Seanad Éireann - Volume 112 - 24 May, 1986
Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 1986: Motion for Earlier Signature.
Professor Dooge Professor Dooge
Professor Dooge: I move:
That, pursuant to subsection 2º of section 2 of Article 25 of the Constitution, Seanad Éireann concurs with the Government in a request to the President to sign the Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 1986, on a date which is earlier than the fifth day after the date on which the Bill shall have been presented to him.”
I think I should, for the benefit of the House, explain why this request is being made. Senators, I think, will appreciate the large amount of organisation which has to be done. Two and a half million polling cards will have to be issued. Official posters will have to be sent out. Instructions will have to be sent out and various officials appointed for some 5,000 polling stations. It has been a common cause among all who have spoken in either House that this question is a proper one to go to the people. While I share the views of the other Members of the House that it is a matter of extreme regret that certain categories of persons are  exempted, nevertheless, the Government are implementing the wish for a popular decision to be made by holding this referendum before the onset of the heavy holiday period.
I tend to say, and will continue to say, every time that it falls on me as Leader of the Seanad to move such a motion that I always move with regret a motion for an Early Signature. It is a curtailment on the prerogative of the President to have due time for the consideration of a Bill. When I say that, I feel that I am speaking on behalf of all Members of the Seanad and I ask all Ministers to take note of the fact that this is the attitude of the Seanad. This may be a power given to us under the Constitution but it is a power that in later years has been exercised far too often.
The other Bill which we passed today, being a Bill to amend the Constitution, does not have to be signed by the President between five and nine days from now; those days only begin to count after referendum day. My personal hope is that they will begin to count after that day. The President would certainly be put in an intolerable situation if he were forced by a resolution of this House to consider a Bill of that seriousness in such a short time.
It is only the fact that what we are discussing here is an enabling Bill, setting up the mechanics for this election, which allows me with honesty and confidence to recommend Motion No. 4 to the House.
Question put and agreed to.
Seanad Éireann 112 Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 1986: Motion for Earlier Signature.