Committee Reports::Report - Proceedings and Minutes of Evidence - Exclusion of Certain Duly Authorised Visitors::09 May, 1934::Proceedings of the Joint Committee



Dé Céadaoin, 9° Bealtaine, 1934.

Wednesday, 9th May, 1934.

1. The Committee met at 11 a.m.

2. Present: The Cathaoirleach (in the Chair), the Leas-Chathaoirleach, Senators Mrs. Wyse Power, Douglas, O’Rourke and Wilson.

3. A letter was read from Senator Johnson resigning from the Committee and stating his reasons for his resignation. The Committee were in agreement that as Senator Johnson had ceased to be a member of the Committee his letter could not be taken into consideration.

4. The following proposed new section to be inserted before paragraph 15 of the Chairman’s Draft Report was brought forward by the Chairman:—

Before paragraph 15 to insert a new paragraph as follows:—

“15.—(1) The evidence of Senator Miss Browne raise the question whether her action in bringing to Leinster House at a particular time on a particular day two persons who she knew would be wearing the blue uniform shirt of the League of Youth, and for whom she had procured tickets of admission to the Seanad Gallery, was dictated by a desire on her part to challenge the authority of the Ceann Comhairle and the Minister for Defence in issuing orders that persons so attired were not to be admitted to Leinster House. The Committee are of opinion that her action was so dictated. She herself is a member of the League of Youth, and ordinarily wears the blue uniform shirt (Q. 364). She was apparently aware that such orders had been issued, and that persons wearing blue shirts had been refused admission to the Dáil pursuant thereto (Qq. 34-38). She knew that the decision in such matters lay with the Cathaoirleach so far as the Seanad was concerned (Q. 38). She had met the two gentlemen in question about a week previously at a Convention of the United Ireland Party, and they amongst others, expressed a wish to visit the Seanad (Q. 369). She knew beforehand that they would be wearing blue uniform shirts (Qq. 1, 366, 367, 372), but she did not admit that they had told her so (Q. 373). She said that she was bringing them ‘in the ordinary way’ (Q. 39). They came to Leinster House by arrangement on the first meeting day of the Seanad after the Convention referred to. They were both Dublin men (Q. 21). and therefore had not travelled up to Dublin specially to visit the Seanad.

(2) It was elicited in evidence that, though Senator Miss Browne had been informed that it was essential for her to insert on the admission cards the names of the visitors (Q. 2), she did not do so, and that the names were in fact written by the visitors themselves (Q. 16). The Committee regard this matter as unimportant and irrelevant. It does not appear to be the practice for Senators or Deputies personally to write the names of their visitors on the admission cards (Qq. 380-382). Senator Miss Browne had been informed that she was personally responsible for the conduct of the visitors (Q. 2). She accepted that position, knew the two gentlemen personally (Q. 26) and was prepared to vouch for their conduct and character (Q. 22).

(3) It seems to the Committee that Senator Miss Browne’s action, judged in the light of the circumstances outlined above, was clearly intended to be in the nature of a test case. The bringing of a test case is, in the circumstances, not only a permissible but even a desirable thing to do. If the orders made ultra vires by the Minister for Defence and the Ceann Comhairle were not challenged in this or some other way, but had been enforced indefinitely, it might ultimately, and with some justice, have been urged against the Seanad that it had ceded its privileges by its own inaction. The Committee is of the opinion that the motive underlying the action of Senator Miss Browne is wholly irrelevant to the question which they were asked to investigate, viz., the matter of the exclusion of the visitors by the military.”

Amendment proposed (Senator Mrs. Wyse Power):

“That the last sentence of sub-section (3) be deleted.”

Question put and negatived.

New section agreed to.

5. Motion made (the Leas-Chathaoirleach):

“That the Chairman’s Draft Report, as amended, be read a Second Time.”

Question put and agreed to, Senator Mrs. Wyse Power dissenting. Senator Mrs. Wyse Power thereupon withdrew.

Draft Report read a second time.

Section 12.

Amendment proposed (Senator Douglas):

To add at the end of the section the words:—“The evidence of the Superintendent of the Oireachtas, in regard to this and other matters, was based on notes made by him at the relative times (Qq. 289, 290).”

Question put and agreed to.

Section 30.

Motion made (Senator Douglas):

To delete the last sentence and to substitute therefor the following:—“We therefore do not recommend that any action be taken under Article 20 of the Constitution in respect of the present breach.”

Question put and agreed to.

Section 30, as amended, agreed to.

Section 31 agreed to.

6. Motion made (Senator O’Rourke):

“That the Chairman’s Draft Report, as further amended, be the Report of the Committee.”

Question put and agreed to.

7. The Committee adjourned at 12.40 p.m.