Land Purchase (Guarantee Fund) Bill, 1935—(Certified Money Bill)—Committee.

Wednesday, 1 January 1936

Seanad Éireann Debate
Vol. 20 No. 22

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(1) In order to remove doubts, it is hereby declared and enacted that—

(a) every deficiency in the Purchase Annuities Fund arising (whether before or after the passing of this Act) by reason of the non-payment of purchase annuities is a charge on the Guarantee Fund and may lawfully be paid and made good out of that fund to the Purchase Annuities Fund at such time or times and in such manner as the Minister for Finance shall, either generally or in respect of any particular case, direct; and

(b) sub-section (4) of Section 6 of the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act, 1891, as amended or extended by subsequent enactments, and all regulations made under that sub-section (as so amended or extended) for the time being in force apply and have effect in relation to every payment out of the Guarantee Fund to the Purchase Annuities Fund made for the purpose of making good any such deficiency as is mentioned in the next preceding paragraph of this section in like manner and in all respects as the said sub-section (as so amended or extended), and the said regulations apply to a payment made out of the Guarantee Fund to the Purchase Annuities Fund for the purpose of making good any such deficiency as is mentioned in sub-section (1) of the said Section 6.

(2) Such deficiency in the Purchase Annuities Fund as is mentioned [1594] in the foregoing sub-section of this section shall be deemed to have arisen whenever (whether before or after the passing of this Act) the amount received by the Irish Land Commission on or before any 31st day of January or 31st day of July in respect of instalments of purchase annuities payable into the Purchase Annuities Fund which accrued due in the half-year ending on such 31st day of January or 31st day of July (as the case may be) falls short of the full amount of all such instalments.

Mr. Blythe: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  I move recommendation No. 1:—

Section 1, sub-section (1). To delete in line 18 the words and brackets “whether before or after the passing of this Act)” and to substitute therefor the words “after the passing of this Act.”

The object of this recommendation, as of the others appearing on the Order Paper in my name, is to deprive the Bill of its retrospective character. Perhaps these particular recommendations may not be the best way to achieve that purpose, but, if the Government is wise enough to reconsider the matter, it would be possible for them to devise some other method to do it which would be more effective. I think the Government ought very seriously to consider the proposals put forward in these recommendations. As was said yesterday, retrospective legislation may be necessary, from time to time, but it is something to be avoided. I do not think we can take the Minister's point of view that this Bill is intended simply to make clear the intention of the Dáil. Take the phraseology used in the Bill about removing doubts. That is only implied because the courts have not yet given a decision and so, from the Government point of view, legislation may not, in the end, prove to be necessary. If they had waited the decision of the courts and it was adverse, the Bill would still be in the same form except in the opening words, and it could not be considered anything different from any other legislation going through the Oireachtas, and not something put there in a special way for the guidance of the court. Therefore [1595] we have to ignore the opening words of the section in considering this matter and face the thing as a definite act of retrospective legislation. Nothing has been put forward by the Minister that would prove it to be necessary to legislate retrospectively in this matter, and especially to justify retrospective legislation in the peculiar circumstances of this case.

Some of the retrospective legislation that has taken place in the past was in defence of our own courts. That matter has been fully discussed. The legislation dealing with the Privy Council, although retrospective in form, was for the purpose of preventing the Privy Council upsetting a decision of the Supreme Court here, and was quite different from any legislation that might be directed against our own courts. This coming in in the middle of litigation has a peculiarly objectionable flavour. It is much more objectionable than if the Government had waited until the courts had given their decision and then frankly reversed it on the basis of the various arguments the Minister has used. I think when the case is at hearing in the courts, when the contest has begun. as it were, for the Minister to step in to alter the rules in his own favour is something that is going to have very many reactions, and is going to tend very seriously to undermine the respect in which the courts ought to be held, and is going to undermine the reputation of the State for fair play. Senator Johnson referred to that yesterday. There is the question of defending and maintaining the credit of the State. There is also the question of maintaining the character of the State for justice and scrupulous regard for the rights of individuals or a group of individuals who may comprise a particular corporation. When the Government comes in in the somewhat brusque and brutal way in which it intervenes in this Bill, it is going to make litigants who might be advised that they have a claim against the State feel that it is not worth while promoting that claim. It has already been said that the intention of the Oireachtas must be taken to be expressed in its Acts.

[1596] While it is quite right constitutionally, I should say, for the Government to come in at any point with proposals to make the meaning of the Oireachtas clearer, it is the duty of the Government to consider whether it is expedient, taking the long view, to do so, and whether the impression of governmental disregard for certain types of public decency created by action of this sort may not have serious reactions in future. It is not as if the Government had to take this drastic and, I think, unprecedented action because, as I have already said, it differs from any other item of retrospective legislation which has been before the Oireachtas. Nothing that has been put forward would justify it. In fact, in the Minister's speech yesterday he seemed to me to prove that it is not necessary that the retrospective side of this Bill should be insisted upon. He did declare that if this £716,000 were not kept back from the county councils it would have to be met out of general taxation and that a large portion of it would fall on people in counties where there was practically no deficiency, on people who were not concerned with agriculture and who had not in any way benefited from land purchase. He said that they would have to bear a large share of it, but in another part of his speech the Minister told us that over £1,000,000 arrears had been collected in the eight months up to February and March last. He said that of that sum he reckoned that £1,000,000 had been collected in cash, showing that those who owed the money were well able to pay.

If the people who have defaulted are well able to pay then it only remains for the Government to use the machinery at their disposal and they will pay and, therefore, instead of this £716,000 falling largely on people who paid their annuities and who individually owe no debt to anybody, the whole of the amount will be collected off those by whom it is due. That seems to me to be a much better way of dealing with the matter than carrying through this retrospective legislation and non-suiting the councils who have brought the Government into the courts, or better than throwing [1597] the deficiency on general taxation. If, on the other hand, as we contend, most of those who owe the money are not able to pay, it is just as well that the Minister should make an effort to get the money from them and that the position should be made clear beyond all doubt, because if they are not able to pay, then whether the burden falls on the general community or is dealt with in some other way, it is certainly unwise for the Minister to pass the debts of those who have failed to pay on to the shoulders of their neighbours who are almost in the same position. If the people cannot pay this burden should not be thrown on the rates. Rather than shake the confidence of litigants as to the way in which they will be treated by the Government, he should take all the steps he can take to recover the money.

I would suggest, therefore, that in all the circumstances it is undesirable to pass this section as it stands with retrospective effect and it is, furthermore, unnecessary. It is unnecessary even in counties in which the deficiency from the point of view of preventing injustice to people is small, because if the Minister's contention is right, and if £1,000,000 arrears was collected in eight months, it will require less than that period with the machinery at the Minister's disposal to clear off the sum that is involved here. If that is done, and the Minister's contention is right, there is neither hardship nor injustice done to anybody. If the Minister's contention is not right, then the matter that has been in dispute and the subject of a good deal of discussion will be disposed of and the Government and the Dáil can face, in the light of full knowledge, the problems that are now arising in connection with the collection of land annuities.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  It is very interesting to me, a lawyer of some years' experience, to hear a gentleman, who is not a practising lawyer, at all events, express opinions on a subject of profound legal theory. Senator Blythe said that this is retrospective legislation. I deny it is retrospective legislation. In order to ground his argument he asks you to strike out [1598] from this Bill these first lines—“In order to remove doubts, it is hereby declared and enacted.” Of course if you do that, and if you assume that under existing law the Guarantee Fund is not liable to make good defaults, if you assume everything he asks you to assume, then, of course, the little argument—I say that respectfully—which he founded on it is clear enough, but I make no such assumption. I submit that under existing law the Guarantee Fund is liable and that this is nothing more or less than a Bill to remove doubts. They are very flimsy doubts, but doubts have arisen because certain organised gentlemen have brought a case in the courts, and it is not desirable that a matter affecting the general taxation of the country should be held up until a decision is taken in the courts. The simple doubt is this, that certain adventurous gentlemen in County Cork have brought an action.

Mr. Counihan: Information on John Joseph Counihan  Zoom on John Joseph Counihan  What about Louth?

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  Wait a moment. There is no real doubt in the mind of anybody who knows anything about construing an Act of Parliament that the Guarantee Fund is liable.

A Senator:  What is the Bill about then?

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  The Bill is to make absolutely plain what some people pretend is in doubt.

Mr. O'Hanlon: Information on Michael F OHanlon  Zoom on Michael F OHanlon  Make plain to whom?

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran  Zoom on Thomas Foran  There should be some order observed.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  There is a lot of sea lawyers asking me questions. There were some examples, some terrible examples of retrospective legislation in this country. I remember on one occasion that, as a result of an application made by me to the courts, 7,000 men were declared illegally arrested and illegally detained. I remember a Bill being brought into the Dáil, and rushed through the Dáil and the Seanad in one day, to keep these men in prison, 7,000 of them. That was retrospective legislation. The ex-Minister [1599] for Finance, Senator Blythe, knows something about retrospective legislation. This is not retrospective legislation. It is what it purports to be—a Bill to remove doubts. I say there is no doubt. Some gentlemen organised in County Cork say, or pretend, there is a doubt, but their opinion is contrary to mine. There are many examples of this kind of legislation. I think, without going back too far, that I could find in the Statute Book, 20 or 30 Acts of Parliament which were obviously and absolutely intended to remove doubts. What doubts? Not doubts as to what was expressed in speeches in Parliament, but doubts as to the meaning of the legislation as expressed in the Acts of Parliament. I am glad to see that Senator Brown agrees that that is the doubt—a doubt as to the meaning of the Act of Parliament, not a doubt as to what is the meaning intended by the Deputies or Senators who are sometimes saying exactly what they think and sometimes probably using arguments in which they do not exactly believe.

Mr. Milroy: Information on Seán Milroy  Zoom on Seán Milroy  Hear, hear.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  I will do justice to Senator Blythe. He is logical, but in order to found the argument he asks us to strike out of an Act of Parliament this essential Section 1, sub-section (1), which says: “in order to remove doubts it is hereby declared and enacted,” and so on.

Mr. Johnson: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  To remove doubts.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Zoom on Thomas Westropp Bennett  He does not ask you to remove anything.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  I am talking about the Act of Parliament and I am interrupted. I must be rubbing something very closely. What is his recommendation? Senator Johnson is interrupting here. Senator Johnson is also a sea-lawyer. I use that expression in a most respectful sense. Here is the recommendation:—

(1) To delete the words and brackets “(whether before or after the passing of this Act).”

[1600] Have sensible Senators considered what would be the effect of that deletion? Suppose now that Senator Blythe is right. Suppose that at the present moment there is no charge on the Guarantee Fund, what would be the result of the Dáil accepting Senator Blythe's recommendation? The men who have paid their annuities have paid them and they can get nothing out of the recommendation. If Senator Blythe's view of the law, as it at present exists, is correct, are the men who have not paid in the counties in which there is grave default going to get away with it?

Mr. Blythe: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  That is not the suggestion. We suggest that the Minister should collect from the men who owe the money.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  Are the men who have not paid their annuities to get away with what they owe? Suppose there is confusion in the mind of such a clear thinking person as Senator Johnson himself—suppose there is default of £750,000 for a year. That is not lost. These annuities will be collected sometime and they will come into the accounts again. I cannot help thinking that all this marshalling of forces that has gone on, and all these debates that have taken place, are unreal. I suggest, or I cannot help thinking, that it is playing at politics from beginning to end. It was the intention of Parliament, as expressed in the statute in 1933, that the Guarantee Fund should be responsible for any default in the payment of the land annuities. That I think is clear in the Act of Parliament itself. I do not refer to any speeches that were made on any side of the House. That was the intention of Parliament, and this is an Act of Parliament to place that intention so clearly before the mind and to put it so much beyond all doubt that even the organised opponents of the Government will not be able to raise a case upon it again or to bring an action.

Mr. Counihan: Information on John Joseph Counihan  Zoom on John Joseph Counihan  I am not going to argue the case from the legal point of view, but one statement of Senator Comyn's strikes me as being very wide of the mark. The Senator said that if [1601] this recommendation is passed the people who have not paid their annuities will get away with it. They will get away with nothing. The money will still be owing, it will be collected and it will come into the fund.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  I say they have got a loan of this money.

Mr. Counihan: Information on John Joseph Counihan  Zoom on John Joseph Counihan  I appeal to the Minister to let this £750,000 stand until times get better, because the farmers are not able to pay at present. The Minister told us yesterday that the farmers in Cork and other counties are now paying in cash at their doors since the sheriff was put on—they are paying when the sheriff calls for it, and he said that the reason for that is that they were organised previously and that there was a conspiracy not to pay the annuities. I deny that statement entirely. The reason why the farmers are paying now is that the times have somewhat improved. For the past six or seven months, owing to the coal-cattle pact, they are able to sell their cattle. They are able to sell them because we are able to send so many extra cattle to the English market, thanks to the pact. It is not because we are able to send them to Germany or Belgium or anywhere else. England is taking more of them since the coal-cattle pact. We on this side welcomed that pact, though a good many Fianna Fáil representatives denounced it. However, the farmers of the country are glad that that pact was made, and we are thankful as representing the farmers that it was entered into. That is the principal reason why the farmers throughout the country are able to pay the annuities now better than they were some time ago.

I support this recommendation, and I cannot understand how Senator Comyn or any Senator who claims to represent the farming community can vote against it. Indeed I do not see how any Senator who has an interest in the farming community could vote against it. What the recommendation simply means is that the Government will give a loan to the farmers of this £750,000 until better times come along. The principal argument used by the Minister is that some wealthier counties are not paying and that they [1602] should be made pay because, as he says, the poorer farmers in the poorer counties are paying. His contention is that they are paying because they are honest farmers. I respectfully submit that the Minister does not understand the situation which exists in the counties to which he refers.

Senator Toal gave us some of the reasons why the farmers in the poorer counties, like Monaghan, were able to pay. I think it is very invidious to be making comparisons between farmers in one county and another but, as the matter has been referred to, I should like to give a further illustration of why the farmers in the poorer counties are able to pay and why it is not so distressing for them to pay their annuities as it is for farmers in what he calls the wealthier counties of the Saorstát. Since the present Government came into power thousands of pounds have been allotted to those counties for relief works. The employment on those relief works was given mainly to farmers' sons in those counties. In every farmer's house, or in the majority of them, at all events, in the West there are two and sometimes three and four people drawing the old age pension. In addition to the farmers' sons working on the relief works and drawing good wages they were getting free beef. It would not be a very great hardship on those people to put their old age pensions or the money they were getting from being employed on these relief works by for a week or two and that would pay the whole amount of their annuities for a year because, as Senator Toal pointed out, in the majority of these cases the whole amount of the annuity would be only £3 or £4. Together with that, as Senator Toal also pointed out, there is a great deal of smuggling in the Border counties. Consequently, there is a good deal of competition for the stock which they have to sell and they are able to sell them because they can be smuggled across the Border and no duty paid.

The people in County Cork, at any rate, up to the time of the coal-cattle pact, could not get rid of their fat cattle without a licence and the licences were so restricted that the [1603] cattle had to be taken home from fair after fair as there was no buyer for them. Consequently, they could not get any money to meet the demands for annuities, rates, or any other purpose. That is the reason why they were not able to pay. I have pointed out that in the other counties the circumstances are very different, and I say that they are not more honest than the people who were not able to pay. The fact is that the counties which were the more prosperous before the economic war have now become the less prosperous counties and the people are not able to pay. For that reason, I appeal to the Minister, no matter how he may be able to get this Bill to collect this £750,000 from the farmers, to leave it over until times get better, and if he will give the farmers time they will pay up.

Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee): Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I ask the Seanad not to accept this recommendation. It seems to me that if the House does accept it it will stultify itself.

Dr. Gogarty: Information on Oliver St John Gogarty  Zoom on Oliver St John Gogarty  Is the Minister concluding the debate?

Cathaoirleach: Information on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Zoom on Thomas Westropp Bennett  No.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Yesterday the House accepted the principle of this Bill, the purpose of which is to remove doubts. The acceptance of the recommendation now proposed I submit, would create doubts. It would create doubts in the minds of the court as to whether the intention of the Oireachtas in 1933 was precisely the same as it is to-day. If the court sees this statute confined in its application to a period subsequent to its passage what must the court conclude but that it has made some change in the existing condition of affairs. As the purpose of the Bill is to make clear to the court that the intention of the Oireachtas was in 1933 and is to-day to make the Guarantee Fund liable for any deficiency in the Purchase Annuities Fund that is why I say the House would stultify itself if it accepts the recommendation which Senator Blythe proposed.

Unless we make it clear in precise terms that this Bill does not alter or [1604] change what the Oireachtas has thought the position always to be in regard to the Fund, what else can the court conclude but that some change has been made by the Oireachtas in the Guarantee Fund procedure and that that change has been made in consequence of a change of intention on the part of the Oireachtas? If the new statute will do no more than make it clear beyond doubt that the Guarantee Fund, only after the date of the enactment of this statute, is liable for any deficiency which may arise in the Purchase Annuities Fund, what can the court be impelled to conclude but that prior to the passage of this new law the intention of the Oireachtas was that the Guarantee Fund should not be so liable? Therefore, I say that the acceptance of this recommendation is not consistent with the principle of the Bill, because I believe it would create doubts in the minds of the court as to what the intention of the Oireachtas in regard to the Guarantee Fund is and always has been.

We are asked to accept this because we must not shake the confidence of litigants by altering the rules—we must not shake the confidence of litigants as to the way in which they will be treated by the Government. There is an equally important public consideration involved also and that is that those who receive benefits from the Government shall honour the conditions upon which those benefits are given. Who are these litigants when you analyse them? Who are the people who have been responsible for initiating these proceedings? They are themselves defaulting annuitants; they are men who have not paid; they are men for the most part who have persuaded other people not to pay. The vice-chairman of this Cork County Council—Mr. D.L. O'Gorman—is a leading figure in this agitation in County Cork. He is not a person who has withheld the payment of his annuity because of his inability to pay. He is a gentleman who, when the sheriff approached him, was found to be in the possession not merely of one but two motor cars, and who produced his cheque book and paid on the nail.

[1605]Mr. Counihan: Information on John Joseph Counihan  Zoom on John Joseph Counihan  That is the exception.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Another member of this county council—one of the people who voted to initiate these proceedings, one of the people who is concerned now to break the bond under which the Cork County Council became entitled to £227,000 of Exchequer moneys as a grant in relief of rates in Cork County—is Mr. Brooke-Brasier, who served a term of imprisonment for the part which he took in this conspiracy to prevent the payment of land annuities. A third is a member of the Dáil, a person who was in receipt of an allowance out of public funds. These are the men whose votes and whose arguments and whose coercion have induced other members of the Cork County Council to agree with them that these proceedings should be launched. They come before the Courts in a dual capacity—in a triple capacity. They are, at once, defaulting annuitants, organisers of a campaign to prevent other people from paying their annuities, and the persons who will have to take the consequences next year of striking a higher rate in County Cork in order to make good the damage which they, and those associated with them, have done to the Cork County Council. Where is the injustice in non-suiting these men? Where is the injustice in non-suiting such a man as Mr. D.L. O'Gorman? He has shown that he can pay, and he is the person who now asks that the public purse should indemnify him for the non-payment of his annuities. Could the Dáil—could the Seanad— could any Legislature or any Government in the world—tolerate the state of affairs we are asked to endure on account of those people by those who are opposing the enactment of this Bill, the purpose of which is to remove doubts?

It is possible that the Guarantee Fund, as at present constituted, has some unsatisfactory features. It is regrettable that the injustice which such men do to their honest fellow-citizens, by defaulting in their obligations to the State, should not be brought home to them and that the ratepayers and taxpayers of County [1606] Cork should have to make good their default. After all, however, there is time to consider that. What we are concerned about at the moment is to protect the general body of the community—of the honest taxpayers of this State—and when we have done that we will see whether or not the honest ratepayers of County Cork cannot be put in a position to recoup themselves at the expense of those who have been responsible for the non-payment of almost £227,000 of land annuities in County Cork. There are many ways in which that can be done. We might, for instance, compel the Cork County Council to take proceedings themselves. We might compel them to publish a list of the names of those who have not paid their annuities. We might give to any ratepayer in Cork, who has been aggrieved or prejudiced by the action of these gentlemen in not paying their annuities, the right to institute proceedings— possibly in the Bankruptcy Court or elsewhere—to compel these gentlemen to make good his losses. As has been said before, the resources of civilisation are not yet exhausted, and I can assure the Seanad that the matter of bringing home to these people the consequences of their action, and of making them amenable for the position in which they have placed the finances of the public bodies of this country which they control, is not being lost sight of. I can assure the Seanad also that the possibility of giving relief, in a way which everybody here seems to desire that relief should be given, to those people who honestly endeavour to fulfil their obligations to the State, is being very seriously examined. In the meantime, however, in order that the general body of the taxpayers of the State should not be called upon to pay—because that is what it amounts to—the expenses of this campaign, which was designed to disorganise and bankrupt the finances of the State, we are asking the Seanad to pass this Bill, and to declare now, in 1936, that the same intention obtains as in 1933: that the Guarantee Fund should be responsible for any deficiency in the collection of the reduced land annuities, and, having declared that, allow the courts then to interpret the law.

[1607]Mr. Brown: Information on Samuel Lombard Brown  Zoom on Samuel Lombard Brown  I desire to bring the House back again to the consideration of the recommendation before the House, and that is, as to whether the retrospective clauses of this Bill ought to be struck out or not. I agree with Senator Blythe that this is the most objectionable retrospective legislation that we have had, so far, in this country. It is the first case in which the Government, by retrospective legislation, has made it, or intends to make it, practically impossible for a court to decide against the Government in a case in which the Government itself is the defendant. Now, I admit that there are cases in which retrospective legislation is necessary, but I respectfully submit that this is not one of them. If the cases in the courts had been allowed to go on, and if there was a decision against the Government in those actions, or in one of them, there would have been nothing against the Government introducing a Bill and passing an Act to prevent that judgment if the law were the same. I hold that the retrospective clauses in this Bill are unnecessary and, therefore, I intend to confine anything I have got to say to the retrospective nature of the Bill and to a particular argument which the Minister used yesterday as against Senator Johnson's argument against the retrospective provisions of this Bill. The statement to which I refer was a statement regarding the relations between Parliament and the courts. I hope that I am quoting the Minister correctly. If I am not, I ask him kindly to correct me at once. However, as I heard him yesterday, I understood him to say that when a doubt arose as to the construction of a statute, it was not only the right but the duty of Parliament to inform the courts and the country, by retrospective legislation— because that is the only way they can do it—of its intentions.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Did I use the words “by retrospective legislation”?

Mr. Brown: Information on Samuel Lombard Brown  Zoom on Samuel Lombard Brown  No. The Minister did not use that phrase. I only put that phrase in because what I was saying could not be understood without it. Perhaps it would be better if I read out [1608] the Minister's own words as I understood them. I understood him to say that it was the duty of Parliament, when doubts arose in regard to a statute, to make clear to the courts its intention in regard to that statute.

Now, I am anxious to know whether that is a general principle, or whether it is only applicable to cases in which the Government themselves are involved. So far as the mere right of Parliament to intervene to pass retrospective legislation goes, there is no question that the Oireachtas have an absolute right to legislate as long as they keep within the Constitution, and that is not a very tight barrier now. They have a perfect right, but, so far as their duty is concerned, I respectfully submit that no such duty exists. I respectfully submit that the duty is all the other way. Parliament, when it passes a statute, speaks in the actual words which are in the Act, and here I agree with my friend, Senator Comyn, that the doubt which is mentioned in this Bill, and the only doubt that ought to be mentioned in a Bill of this kind, is a legal doubt as to the words which are in the statute itself. Now, that being the only way in which Parliament can speak—in the actual printed words that are in the document that goes out to the public as an Act—it is for the courts to construe those words in accordance with rules which have been formed in cases extending back more than a century. How can the Minister say that it is necessary for the Oireachtas to interfere? How can he say that it is their duty to interfere, because that is the way he puts it; how far is it their duty to interfere? Is it the duty only of the Parliament that passes an Act, or is it the duty of the Parliament which happens to be in existence to deal with Acts which were passed by its predecessors, and explain what they mean? Are the courts of the country to be bound as to what was meant by a particular Act that has been passed? Are they to be bound by something that was said by a member in the course of debate? The idea is not only absurd, but it is dangerous. In practice, it would deprive the private litigant of his right which he has under the Constitution to appeal [1609] to independent courts. If it applies to cases in which the Government themselves are involved a fortiori they ought not make themselves judges in their own case. They can correct the law after it has been decided against them, as Senator Blythe has explained, but in any case, anything like recognising in Parliament a duty to inform the courts as to the intentions they had when passing an Act of Parliament, would deprive the people of the protection of the courts, and for that reason I am going to vote in favour of the recommendation. I would not have intervened in the debate at all except for the statement which I regret greatly made by the Minister in his speech yesterday.

Dr. Gogarty: Information on Oliver St John Gogarty  Zoom on Oliver St John Gogarty  To-day we have heard the first tappings of the Government S.O.S. The ship is sinking. Even the “sea lawyers,” whoever they may be, cannot man the pumps. The water is coming in and the mine is flooded. I am sure that even Senator Comyn will understand the mixed metaphor. The mixture is rather, I think, in his favour. We cannot blame the mathematical and eloquent mind of the Minister for Finance. He is only the victim of circumstances: the catspaw of two of his colleagues on the Executive Council, to whose brains—if such a term can be used in relation to those to whom we owe the preposterous policy of cutting off the country's income in order to make it independent. President de Valera started out on this disastrous policy three years ago, when he said it would be a good thing if the country was fooled into losing its cattle trade. I challenged him when he made that statement and asked did he not intend to destroy the cattle trade of Ireland. That multiple Minister and coadjutor of his, Senator Connolly, said that if it took 100 years to build up the cattle trade of Ireland, thank God, it would not take that length to break it down. The cause of all the hysterical alarm is due to this, that the cattle trade has been broken down and has been broken deliberately. The tide is running out and the place-fish are beginning to flounder. If the country can become solvent for a week or two, because of the one-sided coal-cattle pact that was made this time [1610] last year, that surely is an earnest of the prosperous condition in which the country would have been if its trade had been left alone. Even the mathematically minded and eloquent Minister for Finance must have realised what a fat, rich and wholesome country he had to deal with: a country that has been able to stand three years of even Republican Government by people who are quite amenable to take over a Government in its Free State form. What the position would have been if we had the full fatuous republic I do not know. We are now reaching the beginning of the end when the Executive finds it necessary to muscle in on the courts and to bend justice to bolster its own policy and futility in order to stave off bankruptcy by one or two honest men, not necessarily solvent men, paying their rates and annuities.

The town of Newbridge is a hungry town, and there is hunger for the four miles surrounding it. In Britain's day there was no starvation in Newbridge. What in the name of goodness will it be when the full republic is in full swing, when this happens with Republicans disguised as Free Staters? I do not blame the Minister for Finance in connection with this. This Bill represents a part of his President's policy of making this country independent and self-contained. There are only a few places on the earth to which that description can be applied. One is the North Pole, the other the Sahara and the other the Wicklow Gold Mine of Deputy Briscoe and Senator Comyn. They are self-contained, because they produce nothing. There are no annuities to be paid in those places. There it is not necessary to interfere with justice or to dictate to the courts or to exempt oneself from judgment. All is well in a desert where nothing is good or bad. Because it would be disedifying for the Minister to appear at the Bar of the courts the Minister objects, and his colleagues appear now at the Bar of the country. As soon as this political devil-worship which this country has gone in for wears threadbare there will be no more execrated name than de Valera's in Ireland. We are only at the beginning to-day. Everything that [1611] was competent, critical and honest is being swept aside, including this House. Let the country at least realise that the Seanad has saved them from many attempts to mulct their farmers and all. And let it realise what it may expect from the one supine Chamber to which its destiny is henceforth to be entrusted.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  On a point of order, what has the Senator's prophecy to do with the recommendation that is before the House? Our friend the surgeon has now become the prophet.

Dr. Gogarty: Information on Oliver St John Gogarty  Zoom on Oliver St John Gogarty  I will not prophecy that there is gold in Wicklow, but I will prophecy about the want of gold in this country generally. I must say that the Senator's action was very useful, because it showed that the country was bankrupt even for several feet under the soil.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  Again I submit to the Chair that the Senator is out of order.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Zoom on Thomas Westropp Bennett  I do not think that he has been out of order. He may have used one or two expressions that might, perhaps, have been better left unsaid.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  He went to the neighbourhood of the Sahara or the North Pole. I wish to goodness he went to some other place, even Death Valley.

Mr. Fanning: Information on Michael Fanning  Zoom on Michael Fanning  It would be better to have Senator Gogarty as a good surgeon than to have a bad lawyer.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  I never said he was a bad surgeon.

Dr. Gogarty: Information on Oliver St John Gogarty  Zoom on Oliver St John Gogarty  I am afraid public opinion would not be greatly swayed by Senator Comyn's opinion regarding medicine. I am afraid the Senator is agitated by my remarks. When the President conceived the idea of making this country prosperous by depriving it of its income and by shutting off trade, he made it deliberately helpless and insolvent. That was the beginning of the whole sad history. It did not begin with the [1612] Minister for Finance. The Minister for Finance has not got any finance. That is the whole trouble. The moment de Valera's grip was relaxed for a moment from the throat of the country, £1,000,000 was paid in at once. Were those who paid defaulters? They were those who were deprived of a market according to plan. But the defaulter was de Valera with his madcap schemes.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Zoom on Thomas Westropp Bennett  I think, Senator, you are going outside the scope of this Bill.

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran  Zoom on Thomas Foran  Indeed he is not!

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  He is at the North Pole now.

Dr. Gogarty: Information on Oliver St John Gogarty  Zoom on Oliver St John Gogarty  I only compared Ireland with the North Pole because the intention was to make Ireland self-contained.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Zoom on Thomas Westropp Bennett  You must not go so far.

Dr. Gogarty: Information on Oliver St John Gogarty  Zoom on Oliver St John Gogarty  Let us consider, then, the retrospective aspect.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  I wish to make another protest. The Senator has not referred to the President as such. I referred to the Senator as Senator Surgeon Gogarty.

Dr. Gogarty: Information on Oliver St John Gogarty  Zoom on Oliver St John Gogarty  Is it a rule of the House to call Mr. de Valera President? I was hoping that the less I said about him, the better.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  He is the President in this House.

Dr. Gogarty: Information on Oliver St John Gogarty  Zoom on Oliver St John Gogarty  No! This House has got no President. It has a Chairman, and I understand that the Senator— after much canvassing—is Vice-Chairman. Mr. de Valera is President of the Executive Council and he and that multiple Minister of his, Senator Connolly, are the cause of the floundering of the “plaice” men and of the condition in which the country has been left.

Is it not a strange state of affairs to have Republican Ministers, temporarily Free State Ministers, threatening [1613] the people of Ireland and talking of dishonesty when it is not dishonesty but insolvency, deliberately produced by his senior colleague, the President of the Executive Council, which has caused the muddle? Is it not a strange state of affairs when extreme Nationalists, or Republicans —whether disguised or not—are enjoying the fruits of office, have to turn on the rest of their countrymen and impound the people's cattle, and to send the bailiffs in as the representatives of their idea of republican freedom? This country has got into a condition under a so-called republican Government that it never was in under the administration of John Bull. Even Cromwell did not cause such destruction, because the country's resources were not comparable and he could not do much damage.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Zoom on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Historical allusions are hardly necessary. You should come more closely to the Bill.

Dr. Gogarty: Information on Oliver St John Gogarty  Zoom on Oliver St John Gogarty  Which means more closely to collapse.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  Abandon the fixed idea.

Dr. Gogarty: Information on Oliver St John Gogarty  Zoom on Oliver St John Gogarty  But not the idea fixsé. Let us for a moment suppose Geneva were retrospective or that the League of Nations was retrospective, as it is not there for the protection of small nations, a hope that there would be two more republics in South Africa; that there would be 12,000,000 Egyptians free, and admitted to the League of Nations—some Ministers would be in a different position if considered retrospective.

As to the retrospective aspects of the Bill, I suppose it is not to be presumed that the chairman of Cork County Council would have to pay for all the defaulters in Cork. So that the House may realise the position, take an estate of 1,000 acres, 700 acres of which have been distributed amongst smallholders who have been provided with cottages by the last Government or by this Government. These smallholders have been also provided with agricultural implements and have entered into possession of cottages for which they have paid [1614] nothing for four years. If we make a picture of the 1,000 acres, 700 of which have been distributed, these smallholders represent the condition of the Free State as those who got the 700 acres are in arrears for four years and these arrears are falling on the landlord with the big house. That is the position. Seven-tenths of Ireland is depending on three-tenths, and a couple of Cork county councillors have to bear the debts of the deliberately dishonest or helplessly honest but insolvent people. The big house will soon be turned into flats; there will be a family in each room. That will save building. The picture is the same as that of Russia, covered only by a veneer of religion to fool Ireland temporarily.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  This is very far from the subject matter of the Bill.

Dr. Gogarty: Information on Oliver St John Gogarty  Zoom on Oliver St John Gogarty  This is the picture. The pumps are working to keep us from sinking. There is panic on board your ship. Sea lawyers are alarmed. Women and children will not be first on this ship. It will be Ministers first who will stick to the last lifeboat, and let the Devil take the hindmost.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Zoom on Thomas Westropp Bennett  I must really ask the Senator to get a little closer to the portion of the Bill with which we are dealing.

Dr. Gogarty: Information on Oliver St John Gogarty  Zoom on Oliver St John Gogarty  I am picturing them quite appropriately as a sinking ship of State.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Zoom on Thomas Westropp Bennett  You have, but you have wandered.

Mr. Brown: Information on Samuel Lombard Brown  Zoom on Samuel Lombard Brown  Come back to the retrospective legislation.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  God forbid that the Senator should walk through this debate in his “Enchanted Trousers.”

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  Come back to the particular matter that you have forgotten to deal with.

Dr. Gogarty: Information on Oliver St John Gogarty  Zoom on Oliver St John Gogarty  I merely want to inform the House that the Government is putting people out who have already been given houses and agricultural implements. Those who take their places will be in the same wood. Where they have possession, they will be in the [1615] same position as those in the “free state” on the borders of Kildare and Dublin where, for many years, nobody has paid rates or taxes and where the Government is now issuing ejectment notices. The Government has been characterised by the pound—not sterling—but the pound for impounding cattle, the bailiff, and the eviction agent. If Balfour were President of the Executive Council, conditions could not be different. We are only at the beginning of what is going to happen, because there is panic on board, but not one member of the Government will relinquish office until the country has gone down. A few honest people will be driven into bankruptcy under the most flaccid, vain and incompetent dictatorship that any country could have, and this is only the beginning of the foolery.

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran  Zoom on Thomas Foran  It is not my intention to encroach on your tolerance or to inflict myself on the House in the same manner as the last speaker. If in everything the Senator said he had substituted Blythe for de Valera, I would agree with him. The man who put down this recommendation is, I consider, the last word. This is the acme of hypocrisy because the man who tabled the recommendation was the pioneer and was more responsible than anybody else for the present condition of affairs when he was running around with his little blue shirt and his little beret advising all these people not to pay. Many of these people have taken his advice and have acted on it.

Mr. Blythe: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  When did I advise anybody not to pay?

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran  Zoom on Thomas Foran  When you were running around with the Blueshirt organisation.

Mr. Blythe: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  Never, and you know it well.

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran  Zoom on Thomas Foran  These people are now going to pay for their folly. The mover of this recommendation asks us to remove the penalty from the people responsible and to pass it on to the common taxpayer. I was very much struck by one of the reasons given by [1616] Senator Counihan as to why some of the people were so far advanced with their payments of annuities. He gave as the reason the old age pensions. Now, imagine that. He said that as many as three or four people were getting old age pensions——

Mr. Counihan: Information on John Joseph Counihan  Zoom on John Joseph Counihan  Two or three.

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran  Zoom on Thomas Foran  At any rate, you gave it as one of the reasons why they were paying their annuities.

Miss Browne: Information on Kathleen Anne Browne  Zoom on Kathleen Anne Browne  And he is quite right.

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran  Zoom on Thomas Foran  That is admitted. Do Senators forget that the mover of this recommendation reduced the old age pensions and still the annuities were paid?

Mr. Counihan: Information on John Joseph Counihan  Zoom on John Joseph Counihan  We had our markets then.

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran  Zoom on Thomas Foran  You had your markets and the poorhouses had the old age pensioners. Senator Brown, a man for whom I have the utmost respect, although I do not agree with him, stated that this was the most objectionable retrospective legislation ever passed in the Seanad, and, only a short while previously, it was pointed out in the House that 7,000 people's liberty was jeopardised by retrospective legislation and Senator Brown voted for it. Now there is a sum of £700,000 involved, and that is far more important than the liberty of 7,000 people. I am surprised at Senator Brown claiming that this was the most objectionable legislation ever passed in this House. £720,000 on one side and on the other the liberty of 7,000 humans.

Miss Browne: Information on Kathleen Anne Browne  Zoom on Kathleen Anne Browne  Inhuman criminals.

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran  Zoom on Thomas Foran  What do you call the Blueshirts? They are angels; they did nothing. They did not block the roads; they did not pull down telephones or destroy the lines of communication. They were perfectly all right, but the others were fiends incarnate. However, I do not propose to go into that.

Miss Browne: Information on Kathleen Anne Browne  Zoom on Kathleen Anne Browne  Where are the hypocrites now?

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  Let the dead rest.

[1617]Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran  Zoom on Thomas Foran  I do not want to press that any further, but I do say in conclusion that it is the acme of hypocrisy for Senator Blythe to put down a recommendation of this kind, and I certainly do not agree with it.

Miss Browne: Information on Kathleen Anne Browne  Zoom on Kathleen Anne Browne  I wish to make a protest against the tirade we have had from the Minister to-day, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, as an excuse for this tyrannical and most dishonest piece of legislation. He fixed on certain gentlemen in Cork who have sacrificed their time, their money and their liberty to defend the defenceless farmers of Ireland against this tyrannical Government, a Government far more tyrannical than the landlords of old ever were. All they want now is the battering-ram, and I believe that is almost in preparation. Why did the Minister not deal with the other 25 counties and give us the picture there? There are 25 other counties in the Free State. Why did the Minister pick out Cork? There are hundreds of farmers, to my knowledge, who have deprived themselves of the necessaries of life in order to make an effort to pay land annuities and rates. I speak the truth and I know what I am speaking about. The Minister does not. I have stood on the same platform with Senator Blythe on very many occasions, wearing a blue shirt, I am proud to say, and never, either when I was there or when I was not, did he or anyone on our platform advise anybody not to pay their rates or land annuities. We did quite the opposite. We told everyone who had the money to pay on every possible occasion when we got a chance to speak. That is the truth, and it is not hypocrisy to say it. We are tired of listening to this bunkum, this business of conspiracies and designs by politicians to prevent people from paying. There is only one reason why the farmers are not paying land annuities and rates now, as they always did before this Government came into power, and that is the Government's policy, which has made it impossible for them to pay by depriving them of their markets. That is plain English and it is the truth, and no amount of denial or bluster, or the sound and fury which is characteristic of this Minister, is going to change it.

[1618]Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  I should like to ask Senator Brown one question. Is it his opinion that under the existing law the Guarantee Fund is liable or not? That will settle this question.

Mr. Fanning: Information on Michael Fanning  Zoom on Michael Fanning  Is there any such thing at the moment as a Guarantee Fund, except in name? Is there a dollar in the Guarantee Fund? Is it anything but an empty formula? That is the value of the Guarantee Fund which is spoken of here and made do duty for a lot of inconsistencies, corruption, misgovernment and waste that have gone on. There is no such thing as a Guarantee Fund except in name.

Mr. MacEllin: Information on Sean E MacEllin  Zoom on Sean E MacEllin  So far as I can see, as this debate goes on, the hotter it is getting, and so long as there is heat on one side, there will be heat on the other side, too.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Cool it down, you.

Mr. MacEllin: Information on Sean E MacEllin  Zoom on Sean E MacEllin  From the way the debate has developed, it seems to me that it is to a great extent a waste of time because you people have made up your minds to vote for the recommendation and we on our side have made up our minds to vote against it, and it does not seem as if anything we have to say is going to change a vote one way or another. However, in view of all that has been said, I feel that the whole question is one of honesty or dishonesty. The man who is primarily responsible in County Cork for bringing legislation to the high courts in Dublin in order to find out whether the Minister has power to stop the grants or not is the very man who, as leader of the United Ireland Party in County Cork, refused to pay either rent or rates while chairman of the Cork County Council—Mr. O'Gorman. He refused to pay until the sheriff and his assistants arrived on his farm to seize his motor car and all the rest of the luxuries he has got. He then drew a cheque book and signed a cheque to cover the whole amount.

I come from a part of the country which has a reputation for its honesty. We are not all one-sided down there. There are as many, or very nearly as many, supporters of the Opposition as of the Government there. Those [1619] people are paying their way because they are honest. The average valuation of County Mayo is only £7 and it is an extraordinary thing that a county of such low valuation pays its way, while one of the most highly-valued counties in Ireland, with the best land in Ireland, County Cork, will not pay until it is made to pay, until the sheriff arrives at the door and then they take out cheques and pay up the amount. I submit that, in addition to dishonesty, it is hypocrisy. It is a mean method of holding up local administration. The people who are always hit by such methods are the poor. Senator Counihan referred to the people of Mayo and said that because there are a couple of people in a house drawing old age pensions or relief grants it is easy for them to pay rates which only amount to £3 or £4. It is well for the House to know that it is much harder for a man living on four or five acres of rock or bog in County Mayo to pay £1 rent than it is for Mr. O'Gorman, of Cork, to pay £150. That is the comparison and that is the position. I was glad to hear Senator Counihan saying that, from a farmer's point of view, he supported this Bill, and every farmer should do the same.

Mr. Counihan: Information on John Joseph Counihan  Zoom on John Joseph Counihan  I said “the recommendation.”

Mr. Lynch: Information on Patrick Lynch  Zoom on Patrick Lynch  The Senator referred to “the Bill” three times.

Mr. MacEllin: Information on Sean E MacEllin  Zoom on Sean E MacEllin  At all events, I am a farmer as well as Senator Counihan and I have rates and rent to pay, while the Minister for Finance will make me pay income-tax, whether it is due or not.

Mr. Counihan: Information on John Joseph Counihan  Zoom on John Joseph Counihan  Lucky man!

Mr. MacEllin: Information on Sean E MacEllin  Zoom on Sean E MacEllin  As a farmer, I support this Bill. I have strong reason for doing so, in the interest of the community as a whole. In my opinion, the provision of the necessary moneys to enable the Government to pursue their policy as regards the purchase of land in the interest of uneconomic holders will contribute to [1620] the peace of this country more than anything else. Where you have large families on uneconomic holdings—and the poorer the family, the larger it is likely to be—there is discontent. If the payment of the land annuities breaks down, if the provision of money for land purchase fails and the distribution of land ceases, there will be a revolution in this country. The cessation of the distribution of land will lead more to discontent and revolution than anything else is likely to do. For that reason, I think that it is in the interests of the farmers and of the community as a whole that land holders should secure the tenure of their lands by paying their annuities. By doing their duty to the State, farmers will help to increase the activities of the Land Commission and maintain the continuity of land purchase.

I appeal to the House to be sensible on this question. As Senator Comyn pointed out, the Bill seeks merely to give effect to the intention of this House and of the other House. Senator Blythe knows very well that during the period in which he held high office in the State this was the system which was operated. Since he carried out that system for ten years he should be consistent and carry it out now. This Bill seeks to remove a doubt which is the subject of legal proceedings before the High Court. I think it was O'Connell who said that you could drive a coach-and-four through any Act of Parliament.

Mr. Fanning: Information on Michael Fanning  Zoom on Michael Fanning  That is why it is desired to have a decision of the court.

Mr. MacEllin: Information on Sean E MacEllin  Zoom on Sean E MacEllin  Some matters give rise to great controversy and it is questionable whether some decisions given by some of the judges——

Mr. Fanning: Information on Michael Fanning  Zoom on Michael Fanning  The county councils are seeking the decision of the court, which you funked because you knew you were wrong. I invoke the Attorney-General in support of my view. He would not advise you that you had a case.

Mr. MacEllin: Information on Sean E MacEllin  Zoom on Sean E MacEllin  Senator Blythe, who is responsible for this recommendation, [1621] gave effect to this system for ten years. If it was good enough for him for ten years, it should be good enough for him now. Is it in the interest of the State that the Minister for Finance should be seriously embarrassed in the discharge of his duties? If it is not, then Senators should not vote for this recommendation.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  The last speaker promised us heat. I am very glad to say that he did not keep his promise, but endeavoured to argue the question. I should like to support the recommendation and to put the case very briefly, because I think that neither the Minister nor Senator Comyn nor, perhaps, some of the other Senators seem capable of understanding the reasons why some of us feel we must support this recommendation. Senator Comyn argued against a recommendation which I cannot find on the Order Paper. He said the proposal was to take away the words in the Bill designed to remove doubts. I cannot find that recommendation on the Order Paper before me.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  That is what Senator Blythe said.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  I do not mind what anybody said. I am dealing with the recommendation before me, which proposes to change the words “whether before or after the passing of the Act” to “after the passing of the Act”. The effect of that recommendation would be that what the Minister desires would be put beyond doubt after the passing of the Act— that if the court should decide that the county councils had, through an error in draftsmanship or on the part of the Oireachtas, certain rights, they would be entitled to those rights up to the passing of the Act and no longer. It seems to me that there is a vital principle involved here. Respect for the State and good faith are involved in this issue. Few of us in business have not made mistakes with regard to agreements, even though there was no doubt as to our intentions. If we were honourable men, we accepted the position. If there was a doubt, it went to the courts. To endeavour to get the State to [1622] interfere in our behalf in the case of a bona-fide mistake would be repugnant to every idea of justice. That is so far as the individual is concerned. In this matter it seems to me that if a county council did, by any chance, through an error of the Oireachtas, find that it was entitled to more moneys than it actually obtained, then it should be entitled to find what the actual state of the law was.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  May I put the Senator a question? What if the position is this: that it is entitled to these moneys by the grace of the Oireachtas, and then, having received them, or being about to receive them, turns around and endeavours, as we contend here, to void one part of the contract?

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  Whatever the law is, the courts cannot decide what anybody is entitled to by grace of the Oireachtas. They can only decide what they are entitled to decide under the law as it stands at the particular time. The Oireachtas may change that afterwards if they consider it a wise and proper thing to do. It is the principle in between that seems to us to lead to want of respect for the Government and the State. As between the individual and the State, or as between the county council and the State, I believe the same principle should apply. There is no certainty in this matter at all. I think there must be more doubts than Senator Comyn thinks, or we would not have this Bill.

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  Senator Brown has given no opinion on it.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  At any rate, Senator Comyn would not be interested in my opinion on the matter, as I suppose I would be a sea lawyer, whatever on earth that is. I am not giving any opinion; I am dealing with the principle that is involved here and that is the only matter I want to deal with. The Minister seems to think that if there are persons in a particular county council who have broken the law—I am not saying whether they have or not—that that should affect the case; if there are persons who have not [1623] paid, who happen to be on the county council and happen, perhaps, to be in a particular majority, that that should affect the principle. It seems to me it has nothing to do with it at all. If they break the law, they should be dealt with. If individuals are publicly advocating persons not to carry out the law, they should be dealt with. I have never taken up any other attitude than that the law should be obeyed. If persons publicly advocate breaking the law—I do not care even if it is Senator Blythe—the Minister knows how to deal with them.

The position is that if, by any chance, it should be that the people of a county which includes all parties —people who have paid as well as those who have not—were entitled to a larger proportion of the grant, according to the law, they were entitled quite properly to go to the courts and say, “Is this the law?” What the Oireachtas may do afterwards would be a matter of public policy, having regard to the merits of the case; but to interfere in the middle of a case of that kind will, I believe, lead to disrespect for the State. It is because I believe that, that I am obliged to support the recommendation. As we are still here in the Seanad and we are asked to give an opinion on this matter, I think we ought to give an honest opinion, and my honest opinion is that this Bill should operate only from the date of its passing and any further action could be taken after the law has been declared, if it is considered wise and necessary.

Mr. Lynch: Information on Patrick Lynch  Zoom on Patrick Lynch  I regret very much having had to hear this debate, having regard to the manner in which it has been carried on. I did not expect this type of discussion in this House. I expected that a matter of importance, as no doubt this is, a matter of some importance at all events, would be discussed in a calmer atmosphere, no matter what decision would be come to by the House. Senator Douglas has much more experience of this Assembly than I have. He is right, I am sure, when he says that it does not matter very [1624] much what decision is come to in regard to this suggested recommendation: it would not affect the result of the intended legislation. Therefore, I am sorry for the exhibition of temper and the unnecessary and excessive language that has been introduced. The discussion sometimes took the form of being a discussion on a question of law. It was intended, I think, originally when this recommendation was moved that it should be treated as a question of law. I very much regret that it has been dealt with in the manner in which it has been dealt with.

Possibly Senator Douglas, whose judgment in a great many matters I have a great regard for, is accurate when he says that it is immaterial how we vote. If the Senator is accurate in that, it occurs to me that in the future, whether this Assembly survives or not, when people will read what we have said in this discussion and possibly when Senators themselves will read what occurred in this, perhaps, important discussion, will they look back with pride, say, in six or 12 months' time, if Providence spares us all for that period, on the debate that has taken place in this Assembly? We heard a Senator yesterday pointing out the terrible catastrophe it will be if this Assembly is abolished. We heard of the loss to the wisdom of the country; the loss that will be suffered through the absence of expressions of opinion in this House; the loss to the education of the country and the enlightenment of the people through expressions of opinion here disseminated through the Press—opinions expressed in judicial or semi-judicial language by venerable Senators who imagine that they are here, perhaps, on account of the respect that their opinions deserve.

I wonder have Senators ever reflected on what people will say when they read in the papers to-morrow what occurred here to-day? Senator Douglas has said it is immaterial, of comparatively no importance, what the decision here is in regard to this matter; it will not affect the proposed legislation. I will accept that. Then what good is likely to flow from what we have heard [1625] to-day? There is one matter about which I would like to remind my colleagues and which they seem to forget. It is utterly immaterial, I would respectfully suggest, as regards the destinies of this country in the future, what vote this House passes on anything to-day.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Zoom on Thomas Westropp Bennett  The Senator has not said one word so far about the recommendation. A certain amount of latitude may be given, but really the Senator should now endeavour to deal with the recommendation.

Mr. Lynch: Information on Patrick Lynch  Zoom on Patrick Lynch  I have dealt with the debate, and if I am wrong in endeavouring to deal with the course of the debate and the manner in which this matter has been discussed, I apologise.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Zoom on Thomas Westropp Bennett  I am afraid you are wrong, Senator. You must make some reference to the recommendation. I will not confine you very strictly, but you must make some reference.

Mr. Lynch: Information on Patrick Lynch  Zoom on Patrick Lynch  The trouble suggested by the mover of this recommendation is the objection he has to what he calls retrospective legislation. I heard arguments advanced here as to the comparative harmlessness of legislation correcting a decision of the courts as compared with what is proposed in this Bill, that is passing legislation which might affect a pending issue. A good deal of argument was addressed by the mover of the recommendation, and some of his supporters, to legislation introduced with the object of correcting the effect of a decision. Their contention was that that would not be open to nearly so much criticism as would legislation that might have effect upon a pending decision. We have heard the Minister upon that matter. Having heard the Minister, and having ascertained his views, it is for the House to say whether they accept them as a justification for the introduction of this particular legislation. Personally I do not see that it is open to the severe criticism addressed to it, or to the severe strictures of the Senator who moved the recommendation because it [1626] deals with pending legislation. If those who have the conduct of the Bill in their hands, and have studied it, are satisfied that the language of the statute that regulates the course of these moneys is open to some doubts, then this legislation does little more than possibly remove doubts from the minds of the people generally. If that is the sole object of this intended legislation I suggest that the evil which has been pointed out by the mover of this recommendation, as likely to result from the passing of this Bill, is not a real one at all and that consequently the Bill as it stands should meet with the approval of the House.

Mr. Johnson: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  I listened with interest and some curiosity to Senator Lynch, especially to the latter part of his speech as I hoped that I would get some light from him as a lawyer on the point raised by me yesterday when I quoted from the Attorney-General to the effect:—

“That this House has the undoubted right during any stage of litigation, either before an action is commenced, during the hearing of the proceedings, or after an action has been concluded to say what, in its view, the law was intended to be.”

Skilfully perhaps, but effectively, at any rate, the Senator evaded giving any expression of opinion on that particular point. I am rather glad, however, that he did not express approval of that particular principle uttered by the Attorney-General. The business before the House is that we should recommend to the Dáil the amendment of the Bill by deleting the words and brackets “(whether before or after the passing of this Act)” and substitute for them the words “after the passing of this Act.” We are, in fact, asked to recommend the Dáil to amend the Bill so that it would read as follows:—

“In order to remove doubts, it is hereby declared and enacted that—

(a) every deficiency in the Purchase Annuities Fund arising ‘after the passing of this Act’ by reason of the non-payment of purchase [1627] annuities is a charge on the Guarantee Fund....”

Since yesterday I examined this Bill to see if I could find a way to amend, or to recommend the Dáil to amend it so as to remove what I consider to be a serious fault, that is to say, that it is interfering between two parties to litigation at the instance of one of the parties to that litigation. On reading the Bill very carefully, with that view, I came to the conclusion, that as the House accepted the Second Reading, it would be impossible to amend the Bill in that direction; and that having accepted the Second Reading it could not be amended.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  If we did not accept the Second Reading it could not be amended either.

Mr. Johnson: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  Exactly, but it was accepted by the House, and it was accepted by the House in order to remove doubts. I think the Minister's criticism of this recommendation, from that point of view, is perfectly sound and valid and unanswerable. Senator Blythe in moving this recommendation spoke belittlingly of the words “in order to remove doubts” and would like to have them considered as having no effect whatever. In that case, as the Minister pointed out, it would mean that on the advice of this House we are recommending the Dáil to re-enact the Guarantee Fund system so far as future payments are concerned. But most of the discussion yesterday was against the principle of the Guarantee Fund. Senators Wilson and Counihan particularly were very strong in their opposition to the Guarantee Fund as a system. If we were to pass this recommendation it would, in effect, be asking the Dáil to re-enact for future matters the Guarantee Fund. Therefore, I think the passing of this recommendation would not give expression to the desire of those who spoke yesterday on this matter. With the words “in order to remove doubts” I think this recommendation would make, in effect, the main principle of the Bill to be such as to direct the court how it should decide on a matter in litigation before [1628] it. To amend the Bill in the form here suggested would not remove my objections to the Bill and, therefore, I am not going to support the recommendation.

Mr. Honan: Information on Thomas V Honan  Zoom on Thomas V Honan  Coming, as I do, from a part of the country in which the people are mainly small farmers. I desire to oppose this recommendation very strongly. The acceptance of this recommendation would be a great injustice to them. They are an industrious, hard-working class of people, who pay their way as well as any other section of the community. If people in other parts of the country who are in a better position to meet their obligations fail to do so, it would be a great injustice to honest men if these people were allowed to go free. The proposal of some Senators, so far as I could understand it, was that the honest, industrious, provident man should by all means pay his way while the man who is not so industrious and who may, for ulterior reasons, refuse to meet his obligations should be treated in the Kathleen Mavourneen manner: “It may be years and it may be for ever.” I suggest to the House that the classes of farmers who are not paying their annuities at present are classes which are best served by the Government of the day. They have got every inducement and facility for growing root crops and grain crops of every description. These facilities are not possessed by the poor farmers in the west of Ireland who are paying their way.

Furthermore, the poor farmers in the west are contributing towards the subsidies which are paid on the crops grown by the men on the richer land. The poor men in the west cannot grow wheat on their land nor are any of the beet factories situated in their areas. Yet, they have to bear the increased cost of living due to the subsidies paid to the farmers on the better land. The farmers on the better lands are paid subsidies on their cereal crops and their dairy products. It is the poor farmers and the working classes, the town dwellers, who are paying these subsidies. They are the real sufferers to-day. I see no reason in the world why any farmers living in the good [1629] parts of the country, and who are represented by Senators on the opposite side, should receive any more favourable consideration than the farmers of whom I speak. In my opinion they should get much less consideration because they have the best means of making a living in this country. They are really pampered by the Government.

Mr. O'Hanlon: Information on Michael F OHanlon  Zoom on Michael F OHanlon  Shame.

Mr. Honan: Information on Thomas V Honan  Zoom on Thomas V Honan  They are pampered in comparison with the people of Clare, the people of West Kerry, and the people of West Cork.

Mr. O'Hanlon: Information on Michael F OHanlon  Zoom on Michael F OHanlon  Shame on Clare.

Mr. Honan: Information on Thomas V Honan  Zoom on Thomas V Honan  They are pampered in comparison with those who have no opportunity of making a profit on the growing of wheat and other subsidised crops. I think no Senator on the opposite side of the House would suggest that the poorer classes of the community should be called upon to pay their way whilst another section of the community who are in a much better position to make money should be treated on the Kathleen Mavourneen system. I hope that the Seanad will reject the recommendation.

Mr. O'Hanlon: Information on Michael F OHanlon  Zoom on Michael F OHanlon  No useful purpose, in my opinion, can be served by carrying on the debate on this recommendation any further. This head of wheat has now been sufficiently flailed, and I move that the question be now put.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Zoom on Thomas Westropp Bennett  It is entirely in my discretion to accept the motion. We have been discussing this recommendation for practically two hours now, and I think that it is a reasonable motion. I, therefore, propose to accept it.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Before you put the question, Sir, might I be permitted to deal with the point raised by Senator Brown?

Cathaoirleach: Information on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Zoom on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Certainly. I shall allow the Minister to reply, and I shall then allow Senator O'Hanlon to move his motion.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The House will recollect that Senator Brown addressed himself to a statement which I made in the course of my speech yesterday, [1630] that this House had not merely the right, but the duty, to give a clear direction to the courts in certain instances. In that connection, I would remind the House that Senator Brown himself declared that the Oireachtas speaks only in the words of the Act. I contend then, because that is generally accepted and acted upon by the courts, that all the more, when a doubt arises as to whether a statute does give full, complete and accurate effect to the intentions of the Oireachtas, it is the duty of the Oireachtas to amend that statute and remove those doubts so that the courts, when they come to construe it, will not act under any erroneous impression as to what the Legislature really intended.

Mr. Johnson: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  Does the Minister say that the Oireachtas in 1935 is capable of saying what the Oireachtas in 1933 meant?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I would say, addressing myself to this particular case, that there is ample proof on the records of the House and in the reports of the debates of the Oireachtas, as to what the Oireachtas really intended in 1933 in regard to the Guarantee Fund. That has been formally expressed by the votes of the Oireachtas in the manner in which this House does customarily express itself in regard to legislation. Senator Brown does not contend that the Oireachtas is not competent to amend a statute or to correct a statute, but he does say that they can only correct the law after a decision has been given against them by the court.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  I think what he said was that they should only do that.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Possibly I was placing a narrower interpretation on the Senator's words, but let us take it that what he said was that they should correct the law only after it had been decided against them by the courts. Let us carry that to its logical conclusion and see the position in which we are going to find ourselves. The Legislature, it is admitted; has failed to express accurately and precisely what its intention is. It is clear that there is an error in a certain statute.

Mr. O'Hanlon: Information on Michael F OHanlon  Zoom on Michael F OHanlon  Clear to whom?

[1631]Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  It may be clear to some people. The majority of the Legislature may have doubts about it. It may appear to them that the phraseology of the statute is ambiguous; it may be even absolutely certain that it is ambiguous. But then this error which has crept into the code of law of the State is to remain embedded in the Statute Book, a precious curio not to be touched by the unhallowed hands of the legislators, until with all the due formality of the law, the courts draw our attention to it. Then, and only then, may we draw the attention of the Legislature to the existence of this error which many people, even the majority of the Legislature, have felt to be there. Then, and only then, can we formally recognise the existence of this fly in the amber when the courts have given a decision.

Mr. O'Hanlon: Information on Michael F OHanlon  Zoom on Michael F OHanlon  Why did not the Minister wait until the courts drew attention to that error, if that error existed? Why did he not wait until then?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I am pointing out the facts.

Mr. O'Hanlon: Information on Michael F OHanlon  Zoom on Michael F OHanlon  The Minister is pointing out that there is an error but no one has decided that error. Why did he not wait until the courts had determined whether an error existed?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  If the Senator will bear with me for a moment, I am dealing with the thesis which Senator Brown has advanced to the House.

Mr. Lynch: Information on Patrick Lynch  Zoom on Patrick Lynch  Surely the Minister is entitled to answer the argument that has been advanced here.

Mr. O'Hanlon: Information on Michael F OHanlon  Zoom on Michael F OHanlon  At the moment the Minister is speaking by my good grace because I extended to him the courtesy of allowing him to speak after I had moved a motion that the question be put.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  If Senator O'Hanlon had been good enough to bear with me for a moment I would have acknowledged that, though I assume that the Cathaoirleach would not have acted contrary to the wishes of [1632] the Assembly. We may feel that the phraseology in the statute is wrong, that it fails to express without ambiguity the intention to which the Oireachtas is to give effect when it passed the measure; we may know with all certitude that it is wrong when it does not express the opinion of the Oireachtas, but according to Senator Brown's thesis we cannot touch it until the courts have decided.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  I think if the Minister reads Senator Brown's speech he will find that what the Senator stated was that when once a case had been initiated in the courts he should not start legislation.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Very well. I say that the issues have not yet been joined in this matter. So far there has been a preliminary skirmish. We have held that the action was wrongly instituted in the first instance and at all events that it has been launched against the person against whom it does not lie. The issues have not yet been joined and in these circumstances, for the guidance of the court which has to hear these issues, we are entitled once again, since we can only speak in the words of the Act, to make sure that the words of the Act will be without ambiguity and will be unmistakable. What is the alternative to that? The Senator has said that we may wait until after the courts have decided and then we are going to have this as his position, that we can then apparently reverse by legislation the decision of the courts——

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  All legislation does that.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  ——not merely new legislation to correct an error in the old statute but to reverse the decision of the court. Is that a position which it is consonant with the dignity of the Oireachtas and of the courts to endeavour to maintain? Is it not much better that in advance of the court's decision we should transcribe the law in such manner as will leave the intentions of the Oireachtas plain and clear to all to read? Is it not better to proceed in that way rather than to allow the judges to come and solemnly decide and declare [1633] that the intention of the Oireachtas was other than all members of the Oireachtas know it to have been——

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  Does the judge declare that?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  ——and for the Oireachtas then to throw back in the teeth of the judiciary the decision of the courts.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  Did I understand the Minister to say that the question affected by this Bill has not yet come before the court?

Mr. Comyn: Information on Michael Comyn  Zoom on Michael Comyn  The issue has not been knit.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  Do I understand the Minister to say that the court which sat before Christmas was not actually on the merits of the case or that it was only on the question of the right to sue or not?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Whether the right [1634] person had been cited or not, the issue was set down for trial for the 14th of January.

Mr. Blythe: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  I understand that the question before the courts was a question as to whether the action was rightly cited? Was it not the case that the action had been opened?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  One side of the argument had been opened.

Mr. Johnson: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  The newspaper report said that one side of the argument was opened.

Mr. O'Hanlon: Information on Michael F OHanlon  Zoom on Michael F OHanlon  I have moved that the question be put.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Zoom on Thomas Westropp Bennett  I did not take that motion at the time. I am taking it now.

Question—“That the question be now put”—put and agreed to

Recommendation put.

Baxter, Patrick F.
Bellingham, Sir Edward.
Blythe, Ernest.
Brown, Samuel L., K.C.
Browne, Miss Kathleen.
Counihan, John C.
Douglas, James G.
Duggan, E.J.
Fanning, Michael.
Garaban, Hugh.
Gogarty, Dr. O. St. J.
Kennedy, Cornelius.
Milroy, Seán.
O'Connor, Joseph.
O'Hanlon, M.F.
O'Rourke, Brian.
Staines, Michael.
Wilson, Richard.

Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
Comyn, Michael, K.C.
Duffy, Michael.
Fitzgerald, Séamus.
Foran, Thomas.
Healy, Denis D.
Honan, Thomas V.
Johnson, Thomas.
Kennedy, Thomas.
Lynch, Patrick, K.C.
MacEllin, Seán E.
Moore, Colonel.
O Máille, Pádraic.
O'Neill, L.
Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an.
Quirke, William.
Robinson, David L.
Ruane, Thomas.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Zoom on Thomas Westropp Bennett  The division has resulted in a tie, 18 voting for and 18 against. It therefore becomes imperative on me to give a casting vote. I have listened with a great deal of attention to the arguments addressed to this House and, having due regard to the desire to establish the Bill, I am very much moved by the fact that, apparently, the courts of justice are being interfered with in this matter. I, therefore, vote for the recommendation.

Recommendation declared carried.

Mr. Blythe: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  I move:—

Section 1, sub-section (2). To delete in lines 42-43 the words and brackets “(whether before or after the passing of this Act)” and to substitute therefor the words “after the passing of this Act”.

Recommendation put.

Baxter, Patrick F.
Bellingham, Sir Edward.
Blythe, Ernest.
Brown, Samuel L., K.C.
Browne, Miss Kathleen.
Counihan, John C.
Douglas, James G.
Duggan, E.J.
Fanning, Michael.
Garahan, Hugh.
Gogarty, Dr. O. St. J.
Kennedy, Cornelius.
Milroy, Seán.
O'Connor, Joseph.
O'Hanlon, M.F.
O'Rourke, Brian.
Staines, Michael.
Wilson, Richard.

Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
Comyn, Michael, K.C.
Duffy, Michael.
Fitzgerald, Séamus.
Foran, Thomas.
Healy, Denis D.
Honan, Thomas V.
Johnson, Thomas.
Kennedy, Thomas.
Lynch, Patrick, K.C.
MacEllin, Seán E.
Moore, Colonel.
O Máille, Pádraic.
O'Neill, L.
Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an.
Quirke, William.
Robinson, David L.
Ruane, Thomas.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Zoom on Thomas Westropp Bennett  There is again a tie and, as before, I have to give my casting vote. The subject-matter being practically identical, I vote in favour of the recommendation.

Recommendation declared carried.

Question—“That Section 1, with recommendations, stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

Mr. Blythe: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  I move Recommendation No. 3:—

Section 2. To delete the section.

Mr. Johnson: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  I have been trying to understand what would be the effect of the deletion of the section. I have no knowledge of the effect of it, or the intended effect, and I think it ought to be explained.

Minister:  I would like to hear the Senator on the effect of this recommendation also.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Zoom on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Perhaps Senator Blythe will explain.

Mr. Blythe: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  I only wish to remove the element of retrospection from this Part of the Bill. In a sense, the recommendation is consequential.

Recommendation put.

Baxter, Patrick F.
Bellingham, Sir Edward.
Blythe, Ernest.
Brown, Samuel L., K.C.
Browne, Miss Kathleen.
Counihan, John C.
Douglas, James G.
Duggan, E.J.
Fanning, Michael.
Garahan, Hugh.
Gogarty, Dr. O. St. J.
Kennedy, Cornelius.
Milroy, Seán.
O'Connor, Joseph.
O'Hanlon, M.F.
O'Rourke, Brian.
Staines, Michael.
Wilson, Richard.

Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
Comyn, Michael, K.C.
Duffy, Michael.
Fitzgerald, Séamus.
Foran, Thomas.
Healy, Denis D.
Honan, Thomas V.
Johnson, Thomas.
Kennedy, Thomas.
Lynch, Patrick, K.C.
MacEllin, Seán E.
Moore, Colonel.
O Máille, Pádraic.
O'Neill, L.
Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an.
Quirke, William.
Robinson, David L.
Ruane, Thomas.

[1637]Cathaoirleach: Information on Thomas Westropp Bennett  Zoom on Thomas Westropp Bennett  This division has also resulted in a tie, and, therefore, it is incumbent on me to vote. The recommendation seems to be on all-fours with the other recommendations on the question of retrospective legislation, and I, accordingly, vote in favour of the recommendation.

Recommendation declared carried.

Section 3 and Title agreed to.

Bill reported with recommendations.


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