Dáil Éireann - Volume 40 - 21 October, 1931
Seanad Triennial Election, 1931: Motion.
Minister for Local Government and Public Health (General Mulcahy) Richard (General) Mulcahy
Minister for Local Government and Public Health (General Mulcahy): I move the motion, which stands on the Order Paper:—
Whereas it is provided by Section 5 of the Seanad Electoral Act, 1928, that before each election of members of Seanad Eireann a panel shall be formed consisting partly of persons nominated by Dáil Eireann, partly of persons nominated by Seanad Eireann, and that the method of proposal and selection for nomination shall be decided by Dáil Eireann and Seanad Eireann respectively:
Now, therefore, this Dáil doth hereby resolve and decide that the proposal and selection for nomination for so much of the panel as shall be nominated by Dáil Eireann for the purpose of the next election of members to Seanad Eireann shall be conducted in accordance with the following rules:—
1. The Ceann Comhairle, or in his absence the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, shall be the Returning Officer for the purpose of selection.
2. A candidate for selection shall be nominated in writing and such written nomination shall be subscribed by one Deputy as proposer, and by another Deputy as seconder, and shall include a statement subscribed by two other Deputies that the candidate whose name appears on the nomination paper is a person who has done honour to the Nation by reason of useful public service or, because of special qualifications or attainments, represents important aspects of the Nation's life.
3. Each candidate shall be nominated by a separate nomination paper, and the nomination paper shall be in the form set out in Part II. of the Schedule hereto, and shall contain the particulars required thereby.
4. The Returning Officer shall cause nomination papers to be supplied to any Deputy requiring the same during the period commencing at the time of the passing of this Resolution and ending at 12 o'clock noon on the 10th day of November, 1931, which period is herein referred to as the “time for selection.”
5. Nomination papers shall be delivered to the Returning Officer or to such other person as he may appoint for the purpose by the proposer or seconder or either assenting Deputy during such hours, and at such places, during the time for selection, as the Returning  Officer may fix, but not after the expiration of the time for selection.
The period referred to in sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the Electoral (Amendment) (No. 2) Act, 1927, shall be the “time for selection.”
6. The Returning Officer may reject as invalid any nomination paper which does not contain the particulars required by the form or which does not comply with the requirements of this Resolution, or which shows that the person nominated by such paper is a person who is not qualified to be elected as a member of Seanad Eireann, or is placed under disability or incapacity by the Constitution or by law, and the decision of the Returning Officer that a nomination paper is valid or is invalid shall be final for all purposes.
7. As soon as practicable after receiving a valid nomination paper, but not later than the 11th day of November, 1931, the Returning Officer shall cause a notice of such nomination to be issued to each Deputy, and such notice shall contain the name in full of the person nominated, his address, profession or occupation, and a statement of such person's useful public service or special qualifications or attainments in reference to important aspects of the Nation's life.
8. Any candidate duly nominated may by notice in writing, signed by him and delivered to the Returning Officer, withdraw his nomination at any time before the expiration of the time for selection, and in any such case the Returning Officer shall as soon as practicable cause notice of the withdrawal to be issued to each Deputy.
9. The voting shall be by secret ballot.
10. The voting paper shall be in the form set out in Part II. of the  Schedule hereto, and the names of candidates nominated shall be arranged alphabetically in the order of their surnames.
11. The voting shall take place at the sitting of Dáil Eireann on the 11th day of November, 1931.
12. As soon as may be after the commencement of such sitting the Returning Officer shall cause one voting paper to be handed to each Deputy present at such sitting.
13.—Any Deputy who may inadvertently spoil a voting paper may deliver it to the Returning Officer and obtain another voting paper.
14.—At or before the adjournment of Dáil Eireann, but not later than 5.30 o'clock in the afternoon of the 11th day of November, 1931, each Deputy shall deliver his voting paper to the Returning Officer.
COUNTING THE VOTES.
15. (a) The Returning Officer shall cause the voting papers to be counted and the result of the selection determined in accordance with the Rules contained in Part I. of the Schedule hereto.
(b) The counting of the votes shall take place in the presence of any Deputy who may desire to be present, and who was, either the proposer, seconder, or assentor to the nomination of a candidate. Not later than 5.30 p.m. on the afternoon of the 11th day of November, 1931, the Returning Officer shall announce to the Dáil the hour and place at which the counting of the votes will take place.
DECLARATION OF RESULT.
16. The Returning Officer shall give notice of the result of the selection by declaring to Dáil Eireann the names of the persons selected and the order of their selection. He shall also cause to be displayed in some convenient place a statement giving the particulars required by Rule 12, in Part I. of the Schedule hereto.
 17. In this Resolution expressions referring to writing shall include printing, typewriting, and other modes of representing or reproducing words in visible form.
18. This Resolution may be cited as the Seanad Election Resolution, 1931.
1. The selection shall be conducted in accordance with the following Rules.
2. (1) Every elector shall have one transferable vote.
(2) An elector in giving his vote—
(a) must place on his voting paper the figure 1 opposite the name of the candidate for whom he votes;
(b) may in addition place on his voting paper the figure 2 or the figures 2 and 3, or 2, 3, and 4, and so on opposite the names of the other candidates in the order of his preference.
3. The forms contained in Part II. of this Schedule, or forms to the like effect, shall be used for the purposes to which they are expressed to be applicable.
4. A voting paper shall be invalid and not counted—
(a) on which the figure 1 standing alone, indicating a First Preference for some one candidate, is not placed; or
(b) on which the figure 1 standing alone, indicating a First Preference is set opposite the name of more than one candidate; or
(c) on which the figure 1 standing alone, indicating a First Preference and some other number is set opposite the name of the same candidate; or
(d) which is unmarked, or void for uncertainty.
5. (1) The Returning Officer shall reject any voting papers that are invalid. The Returning Officer shall then ascertain the  number of First Preferences recorded on the voting papers for each candidate, and shall then arrange the candidates on a list (hereinafter called “the Order of Preference”) in the order of the number of First Preferences recorded for each candidate, beginning with the candidate for whom the greatest number of First Preferences are recorded. If the number of First Preferences recorded for any two or more candidates (hereinafter called “equal candidates”) is equal, the Returning Officer shall ascertain the number of Second Preferences recorded on all the voting papers for each of the equal candidates, and shall arrange the equal candidates as amongst themselves on the Order of Preferences in the order of the Second Preferences recorded for each such candidate, beginning with the candidate for whom the greatest number of Second Preferences is recorded. If the number of First and Second Preferences recorded for any two or more equal candidates is equal, the Returning Officer shall, in like manner, ascertain the number of Third Preferences recorded on all the voting papers for each of such equal candidates, and arrange such candidates on the Order of Preferences accordingly, and so on until all the candidates are arranged in order on the Order of Preferences. If the number of First, Second, Third, and all other Preferences recorded for any two or more equal candidates is equal, the Returning Officer shall determine by lot the order in which such candidates are to be arranged on the Order of Preferences.
The Returning Officer shall then cause the valid voting papers to be arranged in parcels, according to the First Preferences recorded for each candidate.
(2) For the purpose of facilitating the processes prescribed by these Rules, each valid voting paper shall be deemed to be of the value of one thousand.
 (3) The Returning Officer shall count the number of papers in each parcel, and in accordance with sub-section (2) of this Rule credit each candidate with the value of the valid papers on which a First Preference has been recorded for such candidate.
6. The Returning Officer shall then add together the values in all the parcels, and divide the full total value by a number exceeding by one the number of vacancies to be filled. The result increased by one, any fractional remainder being disregarded, shall be the number sufficient to secure the return of the candidate. This number is herein called the “quota.”
7. If at the end of any count or at the end of the transfer of any parcel or sub-parcel of an excluded candidate the value credited to a candidate is equal to or greater than the quota, that candidate shall be deemed to be selected.
8. (1) If the end of any count the value credited to a candidate is greater than the quota, the surplus shall be transferred in accordance with the provisions of this Rule to the continuing candidate or candidates indicated on the voting papers in the parcel or sub-parcel of the selected candidate, according to the next available preferences recorded thereon.
(2) (a) If the value credited to a selected candidate arises out of original votes only, the Returning Officer shall examine all the papers in the parcel of the selected candidate, whose surplus is to be transferred, and shall arrange the transferable papers in sub-parcels according to the next available preferences recorded thereon, and shall make a separate sub-parcel of the non-transferable papers.
(b) If the value credited to a selected candidate arises out of original and transferred votes, or of transferred votes only, the Returning Officer shall examine the papers contained in the sub-parcel last received by the selected candidate,  and shall arrange the transferable papers therein in further sub-parcels according to the next available preferences recorded thereon and shall make a separate sub-parcel of the non-transferable papers.
(c) In either of the cases referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) in this sub-section, the Returning Officer shall ascertain the number of papers and their total value in each sub-parcel of transferable papers and in the sub-parcel of non-transferable papers.
(3) If the surplus is equal to or greater than the total value of the papers in the sub-parcels of transferable papers the Returning Officer shall transfer each sub-parcel of transferable papers to the continuing candidate indicated thereon as the voter's next available preference, each paper being transferred at the value at which it was received by the candidate whose surplus is being transferred.
When the surplus is greater than the total value of the sub-parcels of transferable papers the non-transferable papers shall be set aside as not effective, at a value which is equal to the difference between the surplus and the value of the sub-parcels of transferable papers.
(4) If the surplus is less than the total value of the transferable papers, the Returning Officer shall transfer each paper in such sub-parcel of transferable papers to the continuing candidate indicated thereon as the voter's next available preference, and the value at which each paper shall be transferred shall be ascertained by dividing the surplus by the total number of transferable papers, fractional remainders being disregarded, except that the consequential loss of value shall be noted on the Result Sheet.
(5) A surplus which arises on the completion of any count shall be dealt with before a surplus which may arise at a subsequent count.
 When two or more surpluses arise out of the same count the largest shall be first dealt with and the others shall be dealt with in the order of their magnitude.
If two or more candidates have an equal surplus arising out of the same count, the surplus of the candidate credited with the greatest value at the earliest count at which the values credited to these candidates were unequal shall be first dealt with.
Where the values credited to such candidates were equal at all counts, the Returning Officer shall deal first with the surplus of the candidate recorded in the Order of Preferences as having received the greatest number of first preferences.
9. (1) If at the end of any count no candidate has a surplus and one or more vacancies remain unfilled, the Returning Officer shall exclude the candidate credited with the lowest value and shall transfer his papers to the continuing candidate or candidates indicated on the voting papers in the parcel or sub-parcels of the excluded candidate as the voter's next available preference, and shall credit the continuing candidate or candidates with the value of the papers transferred.
(2) (a) The parcel containing original votes shall first be transferred, the transfer value of each paper being one thousand.
(b) The sub-parcels containing transferred votes shall then be transferred in the order in which and at the value of which the excluded candidate obtained them.
(c) For the purpose of determining whether a candidate is a continuing candidate the transfer of each parcel or sub-parcel shall be regarded as a separate count.
(3) In the transfer of each parcel or sub-parcel a separate sub-parcel shall be made of the non-transferable papers which shall be set aside at the value at which the  excluded candidates obtained them.
(4) (a) If, when a candidate has to be excluded under this Rule, two or more candidates are each credited with the same value and are lowest, regard shall be had to the total value of original votes credited to each of those candidates, and the candidate with the smallest total value shall be excluded, and where the total values are equal, regard shall be had to the total value credited to those candidates at the earliest count at which they had unequal values, and the candidate with the smallest value at that count shall be excluded.
(b) If two or more candidates are lowest and are each credited with the same value at all counts the Returning Officer shall exclude the candidate recorded on the Order of Preferences as having received the smallest number of First Preferences.
10. Whenever any transfer is made under any of these preceding Rules, each sub-parcel of papers transferred shall be placed on top of the parcel or sub-parcel, if any, of papers of the candidate to whom the transfer is made, and that candidate shall be credited with the value ascertained in pursuance of these Rules.
11. (1) If at the end of any count the number of selected candidates is equal to the number of vacancies to be filled, no further transfers shall be made.
(2) (a) When the number of continuing candidates is equal to the number of vacancies remaining unfilled, the continuing candidates shall thereupon be deemed to be selected.
(b) When only one vacancy remains unfilled and the value credited to some one continuing candidate exceeds the total of the values credited to the other continuing candidates, together with any surplus not transferred,  that candidate shall thereupon be deemed to be selected.
(3) When the last vacancies can be filled under this Rule, no further transfer shall be made.
12. The Returning Officer shall record the total of the values credited to each candidate at the end of every count. Such record shall include—
(i) the value of the non-transferable papers not effective; and
(ii) the loss of value owing to disregard of fractions, and may be in accordance with the form set out in Part II. of this Schedule, or in a form to the like effect.
13. The candidates shall be deemed to have been selected in the order in which their surpluses were transferred.
A candidate credited at the end of a count with a value exactly equal to the quota shall be regarded as having the smallest surplus at that count for the purposes of this Rule.
When two or more candidates are deemed to have been selected under Rule 11 (2) (a) such candidates shall be deemed to have been selected in the order of values credited to them respectively at that stage, the candidate credited at that stage with the greatest value being deemed to have been the first selected of such candidates, and so on, and if two or more candidates are credited with equal values at that stage the order of selection of such equal candidates shall be ascertained in the same way as the order of exclusion of such candidates would be ascertained under Rule 9 (4), with the difference that the candidates who would be the last to be excluded under that Rule shall be deemed to have been the first selected of such equal candidates, and the candidate who would have been the first to be excluded shall be deemed to have been the last selected.
 14. In these Rules—
(1) The expression “continuing candidate” means any candidate not deemed to be selected and not excluded.
(2) The expression “first preference” means the “figure 1” standing alone; the expression “second preference” means the “figure 2” standing alone in sucession to “figure 1,” and the expression “third preference” means the “figure 3” standing alone in sucession to the figures “1” and “2” set opposite the name of any candidate, and so on.
(3) The expression “next available preference” means a second or subsequent preference recorded in consecutive numerical order for a continuing candidate, the preference next in order on the voting paper for candidates already deemed to be selected or excluded being ignored.
(4) The expression “transferable paper” means a voting paper on which following a first preference a second or subsequent preference is recorded in numerical order for a continuing candidate.
(5) The expression “non-transferable paper” means a voting paper on which no second or subsequent preference is recorded for a continuing candidate:
Provided that a paper shall be deemed to have become a non-transferable paper whenever—
(a) the names of two or more candidates (whether continuing or not) are marked with the same number, and are next in order of preference; or
(b) the name of the candidate next in order of preference (whether continuing or not) is marked—
(i) by a number not following consecutively after some other number on the voting paper: or
 (ii) by two or more numbers; or
(c) it is void for uncertainty.
(6) The expression “original vote” in regard to any candidate means a vote derived from a voting paper on which a first preference is recorded for that candidate.
(7) The expression “transferred vote” in regard to any candidate means a vote derived from a voting paper on which a second or subsequent preference is recorded for that candidate.
(8) The expression “surplus” means the number by which the total value of the votes, original and transferred, credited to any candidate exceeds the quota.
(9) The expression “count” means—
(a) all the operations involved in the counting of the first preferences recorded for candidates; or
(b) all the operations involved in the transfer of the surplus of a selected candidate; or
(c) all the operations involved in the transfer of the votes of an excluded candidate.
(10) The expression “deemed to be selected” means deemed to be selected for the purpose of counting, but without prejudice to the declaration of the result of the selection.
(11) The expression “determined by lot” in Rule 5 means determined in accordance with the following directions:—
The names of the candidates concerned having been written on similar slips of paper, and the slips having been folded so as to prevent identification and mixed and drawn at random, the candidates concerned shall as amongst themselves be arranged on the Order of Preferences in the order in which the slips containing their names are drawn, beginning  with the candidate whose name is on the slip drawn first.
The motion provides machinery for the panel for the next Seanad election. It will be necessary to provide a panel of 23 names, there being 23 vacancies. The resolution is on the same lines as on the last occasion, and provides that nomination papers will be available after the passing of this motion, and up to 12 noon on 10th November. Any voting that it may be necessary to take in connection with it will take place on 11th November; the voting papers will be distributed between the sitting of the Dáil and 5.30 p.m. on that date.
Mr. Lemass Mr. Lemass
Mr. Lemass: I do not know if on this motion I would be in order in submitting a suggestion to the House. As the Minister has told us 23 members of the Seanad are due to retire next month on the expiration of their period of office. The introduction of this motion represents the first step in the filling of the vacancies that will thus be created. I suggest that in the interests of economy these vacancies should not be filled at all. It seems to me from reading the Seanad Electoral Act that if the Dáil declines to pass this motion, or to proceed with the nomination of candidates for inclusion in the panel, the election cannot take place, and as the Seanad is entitled to act despite vacancies in its membership, no constitutional difficulty would arise, and the body that would remain would be smaller in numbers, less costly to the taxpayers, and just as useful or as useless as the present body. I think the Government that has declared through the Minister for Agriculture that its policy is economy at the top, in the middle, and at the bottom, should not fail to take this opportunity of commencing that economy at the top, which is the proper place. In the past we have discussed the question of having a Seanad at all. That is not at issue now, but there is a suitable opportunity afforded, by which we can reduce membership of the Seanad without difficulty, and I say that opportunity should not be lost.
 If, however, the Dáil decides to proceed with the election, there is one point in connection with the procedure that I would like to have cleared up. It is stated that voting will take place at the sitting of the Dáil on 11th November, and that ballot papers will be distributed to Deputies present at that sitting as soon as may be after its commencement. What exactly is going to happen? Will ballot papers be distributed to Deputies present in the House at 3 o'clock, and will a ballot paper be declined to any Deputy who comes in afterwards; or will Deputies in the precincts of the House but not actually sitting on the benches be entitled to procure a ballot paper and vote? Is it intended that only such Deputies as are actually present in the House as soon as may be after the commencement of the sitting— whatever time that is—will have the right to take part in the election?
The impression I have received is that the particular method selected for the purposes of this election is probably the worst possible that could have been selected, knowing what the electorate is going to be, how many votes are going to be cast and who will have an opportunity of voting. It seems to me that the proper procedure would have been that usually adopted in the case of a Seanad election—to supply each member through the post with a ballot paper and let him record his vote by post. The method suggested here seems to be most unsuitable. It is likely, I think, to cause a lot of confusion when an attempt is made to put it into operation.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: I take it that it is out of order on the part of a Deputy to discuss a reduction of the Seanad on this motion?
Mr. Lemass Mr. Lemass
Mr. Lemass: The point I make is that if the Dáil declines to pass the motion a reduction takes place automatically. That surely arises on the motion.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: A reduction of the membership of the Seanad ought, I think, to be proceeded with in an orderly way. That, I think, is the outlook we would have on it. Any consideration of the membership of the  Seanad ought, I submit, only take place in conjunction with any consideration that will be given to the question of the membership of the Dáil. That is a question that stands for consideration at an early date. On the other matter, I think Deputies will remember that there was, in fact, no ballot necessary when the panel for the Dáil was set up on the last occasion. There are 23 vacancies to be filled. The Seanad makes up a panel of 23 and the Dáil makes up a panel of 23. The two will form the panel of persons who will afterwards be voted for in the election of Senators. In the past I do not think that any exception was taken to the procedure that was adopted here. The Deputy may at any time between 3 o'clock on Wednesday, 11th, and 5.30 p.m. receive a voting paper. He may deposit that voting paper at any time between the hours set out.
Mr. Lemass Mr. Lemass
Mr. Lemass: Where will the Deputy receive the voting paper?
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: It will be for the Returning Officer to make arrangements for that.
Mr. Lemass Mr. Lemass
Mr. Lemass: That is not what is in the motion.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: Any information on that point can be obtained from the office.
An Ceann Comhairle Michael Hayes
An Ceann Comhairle: The answer to the question asked by Deputy Lemass will be found in paragraph 14. A voting paper will be available certainly up to 5.20, up to the very latest moment before 5.30.
Mr. Lemass Mr. Lemass
Mr. Lemass: That is not the point. If I am not present and the general distribution of the ballot papers takes place, how am I to procure one? Must I come into the Dáil, take my seat and then wave my hand to the Ceann Comhairle, that I want a ballot paper?
An Ceann Comhairle Michael Hayes
An Ceann Comhairle: It is to be hoped that the ingenuity of the Ceann Comhairle will devise a better system than that.
Mr. Lemass Mr. Lemass
Mr. Lemass: It is not in the motion
Motion put and agreed to.
An Ceann Comhairle Michael Hayes
 An Ceann Comhairle: Nomination papers for the Dáil Panel will be available before the Dáil rises to-day, and may be obtained by Deputies on application at the Public Bill Office. I have appointed the Clerk of the Dáil as the person to whom nomination papers are to be delivered under Rule 5 of the Resolution. Nominations will be received in the office between the hours of 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (except on Tuesday, November 10, 1931, when the hours will be between 10 a.m. and 12 o'clock noon); and between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
Dáil Éireann 40 Seanad Triennial Election, 1931: Motion.