Committee Reports::Report - Memorandum in re Draft Constitution::26 September, 1922::Memorandum



Memorandum in re Draft Constitution.

The following are the agreements arrived at between the late President Griffith and Mr. Kevin O’Higgins on the one hand, and the Southern Unionists on the other.

It should be mentioned first, that the adoption of the principle of Proportional Representation in the elections for the Dáil was one of the matters offered in the Draft Constitution itself as originally prepared for the purpose of giving effect to President Griffith’s undertaking in his published statement on the subject.

This matter is, therefore, not mentioned among the following Heads of Agreement, because they were started on the assumption that that was already agreed to.

The heads are, therefore, as follows:—

1. The Senate to consist of 60 members, of whom two are to be elected by the National University of Ireland and two by the Dublin University. If the Six Counties remain in the Free State, there would also be two members added from the University of Belfast.

2. The remaining 56 members of the Senate to be elected from a panel, consisting of three times the number of members to be elected, of whom two-thirds are to be nominated by the Dáil and one-third by the Senate, in which case voting according to principles of Proportional Representation; and also of persons who have at any time been members of the Senate and indicate their desire to be included on the Panel.

3. The Electorate for the Senate to be persons of 30 years and upwards

4. The period between the first presentation of a Bill to the Senate and the date upon which it shall be deemed to be passed, whether the Senate agree or not, to be 270 days, as provided by Article 37 of the Draft.

5. Power to be given to three-fifths of the members of the Senate to require a referendum during the 90-day period mentioned in Article 46, without a petition signed, as there provided, that is to say, a three-fifth majority of the Senate in scssion and voting may call for a referendum, or, in the alternative, the petition there mentioned to remain.

6. Provision to be made for joint debate of the two Houses in cases of disagreement, but not for joint voting (see end of Article 37). This provision not to be applied to a money bill.

7. Decision on a referendum to be final, without further delay. Voting at the referendum to be by ballot.

8. The question whether any particular bill is or is not a money bill to be certified by the Speaker of the Dáil, subject to appeal to a Committee of Privileges, drawn equally from both Houses, presided over by a Judge of the Supreme Court, who shall have a casting vote, but no other vote.

9. The first Senate to be one-half nominated, and the other half elected by the Dáil, the whole to be divided into four classes, of whom one half of the nominated members retire from office at the end of twelve years, half of the elected members at the end of nine years, the remaining half of the nominated members at the end of six years, and the remaining half of the elected members at the end of three years. The nominated members to be nominated by the President in manner calculated to represent minorities of interests not represented adequately in the Dáil, and such nomination to be made on the advice of the following bodies:—

Chambers of Commerce,

College of Physicians and College of Surgeons.

Benchers of King’s Inns and Incorporated Law Society.

The Corporations of Dublin and Cork.

The stipulation as to consultation not to be embodied in the Constition, but to be contained in an undertaking to be embodied in a resolution of the new Parliament. The text of the resolution to be submitted to the Provisional Government was agreed between President Griffith, the Southern Unionists and the British Government, and will be properly submitted when that portion of the Constitution is dealt with.

10. A matter which gave rise to considerable difference of opinion, and was ultimately, after much debate, agreed to, was that the constituency for the election of Senators should be the Irish Free State, taken as a whole.

11. It was also agreed that the term of office of a Senator should be twelve years, and that no person should be eligible for election who had not reached the age of 35 years.

12. The clauses in which these various headings of Agreement are set out were first settled by the Law Officer on behalf of the Provisional Government, and by Sir F. Greer and Sir F. Liddell on behalf of the British Government and the Southern Unionists, and the texts were submitted at a Conference and agreed to as they are now contained in the Draft Constitution.

13. All these matters are the subject of deliberate agreement between the Irish Government Representatives and the Southern Unionists and the British Government; and the Irish Government is accordingly bound to pass all these provisions as Government provisions.

26 adh Meadhan Foghmhair, 1922.