To Ourselves, Article Twenty One And Twenty Two

Article Twenty One

1.    1° Money Bills shall be initiated in Dáil Éireann only.

2° Every Money Bill passed by Dáil Éireann shall be sent to Seanad Éireann for its recommendations.

2.    1° Every Money Bill sent to Seanad Éireann for its recommendations shall, at the expiration of a period not longer than twenty-one days after it shall have been sent to Seanad Éireann, be returned to Dáil Éireann, which may accept or reject all or any of the recommendations of Seanad Éireann.

2° If such Money Bill is not returned by Seanad Éireann to Dáil Éireann within such twenty-one days or is returned within such twenty-one days with recommendations which Dáil Éireann does not accept, it shall be deemed to have been passed by both Houses at the expiration of the said twenty-one days.

The Dail has nearly all of the power when it comes to money bills, which in an odd bit of placing are only defined in the next article. Only they can start them and even if the Seanad makes changes of its own, the Dail just has to wait three weeks and carry on as of the upper house has given its wholesale approval.

It is a little bizarre. You could have a situation where every Senator hates what ever money bill it is, makes such feelings public, but 21 days later the record will show that they passed it.

The Seanad shouldn’t be able to continue as a political entity with these kind of limitations.

Article Twenty Two

1.    1° A Money Bill means a Bill which contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters, namely, the imposition, repeal, remission, alteration or regulation of taxation; the imposition for the payment of debt or other financial purposes of charges on public moneys or the variation or repeal of any such charges; supply; the appropriation, receipt, custody, issue or audit of accounts of public money; the raising or guarantee of any loan or the repayment thereof; matters subordinate and incidental to these matters or any of them.

Basically, absolutely anything that the government does where money is involved. The definition is an important, if an obvious one.

2° In this definition the expressions “taxation”, “public money” and “loan” respectively do not include any taxation, money or loan raised by local authorities or bodies for local purposes.

Dail money bills are only related to national matters, with local authorities, the councils, given their own powers for more small-scale taxation and such.

2.    1° The Chairman of Dáil Éireann shall certify any Bill which, in his opinion, is a Money Bill to be a Money Bill, and his certificate shall, subject to the subsequent provisions of this section, be final and conclusive.

The Ceann Comhairle has the power to decide what is and what isn’t a money bill another of his/hers minor bits of authority.

2° Seanad Éireann, by a resolution, passed at a sitting at which not less than thirty members are present, may request the President to refer the question whether the Bill is or is not a Money Bill to a Committee of Privileges.

3° If the President after consultation with the Council of State decides to accede to the request he shall appoint a Committee of Privileges consisting of an equal number of members of Dáil Éireann and of Seanad Éireann and a Chairman who shall be a Judge of the Supreme Court: these appointments shall be made after consultation with the Council of State. In the case of an equality of votes but not otherwise the Chairman shall be entitled to vote.

4° The President shall refer the question to the Committee of Privileges so appointed and the Committee shall report its decision thereon to the President within twenty-one days after the day on which the Bill was sent to Seanad Éireann.

5° The decision of the Committee shall be final and conclusive.

6° If the President after consultation with the Council of State decides not to accede to the request of Seanad Éireann, or if the Committee of Privileges fails to report within the time hereinbefore specified the certificate of the Chairman of Dáil Éireann shall stand confirmed.

Just like Article Twenty One, these few sections outline just why the Seanad, and also the Executive are able to do if they have a problem with Dail money bills. What it is a system of referrals ending in a ‘Commitee of Privilages’ which really can’t do all that much then look at whatever bill it is and decide whether it’s a money bill or not something that should be obvious from the start.

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