Tuesday, 24 March 1942
Dáil Éireann Debate
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): It is proposed to take business as on the Order Paper: Items Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6 and 2 (Votes 63 to 54). Item No. 1 will be taken in its appropriate place.
Mr. Dillon: On Item No. 2—Estimates for Public Services —I want to inquire first, whether the Army Estimate has been considered by the  Defence Conference, and secondly, whether the Government will consider holding the debate on it this year in secret session since it is manifest that if this Estimate is to be properly discussed in the House it cannot be discussed in public session. Unless a secret session be held, the Estimate cannot be effectively discussed here at all.
Minister for Defence (Mr. Traynor): The Defence Conference has already discussed the question of the Army Estimate. In conformity with the practice which was adopted last year the Army Estimate, and the Army Pensions Estimate, will be discussed this year in the Dáil in the same manner as last year.
Mr. Dillon: What I am asking the Government is: will they consider conducting whatever discussion the House may desire to have on the Estimate in private secret session, as it would be manifestly inexpedient to have a discussion on it in public during an emergency of the present character?
Mr. Dillon: It is perfectly manifest that if there is to be any discussion of this Estimate it should not be held in public. If the House does not want to discuss the Estimate, then the House can return to public session the moment the Estimate has been passed. If the Minister agrees with me that a discussion on the Army Vote at this time in public session is not desirable, does he desire to imply that it is improper for any Deputy in the House to discuss it at all?
Mr. Dillon: If it is agreed that it is undesirable to discuss the Army Vote in public, does not that amount to this, that if any member wants to discuss it, it ought to be discussed in private? In view of that, will the Minister consider having the Estimate discussed in private?
Mr. Dillon: The Minister is now receiving representations from a responsible Deputy in the House asking that the Vote should be discussed in private. This is the first occasion on which I could have raised the matter. I appeal to the Chair am I not right in that?
Mr. Norton: The Central Bank Bill is down for Second Reading to-morrow. This is a very long, a very technical and very complex Bill. It seems to me that the Second Reading debate on it will not be of as satisfactory a character as it might be if we have not the benefit, first of all, of hearing the Second Reading speech of the Minister for Finance, and afterwards of reading it. May I suggest to the Minister that he should put that proposal before the Government: that we should first of all hear the Second Reading speech of the Minister for Finance on the Bill, then have an opportunity of reading it, and having done that, resume the Second Reading debate after Easter? The Bill is obviously not an urgent one.
Mr. Lemass: I think the view of the Government is a much more satisfactory arrangement, namely, that the House should dispose of the Second Reading Stage of the Bill before Easter and take the Committee Stage after Easter. That will give Deputies ample time to table such amendments as they may consider necessary.
Mr. Norton: Will the Minister consider the arrangement that I have suggested? When informed of the point of view of the Minister for Finance on the Bill, we will be in a position to discuss it much more intelligently after Easter than if we were to proceed with the Second Reading debate to-morrow.
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