Order of Business.

Tuesday, 24 March 1942

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 86 No. 1

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Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. 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: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  On Item No. 2—Estimates for Public Services —I want to inquire first, whether the Army Estimate has been considered by the [41] 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): Information on Oscar Traynor  Zoom on Oscar 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: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Is it proposed then to hold the discussion in public? Manifestly that will be impracticable.

Mr. Traynor: Information on Oscar Traynor  Zoom on Oscar Traynor  It is proposed to take the Estimate in the same way as it was taken last year. The Estimate will be open for discussion if any Deputy wants to discuss it.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew 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. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  It is not proposed to discuss the Estimate in secret session.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Will the Government consider the desirability of doing so if certain Deputies desire to discuss the Estimate?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  I think the Deputy is a bit late now in bringing up his point.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  This is the first time that the Estimate has appeared on the Order Paper.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  The Estimate is being taken to-day.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  But the House could [42] pass a resolution in two minutes excluding the Press.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  It is not proposed to move such a resolution.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Why? Does the Minister think that it is desirable to have this Estimate discussed in public?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  The Minister for Defence has explained the position to the Deputy, and I think made it quite clear.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew 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. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  That has not been suggested.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew 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. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  It is not proposed to discuss it in private nor have we received any representations from any responsible Party in the House that they desire that course to be taken.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew 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?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Chronologically, yes. The point, however, might [43] have been raised before the Vote appeared on the Order Paper.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Can the Chair assist me? Is there any procedure by which a motion can be made that the House go into private session?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  I am of opinion that a private Deputy could not do so.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  But, I take it, a Minister could make such a motion.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  If the Government desired to have a private session, they could move to have one.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  But that it is not up to an individual Deputy to make such a motion?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  I do not think so.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William 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: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. 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: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  The Bill is such that many amendments cannot be moved to [44] it. In my opinion the Committee Stage of it will be quite unimportant.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  We are glad to hear that the Deputy does not contemplate moving many amendments. That is quite contrary to the Government's expectations.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William 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.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  I think an interruption of three weeks in the debate on the Bill would be quite unsatisfactory.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  Will the Minister get some consideration for the proposal I have made?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  I will convey it to the Minister for Finance although I think I know his mind on it.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  When may we expect to get some information as to what the situation is?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  The Deputy can communicate with the Whips.


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