An Bille um an Tríú Leasú ar an mBunreacht, 1968: An Coiste (Atógáil). Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1968: Committee Stage (Resumed).

Wednesday, 24 July 1968

Seanad Eireann Debate
Vol. 65 No. 19

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D'atógadh an díospóireacht ar an leasú seo a leanas:

Debate resumed on the following amendment:

I leathanach 7, i ndiaidh líne 33, na Codanna seo a leanas a chur isteach:—

3. 1º Bunóchar Coimisiún Dáil-cheanntar ó am go ham, uair amháin ar a laighead insan dá bhliadhain déag.

2º Mórsheisear comhaltaí a ceapfar ag Dáil Éireann a bheas i gCoimisiún Dáil-cheanntar: ceapfar comhalta amháin díobh (agus is é a bheas ina Chathaoirleach ar an gCoimisiún) as breitheamhnaibh na Cúirte Uachtaraighe agus na hÁrd-Chúirte ar n-a ainmniú ag an bPrímh-Bhreitheamh, ceapfar triúr as comhaltaíbh Dháil Éireann ar n-a n-ainmniú ag an Taoiseach agus ceapfar triúr as na comhaltaibh sin de Dháil Éireann a cinntear do réir dlighidh a bheith i bhfreasabhra, ar n-a n-ainmniú mar foráiltear le [2216] dligheadh ag comhaltaíbh a cinntear amhlaidh a bheith i bhfreasabhra.

3º Tig le comhalta ar bith de Choimisiún Dáil-cheanntar éirghe as oifig trí n-a chur sin i n-iúil do Chathaoirleach Dháil Éireann.

4º Tig le Dáil Éireann, ar adhbharaibh is leor léi, comhalta ar bith de Choimisiún Dáil-cheanntar do chur as oifig.

5º Ceathrar is córam do Choimisiún Dáil-cheanntar, agus is dleaghthach do Choimisiún gníomhú d'aindeoin folamhantas ina gcomhaltas.

4. Chomh luath agus is féidir é tar éis Coimisiún Dáil-cheanntar do bhunú, rachaidh an Coimisiún i mbun na ndáil-cheanntar do chinneadh.

5. 1º Déanfaidh Coimisiún Dáil-cheanntar, taobh istigh de thrí mhí ó dháta a mbunuighthe, tuarascbháil do thairgsint do Chathaoirleach Dháil Éireann ina leagfar amach na dáil-cheanntair mar a bheid cinnte ag an gCoimisiún de chomhaontadh a gcomhaltaí uile nó le tromlach dá gcomhaltaíbh, ach más rud é ná tairgfear aon tuarascbháil amhlaidh, toisc nár éirigh leis na comhaltaíbh uile nó le tromlach de na comhaltaíbh teacht ar chomhaontadh, déanfaidh Cathaoirleach an Choimisiúin, cheithre mhí ar a dhéidheanaighe tar éis dáta an Chomisiúin do bhunú, tuarascbháil do thairgsint do Chathaoirleach Dháil Éireann ina leagfar amach na dáil-cheanntair mar a bheid cinnte ag Cathaoirleach an Choimisiúin, agus glacfar gurb í tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin an tuarascbháil sin.

2º Ní foláir tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin do bheith fá láimh an Chathaoirligh nó fá láimh chomhalta eile a n-ordóchaidh an Coimisiún dó a lámh do chur léi, agus ní tairgfear aon tuarascbháil mhionluchta.

3º Beidh an Coimisiún ar n-a lán-scor láithreach d'éis tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin do thairgsint.

6. 1º Chomh luath agus is féidir é tar éis do Chathaoirleach Dháil Éireann tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin [2217] d'fhagháil, bhéarfaidh sé go leagfar í fá bhrághaid Dháil Éireann.

2º Más rud é go ndéanfaidh Dáil Éireann, taobh istigh de na cheithre lá dhéag is túisce a shuidhfeas Dáil Éireann tar éis an tuarascbháil do leagadh fá n-a brághaid, rún do rith le tromlach dhá dtrian ag leasú na tuarascbhála, beidh an tuarascbháil ar n-a leasú dá réir sin.

3º Láithreach d'éis an lae dheiridh de na cheithre lá dhéag is túisce a shuidhfeas Dáil Éireann tar éis tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin do leagadh fá n-a brághaid, is iad na dáil-cheanntair a bheas leagtha amach insan tuarascbháil, nó, i gcás Dáil Éireann do leasú na tuarascbhála, insan tuarascbháil ar n-a leasú amhlaidh, is dáil-cheanntair, ach ní thiocfaidh atharrú ar bith dá ndéanfar na dáil-cheanntraibh i bhfeidhm i rith ré na Dála a bheas ina suidhe i n-alt na huaire.

7. Fá chuimsiú foráiltí an Airteagail seo, féadfar socrú do dhéanamh le dligheadh i dtaobh ní ar bith a bhaineas le Coimisiúin Dáil-cheanntar nó le dáil-cheanntraibh.

8. 1º Go dtí an lá is túisce a lán-scoirfear Dáil Éireann tar éis an 15mhadh lá d'Aibreán, 1970, nó is túisce a lán-scoirfear í tar éis cibé dáta roimhe sin a cinnfear le rún ar n-a rith ag Dáil Éireann, is iad a bheas i gcomhaltas Dháil Éireann ná ionadóirí do na dáil-cheanntraibh a cinneadh leis an dligheadh a bhí i bhfeidhm an 1mhadh lá d'Eanáir, 1968, agus is do réir an dlighidh sin a déanfar gach toghchán do comhaltas Dháil Éireann, mar aon le líonadh corr-fholamhantas.

2º I gcás an chomhalta de Dháil Éireann a bheas ina Chathaoirleach díreach roimh aon lán-scor ar Dháil Éireann, féadfar, d'aindeoin foráilte ar bith eile insan Airteagal so, a shocrú leis an dligheadh dá dtagartar in alt 12 den Airteagal so go measfar é do bheith toghtha mar dhara comhalta do dháil-cheanntar a roghnóchaidh sé, is dáil-cheanntar arb é atá ann an dáil-cheanntar, nó a [2218] n-áirimhthear ann cuid den dáil-cheanntar, go raibh sé ina ionadóir dó roimh an lán-scor san, ach ní déanfar comhalta a measfar é do bheith toghtha mar dhara comhalta d'áireamh chun crícheanna fo-ailt 3º d'alt 2 den Airteagal so.

3. 1º A Constituency Commission shall be established from time to time, but not less frequently than once in every twelve years.

2º A Constituency Commission shall consist of seven members appointed by Dáil Éireann, of whom one (who shall be the Chairman of the Commission) shall be appointed from the judges of the Supreme Court and High Court on the nomination of the Chief Justice, three shall be appointed from the members of Dáil Éireann on the nomination of the Taoiseach and three shall be appointed, from such members of Dáil Éireann as are determined in accordance with law to be in opposition, on nomination provided for by law by members so determined.

3º Any member of a Constituency Commission may resign from office by placing his resignation in the hands of the Chairman of Dáil Éireann.

4º Dáil Éireann may, for reasons which to it seem sufficient, terminate the appointment of any member of a Constituency Commission.

5º The quorum of a Constituency Commission shall be four, and a Commission may act notwithstanding vacancies in their membership.

4. As soon as may be after the establishment of a Constituency Commission, the Commission shall proceed to determine the constituencies.

5. 1º A Constituency Commission shall, within three months of their establishment, present to the Chairman of Dáil Éireann a report setting out the constituencies as determined by the Commission either with the unanimous agreement of their members [2219] or by a majority, but if, because of failure to secure unanimous agreement or agreement by a majority, no report is so presented, the Chairman of the Commission shall, not later than four months after the date of the establishment of the Commission, present to the Chairman of Dáil Éireann a report setting out the constituencies as determined by the Chairman of the Commission, and that report shall be taken as the report of the Commission.

2º The Commission's report shall be signed by the Chairman or other member so directed by the Commission, and no minority report shall be presented.

3º Immediately after the Commission's report has been presented, the Commission shall stand dissolved.

6. 1º As soon as may be after the receipt by him of the Commission's report, the Chairman of Dáil Éireann shall cause the report to be laid before Dáil Éireann.

2º If, within the next fourteen days on which Dáil Éireann has sat after the report is laid before it, a resolution amending the report is passed by a two-thirds majority by Dáil Éireann, the report shall be amended accordingly.

3º Immediately after the last of the next fourteen days on which Dáil Éireann has sat after the Commission's report is laid before it, the constituencies set out in the report, or, where the report has been amended by Dáil Éireann, in the report as so amended, shall become and be the constituencies, provided that any alteration in the constituencies shall not take effect during the life of Dáil Éireann then sitting.

7. Subject to the provisions of this Article, any matter whatsoever relating to Constituency Commissions or constituencies may be provided for by law.

8. 1º Until the date of the dissolution of Dáil Éireann occurring next after the 15th day of April, 1970, or occurring next after such earlier date [2220] as may be determined by a resolution passed by Dáil Éireann shall be composed of members who represent the constituencies determined by the law in force on the 1st day of January, 1968, and all elections for membership of Dáil Éireann, including the filling of casual vacancies, shall take place in accordance with that law.

2º In the case of the member of Dáil Éireann who is the Chairman immediately before a dissolution of Dáil Éireann, the law referred to in section 12 of this Article may, notwithstanding any other provision of this Article, enable him to be deemed to be elected as a second member for a constituency chosen by him, being a constituency which consists of, or includes a part of, the constituency he represented before that dissolution, but a member deemed to be elected as a second member shall not be reckoned for the purposes of sub-section 3º of section 2 of this Article.”

7. In page 6, after line 33, to add the following new Parts:—

3. 1º Bunóchar Coimisiún Dáil-cheanntar ó am go ham, uair amháin ar a laighead insan dá bhliadhain déag.

2º Mórsheisear comhaltaí a ceapfar ag Dáil Éireann a bheas i gCoimisiún Dáil-cheanntar: ceapfar comhalta amháin díobh (agus is é a bheas ina Chathaoirleach ar an gCoimisiún) as breitheamhnaibh na Cúirte Uachtaraighe agus na hÁrd-Chúirte ar n-a ainmniú ag an bPrímh-Bhreitheamh, ceapfar triúr as comhaltaíbh Dháil Éireann ar n-a n-ainmniú ag an Taoiseach agus ceapfar triúr as na comhaltaíbh sin de Dháil Éireann a cinntear do réir dlighidh a bheith i bhfreasabhra, ar n-a n-ainmniú mar foráiltear le dligheadh ag comhaltaíbh a cinntear amhlaidh a bheith i bhfreasabhra.

3º Tig le comhalta ar bith de Choimisiún Dáil-cheanntar éirighe as oifig trí n-a chur sin i n-iúil do Chathaoirleach Dháil Éireann.

[2221] 4º Tig le Dáil Éireann, ar adhbharaibh is leor léi, comhalta ar bith de Choimisiún Dáil-cheanntar do chur as oifig.

5º Ceathrar is córam do Choimisiún Dáil-cheanntar, agus is dleaghthach do Choimisiún gníomhú d'aindeoin folamhantas ina gcomhaltas.

4. Chomh luath agus is féidir é tar éis Coimisiún Dáil-cheanntar do bhunú, rachaidh an Coimisiún i mbun na ndáil-cheanntar do chinneadh.

5. 1º Déanfaidh Coimisiún Dáil-cheanntar, taobh istigh de thrí mhí ó dháta a mbunuighthe, tuarascbháil do thairgsint do Chathaoirleach Dháil Éireann ina leagfar amach na dáil-cheanntair mar a bheid cinnte ag an gCoimisiún de chomhaontadh a gcomhaltaí uile nó le tromlach dá gcomhaltaíbh, ach más rud é ná tairgfear aon tuarascbháil amhlaidh, toisc nár éirigh leis na comhaltaíbh uile nó le tromlach de na comhaltaíbh teacht ar chomhaontadh, déanfaidh Cathaoirleach an Choimisiún, cheithre mhí ar a dhéidheanaighe tar éis dáta an Choimisiúin do bhunú, tuarascbháil do thairgsint do Chathaoirleach Dháil Éireann ina leagfar amach na dáil-cheanntair mar a bheid cinnte ag Cathaoirleach an Choimisiúin, agus glacfar gurb í tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin an tuarascbháil sin.

2º Ní foláir tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin do bheith fá láimh an Chathaoirligh nó fá láimh chomhalta eile a n-ordóchaidh an Coimisiún dó a láimh do chur léi, agus ní tairgfear aon tuarascbháil mhionluchta.

3º Béidh an Coimisiún ar n-a lán-scor láithreach d'éis tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin do thairgsint.

6. 1º Chomh luath agus is féidir é tar éis do Chathaoirleach Dháil Éireann tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin d'fhagháil, bhéarfaidh sé go leagfar í fá bhrághaid Dháil Éireann.

2º Más rud é go ndéanfaidh Dáil Éireann, taobh istigh de na cheithre lá dhéag is túisce a shuidhfeas Dáil [2222] Éireann tar éis an tuarascbháil do leagadh fá n-a brághaid, rún do rith le tromlach dhá dtrian ag leasú na tuarascbhála, beidh an tuarascbháil ar n-a leasú dá réir sin.

3º Láithreach d'éis an lae dheiridh de na cheithre lá dhéag is túisce a shuidhfeas Dáil Éireann tar éis tuarascbháil an Choimisiúin do leagadh fá n-a brághaid, is iad na dáil-cheanntair a bheas leagtha amach insan tuarascbháil, nó, i gcás Dáil Éireann do leasú na tuarascbhála, insan tuarascbháil ar n-a leasú amhlaidh, is dáil-cheanntair, ach ní thiocfaidh atharrú ar bith dá ndéanfar ar na dáil-cheanntraibh i bhfeidhm i rith ré na Dála a bheas ina suidhe i n-alt na huaire.

7. Fá chuimsiú foráiltí an Airteagail seo, féadfar socrú do dhéanamh le dligheadh i dtaobh ní ar bith a bhaineas le Coimisiúin Dáil-cheanntar nó le dáil-cheanntraibh.

8. 1º Go dtí an lá is túisce a lán-scoirfear Dáil Éireann tar éis an 15mhadh lá d'Aibreán, 1970, nó is túisce a lán-scoirfear í tar éis cibé dáta roimhe sin a cinnfear le rún ar n-a rith ag Dáil Éireann, is iad a bheas i gcomhaltas Dháil Éireann ná ionadóirí do na dáil-cheanntraibh a cinneadh leis an dligheadh a bhí i bhfeidhm an 1mhadh lá d'Eanáir, 1968, agus is do réir an dlighidh sin a déanfar gach toghchán do chomhaltas Dháil Éireann, mar aon le líonadh corr-fholamhantas.

2º I gcás an chomhalta de Dháil Éireann a bheas ina Chathaoirleach díreach roimh aon lán-scor ar Dháil Éireann, féadfar, d'aindeoin foráilte ar bith eile insan Airteagal so, a shocrú leis an dligheadh dá dtagartar in alt 12 den Airteagal so go measfar é do bheith toghtha mar dhara comhalta do dháil-cheanntar a roghnóchaidh sé, is dáil-cheanntar arb é atá ann an dáil-cheanntar, nó a n-áirimhthear ann cuid den dáil cheanntar, go raibh sé ina ionadóir dó roimh an lán-scor san, ach ní déanfar comhalta a measfar é do bheith toghtha mar dhara comhalta d'áireamh chun crícheanna fo-ailt 3º d'alt 2 den Airteagal so.

3. 1º A Constituency Commission shall be established from time to time, but not less frequently than once in every twelve years.

2º A Constituency Commission shall consist of seven members appointed by Dáil Éireann, of whom one (who shall be the Chairman of the Commission) shall be appointed from the judges of the Supreme Court and High Court on the nomination of the Chief Justice, three shall be appointed from the members of Dáil Éireann on the nomination of the Taoiseach and three shall be appointed, from such members of Dáil Éireann as are determined in accordance with law to be in opposition, on nomination provided for by law by members so determined.

3º Any member of a Constituency Commission may resign from office by placing his resignation in the hands of the Chairman of Dáil Éireann.

4º Dáil Éireann may, for reasons which to it seem sufficient, terminate the appointment of any member of a Constituency Commission.

5º The quorum of a Constituency Commission shall be four, and a Commission may act notwithstanding vacancies in their membership.

4. As soon as may be after the establishment of a Constituency Commission, the Commission shall proceed to determine the constituencies.

5. 1º A Constituency Commission shall, within three months of their establishment, present to the Chairman of Dáil Éireann a report setting out the constituencies as determined by the Commission either with the unanimous agreement of their members or by a majority, but if, because of failure to secure unanimous agreement or agreement by a majority, no report is so presented, the Chairman of the Commission shall, not later than four months after the date of the establishment of the Commission, present to the Chairman of Dáil [2224] Éireann a report setting out the constituencies as determined by the Chairman of the Commission, and that report shall be taken as the report of the Commission.

2º The Commission's report shall be signed by the Chairman or other member so directed by the Commission, and no minority report shall be presented.

3º Immediately after the Commission's report has been presented, the Commission shall stand dissolved.

6. 1º As soon as may be after the receipt by him of the Commission's report, the Chairman of Dáil Éireann shall cause the report to be laid before Dáil Éireann.

2º If, within the next fourteen days on which Dáil Éireann has sat after the report is laid before it, a resolution amending the report is passed by a two-thirds majority by Dáil Éireann, the report shall be amended accordingly.

3º Immediately after the last of the next fourteen days on which Dáil Éireann has sat after the Commission's report is laid before it, the constituencies set out in the report, or where the report has been amended by Dáil Éireann, in the report as so amended, shall become and be the constituencies, provided that any alteration in the constituencies shall not take effect during the life of Dáil Éireann then sitting.

7. Subject to the provisions of this Article, any matter whatsoever relating to Constituency Commissions or constituencies may be provided for by law.

8. 1º Until the date of the dissolution of Dáil Éireann occurring next after the 15th day of April, 1970, or occurring next after such earlier date as may be determined by a resolution passed by Dáil Éireann, Dáil Éireann shall be composed of members who represent the constituencies determined by the law in force on the 1st day of January, 1968, and all elections for membership of Dáil [2225] Éireann, including the filling of casual vacancies, shall take place in accordance with that law.

2º In the case of the member of Dáil Éireann who is the Chairman immediately before a dissolution of Dáil Éireann, the law referred to in section 12 of this Article may, notwithstanding any other provision of this Article, enable him to be deemed to be elected as a second member for a constituency chosen by him, being a constituency which consists of, or includes a part of, the constituency he represented before that dissolution, but a member deemed to be elected as a second member shall not be reckoned for the purposes of sub-section 3º of section 2 of this Article.”—(Senator Garret FitzGerald.)

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  I take it the Minister will set us a good example today with short, pithy speeches and we will get through quickly.

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  That is not a good start.

Minister for Local Government (Mr. K. Boland): Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I am well aware of the fact that in this House as well as in the other House the Opposition think the way in which debates should be conducted is that they should put their case and that there should be no reply but unfortunately I cannot undertake to comply with that manner of discussion. I can assure the Opposition that as often as they make ridiculous and dishonest charges against the intentions of the Government in proposing this electoral reform those charges will be refuted.

I was dealing with this ridiculous proposition of the Opposition that there should be provision in the Constitution for two separate Commissions and last night I contrasted their present attitude with the attitude adopted in 1959 when the proposition was being put forward in the form of one Bill and the Constituency Commission was included in it, the only fundamental difference being that on that occasion it was to take a two-thirds majority to overrule the decision [2226] of the Commission, whereas on this occasion it is to take a simple majority only. In inserting that, it can be shown that we are also complying with the expressed opinion of the Opposition on the last occasion but in 1959 when the complaint could not be made that the Commission would only deal with half of what was being proposed the Opposition attitude was to propose that there should not be a Commission at all. Deputy T. F. O'Higgins and Deputy Costello moved an amendment to that effect. Speaking on the amendment Deputy O'Higgins said at column 946 of Volume 172, of 21st January, 1959:

We think that this Constituency Commission should not be inserted into the Constitution.

He went on to say in the same column:

... we say in this amendment: “Forget about your Constituency Commission. Let any law reviving constituencies be passed here through the Dáil. Let it be supported and defended in the Dáil. Let the Minister who seeks to introduce it take full responsibility for it in this House where he can be challenged in the broad light of day, with the Press looking on and with the public entitled to admission.” We say that is the responsible course for any Minister or any Government genuinely intending to do the right thing to adopt.

The present Leader of the Labour Party spoke on the same day at column 980 in support of this proposal to have no Commission to delineate constituencies. Deputy Corish said:

The reason I favour the amendment is not so much because it retains what is embodied in the Constitution at present, but because I believe it will work and there is a certain amount of elasticity about it. At least, it gives the power to the Oireachtas to determine what the constituencies will be, what form they will take and what populations will be represented in each. I do not think the system it is proposed now to enshrine in the Constitution will work. It is crude. As Deputy Declan Costello described it, it is putting [2227] the veneer of respectability on these other two proposals. For that reason, I think the House should reject this part of the Schedule and adopt the amendment proposed by the two Fine Gael Deputies, or something reasonably near it.

Now that the Commission is being provided, and provided in the more appropriate of the two Bills into which the proposal has been divided in order to facilitate the Opposition, they want not one Commission but two. I think it must be obvious that when the division into two separate propositions was made, either the Commission would have to be dropped altogether or put into one Bill. The fact is the call for the separation of the proposal into two separate proposals was not a genuine one at all. It was merely meant as part of the Opposition's campaign against the proposal. They were hoping to be able to pretend that if the proposition had been separated, they would have supported the proposals which are now in the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill.

But to their surprise, what was requested was conceded, and these two things were separated. Once this was done, a decision had to be made as to which Bill should have the provision as to the Constituency Commission. Our choice to put it into the Fourth Amendment is because it is there the fundamental change is to be made. As far as we are concerned, we want both Bills passed. Therefore, we want a Commission. As far as the Opposition are concerned, they want no Bill passed and they want no Commission.

Professor Dooge: Information on James CI Dooge  Zoom on James CI Dooge  We do; we want the Commission, if neither is passed.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  All the Opposition want is to oppose what Fianna Fáil are proposing. Senator FitzGerald said that we on this side of the House are prepared to have a Commission in the Fourth Amendment Bill but not prepared to have it in the Third. The contrary is the fact. We want both. We did not want to separate them. We wanted if possible to dispel the confusion in their minds. It has been argued by Senator FitzGerald that if the Third [2228] Amendment Bill is passed, there will be a high degree of elasticity in drawing up constituencies. He knows that is not so. He knows that the degree of elasticity will be much less if the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill is passed than it will be if it is not passed. This applies whether or not the Fourth Amendment is also passed. In the more likely event of the two Amendments being enacted by the people, that is, the Fourth Amendment being passed also, the requirement will be there to keep within county boundaries as far as possible and that obviously will be more restrictive on the Government, or on the Commission, than if there is no such requirement with regard to county boundaries. In the most likely event of both being passed, there will be less elasticity. In the event of the Fourth Amendment being passed, we will of course have the Commission.

In the more unlikely event of the Third Amendment only being passed, and this is the assumption on which the Opposition base their case, and indeed it is characteristic that they like to base their case on the most farfetched assumptions they can, nothing more will happen than a return to the position that was assumed to obtain here from 1932 to 1959 and the requirement will be there to adhere to county boundaries in so far as it is possible and this will reduce the scope that is available for the revision of constituencies. In fact, that has been conceded when Senator FitzGerald admitted that it was only in the case of Dublin and Cork that there will be really any effective choice available.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I did not admit that and shall refute it in a minute or two.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I hope you will make yourself clear this time. As far as I can remember, that is what the Senator said. It is only within the constituencies of the counties of Dublin and Cork——

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Clare, Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Kerry.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  —— that there will be much scope for this. However, I dealt with that last night. Senator [2229] FitzGerald went on to make the most ridiculous suggestion of all, and I must say I do not know how he relates it to this Bill but he insists on relating it to every section of each Bill and apparently also to every amendment. In view of the fact that this is one of the things I refrained from dealing with in my reply on the Second Stage, I think I will deal with it now when Senator FitzGerald seems to demand that it should be dealt with. Senators know in response to their urgent appeal last Friday night I kept my reply as short as possible——

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Terribly short.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I did not encourage Senator FitzGerald to refer to it once again. He made the ridiculous suggestion that under the present system Fianna Fáil are likely to be in a minority after the next election. At least in his attempts to forecast what might happen in the event of the Fourth Amendment Bill being passed— at least there he was dealing with completely new circumstances—there is some excuse for the ridiculous forecast he made. But to suggest that there is any indication that in present circumstances the Fianna Fáil Party will not secure a majority at the next general election is to display his complete and absolute ignorance of practical politics.

We have of course had the clearest possible indication of the virtual certainty of there being a Fianna Fáil Government after the next election. We have had, for one thing, six out of seven by-elections in the lifetime of this Dáil and of course nothing approaching that ever happened before. If Senator FitzGerald would like to contrast that performance with the performance of the Government in either of the two Coalition Governments we had, he will see that out of the three by-elections during the first Coalition Fianna Fáil won one, Fine Gael won one, and Labour won one. In seven by-elections——

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  On a point of order, is this lengthy treatment of by-elections in order?

[2230]Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  If it is in order, I take it I will be entitled to reply by-election by by-election.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  The Chair thinks that Senator FitzGerald asked a question to which he requires an answer.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I am perfectly happy to deal with it either way.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  Senator FitzGerald asked a question to which he did not require an answer.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  If the Senator wishes to raise it on the section, it might be as well to dispose of it now.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Then I think it is not in order to go into detail on the amendment. If the Minister wishes to do so now, that is all right but it would appear to me more appropriate to do so on the section. I am happy to do it either way, whichever you think is most appropriate.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I realise this must be a painful subject for the Opposition.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  Senator FitzGerald will be allowed to reply to the matters raised now.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I do not want to delay it, but Senator FitzGerald insists on raising this matter at every possible occasion and the attitude apparently is that there as in everything else the procedure should be that the Opposition should put forward their case and that the Government should not. However, if Senator FitzGerald would like to deal with it later and get some——

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The Cathaoirleach has stated that we can deal with it now and let us go right ahead.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  That is fair enough, so.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  That is right. You are repeating it the whole time.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  In the first Coalition period, there were three by-elections and the two main sections of the Coalition at the time won one each. That would be two out of three [2231] as against one out of three for the Opposition. In the second Coalition period, there were seven by-elections and Fianna Fáil won no less than four of them. So, for the Government to win six out of seven by-elections is obviously a clear indication of continuing support for the Government.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  It is an indication of a higher parliamentary death rate in Munster.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Now we have it that according to the Opposition the West is our strong area and Munster is our strong area, but the facts are that in the West we happen only to have a majority of one whereas in the Dublin area we have a majority of two.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Under the present system.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  So if the West is a strong area for us then the Dublin area is a strong area also, because we have double the majority we have in the West for approximately the same number of seats. Now Munster is our strong area also so apparently it is in part of the province of Ulster that the Opposition did not cede to Great Britain at the time of the Treaty, in those three counties apparently, that the Opposition are strong and possibly strong also in the rest of the province of Leinster.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I am sorry to distract the Minister in regard to the by-elections. Let us get on with them in detail.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  In whatever degree of detail the Opposition wish. All I want to point out at this stage is—we can go into them in as much detail as required—that despite the maximum possible Coalition effort, despite the fact that there is always a tendency in by-elections, particularly when the Government are not in danger, of every element with any kind of grievance to come out and vote against the Government, we have won six out of seven by-elections and there is a clear indication, if anything, of increasing support for the Government.

[2232] Not alone have we had the maximum Coalition effort but we have also had bodies that pretend and represent themselves to be non-political bodies taking an active part against the Government in those six by-elections. In the last three by-elections, in addition to that, we have had this British society, which is described by the Fine Gael Party as being a heavily subsidised one, also campaigning against the Government. Despite that, as I said, we have won six out of seven by-elections, retaining the three seats in the areas where the vacancy was caused by Fianna Fáil Deputies and winning three seats from the Opposition. As I said, we can go into those individually, if necessary, but I think I will wait and see just exactly in what detail the Opposition would like to go into them before doing that. As far as we are concerned, there is nothing we are more happy to consider than those six out of seven wins we have had in the by-elections. If the Opposition also can take some pleasure out of contemplating those six defeats, which they like to look on as moral victories, it is nice to see everybody happy.

As far as we are concerned, we can see the clearest possible proof that Fianna Fáil will definitely be the Government if the present system were by any chance to continue. As to what may happen in the new and clearer circumstances we propose, that is something which is not known yet. However, as I pointed out, it is only legally possible to provide for one Constituency Commission at a time. We have decided to do that in the Bill which will make the more comprehensive change in the matter of constituencies and I am quite satisfied that that was the more appropriate Bill into which to insert the Commission. We are asking the people to pass both those amendments and if the people do that the Constituency Commission will in fact be provided for in the Constitution. This is obviously not a genuine amendment at all.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  There are several points I want to deal with, arising out of what has been said by the Minister and Senator Ryan. First of all, there seems to be some confusion [2233] in regard to the question of gerrymandering. The position is that where the boundaries of constituencies can be modified by a political decision, a decision by the Minister, there is an opportunity for gerrymandering. Senator Ryan said if I were honest I would admit that this is not possible because nobody knows how people are going to vote. Senator Ryan is being at best rather naïve in this matter. Of course nobody knows how any individual is going to vote; of course there are swings between elections; and of course those swings may at times vary somewhat between one area and another because of local issues or other causes, although the degree of variation from the national swing is relatively small by the standard of other countries, a reflection of the relative homogeneity of our political structure, which extends also, as I pointed out in an earlier speech, to the political geography of the country. The fact is, as anybody who has watched votes being counted knows, there are very wide variations within any constituency, within small areas within it, according to the social composition of the area or its local political tradition or the local popularity of the candidate.

There are very strong variations locally within small areas between different Parties. The percentage of votes a Party may get within a matter of a few hundred yards of an area in a city can vary from below ten per cent to over 70 per cent, depending, particularly in the city and urban areas, on the social character of the areas. In rural areas, the differences are less sudden geographically but can also be very marked and the opportunities for gerrymandering are therefore considerable. It is true of course that at elections there are swings from areas which voted 70 per cent Fine Gael at one election and which might only vote 60 per cent in the next election, or alternatively, might vote 80 per cent for Fine Gael in the next election. Nevertheless, there is a remarkable degree of consistency in the relative Party strengths in the different sub-areas of constituencies.

Anybody who has watched votes being counted knows this. I stood beside the Minister at the Limerick [2234] count. I commented to him humorously at the time that whatever about the pre-election organisation, at least we were better organised at counting the votes because we had printed slips on which to record the results from each box as they were checked. The Minister was jotting them down on the back of an envelope in what I thought to be a slightly curious fashion for a Minister with such a reputation for electoral organisation. However, the fact is that both of us were jotting down the results from each box.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I was not responsible for the organisation.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  From each box from each polling station we were noting them. The Minister and myself have records therefore, as anybody has who has watched election counts, of substantial accuracy. One can miss the occasional vote and if you have not enough people doing this, watching the votes being checked, you may miss a few boxes, but assuming you have enough people there, you can get with almost complete accuracy the result of the votes cast in each box at each polling station, units which in rural areas consist very often of a couple of hundred votes and in urban areas of four or five hundred, possibly something of that order of magnitude. So, for those very small areas each Party has almost an exact record of the voting of those areas. The voting composition can vary very widely. As I have said, looking at the Limerick votes being cast, there were areas there where one Party might have less than ten per cent of the votes and other areas where the same Party could have 70 per cent of the votes and the two boxes might have been counted after each other and the two areas might have been within a few hundred yards of each other.

First of all, the Parties know how the votes are cast; secondly the variation in votes as between contiguous areas can be very marked; thirdly, there is remarkable stability in the patterns in that despite the fact that there are general swings backward and forward, the same consistency of voting is there for one Party or another. Those are the facts. The Minister knows them as well [2235] as I do. Senator Ryan, who has also been present at counts, knows them as well as I do.

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  I was talking about Dublin.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  In fact the counts Senator Ryan has been present at have very often been in Dublin. In Dublin the same situation applies in regard to checking the votes, so much so, that I recall at the Presidential election, visiting the various rooms where the votes were being counted while the votes were being checked. On the basis of what the speakers of all Parties told me—because one listens to the views of the different Parties on this in case there might be a bias of optimism in one's own Party—I was able to ring the Leader of my Party at 12 o'clock, two and a half hours before the count ended, and tell him the approximate results in Dublin—a 30 per cent majority in Dublin for O'Higgins and 40 per cent in the city and county— 28,000 and 42,000.

A Senator:  You seemed to know in Limerick that you were going to be eliminated before the Labour candidate.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  In Limerick, the result was very close. When I was talking to the Minister in the morning before half past ten I detected a certain air of gloom. He was by no means certain that they were going to win. That was at 10.30.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  Come to the problem of constituencies.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I am just establishing the feasibility of gerrymandering, given that the Minister has power to determine the boundaries of constituencies.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  In Dublin, most of the votes——

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  That is not the case. I am sorry I have not here a complete record in Dublin but I can bring in a stencilled record for Dublin South-East.

[2236]Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  The Senator must never have seen a count in Dublin.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I have a stencilled record for Dublin South-East table by table.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  These details will not be in order.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I am sorry. I am trying to establish the veracity of my statement that the information is available upon which to gerrymander. Let there be no doubt about that. I can produce stencilled records for Dublin, Waterford, Dublin South-East, table by table. Given that that is the situation, the question arises, in how many constituencies under the Minister's scheme will it be possible for the Minister to very boundaries in the event of the Third Amendment being passed and the Fourth Amendment not being passed, which is the situation we contemplate on this issue?

The number of constituencies in which the Minister can determine boundaries represents almost two-thirds of the total. There are, in fact, 90 seats in these constituencies— Dublin, Cork and the six constituencies that are divided in two and where the boundaries within Limerick, Tipperary, Mayo and so on can be varied in order to take in or exclude particular pockets of voters who may be known through the process of watching the checking of votes to favour one side or the other. There are 90 constituencies, therefore, under the Minister's scheme, in which gerrymandering will be feasible. In adition, some room for manoeuvre remains in other cases. The Minister, no doubt, will examine carefully the pattern of voting in Carlow, Kilkenny and Kildare in order to decide whether Carlow is best attached to Kilkenny or Kildare in order to produce the optimum result for his Party. While maintaining the integrity of county boundaries but by linking them together in one or other way, the Minister will be able to take a political decision under this scheme in respect of these counties and there may be others. Even if there are no others, constituencies involving 98 seats will have room for political manoeuvre by a political [2237] Minister in determining the pattern of constituencies under the scheme. All this talk about gerrymandering not being possible is nonsense. It is possible in at least 98 out of 144 cases. I hope I have now dealt adequately with that point.

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Have you convinced even yourself?

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The next point I want to deal with is the by-election results which the Minister has again challenged. By-elections occurred in seven constituencies in which at the last election Fianna Fáil secured about 52½ per cent of the Party votes. In the last election they secured in the country as a whole 49 per cent of the Party votes. These constituencies are, therefore, constituencies biased in Fianna Fáil's favour above the national average of 7 per cent, 52½ per cent being 7 per cent more than 49 per cent. I give all these figures in case the Minister would wish to intervene with a correction.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I take it I can deal with them now in all this detail?

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  That is what you want to do. In these constituencies, inevitably, the results of the by-elections will tend to favour the Party which in the last general election secured more votes there than it did in the country as a whole.

In speaking on the Second Stage, I detailed the results and will just confirm them now in case there may be any doubt as to the position. A swing against Fianna Fáil occurred in all these constituencies. The first batch is Waterford and South Kerry. In the Waterford by-election, the percentage of votes secured by Fianna Fáil was 42.6 as against 48.1 in 1965. In South Kerry, the percentage of votes secured was 44.6 and this must be compared with the second count in South Kerry in 1965, the count after the elimination of the Independent candidate—just to make a fair comparison; it would not be fair to Fianna Fáil to reduce its share as would happen if you included the Independent votes. This gives a drop from 45.9 to 44.6. Taking the two constituencies in these by-elections, [2238] Fianna Fáil's share of the Party vote fell from 47.0 to 44.2. If the Minister wishes to challenge this, I have the actual figures. That is a swing of 6 per cent because 44.2 is 6 per cent less than 47.0. The next result was in West Limerick and Cork where Fianna Fáil in the general election in both constituences got 54½ per cent. So much above the national average were they of the Party votes——

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  Of which Parties?

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Of the three main Parties. Let me take constituency by constituency. I do not wish in any way to mislead the House as to the basis of the figures. There were, in fact, no other candidates in either election, if I can read my notes correctly. Therefore, the comparison is between the Parties. In West-Limerick, of the total and Party vote, Fianna Fáil secured 54.5 per cent in 1965; 53.9 in the by-election. In Cork there is a problem in making any comparison because in the general election there were a multiplicity of Independents but unfortunately they were not eliminated until some Party candidates were eliminated and it is not possible, therefore, in the case of Cork to make a valid comparison for any count after the elimination of the last Independent candidate because at that stage some of the Party candidates had disappeared down the drain. The only fair comparison is one between the total Party votes in both elections, excluding Independents. That comparison shows a drop from 54.3 per cent of the Party vote to 47.7 per cent—a drop of 12 per cent and a drop of 7½ per cent taking the two constituencies together. The fall, therefore, in that instance, was a drop of 7½ per cent in Fianna Fáil's share of the Party vote.

Next I come to Clare and Wicklow. In Clare, Fianna Fáil secured in the general election 58.7 per cent and in the by-election 51.0 per cent—a drop of 13 per cent in the Party vote. In Wicklow, in the general election they secured 48.0 per cent of the Party vote. In the by-election, at the stage when Independents and other smaller Parties were eliminated and the three big Parties remained, which is the valid [2239] comparison with 1965, they secured 40.0 per cent, a drop of 16½ per cent and a drop of 15 per cent in Clare and Wicklow together. In Clare and Wicklow the decline in Fianna Fáil's share is 15 per cent—note the pattern —six per cent in the first batch; 7½ per cent in the second and 15 per cent in the third.

In East-Limerick in the general election, Fianna Fáil secured 53.5 per cent of the total and Party vote—sorry, of the Party vote. In the by-election, after the elimination of the Independent, they secured 44.4 per cent of the Party vote, a drop of 17 per cent in their share of the Party vote in that instance.

These are the most valid comparisons one can make, in each case selecting the comparison fair to Fianna Fáil. I could easily take first preference votes and show a different picture because in the by-elections where there were more Independents and where Fianna Fáil's share of first preferences was artificially depressed by the presence of Independents. Not until they were eliminated can one see the strength of Fianna Fáil relative to the other Parties. Not wishing to make any unfair comparisons, I take in each of these the comparison of the Party votes, having eliminated the Independents in the most appropriate manner. The position is clear. There has been a cumulative decline in the Fianna Fáil share of the vote—six per cent in the first batch, seven and a half per cent in the second, 15 per cent in the third and 17 per cent in the fourth. As a result of that disastrous trend for Fianna Fáil, combined with the swing in the local elections, which reduced their share of the Party vote from 49 per cent to 45½ per cent in comparison with the general election of 1965, Fianna Fáil decided to introduce these two Bills. These are the only figures available in the absence of public opinion polls.

There is one further point I want to make. The Chair will be glad to hear that it relates directly to the Commission. As we know, a Committee sat and considered these issues. I would like to read what it said.

Mr. O'Reilly: Information on Patrick O'Reilly  Zoom on Patrick O'Reilly  Whatever about the Minister being capable of gerrymandering [2240] constituencies, the Senator is certainly capable of gerrymandering figures.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  Will Senator O'Reilly please allow Senator FitzGerald to make his speech without interruption? Senator O'Reilly will be afforded facilities later to speak.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  It was a good-humoured interruption and I have no objection to it.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  The Chair has objection to it. The debate must proceed in an orderly manner.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  This is what the Committee has to say on the subject of the Commission. I address my remarks particularly to Senator Ryan and to Senator O'Kennedy, whose comments on this I would be glad to hear. I note that on occasions the Committee recorded the views of one side or another, and this has sometimes been abused by misrepresenting such views as the views of the Committee. On certain occasions views were expressed one-sidedly, but there were other times when the Committee reached unanimity and expressed a unanimous view. A unanimous view means that all the Committee support, adopt and press that view. I am concerned about a certain difference between the unanimous views of the Committee, of which both Senator Ryan and Senator O'Kennedy were members, and the views they appear to be pressing on us in this House at the moment and which Senator Ryan has, in fact, raised in the House already. First of all, there was a view expressed which was not the view of the entire Committee but the view of only part of the Committee.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  What page?

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Page 21, paragraph 57. I quote:

Certain members felt that, even under the existing system, it was desirable to establish a Commission to determine the delimitation of the Constituencies.

We are not told which members felt this and whether they had any Party [2241] allegiance. One can, of course, make one's guess, but we have no information. The only occasions on which we knew what people voted and how they voted was when the Committee was unanimous, and that is what the next sentence says:

Though this view was not acceptable to all members, the Committee were unanimous that, in the event of any constitutional change, a Commission should be established to determine the delimitation of the constituencies.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  And so it is.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Yet this House has before it two amendments to the Constitution, either of which can be passed or rejected. We all recall 1959 when two proposals were put to the electorate, one of which they accepted—the election to the Presidency of Mr. de Valera—and one of which, this proposal, they rejected. Again, two amendments to the Constitution are being put, either of which can be passed or rejected. If one of them—the Third Amendment—is accepted and the other—the Fourth Amendment— is rejected, which is certainly a possibility and which most people would feel is the more likely of the two things to happen, if that happens, we shall have a constitutional change which does not incorporate a Commission, despite the fact that Senator Ryan and Senator O'Kennedy are on record as saying that no such thing should be allowed to happen. I would invite them to join us in the Division Lobbies on this vote.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Senator FitzGerald claims that he and his Party know how people vote in all areas in the country. I suppose it is probably because they think they have this information—and not only the information as to how they have voted but how they will vote— that they continue to do so badly. As far as we are concerned, we can only make a rough and very tentative assessment as to how the people are likely to vote after a thorough canvass, not before it. We believe that before attempting any forecast as to how people will vote, it is necessary to assess, in so far as it is possible to [2242] assess it, how the people are feeling. We would not attempt to insult the people's intelligence by assessing how they are going to vote without first asking them. It is because we have so much more respect for the intelligence of the people that they continue to give us their support.

Senator FitzGerald insisted on giving us his fanciful opinion as to the by-elections in general and individually. I suppose it would be a charitable thing to allow Senator FitzGerald to continue to live in his fool's paradise. But I must say I do not think anybody, even somebody as naïve as Senator FitzGerald, could really believe what he pretends to believe. Of course, there is not any one of the seven constituencies in which there have been by-elections in which it has not been clearly indicated that at worst, as far as we are concerned, there is no change but, generally speaking, that there is an increase in the support for the Government. Since Senator FitzGerald purported to go through them in detail, I will do the same. Let us, first of all, take Waterford and South Kerry, where Senator FitzGerald claims there was an indication of a swing against Fianna Fáil.

One thing I notice about Senator FitzGerald is that he is able to change from considerations based on the operation of the present ridiculous and discriminatory vote to assumptions based on the straight vote system. The fact is that all these by-elections were contested on the discriminatory system of the transferable vote and that in all of them we had a coalition line-up. Despite that, there is no indication in any single one of these constituencies of any change for the worse in the support for Fianna Fáil.

If we take the first two by-elections we had in Waterford and South Kerry, where Fine Gael had the first of their long series of glorious moral victories, in the South Kerry constituency in the general election of 1965 Fianna Fáil barely succeeded in getting two seats out of three. The by-election clearly indicated no change. It clearly indicated that two seats out of the three will be secured by Fianna Fáil again in the next election. The by-election was contested [2243] on the system of the transferable vote. Under that system it is quite clear that to gain two seats out of three demonstrates equivalent support as the gaining of a seat in a by-election. Exactly the same amount of support in the constituency is required for each of these things on the basis of the transferable vote. It is quite clear we have every reason to be thoroughly satisfied with the result in South Kerry.

In regard to the Waterford by-election, which was conducted on the same day, Fianna Fáil improved their position substantially because in the general election of 1965 they had succeeded in gaining only one seat out of three. Any Party able to gain only one seat out of three in a general election cannot have any significant hopes of winning the seat in a by-election, particularly when the vacancy is caused by the death of one of the Opposition Deputies. In Waterford, however, Fianna Fáil significantly improved their position because in the circumstances of a Coalition line-up and the transferable vote, we won the seat against all indications because we had only got one seat out of three at the general election and winning a by-election indicates that at the next general election, if the people continue to vote as they did in the by-election, Fianna Fáil will win a seat.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The new psephology.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Apart from that, these two by-elections could not have taken place at a more suitable time for the Opposition, a time when the country was still affected by adverse economic circumstances existing in many countries and naturally affecting us. They took place at a time when it was necessary to cut down on the State's capital programme, when we had credit restrictions and so on and a time when it was possible for the Opposition to endeavour to cash in on the situation that arose because of rivalry between the two major farm organisations in the country. In fact, in those two by-elections the Opposition had actively campaigning for them, picketing polling stations and so on, a major farm organisation, the NFA, [2244] putting their own posters there in addition to the Opposition posters outside polling booths advising people to vote against the Government and also putting personnel outside the polling stations. Also, as Senator FitzGerald knows, in addition to the assistance of other sections of the Coalition, the Labour Party and the NFA, they also had the active participation on their side of the anti-language organisation.

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  The NFA never campaigned——

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Despite the adverse economic circumstances, despite the fact of the two allegedly non-political organisations, the NFA and the anti-language movement, campaigning on their side, the result of those two by-elections was increased support for Fianna Fáil in Waterford, a clear indication that if this had been a general election, we would have increased our representation there by gaining two seats out of the three——

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  An 11½ per cent drop in the vote.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  ——and there was an indication in South Kerry that at the next general election we would again retain our two seats out of three. These were the most satisfactory results conceivable for a Fianna Fáil Government. At that time we could have got no more favourable indication and no greater boost to our morale. We had Fine Gael consoling themselves with what they described as moral victories. If they can derive any consolation from this type of situation, they are welcome to it. These two by-elections were followed by by-elections in Cork and West Limerick, where again we had two outstanding victories for the Government. In both constituencies, the Coalition tactics were the same, a man from each section of the Coalition, an effort to ensure that the maximum possible vote would be pulled out in this way and transferred from one to another. I suppose the farming organisation had not so much effect in Cork city but the anti-language organisation which, of course, is a wing of the Fine Gael Party—although I see the Labour [2245] Party are now making a bid for their support——

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  That is an outrageous statement by the Minister and he knows it to be false.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Let the Labour Party defend themselves.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  I am talking about your statement which you know to be false.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  This organisation made an even more virulent campaign in these two by-elections on behalf of Fine Gael——

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  Another Fianna Fáil lie.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  ——but again without any success. What Fianna Fáil achieved in the Cork by-election was to get four seats out of five. It was a Coalition vacancy. Fianna Fáil already had three seats out of the five, the Taoiseach, the then Lord Mayor of Cork and Deputy Healy. The task of the Fianna Fáil workers in Cork was to convince the electorate that in a situation where Fianna Fáil already had three Deputies out of the five, there was some reason why the people should go out and support a fourth Fianna Fáil Deputy. We succeeded outstandingly in getting the people to do that. The result, I suppose, was looked upon as a foregone conclusion but the people came out and decided to give Fianna Fáil four out of the five seats in Cork, despite an all-out effort by the Coalition.

The most amazing thing is that the Fine Gael Party actually have the effrontery to pretend that they can gain some consolation from a result such as the West Limerick by-election. If they can do that, there is no hope for them.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  That is where we gained at the expense of Labour as well as Fianna Fáil. It does not always happen.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I do not know what the Senator is talking about but if he can boost his own morale in this [2246] way, well and good. West Limerick, of course, was looked upon as a foregone conclusion and proved in fact to be a foregone conclusion. The Fianna Fáil candidate was returned with a substantial majority, indicating that there is certainly no change in that constituency.

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  West Limerick was obviously a case where we had a Fine Gael victory at the expense of both other Parties.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  It is time that we came back to the Bill.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I think that Senator FitzGerald——

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  The House will agree that the Chair is being rather generous in allowing such wide scope to the debate.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I certainly agree with that, and you will notice I refrained from dealing individually with the by-elections until Senator FitzGerald insisted on doing so.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I suggested it should be dealt with on the Schedule.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I must agree with your ruling that it is not relevant, but I should certainly like to be allowed at least to deal with the constituency of County Wicklow. I admit Senator FitzGerald not unnaturally slid over Clare.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  The Chair is not ruling the Minister as being irrelevant on the matter, but the Chair would like the debate to come a little closer to the matter of the amendment and particularly subsection (5) of the amendment. It is in the light of that subsection that the Chair has allowed the debate to become as wide as it has become.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I admit I would not be able to relate this to the amendment, and I do not think Senator FitzGerald did either. However, I have succeeded, through your indulgence, in dealing with four by-elections, and perhaps I may manage to deal with the other three later when I find the Chair [2247] in a particularly indulgent mood again.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  The Chair understands that this debate is taking place on the Schedule as well as the amendment, which would preclude its taking place again on the Schedule.

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  In regard to the Commission I can understand why Senator FitzGerald should be trying to find some inconsistency on the part of some Fianna Fáil Senators having regard to the glaring inconsistencies we have heard from the members of Fine Gael, who were dead against a Commission when this was last discussed and who now want a Commission. I am not inconsistent in this regard. I was in favour of a Commission when this was discussed at the Committee on the Constitution, and I am in favour of a Commission now. A Commission has been provided under the terms of the Fourth Amendment and that Commission would have been included in both amendments if both amendments had been taken in the same Bill. However, one of the tactics that was introduced into this campaign by the Opposition Parties in an attempt to prevent these proposals going before the people was to say that both of these proposals should not be taken in the same Bill. As the Commission could not be put in both Bills—the Minister has legal advice that it cannot be put in both Bills—there was no alternative but to put it in one or other, and I fully support the view that it was more consistent and more logical to put the Commission in the second Bill than in this one.

Consequently, I do not regard myself as being in any way inconsistent in relation to the Commission. I am for a Commission, and when both of these amendments have been passed by the people, there will be a Commission to deal with the setting up of the new constituencies.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  I should like to try to bring this debate back upon some kind of orderly lines and to bring it to a quick conclusion. It is quite clear that the Minister has not the slightest intention of having a debate here on this [2248] measure which would be in any way relevant. He has got an obsessional preoccupation with Fianna Fáil. That is his whole life, and all that he has said here this morning and all that he said last night was about how well Fianna Fáil had done, were doing and would do.

In any kind of legislation one must have regard for contingencies and possibilities, and if the Minister has, as he pretends to have, all the respect he says he has for the wisdom of the people, then he will not presuppose that the people are going to do one thing rather than another. If he respects the wishes of the people, then the proper thing for him to do is so to frame each Bill that, if only one Bill is accepted, it will stand on its own feet and have in it all that is necessary to meet his wishes, as alleged, the views of the committee of both Houses that sat on the Constitution, and also the needs of the situation. That is not what the Minister wants to do, and Senator Ryan says it cannot be done. That is exactly the attitude that one always gets either from civil servants or from Ministers of State when they do not want to do something. They say it cannot be done; it would not be legal. Anything that the people of Ireland decide to do in a constitution amendment becomes the law and becomes legal. That is a simple fact that the Party across there cannot get into their heads. This is a sovereign people and if they decide in their Constitution to put ten Commissions in ten articles, that is the law because the people of Ireland wish it so.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  It is dictatorship, according to some people.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  Who said that?

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  The Labour Party, particularly.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  There was an amendment down to that effect which your Party supported.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  That is going to another matter.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  What the people decide is democracy.

[2249]Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  Yes, and if the people decide to accept both of these Bills that becomes the law and that will be part of the Constitution. What we do object to is the attempt by the Government in power to hoodwink the people into thinking that what they propose is a good measure and suitable to the needs of this country. That is the way dictators work, secretly.

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  You would not expect us to propose something we did not think was a good measure.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  I oftentimes wonder whether you are as stupid as you pretend to be in the measures you propose.

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Your courtesy is very warming.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  I would ask the Senator to address the Chair.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  If we are all nice and polite, stand up and make our speeches, sit down and then have divisions, and we go on like that year after year, then what do Fianna Fáil say? They say the Opposition are not anxious for power, and if you are trenchant and you expose the Fianna Fáil people, then you are impolite.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  You can be trenchant without being insulting.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  I find it very difficult not to put a label on something that I see requires a label. I want to call attention to the fact that Article 6 of the Constitution of 1937 says in relation to the people of Ireland:

1. All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people, whose right it is to designate the rulers of the State and, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good.

We are told in Article 1:

The Irish nation hereby affirms its inalienable, indefeasible, and sovereign right to choose its own form of Government, to determine its relations with other nations, and to develop its life, political, economic [2250] and cultural, in accordance with its own genius and traditions.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  There are only about 46 more Articles. The Senator might as well go through them all.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  What I want to point out is that we are a sovereign people and that if we want to put two Commissions into Articles, we can do so if we think it is necessary and that it suits the situation. In the 1937 Constitution we adopted the device of putting in 13 Articles, Article 51 to 63, as transitory provisions. Then we provide in Article 52:

This Article and the subsequent Articles shall be omitted from the Constitution after the date on which the first President shall have entered upon his Office.

In 1968 we find the Constitution is down to Article 50. The Minister says that is the reason for not putting a Commission in the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill. Of course it is a spurious and false assertion that it cannot be done. It can be done, and it has been done already. Therefore the amendment which we suggest is entirely feasible. We put the amendment down in this way to get the view of the Government upon it and to avoid controversy so far as possible. We used the words contained in the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill. We concede that there are certain defects in it. We have not incorporated the transition provision and further matters that have been attended to. In these circumstances it is well worthwhile considering putting the provision in both Bills rather than in one Bill. The Government have conceded that it was right to have two Bills rather than one, and they might now concede that it is right to have a Commission in both Bills. Accordingly, with the leave of the House, I will withdraw the amendment, redraft it and put it down again on Report Stage.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I claim the right to reply to Senator O'Quigley's further allegations.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  The Minister is in order.

[2251]Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Senator O'Quigley alleges that I do not want to be relevant in this debate. I admit that I have had to deal with matters which were not relevant to the debate but I am quite satisfied that the record will show that all the irrelevant matters to which I have had to refer were introduced in the first place by members of the Opposition. I agree that there were quite a number of these and, in fact, I would say there were considerably more than there were in the Dáil.

Senator O'Quigley says provision for a Commission should be put in each Bill. The fact of the matter is, as Senator O'Quigley knows as well as I do, that this cannot be done. It would be ridiculous to have a provision for two separate Commissions in the Constitution. As Senator Yeats pointed out, the people could reject a Commission in one Bill and accept it in another. The difficulty would be to interpret whether they had decided for or against a Commission. The only way in which what Senator O'Quigley pretends to want could in fact be done, would be to have two completely separate referenda; in other words, to adopt the procedure of coming to the House, first of all, with the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, bringing it through the Dáil and through the Seanad and holding a referendum on it, and that having been done, to bring the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill through the Dáil and the Seanad with or without provision for a Commission, depending on the result of the first referendum on the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, to conduct the separate operation of bringing the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill through the two Houses and the separate operation of having a referendum on it.

As Senator O'Quigley says, we complied with the Opposition's demand for two separate questions. It is only now becoming apparent that what the Opposition wanted was that we should have two separate referenda at two different times. I appreciate the fact that their main desire and hope is to try to delay this matter for so long that it will be too near the next general [2252] election to actually implement it before then. I agree that if the procedure I have outlined were adopted, this would be quite likely to be one of the results. Apart from that, if the Opposition are really advocating this procedure, the question of the added cost which has been represented as being vital would be another thing that would arise.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  How?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  As Senator O'Quigley and every member of the Opposition knows, this proposal for the Commission had to be put into one Bill or the other when the proposal was subdivided into two separate proposals. This was done at the request of the Opposition. Senator O'Quigley describes this as conceding that it was right to have two Bills rather than one. There is no such concession at all. We merely did it because, on this occasion, unlike 1959, the Opposition were so confused they could not understand it. They said they would be confused and that their voters would be confused. In order to try to do the impossible, in order to try to dispel the confusion in the mind of the Opposition, we agreed to separate a simple proposal for electoral reform into two separate proposals.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  What about the press?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  The present proposal does not differ significantly from the proposal that was put to the people as one question in 1959. The only difference was that, in 1959, there was no actual limit specified to the amount of consideration that could be given to such practical considerations as the desirability of respecting county boundaries and taking account of the area, extent and accessibility of constituencies. That was the only difference.

In 1959, the Opposition were able to understand these two proposals. They assumed that the people would be able to understand them all together. However, the calibre of the Opposition had apparently so deteriorated between 1959 and 1968 that, on this occasion, they were utterly confused. In order to try to dispel the confusion, if possible, [2253] in the Opposition's mind, we acceded to their request and introduced two separate Bills and put the people to the unnecessary complication of having to deal with two separate ballot papers. That was purely and simply to try to make the Opposition happy.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  Stop acting the hypocrite.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  That, inevitably, involved making a decision as to which of these Bills should contain the——

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  There was no tolerance provision in it.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  The 1959 referendum proposal contained a specific provision authorising the commission to take account of such relevant factors as county boundaries and the extent and accessibility of constituencies even though, at that time, the actual need for this had not arisen because the High Court action had not yet been taken by Fine Gael. At the same time, the 1959 proposal clarified the position by making it clear that the commission was entitled to take these things into consideration. Subsequent to that, the Fine Gael action in the High Court established that, under the present Constitution, these things could not be taken into consideration. Obviously, then, what I say is right.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  The High Court did not decide that: wrong again.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Acceding to the Opposition's request or demand, or whatever you like to call it, to try to clarify this terribly complicated proposal for them inevitably involved a decision to put the commission into one Bill or the other. We decided to put it into the one which will involve the more fundamental change in the scheme of constituencies: that must be conceded. The Opposition did not ask for three separate proposals. If they had done so, we might have conceded that, too. We should like to give them every opportunity to be happy.

[2254]Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  We are getting tired of that. Do not be a hypocrite.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  If we agreed to three separate Bills, and to three differently-coloured ballot papers for the people, then the Opposition might ask for a fourth Bill. They object only for the sake of objecting. They would probably want four, then. Short of having a third ballot, this was the best possible arrangement that could be made and the Opposition know it.

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  The Minister claims that, in providing these Bills, he was acceding to the request or the demands of the Opposition. He was doing no such thing. He was acceding to the unanimous demand made by the newspapers—by the Irish Independent, by the Irish Times and by the Cork Examiner. They sprang to action when the grotesque package proposal was proposed on Telefís Éireann by Deputy Lenihan, the Minister for Education. I never saw such a spontaneous and proper outburst of indignation as greeted that package proposal. The Government immediately drew in their horns and, within three weeks, there was an announcement from the Taoiseach that this was not being implemented.

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  How did you measure the demand?

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  The solution to the question of a Commission, which is essential and which is recommended, is that there should be a third Bill to provide this, a Bill that would have the backing of all Parties: indeed it could be put in a white voting paper to signify that it was non-controversial. If the Minister was serious in trying to facilitate the public and in trying to put the issues as clearly as possible to the people, in a way they could understand, obviously the constituency Commission should be in a separate Bill altogether.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Hear, hear.

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  The Minister forgot the main factor of the success in the Kerry and Waterford by-elections, of which we all in Cork are proud—the fact that Fianna Fáil have [2255] got a new Leader. It was a spontaneous outburst of approval in those neighbouring counties that a Corkman had at last taken the helm and they were happy to give him a good send off. However, the public are now strongly critical of his subsequent performance. Unless the Taoiseach can show that he is able to restrain some of his vociferous Ministers then Cork, Kerry and Waterford may take a different view in the next election. That was the main factor. It was surprising to find the Minister giving all sorts of trivia, including the activities of the anti-language organisation.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Anti-language wing of the Fine Gael Party.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  Another Fianna Fáil lie.

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  ——which was just a headache for all Parties concerned and has just a nuisance value and no more. He concealed the main factor——

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Wait until the Taoiseach is a candidate.

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  The National Farmers' Association behaved very properly as a vocational group. They advised their members that they had their own allegiances. The organisation did not tell them what to do or how to vote, despite the controversy going on at the time. It is wrong and a grave falsehood for the Minister to suggest that the NFA took part in these campaigns. The one time they were forced into political action was in the recent elections of the Beet Growers' Association—and that was not of their own choosing. The Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries intervened in the most blatant manner in those elections. The NFA then stood firm and stood behind those proposals. The results were reflected in the fact that they won 58 out of 60 seats. The Minister might be thankful they continued to behave as a vocational group rather than to show the same determination behind a political Party: I do not think it would be right for them to do that. They should at all times [2256] judge political Parties by the way they behave towards vocational groups and farming organisations in particular. If they maintain that standard, unless there is that change of attitude in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, then obviously, in the next election, acting as a vocational group, they will not be helpful to the Government Party.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I might have realised Senator O'Quigley did not mean what he said when he said he wanted to get this dealt with quickly.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  He wanted to withdraw. The Minister has insisted on intervening twice now.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  However, Senator Quinlan, the rugged Independent, has demonstrated on Senator O'Quigley's behalf that he is ready to continue delaying——

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  That is wrong.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I am entitled to reply to it, too. The Opposition would like to have the debate continued in a different way.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Quicker: get to the country quicker.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Senator Quinlan maintains that we were not acceding to the request of the Opposition but to the request of the Opposition papers. That is the same thing. The Opposition pull the strings and the papers do what they are told.

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Is the Minister saying that about the Irish Press, also?

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I should like to be sure the press have that on record. Would the Minister repeat what he said?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  The Opposition have to have their way of making a request. This request was made by the Opposition and, in order to keep the Opposition reasonably happy, and particularly in view of the fact that they indicated they intended to support the Third Amendment of the Constitution [2257] Bill, we gave them that opportunity. But, having been given the opportunity, of course they changed their mind because to support it would be agreeing with Fianna Fáil and this is a capital sin in the eyes of the Opposition.

On this question of a package proposal which the rugged Independent from Cork has now resurrected, I have pointed out that, in substance, the proposal was the same as the proposal in 1959, the only difference being that, on this occasion, we proposed a definite limit to the divergence that could be operated in order to take account of the same considerations that were included in the 1959 Bill. It is becoming clearer that the only purpose in all this operation is to delay. Now, on the Committee Stage in the Seanad, the suggestion is made that we should have three Bills instead of two. That suggestion has not been made before now. As I pointed out, we might have considered that when we did decide to give two Bills instead of one, which was all that was necessary. If the Opposition had said: “We want three Bills”——

Mr. J. Fitzgerald: Information on John Jack Fitzgerald  Zoom on John Jack Fitzgerald  If you are defeated this time, you can have it the next time.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  The Opposition want to start the whole process over again by having three Bills. They appreciate that public opinion in general and, in particular, opinion within the Fine Gael Party is now, day by day, coming round to the view of the Leader of the Fine Gael Party.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  The Minister is an innocent man.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Therefore, the only thing they can hope for is that they will succeed in delaying this proposition from going before the people until it is too near the general election. The Chair allowed me to deal partially with by-elections. In reply to Senator FitzGerald's comprehensive dealing with elections, I was allowed to deal with four out of the seven. Although I was stopped at that stage, Senator Quinlan has again come back about the by-elections. Everybody knows that the NFA did picket the polling stations [2258] at Waterford and South Kerry; I saw them myself at Waterford. I saw the posters outside the station and I saw the personnel——

(Interruptions.)

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  In addition to that, the Fine Gael Party know that at every by-election they bring along this other allegedly non-political organisation, the anti-language organisation, and they also have the assistance of the British Proportional Representation Society, that highly-subsidised association——

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  Another Fianna Fáil lie.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Admittedly, this factor has only come into operation in the last three by-elections with which I have not yet been given the opportunity to deal, but I hope at a later stage to deal with these three as Senator FitzGerald has done. I do not think I should co-operate with Senator Quinlan in further delaying the putting of this amendment by once again going into the by-elections.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  I understand that Senator O'Quigley wishes to withdraw the amendment?

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  I wanted to do that half an hour ago.

Tairgeadh siar an leasú, le cead.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  The question is that the Schedule be the Schedule to the Bill.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  May I be clear about what we are doing? It was agreed that we would not have a general debate on the sections but on the Schedule. Have we reached that point now?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  The amendments on the Schedule have been disposed of and the question put from the Chair was that the Schedule be agreed to. The House previously agreed that when the Schedule and the amendments had been decided on, there would be no debate on sections 1 and 2.

[2259]Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  But there will be on the Schedule?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  There can be now.

Tairgeadh an cheist: “Gurb é an Sceideal is Sceidal don Bhille.”

Question proposed: “That the Schedule be the Schedule to the Bill.”

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Before we proceed to the discussion on the general question of the Schedule, I should like to point out that there has been a fairly full debate on many of the amendments to the Schedule and many matters have been admitted to discussion which perhaps on a strict interpretation of the rules of order would not have been admitted on the amendments. I would ask those taking part in the debate to refrain from repeating in this general discussion matters that have been adequately discussed on the amendments.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I hope we will all do that. We are all anxious to get this legislation through to the people as quickly as possible. If we can get some co-operation from the Minister, we will make some headway.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  It is a matter for the Opposition. I will deal with everything they deal with.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The Minister in the course of his discussions here has contradicted himself to quite a degree. He said at one point that the change which they propose would clearly in general do no more than make the average rural vote equally as effective as the average urban vote to elect a Deputy. He went on to say:

I quite freely admit that this was not the actual objective—that the reason for the proposal was to accede to the demand from all sections of the House that there should be reasonable scope to avoid the anomaly and injustice of breaching county boundaries which had to occur on the last occasion in 1961 and would have to occur on such a much wider scale now, if this change is not made.

[2260] The Minister also said that Senators opposite wanted to insist that the county boundaries would be breached and that this was in accordance with a definite policy of theirs. The Minister, however, turned down our proposal in regard to the county boundaries, which, if he had accepted it, would have avoided cutting up Cork and Donegal and would have avoided touching Clare and Kerry, to give some examples. He also rejected our amendment that the system be based on the numbers of the electorate, with some additional tolerance for minimising the cutting of county boundaries. At one part the Minister claims that his objective is solely to avoid the anomalies and injustices of breaching county boundaries and said that the Bill is not designed to equate the rural with the urban vote, and in another passage he spoke in relation to Mayo and said that the present Government, and any Government approaching this matter, would approach it from the point of view of making the maximum utilisation reasonably possible of the population and the rural areas as a whole. If that were to be the approach, the Government would be unlikely to decide to waste, as it were, almost 9,500 of the population in Mayo and therefore looking at it from the practical point of view, it was likely, he said, that Mayo's boundaries would also be breached.

So vital is it to give it its fair share of votes he would breach the boundaries unnecessarily for this purpose, although the purpose of the Bill was to avoid breaching county boundaries and not related to this question of parity. There is a flagrant contradiction in this, in the two themes the Minister has put before us. Despite all he said in regard to Mayo, he had the nerve to ask us, as I quoted before, to endorse the principle of one man, one vote of equal value. He told us how he intended to use the Bill, breaching the county boundaries to give Mayo more than its share, even on an electorate basis.

Contradicting himself again, he told us that the only purpose was to equate the rural vote with the urban vote. He told us also that certainly there was no likelihood of an overall rural vote [2261] being more effective than an overall urban vote and that in general, it would do no more than make the average rural vote equally as effective as the average urban vote to elect a Deputy. The whole thing was designed to keep the county boundaries and not to equate the vote, and then he said that it was to equate the vote but to do no more than that, than to give the rural vote greater value at the expense of cutting up the county boundaries. As I said, there is a flagrant contradiction in the Minister's three themes running through the debate.

The Minister accused me of having given sketchy information. I was not here at the time but he spoke at some length very personally about me, about my scribbling away on scraps of paper, running my hands through my hair and dashing in and out of the House, and he expressed himself as disappointed that, after all this physical activity, there was no corresponding mental product emerging in what I said, “because”, he said, “all he produced after all this was a bald and unsupported statement, which I will show is completely wrong, that these counties will be affected in this way.” Later on he claimed:

Unlike Senator FitzGerald...

I have given the figures and figures are all that is relevant, according to Senator FitzGerald... I have shown that on this liberal interpretation of the Constitution, that practically every county in Ireland must have its boundaries breached. I think every single one, except... Wicklow, must be disrupted in some way.

When speaking on the Second Stage, I confined myself as far as possible to reasonable generalities. I thought that discussion on the detail of constituencies would come best on the Schedule and, therefore, I confined myself to making a general statement which I propose now to support in the necessary detail. What I propose is an exercise similar to the one in relation to my election proposal, but in somewhat greater detail, because I will, on this occasion, put to the Minister the precise areas, the transfer of which would achieve the result I claim can be achieved.

[2262] The Minister has claimed that, if this change is not made, there will be a much worse breaching of county boundaries now than there was in 1961. He said:

What happened in 1961 will be as nothing to what must happen now.

Again, he said:

...the anomaly and injustice of breaching county boundaries which had to occur on the last occasion in 1961 would have to occur on a much wider scale now, if this change is not made.

I apologise for the English; it is not mine. He claimed that, if this Bill were not passed, the counties would be chopped up in a much more extensive way than in 1961.

On the Second Stage, I examined the situation and I pointed out that there are seven counties, pieces of which would have to be detached and added to other counties, and, on my reckoning, a total of 15 counties would be affected directly by this process—in the case of seven, by having pieces detached, and in the eight others, by having pieces of counties added to them, or to another county with which they are associated in another constituency. The Minister said there were 16: I could not find 16, but I accept his word. We are in the position now that seven counties have pieces detached and 16 are directly or indirectly affected; there is a total of 56,000 people in the areas that are detached, representing something like 1¾ per cent of the population.

I am now going to put to the House a proposed redistribution which will be well within the limits of maximum and minimum population which the Minister has laid down, which will detach pieces from six, not seven, counties, which will affect no more counties than are affected in the present situation, that is, 16, and which will reduce to seven per cent the number of people in the total population who would have to be disturbed, so that only 1.15 per cent will find themselves detached and added to another county and only 25 square miles, or 1.6 per cent of the total area of the country, will be affected.

[2263] That represents then, not as the Minister said, a situation about which it could be said that what happened in 1961 will be as nothing to what must happen now, but a situation about which one could not say that it would have to occur on a much wider scale now than in 1961. It will represent, in fact, a situation better than the present situation. It will involve less disturbance, with one less county having a piece detached and 37 per cent fewer people having to be pushed around to vote in counties other than the counties in which they reside. That can be achieved within the present system of tolerance laid down and the Minister's statement and the Taoiseach's statement—the Taoiseach made the statement in the Dáil—that a much greater fractionalising of the country would be necessary are false and misleading. I am not surprised the Minister chanced his arm, because he must know these statements are untrue; I refuse to believe his civil servants are incapable of devising the simple solution that I worked out in a couple of hours——

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  It was done in the Fianna Fáil rooms.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I am, however, surprised that the Taoiseach should have accepted this statement and reproduced it, because the Taoiseach has a reputation for honesty, which he has, on the whole, jealously guarded and for which he is respected in this country. While one expects from his Ministers statements that fall below a certain standard, one does not expect the Taoiseach to make similar statements, though there were two occasions on which he departed from that code, one on the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement and this statement in the Dáil that the country would be fractionalised to a far greater extent in future if this Bill were not passed.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  I do not think this is relevant.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I shall now go over the figures and I challenge the Minister to tell me if I am wrong. We are not here dealing with estimates. I [2264] do not have to make guesses, guesses which he, shamefacedly, had to admit were accurate for the purposes of the calculation. I am dealing here now with hard population figures—superintendent registrars districts and rural districts—and I shall show specifically which districts, if transferred, would achieve the result within the present system without any amendment, a situation in which only one per cent of the people inhabiting little more than 1½ per cent of this territory would find themselves voting in areas other than the counties in which they live.

We have, first of all, Dublin with a population of 95,047. Its entitlement is to 39.7 seats. I propose, as in my other proposal on the electorate, to reduce this, within the tolerance permitted, to 38 seats, depriving Dublin of approximately two seats because, in the tolerance available, in so far as you have to make any choice, any bias forced by arithmetical calculation should be at the expense of Dublin and in favour of the rest of the country, particularly the West, a thesis we in Fine Gael have put forward constantly. Dublin will then have 4.2 per cent less seats than the five per cent tolerance limit would permit. Wicklow, with a population of 60,428, would have an entitlement of four seats: proposed, three seats, no tolerance required. Wexford, with a population of 83,437, would have an entitlement of 4.17 seats: proposed four seats, tolerance 4 per cent.

Here, I must refer to a mysterious passage in the Minister's speech about which he would, perhaps, enlighten us when he is replying. He said:

County Wexford does not absorb all this population——

Again, the phraseology is a bit obscure.

——and still comply with the requirements of the Constitution either for four seats or three seats. Therefore County Wexford must continue to be butchered in this way.

This I cannot follow:

Population 83,437, 4.17 seats, and tolerance four per cent. It is entitled [2265] to four seats and there is no need for any butchering in this case.

The Minister must have nodded at that point because the figures simply do not correspond.

Carlow-Kildare, with 99,997, tolerance of three people, which is about as close as one can hope to get——

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  That is not right.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The Minister says that is not right. I must check in case I have made a mistake. One does these things in one's head and without all the resources of the Civil Service and without any totting machine beside one; I could have got them wrong.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  It will help to delay anyway.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Population 99,997. That is the figure I read out.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  It is not a tolerance of three people.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I see: I am sorry. The Minister is referring to the point that the correct figure is 20,028. It is a tolerance of 31 people. The Minister is perfectly correct in correcting me. There is a tolerance of 31 people which represents .003 per cent.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  One hundred and forty three.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I cannot count the number of noughts involved.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  It is not 31 people either.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Well, we are talking about .003 per cent—or are there three noughts? I cannot remember which.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  It is 143.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Kilkenny has a population of 60,463 people with an entitlement of 3.02: proposed seats 3, tolerance less than .1 per cent. Longford-Westmeath has a population of 81,889, an entitlement of 4.09, four seats and a tolerance of -2.2 per cent. Meath-Louth is one of the cases where [2266] it is necessary to cross county boundaries. The population of Meath is 67,323 and the population of Louth is 69,519. If one subtracts the Meath rural district from the county of Meath and adds it to Louth it has a population of 8,568 and we get a figure of 58,755 for Meath with an entitlement of 2.94, seats three, a tolerance of 2.2 per cent. Louth with the addition of the Meath rural district of the county of Meath becomes 78,087, an entitlement of 3.9, give it four seats, tolerance 2.6 per cent.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  And a cushy seat for Deputy Tully.

Mr. J. Fitzgerald: Information on John Jack Fitzgerald  Zoom on John Jack Fitzgerald  Do not worry about Deputy Tully. He will look after you if you like to take him on in any constituency.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The Minister will perhaps believe me if I say that the main purpose of my exercise is not to provide a cushy seat for Deputy Tully or for anybody else in the Labour Party. What the implications of all this are for the Parties is something for further study. I have simply done this as an exercise to show that this job can be done. I shall look into the other question later.

Waterford has a population of 73,080. If we add to it for example— and these are merely examples; my job is simply to show that it can be done by a system which is reasonable and simple——

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  It cannot.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  ——and produces less disturbance of people than at present. The Minister may choose some other arrangement. He may find that the areas I am proposing to shift are not the ones that suit Fianna Fáil and as he has no commission he can fiddle them around as he likes. Knowing nothing about how the people of Carrick-on-Suir vote, I have worked out that the Carrick-on-Suir superintendent registrar's district with a population of 6,498 could be added to Waterford and you would get 79,578, entitlement 3.98 seats, given four seats, tolerance .2 per cent.

[2267]Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  This will all be utilised, I can assure you.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I know it will be utilised. I am quite well aware of the Minister's intention to utilise it, that he will go and tell the people of Carrick-on-Suir that Fine Gael propose they should be detached. I am prepared to risk that because it is our duty in this House to debate this thing intelligently and to disprove the Minister's allegations and not to concern ourselves unduly about the distorted misrepresentations the Minister and his Party will apply as a result.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  The Senator realises the people of Carrick-on-Suir will be infuriated by his proposal.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  This is an exercise with figures; people do not count.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Senator FitzGerald, without interruption.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  When they have all finished, I will continue. I know it is infuriating for the Minister to be shown to be guilty of untruths and misrepresentations but it is my job to do so.

Tipperary after the subtraction of the Carrick-on-Suir district has a population of 116,314, with an entitlement of 5.82 seats, with a tolerance of 3.1 per cent you get two three-seat constituencies.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  The Senator has not consulted the Opposition Deputies of South Tipperary.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I have not consulted anybody and I am not proposing this. I am just showing that this is a way it can be done. It may not be the best way: it probably is not the best way. I am sure the people concerned would not think it is the best way but the onus is on me to show that it can be done and that the Minister has lied to us on this matter and that onus I propose to discharge without regard to what the consequences may be.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  The Senator should not use the word “lie”[2268] in regard to a statement made in the House.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The Minister has misled us in the matter: I apologise. Interruptions sometimes provoke one to use unparliamentary expressions.

Monaghan-Cavan has a population of 99,754, entitlement 4.99, five seats, a tolerance of .02 per cent. May I refer here to the interesting reference in the Minister's speech on this subject? He said other people who take a more responsible view—it is not entirely clear who he is talking about but I think on this occasion it was not Senator FitzGerald he was talking about—and who would not look at everything from the point of view of their own personal convenience——

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Deputy Fitzpatrick.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  ——would agree that a constituency comprised of the counties of Monaghan and Cavan would not be a desirable one. Who are these other people and on what grounds would it not be desirable?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Monaghan and Cavan people.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The Minister accepts elsewhere in his speech that combinations of two counties are acceptable. There are many cases where this has been done. His measure is not designed to eliminate that. The Minister has said that to eliminate that he would require a tolerance of 30 per cent. There is no objection in principle to this. What is there about Monaghan and Cavan that makes it undesirable there? Could it be the fact that in that area there are about 12,750 nonCatholics who have difficulty in electing a Deputy in two three-seat constituencies but could more readily elect one in a five-seat constituency? If that is not the reason would the Minister tell us what it is and why he is against a five-seat constituency in that area particularly?

Laois-Offaly has a population of 96,312, an entitlement of 4.82, five seats, tolerance 3.8 per cent. Kerry as the Minister has told us at great length in [2269] his speech has a population of 112,785 and under the present tolerance arrangements it requires some addition in order to strengthen it to the point where it would be entitled to six seats and to remain two three-seat constituencies. The Minister also made much of the fact that Kerry is surrounded by ranges of mountains. This reminds me of that remarkable speech in the Dáil which caused such hilarity back in 1959 when Mr. Lemass informed the disbelieving Deputies on all sides of the House that Donegal was divided by ranges of mountains with only two passes through these mountains, like the Alps. One wondered why tunnels were not constructed through these massive ranges.

On that occasion I took out my atlas because I had a certain interest in political geography and I discovered that there were five or six routes from one side of Donegal to the other. Now we have Kerry surrounded by mountains. Now I travel in and out of Kerry by train and sometimes by car from Mallow and I would like to tell the Minister that there is a valley through which one can enter Kerry without having to clamber over rugged mountain-tops. It is actually possible to get into Kerry by railway going in through a valley.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I never said it was not possible.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  My suggestion would be that certain areas in that valley which are contiguous to County Kerry and from which I suspect the people bring their milk to Rathmore Processing Plant and would therefore know the roads into Rathmore without climbing into the mountains could be added to Kerry so as to ensure that Kerry has six seats. The Minister may have better proposals. He seems to think in terms of adding something from the other side of the Healy Pass for some reason. I would suggest adding the districts of Knocknagree, Cullen, Doonasheen, Derragh, Caherbarnagh and Coomlogan.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Bould Thady Quill and all.

[2270]Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  That would be an extra 4,116 which would give Kerry 116,901, entitlement 5.845, two three-seat constituencies, tolerance 2.6 per cent. This would mean subtracting 4,116 from Cork which would give you 335,587, entitlement 16.78, seats seven, tolerance 1.3 per cent to be divided and gerrymandered at the Minister's will.

Limerick has a population of 137,357, entitlement 6.87 seats, two per cent tolerance required to give it seven seats, three and four as at present. Clare the Minister has told us is short. May I point out that both Clare and Kerry are counties which if our proposal had been accepted, would not have required the addition of other counties? In fact under our proposal which the Minister has rejected, these counties would have sufficient electorate to justify having this number of seats without having any bits added and the Minister has rejected our proposal on the electorate, and so these additions become necessary. Here I suggest—it is only a suggestion; there are various other things one could do —if one added the old Gort registrar's district, before it was reorganised in more recent times as in the 1935 map, that you added 3,100 population to Clare, a population giving 76,697, entitlement to 3.83 seats and 4.2 per cent tolerance required to bring it up to four seats. Roscommon-Leitrim involves the usual adjustments in this area, which Leitrim has suffered so often. It is necessary, first of all, to add from Galway. There are many solutions to this area, as the Minister has indicated. This is a solution. I must put some solution on record to show my good faith in suggesting the Minister has been misleading us in this matter. If one adds from Galway the areas of Ballinasloe, for example, adding the Ballinasloe-Laurencetown registrar's district and the Killure, Ahascragh and Taghboy district electoral division, this would bring the population of Roscommon-Leitrim up to the point where it would satisfy five seats, and where the loss of the strip of land about which the Minister made such a song and dance the other day linking Sligo and Donegal, involving a population [2271] of as many as 975 people, can be accepted without affecting the tolerance. Therefore Roscommon-Leitrim losing the little strip of land at the top of the balance of 975 people and gaining 10,189 in the Galway-Ballinasloe region, the province——

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Sligo-Leitrim, not Roscommon.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The Minister underrates my knowledge of geography. I would have thought that I showed a certain knowledge of Irish geography in this debate. This is precisely why one has to take a strip off the top of Leitrim with 975 people and to link the two. I am telling the Minister if he would listen. That gives Roscommon-Leitrim 96,014 population, entitlement to 4.8 and 4.1 per cent tolerance required to make it a five-seat constituency. In the case of Galway which had a population of 148,340, insufficient to justify it in having eight seats, the deductions from it have been so devised as not to reduce its entitlement below the seven seat figure. It is not entitled to eight anyway. These are deductions in the direction of Clare and Roscommon, and perhaps even when they have been carried out, Galway is still entitled to the seven seats, which is all its population as a whole is entitled to in any event. These deductions reduced it to 135,051, entitlement to 6.75 seats and a 3.7 per cent tolerance, brings that up to seven giving a three- and four-seat constituency. Mayo has 115,547, an entitlement to 5.78 and 3.8 per cent tolerance, gives six seats in a two-three seat constituency. I have already quoted the Minister's remarkable statement about Mayo, that although Mayo is entitled in its present population to a two-three seat constituency, he proposes to breach the county boundary in order to get some extra seats into the area in some way, so little does he care for county boundaries which in the other part of his speech he told us was the only purpose of this Bill being brought before the House.

Sligo now has a population of 51,263, but add to that 75 from the Tullaghan and Gubbacreeny district [2272] electoral divisions of Leitrim and the Ballyshannon and Bundoran area, that is to say, the Ballyshannon registrar's district in Donegal with a population of 6,319 and it gives Sligo with passages forming Donegal, 58,557, entitlement to 2.53 seats and a 2.4 per cent tolerance gives three seats.

Finally, Donegal is entitled, unfortunately, with its 108,549 population at the counting only to five seats anyway and this deduction does not alter that. It brings it to 102,240, entitlement to 5.11 and 2.2 per cent tolerance giving five seats.

I know it is a waste of time trying to avoid misrepresentation from the other side of the House. I will repeat once again what I have done. I have produced a notional exercise to invalidate the Minister's and the Taoiseach's statements, that in this and future divisions, it would be necessary to divide up the country much more drastically than in 1961. This division may not be the best but it is a possible division which may achieve the results I have mentioned. I am not advocating it in particular. There may be better ways of doing it. The Minister's ingenuity no doubt will devise ways better for Fianna Fáil and, indeed, his Department's ingenuity will probably devise ways which will involve less inconvenience for the people concerned and involve perhaps less disturbance for the population than even I propose, but my proposal would involve disturbing only 1.15 per cent of the people of Ireland, detaching them from the counties in which they live and adding them to other counties, that is, 1.15 per cent of the people living in 1.16 per cent of the area of this country, that is, 425 square miles.

That is the terrible crime that is brought upon us, the terrible injustice, the uprooting of people forced on us as if this were the question of Poland taking up East Germany after the war. This is the terrible injustice of uprooting forced on us by this evil constitutional decision which was invented a Fine Gael plot—one per cent of the people of the country voting in a county different from the county in which they live, a disturbance far less [2273] than credited. It involves 56,000 people who are disturbed at the moment by the present arrangement, whereas in my amendment only 33,000 would be disturbed. In fact, this is a very minor problem. It is a problem which with an intelligent approach, not bedevilled by the desire to gerrymander, would cause less disturbance than at present.

I suspect that the degree of disturbance in 1961 involved almost two per cent of the people of the country being disturbed—it involved only 1.7 or 1.8 —and this was due to the fact that the Minister was not prepared to take the solutions involving least disturbance but in fact adopted other solutions at the margins in order to get a better political result. I have shown that regardless of the political results— whether it is Deputy Tully or Deputy anybody else from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or Labour; I have not examined that aspect of the thing, but have simply looked for the solution which involves least disturbance for the least number of people in the least area of the country—this can be achieved in fact with less disturbance than in 1961.

If there is any more disturbance than this involved, it is because the Minister would be trying to gerrymander the country and to disturb more people than is necessary to get a political result. I shall examine with great interest the results of the redistribution that will follow the defeat in this referendum. If in fact the number of people disturbed exceeds 1.15 per cent, I should have no hesitation in pinning this on the Minister, this unnecessary disturbance, as a result of his desire to achieve a political result. I think I have made the point adequately and conclusively. If there is anything wrong with my figures, the Minister can say so, but I do not think there is, I have put all my cards on the table. I have accepted that this may be used in misrepresentation against me. I accept that the Minister will be trotting down to Carrick-on-Suir and Knocknagree and Cullen and Roundstone and Ahascragh and all these places, telling the people that I and Fine Gael wanted them particularly shifted to another constituency. I said nothing of the kind.

I have said that under the present [2274] system this is a solution, one that involves a minimum disturbance. It may not be the best solution. I do not particularly advocate it but I put it before the House to show that this House and the other House have been deliberately misled by the Minister, and more so by the Taoiseach, in attempting to pretend that if the present system persists, it would be necessary to chop up this country in a manner much more extensive than anything done in 1961 or in the past. On that I can rest and I look forward very much indeed to hearing the Minister's reply.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  The case Senator Garret FitzGerald has made shows that it would be quite easy for the Minister to reorganise the constituencies without much disturbance. He has mentioned that the plan, or scheme, he has submitted for the Minister's consideration will disturb only 1.1 per cent. Some Senators seem to think they would gain great political advantage out of these proposals, particularly the suggestion that Carrick-on-Suir should be moved into another area in order to bring up the representation to a fair figure but it only involves 1.1 per cent of the people, and of course there is nothing in that for Fianna Fáil because even if all the people who would be disturbed by Senator Garret FitzGerald's proposal voted for Fianna Fáil it would only represent an increase of 1.1 of the percentage of the electorate. That would not help Fianna Fáil much. Considering they have lost 9 per cent of the electorate since 1965, 1.1 per cent will not give any help to them at all. It is obvious the Minister would not accept this arrangement because 1.1 per cent would be no help to the Fianna Fáil Party at this stage. He must look rather to doing some constituency butchering, which he has mentioned, in order to get some benefit for the Fianna Fáil Party. I think it was Senator Ryan who mentioned, in fact, that gerrymandering is possible only in Cork and Dublin and that it is not really possible in the rural constituencies where people are less objective when considering policies and candidates for which they might vote. Apparently there is nothing in it for Fianna Fáil as far as the rural areas are concerned.

[2275]Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  They claim that. I have already refuted that claim.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  All they want to do is to create the maximum amount of disturbance in rural areas in order to make people believe they have a grievance and seek support for the referendum proposals by doing so. The position in Dublin and Cork is quite different: you can have gerrymandering. The Minister knows what happened in Dublin county on the last occasion when Ballyfermot was taken out of the city constituency and brought into the county constituency instead. Ballyfermot now is lost to the Minister as far as support for Fianna Fáil is concerned. He would be very glad on this occasion to get rid of Ballyfermot as far as any constituency he may be representing is concerned. We know even from the last election when Fianna Fáil got the last of three seats that Fianna Fáil are out as far as Ballyfermot is concerned.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Who got the last seat in County Dublin?

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  I have forgotten, actually.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  For the Senator's information, he contested the last seat out of five with Deputy Clinton.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  I know. The Minister is showing how successfully gerrymandering of that constituency worked out. I am glad the Minister mentioned this because he did a very good job on it.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The Senator stands a victim of gerrymandering.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  I am not worried about that because I had a long innings. I was longer in the Dáil than the Minister may be as far as that goes.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  He was an ordinary TD. The Minister was not that yet.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  The Minister has a long way to go.

[2276]Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  He might even end up in the Seanad.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  The point is the gerrymandering of Dublin county constituency was so successful that one Fine Gael candidate who had been 17 years in the Dáil competed with another Fine Gael candidate, who was a number of years in the Dáil, for the last of five seats. Surely that was a good job of gerrymandering? That was Fine Gael competing between each other and against each other for the last five seats. This is a clear example of gerrymandering.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Support for Fianna Fáil.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  During the Presidential election——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Perhaps the Senator would relate his remarks to the difference which would occur whether the Schedule was enacted or not. This is now the point at issue.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  Thank you. If I could put it in clear and simple figures, the proposal in the Tolerance Bill is that 10,000 men, women and children in one area will have representation equal to 6,500 men, women and children in another area, if we take the 16 per cent one way or another in addition to the normal movement of population. Obviously that is a ridiculous tolerance and it is designed only to give a good, comprehensive margin for Fianna Fáil gerrymandering and the organisation of areas for the benefit of the Fianna Fáil Party. Senator Garret FitzGerald has given his example of the manner in which this country and this State at the moment could be divided up into constituencies giving an equal representation to the people as required by the Constitution which requires representation on a population basis rather than based on the electorate.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  The question of the electorate compared with population was disposed of.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  When the Minister is replying, I hope he will be able to point out to Senator FitzGerald that he has a better scheme than the one put [2277] to him. I think Senator FitzGerald has made this job very easy for the Minister.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I do my best.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  There will be no difficulty in mapping out the constituencies if he follows the suggestions from Senator FitzGerald. If he wants to butcher the constituencies in the interests of the Fianna Fáil Party he knows he will have difficulty. I am glad Senator FitzGerald impressed on the Minister that he did not take political representation into consideration when proposing this scheme for revising the constituencies. At this stage the Minister should abandon the idea of gerrymandering. He has been talking about the possibility of Fianna Fáil being replaced by Fine Gael and if he is sincere in believing that Fianna Fáil will be replaced by Fine Gael——

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  Some time in the 1980s.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  I am glad to hear the Senator saying it is nearer than some of them are saying. Some of them said the year 2000.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Others told us in fact it would happen in the election after the next. If we change the system and let Fianna Fáil back, Fine Gael would get in the election after next.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  That was not said or should not have been said on the Third Amendment Bill.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  There is another document in which you might be interested. It is “The 1970s with Fine Gael.”

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  Do not say you have another policy document.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  We are going to lead you into the 1970s.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I think Senator FitzGerald started off by once again disputing my assertion which I proved that the proposal in the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill will do no more in general than make the average rural vote of equal value in elections [2278] than the average urban vote. I hope this does not mean I am going to have to deal with this again and actually demonstrate how it is so. Even Senator FitzGerald should agree that the divergence it is proposed to insert into the Constitution through this Bill is a maximum divergence which can only be operated in particular circumstances. It must be quite clear then there will only be a minority of rural constituencies in which the divergence from the national average, in order to take account of such things as county boundaries, will approach this maximum of one-sixth.

It must also be obvious that in view of the requirement to pay the maximum possible regard to county boundaries there will also be some constituencies in which the number of population per Deputy will approach the national average and others in which, possibly, it will be over the national average. It must be clear, then, that the overall divergence from the national average in rural areas will be considerably less than the maximum of one-sixth, which is 16? per cent.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Not if the Minister adopts the tactics he mentioned in regard to Mayo.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  We will come to that and show the Senator's dishonesty, show his complete disregard of what I said and the context in which it was said. I will show the deliberate falsehood that the Senator tried to perpetrate here in regard to the alleged quotation with regard to what I said when dealing with Mayo.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  That should be fun.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I showed that if you take the percentage of the total population comprised of the electorate in the Dublin and Cork area and in the rest of the country and base representation strictly on parity of population, this will result in a vote in Cork and Dublin areas being 9 per cent more effective in electing a Deputy than a vote in the rest of the country and in view of the fact that, as I have said, it is obvious that the percentage divergence from the national average over [2279] the rural areas as a whole will be considerably less than 16?, it must be obvious to anybody that it is reasonably certain that it will do no more than, as I said, make the average rural vote equal to the average urban vote but I never maintained or in any way created the impression that it would make every rural vote equal to every other rural vote or every rural vote equal to every urban vote or every urban vote equal to every other urban vote. This would not be possible, particularly with the guidelines we are proposing to insert into the Constitution.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  Will a vote in Donegal be better than a vote in Kilkenny— all rural votes?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  It could be but I doubt it.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  It should not be.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  That would have to be investigated but if the Senators opposite have their way, if Senator Rooney has his way, the vote in Donegal will be 33? per cent less effective than the vote in Dublin North-West.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  We propose the electorate basis. The Minister rejected that.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  The Opposition are determined to have a system which will require only 10,206 votes to elect a Deputy in Dublin North-West as against 13,567 to elect a Deputy in Donegal South-West.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  The Minister, without interruptions.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  As I said, the object of this Bill was to avoid the injustice that had to be perpetrated on the people in many parts of the country as a result of the Fine Gael operation in the High Courts in 1961.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  It was not a Fine Gael operation in the High Courts. It was not.

[2280]Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  Fine Gael did not sponsor it.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  The objective was to avoid that injustice. No more than all the Deputies and Senators that I quoted as objecting to what had to happen in 1961 in demanding that the Constitution should be amended, no more than they at that time went to the trouble of finding out exactly what percentage of people suffered this injustice, I did not do it either.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  We will ask Senator FitzGerald to do it.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  That is the difference in approach between the ordinary Deputy or Senator and Senator FitzGerald.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  That is the point.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  The percentage is all that matters to Senator FitzGerald and if it was not a significant percentage that were moved that time and uprooted from their own counties and disfranchised, in the words of Opposition Deputies——

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  It is I who am proposing to minimise this.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I did not quote any Fianna Fáil views on this. It was the Opposition who described it as savage dismemberment and the disfranchisement of the people concerned. Admittedly, it was not a lot of the people to whom this happened but these people who were uprooted from their own counties and constituencies in which they had voted for a long number of years on this occasion must in many cases now be moved off to somewhere else.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  Deliberately uprooted.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I believe, and every practical politician would agree, that this is undesirable, both from the point of view of the people themselves and from the point of view of their representatives and Party organisations.

Senator FitzGerald went on to allege that I turned down their proposal to avoid the breaching of county boundaries. [2281] Of course, that is not a fact. The fact is that their proposal would not provide the same scope to avoid the breaching of county boundaries as the proposal that is in the Bill and since the objective is to do that and since the amount of maximum permissible divergence we are asking is so low by international standards, I did not see any reason whatever for accepting the amendment of Senator FitzGerald.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The electorate basis.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  It would be less satisfactory and, indeed, it would be a more obvious infringement of this alleged principle of absolute equality of every vote.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The Minister does not believe in the electorate basis.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  No, I do not. I do not believe it is necessary.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Smoked out.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Of course, I do not. I said that.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  You have been a long time saying the opposite.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I have already argued that point with Senator FitzGerald; I have already showed him that the census figures are more reliable——

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Yes, though for over 21.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  ——and scientifically based and the fact that they are made at five-yearly intervals rather than every year is also an advantage.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  And I agreed to use them.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I do not agree that it would be more satisfactory to base it on the register of electors rather than on the census figures, as has always been the case.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I agreed that.

[2282]Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I did point out that the operation of this small maximum divergence from the national average on the basis of which constituencies have always been revised, that is, on the basis of the population, would not, in fact, result in conferring any differential voting power on the rural vote in general but the present position which the Opposition want to hang on to does, in fact, confer differential voting power on the urban vote in general.

With regard to this question of what I said when I was dealing with Mayo, Senator FitzGerald, I agree, did not appear to be paying any great attention to what I was saying but, apparently, he has gone to the trouble of looking it up and, if so, he must know that when I was dealing with individual counties and constituencies I was dealing with what would happen under the present position, not under the Bill. Senator FitzGerald, deliberately and with the intention of stating something which he knew to be untrue, got up and said that I was proposing to use this Bill for the specific purpose of breaching the boundaries of County Mayo whereas, in fact, I was dealing with what would be the position——

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  May I intervene to help the Minister? He must have misunderstood.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Is the Senator——

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Is it in order for two to be speaking together here?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  It is certainly not in order for anybody to be speaking when the Chair is endeavouring to speak. I am asking Senator FitzGerald is he making a point of order.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I rose hoping that——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Is the Senator making a point of order?

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I fear not.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  With the deliberate purpose of saying something he knew to be false, Senator FitzGerald said that I had indicated I intended to use this [2283] Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill in order to do what the Bill provides cannot be done. Of course, Senator FitzGerald knows that even if I did do that it could be challenged in the courts and shown to be unconstitutional. What I pointed out was that under the present system certain areas in the rural part of the country would have to unjustifiably lose representation and that if the present system was not changed, this representation which is not justified would be allocated to urban areas as against rural areas. I said that in those circumstances if the change we propose is not made—not if the change we propose is made— this Government would certainly try to minimise the number of representatives who would be taken from the rural areas.

Business suspended at 1.5 p.m. and resumed at 2.30 p.m.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I was pointing out that when I was speaking about what would happen in regard to County Mayo on the Second Stage, I was referring to what must happen if present circumstances continued in which such things as county boundaries—which the Opposition are so determined to retain —are irrelevant, circumstances in which representation is to be based closely on the actual population as disclosed in the latest edition of the census and in which county boundaries would not be a relevant consideration and, of course, neither will voters. I said that in these circumstances this Government would obviously be inclined to minimise the loss of overall representation which this requirement would involve for rural Ireland in general and that this operation would inevitably involve the breaching of county boundaries and that the boundary of County Mayo would be so involved but that this would be done under the circumstances in order that the maximum possible utilisation of the population in the rural areas would be ensured so as to avoid the unjust reduction of representation in those areas.

I pointed out that under the present constitutional requirements the Dublin [2284] area must get an increase of at least four seats, from the present 34 to 38, although an increase of only two is required by the actual number of voters and that the western area comprising Donegal, the province of Connacht and Clare must get a reduction on the present representation of 33 Deputies to 30, although a reduction of only one from 33 to 32 would be required by the actual number of voters in the area. Senator FitzGerald's approach as he disclosed here today would be further to downgrade the value of rural votes by allotting only 29 seats to the western area of Donegal, province of Connacht and Clare instead of the minimum of 30 to which it would be entitled even under present circumstances. You will get a different solution to the problem if your approach is on the basis on which Senator FitzGerald approached it. What I indicated was that our approach would be to minimise this unjust reduction in rural representation. I am not in the least surprised that the Fine Gael approach should be the opposite as demonstrated by Senator FitzGerald, that is, to maximise the reduction in representation.

It is quite clear—and on the Second Reading I made it clear—that it was under the present circumstances that boundaries have to be breached and that what I was doing when I went through the constituencies was showing what must happen if this Bill, the Third Amendment Bill, is not passed. I must say that I am grateful to Senator FitzGerald for his suggestions and his indications of the manner in which he would propose to deal with the situation——

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The manner in which the Minister might approach it.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  If he has his way and the Third Amendment Bill is not accepted by the people, these will prove most useful. But we are proposing that in future the Constitution should require that so far as possible county boundaries shall not be breached. The Opposition are determined to retain the present position in which the ruling of the courts is that county boundaries [2285] are not relevant. It is natural that I should say that having a greater approximation to equality of votes as between the rural part of the country in general and the urban part in general is inherent in this Bill. This is the position and I showed it to be so.

Senator FitzGerald says that I have accepted that combinations of two counties are an acceptable manner of forming constituencies. Of course I have not accepted any such thing; what I have said is that combinations of two counties have been inevitable since the State was set up and since this ridiculous system of multi-member constituencies was first foisted on the country on the principle, as Fine Gael speakers have pointed out on a number of occasions, of trying it out on the dog. It has been inevitable but I have never said that it was desirable or acceptable to have these combinations of counties.

For instance, I do not, any more than Deputy Oliver Flanagan, consider the present combination of the two large counties of Laois and Offaly to be desirable. I can quite see the difficulty of a Deputy representing these two very large areas and I can see how defective representation is from the point of view of the people, and I can even understand how undesirable Deputy Flanagan considers the situation in which he has to collect votes all over those two large counties in order to bring in Deputy O'Higgins on his back. However, that is a consideration applying more to Deputy Flanagan and probably has something to do with the reason why he supports our proposals.

All I want to say is that although I agree that the joining of Laois and Offaly was inevitably required by the present electoral system for as long as I can remember, and possibly since the foundation of the State, I do not agree that it is an acceptable or a desirable solution and I am perfectly certain that the people of the two counties involved do not consider it desirable either and that they would consider this joining together of these two counties to be ridiculous.

The same applies in regard to Carlow-Kilkenny [2286] or Longford-Westmeath and certainly to portion of a county like Wexford being stuck on to the constituency that already comprises the two counties of Carlow and Kilkenny. But, of course, Senator FitzGerald does not see anything undesirable or objectionable in this. In his approach, he would detach Carlow from Kilkenny and add it on to Kildare where, of course, the junction between these two counties will provide only a narrow corridor as distinct from the comparatively extensive border that there is between Carlow and Kilkenny. It was in that context that I referred to the proposed joining of the counties of Monaghan and Cavan as not being a desirable solution of the problem there, even though the Fine Gael spokesman on this matter, Deputy Fitzpatrick, would welcome this because, as he said in the Dáil, it would suit him personally down to the ground.

It was typical of Senator FitzGerald's approach that he should allege that it was because of the fact that there was a certain non-Catholic community in both Cavan and Monaghan that I considered it undesirable that these two counties should be united. He knows that it was not in that context I was speaking at all. I was speaking in the context of the unworkability of very large constituencies and the practical impossibility of the Deputies giving the people the service they required under these circumstances.

I repeat now that it would not be a desirable thing and certainly not an improvement of the present situation to join the two counties of Cavan and Monaghan together in the one constituency. The result of it would be that the people would get bad service from their Deputies, even worse than at present when constituencies are larger than is appropriate. In present circumstances that is one of the things that happen, that the people get a raw deal in so far as representation by their Deputies is concerned.

Since Senator FitzGerald is concerned only with figures, he proposes with equanimity that, instead of the present position in which there are two comparatively large constituencies, constituencies difficult to travel round, [2287] in Donegal, the whole of Donegal should become one five-seat constituency, that Cavan and Monaghan should be joined together, and to form a new constituency consisting of the counties of Sligo and parts of——

Mr. P. O'Reilly: Information on Patrick Firmullagh OReilly  Zoom on Patrick Firmullagh OReilly  (Longford): Did he not suggest that Sligo should be joined to Donegal despite the fact that it had not a frontier at all?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  He did, but when I gave him a slight lesson in elementary geography he mended his hand here today and suggested that instead we should have a constituency composed of County Sligo, part of the county of Leitrim and part of the county of Donegal. Of course, these things are quite acceptable and reasonable to a person like Senator FitzGerald who deals with figures and figures only but forgets that the figures represent human beings and that those human beings have to be represented by other human beings in the form of Deputies, and that the work at election time has to be done by other human beings who are members of these political party organisations.

These things are irrelevant, according to Senator FitzGerald. All you need is the figures. When I was speaking about this in the Dáil I said all you needed in present circumstances was the figures and a map, but Senator FitzGerald does not even need a map and he is quite prepared to build up constituencies without even taking the care to see that the areas which he proposes to utilise to make up the required population in some constituencies are contiguous to the county to which he proposes to attach them.

In my reply on the Second Stage here, I dealt with each individual constituency. I put on the record of the House the actual figures for these areas. Dealing with each separately, I showed beyond any shadow of doubt that practically every county in the country must be breached in one way or the other unless the amendment being proposed is accepted by the people, must be breached either by the detachment from it of some of its population and [2288] its transference to some other county or be breached by the attachment to it of population from some other county. These figures are already on the record of the Seanad, and although I appreciate that Senator FitzGerald's main concern is to try to delay the passage of the Bill, I do not propose to repeat them. I do not think it is necessary.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Or to answer my scheme.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I have not, of course, got the actual figures Senator FitzGerald gave here today, but I did count the number of counties that would be affected, and they number 20. His approach was to try to apply the principle of the non-breaching of county boundaries which is in the Bill to the present constitutional situation, although he is bitterly opposing the amendment of the Constitution which we are proposing so as to permit these things to be taken into consideration.

Senator FitzGerald was quick to see that a revision under the present interpretation of the Constitution, but also endeavouring to do what the High Court says is not relevant, to avoid county boundaries, would result in a further injustice to his pet aversion, that is, the western area of this country, Donegal, the province of Connacht and the county of Clare. He was quick to see that this would result in a reduction of the representation of that area from 33 to 29 as against 33 to 30 which is all that is inevitable in present circumstances, and as against the reduction from 33 to 32 which is all that would be required on the basis of voters and the present assumed permitted divergence from the national average of 5 per cent. It is of course indicative of the whole approach of his Party. When I describe it as “his Party”, I am merely using his own phraseology. Apparently he has assumed some proprietorial rights over the Fine Gael Party. I detected the same attitude in the lower House when on a number of occasions Deputy Fitzpatrick, ex-Senator Fitzpatrick, indicated that he would leave some matters to be dealt with by the experts in the other House.

[2289] This is an indication of the Fine Gael Party's whole approach. It is obviously part of the effort that has been decided upon under, I believe, the influence of Senator FitzGerald, to practically eliminate the rural community by rearrangement of the land of Ireland on the basis of farms supporting a minimum of 400 cows each. Apparently the first step is to be a further downgrading of the value of the rural vote. Senator FitzGerald, on the basis of figures, and without any consideration for the needs or the desires of the people, put forward something which anyone could see was completely impracticable in regard to the revision or delineation of the constituencies.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Why? Because it disturbs too few people? Because it would not suit Fianna Fáil?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  It disturbs——

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  1.15 per cent.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  ——a much greater number. It ignored, for instance, the existing scheme of the constituencies. It bore no relation to the existing constituencies. Of course anyone with intelligence will admit that it could not possibly avoid the actual dismemberment of counties. If we were to go in to a greater degree for joining together two counties or groups of counties, if we were to go to extremes and go beyond the present maximum of five-seat constituencies, we could probably avoid breaching the county boundaries.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I did not propose that.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  It is nonsense for Senator FitzGerald to say that only a small percentage would be disturbed since what is proposed is a complete recasting of the constituencies.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Restore the integrity of a number of counties.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  It ignores the fact that it would be a disadvantage to the people of Donegal to make the whole county one single five-seat constituency. [2290] To say that there is nothing involved in changing the county of Carlow from being attached to Kilkenny and attaching it to Kildare——

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  Was it not attached under the 1935 Act?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  ——well, I would not like to argue on those lines. The only other point made so far was made by my former colleague, Senator Rooney, who apparently alleges that the whole purpose of the Fine Gael approach to the High Court decision and the new revision of the constituencies which had to result in 1961, was to gerrymander the constituency of County Dublin so that in the struggle for the last seat out of the five Deputy Quinlan would be successful at Senator Rooney's expense.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Who is Deputy Quinlan?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Deputy Clinton.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  That is the man's name. That is right.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Senator Quinlan is the rugged Independent from Cork. I am well aware of that.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The Minister seems to have it on the brain to such an extent that his name slipped out even in dealing with Dublin.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I would welcome him in County Dublin any time he likes to come. Apparently Senator Rooney is still brooding over the fact that in this thrilling struggle for the last seat in County Dublin, Deputy Clinton emerged the victor. The revision of the constituencies which took place in 1961 was, of course, called for because of the decision of the High Court.

If Senator Rooney would cast his mind back—if he is able to think back further than 1961—he would remember that the 1959 revision of the constituencies which his Party succeeded in having declared to be unconstitutional did in fact take the Ballyfermot area out of the constituency of County Dublin and in the rearrangement that was required by the High Court decision [2291] it was apparently found necessary to put Ballyfermot back into County Dublin. Apparently Senator Rooney alleges that not only was my predecessor, Deputy Blaney, so unscrupulous as to gerrymander that area in the interests of the Fianna Fáil Party, but that he also conspired with Deputy Clinton to gerrymander Senator Rooney out of the seat. He went on to imply that the area of Ballyfermot had been lost to Fianna Fáil. He based that on the local elections but Senator Rooney might like to be informed, since he does not appear to know, that neither myself, nor my gracious senior colleague, nor Deputy Foley, contested the local elections. The story will be completely different when we do.

Senator Rooney went on to ask if I could put forward a better scheme of constituencies than Senator FitzGerald. Of course if I could not do that I would resign, but I can do it, and I will, or the Commission will put forward a much better scheme of constituencies.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Involving less disturbance?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  There will be 144 single-seat constituencies, 144 easily manageable single-seat constituencies, in which it will be a feasible proposition for the elected Deputies effectively to represent their constituents.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  We are now dealing with the Schedule. It is difficult to know at what stage one should cease speaking——

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Now, I would say.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  ——or indeed, whether one should begin to speak. In his performance here today and yesterday and last Friday, the Minister reminds me of the mother who has a troublesome baby she has just got to sleep. She is afraid of the slightest disturbance because the whole thing will start up again. There will be more whinging and the whole business will have to be gone through again until she gets the child settled down and asleep again. If we say anything here——

[2292]Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Say something intelligent for a change and see what happens.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  ——that is the slightest bit controversial or with which the Minister does not agree immediately, he goes through the whole rigmarole again and we have to listen to his vapourings and his obsessional preoccupation with what has happened or what might happen. He defends the virtues of Fianna Fáil and pronounces upon the viciousness of Fine Gael and Labour.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Do not cast aspersions and I will not.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  There is no difficulty in being relevant, but it is difficult to know what points we should deal with and what points we should not, so as not to start the Minister unwinding again and again.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  Could we discipline ourselves to avoid repetition?

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  I am trying to indicate my difficulty in ensuring that we shall not have further repetition of what the Minister has already repeated ad nauseam. This is the difficulty we are in. I think it is correct to say that the Minister certainly has not been guilty of repetition in this particular matter.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Good.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  From 1959 or 1961 down to 1968, at no time has the Minister or any of his colleagues in the Government or any of the Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party, or county councils, urban councils or any cumainn of Fianna Fáil or cumainn of Fine Gael, or anything else, complained about the 1961 constituencies. I have never heard Ministers get up, when visiting these areas, to declaim against the injustice that had been perpetrated against these people because they had been brought into a constituency that did not form part of their own administrative county.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  It just shows your ignorance.

[2293]Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  There has been no indication from any Minister of the Government Party at any time that it was proposed, in the long years from 1961 to 1967, when they established this Constituency Commission, to review the whole of the Constitution. There was not an indication in the world that the people of these areas were suffering from what the Minister talks about, a gross and serious injustice. One would imagine that the presence of a Deputy in a particular area meant that the people, from then on, were happy. Because people had been transferred from one administrative county or joined up from a particular administrative county with another administrative county to form a constituency, one would not imagine they all went around with a sense of gievance wondering when the day of deliverance would come when they would be delivered from the serious and permanent injustice under which they were labouring. Our people are not as mad as that. They do not suffer from that sort of neurotic view of life and politics, as does the Minister. They do not value all that highly their Teachtaí Dála, from whatever Party they come, that they feel they are suffering from a serious injustice. It is just plain nonsense to describe it as an injustice.

The Minister says Senator Rooney, or some of us, cannot go back beyond 1961. Were there great and widespread complaints about the serious injustice that was done in 1935 when county after county was butchered, not because of a decision of the Supreme Court——

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Hear, hear.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  The constituencies were butchered in 1935 by Fianna Fáil because they got into power on the promise, among others—which time eventually falsified—that there was no need for more than 100 Deputies in Dáil Éireann and, in order to get only 100 Deputies in Dáil Éireann, it was necessary for them to switch two and three counties and bits of counties together so that there were hardly more than seven or eight counties in the country that did not have bits taken out [2294] of or put into them under the 1935 revision of constituencies—and there was no decision of any court on that— and the reason, the lame reason, then given by Deputy Seán Lemass——

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  But there were complaints.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  It was not done under the compulsion of any court decision. It was done in the interests of expediency and because Fianna Fáil had promised the people they would reduce the number of seats from what it was before then—153 seats—to 100 seats. The best they could do to redeem their promise was to exceed the number of seats by 36 and they produced 136 seats after this butchering of the counties——

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  ——which you think is undesirable.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  He does not know whether he does or not. I know what I think.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  I do not know that it mattered a fiddle-de-dee to the people of these constituencies from 1935 to 1947. Two years after that, this operation—and it was a surgical operation—took place. We had a new Constitution. Fianna Fáil soldiered with these constituencies, cut up in the way in which they were, for a further ten years until 1947. They did not bother even with the provisions of the 1937 Constitution, and their then understanding of what those provisions meant, until the High Court declared what they were, what their understanding of what those provisions meant. They left those constituencies from 1937 to 1947 and then they made another change.

What all that adds up to is that, when the Minister and his Party say that an injustice is being done to people because they are taken from their particular county and joined on to another county, they do not mean a word of it, not a single word of it. In any event, there is no truth whatever in it. The people of these counties and constituencies are not as neurotic as the Minister fancies them to be.

The Minister then insists upon the [2295] half-truth. He insists upon parading that and on continuing to parade it well knowing—being the expert propagandist that he is—that the half-truth and the half-lie always stick and that it is very difficult to drag down the half-truth. He refers to the case taken by Dr. John O'Donovan on the Constitution in 1961 as being a case that was taken by the Fine Gael Party. That case was not taken by the Fine Gael Party or with any funds supplied by the Fine Gael Party. The costs of that action were borne entirely by Dr. John O'Donovan. Anybody who wants to ascertain whether or not that is so can find out from him. I know it to be so. Being a junior counsel in that case, I was paid my fees by Dr. John O'Donovan. Not one halfpenny was paid by the Fine Gael Party for the prosecution of that case. The Minister will still continue to say, in spite of my clear declaration as to what happened, that that case was brought by the Fine Gael Party—I do not say that, if they had wanted to bring it, they were not justified in doing so.

Mr. P. O'Reilly: Information on Patrick Firmullagh OReilly  Zoom on Patrick Firmullagh OReilly  (Longford): Did Fine Gael not repudiate it?

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Why?

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  Why? Dr. John O'Donovan availed himself of the right, which every citizen of this country enjoys, to go into court——

Mr. P. O'Reilly: Information on Patrick Firmullagh OReilly  Zoom on Patrick Firmullagh OReilly  (Longford):——as a member of the Fine Gael Party.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  ——being then a member of the Fine Gael Party. However, whether a person is a member of the Fine Gael Party or of the Communist Party, and so on, being a citizen of this country, he has a right to go into court to get a declaration as to whether or not a particular Act is constitutional. Is there anything wrong about that?

Mr. P. O'Reilly: Information on Patrick Firmullagh OReilly  Zoom on Patrick Firmullagh OReilly  (Longford): Fine Gael could not take any action. It had to be taken by a person.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  What is the complaint, then, that a citizen of this country availed of the provisions of the [2296] Constitution to go in to get a declaration as to what the Constitution means? Dr. John O'Donovan did that. All the High Court did was to pronounce on what was the meaning.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  The Chair feels these matters have been fully thrashed out. They have been repeated and repeated. It is time to get away from them.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  I want to dissent from the view of the Chair on that. I want to point out what has gone on and what the effect of the decision of the High Court was and is.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  The Chair has no escape from the Standing Orders of the House. The Senator may not refer to these matters continuously.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  We know well the extent to which the Minister can be influenced by the Chair.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I stopped dealing with the by-elections, although it is the subject I most like, the moment the Chair indicated he did not like me to deal with them—my favourite subject.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  Senator O'Quigley, to continue, please.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  At least I have clarified one matter in relation to the origins of the challenging of the 1959 Act. It is wrong to say, as the Minister said here today, repeatedly, and no doubt will continue to repeat, that the courts have decided that no regard should be taken of administrative counties or anything of that kind. The High Court did not say that; the Supreme Court did not say it. What the Supreme Court did say, when the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 1961, was referred to it, was that all of these matters were matters to be taken into consideration by the Oireachtas.

Let me quote now from page 183 of the Irish Law Reports, 1961:

The sub-clause recognises that exact parity in the ratio between members and the population of each constituency is unlikely to be obtained and is not required. The decision as to what is practicable is within the jurisdiction of the [2297] Oireachtas. It may reasonably take into consideration a variety of factors, such as the desirability so far as possible to adhere to well-known boundaries such as those of counties, townlands and electoral divisions.

What the Minister says is in flagrant contradiction of what is contained in the Irish Reports in regard to the decision of the Supreme Court, that the country boundaries cannot be breached. Of course they have said these things can be taken into consideration and also indicated that a certain deviation from strict parity is possible. The deviation under the 1961 Act was of the order of five per cent of the national average and they said this was permissible, and perhaps if it had been eight per cent or nine or ten per cent, they could well have said that that was permissible too.

As I say, this Bill is produced on the basis that the people living in different constituencies have nothing better to do than to spend their time running to Deputies every day and that there is something wrong or unjust being done to a person who lives in a county other than that in which the Deputy resides, or if a person is attached to a county which forms the bulk of a particular constituency. I have never known that this gave rise to any difficulty. Of course there will be people who will complain, but in the long run what the people are concerned with is not whether their constituency falls between county boundaries or whether it is a one-seat or four-seat constituency, but with economic and social conditions, with educational and health services. They are not concerned with how accessible a Deputy is to them.

It is wrong to say that the people look upon their Deputies as aids to getting the kind of things to which by law they are entitled. The people want their Deputies, and in particular their Ministers, to devote their attention to the wellbeing of the community. They hope that in the general development of economic conditions every county and every part of every county will get its fair share of the prosperity. If a Deputy happens to belong to another county they have not got any neurotic ideas that they are going to suffer some [2298] injustice until the next revision of constituencies takes place.

It is an extraordinary fact that with all the talk that is going on, that even as matters stand there are upwards of a dozen towns that straddle two counties and I am satisfied that the people in these towns have no difficulty remaining in contact with their Deputies. I am sure the Minister will not be able to give any instance of people who have written from any of these towns saying that their town is divided into two parts, one lying in one county and the other lying in another.

We will start off with Athlone, part of which is in Roscommon, the other part being in Westmeath. It is what the latest census regards as a town. Then we come to the next town, Charlestown—what was it they said? “No one shouted stop”—part of which lies in Mayo and then across the railway bridge, part of it is in Sligo. It is represented by two sets of Deputies, Deputies from Mayo and Deputies from Sligo-Leitrim. I have not had the advantage of reading “No One Shouted Stop,” or whatever the series of articles was called, to know whether that was one of the reasons decay set in in Charlestown. The next town is Dowra on the borders of Leitrim and Cavan. It is divided between two counties and these people continue to labour, according to the Minister, under this great injustice.

Mr. P. O'Reilly: Information on Patrick Firmullagh OReilly  Zoom on Patrick Firmullagh OReilly  (Longford): There is only one publichouse in Dowra, on the Leitrim side. It is only a small village. Unless you are sure of what you are talking about——

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  I said it was a small town and if there is one thing worse than another, it is a “one pub” town because people have not got the opportunity of avoiding the company they dislike.

(Interruptions)

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  Can we get away from publichouses and concentrate on the Schedule?

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  Portarlington is divided between Counties Laois and Offaly and is also within the one constituency. [2299] Bunclody is divided between Wexford and Carlow and O'Brien's Bridge at Montpelier, between Limerick county and Clare. Clonmel is divided between Tipperary and Waterford and Bray, according to the last census, is divided between Dublin and County Wicklow. Finea straddles Cavan and Westmeath and Roosky straddles Leitrim and Roscommon. Birr straddles Offaly and Tipperary and Graiguenamanagh straddles Carlow and Kilkenny. Lanesboro, an expanding town, straddles Longford and Roscommon.

That is the way history and geography and the administration of the counties have ordained how these towns will be located in regard to their electoral location. Some of the towns are big; some of them are small. They are divided between two counties and I have yet to hear that that is a disadvantage, or to hear that these people suffer from any sense of grievance or injustice. One would imagine from the Minister's description of what has happened to date that these people were labouring under a sense of injustice. Let him apply the test in the case of these towns. No doubt the Minister will go through all of these points and we will have to listen to him from now until 5 o'clock—that is what is in store for us——

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Provocation, you know.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  At any rate, these are the facts and the more the Minister continues to talk, the surer will people know that he has an extremely bad case. As we know, if you have a good case, it is very easy to present it shortly and simply but when you have a bad case——

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  That is why all the Senator's speeches are so long.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  ——you have to continue rambling and ranting and labouring along. All I want to say is it does not matter what the Minister will say or at how great a length, he will repeat himself notwithstanding the rules of order and so on. It does not [2300] matter what he has to say because nothing will convince the people that this Bill and the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill were not brought in for the sole purpose of protecting Fianna Fáil. In the words of the former Taoiseach, Deputy Lemass, there will always be a Fianna Fáil Party and a Fianna Fáil Government but there was a danger, and this is the danger the Fianna Fáil Party foresee and against which they want to guard. It is for that reason they have introduced these Bills. I quote from the Irish Times of 29th March, 1968, when the Taoiseach spoke at the Tomas D'Arcy Fianna Fáil cumann in the Moira Hotel. On that famous occasion, Deputy Lemass said:

Under PR Fianna Fáil had become the predominant political force and would always remain so.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  What date is this?

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  29th March, 1968.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  He was not Taoiseach.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  The former Taoiseach, Deputy Lemass—I said that in the beginning. I said he was the former Taoiseach.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  They were too apprehensive in their anxiety to know what the former Taoiseach had to say and their concentration was diverted for the time being. Deputy Lemass said:

Under PR the only issue was whether Fianna Fáil would have a working majority or carry on as a minority Government. The continuation of Fianna Fáil was never likely to be in danger. The only alternative under PR was another coalition which nobody wanted.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  Is that not true? Does anybody in this House disagree with it?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Labour pretend they do not want a coalition with them anyway.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  I will come back to coalition on the PR Bill and I shall [2301] have something very interesting to say about it. I have quoted what Deputy Lemass said: we must always have Fianna Fáil and the only danger to the continuance in office of Fianna Fáil is that PR will continue; therefore, we must get rid of PR; therefore, these Bills have been introduced. That is the whole purpose.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  He did not say that. Read it again.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  I will not repeat. Senators can read it for themselves.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  The bit the Senator read did not say that. There may be a bit on the next page.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  “The continuation of Fianna Fáil was never likely to be in danger. The only alternative under PR was another coalition, which nobody wanted.”

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  Read on.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  The only danger Deputy Lemass sees to the continuation in office of Fianna Fáil is the continuance of PR.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  That is not what he said.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  That is the clear effect of what he said.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Perhaps some of the Senators over there would explain what it means.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  We will discuss the continuance of PR on this Bill. They are determined to keep this going.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  The Minister can talk about it until 10 o'clock tonight. This Bill and the PR Bill are designed to ensure that Fianna Fáil remain in office always. PR is the threat to the security of Fianna Fáil.

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  But that speech does not say so.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  Of course it does and in the clearest possible way.

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  The Senator is being smoked out, to use one of Senator FitzGerald's phrases.

[2302]Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  I repeat that is the reason why we have this Bill and, instead of the Minister for Local Government being concerned with housing and other matters, he will continue to waste more time here trying to ensure its passage.

Mr. G. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  All I regret is that the Government have not seen fit to do away with a written Constitution altogether. The Constitution should never have been written down. The British Government take good care not to have a written Constitution. The same position obtains in Northern Ireland: they have no written Constitution. What has happened here is that this written Constitution has created a lawyers' paradise.

Senators:  Hear, hear.

Mr. G. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  There are lawyers on either side and naturally every lawyer takes advantage.

Professor Dooge: Information on James CI Dooge  Zoom on James CI Dooge  The Senator has more than we have.

Mr. G. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  Take the Solicitors Bill. I was Minister for Justice when it was introduced. I remember it well.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  The Chair would ask the Senator to concentrate on the Third Amendment Bill.

Mr. G. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  Am I out of order?

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  No. The Senator is in great order.

Mr. G. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  If I am out of order, I will sit down. I thought we were amending the Constitution, or part of it, and I was saying it was a pity we are not amending it all. Is that in order?

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  Absolutely in order.

Mr. G. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  The point I want to make is that we had this Solicitors Bill and we took every precaution to make sure that it complied with the written Constitution. Subsequently some solicitor misconducted himself. He was not actually struck off the register, but he appealed to the Supreme Court. Two judges took one view and two took another, and one of them found it hard to make up his mind, and we were then told that it [2303] was not constitutional to deal with a solicitor who had misbehaved himself. But the medical profession can do that and it is, apparently, quite constitutional. That is utter rubbish. I am sorry the Government have not done the right thing and done away altogether with a written Constitution. Let us have one or two principles and no more. So long as we have this written Constitution, we will have the lawyers fattening on it. That is all I have to say. I hope everybody understood. If the written Constitution is done away with, we will get somewhere.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Is Senator Boland forecasting the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution—to wipe it out?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Some points raised by Senator O'Quigley were, I suspect, merely raised for the purpose of delay. At the same time, I think I should deal with the points. He said that at no time since 1961 was there any complaint about what had happened in the 1961 revision of constituencies. He admits, apparently, that there were complaints in 1961. Senator O'Quigley must not make many visits to branches of his own Party's organisation in other parts of the country because, if he did, he would know that the uprooting of parts of the population from one county and their transference into another is still, in fact, resented in these areas. I admit that the complaints about what happened in 1961 are not so virulent now as they were in 1961, when this injustice was perpetrated on the people, and that is because the situation has now, of course, been established. Two general elections have been held on the basis of those grotesque constituencies and the position is now more or less accepted. But complaints were made from all sides of the House in 1961 and there were demands from both the Opposition Parties for an amendment of the Constitution, an amendment which could have been only on the lines we are proposing here. Once the situation was established and Deputies elected under the 1961 revision—presumably the Party organisations were adjusted to the new [2304] situation—we did not concede these demands. We did not comply with them and we did not move as we were requested for an amendment of the Constitution but the position is that now a further revision of constituencies is required by the position disclosed by the census figures of 1966 and that a demand has been made by members of the Opposition Parties for this revision to be carried out now. The Constitution says that this proportion of population per Deputy shall be the same as far as it is practicable at any time and if it is not the same now, we interpret that as indicating that a revision of constituencies is required now. It is quite clear that this would involve a further breaching of county boundaries, a further butchering or dismembering of constituencies, a further disfranchisement of large sections of the population in different parts of the country and obviously a further outcry against this ridiculous requirement. What is annoying the Opposition is that we did not go ahead and do this and give them the opportunity of moaning and groaning about it as they did in 1961. What annoys them is that we are complying with the demands made in 1961.

With regard to the suggestion that the 1935 revision of constituencies did not cause any complaints, of course that again is absolutely wrong. It did cause considerable resentment in the places where this type of thing happened in 1935. Of course, it did and not alone that, but the resentment still exists to the present day.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  Where?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Where this had to happen, for instance as between Galway and Clare and Roscommon and Athlone. This resentment at what happened in those areas in 1935 exists to the present day. It has not happened there since but it has had to happen in other places and obviously would have to happen all over the country if a revision is made now. With regard to the statement by Senator O'Quigley, who was one of those involved in the action which required this to be done in 1961, that the action was not taken by the Fine Gael Party well if he says [2305] that I suppose we must accept it as true, that it is a pure coincidence that the person taking the action was a Senator of the Fine Gael Party, the solicitor was a Deputy of the Fine Gael Party, the junior counsel was a Senator of the Fine Gael Party and his senior counsel was a Deputy of the Fine Gael Party.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  And there were two other senior counsels who were not.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  These, no doubt, are four coincidences.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  All I know is I was paid my fees by Dr. O'Donovan out of his pocket.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  Dr. O'Donovan paid himself.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  We know members of the Fine Gael Party who specialise in getting money out of the State on this kind of thing.

Senator O'Quigley went on to say that the High Court did not say that county boundaries could not be taken into account. I admit I would find it rather difficult to interpret what the High Court said in that judgment. I cannot say why they did not say it in so many words, lay down and specify what the position was. Instead of that, Budd J. took quite a number of pages of the Irish Reports in which to convey his decision. I can only take the advice tendered to me as to what the decision is. We have tried to interpret it because we have a practical job to do, to revise constituencies. We have interpreted it as indicating that these things are not relevant considerations but that a maximum divergence of about five per cent can be allowed. In fact eminent lawyers in the Fine Gael Party have not been able to agree as to exactly what is said.

Senator O'Quigley says here today that the High Court did not rule that county boundaries were irrelevant. Surely that means, in other words, that these things can be taken into account in delineating constituencies but the solicitor who instructed Senator O'Quigley in that famous case, Deputy Ryan—I believe “instructed” is the word—has a completely different view [2306] to Senator O'Quigley? On 28th May, 1968, volume 235, No. 1 of the Official Report, columns 42-43, Deputy Ryan said after I had interjected “That was because the court permitted the five per cent divergence”:

The court allowed no such thing, and typical of the utterly false propaganda being advanced in support of this despicable proposal is the one that the courts have allowed a 5 per cent divergence. The courts have allowed no divergence from equality in so far as equality is practicable. The courts have said, because our Constitution says and because the people of Ireland said, equality should operate in the ratio between population and Deputy as far as it was practicable. In relation to the 1961 revision equality as far as it was practicable was operated. The courts have not said that a 5 per cent divergence is permissible. That is not what the courts said. That is not what the Constitution says. That is not what the law at the moment says and that is why I queried last week the ruling out of order of an amendment when the reason for ruling it out of order was supposed to be that the law at the moment allowed a 5 per cent divergence. The law allows no divergence whatsoever. It says it shall be equal as far as practicable.

As far as I can see, the position is quite clear from the Irish Reports and that is that such things as county boundaries may not be taken into consideration.

I quote from page 146 of the Irish Law Reports, 1961:

Here let me observe straight away that although a system in the main based on counties has in fact been adopted, there is nothing in the Constitution about constituencies being based on counties. The Constitution does not say that in forming the constituencies according to the required ratio, that shall be done so far as is practicable having regard to county boundaries. Even if it did, the Oireachtas or the appropriate Minister could alter county boundaries. No doubt it is convenient in many ways to use the existing [2307] administrative machinery: and there is nothing objectionable in a certain degree of adherence to the county basis of division provided that the dictates of the Constitution are observed.

Further down on the same page:

No doubt the Oireachtas would have to proceed on the basis of having regard to the areas for which census figures are available, but that is about the only limiting factor.

The only limiting factor is the amount of detail in which population figures are available in the census. I shall leave Senator O'Quigley and the other lawyer members of the Fine Gael Party to try to hammer this out between themselves because they have different views about it.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  If the Minister understood us, he would know we both agree.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Senator O'Quigley says now that county boundaries may be taken into consideration. Other Deputies and Senators have said that they may not. I agree that there are certain cases of towns and villages straddling two counties as Senator O'Quigley has discovered. There are of course some cases in which a small part of one county could be added to another less objectionably than in other circumstances but unfortunately it is not always in these places that the constitutional need arises for these adjustments to be made and it is not always the case either that that would be a sufficient adjustment to make to comply with the requirements of the Constitution.

It is quite obvious from Senator O'Quigley's remarks that he, just as his colleague, would like the debate to be conducted on the basis of one side only. He said that no matter what I say he will not be convinced. I can assure him that I would not attempt for one moment to try to convince him or anybody else on the opposite side of the House. I appreciate that they have a closed mind on this matter, that their minds are made up and that this being a proposition put forward by [2308] Fianna Fáil, therefore, their duty is to oppose it. I agree with that but I am quite certain that the people will be convinced with the assistance of the fact that the Leader of the Fine Gael Party and the minority of his Party who have some confidence in the future of that Party are in favour of these proposals.

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Very briefly on the Schedule, I rise to compliment Senator FitzGerald on the very excellent case he has made, and the excellent way in which he documented it. The figures are there and the inevitable conclusions to be drawn from them are drawn. This is only what you would expect from Senator FitzGerald and, indeed, it is only two weeks since the most senior member in the Government, next to the Taoiseach, Deputy Haughey, paid a very special compliment to Senator FitzGerald on the very careful analysis he had made of the Second Programme.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  Perhaps the Senator will come to the Third Amendment.

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  I am quite satisfied from the figures given that at most the breaching of six counties was all that was required and, indeed, that would restore much of what has been done up to this. In point of fact, the Minister deludes himself if he thinks the people down the country look upon these politicians as tin gods and that the whole welfare of the country is bound up with whether they have a TD or not. The Minister is not reading the signs right and from the way the Minister and his Party are rushing this——

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  Did you say rushing?

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  ——the public realise what is going on. The recent salary proposals have also contributed heavily to this. The case made by the Minister that he realises after 36 years that county boundaries can now be regarded as sacred is a very belated conversion and one that will not carry weight down the country because what is needed is a more efficient Government, more efficiency from the top so [2309] that the public can see that the Government are actually doing the job.

No person in his sane senses would trust the present Minister or any Minister with the discretionary powers that are asked for in this, being capable of bearing a tolerance from —?th to +?th so that 16,600 votes in one area can be equal to 23,300 in another or that three votes in one area can reckon as two in another. We would be prepared to give whatever tolerance was necessary provided we saw that would be carried out by an impartial body and provided there was provision in the present Bill for a Commission. That is given only in a package deal in connection with the Fourth Amendment where it is pretty well certain to be defeated.

The Minister has made no provision for any such Commission in conjunction with a system that would prevail after the referendum, where we will have the constituencies we have today and where the Minister seems to foreshadow some more Blackrocks being shifted from the parent region like Cork city, a totally unnecessary transfer especially when you see horns pushed out into the Cork constituency on the other end as far as Blarney and away up to the north end. That does not inspire confidence in giving discretionary powers and I would not be a party to giving these discretionary powers.

If the Minister has a case there is a duty on Telefís Éireann to enable this question to be resolved before the viewers. Let Senator FitzGerald's figures be shown. They cannot be contradicted because Senator FitzGerald would defy any panel to go on Telefís Éireann and take his figures one by one and examine them and their validity. Therefore, the new bogey raised about this breaching of county boundaries is shown to be totally absurd and unreal. The people will see it for that.

If the Minister wishes to submit it to an impartial inquiry, why not submit Senator FitzGerald's figures and his own figures to people whose profession it is to analyse such—in other words, to professors of political science. They are capable of analysing the figures of Senator FitzGerald and the Minister [2310] and giving the public the benefit of their impartial and considered judgment of these figures. I challenge the Minister to take that course because the public will have far greater reliance on figures produced by those distinguished and respected professors than they will have for figures handed out by the Minister. Let him take up that challenge and as a representative of the graduates of the university amongst whom we reckon the Minister, I challenge him to be a university graduate. Let the truth prevail and let him face a panel on TV against Senator FitzGerald and let the viewers see where the truth is and let Professors Chubb and Thorney play a part in the analysis. Until that is done, indeed it will be the height of folly to give the totally unnecessary tolerance that is asked for in the Bill.

Mr. Nash: Information on John Joseph Nash  Zoom on John Joseph Nash  I had not intended to intervene in this but one of the last Senators prompted me to do so when he said: “Let the truth prevail.” I think it is a pity that the truth has not been let prevail by Senator Quinlan in his speech. He has suggested that if a tolerance is to be allowed in this Bill, discretion is to be given to the Minister to divide constituencies any way he likes. That is not true. There would have to be legislation and the legislation would be passed by both Houses of Parliament.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  And decided on by the courts.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  It is all done by a simple majority.

Mr. Nash: Information on John Joseph Nash  Zoom on John Joseph Nash  Surely no Minister and no political Party in introducing a Bill can be flagrantly in favour of one side or another? The whole basis of this discussion, unfortunately, has been what I said in my speech on Second Reading, that apparently the impression endeavoured to be given by the Opposition in this Parliament is that everybody, every Minister and every Deputy, is dishonest if he does not belong to one of the Opposition Parties. It is most degrading, most humiliating, and the people who make statements of that nature do not reflect [2311] great credit on themselves. The general intention in any electoral system is that in a broad way you should have a Deputy representing approximately the same number of people, but as well as representing the same number of the population in the country, he should also represent in a broad way the same number of the electorate. At the moment, we have a very grave discrepancy between parts of the rural areas and the cities because in so far as the electorate is concerned, it takes very many more votes in a rural area to elect a Deputy than it does in an urban or city area.

In every democratic country in the world there is a tolerance. The thing at issue is what is a reasonable tolerance. It must be reasonable at the time of each census because the Constitution says “at the time being”. The population in various constituencies may increase. They may decrease as well. Are we going to have this chopping and changing around every five years or every eight years? Surely there should be some reasonable tolerance which will stay there for a rather indefinite length of time which would be fair and reasonable to everybody? I do not think anybody with any good sense can suggest that there should not be a reasonable tolerance. The only thing at issue is what is a reasonable tolerance. The tolerance suggested is one-sixth. Are we to consider that is unreasonable? Perhaps we could apply ourselves to other democracies. We do not hear Deputies in other democracies suggesting that because there is a greater tolerance, their Ministers and their Government are crooks and are dishonest people. The whole basis of this is to strike at the very root of democracy, to detract from the respect people should owe to any Government. I do not care what Party it is that is in power, I would not subscribe to that.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  Provided it is not completely representative of Taca men.

Mr. Nash: Information on John Joseph Nash  Zoom on John Joseph Nash  I am not a member of Taca but there is nothing whatever to be ashamed of in Taca. Is it to be the suggestion that there is something to be ashamed of in being a member of a [2312] political Party? If that is the suggestion, why not say it?

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  Why do they not come out in the open?

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  Senator Nash, to continue without interruption.

Mr. Nash: Information on John Joseph Nash  Zoom on John Joseph Nash  I could not let that go unheeded. In this country politics has come to be a dirty word because of the tactics of certain people, who when they think they are looking through a window are looking in a mirror, and see themselves and not their neighbours. If I am going to suggest that somebody else's motives are dishonest without any evidence of it, I am judging his motives by what I might do in his place. Therefore, if I suggest dishonest motives to somebody else, it is because there is probably dishonesty in my own nature. I feel that it is striking at the very roots of democracy in this country that this scandalous attitude should be adopted towards political opponents.

Let the Opposition show, if they suggest a more reasonable tolerance than the one-sixth suggested, one example of where there is a smaller tolerance than one-sixth in any country in Europe. I consider it is a reasonable tolerance and that it is smaller than in most countries, and enables constituencies to be kept within county boundaries, which are already there for administrative and other purposes. I feel the people have a certain pride in their own county and that they would like to have the same relation between their counties and their constituencies as they already have between their county councillors and their Deputies.

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Perhaps the Senator will explain what happened in Blackrock?

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  Senator Quinlan has had an opportunity to speak and will get another opportunity to speak later. Senator Quinlan must cease interrupting.

Mr. McDonald: Information on Charles B. McDonald  Zoom on Charles B. McDonald  The Minister and the Fianna Fáil Senators have gone to great pains to blame the fixing of the constituencies the last time on the court [2313] action which has been mentioned here during the course of the day. This is just a red herring in order to divert the attention of the people from what is happening and so that the Minister will have an opportunity of fixing constituencies in the way he wishes. Take, for instance, the case outlined by Senator Quinlan in Cork where they moved portion of Cork city, Blackrock, into the middle of Cork for no other apparent reason than that it was the residential area of one of the most popular Fine Gael Deputies in that city. Again, if my memory serves me correct, we in the Fine Gael Party had a very promising Dáil candidate in Councillor Jim Bowe from Wexford. Before any time, he found himself and his area landed in Carlow.

Mr. Browne: Information on Sean Browne  Zoom on Sean Browne  I have not said a word about that but the area is 80 per cent Fianna Fáil.

Mr. McDonald: Information on Charles B. McDonald  Zoom on Charles B. McDonald  What happened to Councillor Bowe has happened all over the country. This was not confined to the constituency of that Fine Gael councillor alone. I think many Labour candidates found their constituencies moved as well. If the present Government get an opportunity, they certainly will rape the constituencies to a very fine degree. The Minister has not told us in any of his long speeches in this House whether any portion of the county boundaries will be regrouped. Will the portions of Meath and Westmeath which are with Kildare be restored to their administrative counties at the first opportunity? The Minister has said that those people have expressed disquiet on account of being with other counties but he has not given an assurance to the House that if he gets the chance, he will restore those people to where they were pre-1961. This entire problem is a major one and one which will affect practically every constituency and I would ask the Minister to show even at this late stage some change of heart in order to reassure the people that they will not find themselves facing a problem, as far as gerrymandering is concerned, such as they have in the North of Ireland.

[2314]Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  There are two issues and a bit involved in debating this Schedule. We have tried to establish why it is needed. I have tried in speaking earlier to give the reason. I am merely summing up very briefly at this stage. There is the issue of fair representation. I suggest this is not in issue because we propose that an electoral basis, which the Minister thinks is fair, should be employed, but he voted that down yesterday. The Minister has rejected this proposal. He has rejected the proposal which would have given to the west of Ireland, including Kerry, which he seems to omit, 37 seats as against 34.1 as they are entitled to on the basis of population.

The second issue is county boundaries. He claimed in words which I quoted before that this would get much worse and what happened in 1961 would be as nothing to what must happen now, and that this would have to occur on such a much wider scale now if this Bill is not passed. These are the words he used. I have presented a possible way in which the constituencies could be divided which shows that not alone need this not be worse on this occasion, but better. Instead of taking pieces from seven constituencies, to take pieces from six would suffice. Instead of taking 56,000-odd people, 33,000-odd would suffice. In disturbing in their voting pattern 1.5 per cent of the people, the problem could be solved. Far from getting worse, this problem, if not aggravated by the desire to gerrymander at the expense of unnecessarily moving people around, might be resolved with very little disturbance.

It is not, therefore, a question of county boundaries. The Minister made this clear in his reference to Mayo where he said that under the present system—that is what I said, although I think he has misquoted me—he was prepared, and any government would be, to break up Mayo unnecessarily even though there was no need to do so and break up the county boundaries in order to produce unfair representation—something which certainly a Fine Gael Government would not do. We believe that county boundaries should be adhered to where possible [2315] and that representation should be fair, based on electorate or population, whatever is appropriate.

The grounds that the Minister put forward for the Bill were self-contradictory and were disproved out of his own mouth. I have challenged him with the figures I have put forward for the various constituencies and, speaking at great length and in his usual wandering manner, he has failed to come to grips with my figures and has not challenged them and, by default, has accepted that what I said was true. His claims that if the Bill does not go through, the country would have to be divided up far more extensively are disproved and, with respect to Senator Quinlan, I do not think it is necessary to establish any committee of inquiry to see whether these figures are correct or not. The fact that I have put them forward and that the Minister has failed to refute them is quite clear evidence that my figures stand and that his claims are false. On these grounds, we reject the Schedule.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Senator Quinlan states that the Government are not reading the signs right. I imagine that the fact that we have continued to retain the confidence of the people over such a long period would indicate that we have a reasonable facility——

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  You are getting worried now.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  Senator Rooney should allow the Minister to speak without interruption.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I also thought that the main tenor of the debate was the allegation that we were too well able to read the signs, that we had too accurate an information service in regard to voting patterns and so on in the country. However, Senator Quinlan being, as he says himself, a rugged Independent, has, apparently, a different view from that of some of his colleagues.

With regard to Senator FitzGerald's scheme of constituencies, which Senator Quinlan naturally found so acceptable and so much deserving of compliments, I can only say that I dealt with each [2316] county on an individual basis, that I gave the figures from the census of population and I think Senator Quinlan would probably be capable of reading these. They are incontrovertible. I showed the number of counties whose boundaries would have to be breached. This cannot be contradicted.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I contradicted the Minister's figures for Wexford.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  These figures are on the record of the Seanad. I showed that a much wider breaching of county boundaries would be necessary now in order to do justice or to go as near as possible to doing justice to the people of rural areas under the present circumstances which the Opposition are trying to hang on to, that is requiring representation to be based on the population in the census irrespective of the number of voters in the constituency.

Senator FitzGerald's suggested scheme of the constituencies is, apparently, acceptable to Senator Quinlan but we know from past experience that it would not be acceptable to the people concerned or to their representatives but because these representatives have not been sufficiently interested to investigate the matter for themselves they have not come face to face with what is going to happen in their constituencies, of course, no objections have been raised yet but when this type of thing had to happen in 1961 the objections from the Opposition benches were very vehement indeed.

Apparently, Senator Quinlan's main purpose in rising was to repeat something which he knows to be a deliberate falsehood. With regard to this proposal to permit of a maximum divergence from the national average of population per Deputy of one-sixth in order to take account of certain very practical considerations, Senator Quinlan alleged, which he knew to be false, that this meant that it would take 16,000 odd votes in some constituencies, as against 23,000 odd votes in other constituencies, to elect a Deputy. Senator Quinlan knows that that is untrue and I suspect that his sole purpose in [2317] speaking was to repeat that deliberate falsehood.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  What is untrue about it?

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  What is untrue about it?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  He knows that, so far from that being true, the position is that these figures relate to total population and that the total population have not got votes, that, in fact, the position is that if the change that we propose is not made the situation that will continue will be that, for instance, in the area of Dublin North-West it will take 10,206 voters to elect a Deputy, not 23,000 odd as he alleged, and that in the area of Donegal South-West, it will take 13,567 voters to elect a Deputy, not 16,000 odd as Senator Quinlan alleged.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Only if you fail to revise the constituencies.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Senator Quinlan also said that this proposal would give very wide discretionary powers to the Minister but he knows himself that, in fact, it will give much less discretionary powers to the Minister than now because the requirement will be to utilise this maximum permissible divergence from the national average of population per Deputy in order to avoid the breaching of county boundaries. So that, it will be much more restrictive on the Minister than the present position which Senator Quinlan wants to retain, the position in which the Minister will be required, whether he wants to or not, to make adjustments as between one county and another, and, of course, he will have the facility available to him of selecting the areas to be attached to one county and the areas to be detached from another in the many different ways this can be done. It is the situation now, and which Senator Quinlan wants to retain, which will give much greater discretionary powers to the Minister.

Senator Quinlan's argument against this is a dishonest one because he first of all decided what his attitude was to [2318] be, that his attitude was to be to oppose this, and it was only then that he searched around for arguments to use, instead of first of all examining the situation and then deciding, on the basis of the relevant considerations, what viewpoint he should take. He leads a very simple life and decides everything on the basis of one consideration and one consideration only and that is, if something is proposed by Fianna Fáil, he in his capacity, as he said himself, of rugged Independent, must oppose it.

Senator Quinlan, as well as everybody else here, knows that it is possible to put the provision for the Constituency Commission into one of these Bills only, since the two are being put before the people at the same time.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  Nonsense.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Every Senator knows that that is so. Senators also know that it was our intention originally to have only one proposal put before the people and that this provision for the Constituency Commission would be in the Bill. It was at their request, not as a result of any decision of ours, that these were segregated into two separate proposals and, that being done, it was necessary to decide into which of these Bills the provision for the Constituency Commission should be inserted. Surely, since all that is proposed in effect in the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill is a return to the circumstances that existed when the provision in the Constitution was interpreted by the people who drafted it, since that is all that is proposed and since there is a requirement to adhere as far as possible to county boundaries, only a minor revision of existing constituencies can take place. The whole scheme of constituencies is not to be disrupted. But if the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill is passed, there must be a completely new revision of constituencies.

If the information on which to gerrymander the country is available and if the Minister is as unscrupulous as Senators opposite say, then it is on the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill being passed that more [2319] scope is there for this unscrupulous activity to be carried out by the Minister. Obviously, if the provision of a Constituency Commission is in any sense a safeguard against gerrymandering, the more appropriate Bill to put it into, since it can only be put into one, is the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill.

But the discussion on this point is academic because we are proposing to the people that they should accept the two amendments of the Constitution and the Opposition are suggesting they should not accept either. Therefore, the likelihood is that we will either have both amendments accepted or neither. If neither is accepted the position will be as it is and we will be required to go ahead and butcher more constituencies. But there will be nothing to prevent a Constituency Commission being established to do that. It will not be a requirement of the Constitution, however. If, on the other hand, our advice and the advice of the Leader of the main Opposition Party, Deputy Cosgrave, is taken, then the two amendments of the Constitution will be passed by the people and the Constituency Commission will operate. The whole thing is quite simple and this is purely a bogus argument that is being made.

Senator McDonald wants to know whether or not the areas of Counties Meath and Westmeath and of other counties added on to other counties in 1961 will be restored. The Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill provides that it will be permissible to operate a maximum divergence of one-sixth from the national average for the purpose of avoiding the breaching of county boundaries. If this Bill is passed, it will be possible to restore in all cases these bits of counties added on to other counties. On this occasion also it will be possible to avoid doing it in any other case. On the other hand if the position Senator McDonald and the rest of his colleagues over there want to retain is retained, then it will not be possible to avoid doing these things

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  It will.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  It will not. Even [2320] Senator FitzGerald admits it will have to happen in at least six cases, but I counted 20 counties when he was reading them out.

Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Six counties.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  This cannot be avoided unless the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill is accepted. Admittedly, if you are to approach it from the point of view of further decreasing the representation of the rural areas and further increasing the injustice that must be done if the change is not made, you can avoid a certain amount of this breaching. But, even on that basis, you cannot avoid it in every case on anything approaching it. A substantial amount will have to be done.

With regard to the loss of this prominent Fine Gael aspirant for the Dáil in County Wexford, I must say I do not know anything about that. But I do know Fine Gael have lost a prominent aspirant for the Dáil in the constituency of North-East Dublin lately, and this did not arise from any revision of the constituencies, gerrymandered or otherwise, carried out in 1961. It merely arose from the fact that we have this unnatural and disruptive electoral system of multi-member constituencies here. When this prominent aspirant of Fine Gael appeared and posed a threat to the two sitting Members for Fine Gael in the constituency, they took the action Senator Rooney regrets not taking in County Dublin. They kicked him out when they had the opportunity. Senator Rooney waited until it was too late and in the struggle for the last seat in County Dublin, he came a cropper. His colleagues in North-East Dublin knew what was going to happen and they got rid of this prominent aspirant. This is what is involved in the system of multi-member constituencies.

Mr. Rooney: Information on Eamonn Rooney  Zoom on Eamonn Rooney  It happens at Fianna Fáil Conventions, too. The Minister knows it because he was rejected himself.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Senator FitzGerald still desires to prolong this discussion. Apparently, he was not able to do it himself and tried to provoke me into doing it. Once again he asked me why [2321] we are making this proposal. I explained it to him when introducing the Bill. I explained it again in reply to the Second Reading debate. Senator FitzGerald still wants to prolong this debate by asking me to do it again. I do not think I will oblige him. I think even he knows the reason by now.

Senator FitzGerald again takes me to task for having said that what happened in 1961 will be nothing compared to what will happen now. I have proved that by dealing with each constituency individually. The figures Senator FitzGerald quoted with regard to the disturbance involved in his proposed revision of constituencies are, of course, completely wrong. He ignores that in some cases he is actually disrupting the population of whole counties, detaching them from where they have been and attaching them to other counties. His proposal involves much more shifting of population than he himself has admitted.

[2322] All this is an operation with figures. The fact that you move people about every five years is of no concern. Nor is the fact that Dáil representatives are elected for a constituency this year and in two years time find that that constituency is changed and that now they have to adjust themselves to represent other areas for which they were not elected.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  On a point of order, the Minister has indicated he does not want to prolong the debate. I now formally propose that the question be put.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I am finished. You are precluding Senator FitzGerald from speaking again.

Cuireadh an cheist: “Go bhfanfaidh an Sceideal mar Sceideal don Bhille.”

Question put: “That the Schedule be the Schedule to the Bill.”

Rinne an Coiste votáil: Tá, 29; Níl, 12.

Boland, Gerald.
Brennan, John J.
Browne, Seán.
Cole, John C.
Dolan, Séamus.
Eachthéirn, Cáit Uí.
Egan, Kieran P.
Fitzsimons, Patrick.
Flanagan, Thomas P.
Honan, Dermot P.
Killilea, Mark.
McGlinchey, Bernard.
McGowan, Patrick.
Martin, James J.
Ó Conalláin, Dónall.
Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
O'Kennedy, Michael.
O'Reilly, Patrick (Longford).
Ormonde, John.
O'Sullivan, Ted.
Ryan, Eoin.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Patrick W.
Ryan, William.
Sheldon, William A. W.
Stanford, William B.
Teehan, Patrick J.
Yeats, Michael.

Conlan, John F.
Crowley, Patrick.
FitzGerald, Garret M.D.
McDonald, Charles.
McHugh, Vincent.
Malone, Patrick.
Mannion, John.
Murphy, Dominick F.
O'Quigley, John B.
O'Reilly, Patrick (Cavan).
Quinlan, Patrick M.
Rooney, Éamon.

Faisnéiseadh go rabhthas tar éis glacadh leis an gceist.

Question declared carried.

Cuireadh an cheist: “Go bhfanfaidh Alt 1 mar chuid den Bhille”, agus faisnéiseadh go rabhthas tar éis glacadh leis an gceist.

Question: “That section 1 stand part of the Bill” put and declared carried.

Cuireadh an cheist: “Go bhfanfaidh Alt 2 mar chuid den Bhille” agus faisnéiseadh go rabhthas tar éis glacadh leis an gceist.

[2323] Question put: “That section 2 stand part of the Bill” and declared carried.

Cuireadh agus d'aontaíodh an Réamhrá.

Preamble agreed to.

Cuireadh agus d'aontaíodh an Teideal.

Title agreed to.

Tuarascíodh an Bille gan leasú.

Bill reported without amendment.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Next Stage?

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  I suggest the next Stage should be taken now.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  There are matters with which we have dealt on Committee Stage, for instance, the Commission, which require amendment and which will have to be dealt with on Report Stage.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Have we a proposal as to when the Report Stage will be taken?

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  Next Wednesday.

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Tuesday. If Senator O'Quigley seriously intends to put down an amendment, we shall leave it over until next week but we shall take it on Tuesday.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  Why not Wednesday?

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Because the sooner the better. We want the whole week to discuss it, if necessary.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  I do not intend that it should be a long debate. I want to ensure that the Members opposite will not have to suffer too long.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  Senator O'Quigley would like nobody to talk except himself.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  There is a tendency for the discussion as to when Stages of Bills should be taken to become somewhat disorderly. This [2324] should properly be handled by means of a straight proposition, with possible amendments. I take it the Leader of the House is proposing next Tuesday and that Senator O'Quigley is proposing next Wednesday, as an amendment. Any Senators who wish to speak once on the amendment are entitled to do so.

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  I think it desirable that we should, if at all possible, have the report of the Committee Stage debate available to us before the Report Stage. I wonder could the Leader of the House give a guarantee, if we agree to his proposal, that the report of the Committee Stage debates will be available by Tuesday.

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  I am not in a position to give any guarantee.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  It is desirable that it should be. We have been considerably handicapped as regards knowing what was said on the last Stage, the attitudes that have been adopted and the various nuances that have to be taken into consideration. In drafting suitable amendments for the Report Stage, it is very necessary to have the benefit of the report. From my experience, I cannot see it being available for Tuesday. I think we have gone a good distance to accommodate the Government in this debate and we are quite prepared to finish the debate on Wednesday.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  The whole purpose is to delay.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  We are quite prepared to do that.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  If nobody talks only yourself.

Seán Ó Donnabháin: Information on Sean ODonovan  Zoom on Sean ODonovan  I do not think there is any reason to alter what has been the procedure up to now.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Has the House anything to say before the questions are put?

Mr. E. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  In view of the length of time taken to debate this Stage of the Bill, practically an entire day, I think if we want to finish by the end [2325] of next week, it is essential we should sit as early as possible in the week.

Mr. O'Quigley: Information on John Benignus OQuigley  Zoom on John Benignus OQuigley  There is only one speech from anyone on Report Stage.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  There is a proposition to the effect that the Report Stage be taken next Tuesday and an amendment that it be taken on Wednesday.

Amendment put: “That the Report Stage be taken on Wednesday, 31st July, 1968” and declared lost.

D'ordaíodh Céim na Tuarascála don Mháirt, 30 Iúl, 1968.

Report Stage ordered for Tuesday, 30th July, 1968.


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