PRIVATE DEPUTIES' BUSINESS. - SHOP HOURS (DRAPERY TRADES, DUBLIN AND DISTRICTS) (AMENDMENT) BILL, 1925. THIRD STAGE.
Wednesday, 3 February 1926
Dáil Éireann Debate
The provisions of the Act of 1925 and of this Act shall so far as they apply to sales by auction be construed to apply to every auction which at any time during the course of its business includes the sale of goods ordinarily sold in a shop to which this Act applies.
“Provided this section shall not apply and shall be deemed never to have applied to any sale by auction of forfeited pledges from a licensed pawnbroker by a divisional auctioneer in the County Borough of Dublin under 28 Geo. III., cap. 49 (Irish).”
The present system of evening sales of pawnbrokers' forfeited pledges has been proceeding for over 100 years. It is well known that these auctions are mostly patronised by people who have not an opportunity of attending auctions in the early hours of the day.
The PRESIDENT: A case might arise if the previous Act were framed specially in the same way as Section 3 is framed here and that a prosecution was pending against some persons for this business that might have been overlooked. I have not heard of it. I do not think that the words are necessary,  but perhaps if Deputy Johnson would consent to let them pass now they could come up again on the Report Stage and be reconsidered. If a prosecution was pending it might have the effect of mitigating, to some extent at any rate, the hardship that would have ensued.
(1) Every shop to which this Act applies shall, save as otherwise in this Act provided, be closed for the serving of customers except during the hours of business specified in the Schedule to this Act: Provided that it shall be lawful for the occupier of a shop to keep his premises open for the serving of customers until ten o'clock in the evening on the Saturday next before Easter Sunday, the Saturday before Whit Sunday, and the Saturday next before Christmas Day.
I also think there is an obvious omission in line 45; the word “next” ought to be inserted after the word “Saturday.” I think it will be generally accepted that the few weeks before Christmas are availed of by all classes for shopping.
Mr. JOHNSON: I must ask the Committee to oppose this extension of ten days, during which it is proposed that shops may be allowed to open until ten o'clock, including the day before Christmas. People will require to go home for Christmas and they will not be allowed to do so in time if this is accepted. I do not object at all to the last few days before Christmas, because it has become the custom to keep open  until 9 o'clock during those last few days. Now we are asked to make it a matter of two weeks and to allow that exemption for ten days. I say that is too long, and I hope the Deputy will not press his amendment.
This amendment is really one to delete words which are redundant. The sub-section that I move to delete was attached to a series of other sections, and as these other sections have not been embodied in the amended Bill this particular sub-section is redundant.
Major COOPER: I think I can, although I am not responsible for the Bill. The Act of 1912 provided for seven o'clock closing and this Bill provides for closing on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at six o'clock p.m., and for 6.30 p.m. on  Fridays, and this is intended to repeal the provisions of the Act of 1912 that allows shops to remain open until 7 o'clock p.m. That is my recollection.
Professor THRIFT: I think it can be put very briefly, and it is that it leaves the shops an option as to which half-holiday. I do not think that the promoter of the Bill ought to neglect paying attention to the point raised by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I suggest he should inquire whether the reference to other Acts covers the penalty point.
Major COOPER: I think we would have been saved some difficulty if the Department of Industry and Commerce had accepted the invitation of the Committee to send a representative to give evidence and express their views on the Bill. The Committee was told that the Department saw no necessity to send any representative.
In Section 4 of the Act of 1925, the words “twenty pounds” are hereby repealed and the following words substituted therefore, that is to say—“fifty pounds or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month.”
The PRESIDENT: I think I am entitled to ask on this section what particular penalties there are for contravening this Act. The closing hours are dealt with in Section 5. You do not get any information in the Bill as presented which would indicate that the Bill, if it becomes an Act, has in it any penalties for non-compliance. I presume it was intended in introducing the measure that there should be a penalty for non-compliance.
The PRESIDENT: While this Act lays down certain regulations it also says that the person who contravenes this section shall be guilty of an offence against this Act. I think it would be looking for something of a very retrospective character to have passed an Act in 1912 and another in 1925 which would impose penalties in respect of the contravention of an Act passed in 1926.
Professor THRIFT: I think it would be well for the promoter of the Bill on the Report Stage to take care to make applicable such penalties as apply to the other Acts applicable for offences against this Act.
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