Seanad Éireann - Volume 41 - 11 December, 1952
Expiring Laws Bill, 1952—Second and Subsequent Stages.
Question proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”
Minister for Local Government (Mr. Smith) Patrick Smith
Minister for Local Government (Mr. Smith): This is a short Bill, the purpose of which is to continue certain enactments which would otherwise expire on the 31st December. Senators are familiar with the reasons for continuing these enactments and I do not think that it is necessary for me to detain the House with lengthy explanations, particularly as the position is set out in the explanatory memorandum circulated with the Bill.
As originally drafted, the Bill provided for the continuation of the expiring enactments only to 31st December, 1953. An amendment was put forward in the Dáil extending this period to 31st December, 1960, and I saw no reason to disagree with it. The present Bill is, to that extent, different  from its predecessors. This change will not affect the preparation of the permanent legislation referred to in the explanatory memorandum. The work will continue to go ahead and the permanent measures can be brought in when they are ready, thus making annual continuing legislation unnecessary.
Except for the point I have mentioned, there is no new principle in the Bill. I am sure the House will accept it.
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly Mr. P.F. O'Reilly
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: I should like to know why something is not being done with a view to codifying these two Acts, the Parliamentary Elections Act of 1868 and the Corrupt Practices Act of 1869. I do not suggest that the Minister is responsible for all the postponements in regard to these two Acts, but we should be given an indication as to when the law in these matters will be codified. Apparently, they are being brought in under the Expiring Laws Bills as they have been for many years, and it would appear, therefore, that very little, if anything, is being done about these matters. Perhaps something is being done and, if so, I should like to hear from the Minister on it.
I should also like to hear from the Minister something on the Local Authorities (Combined Purchasing) Act of 1925. As I understand it, it is an Act restricting trade, and it seeks to prevent local authorities purchasing from or contracting with firms other than those firms who have terms of contract with local authorities. If I am right in that, surely there is some restriction being placed on local authorities, and in these days when we hear so much about restrictive trade practices perhaps the Minister would let us know why it is necessary that this Act should be continued for a further period of six years. I think it is not right that we should continue these Acts for such long periods. I think it is not right that year after year or, as it will now be under this new arrangement, every sixth year we should have these Acts re-enacted, as is being done. Nothing is being done to bring them up-to-date or to put them on the Statute Book permanently or repeal them.
Mr. Smith Mr. Smith
 Mr. Smith: The list of enactments referred to in the Bill is shorter to-day when compared with 15 or 20 years ago. It would not be correct to say that nothing is being done in regard to the two Acts to which Senator O'Reilly referred—the two Electoral Acts. Work is going on in connection with them. I admit it is tedious and slow and in this matter of codification of the Acts the Department is not merely concerned with those two, but also with Acts of Parliament dealing with sanitary matters, housing, etc.
All I can say is that the preparations that are necessary in regard to codification of the electoral laws are going ahead and, while I cannot give any indication as to when that work will be completed, I can assure the Seanad that everything that we can possibly do is being done.
As far as the Combined Purchasing Act of 1925 is concerned, the Seanad is perhaps aware that there has been enacted a Combined Purchasing Act of 1939 which has not yet been brought into force and the Act which I am asking the Seanad to continue for the period mentioned does not, in effect, stop local authorities from making purchases from any particular firm or manufacturer if the local authorities concerned can purchase similar articles at similar prices to the prices at which they can purchase from other manufacturers. In that case, they are free to make such purchases. There is no particular clause restricting their activities in that regard, as the Senator suggests.
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly Mr. P.F. O'Reilly
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: Having heard the Minister, I do not press my objection.
Mr. Colgan Mr. Colgan
Mr. Colgan: Do I take it from the Minister that all these Acts will be fewer in number by 1960? They have been, according to the Minister, decreased year by year and may I take it they will be replaced by other legislation or will disappear?
Mr. Smith Mr. Smith
Mr. Smith: Yes. So far as Section 65 is concerned, that is being covered in a Bill which it is hoped will be introduced in the next session. The Combined Purchasing Act is covered by the 1939 Act, which is not yet in operation, and we are making provision  for clearing up the other two Acts dealing with electoral matters, but it is a very complicated question and will take some time.
Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take the remaining stages to-day.
Bill put through Committee without amendment, reported, received for final consideration and passed.
Seanad Éireann 41 Expiring Laws Bill, 1952—Second and Subsequent Stages.