the Second Reading and, considering what had happened on Friday and Saturday, I could not be satisfied that the whole arrangement might not be upset and that we would not have as much obstruction to-day as we had on those two days.
General Mulcahy: The whole thing was totalled, including all the business for the year, at 84½ hours. That was regarded as the length of time it would take to discuss agriculture and all those other things. There could be no confusion with regard to the three hours.
Professor O'Sullivan: We deny that there was anything in the nature of  obstruction. There was a very useful discussion on the Committee Stage and a lot of useful information was got out on that stage.
Professor O'Sullivan: If the Minister will look at the whole debate he will find there was very little time wasted last week in that matter. I want to ask the Parliamentary Secretary if he implies that there was agreement with the Whips that the Finance Bill would go through last Friday?
Professor O'Sullivan: Excuse me—he said he did not know that the agreement would be kept. The implication of that was that there was some other agreement that had not been kept. He was told that three hours would be enough.
Professor O'Sullivan: I ask Deputy Little is it in the document Deputy Little has in his hand? Deputy Little will not reply to that. I think the Deputy might answer a relevant question. The Deputy made a lot of irrelevant interruptions but in the one matter now in which he could be relevant he will not help. The Parliamentary  Secretary should know that in a Bill of this kind it is not on the Second Reading but the Committee Stage that the measure is fought. It is the Committee Stage that really matters in a Bill of this sort.
General Mulcahy: On a point of order, the Minister for Industry and Commerce makes the suggestion that if the Bill can be finished to-night he will not object to postponing his motion and let the discussion on the measure proceed in the ordinary way. The only way in which the Bill can be put through and the Minister safeguarded is to accept the amendment which I am proposing and that is to delete that part of the guillotine motion which prevents amendments on the Committee Stage. That is to say, to permit amendments being brought in on the Committee Stage.
An Ceann Comhairle: The matter before the House is the motion, and Deputies are entitled to speak once on that motion. There is a suggestion that certain arrangements could be come to and, possibly, that this Order could be discharged. I would suggest that the usual course be followed—that some agreement be reached outside this House through the usual channels and not by way of questions and cross-questions across the House. The question could be settled outside in ten minutes.
Mr. Boland: When we were in Opposition that was the custom—that we settled these things outside the House. But when acting as Whip I made an agreement with the Whips on the other side. Deputy McGilligan and Deputy Mulcahy were parties to that arrangement, but just immediately after that Deputy McGilligan came straight into the House and broke the agreement that had been made. That is why I say there is no possibility now of making an agreement with that Party.
General Mulcahy: It is quite clear that this motion is part of the guillotine scheme. It would not look so well to introduce a guillotine motion to deal with the Finance Bill so we have instead this motion to deal with a Bill which the Party opposite were assured would not take at the outside more than three hours. I submit, Sir, that this motion is part of the whole scheme to stifle discussion. The Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Little, and one of the Ministers spoke about obstruction. I want to ask the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether there was any obstruction by me or by the Opposition in that part of the Finance Bill of which he had charge in this House. Were not the amendments with which we were dealing put through very promptly and without undue discussion?
Mr. Morrissey: The main delay on the Finance Bill was due to the fact that the Minister for Finance refused to give any information on any section of the Bill. That Minister refused to answer any question as to the effect of the new duties imposed, or as to the effect of the additional duties imposed, or as to the amount of  money which was expected to flow from these duties, or as to whether any additional employment and, if so, how much would be given. The Minister treated the Chair and the House with the utmost contempt. This motion now is an attempt to prevent this House exposing to the people of the country the enormous load of taxation which the Government is placing on the people. That is as clear as anything can be. The members of the Government Party, from the President up or down, have been for the last 13 years continually blathering about freedom and democracy and here we have them now trying to put through this motion. I could quote from memory some of the statements made by the President and the Government Deputies on a former occasion, when they were in opposition and when closure motions were introduced here. I remember how the Minister for Finance used to work himself into a state of hysteria and the Minister for Industry and Commerce in his best cross-roads style used to thump the desk. That was before he acquired the rather nice style he sometimes adopts now in laying down the law. I can imagine the row that would be created to-day if the position were reversed and if the Minister for Finance, the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the President were in opposition. I submit, Sir, that this motion is part of the general scheme to stifle discussion and that is because the Ministers cannot stand over all this taxation. The Minister for Agriculture is very keen to see that the Vote for the Department of Agriculture would be guillotined also.
General Mulcahy: Yes, when the Minister for Finance is anxious to put through the Vote for the Revenue Commissioners, the Old Age Pensions and for Law Charges. No, this motion is part of the general plan of the Government to stifle discussion in this House and to gag the House effectively. That is because the two Ministers were  unable to comply with the Standing Orders.
Professor O'Sullivan: Personally, I regret that the alternative suggestion was not adopted; because by merely agreeing to amend the guillotine motion we could have a discussion on the Committee Stage of this Bill, the only stage on which a useful discussion could take place, and still, the guillotine motion being otherwise intact, the Minister could have been sure of his Bill without any further agreement with the Opposition. That that suggestion was not readily adopted by the Government I can only put down to a desire on their part to avoid having a discussion on the Committee Stage. We have heard a good deal of talk about obstruction on this Bill. I think I took as much part as any Deputy in the debates last week. I challenge any member of the Government to point out any statement by me last week that was in any way irrelevant to the Bill?
Professor O'Sullivan: I will say again that the Minister for Finance was most ostentatiously engaged and interested in matters not before the House. The Minister was supposed to be in charge of a Bill. I suppose it was inevitable that the speeches made by the Opposition were incomprehensible to the Minister because the Minister set himself out not to listen; but I was hoping to get the points we were making into the heads of the other Ministers. I suppose it is only time and experience will teach the Minister anything. These things are gradually teaching his followers. I hope the  House was impressed by the case made by the Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Little, for this motion. I have very rarely heard a more convincing case than he made for this motion. One could nearly follow everything the Parliamentary Secretary uttered in reading the resolution. He read it out well. But the two minute speech he made in favour of it to show why this invasion of parliamentary right should be allowed must have impressed everybody in the House. It could be summed up in one sentence—in fact, I think he himself confined it to one sentence: this matter is urgent. So far, at least, as three items in the Bill are concerned, the statement was demonstrably false. Remember, it is not the first time within seven days that the Government have falsely put before this House a plea of urgency. I admit that the Parliamentary Secretary to the President was following the noble example in that respect of the Government as a whole. Last week they put forward the same plea of urgency with as much foundation as the Parliamentary Secretary now put forward the plea of urgency in his able speech supporting this invasion of the rights of the House. In his effort to prove how necessary it was to prevent discussion, he was able to suggest that a Bill dealing with one of them, and only with one of them, had to be law by the end of July. That was as far as he could go. Was that any reason for curtailing discussion?
I put it to the House last week: has the Seanad ever shown any desire to obstruct the Government in connection with financial matters of any kind? If the Government and the majority Party in this House have any doubts of the attitude of the Seanad in this respect, I suggest that they should look up, just to enlighten them, the attitude taken by the Seanad on the Second Reading of the principal Act, the Act referred to in the Bill now before the House, the Act of 1932. The Emergency Imposition of Duties Bill left this House on 15th July. It was described by many members of the House as a Bill by which the Government  took to themselves most extraordinarily drastic powers, powers almost incompatible with democratic control over finance. That Bill went before the Seanad and the same objection was made to it there. The Seanad had a right to make suggestions. Did they hold up the Bill? That Bill left this House on 15th July and was back in this House on the 22nd July with Seanad recommendations. So far, therefore, as three matters referred to in this Bill are concerned, the case absolutely lacks foundation and the statement that this is urgent is demonstratably false. As Deputy Mulcahy demonstrated quite clearly, so far as the fourth is concerned the plea also is false. Therefore, it is merely a desire on the part of the Government to show that, having their famous majority which they always boast of, they can force things through this House even when it is not necessary to do so.
One thing was promised when that extraordinarily drastic Act was going through this House. The Minister for Finance said that there would be an opportunity always for the Dáil to review; that any action taken by the Government would be always subject to review and subsequent confirmation by the Dáil. This is the review! Anybody who follows intimately the business of the House knows that, so far as the details of financial legislation are concerned, barring a few of the larger taxes, the really fruitful period of discussion is the Committee Stage. The Committee form of discussion is easily the most useful form of discussion, and any effort to curtail that, especially in matters of finance, tends to reduce the financial powers of this House to a mockery. I presume that is the reason why it is precisely the Committee Stage, the stage during which useful discussion might have taken place, that is ruled out in this particular method by the Government.
Under that particular Act, the Government have power to impose Customs and Excise duties. But, certainly, at the time the suggestion was that there would be ample opportunity of examining anything done in that way. But the Government have deliberately determined that there will  be no such opportunity. The only one of these four duties in question for which urgency can be at all claimed might have been discussed any time within the last seven months if the Government wanted discussion. But the Government do not want discussion of their taxation. The Government never wanted it and particularly do not want it this year. That is the reason for all these drastic motions— to cut down discussion on taxation, because it is precisely on taxation that the general policy of the Government is being shown up.
Further, you will remember, Sir, and possibly the House may remember, the plea put forward for the Principal Act, and particularly for the rushing through of that Act under conditions at that time without precedent in the House. I think you yourself, Sir, pointed out that there was no precedent for what was being done on that particular occasion. You will also remember, Sir, that it was precisely the Committee Stage that was cut out then, too, without discussion. So we had an Act conferring drastic powers on the Government carried through the House without any discussion in detail, and now we have a Bill framed under that Act and imposing taxes on the people being put through this House without any possibility of discussion in detail if the present motion is accepted. You will remember, Sir, what the plea for urgency was—that the Bill was necessary to wage the economic war. The plea was that weapons were necessary and that they might have to be forged and used quickly for the better waging of that war. You will also remember, Sir, that most of the discussion on that occasion, on either side, was not on the Bill, if I might say so; it was on the economic war. The discussion on the original Act ranged round the economic war and the methods that were necessary to carry it to a successful conclusion. Now we have an Excise duty of 10/- on pig carcases which we must believe was imposed under an Emergency Order on the part of the Government in order to enable us to carry on the struggle against Great Britain: and that from a  Government that promised quite definitely, both here and in the Seanad, when that Bill was going through, that there would be most careful consideration of everything that was done, and nothing, of course, would be done to interfere with the rights of the House in the matter.
We were told that only what was necessary for the winning of the economic war would be carried through. That was the way the powers conferred by this Oireachtas upon the Government were to be used. But how an Excise duty of 10/- on pig carcases to be paid by everybody under the relevant section of the Bill will help to win the economic war is not quite clear. But the next duty is one of great importance in connection with the economic war, seeing the amount of correspondence that this Government is engaged in with the British Government, and that is the Customs duty on the importation of ink. Now the economic war is safe. We can write no more with British ink; we must reply to all proposals to end the war in Irish ink. Possibly the next set of duties brings us nearer the war front not in the modern meaning but in the ancient meaning of warfare. That is the imposition of a Customs duty on cutlery which in fact might mean the prohibition of the necessary arms for carrying on the economic war. What other connection it has with the economic war is not quite clear. Then there is the imposition of Excise duties in relation to certain tyres.
The original Act was framed purely for the purpose of the economic war; this is to be passed without any possibility of adequate discussion. The only means for discussion is, the Second Reading and Committee Stages. The Government practically gets out altogether of the debate on the Committee Stage. Consider how the original Act went through. Consider the views, as seen in practice, of the Government Party, as to how they would use their famous majority. The House need not be surprised. We were told that to the abolition of the  Second House certain precautions would be attached. It has been pointed out that there is no reason why the Government should go back on that. Their action to-day, and last week, makes it perfectly clear that they have no conception whatever of the rights of Parliament or the rights, to examination in detail, of any of their proposals brought before the House.
Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan): Deputy O'Sullivan says that Mr. Little did not make a good case for the urgency of this proposal. But the case is so simple for its urgency that Mr. Little had no need to do so.
Dr. Ryan: This Imposition of Duties Bill must be law by the 31st of July, but whether it is through on the 29th or the 30th, it is only giving the Seanad its normal time to consider matters. Deputy O'Sullivan says the Seanad is always ready to oblige in these things. But whether it would oblige or not, it would be unfair to go to the Seanad to ask them to put through in a week or ten days something for which they normally get 21 days.
Dr. Ryan: When we have no Seanad it will be a different thing. This is now the 9th July, and perhaps in 20 or 21 days from this the Bill will come before the Seanad. We are told it is only a  case of pig carcases, and that the Bill is not urgent. That may be true, but Deputies opposite have sense enough to know that you do not bring in a Bill for every duty you impose. Deputy Mulcahy's argument appears to be that you should bring in a separate Finance Bill for every duty and have it fully discussed. It is admitted that there is urgency in the case of an Excise duty on bacon. I think we were told that we wanted to stifle discussion on this matter. The Excise duty on bacon was discussed in my presence on three occasions, and it was discussed also, I believe, in my absence on the Budget. It was discussed at all stages.
Dr. Ryan: No such thing; the Budget statement was precise. I said when the Bacon Bill was going through that I expected that these Boards would come into existence on the 1st of July, and that as soon as they were going, we could consider the abolition of these duties, because there would be a different way of financing bacon when the Boards were set up. I think I made it clear that the method of financing was to be this Excise duty, until the Boards were set up, and that after that, when the Boards were set up it would be different. It would appear that it is necessary to repeat these things at least three times before Deputies opposite get a grip of them. I explained the recent duty was imposed because the home market was so good that we had to take something off the people selling to the home market in favour of those selling to the foreign market.
Dr. Ryan: I thought the Deputy was going clean mad. It cannot be possible to bring in a Finance Bill for every duty imposed. Surely if the Government comes along with a Bill and says we want this Bill which is absolutely urgent, they ought to get it.
Dr. Ryan: It was intended to bring it in and to allow the normal time for it. It is now being taken under the conditions it is because on Friday and Saturday we had to sit here and listen to talk about footballs and pigs' bladders.
Dr. Ryan: Beidh lá eile againn, seadh. It is because Deputies opposite do not want to discuss this Bill that they are taking time discussing this motion. Deputy Morrissey says we are afraid of the Agriculture Estimate.
Dr. Ryan: You have spent three months in discussing it and nothing else, since the Dáil reassembled after Easter. Nothing was discussed on the Budget or the Finance Bill but agriculture, and, so far as the Opposition's contributions to agriculture are concerned there is no farmer in this country would benefit one halfpenny by them. That is not what the Opposition want. They feel they might benefit themselves, but even that is not coming off. We are prepared to give time for agriculture or any other Estimate —or subject, because the Estimates must go through this week—and if any Deputy in the Opposition wants to put down a motion with regard to agriculture, we will give time for it. It is not a question of being afraid; it is a question of putting the Government's financial business through within the time limit. If we have an Opposition here who have taken very much longer on the Finance Bill and on the Estimates than ever was taken before, in any year during the office of the last Government or this Government; if we have frittered away our time here on these discussions, the bringing in of these particular motions now cannot be helped. When the financial business is through, however, we have no great objection to sitting on for as long as the Opposition want to discuss all these questions. If they want to put down motions we will discuss them and probably, with our majority of two, we will beat them, because it is the first time a Government sat in this House with a majority and that must be realised.
Dr. Ryan: The Party opposite never had a majority of the elected representatives and they never will. If Deputies opposite are so keen to discuss this Bill in detail, why did they not accept the offer made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce to withdraw this motion? He offered to withdraw this motion if we got an undertaking that the Bill would go through to-day.
Dr. Ryan: There would be a full discussion of the Committee Stage in that case. Of course, there would, but Deputy Brennan does not want it. He wants to have the grievance. Neither does anybody else in that Party want it and they can, of course, say afterwards that the debate was closured. We do not mind whether they do or not; it does not make the slightest difference. So long as the Opposition have these little grievances they will be more satisfied, and that is about all we can say for them. As I say, the Committee Stage could have been taken fully in that case. If the Second Stage went through in two or three hours, another two hours at least could have been given to the Committee Stage and to discussion in detail, but the Opposition do not want that. They want to have the argument that they were prevented from doing it. Let them have their argument, because this motion is going to be taken now. They say that they offered to take this Bill in three hours. We are offering them six hours or giving six hours and withdrawing the motion, but that does not suit them. That does not suit their propaganda at all. It is propaganda they are looking for and not an opportunity to do business here in an intelligent way. This closure motion will be added to the list of subjects for speakers on the Opposition side.
Dr. Ryan: They want some new ones because the old ones did not take very well. They offered to deal with this Bill in three hours and they are refusing to take six hours. Surely that is a very thin argument and an argument that will not appeal to anybody. We are told that we are cutting down the time for discussion of taxation. I think there is a motion coming on here to-morrow or Thursday on which these things can be discussed, in relation to the number of hours given this year as compared with any other year, and it will then be seen whether we are cutting it down or not. We are trying to stop obstruction and we mean to stop it,  and a Government which has a majority and which is in a position to stop obstruction would not be fit to rule if they did not avail of their power to do so.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: The futile speech which the Minister has delivered to the House and which actually caused even the poor Minister for Posts and Telegraphs to roar with laughter when he heard some of the arguments advanced, may be very excellent from the point of view of amusement for the Minister, but it is a shocking thing that a Minister should get up and put forward arguments so absurd that even his own colleagues cannot restrain their risibility at the absurdity and audacity with which the Minister puts these matters before the House. This is a tremendous departure from the principles which have always not merely in this Assembly, but in all legislative Assemblies, regulated the conduct of business. The main thing an Opposition must do; the main thing the Dáil must do; and the main thing which  any Parliamentary Assembly must do, is to keep its eye on finance. The one way in which an Executive can be kept in order is through finance, and here we have to-day, for the first time, a deliberate effort on the part of the Ministry to cut down discussion on finance and to prevent their Bills from being even amended or amendments upon the Finance Bill discussed.
That is a new precedent and it is a bad precedent. If the deliberate effort of the Executive Council is to destroy, by ridicule, the Parliamentary system in this country, they can adopt no better method than that which they have adopted. We have the statement from the Minister for Agriculture: “I will put off my Estimate until next week.”“Right” comes the answer from our side and then we have from the Minister: “Oh, no; I will not do that at all; I will give you a day for a discussion in the air, but my Estimate must go through under the closure, because, except under the closure, I dare not face my shortcoming and my failures and the wrongs I have done to agriculture here being freely discussed.” I am not surprised, and I do not think anybody in the country is surprised, at this exhibition of cowardice on the part of the Executive Council. The Executive Council dare not have a discussion and they will be all driven back to the same condition of dumbness as the dumb Minister for Finance who cannot stand over his own measures. Because that is a wrong to the House, and wrong to the traditions of the House and because it is creating a bad precedent, and, therefore, wrong to the future of the House, and of the country, I think this should not be passed.
Mr. Cosgrave: The Minister told us that this Bill was introduced some time ago. The date of the introduction of the Bill is on the back of it in the statement “Ordered by Dáil Eireann to be printed 26th June, 1935.” This is the Bill about which there is so great haste. We are to take all Stages without discussion or amendment after the Second Stage has been taken and pass it through the  House. The first imposition in respect of the vital clause of this Bill, in so far as time is concerned, was last year. On 15th May, 1934, under the Statutory Rules and Orders, there was imposed a duty of five shillings on every pig carcase. This was raised on 30th November and now the Minister is in a state of hysteria because there is some criticism of his method of doing business. This Bill was introduced on 26th June, a fortnight ago, and we are told that there is such extraordinary haste about it that it is unreasonable for the Opposition to criticise this motion and to point out that it is not good business that a motion, which has been accepted by the Chair practically a day, to use technical language, before it ought to have been accepted, should be put to the House and the House told to take it or leave it. And that is good business !
The Bill in question was the Pigs and Bacon Bill introduced in December last year. It was sent to a Special Committee in March, and it came before this House in May with 96 amendments on Report Stage, all of which were dealt with within 24 hours. This was the Minister's statement:—
“As soon as this Bill becomes operative, which I do not expect will be sooner than the 1st July, so far as the Department of Agriculture is concerned, it will ask for no further levy to the Revenue Commissioners.”
Mr. Cosgrave: Is the Minister not responsible for the delay then? He came in haste to the House with his legislative proposals, but so far as his Department is concerned they are not operative yet.
“That levy was put on at our request in order to increase our export bounties fund, and, although collected by the Revenue Commissioners, it was earmarked for that purpose. We do not intend to ask for any further levy in that way. I think the Minister for Finance has no intention of raising revenue in that manner, but I could not tie him to that, in respect of any future Budget.”
The Minister was kind enough to tell us that you cannot introduce a specific measure in respect of every imposition. Under the old law which operated until the House was made a mockery of, taxation was imposed at one period of the year. On one occasion only, owing to exceptional circumstances arising from what was called the depression which affected major countries as well as minor countries, an imposition was made on the people in October or November, 1931. That was discussed openly in the House and the case made for the imposition was opposed by the Minister and his friends who were then in Opposition. Why should questions of taxation not come before the House always?
Mr. Cosgrave: Because he is ashamed of it. You have not alone the normal Budget brought in here about April or May, but in addition, you have all these peculiarities arising out of the economic war, emergency duties, and so on. What are they? They were supposed to enable them to fight the economic war, to enable the Ministry to deal with a special situation. The Emergency Imposition of Duties Act states:—
(d) impose, whether with or without qualifications, limitations, allowances, exemptions or preferential rates, an Excise duty on any specified day and for the purpose particular matter or, as from any of such duty require the taking out of a licence for the doing of any particular thing.
Then eight months ago this Bill was brought before the House and passed  into law. The Ministry come here now and tell us that, having enacted that law owing to their incompetent handling of public business, it has not yet become operative. Why was it that they could not have introduced this measure two months ago, as well as on the 26th June? What prevented their doing so? Nothing except the fact that they were too busy about other things, probably sending despatches to Great Britain, or probably examining the political situation here and our pronouncements to see if any political capital could be made out of them on public platforms. Now they are ashamed that they have to come in here and answer for these Star Chamber methods of taxation. What do they amount to? The Executive Council meets after dinner and the Minister for Finance suggests that some of his colleagues should bring in some new proposal for a tariff which will bring in some money, and enable them to meet a deficiency somewhere. The Minister for Industry and Commerce comes along and says: “Put a tax on packets of cutlery, and give me power at the same time to enable people to import these goods free of duty.” The Minister for Industry and Commerce also says: “Put a tax of 7½ per cent. on tyres, and if any deficiency should arise, when we come to the exemption orders we will impose a tax at the highest rate which can be charged to meet that deficiency.” These are the things we should like to have discussed in this House.
Mr. Cosgrave: When their little plan was exposed, they were told that, by agreement this measure could be passed in three hours, but the Chair has refused to accept an amendment to this particular motion. Is the motion to be amended or withdrawn? They will not say, because they do not know. In any case, this Star Chamber method of the imposition of taxation might be justifiable if they were fighting a war, but they are not fighting it; they are losing it and they know it.
Mr. Cosgrave: There are four items in this particular imposition, and we have no explanation of the haste with which this measure is brought before the House. The real cause of that haste is the neglect of the Government in introducing the measure. There is also the fact that the Ministry has turned to this method of imposing taxation. Why not introduce these impositions to the House in the manner followed in the last ten years? We are all quite willing to admit that the Government knew very little about methods of government in their early days, but they have been three years at it now and they should know the amount of taxation required for any particular matter. Certainly, in this case, this guillotine motion and the whole conduct of the Government in connection with this business, show more clearly than anything else they have done the utter incompetence of the Ministry.
Mr. Bennett: The Ministry have accused us of being obstructive and have expressed a desire to facilitate us in the passing of legislation in a speedy manner. This motion is a confession that the Government are in no hurry whatever to get through the legislation to which it refers. We have the extraordinary spectacle of the Parliamentary Secretary bringing in this motion to-day, while in another capacity— that of Whip to the Government Party —he was aware that an agreement had been come to with this Party to put  through all the stages of this Confirmation of Orders Bill in three hours.
Mr. Bennett: I did not interrupt the Parliamentary Secretary. Notwithstanding that, they bring in this guillotine motion, concealing these facts from the House and, I expect, from the Chair. I cannot conceive of the Chair accepting this motion if it were aware of the agreement which had been arrived at.
Mr. Bennett: I do not think that the Chair accepted the plea of urgency. How did the Government Party propose to prove urgency? They knew that this Bill would be completed in three hours and they brought in a guillotine motion which they knew would be resisted by Deputies who had any conception of their rights and liberties. A guillotine motion, such as has been put before us to-day, would not be accepted without resistance by any Opposition. I do not know at whose instigation the motion was put down—whether by the Parliamentary Secretary or as is probable, by the Minister for Finance, who sat throughout a long debate on the Finance Bill without offering any guidance or explanation to the House. Because Deputies on this side tried to elucidate the provisions of that Bill, they were accused of obstruction. The Ministry now say: “Let us withdraw this motion and you will have more time.” I noticed that, for the first time in three days, Ministers got up to speak on this motion. The Minister for Agriculture spoke for 15 or 20 minutes and I do not think he spoke directly to the motion. He and the other Ministers were silent when they ought to be speaking on Friday and Saturday last. This is a motion which the House could not be expected to accept without protest and which we could not allow the Ministry to put through without expressing  a very strong opinion. It would limit the rights of Deputies and it would give power in the future to curtail discussion on every item and reduce the House to a farcical position.
Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee): I think that the objections to this Motion can be placed under two main heads. In the first place, it is contended that it does not give the Opposition sufficient time to discuss the measure to which it refers. Secondly, it is contended that it does not give the Opposition an opportunity to propose amendments to the Bill. Let us see what substance there is in these objections. Deputy Bennett has made the point, which was made by previous speakers on the Opposition Benches, that the Opposition Chief Whip, who may be presumed to be in a position to speak for his Party, indicated to the Parliamentary Secretary that, in his opinion, this Bill would be disposed of inside three hours. If it had not been for the time which has already been occupied in discussing the guillotine motion, the Opposition would be given not merely the three hours which they thought would be amply sufficient to discuss all the provisions of the Bill but an additional three hours, if they desired to take them. I think that the Opposition are not likely to convince anybody, here or elsewhere, that, so far as the Government are concerned, adequate time to consider this measure is not being given. The second objection—it has been stated by Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy Mulcahy—is that the Opposition are not given an opportunity to put in amendments to the Bill. You, Sir, have indicated that you had already conveyed to Deputy Mulcahy, who is Chief Whip of the Opposition Party and is responsible on behalf of his Party for the conduct of these matters—that up to a late hour you were prepared to accept amendments to the Motion which would make amendments to the Bill possible. The Opposition refused to avail themselves of the latitude which you proposed to give them and, accordingly, they themselves prevented the moving of amendments here which would enable some of these  orders, the confirmation of which is not so urgently required, to be deleted from the Schedule and considered in greater detail at a later date. Not only that, but the Minister for Industry and Commerce intimated early in the debate that the Government were prepared, provided they got an assurance that the Bill would pass through all its stages to-night, to discharge the order for the motion and to allow the debate on the Bill to proceed in the ordinary way without any guillotine and without any time-table. If that offer of the Government had been accepted, the Opposition would have been in a position to move amendments on the Committee Stage to delete from the Schedule any of the orders to which they took particular exception. In that connection I may say that, if our offer had been accepted, I was prepared to agree that certain of these confirmation orders might stand over to a later date. Accordlingly, there is no substance in the second objection which the Opposition has raised to this motion.
On the general question as to what has rendered a motion of this sort essential, it is only necessary for me to put before the House some figures which will show that last week much more time was taken on the discussion of the stages of the Finance Bill then before us than had been taken previously.
In that connection, and with particular reference to the point made by Deputy Cosgrave that the Bill was only introduced on the 22nd of June last, I should like to point out that if it had not been for the fact that the whole of the Government's programme was deranged by the prolonged and obstructive debate which took place on the Committee Stage of the Bill, it would have been possible to have taken the Second Stage of this measure very early last week: it would, in fact, have been possible to have taken it on Tuesday of last week, and to have found, inside the ordinary Parliamentary time-table, the three hours which several Opposition Deputies have already told the House would have  been more than sufficient to consider the measure in all its details.
But everybody knows what happened last week. Possibly, to-morrow there will be an opportunity for going into it in greater detail, but last week on the Committee Stage of the Finance Bill four Opposition Deputies got up and talked as often as three and four times on the sections of that Bill: and carried through a sort of filibuster to prevent the Bill passing through Committee, and in that way endeavoured to upset and derange the general Government programme. If it had not been for that obstruction there would have been, as I have said, ample time.
In that connection I think it is desirable that the House should understand exactly how flagrantly the Opposition wasted the time of the House. It is usual, in connection with the Financial business of the year, to discuss the Resolutions on which the Finance Bill is framed at great length, both as Resolutions and, subsequently, as sections of the Bill. In 1928 the total time occupied by the then Opposition on the Financial Resolutions and the Finance Bill amounted to 22 hours 21 minutes; in 1929, the time occupied was 28 hours and 5 minutes; in 1930, the time occupied was 18 hours and 25 minutes; in 1931, the time occupied was 26 hours and 10 minutes; but in 1932, when a new Government came in with a very heavy programme which, undoubtedly, would have made very heavy demands on Parliamentary time; when the Opposition changed, and when, instead of having a patriotic Opposition in this Dáil, when instead of having an Opposition which was anxious only to help the then Government in power to do anything that would improve the economic position of our people; when that Opposition was replaced by the then Cumann na nGaedheal Opposition, at once the amount of time devoted to the Finance Bill of the year jumped up to 77 hours and 35 minutes. Then there came the General Election of 1933, and the then Opposition realised what the view of the people of this country was in regard to the attitude which they had exhibited here towards the Government  then in office. As a result of that election the Opposition returned to the House in a more chastened mood, and the debate on the Finance Bill of that year occupied 36 hours and 15 minutes.
In 1934 a little more time, but not an unreasonable amount of time, was taken in discussing the Finance Bill, the time spent on it being 40 hours and 50 minutes. But, on the Finance Bill of this year, the Opposition having, I suppose, forgotten the lessons of the General Election of 1933, went back to its old recalcitrant and obstructive attitude, and in this year, notwithstanding the fact that the Government had a very heavy legislative programme: a legislative programme, for instance, which included the Pigs and Bacon Bill, a Bill to regulate, control and to organise upon sound lines the bacon industry in this country: a programme which included Widows' and Orphans' pensions, a social measure so long and so anxiously awaited by the people of this country, a legislative programme which included the Conditions of Employment Bill, the first attempt to frame a decent industrial code for the workers of this country, and when, in addition to these measures, we have also awaiting us a Bill to amend the Unemployment Assistance Act and a number of other Bills which will come before the House in due course: the Opposition, animated by a desire to hold up these measures and, as I have said before, to derange the Government's programme in the hope that when the time came for the Dáil to adjourn we should be compelled to drop some vital elements in it, reverted to its old attitude of obstruction, and so, in this year of 1935, the amount of time wasted, for very largely wasted it was, in the discussions on the provisions of the Finance Bill, jumped up to 74 hours and 40 minutes.
I have said the time “very largely wasted,” and my justification for that is to refer any person who is sufficiently interested to take the trouble of going back and reading the debates, to what took place here last week. On every section of the Bill, as  I have already said, we had three or four Deputies getting up asking for information which could, and should, most properly be elicited by way of Parliamentary Question. When we were in Opposition; when we were preparing to debate the Budget proposals for the year, we took the trouble of putting down in advance the Parliamentary Questions which would elicit the data which we thought essential in order that we might be able to make a case against the proposals in the Bill and be able to criticise them properly. That has not been the attitude of the present Opposition. They do not take the trouble to do that but they ask a multitude of questions on the Bill in the vain hope that a Minister will make a slip; that he will simply, because he has not had the time to refresh himself upon the various points of detail, give them some inaccurate information out of which they can make a debating point and waste the time of the Dáil. We had one Deputy getting up and telling us, like a babbling Hans Anderson, on every occasion on which he spoke, the fairy tale of the Minister who went into a certain workman's house in Dublin and, seeing such and such a thing on the dresser, the table, or on the wall, decided to tax it. In every speech of that Deputy that sort of picture was painted. Now what was the purpose of that repetition except obstruction?
Then we had Deputy McGilligan's speeches. I do not know how far the question of the personal appearance of Ministers or Deputies can fitly enter into the question of a tariff upon ornamental glassware, but on that particular proposal in the Finance Bill the greater part of one of Deputy McGilligan's speeches was taken up discussing whether or not the Minister for Finance might be properly classified as a gargoyle. I confess I could not see the relevancy of that speech to the proposed tariff on glassware, and I did not feel called upon, in discussing that particular item, to get up and plead that Deputy McGilligan, who, apparently, suffers from a Narcissus complex and may ocacsionally  see a reflection of himself on these benches, and the Minister for Finance are not birds of a feather, and that he ought not to take me for his second self on the Government Benches.
Similarly we had Deputy John Marcus O'Sullivan in the same mood. I have already drawn the attention of the House to the intellectual content of that speech as reflected in one of the Dublin newspapers which published a report of its most striking passage in quotation marks. I have no doubt that that particular gem of Deputy O'Sullivan's oratory will figure in one of the classical collections of Irish Bulls, when he, appealing to the intelligence of our people, stated that a man waking up in the morning, “provided he had a ceiling above him” would see that every slate on the roof was taxed. I certainly did not feel that I was called upon to analyse that argument or to try to find a sufficiently strong refutation of it.
That is how the Opposition spent not merely all the normal Parliamentary time last week, but, in addition, the prolonged sitting on Friday, and a very large part of the special sitting on Saturday. Then they come along and tell us that one of the reasons why we are anxious to get this guillotine motion through is in order that we may avoid a discussion of the Estimates. I think that is the last point that has been made in this debate on the guillotine motion, that we were rushing this Bill because we did not wish to have a discussion on the Estimates. After this Bill is disposed of, the next business on the Order Paper is the Estimates, and the first of the Estimates can be taken as early as the Opposition will permit. Up to 9 o'clock we are in their hands. This Bill is urgently required because it must be law by the 29th of July, and we are anxious to give the Seanad ample time to consider it.
If the Opposition will change from the obstructive attitude they have taken up to the present, and allow this Bill to go through this House expeditiously, we can get down immediately to a discussion of the Vote for Law Charges. Deputy Morrissey who  has left the House, and who is scarcely ever in it, to help it to come to a right conclusion on any matter, said we were putting all these things on the Order Paper in order that we might avoid discussion of the Law Charges. The matter is now in the hands of the Opposition. They can allow this Bill to pass expeditiously through all stages, and we will proceed immediately to discuss the Vote for Law Charges, and all the other matters which were referred to by Deputy Bennett, the Votes for Old Age Pensions, Local Loans and Agriculture. If the Opposition do not depart from their obstructive attitude, and if we have to utilise all the time prescribed by the guillotine resolution in discussing the Bill before the House to-day, and the Finance Bill and the Appropriation Bill which will be before it in due course to-morrow and Thursday, we will still be more than generous. We have to get the Appropriation Bill through before July 31, otherwise more Parliamentary time is going to be wasted in taking a Vote on Account and a Central Fund Bill.
If this Bill is disposed of early on Thursday the Opposition can still have additional Parliamentary time to discuss the Vote for Agriculture. There is no advantage which they would get from a discussion of that particular Vote immediately, that will not be available to them, and that they cannot have on the special day which we are prepared to give for consideration of that Vote. If they want more than one day they have the remedy in their own hands. They can shorten discussion on these Bills. The business which we hope to dispose of during the balance of any Parliamentary day that may be left will be confined entirely to the Estimates.
Mr. MacEntee: I said that the Opposition, in taking up an obstructionist attitude, thought they would compel the Government to jettison  some of the important measures that are before the House or that are in contemplation.
Mr. O'Leary: I think it would have been better for the Minister if he brought the yellow book with him instead of having spoken on this occasion, because nobody could have made a greater defence of the attitude of the Opposition last week. With regard to the statement made about the Finance Bill in 1928, when 28 hours were spent on it, that was the occasion on which the Minister made the famous speech that I often quoted in this House, in which he stated that the country could not stand the taxation. The Estimates then amounted to £20,000,000. In 1935, when taxation is £8,750,000 higher, I maintain that that is sufficient justification for the attitude which the Opposition took up last week. The Minister for Agriculture talked about propaganda. I do not know what the country is going to call it, but it is the duty of the Opposition to bring before the people the policy of the Government regarding taxation. I challenge the Minister for Finance to say if there is a single article going into a household that does not bear taxation. The Minister stated that the Government wanted to have this Bill through the Dáil before July 29th. Was there any occasion on which this Party did not accommodate the Government in getting Bills through? The Minister said that he was anxious to get the Bill to the Seanad. Was there ever such hypocrisy, seeing that this Government is going to do away with the Seanad on the grounds that it is of no use to the public? The real meaning is that Ministers have become aristocrats, and that they want to get away on their holidays. There was a time when the Dáil was about to adjourn for Christmas when Deputy Corry and other Deputies said they did not want to go home until the employment and other problems were settled. The Government should be honest. We have always been honest with the people, and the people are getting to know that. If proof of that is wanted it was given recently in the Galway  election. The people are beginning to think. It is our duty to give them something to think about and to bring home the real position to them.
Mr. O'Leary: The Minister talked about the obstructive tactics of last week. There was no obstruction. If the Minister had only replied to questions that were put to him time would have been saved. The Minister said that some Deputies had spoken three or four times. I say that they were justified in trying to get the Minister to become vocal, but he was so interested in the yellow book that he could not find time. He had so much contempt for the Opposition because he knew he could not stand up to the arguments which they wanted to bring before the people. I desire to protest. This is a downright attempt on the part of the Government to prevent the Opposition criticising their Bills.
Mr. Brennan: It is a source of gratification that the Minister for Finance has found his voice. Personally, I am gratified. We are so accustomed to looking at a silent Minister for Finance that, possibly, this motion, if it did nothing else but make him speak, was worth while putting down. The Parliamentary Secretary made a bad case for the urgency of this measure. The Minister for Agriculture made a worse case, and the Minister for Finance failed altogether. The real joke about the whole thing, however, is that, while we have down here a guillotine motion which is depriving this House of the opportunity of discussing this Bill in the ordinary way in which Bills are discussed, we have the solicitude of the Minister for Finance and of the Minister for Agriculture about the Seanad getting due and proper time to consider it. Is it not a great joke? The Seanad that we are about to abolish: the Second House that is going to be abolished, that is a nuisance—that House must get its full and proper time for consideration and discussion  of this Bill, but this House must not get it. And this Seanad, this Second House, is the House that we scorn, that we regard as a nuisance, and that we are going to abolish!
Mr. Brennan: Exactly. The Minister for Finance told us quite a lot about the things that the Government are contemplating doing. There is one thing, however, in addition to all the things the Minister for Finance said, which he did not say, and which is a complete justification for the attitude of this side of the House in regard to the Finance Bill, and that is that this country is pauperised as a result of the Government's policy; and the Minister knows that. We had nothing from the Minister to-day, as we had last year and the year before, about the revenue being buoyant. The Minister trotted out the number of hours spent on the Finance Bill in 1928, 1929, 1931, 1932 and so on; but he did not enumerate the difference between the revenue-earning items in those years and in this year. Does the Minister for Finance think that if there are half a dozen or a dozen revenue-earning items they are going to be disposed of in the same way as if there were 100 or 200 revenue-earning items, as is the case to-day? Is there not complete justification for the attitude of the Opposition on the Finance Bill to-day in view of these facts? It is ridiculous to urge, because a certain length of time was spent in going through the Finance Bill item by item, that it is a reason this particular Bill should be rushed through in this particular way. There is no argument behind that. The Minister goes further and tells us—the most astounding thing of all—that he was quite prepared to consider delaying the operation of all these items if we took the offer made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. The extraordinary thing about that is that, before he made that offer, he had got down—or at least the Parliamentary Secretary had it down—“that the Committee Stage shall be put forthwith and successively and shall be decided without amendment or debate.” The Minister took the precaution  of putting that down first, before saying that if the Opposition had accepted a certain type of offer made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, he was quite prepared to forgo certain things. He has got a poor way of convincing anybody, by putting that motion down, that he was prepared to forgo certain items in the Bill which is coming before the House.
With regard to the Bill governed by this particular motion, there is one item which is being put forward as an item of urgency, and that is, the pig carcases. That is the one item. I should like to know from the Minister for Finance what was the meaning to be attached to the Budget statement here on the matter of the levy on pig carcases? Is it really a necessity that that should come up now and that levy be continued in view of the statement the Minister made here in the House in connection with the levy on pig carcases? My recollection is—I am subject to correction here because I am only relying on my memory for it— that he was going to lose a certain amount by this levy if he did not enforce it but that he was going to make it up by a levy on foreign wheat and on hydro-carbon oils. I presume I am correct in that. So that, if my recollection is correct, the Minister for Finance is collecting this on the double at the present time. We were to have these taxes on wheat and hydro-carbon oils to make up for the proposed relaxation of the tax on pig carcases, but instead we have the two running.
Mr. Brennan: The Minister for Agriculture told us that this tax was a matter of absolute urgency. Now, this tax was put on originally as a war measure. The four measures which we are considering here to-day, and which we have got to closure in order to put them through the House, are war measures. The Minister for Finance  told us that the Government was prepared to give us a greater period for discussion of those four items than we really wanted. If that is so, why was the motion put down and why was it put down in such a way that we could not offer an amendment? The Chair refused to take an amendment to that motion. That is so.
Mr. Brennan: I am not criticising the Chair, Sir. I have not attempted to criticise the ruling of the Chair, but I am criticising what the Minister for Finance has said, and that is that they were prepared to accept amendments if we did it in a particular way. We endeavoured to put forward an amendment, but the Chair would not take an amendment. I am not criticising the Chair or its rulings. There is no use, however, in anybody else telling us that we could have had a complete discussion on this and have amendments to it. We could not. I think it will be admitted by everybody that a discussion in globo upon such things as an Excise duty on pig carcases, a Customs duty on ink, a Customs duty on cutlery and an Excise duty on tyres, cannot get any kind of individual or discriminatory discussion here in the House while they are taken in that way, and while we are prevented from having a Committee discussion on them. The whole matter appears to me to be an effort to stifle discussion, and anything that the Minister for Finance would say or attempt to say about the position of the discussion here last week and what ensued as a result of the discussion on  the Finance Bill is certainly not convincing as far as the allegation of obstruction is concerned. The Minister knows perfectly well that there was no obstruction last week.
Mr. Brennan: The Minister refused to answer last week. To-day, the courtesy he refused to the House on the Finance Bill he endeavoured to remedy to some extent by replying to some of his critics. I suggest to him that he would be well advised to take the opportunity of replying to his critics at the proper time and that in that way he would save the time of the House. No reasonable case has been made for the motion before the House and, that being so, the fact that these four items cannot be taken and discussed in the way in which we should discuss them is evidence that there is really something behind the Government's mind in stiffing discussion in that way.
Dr. O'Higgins: It is quite in keeping with the policy of the Government, which is gradually being disclosed, that this House should be gagged on every important measure, and that questions concerning the House and the people in the most vital degree, and affecting them in their very nearest interests, should be put through this House under a guillotine motion by which every attempt at amendment criticism, every attempt at amendment or any suggestion of amelioration or improvement is made impossible. As I say, it is quite in keeping with the whole policy of the Government, both now and in the past. Their policy is to tear down, discredit and belittle the institutions of this State. Heretofore there was a system of two Houses. The Governor-General is quarantined; the Second House is annihilated, and this House is now to be gagged. The more important the measure which should receive consideration the more keen is the Government majority on gagging the minority. We had quite recently a delicate situation concerning this House—the nominating of a Parliamentary Committee to inquire into the deeds and acts of a Government  Department. Surely it was a matter in which the very fullest discussion and freedom of expression of opinion should have been allowed. Surely it was an occasion on which the rights of the political Opposition, although in the minority, should have been respected. But that was the occasion selected to gag the Opposition——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I am not preventing the introduction of analogies, but Deputy O'Higgins has proceeded to comment on what was done in connection with a particular Select Committee which is at present sitting.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy was commenting on what happened on a certain occasion, when a motion was before the House, alleging that the Government did certain things. The personnel and terms of reference of the Committee in question have been decided on. I cannot allow the Deputy to reopen the matter, or comment upon what happened in connection with that Motion. He must discuss the matter which is before the House.
Dr. O'Higgins: I have as much respect as anyone in this House for the Chair, but I think the Chair is not entitled to tell me what I am proceeding to do. The Chair can rule on what I am doing or have done.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy will either obey the ruling of the Chair or cease speaking. The Deputy had commented on what this House had decided, and he will not be allowed to comment on that matter under this motion.
Dr. O'Higgins: Perhaps, in order to facilitate the Deputy in complying with the ruling of the Chair, the Deputy might be informed as to what the ruling is, and with regard to what? Is it on what I am doing or what I am proceeding to do?
Dr. O'Higgins: Very well. I was pointing out that the action of the Government in this particular motion is analagous with the action of the Government on every vital question which has lately come before this House. When there was a motion before the House to appoint a Select Committee, an occasion on which one would expect the very fullest and freest discussion, the discussion was gagged and the matter was forced through by a guillotine motion such as we have here to-day. The Finance Bill, which affects more closely than  any other Bill in the legislative year, the lives and the homes of the people, was also forced through by a guillotine motion. Here we have a motion before the House to impose Customs duties and Excise duties on very dissimilar articles, and we have a guillotine motion to stifle discussion and link together in a common vote such dissimilar articles as motor tyres and pig carcases. The situation which confronts us is that if an individual or a group of individuals is in favour of one duty and opposed to the other three, in order to get the one, they have to stomach the four; or if a person is in favour of three and opposed to one, in order to get the three which he is in favour of he has to vote in support of the whole four. The linking together of such dissimilar articles as ink, cutlery, pig carcases and motor tyres, in a common Bill, in a race against the face of the clock, is reducing this House to something more contemptible than a farce. I say that that particular action and the intention behind it are consistent with every action of the Government Party both since they assumed office and prior to their taking up Government positions. We are asked to rush this particular Bill through by some hour this evening. The Dáil does not matter, or the people who will pay the taxes do not matter. The only thing that matters is the time, and the convenience of the civil servants. Having destroyed the Seanad and made a humbug of the Dáil it is gradually coming out that the only people who matter and the only people who are to receive consideration in this State are the civil servants behind the scenes. If they are slack in their administration, if they are behind-hand with their work, or if they are lazy in their duty, the way to get over that is to inconvenience the Dáil and inconvenience the public by rushing a Bill through so as to convenience the civil servants.
One portion of this Bill arises out of a Bill which was introduced in the Dáil on 12th December, and which  passed through the Dáil and Seanad on 3rd May. In connection with the most urgent portion of this Bill, which is made the carrier pigeon for the other three parts, it is not necessary that it should become law before the 30th of the present month. Yet, the tyrants in office decide that with the assistance of the gag it must be put through this House in all its Stages by 9 o'clock this evening. Statutory requirements give up to the 30th July. But statutory requirements can go by the board. The necessity for a discussion can go by the board and consideration for the people affected can go by the board merely because some Minister or somebody behind the scenes presses a button and decides that it would suit his convenience better to rush the Bill through in a day and that it would be better in the interests of those behind the scenes to stifle discussion by preventing amendments and so abolishing the Committee Stage.
I remember when the Minister for Finance and his colleagues occupied these benches the howl that went up if the closure on any question was suggested. That howl would bring down the roof if the financial matters were closured through this House. The most urgent of the four measures affected by this Bill requires that it should be law by the 30th July. The three remaining are required by statutory obligations to be put through the House by December. About November or December would comply with the legislation and the necessity of the situation. What is the excuse and what is the justification for linking those four items together in a common closure motion? The statutory time allowed for three out of the four items mentioned in this Motion to-day is until December next, and from this to the 30th July is the period allowed for the implementing of the fourth item. Yet, by nine o'clock to-night they have all to be through this House. There is to be no amendment of these Bills and no opportunity for an amendment is allowed. Judging from the way things have gone latterly in this House I am strongly of opinion that it is only  taking part in a farce, bolstering up dishonest humbug and indulging in dishonest hypocrisy for any of us of the Opposition to attend here.
Dr. O'Higgins: We will put in the Secretary's Department and make them the real Government and the only thing that matters. We will put a row of departmental secretaries there in the Government front bench. We can even discard that front bench and let the row of secretaries legislate from office to office over the telephone. What is the point in going to the expense, trouble and turmoil of appointing elected representatives of the people to come here if any Minister in a moment of pique and relying on a docile majority can decide that the most important legislation can be taken in so many hours and that there will be no opportunity for discussion and no opportunity for amendment? If they can decide that months can be changed into days and days can be changed into hours and hours can be changed into minutes, why should we go to the expense and trouble of having elections to this House? If what has been happening here for the last few weeks is to continue to happen in the matter of important legislation and the more rapid use of the guillotine is to continue to prevail, then I think the more quickly we hand over the administration of legislating for this country to a group of civil servants the better. Let us get rid of the farce and get rid of the humbug; let us be honest about it— we are approaching the time when, if civil servants prefer their holidays, discussion is to be gagged here and legislation is to become a farce. The elected representatives of the people through the selfish agreement of Government Ministers are to be over-ridden in order to suit the convenience of the civil servants behind the scenes.
I would ask the Minister to remember that when he is legislating in this House he is also establishing precedents. The precedents that have  latterly been established in this House are precedents that are dangerous in the extreme. When we have come to that state of affairs in the country that Excise duties, Customs duties and the big Finance Bill of the year have to be forced through Parliament by the aid of the guillotine and the gag there is something wrong with the policy that has the country in its grip and there is something wrong with those directing that policy. I think it is as much in their interests as it is in the interests of the Opposition and in the interests of the people outside that matters such as this should be open to the fullest and freest discussion and there should be ample opportunities for the amendment of Bills such as these. I am sorry to see, when this closure motion is under discussion, every member of the Labour Party absent from the House. It was always a matter of principle with the Labour Party in the past that they would object to the closure on any subject. They objected to it on principle. I wonder if when they became the tincan tied to the donkey's tail that they sank that principle as well as many others. It is well known that the more wicked the donkey, the noisier will the tin-can be. It may be a sign of a change of front to observe the silence of the Labour Party here to-day.
Mr. McGilligan: Like other Deputies, I would like to get this in perspective —we have a very drastic guillotine Resolution here to-day. It is admitted that the notice for the Motion we are discussing was one day late, that is, the notice for it was one day too short, but the Ceann Comhairle has exercised discretion in favour of the Government. The Ceann Comhairle admitted here last week that a discretion would be exercised in favour of the Government, but he said that a limited discretion would be exercised in favour of the Opposition and that an amendment could be received up to 11 o'clock this morning with regard to this Motion. There are Deputies in this House who did not get this notice until this morning. The ruling of the Ceann Comhairle seems to be that it would be in order for Deputies——
Mr. McGilligan: I am not discussing the Ceann Comhairle's ruling. I am discussing what arises out of it. I am not questioning the ruling. These are the facts. We have had a standard set up here last week, and that standard must be accepted until it is knocked down. That standard is that if a measure is proposed as urgent it is for the majority of this House to declare whether that measure is urgent or not. In deciding this point last week the Ceann Comhairle said:—
We have it now that when anything is urgent, because there is a necessity for speed, that the view of the majority of the House will prevail and not the judgment of the Chair. The Chair evades the responsibility of deciding that matter. The Ceann Comhairle will give a favourable exercise of his discretion on matters relating to the Government, but he will not exercise his discretion so favourably towards members of the Opposition. Now, this decision is in relation to Finance matters. It has been commented upon in the Press during the week-end. There is a very elaborate procedure in this House, as there is in other Parliaments, with regard to finance.
That procedure was not put together yesterday. Its growth is back in centuries of history and took place at a time when the only power the common people had against those who ruled them was to have some control over what these rulers did in regard to taxing the people. There were wars, revolutions and uprisings of people in many countries in relation to that matter, until finally you got the system that we copied here as being what human wisdom in other countries declared to be the best to meet the varying circumstances against the tyranny of rulers in regard to taxation. So we have the elaborate procedure  of financial resolutions, a general debate immediately, and detailed expression of opinion on the details of the Financial Resolutions; the report of such Financial Resolutions and the bringing together of these Resolutions further into a Finance Bill which goes through the ordinary stages—the Second Stage where the principle is discussed—the Committee Stage where every detail is exposed, dissected, criticised, and so on.
Into that procedure of financial control the present Government has introduced a new system whereby, under the cloak of what is called Emergency Imposition of Duties, tariffs, taxes and exactions upon the people get rushed in. They must be confirmed by legislation within a certain period of months. But all that happens meanwhile is law, and the taxation, even though afterwards declared to be oppressive, is nevertheless imposed. So the financial procedure has been weakened, weakened by Government activity in the way of legislation, and it is being weakened further now by this establishing as a standard for rule in this House of the majority view in regard to urgency; and further, I suggest, weakened by the exercise of a sympathetic discretion on the part of those who control order in this House in favour of the Government and not so sympathetically in favour of the Opposition.
An Ceann Comhairle: There is one method of criticising the Chair and that is by express motion. Deputies may feel aggrieved by certain proceedings here on Friday last. The Chair has exercised considerable patience and Deputies should not casually repeat charges against the Chair.
Mr. McGilligan: I have a considerable sense of grievance over that and propose to discharge it at an early opportunity, but I consider that I am entitled to refer to the reactions of that when I am discussing the breakup of the financial procedure here. I have said what I intended to say and I hope it has not been out of order. We have that elaborate financial procedure thus broken down. We have  meddlers who are simply bent on revenge, which may be sweet, but its fruits may be very bitter. If there is any man with a sense of responsibility sitting on those benches he would be considering this, not from the angle of what suits him at the moment but whether he would like to be faced with these new changes if he were sitting here. It is the only way in which responsibility can be brought home to any man—that he should consider it from the angle of what he would consider to be a just standard if he were the person in opposition representing the people who are to be taxed—the people who do not favour the Government in office at the moment. What is the good of this elaborate procedure and all this gleaning from history and all those elaborate devices which, as I say, the wit of mankind has settled upon as the best way of standing up against the coercion of a Government in power if they are going to be broken like a vase in the hands of a fool, just simply to get a victory at the moment—and what a victory it is!
What are we to rush through this evening? One Bill containing four items—a tax upon pigs, a changed tax upon ink, a changed tax upon cutlery and a taxation upon tyres. I know well why we cannot be allowed to discuss freely the ink tax, because it is ludicrous to talk of it in this context, but in this context it was introduced. Remember, the bottle of ink is one of our weapons against the British in the economic war. If we can stop British ink coming we have gained some great tactical advantage if not a big victory.
Mr. McGilligan: It can be repeated. Why should we not be allowed to contrast ink and cattle? It is an obvious contrast. Why go 100 per cent. pro-British in cattle and decide that you are now, by reaction, to become more anti-British in regard to ink than ever before? Or is this part of the general scheme of preventing the education of the people? You do not want paper to come into the country without any writing on it, and you do not want ink to come in.
 What is done with regard to tyres? There is 7½ per cent. excise duty on the retail price of tyres. It is a pity we could not be allowed to discuss the matter of tyres in some detail because we are starting a factory here—I am not sure if it has not been started already—for the production of Irish tyres. We were told that the price was to be 15 per cent. above what these can be sold at in England, plus whatever Excise duty might be put on, plus whatever increased cost there may be in bringing in raw material into this country, where there was going to be a small consuming unit for these goods. We have to pass all this to-night. We cannot get the inter-actions of the 7½ per cent., the 15 per cent and the other addition, whatever it may be.
As far as cutlery is concerned, we had a 15 per cent. tax with 10 per cent. preference. It was raised to 25 per cent. We have put up that tax in the Finance Bill which is operating and yet we must get this through in order to enable us to give statutory confirmation to the 25 per cent. although we have completely over-ridden that 25 per cent. by the new tax in the Finance Bill raising it by 50 per cent. Then we have, finally, as Deputy O'Higgins said, the one which carries the rest. Here again, we must see to the new procedure, urgency being the plea, and urgency to be admitted in a certain way. Hereafter, if there is one urgent thing which commends itself to the majority in this House that one urgent thing can be made to carry on its back a dozen items. They can be put in the same Bill and the little colour of urgency for one will give the colouring to the whole lot. Deputies down the country may find measures down here for discussion on a certain day of which they have no notice and they are not entitled to put down amendments to them.
What is the urgency about this pig matter? On the 12th December last, a measure was introduced into this House dealing, amongst other things, with a tax on the carcases of pigs. For some reason, that certainly is not the responsibility of this House, that measure was not debated on Second Reading until the end of March. It  was not very urgent then. Then it went to a Special Committee and came back to this House in the early days of May. It was listed for discussion one day early in May and there were 96 amendments to it. Every one of these 96 amendments was either discussed or in some way dealt with and the Bill was given a final reading the next day.
Now, take the delay on that measure which was introduced on the 12th December and passed through this House on the 23rd May. Who was responsible for the delay between the 12th December and the 22nd May? The House then sent the Bill to a Special Committee, where it was dealt with expeditiously, and when the final day came it was dealt with and went through. It went to the Seanad. It was discussed and passed, and it was signed on the 20th June.
Under that Bill boards were to be set up, and certain administrative machinery was to be set up, and if that was done this Bill would not be required. The Bill was introduced on the 12th December, as I pointed out, and someone had in mind that some administrative machinery would be necessary when the Bill was through. Was anyone thinking about that since December last? How was it that we arrived at the 12th June when the Minister was aware that it was going to pass and no delay and no obstruction, yet the measure was allowed to lie quiet ever since? Why was there not someone thinking about the administrative machinery? Why was there not some idea in someone's head to see that the setting up of the boards came about in time? But we find that instead of there being anyone thinking of finding out whether this administrative machinery was necessary, this House was presented with a Bill and asked to pass it right off. Why all this urgency now? On the 26th June we were presented with the Bill and asked to get it immediately on to the Statute Book, while the Minister could wipe out the administrative machinery necessary under the other Bill. This House is now asked to give a hurried consideration to this  measure, and in doing so to include other matters about which there can be no urgency. Four disagreeable items are included here and are to be excluded from obtaining publicity in the Press or elsewhere. This, no doubt, is done in order to impose excessive taxation on the people without giving them any chance of knowing anything about it. The whole financial machinery of this House is to be wrecked because somebody who should have been thinking about this matter had not any time, or was not thinking at all about the machinery that should be set up under the Bill which was passed in June.
Instead of that the House is asked to take up, and pass, all the remaining stages of this Bill in one day. It was introduced on the 26th June and no move made since. Apart from that, when we had this Bill before us last week, and there was talk about its urgency, no one whispered that this was a legislative Imposition of Duties Bill. It was apparently to be rushed through. Late as that was the arguments about the urgency are still later; in fact, they have not yet been brought forward. If we got through all this business according to the guillotine resolution this week, we are told that there may be two days given for discussion next week. Is it possible that in all this urgency the Ministry has not thought of the fact that there may be no business to be done next week? It may be well to accommodate members of the Opposition and do them a good turn. They must prevent the exposure to the people of this mad rush, and that may be followed by the discovery that too much had been rushed through, and that the Dáil may meet possibly only two days next week: and so one day may be given for the discussion for the Department of Agriculture. But the other Estimates—the Finance Bill and the Imposition of Duties Bill containing all these disagreeable things are to be got through in three days. All this is to be done at the expense of completely wrecking the financial procedure arranged here as in so many other countries and so carefully built up.
 This is a matter that concerns the protection of the whole people, not merely minorities. But these opportunities are to be denied the people. The Government say they are tired with the repetition of talk on the taxation of foodstuffs and so on. They are tired of all the talks of taxation on house building materials, and the exposure of their plans with regard to the Border, and so on. These things brought forward and stated once or twice might pass without notice. But to have them repeated as they appear in the schedules discussion would mean that the knowledge of them would penetrate through the newspapers down to the people in country districts and eventually there would be a fair appreciation amongst the people of what the Budget means.
They are afraid that there might be a fair appreciation in the minds of the people of the depth—the financial depth—to which the Government is sinking. The Minister tells us that there has been prolonged and obstructive debates. I have been a close student, as far as my time permitted, of the financial resources of this country; but until the Committee discussions on this Finance Bill, I had no idea that rice or figs or grapes were taxed, or that so many matters used in house building were taxed. I venture to say that our people in the country had no idea that all these things were taxed; and the Government presumably think that they should not have any idea of what things were taxed.
The Minister tells us that on Finance Bills, in certain years, there were certain numbers of hours spent in discussion. Is it any argument to say that one year there was only 18 hours' discussion on the Finance Bill and that in another year there was 74 hours. Does the Minister not know perfectly well that if taxation is being taken off there is very little criticism, but if taxation is being put on, there is bound to be a great amount of criticism? Will the Minister relate to those hours and years what was their relation to the taxes under discussion? Will he tell us what was the nature  of the taxation in the years when the hours were short and what was the nature of the imposition in the years when the debates range out over many hours? Will he tell us the relation between the hours taken up when it was a question of the reduction of taxation and the hours taken in discussion when it was a question of the imposition of taxes? If we are to have 74 hours' discussion this year, in relation to the imposition of taxation it is not too much. If the Minister introduced a Bill containing only four of the Schedules of the Finance Bill, and brought it in, and had a Second Reading debate and then proceeded to the Committee Stage and if the Committee Stage on these four Schedules lasted eight hours no one could say that it was too much. The Minister should allow ample time for the discussion of these matters instead of atempting to rush them through, sitting insolently in his place and refusing to give any information whatever on questions raised from this side of the House, because, as he was one time forced to admit, it could only prolong the discussion. Is there any appreciation here of the fact that this House meets for discussion; that the only virtue in this House is discussion; and that, without discussion, this House ought not to be elected and had better not be elected? If you take away argument, you take away government by persuasion. You can get another type of Government, but we have been told that that is not desired, but blot out discussion on the main item of finance and you might as well decide to do what Deputy O'Higgins referred to—dissolve this House, save money by dissolving the House and save even your own honesty by dissolving the House—and do not have a pretence of democratic government and government by persuasion, when, in fact, what you are operating is government by guillotine and particularly government by guillotine and closure on the delicate item of finance; on the question of whether the people ought to be taxed and to what degree they ought to be taxed: how far they can stand taxation; and  whether what it is proposed to give them in return for taxation is good and sufficient and whether it can be met in another way.
Take away all that and you take away the substance of this House and no leaning on the majority and no leaning on the simple statement that, as we all know, the majority rules, if operated in that way, is compatible with the type of Government which we have been brought up to believe exists in the country. It would be far better to sweep the whole thing out and to sit down securely placed for the time as dictators, and more securely placed as dictators than if there is criticism, because it would take longer then to find out what is on. It would be more honest to do that than to have this House meeting and the people believing that there is discussion and freedom of discussion, the right to argue freely and to get information brought to the point of mind operating on mind, while, at the same time, by guillotine and closure, you are simply saying: “We will this” and then the law operates and comes into existence.
Mr. McGilligan: If the Deputy thinks that is the procedure, why not do as is sometimes done in other House and allot a certain number of hours for the voting of supply and let there be notice given of that and let Deputies accommodate themselves to it? There is no use, however, in pretending to be a democratic Assembly with the guillotine operating without notice given,  so that Deputies might accommodate themselves to the situation, and particularly in circumstances such as rule here, in which there is merely not one method of financial procedure but a second specially invented to meet the needs of the Government. Every Deputy knows what the Emergency Imposition of Duties Bill means. It means that you are flooded out by a heap of White Papers in your morning post which you cannot read and the details of which you can only get examined here. They are held over until the eight months' period is nearly gone and then there is a rush and discussion is stifled. Deputies can face up to that other situation if they want to. The majority generally can engineer that and they can bring that situation about, but if that is going to be done it should be done openly and it should be done with good notice given, instead of having the statement “We are here and we are not going to have any of this pother about finance and pretending to protect the people's pockets; we rule.” As one newspaper said at the week-end, “the majorities will troop in for the division and the law is going to be made.” Give notice that that is your intention and then we will know what type of Government there is, but do not pretend to have discussion and argument and a clash of mind upon mind when all you want is a guillotine motion and the cutting short of debate and an attempt to break down the physique of people who have to stay here to endeavour to put up arguments on insufficient information—information denied when it should be given. You can have that; there is no way of avoiding it if the Government wants to have it; but do not ride the two horses together. Do the coercion openly and do the dictatorship openly, or do the democratic thing, but do not, as I said before, leave the people with the mistaken belief that we are allowed to argue here, that argument has some chance and that persuasion occasionally matters, and that even, whether persuasion matters in the way of changing a point of view argument, at any rate, there is allowed here, what discloses and dissects and lays bare to the people what is on, so that they  know in a sufficient way what is being imposed upon them. You are going to close that down, too, because, I suppose, a situation has now been reached when the so-called democrats hold the belief that knowledge is a bad thing for the people and that it would be well, in order to have things kept quiet, that they should not get a knowledge of what is going to be done, but that they should just be faced with the increased cost of living, the increase in their ordinary budget, and be left in a maze and in a bewilderment to be surprised by what is put in upon them.
We are told that we would upset the heavy Government programme of legislation if this was allowed to go on. The Widows' and Orphans' Pensions Bill was one of the measures that was so urgent the other day. It went through, by agreement, without a division. If it had been held over until now it would probably be one of the urgent measures for which the country was gasping and which, presumably, the Opposition were trying to obstruct. Does the Minister remember when he first talked of the Widows' and Orphans' Pensions Bill in the Budget speech? It was not this year's Budget speech but the Budget of 1934. It was terribly urgent and the Minister's heart bled for the widows and orphans and continued to bleed so for the whole year, and it gave him an opportunity for another compassionate bouquet to himself this year. Then it is brought in here and, with all the pother about urgency, passed without a division. It is, I suppose, part of the heavy legislative programme that would be upset—that addition to it announced in 1934 and the fructification of the promise not occurring until some time this year.
Deputy Brennan referred to one of the four matters contained in this Bill. I have already passed one type of criticism on this as an urgent question. Deputy Brennan referred to another aspect of it—the Excise duty upon the carcases of pigs. Here is what the Minister said in his Budget speech this year, on 15th May, at column 871:—
“Included in the Estimate under that head is the amount which it  was estimated would be collected over the 12 months from the existing Excise duty of 10/- per pig carcase and part of a pig carcase. The Minister for Agriculture has pressed me very strongly to remit this duty altogether. I am not in a position to do that immediately, but I have agreed, when the Board which is contemplated under the new Pigs and Bacon Bill has been set up...”
“This will cost the Exchequer £240,000 and is a remission which must be made good by a new impost elsewhere. In my opinion, the advantage which agriculturists will derive from the remission of the pig duty would not be lessened, but rather would be increased by a tax on foreign wheat. Accordingly, I propose to levy an import duty of 6d. a cwt. on that commodity in the hope that it will recoup us to the extent of £190,000.”
“The balance of the £240,000 will be found by an extension of the existing duty of 8d. per gallon on  mineral hydrocarbon light oils, to cover all mineral hydrocarbon oils used in the propulsion of motor vehicles.”
Mr. McGilligan: So that is the terrifically urgent matter of this Emergency Imposition of Duties Bill. It is tied up, as far as the Budget speech is concerned, with the remission of £240,000, and that remission is going to be made up in another way by two taxes which are already operating. If that is the urgency, it is not to relieve the people. Deputy Brennan said that it was possible that the two taxes might be in operation together. The Minister laughed at that. Is it so? I say it is so. And yet, on the back of the Pigs Bill ride the tyres and the ink——
Mr. McGilligan: Deputy Kelly is shocked into silence by his vicarious suffering for the poor at this moment. Surely this is a pretty pass that everything has been brought to, that we can have a resolution of this sort introduced with these fantastic reasons about urgency, which can be passed without attempted argument on any one of the four items. It is now acknowledged that the four items must be taken together. The four have got to go with the supposed urgency of the one tax mentioned. This is done while apparently Deputies believe that they are a democratic Government and that the people ought to be allowed to know, at any rate, why taxes are being imposed on them, and that the taxes that are being imposed are the only way in which revenue can be raised,  and that there is possibly some relief for them in future. We have not had that argument to-day.
If we are going to have this new procedure, will the Ministry tell us whether they have thought out the steps of the new procedure? Is there any scheme or any way of wiring to Deputies in the country the terms of guillotine resolutions which may at any time hereafter be brought in and sanctioned by the majority? Will Deputies by wire be allowed to put down an amendment, or is there any thought of substituting a new procedure for the procedure that is now being abolished? Are Ministers simply without any idea about procedure or the principle which lies behind procedure? Are they simply taking a rush at this because, no doubt, they have been affected by the knowledge which has crept out through the Press to the public of the taxation imposed in this year's Budget? If this procedure is going to continue, it is going to be looked upon as a new procedure for the House. If there is any chance of its being operated even occasionally, surely it would require some meeting of the Committee on Standing Orders to devise some way in which Opposition rights will be protected under the new procedure? I have said Opposition rights, but it may happen that even members of the Government Party will want to put down an amendment to some type of pressing tax which Ministers may rush in here with a guillotine resolution, without prior discussion at a Party meeting. Apart from members of the Government Party, it may be that people associated with the Government Party may find a Labour interest in conflict with some tax introduced under a guillotine resolution. Will they be enabled to get first hand information so that, at any rate, they may not be left entirely bereft of any counter to what may be proposed or so that they may be enabled to put down some amendment which will give them an opportunity of having the matter ventilated?
We are only at the point, as far as this procedure goes, of a matter which is one day late being admitted. There is no reason why two days' delay or  three days' delay in the tabling of such a motion might not, on the grounds of great urgency, be excused. We might have it that a resolution, introduced even on the morning of a day on which the Dáil sat, a financial resolution imposing taxation, might be rushed through the House in 24 hours. At the moment one does not consider it likely that that would happen, but once the thing has happened, the old principle goes, and the conscience that may operate through delay may not operate for the future. Once the barrier of the day's notice is gone, and the appropriate notice under the Standing Orders has been broken into, the principle has gone.
An Ceann Comhairle: I want to be very definite on this matter. The Chair, by virtue of the powers conferred on it under Standing Order 25, took a certain course to-day. That matter is not open to criticism except by motion.
Mr. McGilligan: I shall make my submission in the same way on my feet. I did not intend to be disorderly towards the Chair and if I have been, I apologise. I say that I am not criticising a ruling of the Chair but I  want to show the reactions of it. I am not criticising or exposing the Chair, in the ordinary sense of the word, but I am making clear what follows without the slightest hint of criticism.
Mr. McGilligan: From the breach of the principle which is laid down in Standing Orders that a certain period, stated in the Standing Orders, must elapse between the handing in of a motion and the discussion of it. The Chair, quite legitimately exercising its discretion would not bar discussion of the motion to-day. I say “quite legitimately,” and I say that, quite legitimately, the Chair could also excuse two or three days' notice and could quite legitimately allow to be discussed on Wednesday at 3 o'clock a motion which was only handed in at 9 o'clock on Wednesday morning. That is possibly what we are drifting towards. That is the new procedure, and it is in relation to financial matters its importance is emphasised. That is the seriousness of the whole discussion.
Crowley, Fred Hugh.
De Valera, Eamon.
Doherty, Hugh. Maguire, Ben.
Maguire, Conor Alexander.
Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
O Briain, Donnchadh.
O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Dowdall, Thomas P.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Keely, Seámus P.
Kelly, James Patrick.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
MacEntee, Seán. Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Ward, Francis C.
|Alton, Ernest Henry.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Burke, James Michael.
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
Murphy, James Edward.
O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Redmond, Bridget Mary.
Rowlette, Robert James.
Thrift, William Edward.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
De Valera, Eamon.
Dowdall, Thomas P.
Keely, Séamus P.
|Kelly, James Patrick.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Maguire, Conor Alexander.
Murphy, Patrick, Stephen.
O Briain, Donnchadh.
O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
Pearse, Margaret, Mary.
Ruttledge, Patrick, Joseph.
Ward, Francis C.
|Alton, Ernest Henry.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Burke, James Michael.
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
Murphy, James Edward.
O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Redmond, Bridget Mary.
Thrift, William Edward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies P.S. Doyle and Bennett.
Motion declared carried.
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