Public Business. - Report of the Committee on Procedure Relative to Standing Orders.

Thursday, 3 July 1930

Seanad Éireann Debate
Vol. 13 No. 31

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[2075]Mr. Farren: Information on Thomas Farren  Zoom on Thomas Farren  I beg to move “that the Report of the Committee on Procedure relative to Standing Orders be now considered.”

“1. At the meeting of the Seanad held on the 19th June, 1930, certain of the proposed new Standing. Orders contained in the Schedule to the Committee's Report dated 21st May, 1930, were referred back to the Committee for reconsideration.

2. The Standing Orders so referred back are Nos. 3, 30, 34, 44, 51, 57, 69, 89 and 104.

3. The Committee reconsidered those Standing Orders at its meeting on 26th June, 1930, and decided to recommend no change in Standing Orders 3 and 34. In regard to the remainder, they recommend the amendments set out in the Schedule hereto.—T. Westropp Bennett, Chairman of the Committee.

Cathaoirleach:  The Report has been circulated. Various suggestions were made and amendments were made by the Committee in the manner suggested by the House. I would be glad if the House would agree to the Standing Orders as now suggested. I think substantially they embody all that was suggested.

Mr. Farren: Information on Thomas Farren  Zoom on Thomas Farren  I move amendment 1: “S.O. 30. To add at the end of the Standing Order the words “authorised by him; provided that such authorisation shall not be necessary in Committee.”

Sir Thomas Esmonde: Information on Thomas Henry Grattan Esmonde  Zoom on Thomas Henry Grattan Esmonde  I second the motion.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Mr. Farren: Information on Thomas Farren  Zoom on Thomas Farren  I move amendment 2: S.O. 44. “To add at the end of the Standing Order a new paragraph as follows:—

(2) When a question has been decided in accordance with this Standing Order any further [2076] motion may at once be moved which is requisite to bring to a decision any question already proposed from the Chair and, subject to the discretion of the Cathaoirleach as provided in this Standing Order, such motion shall be put forthwith and decided without amendment or debate.”

Sir Thomas Esmonde: Information on Thomas Henry Grattan Esmonde  Zoom on Thomas Henry Grattan Esmonde  I second the motion.

Mr. Johnson: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  I am a little doubtful as to the effect of this amendment. A motion is proposed from the Chair that a certain section be accepted. An amendment is put forward and is discussed. It is thought desirable that there should be a closure motion in respect of that amendment. Am I to understand that before the first motion—that the section be embodied in the Bill—is brought to a decision another motion of closure shall be moved and carried without discussion, or is it to be automatic, that once the original closure motion has been passed, the main question is to be discussed?

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  This matter was discussed at the Committee. A great deal will have to be left to the common sense and discretion of the Chair. But I think there was one very clear idea in the minds of the Committee and that idea, they believe, is embodied in the Standing Order. I think the Committee were unanimously of opinion that if there was an amendment to a section and that amendment were closured and if there were a further amendment to that section which did not deal with the same subject matter as the amendment which was closured, it would not be automatically closured but would be discussed. If, on the other hand, you had an amendment to delete the section—as we frequently have here—and it was closured, the Chairman would say that that was similar to the putting of the section and he would proceed to put the question, on the ground that it was necessary to bring the matter to a conclusion. I give you [2077] those two cases as illustrating what was in the minds of the Committee. I think I am correct in saying that the Committee were influenced a good deal not only in respect of this Standing Order, but in respect of others by the desire to have uniformity with the other House. Where there was no clear case of difference in the case of the Seanad, the Committee aimed at uniformity with the Standing Orders of the Dáil.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  Supposing there are a number of amendments to the same section which are more or less of the same character, like the two amendments we had yesterday, where Senator The McGillycuddy sought to make provision for a per caput allowance and where I, in a subsequent amendment, sought to make provision for the State to provide the difference between the rate collected in the county and the total cost of the particular kind of education under discussion. Those would be two amendments of more or less the same character. Suppose one of these amendments was closured, would it be in the power of the Chair to say that the amendment which was closured was the same in substance as the succeeding amendments and thereby subject to the rule of closure?

Cathaoirleach:  The same as preceding amendments?

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  Yes.

Cathaoirleach:  I think it would be in the power of the Chair to say so, but surely the Cathaoirleach would weigh the position very carefully before he would come to such a decision.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  We really do not require rules in this House. We get on so very well that there is no necessity for rules and regulations to govern procedure.

Mr. Farren: Information on Thomas Farren  Zoom on Thomas Farren  The effect of the amendment will be to leave the position the same as it is at the moment. If an amendment is put and defeated and there are other amendments [2078] consequential on that and similar to it they are ruled out under our present Standing Orders. This amendment will not affect the position in the least. It will leave it exactly as it was.

Cathaoirleach:  The Committee were clearly of opinion that further substantive amendments of a different character could be put, but that amendments of a similar character could be ruled out in the discretion of the Chair.

Sir Thomas Esmonde: Information on Thomas Henry Grattan Esmonde  Zoom on Thomas Henry Grattan Esmonde  The Seanad, like every other deliberative assembly, must rely in the last resort on the good sense of the Chair.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  We are fortunate in that respect.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  It was present to our mind when this was before the Committee that very often we have an amendment which involves five or six consequential amendments. If the first amendment were closured obviously the others would be closured.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. Farren: Information on Thomas Farren  Zoom on Thomas Farren  I move amendment 3:—

“S.O. 51. To insert at the beginning of the Standing Order the words ‘Save as is in these Standing Orders otherwise provided’.”

Sir Thomas Esmonde: Information on Thomas Henry Grattan Esmonde  Zoom on Thomas Henry Grattan Esmonde  I second that.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. Farren: Information on Thomas Farren  Zoom on Thomas Farren  I move amendment 4:—

“S.O. 57. To delete the words ‘and shall have only one vote’ and to substitute therefor the words ‘He shall have a vote as an ordinary member of the committee, but not a casting vote’.”

Sir Thomas Esmonde: Information on Thomas Henry Grattan Esmonde  Zoom on Thomas Henry Grattan Esmonde  I second that.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. Farren: Information on Thomas Farren  Zoom on Thomas Farren  I move amendment 5:—

“S.O. 69 To delete the words ‘of the Oireachtas’ in line 1.”

Sir Thomas Esmonde: Information on Thomas Henry Grattan Esmonde  Zoom on Thomas Henry Grattan Esmonde  I second that.

[2079] Question put and agreed to.

Mr. Farren: Information on Thomas Farren  Zoom on Thomas Farren  I move amendment 6:—

“S.O. 89. To add at the end of the Standing Order the words ‘except by leave of the Cathaoirleach, which leave shall only be given on the ground that the subject matter thereof has been insufficiently debated.’”

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  I should like to have an explanation of this amendment.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  The amendment really maintains the practice which has obtained up to the present, and which the new Standing Orders proposed to alter. The Committee has gone back very largely to the suggestion of Senator Colonel Moore. The question was raised by him at the last meeting of the Seanad. The position is: if an amendment has been rejected in Committee, after full debate, and if the Chairman is satisfied that it has been properly debated in a full House, it cannot be raised again on Report. If, on the other hand, the Chairman is of opinion that it was not properly debated, or that sufficient time was not given to it, he can permit it to be raised again on Report Stage.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. Farren: Information on Thomas Farren  Zoom on Thomas Farren  I move amendment 7:—

“S.O. 104. To delete the Standing Order, and to substitute therefor a new Standing Order as follows:—

“104. When in the case of a Bill which has been received from the Dáil and amended in the Seanad a Message has been received from the Dáil disagreeing with or amending all or any of the amendments inserted in the Bill by the Seanad, such Message shall be placed on the Order Paper next thereafter prepared. Each such amendment shall be considered, and any Senator may move without notice ‘That the Seanad do insist on the amendment’ (with or without further amendment), or [2080]‘That the Seanad do not insist on the amendment’ or ‘That the Seanad do agree to the amendment made by the Dáil to the Seanad amendment.’ When all such amendments have been considered, the Clerk shall return the Bill to the Clerk of the Dáil, together with a Message certifying the determination of the Seanad accordingly.”

The Committee on Procedure have endeavoured to provide for every case that might arise. That is the reason the Standing Order is so long.

Cathaoirleach:  It is very admirable.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  Suppose the Dáil disagrees with an amendment of the Seanad and the amendment comes back, does the Standing Order make provision for the Seanad varying its own decision?

Cathaoirleach:  It does.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. Farren: Information on Thomas Farren  Zoom on Thomas Farren  I move:—

“That the proposed Standing Orders set forth in the Schedule to the Report of the Committee on Procedure dated the 21st May, 1930, as now amended, be adopted as the Standing Orders of the Seanad:

“That the said Standing Orders come into force as and from the first day of meeting after the summer recess:

“That the existing Standing Orders be repealed as and from that date.”

Sir Thomas Esmonde: Information on Thomas Henry Grattan Esmonde  Zoom on Thomas Henry Grattan Esmonde  I second that.

Question put and agreed to.

Ordered: That the Constitution, as amended, be printed and bound with the Standing Orders in a manner to be determined by the Cathaoirleach.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  I move that the House adjourn until Wednesday, at 3 o'clock.

Mrs. Wyse Power: Information on Jane Wyse Power  Zoom on Jane Wyse Power  I second that.

The Seanad adjourned at 6.40 p.m. until Wednesday, 9th July, at 3 p.m.


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