Business of the Dáil.

Thursday, 11 March 1943

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 89 No. 10

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Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  Before the announcement of the Order of Business, might I be allowed to raise a matter of procedure which affects the rights of Deputies to submit questions for the Order Paper. On Thursday or Friday of last week I addressed a question to the Taoiseach, suggesting to him that, in view of the fact that a new electoral register was to come into operation in June next, he might arrange that the general election would be held in the month of June. I am merely raising the question of my rights as a Deputy. A day or so after, I was informed by an officer in the Clerk's office that the Clerk of the Dáil was inclined to think that this was not a permissible question since it appeared to make the Taoiseach responsible to the Dáil——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy is now debating the merits of the question. The Deputy might state the circumstances [1219] under which the question was turned down. Was it not refused by the Chair?

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  I have not been told that it was turned down by the Chair. I did not know that from the official who spoke to me on the phone.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Any doubt as to the admissibility of a question is referred to the Chair. I saw the question and disallowed it.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  I was not told that. I submit that as a member of the House I am entitled to be told whether the Ceann Comhairle has or has not disallowed a question of mine. I have not been told up to now that the question was disallowed by the Ceann Comhairle. I submit that, in all courtesy, a member of the House is entitled to be told whether a question is being allowed or disallowed. I have not been told that and I protest against the improper, and, if I may say so, the discourteous treatment of the question submitted by me.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy should have been so informed.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  I was not informed and I am protesting against that treatment.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  I desire to give notice that in view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply of the Minister for Supplies to question No. 3 I propose to raise the matter on the adjournment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  That will be at 9.30 p.m.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Yes, God help us.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Or 9 p.m. I understand that agreement has been reached to give all stages of the Central Fund Bill to-day. That business may not finish before 9.30 p.m.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  All I want is an opportunity to debate the propriety of compelling Donegal weavers to use hand-spun yarn in the production of their cloth.

[1220]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy will have his opportunity at 9 p.m. or 9.30. I have been informed that it has been agreed to give all stages of the Central Fund Bill to-day.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  We have not been consulted about that, and we are not bound by any agreement reached by any other Party.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  I was informed that the Labour Party and the main Opposition had agreed to that course.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  We have not been consulted about the matter at all.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach (Mr. Smith): Information on Patrick Smith  Zoom on Patrick Smith  I informed Deputy Norton that we wanted all stages of the Bill this week. I also saw the Whip of the Party, Deputy Keyes, and I gave him a list of the business we wanted done up to the end of May.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  When was this?

Mr. Smith: Information on Patrick Smith  Zoom on Patrick Smith  Last week, and he gave me to understand there would be no objection.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  The Parliamentary Secretary informed us that he wanted all stages of the Central Fund Bill by the end of the month. That is an entirely different thing to saying that he wants it through by 9 o'clock tonight.

Mr. Smith: Information on Patrick Smith  Zoom on Patrick Smith  By the end of this week.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  The end of the month.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  I have no doubt the Chair will be no party to taking away an Independent Deputy's right to speak on the Vote on Account, and on the Vote on Account I am going to speak. If there is a conspiracy between the larger Parties to deprive us of an opportunity to speak on the Vote on Account, I appeal with confidence to you, Sir, to see that we are not deprived of it.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  The only conspiracy entered into on the part of this Party is that we were consulted as to whether we would agree to finish the [1221] debate on the Vote on Account and the Central Fund Bill after two days' discussion. We agreed that, as far as we were concerned, we would be satisfied to finish the discussion inside two days.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  I am not saying that it would be impossible to get an agreement to conclude the debate in two days if there was any consultation to that effect but my understanding of the discussion with the Parliamentary Secretary was that he wanted this business concluded by the end of the month which is an entirely different thing.

Mr. Smith: Information on Patrick Smith  Zoom on Patrick Smith  I do not know whether I am expected to go round to every member of the Labour Party or to every individual Deputy and ask for his agreement to a proposal of this kind. I certainly made the position quite clear both to Deputy Norton and to Deputy Keyes and, as Deputy Mulcahy has explained, I was left under the impression by both these Parties that they would be agreeable to giving these two items after two days' discussion. We assumed that two days should give all interested a sufficient opportunity to discuss these matters.

Mr. A. Byrne:  Arising out of the Parliamentary Secretary's remarks about going to every member of the Labour Party, I would say that at least he, in his official capacity, if he wants agreement on a certain order of business, should inform at least one of the members on these benches here. He should let us know what is proposed because we are not going to be crushed out of these debates by him or anybody else.

The Tánaiste: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  Perhaps there has been a misunderstanding as to what was meant by putting through this business by the end of the month. Next week we shall not be able to meet on account of the holiday.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  I am quite prepared to concede that there was a misunderstanding.

[1222]The Tánaiste: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  We shall have to go to the Seanad with this business next week and it must be concluded by the end of the month. Perhaps the misunderstanding arose in that way.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Could we not sit to-morrow?

The Tánaiste: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  It is proposed to take Business as on the Order Paper— Nos. 6, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9 and 10.


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