Game Preservation Bill, 1929—Committee Stage.

Thursday, 24 October 1929

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 32 No. 2

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The Dáil Went into Committee.

Section 1 agreed to.

In this Act—

the expression “game birds” means and includes pheasant, partridge, grouse, quail, landrail, plover, snipe, and woodcock, and [304] also mallard, teal, widgeon, and other species of wild duck;

the word “hares” includes leverets;

the word “game” includes game birds and hares;

the expression “the Minister” means the Minister for Justice;

the word “prescribed” means prescribed by regulations made by the Minister under this Act.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  I move:—

In line 17 to delete all words after the word “grouse” down to and including the words “wild duck,” line 18.

I put down this amendment in order to draw attention to what I consider a grievance under which many of the sporting community suffer at present. I do not propose to press the amendment to a division, because I realise that if my amendment were carried in its present form it would negative very largely much of the good which this Game Preservation Bill seeks to accomplish. In seeking to delete in line 17 the words after “grouse”—“quail, landrail, plover, snipe and woodcock, and also mallard, teal, widgeon, and other species of wild duck”—I want to point out that before the advent of the Free State there was the occasional licence, the game licence, and what is commonly known as the ten shillings licence. The Minister has given no indication that he intends to embody in the Bill any game licence cheaper than the £2 licence. We all desire to help the Minister in an easy passage of this Bill. It must be borne in mind that we have a number of poachers and potential poachers in the country, and if we can convert a number of these men by making it easy for them to procure a licence I believe we will be establishing a very useful precedent, and it may eventually mean, and I believe it will, the multiplication of game in the country. As I said, I do not want to force the amendment to a division. I put down the amendment merely in order to emphasise the position that I have indicated in regard [305] to the two scales of licences— the £2 scale and the scale proposed in the amendment. Does the Minister, at some future date, intend to institute some licence other than a £2 licence? There are many poor men in the country who cannot afford to pay £2 for a licence. They are good sportsmen if they got a chance, but if the licence is made prohibitive, as in the opinion of those people it is sought to be made prohibitive, you have the temptation to create or multiply poachers. That I know is not the intention of the Minister. I wish to withdraw the amendment, as I have put it down simple for the reasons which I have stated.

Minister for Justice (Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney): Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I am glad that Deputy Anthony is withdrawing the motion, for, as he frankly admits, it would rather destroy a great deal of the effectiveness of this Bill. On the question of a licence duty, that has nothing to do with this Bill, for this Bill, or any Bill of this kind, cannot deal with the question of the licence duty. That duty is fixed, I think, under the Finance Act of 1926, and any alteration of any licence duty would have to be by amendment of that Finance Act. One of the arguments the Deputy put forward does not strike me as being very sound, for he says if we reduce the licence from £2 to 10/- we would have less poaching. It seems to me it would be the opposite. Supposing someone living in Dublin wants to go out and shoot on the Dublin mountains. where he has got absolutely no right to shoot, and supposing he had to pay £2 for a licence, he is less likely to do it than if he got a licence for 10/-. I think that persons who are poachers, in so far as money comes into consideration, are deterred by the fact that they have to pay £2 before they can carry a gun. I am sure that if the Deputy puts a case to the Minister for Finance, and makes a strong case, the Minister will consider it. But the arguments that the Deputy put forward tonight so far as I am concerned do not carry weight.

[306] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. E. Doyle: Information on Edward Doyle  Zoom on Edward Doyle  I move: “In line 17 to delete the word `plover.' ” I have been most reasonable in this amendment. Though the concession asked for is small, it makes a considerable difference to a number of people in this country. These are migratory birds, and they come here at a certain period of the year. The argument has been put forward by Deputy Dr. White and other people that plover have been useful with regard to the production of food. I am prepared to argue that that is entirely incorrect. I believe that a considerable number of sheep have died in this country from fluke, and we had thousands of plover last year. I think these foreign birds can bring fluke into this country, and, from information received from some of the largest sheep-owners in County Carlow, I know that to get peony-leaf sheep will travel miles, and that is the cause of fluke. The netting of plover gives part-time employment to thousands of people, and they should not be deprived of that Surely the bit of freedom we have got, and in fact that we had under the old régime, ought not to be filched now by a native Government. I have not got the conscience to get up in the Dáil and say something that there is no truth in. I think the Deputies in this House who have consideration for the people, and who do not want to see them deprived of their means of livelihood, should support the amendment.

Major Cooper: Information on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Zoom on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Reasonable as Deputy Doyle may be, I hope the Minister is not going to accept his amendment. Such a startling theory I have never heard before as that fluke is caused by plover. I never heard anybody say it. I do not know if Deputy Doyle has any veterinary knowledge on this matter. The theory is held in the West that plover feed on the little creatures that cause fluke. That is the opinion generally held. I have no veterinary knowledge. If the Minister submits this to a veterinary authority, apart from Deputy Doyle, he will find that [307] if there is anything which needs protection it is the plover. Because of its slow flight it is easy to shoot. A man who could not hit a woodcock at ten yards would shoot a plover. The plover is a wary bird, not easy to approach, and when on the wing it flies slowly along, and the veriest amadán can shoot it.

I am trying to preserve the livelihood of these poor people of whom Deputy Doyle speaks, because they are so, short-sighted they will exterminate the birds in the next ten years if they do what Deputy Doyle wants them to do. I do not know about other parts of the country, but I know that in the West the numbers of plover have been greatly reduced within the last twenty years. When I was a boy one saw far more plover than now. From an æsthetic point of view I appeal to Deputy Doyle not to press his amendment, as it is a beautiful sight to see plover flying slowly across the country. They are, in fact, part of our western landscape, or rather they used to be. It is very rare now to see a flock of plover rising slowly and flying away. They are useful to farmers and do harm to nobody. I think that in the interests of the small number of people who want to shoot them all the year round—because that is what Deputy Doyle proposes——

Mr. E. Doyle: Information on Edward Doyle  Zoom on Edward Doyle  No.

Major Cooper: Information on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Zoom on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Well, that is the effect of taking them out of the Bill. That is the effect of the amendment, though it may not be what the Deputy intends.

Mr. E. Doyle: Information on Edward Doyle  Zoom on Edward Doyle  It is not.

Major Cooper: Information on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Zoom on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Then I think that he had better withdraw the amendment.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I think that we are all a little at sea so far as this discussion is concerned. Deputy Doyle wants permission for individuals to net plover. Plover are not going to be reduced in numbers by guns. Plover, I believe, can maintain their population [308] independent of the gun. The cause of the trouble is the practice by which a number of people go round the country netting plover wholesale. I have seen 200 birds lying dead in a field near one man. A type of man used to come from the South with a few men, some of whom he hired, to raise the birds all over the country and try to get them in the direction of the dead decoy. I did it myself.

Mr. E. Doyle: Information on Edward Doyle  Zoom on Edward Doyle  The poacher has become the gamekeeper.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Such a man has the best knowledge of the job, as he has been through the mill. Everyone will admit that there are not a dozen plover now to the thousand there were when I was young. They have gone out of the country. I am not going to enter into a controversy as to whether plover have a beneficial effect in preventing fluke. The question is rather whether we are going to protect the plover as a species, because they are fast disappearing, and if they continue to disappear at the present rate we will not have one in the country in a few years. It is possible now by legislation to save the species. In years to come, if they again become numerous, this regulation could be taken out of the Bill; but it is up to the Government to preserve the species and to try and multiple them. There are two or three kinds of plover. Deputy Cooper probably referred to the lapwing or green plover, but there is also the golden and the grey plover. I think that the golden plover is one of the fastest flying birds we have in the country. I hope that the Minister has no intention of exempting plover from this Bill.

Mr. G. Wolfe: Information on George Wolfe  Zoom on George Wolfe  I also hope most devoutly that the Minister will refuse to accept this amendment. In my district both the golden plover and the lapwing were quite common a few years ago, but for some time past I have noticed that they are not to be found at all. That has not been brought about by shooting. As Deputy Cooper says, anyone who [309] could not get something out of a flock of plover would be a very bad shot. They would never be reduced by shooting. Though I have never actually seen it myself, I know that the scarcity of plover has been brought about largely by netting. Like the partridge, we have practically none of them in my part of the country now. Further, the taking of plovers' eggs for gourmets has also militated against the number of plover in the country. Considering the good that these birds are reported to do and the fact that they are most useful in keeping away fluke, I hope that the Minister will not consider the amendment for one moment.

Mr. Colohan: Information on Hugh Colohan  Zoom on Hugh Colohan  I wish to support the amendment of Deputy Doyle. We have heard, as far as plover is concerned, that there is a doubt as to the value of the bird in keeping down fluke in the country. On the occasion of the last debate on this Bill, it was said that they were instrumental in preventing fluke in cattle by eating up the small creatures that were supposed to cause fluke in cattle. Now there is great doubt amongst the members of the House with regard to that. I think that in considering the birds, there should be a little consideration for the men who live by netting the birds. I do not see why the preservation of these birds should override the preservation of the human beings who have to live by catching them. About 200 men get seasonal employment in netting plover in my county. They live in out-of-the-way places in bogs and on barren land, and if they are deprived of their livelihood at a slack season of the year, it means that they will have to clear out of their homes and drift to the towns and so increase unemployment there. These 200 men and their families in one county should be considered. I suppose you could multiply that by twenty-six for the whole Free State.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  There are not 200 men engaged in it in all Ireland.

Mr. Colohan: Information on Hugh Colohan  Zoom on Hugh Colohan  I do not know about [310] that. I know men in my county who for generations have carried on the business of plover-netting and derived a good livelihood from the sale of the birds. I am told also that traders in the towns will give them credit when they are in need of it, because when the netting season comes round they are able to pay up all they owe if they get one month's plover-catching. Deputy Cooper says that the interests of the sportsmen who go out shooting plover ought to be considered. Let us put the interests of the man who can go out every day in the year shooting plover or other game against the interests of the man who has to go out netting them to keep a family.

Major Cooper: Information on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Zoom on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Deputy Colohan quite misunderstood me. I did not say that I would like to have the birds shot. I would like to have the shooting stopped altogether. I want to preserve them.

Mr. Colohan: Information on Hugh Colohan  Zoom on Hugh Colohan  Deputy Gorey says that the species will not be extinct for fifteen years. Why not let the netting of plover be carried on for that time? It is better that plover should become extinct than let the men who are living by netting them become extinct. I hope the Minister will consider the interests of the men who are living by this business instead of the interests of the sportsmen who will not go without a meal because they have no plover to shoot. I feel very strongly on this point, and so do the people in Kildare. I ask the Minister not to let his zeal for the preservation of game outrun his discretion in this matter. The other provisions of the Bill protect the remaining species, grouse, etc., and if these plover netters attempt to poach on other game, there are other ways of preventing them from doing that, because they cannot, sell except to a licensed dealer, so that there is no fear of their turning poachers. I ask in the interests of these men that the Minister should accept the amendment and show that the Government has given some little consideration for the wants of the unfortunate poor.

[311]Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  We have heard some rather strange theories about the unfortunate plover. As Deputy Gorey has pointed out, there are really two classes of plover, because I put the grey and the golden into one class. They are practically the same class. They are entirely migratory birds. That is not true of the lapwing, because a number of lapwing or green plover breed in this country. I was rather astonished to hear that the unfortunate lapwing was the cause of fluke, and that he imported it from I do not know where. That is an entirely novel theory. It was also said that a plant called peonyleaf caused fluke. That is something new to me. What is a generally accepted veterinary theory about the life history of fluke is that in one stage of its growth it is necessary for it to inhabit a water snail. The green plover does not eat the germs of fluke directly but eats the water snail, and by diminishing the number of water snails it diminishes the number of hosts for these fluke germs.

Of course it is common knowledge, that sheep get fluke on low-lying land. You can buy sheep which come off a dry mountain quite safely, but if you buy them off a wet mountain, they die off with great frequency. The reason is that the water-snail is found on the wet mountain and not on the dry mountain, and it is a generally accepted veterinary theory that the green plover is of great assistance in eradicating [312] fluke. I do not know of my own knowledge, but I have seen it stated that an Act has been passed in England for the preservation of green plover, having regard to the fact that it is so helpful to farmers. As well as in the matter of fluke, the green plover is very helpful in eating insects and a lot of the grub which attack wheat, oats and various other things. The plover is extremely useful in destroying wireworm, for example. The green plover is a very useful bird. I agree with Deputy Cooper and Deputy Wolfe that, as far as my observation goes, green plover is in danger of extinction. I do not now see anything like the flocks of green plover that we saw some years ago. Every Deputy will agree with that, and I think it would be a great pity if green plover were exterminated. Certain persons, if green, plovers are preserved, may lose a partial source of livelihood, but after all, we have to look to the advantage of the whole farming community of the country. A certain number of persons may suffer to a certain extent, but that is a thing that cannot be avoided. Deputy Doyle made a very pathetic plea and I am perfectly willing to leave this question to the free, unfettered, unhampered vote of the House and see if his eloquence has carried the House. My own view is that it would be very unwise to delete the word “plover.”

Question—“That the words proposed to be deleted stand part of the Bill”—put.

Aird, William P.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Blythe, Ernest.
Boland, Patrick.
Bourke, Séamus A.
Brennan, Michael.
Byrne, John Joseph.
Carey, Edmund.
Carty, Frank.
Cole, John James.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Conlon, Martin.
Cooper, Bryan Ricco.
Cosgrave, William T.
Craig, Sir James. [313]Hennessy, Thomas.
Hennigan, John.
Henry, Mark.
Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
Holohan, Richard.
Houlihan, Patrick.
Kelly, Patrick Michael.
Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
Kent, William R.
Keogh, Myles.
Law, Hugh Alexander.
Lynch, Finian.
Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
McFadden, Michael Og.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Mullins, Thomas.
Murphy, James E.
Myles, James Sproule.
Nally, Martin Michael.
Nolan, John Thomas.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
Crowley, James.
Daly, John.
De Loughrey, Peter.
Doherty, Eugene.
Dolan, James N.
Doyle, Peadar Seán.
Duggan, Edmund John.
Egan, Barry M.
Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
French, Seán.
Gorey, Denis J.
Haslett, Alexander.
Hassett, John J.
Heffernan, Michael R. [314]O'Connell, Richard.
O'Connor, Bartholomew.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Hanlon, John F.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Leary, William.
O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
O'Reilly, John J.
O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reynolds, Patrick.
Rice, Vincent.
Roddy, Martin.
Shaw, Patrick W.
Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
Thrift, William Edward.
Tierney, Michael.
White, Vincent Joseph.
Wolfe, George.
Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Allen, Denis.
Anthony, Richard.
Blaney, Neal.
Boland, Gerald.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Seán.
Briscoe, Robert.
Broderick, Henry.
Cassidy, Archie J.
Clancy, Patrick.
Clery, Michael.
Colbert, James.
Colohan, Hugh.
Cooney, Eamon.
Corkery, Dan.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Tadhg.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Doyle, Edward.
Everett, James.
Fahy, Frank.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Goulding, John.
Hayes, Seán.
Jordan, Stephen.
Killilea, Mark.
Kilroy, Michael.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Maguire, Ben.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
Moore, Séamus.
Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
O'Reilly, Thomas.
Powell, Thomas P.
Ryan, James.
Sexton, Martin.
Sheehy, Timothy (Tipperary).
Smith, Patrick.
Tubridy, John.
Walsh, Richard.
Ward, Francis C.

Question declared carried.

Question—“That Section 2 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

(1) It shall not be lawful for any person to kill or take any game belonging to a class of game mentioned in the first column of the First Schedule to this Act during the period specified in respect or such class of game in the second column of the said First Schedule.

(2) Every person who kills or takes any game in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this Part of this Act and shall be punishable accordingly.

(3) In this Act and in every Act passed after the passing of this Act the expression “annual close season” in relation to game belonging to any of the classes of game mentioned in the first column of the First Schedule to this Act means the annual period of time within which the killing or taking of such game is prohibited by this Act.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I beg to move the following amendment:—

[315] Before sub-section (2), page 2, to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

“(2) The Minister may, on the application of the master or other person having charge of a pack of harriers, issue to such person a permit to hunt in any district specified in such permit with such pack of harriers during the period beginning on the 19th day and ending on the 31st day of March in the year in which such permit is issued, and whenever any such permit is so issued the taking and killing of hares by hunting with the pack of harriers in the district and during the period to which such permit relates shall not be a contravention of this section.”

This amendment is necessary for this reason. After long consideration with the coursing authorities we came to an agreement that the 18th March would be a proper close season for general purposes for the coursing of hares. Deputies will notice that subsequently I have an amendment down changing the date which first appeared in the Bill, namely, 1st April, to 18th March. That shortening of the period during which hares are protected would interfere with harrier hunting. It is one of the best periods of the year for harrier hunting. I had communications with the coursing authorities and they have agreed with the reasonableness, of the view put forward by the masters of harriers that for the mere purpose of hunting hares with recognised harrier packs the period should be extended from 18th March to 1st April. I take it there will be very little cavilling at this amendment.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  If this is to replace the previous section, I am quite satisfied. Amendment 38, in the names of Deputy Anthony and myself, has a bearing upon the dates.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  May I point out to the Deputy that amendment 39 is in my name? That alters the date to 18th March.

[316]Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  That more or less meets the situation. I do not know the view-points of the masters of harriers. They may be as the Minister has indicated and I am not in a position to contradict him. I do say that anything that prolongs the date of hunting hares other than harrier hunting, or that tends in that direction, will be bad for the hares. Anything which would tend to prolongs the date to 31st March is bad. That is the particular season of the year when the doe hares are carrying their young. It is silly to say that that is the particular time of the year when the hares go mad. That may be. The jack hare or male hare may go mad, but at that time of the year the doe hares are certainly carrying young. Another important period of the year is around October and November. Perhaps the Minister will be shocked to hear that. It applies especially to this year. It is important that there should be a strict close season right through the whole summer and especially in October and November of this year.

I accept the Minister's word that what he has stated is the considered opinion of masters of harriers and it only covers harrier clubs. If a special permit has to be asked I have no objection, but if there is any tendency to legalise the coursing of hares in the open during the month of March I could not stand for it. Even coursing clubs should get a permit to carry on a meeting up to 17th March and their hares should be netted by the 1st March and not after it. Most clubs would, I know, take the precaution of letting away their doe hares, but some of them might not. I have no objection to this if the tendency is not to encourage hunting by dogs other than beagles during the month of March.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  While beagles can be licensed during the ordinary season of the year, this particular amendment does not take in beagles. Beagles would have to [317] stop on 18th March. Only licensed packs of harriers will be permitted.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I accept that.

Amendment agreed to.

Question—“That Section 3, as amended, stand part of the Bill”— put and agreed to.

(1) It shall not be lawful for any person at any time of the year to kill or take any game (other than mallard, teal, widgeon and other species of wild duck) during the hours between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise.

(2) Every person who kills or takes any game in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this Part of this Act and shall be punishable accordingly.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  The following amendment which stands in my name is being withdrawn:—

In sub-section (1), line 42, to insert after the word “duck” and within the brackets the words “or wild goose.”

Question—“That Section 4 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

(1) Whenever the Minister is satisfied that any particular species of game bird is in special need of protection in the whole or any particular portion of Saorstát Eireann he may by order (in this Act referred to as a game birds protection order) prohibit for any specified period not exceeding one year from the date of the order the killing or taking of that particular species of game bird in Saorstát Eireann or in any particular portion of Saorstát Eireann specified in the order.

(2) When a game bird protection order has been made under this section, the Minister may from time to time by order (in this section [318] referred to as a continuation order) made before the expiration of such game bird protection order or the last continuation thereof (as the case may be) continue in force such game bird protection order for any period not exceeding one year from the date on which the same would otherwise have expired and may so continue in force such game bird protection order either in respect of the whole area to which such order applied or in respect of any particular portion of such area.

(3) When a game bird protection order has been made under this section, it shall not be lawful for any person while such order continues in force to kill or take any game bird of the species to which such order relates in any part of Saorstát Eireann to which such order applies without or otherwise than in accordance with the permission of the superintendent of the Gárda Síochána for the district in which such game bird is killed or taken.

(4) Every person who kills or takes any game in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this Part of this Act and shall be punishable accordingly.

(5) Every game bird protection order and every continuation order made under this section shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made, and if either such House within the next twenty-one days on which it has sat after such order is laid before it passes a resolution annulling such order such order shall be annulled accordingly without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

Mr. O'Mahony: Information on Dermot Gunn O'Mahony  Zoom on Dermot Gunn O'Mahony  Amendment 5 is in my name, and it reads:—

In sub-section (3), line 23, after the word “applies” to delete the remainder of the sub-section.

The reason for this amendment was because I had a very strong feeling that the superintendent of the [319] Civic Guards would be placed in a very invidious position. Amendment 8, which is in the name of Deputy Cole, is on somewhat the same lines, and if the Minister for Justice would accept Deputy Cole's amendment I would ask the leave of the House to withdraw mine. Deputy Cole's amendment very nearly meets what I am anxious about.

Amendment 5 not moved.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  On behalf of Deputy Ruttledge I move amendment 6, which reads:—

In sub-section (3), line 24, after the words “of the” to delete to the end of the sub-section and substitute therefor the words “District Justice for the District in which such game bird is killed or taken after he has heard an application for permission in open Court and enabled all interested parties to tender evidence on such application.

I think this amendment is in the opposite direction to what Deputy O'Mahony wants. As far as I can understand it, Deputy Ruttledge fears that the superintendent of the Gárda Síochána might be too lax about granting leave to certain people, although there was an order prohibiting the killing of game in certain circumstances. Deputy Ruttledge's amendment would make it impossible for anybody to come along and get a permit merely because he was a friend of the superintendent of the Gárda Síochána, or perhaps imposed in some way on the superintendent of the Gárda. Deputy Ruttledge seeks instead to make it a condition that the person would apply to the District Court. It is not contemplated that the person would make an application to the District Court unless he had good reason for making that application and also that the District Justice would not grant the permit unless good reason was stated.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I cannot accept the Deputy's amendment [320] because it would be altogether too cumbersome, and it would be a difficult procedure. In these areas which will be protected areas there will always be a certain amount of shooting done for the protection of game. The Deputy knows if there is a well-stocked grouse moor, it will be necessary to shoot some of the old cocks, because the greatest enemy of the young birds is the old unmated bird that goes round and kills the grouse chicken, as they are called. At the same time the proper allowance of pheasants where they are reared is to leave one cock pheasant to twelve hens. That is roughly the figure that is generally worked on. For that reason persons will have to get permission from some one to shoot off those old birds or those superfluous birds which would otherwise do a great deal more harm. It helps the young birds generally if these old birds are shot off. Therefore, permits of this nature for the preservation of game must be given. There are certain places in Ireland which are fully stocked with game. There might be a protection order made in such a neighbourhood. A place might get overstocked with birds. One who has had his land fully stocked might shoot a considerable number of grouse. It seems to me it would be rather hard on that person that he should not get a permit to shoot. Such a man may shoot three or four hundred birds in a day. If he has to go through the very cumbersome procedure of going into court and making application for exemption it will be a great hardship. I do not know what the form would be. There would have to be some rules of court laid down, and probably the ordinary man would not know anything about it and he would have to employ a solicitor. If you consider that there are a considerable number of persons who come over to this country annually and take shooting and spend money over here you will agree that they should be to a reasonable extent encouraged. I do not think it would be fair to have this cumbersome and unpleasant [321] business of going into court imposed upon them. A man may have to wait three or four hours in court, or probably longer, to make an application of this kind. It would be a very tedious and annoying procedure. I do not think there is any likelihood of having the powers given under this section abused. If the superintendent of the Gárda gives a licence which he should not give that is a matter which the Game Protection Association or the persons in that neighbourhood who are interested in game could immediately report, and the officer of the Gárda would have to give an explanation as to why he had given the permit. I would suggest to the Deputy that he should not press that amendment.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  If I thought that the officer was not to have absolute discretion in giving the permit I would withdraw this amendment. I mean absolute discretion with regard to granting the permit.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I am going to accept Deputy Cole's amendment.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Deputy Cole's amendment deals with the non-granting.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  How?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  The Minister says the Game Protection Association can report the officer who granted a permit without good reason. If the Minister is going to administer the Act in that spirit I am quite satisfied.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Of course the Civic Guard will get instructions as to the principle on which he is to exercise his discretion. He should only exercise his discretion, say, when owners of shootings show reasonable cause why they should be allowed to shoot. He could allow nobody except somebody who was really a game preserver to shoot. A man might say: “I want leave to shoot, because I have got a place that is overstocked,” or something of that kind, and then in most cases he would probably get the right to shoot only aged grouse, which are a nuisance.

[322] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Cole: Information on John James Cole  Zoom on John James Cole  I move:

To add at the end of sub-section (3) the following proviso:—

“Provided always that if the Superintendent of the Gárda Síochána unreasonably objects or refuses to grant such permission the person so applying may appeal to the Minister against such neglect or refusal of the Superintendent of the Gárda Síochána to grant such permission and the Minister may grant permission to kill or take such game bird.”

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I accept this amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. O'Mahony: Information on Dermot Gunn O'Mahony  Zoom on Dermot Gunn O'Mahony  I move:

To insert before sub-section (5) a new sub-section as follows:—

“The Minister may at any time vary or amend a game bird protection or continuation order made by him under this section.”

This amendment is, I think very necessary in order that the Minister may keep the working of this section under some control. For that reason I would like the Minister to accept it if he could see his way to do so.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  This is an amendment which in principle I would be willing to accept. The wording of it, However, I would like slightly to alter. I placed it before the draughtsman, who suggested that before sub-section (3) a new sub-section should be inserted, and I will move on the Report Stage an amendment to the same effect as the Deputy's. Immediately following on that comes the Deputy's other amendment, which is consequential and which I will accept also.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. O'Mahony: Information on Dermot Gunn O'Mahony  Zoom on Dermot Gunn O'Mahony  I move:—

In sub-section (5), lines 29-30, to delete the words “Every game bird protection and every continuation order” and substitute therefor the words “Every order.”

[323] I think this is the amendment to which the Minister has referred.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I will undertake to insert an amendment of that nature, with the leave of the House, on the Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question—“That Section 5, as amended, stand part of the Bill”— put and agreed to.

(1) The Minister may, if and whenever he thinks fit, by order (in this Act referred to as a hares protection order) prohibit either permanently or for any period specified in such order the killing or taking of hares in any particular county or part of a county specified in such order.

(2) The Minister may at any time by order vary in any respect or revoke a hares protection order made by him under this section.

(3) When a hares protection order has been made under this section, it shall not be lawful for any person while such order continues in force to kill or take hares in the county or part of a county to which such order relates by any means other than—

(a) by coursing with not more than two dogs let loose from slips in pursuit of the hare, or

(b) by hunting with a pack of harriers or of beagle hounds in respect of which a hunting permit has been issued under this Act by the Minister.

(4) Every person who kills or takes hares in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this Part of this Act and shall be punishable accordingly.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I move:—

Before sub-section (3), page 3, to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

[324]“(3) The Minister may, if he so thinks fit on the application of the occupier of any land in a county or part of a county to which a hares protection order relates, exempt by writing under his hand for such time and on such conditions as he thinks fit such land or any part thereof from such order, and upon such exemption being so granted such order shall not apply or relate to the land the subject of such exemption so long as such exemption continues in force.”

I have put forward this amendment in the hope of solving what is rather a difficult problem, that of hare preservation, because hares sometimes do a great deal of damage, especially in young plantations. That is the view of the Forestry Department, at any rate. It may be necessary, for the protection of young trees, to give the owner of a place where hares are likely to do damage, if he makes a case, leave to save his property by destroying what I call trespassing hares. I think the House accepts that. It is wider, but it is meant to cover very much the same ground that was Deputy O'Mahony's intention when he put down amendment 12.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Question—“That Section 6, as amended, stand part of the Bill”— put and agreed to.

Question—“That Section 7 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

(1) Save as is otherwise provided by this Part of this Act, and subject to the exception mentioned in this section, it shall not be lawful for any person to do any of the following things, that is to say:—

(a) to kill or take any game by means of any trap, snare, or net, or

(b) to set in any place any trap, snare, or net for killing or taking game, or

[325] (c) to set in any place frequented by game any trap, snare, or net whatsoever.

(2) This section shall not apply to nor render unlawful the setting by an occupier of land of traps, snares or nets for the taking of rabbits on the land occupied by him.

(3) Every person who kills or takes any game in contravention of this section or sets any trap, snare, or net in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this Part of this Act and shall be punishable accordingly.

Mr. Goulding: Information on Seán Goulding  Zoom on Seán Goulding  I move:—

In sub-section (2), to insert after the words “an occupier of land,” line 23, the words “or persons authorised by him.”

This would mean only a slight change in the wording of the section. It is to safeguard men who trap rabbits on lands with the permission of the owner. Were these words not inserted it might be possible for an officious person to prosecute such people, and this slight change would safeguard that.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I consulted with the Parliamentary draughtsman, and his view was that what the Deputy wants is already covered, because if you authorise a person to do a thing he may do it also by his agents. That is the general principle of draughtsmanship, and if words of this kind were put into the Bill it would not be artistic draughtsmanship. But I can assure the Deputy that what he wants is covered. For instance, somebody owns land and he traps rabbits on it. He need not go out and physically set the traps himself; he can hire a trapper to do it, get friends to do it voluntarily, or give away the trapping to somebody else. What he can do himself he can authorise any person to do.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question—“That Section 8 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

Notwithstanding anything contained in any other section of this Act, it shall be lawful for any person, with the permission in writing of the superintendent of the Gárda Síochána for the district in which he takes or proposes to take hares, to take hares alive by means of nets between the 15th day of August in any year and the last day of February in the next following year (both days inclusive) in any year solely for sale to a recognised coursing club for use by such club in coursing matches and it shall be lawful for a responsible officer of a recognised coursing club to purchase hares so taken for such use by such club.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I move, for Deputy Buckley:—

In sub-section (2), line 46, to insert after the word “matches” the words “or for the purpose of increasing the number or improving the quality of the hares for such purposes,” and in line 48 to delete the word “use” and substitute the word “purposes.”

I think the Minister will see for himself what Deputy Buckley's purpose in this amendment is.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I am perfectly willing to accept the principle of this. It is very much what is in the first part of the sub-section. I would like to have it in rather a different form, and I think it can be done by omitting certain phrases, but I will see that the appropriate words are put in on Report.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question—“That Section 9 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I may say, on Section 10, that on the Report Stage I purpose bringing forward an amendment, because in the section a reference to catching birds for breeding purposes by means of nets should be “by means of nets or traps,” because, as a rule, hen [327] pheasants are not caught by nets; they are put into boxes.

Question—“That Section 10 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

It shall not be lawful for any person to take, destroy, or injure the eggs of any game bird or to destroy, remove or mutilate the nest of any such bird, and every person who acts in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this Part of this Act and shall be punishable accordingly.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I move:—

To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in the foregoing sub-section, the taking of the eggs of pheasants or partridges solely for the purpose of having the same properly hatched out shall net be a contravention of this section.

No person can take, destroy or injure the eggs of any game bird. This would allow eggs, say the eggs of pheasants or partridges—I do not think in the case of partridges that it happens very often—to be taken and hatched out, but they can only be taken for the purpose of hatching them out.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Question—“That Section 11, as amended, stand part of the Bill”— put and agreed to.

Question—“That Section 12 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  I move:—

Before Section 13 to insert a new section as follows:—

“(1) The Minister may by order declare any game preservation or gun-dog club which is [328] affiliated to the organisation commonly called and known as the Irish Kennel Club to be a recognised game preservation or gun-dog club for the purposes of this Part of this Act.

(2) The Minister may at any time at his absolute discretion by order revoke any order previously made by him under the foregoing sub-section.

(3) So long as an order made under the first sub-section of this section continues in force, the game preservation or gun-dog club to which such order relates shall be a recognised game preservation or gun-dog club within the meaning of this Part of this Act.”

The amendment was put down to endeavour to obtain for people preserving game other than hares the same provisions that are given to coursing clubs. I pointed out on the Second Reading that the formation of clubs for the preservation of game will be a necessity if game is to be preserved. Realising that, I put down this amendment. I drafted it in terms similar to the provisions in the Bill dealing with coursing clubs, and in doing so it became necessary to name what might be called some governing body. In conversation with people with whom I am associated it was suggested that the Irish Kennel Club would be a desirable body. It is a highly democratic body, and includes people in all grades and positions in society. However, if the Minister considers it inadvisable to accept that body I would have no objection to substituting some other body, or, in the alternative, the Minister could give individual clubs recognition. Either would appeal to me. I put forward the amendment for what it is worth. I do honestly believe that any attempt to preserve game can only be achieved by the formation of clubs, and by the co-operation of the smallholders and other people, just as the preservation of hares has been achieved up to this by such methods. It is for that reason that we, who are so anxious to preserve game, [329] think that we are entitled to be given the same provisions as are given to coursing clubs.

Mr. Shaw: Information on Patrick Walter Shaw  Zoom on Patrick Walter Shaw  I would like very strongly to support the suggestion that clubs be recognised in some way by the Minister, because the whole object of this Bill will be defeated unless clubs are formed for the purpose of re-stocking game birds that are at present practically extinct, and, more important, in order to endeavour to exterminate scourges such as scald-crows, magpies and hawks, owing to which game is extinct. In many parts there are no partridge, pheasants, or many other kinds of game. If these clubs are not formed, there is no possibility of re-stocking the country. I spoke at length on this matter earlier with regard to procuring eggs, and I now say that these clubs should be formed. A small sum could be given per head for magpies, scald-crows and hawks. The Bill will be of no avail whatever unless something like that is done. The young birds, after being hatched, are exterminated almost before they have got their feathers. Everyone knows that, and we are wasting time unless something like what I suggest is done. Everyone knows that these scourges have not been interfered with for many years, and that there are flocks of them exterminating the game.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  The only fault that I find with the amendment is in the second and third lines:

The Minister may by order declare any game preservation or gun-dog club which is affiliated to the organisation commonly called and known as the Irish Kennel Club.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  I have intimated that I am willing to substitute any other body or to agree to an amendment living recognition to any body.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  That is the difficulty that I see. I think the words might be deleted from the word “club,” because “the Irish Kennel Club” might or might not be the title of the body set up to deal with this [330] question of clubs. Unless we have local preservation organisations composed of the owners of the land in which game is reared, and their co-operation, you can never have winged game in this country. The owners are the foundation upon which the whole success rests, and unless you can make them realise that it is their own property, that the game when alive is worth a certain amount, and that they can get value for it either by setting the shootings to people who want to take it, or by shooting it themselves, it will not be a success. It is not necessary that the Irish Kennel Club should be the body. I think it would be much better to accept the amendment with the deletion of the words after the words “gun-dog club.”

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I am entirely in sympathy with what has been said in favour of this amendment, as far as it deals with the necessity to establish an association, if there is to be game preservation. Already some associations are at work. They are doing very good work indeed for the preservation of game, and I would like to see game preservation associations springing up. I agree with Deputies that that is the real way to make Ireland a first-class shooting country, and to establish a great national asset. Of course there is very little gain to these associations by recognition. As far as the coursing clubs are concerned, they get special rights. That is to say, they get special rights to trap and buy hares. That is really the main reason why the coursing clubs are recognised. Coursing clubs also get one little privilege extra. It is easier for them, because under Section 15 (1) any one may prosecute trespassers. That is easier, because they need not bring prosecution in the name of the owner of the land; they are allowed to bring it in their own name.

That is another amendment which Deputy Bennett has down, that this right should be given to shooting associations. That is the only right [331] which an authorised shooting association would get and it is a comparatively small right, but if the Deputies think that it would help the formation of an association that they should be recognised I would be very willing indeed that they should receive some sort of formal recognition, but I agree with Deputy Gorey that I am not at all sure that it would be correct for this House to put in affiliated to the Irish Kennel Club, and Deputy Bennett is not insisting on that. I am not to be taken for one moment as saying anything derogatory to the Irish Kennel Club, which is an excellent body and which has been doing work of an admirable character. As far as I know, there are not in existence at present any game preservation associations which are affiliated to the Irish Kennel Club, and I do not think the Irish Kennel Club has up to this dealt with game preservation, nor have I before me any suggestion or information from it that it would be willing to act, so therefore I think it would not be. I am not saying anything against the Irish Kennel Club. I cannot say, on the other hand, that it would be advisable that their name, which is only tentatively being put forward by Deputy Bennett, should be kept there. Also there are associations which were preserving game up to this and I think they naturally would be annoyed if they, or the Irish Game Protection Association which has done work up to this, suddenly found that they have to affiliate with another body. If the Deputy thinks it would be of help I would be willing that an amendment should be inserted that any game association recognised, say, by the Minister, would have those particular rights. I would be perfectly willing, and if there is a general federation of game societies later on and if you can show a central body directing game preservation all over Ireland, one acknowledged head, so to speak, then, as in coursing matters, a short Bill might be brought in afterwards saying that these privileges would [332] only be granted to clubs affiliated with that particular body. At present, as I say, as far as I am concerned, if the House wishes to give these powers to any recognised game preservation association, I will see that an amendment to that effect is inserted on the Report Stage.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  I am quite willing to withdraw the amendment following the Minister's statement. I would ask the Minister, when he mentions “game preservation societies,” to add the words “including gun-dog clubs.” The two largest associations happen to be gun-dog clubs. The one in which I am particularly interested is a gun-dog club. The work done there is so great that they have about 80 members, or 100 members, and this year they destroyed 1,500 or 2,000 head of vermin. It would be necessary to change this amendment.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  As a purist in the English language, it tears my heart to recognise any association known as the gun-dog club. It is barbarous slang. I move:—

Before Section 13 to insert a new section as follows:—

“Section 10 of the Act of the Parliament of Ireland passed in the year 1787 and entitled `An Act for the preservation of the game' (27 Geo. III. ch. 35) is hereby amended by the insertion of the words `rabbits, plover' therein immediately before the word `woodcock” now contained therein, and the said section shall have effect as so amended.”

Amendment 18 enables a person to bring a prosecution for trespass in pursuit of game not only for what is game under the Act called the Act for the Preservation of Game (27 George III. ch. 35) but it also enables a prosecution for trespass in pursuit of game to be brought for the extra class, plover, which is now being inserted in this Bill. It also enables a similar prosecution to be brought against a person who comes into land for the destruction of rabbits. It appears to be rather unfair that [333] somebody can go into your land and hunt rabbits. You have got, as you sometimes have, considerable damage to your walls if you live in a stone wall country. They pull down your fences hunting for a rabbit which they will probably never catch. Your only remedy is a simple trespass. They may also take away from a rabbit warren or places where rabbits are valuable a considerable number of rabbits and your only remedy is a simple action for trespass. That appears to me to be inadequate.

I think the person who has got rabbits on his land which do him enough damage should at least have the benefit of them if he wishes. This enables him to prosecute persons who come in on his land for the purpose of taking rabbits. There is another reason why this is inserted which is really more germane to the particular Bill under discussion. It is this: supposing you find somebody on your land with his gun and dog and you say he is there in pursuit or game. “Oh, no,” he says, “I am not in pursuit of game. I came in to shoot rabbits. I admit I am trespassing but I came in to shoot rabbits.” You cannot prove what is in the man's mind. Plenty of persons were acquitted by the magistrates because it was not proved that they were there for the purpose of shooting game. To prevent that ingenious defence invented generations ago by some skilful or astute advocate and which has been acted on for a considerable period I suggest that this word “rabbits” be put in and that trespass in pursuit of rabbits and game should be on the same footing.

Major Cooper: Information on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Zoom on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  I have a certain antiquarian interest in this on account of an Act which an ancestor of mine helped to pass in the year 1787 in the Irish Parliament. I do not see how it is going to be of any use to the Minister. He proposes to amend Section 10 of an Act of 27th year of George III., and in the Second Schedule of the Bill he proposes to repeal that whole Act. I do not know how it is going to be of any [334] value to him to pass an amendment of a section of an Act if the Act is going to be repealed in the schedules.

Mr. Fitzgerald - Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  The Deputy has scored a magnificent point but, unfortunately, he scored it because he did not follow the example of his illustrious ancestor and carry his researches quite far enough. If he would look at amendment 45——

Major Cooper: Information on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Zoom on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  I apologise. The Minister has got me with the second barrel.

Mr. E. Doyle: Information on Edward Doyle  Zoom on Edward Doyle  Bad and all as the 27th George III. is, it did not include rabbits and plover. The Minister for Justice is going, one further and including these in a Game Preservation Act. I cannot see any reason why he should include rabbits, because they are only vermin, and I will oppose this amendment.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I think anybody who owns land or anybody who has any sense of fair play must admit that the owner of the land who feeds the rabbits should have some right to say how they are to be disposed of. Should people have the right to go into your land with ferrets and knock down walls whether you like it or not?

Mr. Doyle:  They have not that right.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  They what is the necessity for this amendment? Surely people who have got land ought to have some right. It is to preserve that right that the word rabbits is specifically mentioned here.

Mr. Doyle:  The Minister has said that you can prosecute a person for trespass.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Only for simple trespass.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I would like to support Deputy Doyle. I think farmers having rabbits on their land are only too glad to get rid of them.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  They should have the privilege of inviting in any people they like.

[335]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  We cannot have a conversation across the House.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The owner of land has the right to summon for trespass. That is safeguard enough. Any further steps in that line are ridiculous.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  If a man comes in and takes two or three pounds worth of rabbits out of your land you cannot get the value of [336] your rabbits. All you can get is a penny or a farthing damages for walking on your land.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  Does the Minister pretend to suggest that the farmers want the rabbits on their land?

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  They may want them exterminated, but if there is any value in them they want the money for themselves.

Amendment put.

Aird, William P.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Blythe, Ernest.
Boland, Patrick.
Bourke, Séamus A.
Brennan, Michael.
Byrne, John Joseph.
Carey, Edmund.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Conlon, Martin.
Cooper, Bryan Ricco.
Cosgrave, William T.
Crowley, James.
Daly, John.
De Loughrey, Peter.
Doherty, Eugene.
Dolan, James N.
Doyle, Peadar Seán.
Duggan, Edmund John.
Egan, Barry M.
Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Gorey, Denis J.
Haslett, Alexander.
Hassett, John J.
Heffernan, Michael R.
Hennessy, Thomas.
Hennigan, John.
Henry, Mark.
Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
Holohan, Richard.
Kelly, Patrick Michael.
Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
Kent, William R.
Keogh, Myles.
Law, Hugh Alexander.
Lynch, Finian.
Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
McFadden, Michael Og.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Mullins, Thomas.
Murphy, James E.
Myles, James Sproule.
Nally, Martin Michael.
Nolan, John Thomas.
O'Connor, Bartholomew.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Hanlon, John F.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
O'Reilly, John J.
O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reynolds, Patrick.
Rice, Vincent.
Roddy, Martin.
Shaw, Patrick W.
Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
Thrift, William Edward.
Tierney, Michael.
White, Vincent Joseph.
Wolfe, George.
Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Denis.
Anthony, Richard.
Blaney, Neal.
Boland, Gerald.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Seán.
Briscoe, Robert.
Broderick, Henry.
Carty, Frank.
Clancy, Patrick.
Clery, Michael.
Colbert, James.
Cooney, Eamon.
Corkery, Dan.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
Crowley, Tadhg.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon. [337]O'Kelly, Seán T.
O'Leary, William.
O'Reilly, Thomas.
Powell, Thomas P.
Ryan, James.
Sexton, Martin.
Doyle, Edward.
Everett, James.
Fahy, Frank.
Flinn, Hugo.
French, Seán.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Goulding, John.
Hayes, Seán.
Houlihan, Patrick.
Jordan, Stephen.
Killilea, Mark.
Kilroy, Michael.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Maguire, Ben.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
Moore, Séamus.
Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph. [338]Sheehy, Timothy (Tipperary).
Smith Patrick.
Tubridy, John.
Walsh, Richard.
Ward, Francis C.

Amendment declared carried.

Mr. G. O'Mahony: Information on Dermot Gunn O'Mahony  Zoom on Dermot Gunn O'Mahony  I move amendment 19:

In sub-section (2), line 39, to delete the word “may” and substitute the word “shall.”

The object is in dealing with poaching to make the penalty more severe.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I regret I cannot accept the amendment because it is too drastic. It takes away from the magistrate the discretion which he ought to have. At present he has got a discretion in the punishment which he inflicts, and it is a wise thing in a case like this to leave that discretion to the magistrate.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment 20 not moved.

Section 13, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Every firearm, trap, snare, net or other instrument, engine or contrivance forfeited under this Part of this Act shall be disposed of by sale by the superintendent of the Gárda Síochána for the district in which the offence by which such forfeiture was incurred was committed and the amount realised by such sale shall be paid into or disposed for the benefit of the Exchequer by such superintendent in such manner as the Minister for Finance shall direct.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I move amendment 21:—

On page 5, line 57, after the word “shall” to insert the words “unless the Commissioner of the Gárda Síochána authorises the same to be destroyed.”

As the section stands, all instruments and other things which are used by poachers for the taking of game would have to be disposed of by the superintendent of the Gárda. It might be inadvisable that traps and engines used for the taking of game should be put up for sale, because the person whose traps were confiscated might buy them in, or someone else might buy them in his own name for him, and he would have the weapons of his unlawful trade still at his disposal. The amendment gives a discretion to the Commissioner or the Gárda to have these things that have been confiscated destroyed instead of being sold.

Amendment agreed to.

Section 14, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

(1) Proceedings for the prosecution of any offence under this Part of this Act may be instituted at the suit and in the name of any person, whether official or unofficial, as prosecutor.

(2) Where any lands have with the consent of the occupier thereof been reserved by a recognised coursing club for the purpose of killing and taking hares thereon, and notice of such reservation has been published on two separate occasions in a newspaper circulating in the district in which such lands are situate, then and in every such case any prosecution in the District Court in respect of trespass on such lands for the purpose or in the course of the pursuit of hares may be instituted at the suit and in the name of the secretary for the time being of the organisation commonly called and known as the Irish Coursing Club, and it shall not be a defence to [339] any such prosecution, (whether instituted in the name of the said secretary or in the name of some other person) or to any prosecution for an offence under this Part of this Act in relation to the killing or taking of hares on such lands for the defendant to prove that he was authorised by the occupier of such lands to kill or take hares thereon.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  I move amendment 22:—

In sub-section (2), line 13, to insert after the word “Club,” the words “or by the landowners or occupiers of the preserved lands.”

In many parts of Ireland, particularly in Munster, farmers co-operate with the local sportsmen in preserving their lands and for that reason I move the amendment. Without the goodwill of the farmer, coursing clubs cannot afford to carry on, and so far as Cork county and city are concerned, we find that this arrangement works very well. I suggest that these words should be inserted in the section. I do not see how there can be any tangible objection and I hope the Minister will accept the amendment.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I do not think the Deputy completely understands, if I may say so, the scope of the sub-section. I would point out to him that under sub-section (1) anybody can bring a prosecution. In the ordinary course, however, the prosecution must be brought in the name of the person who owns the land. But, if you hire land you cannot bring a prosecution for trespass in the name of the occupier. This gives a certain power to the secretary of the particular club to bring the prosecution, and if he brings a prosecution in his own name, that then it should be no defence to say that the person who trespassed was authorised by the owner.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  The Minister must be aware that that already exists, especially where farmers have got vested rights.

[340]Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  It means this, that if the owner lets the land to a coursing club, and the club have got an exclusive right to course over it, and find somebody trespassing upon it, they can bring a prosecution in their own name, and it will not be a defence for the person who was poaching to say that he was authorised by the owner of the land. In other words, if a person lets his land to a coursing club he cannot let it to anybody else. If there was a prosecution brought in the name of the owner of land, which, apart from the section, would be the only name in which it could be brought, it would be a good defence to that prosecution to say, “I was authorised by the owner; I have a letter from him.” Under that, the prosecution would break down. This section enables the prosecution to be brought in the name of the coursing club, where they have the exclusive rights to the land, and, in that case, even if the owner has tried to play a mean trick, having let the land and tried to give leave to other people to course, it prevents him. As for putting in these other words, that the prosecution may be brought in the name of the owner, it can always be brought in the name of the owner.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  resumed the Chair.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  Experience has shown that in many cases farmers' sons have been prosecuted for coursing upon their own land. That is my own experience. I want to obviate that as far as possible. The Minister must know cases where the farmer has signed over his rights to a coursing club to course over his land for a given period, and where that agreement has been sealed, signed and delivered, if a farmer's son is found coursing upon his own or his father's land he is prosecuted. I want to guard against that.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I do not see why he should not be prosecuted. If the father has let the rights to a coursing club why should he attempt to take them back?

[341]Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  That does not tend to harmonious relations. As the law stands it has led to the breaking up of two or three clubs. I want to make the Bill read so that the farmer who has signed his right to a coursing club or other organisation will have a right to try a brace of dogs on his own farm. Of course I know he would get permission, but it has occurred where the farmer has given permission to friends to course over his preserves on a Sunday or some other day they have been prosecuted.

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Deputy Anthony should realise that when lands are preserved they are not the lands of one particular farmer. They are the lands of a number of farmers in the locality, and if those are to be at perfect liberty to give permission to everyone to course over their various lands, then they might as well not preserve them at all. That is one of the difficulties that coursing clubs are up against, that they find this permission to course given in many cases, and when the coursing club comes to net hares for a match they find there are no hares there.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  The point of view that is argued here has no relation whatever to the section or to the amendment. Deputy Anthony proposes to strengthen the section in the Bill not to take any of the powers from the coursing club, but he wishes to add other clubs than the clubs affiliated to the Irish Coursing Club. That is to say, if other people wish to go in for coursing they are to have equal rights with the coursing club. Sub-section (2) of Section 15 says: “Where any lands have with the consent of the occupier thereof been reserved by a recognised coursing club for the purpose of killing and taking hares thereon.” Deputy Anthony proposes to insert after the word “club,” in line 13, the words “or by the landowners or occupiers of the preserved land.”

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  That is a prosecution brought by him.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  There is nothing there to allow the farmer's son to go out day after day. There is nothing [342] there to give any liberty whether to the father or the son. It helps rather to curtail their liberty. The fact is that the words proposed to be added do not deal with that aspect of the question. I do not think this section could be argued on the point that Deputy Anthony has put forward. Indeed, I think the Minister might be well advised to allow this amendment to go through, because in addition to the clubs affiliated to the Irish Coursing Club there are other preservation societies, and especially in Cork, where you have what are known as Sunday clubs. These clubs are not affiliated with the Irish Coursing Club, but they are still clubs and have a definite standing, and they may grow up in other counties where there are no coursing clubs at all.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  That is open coursing.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Yes, open coursing, but so long as the club will preserve game as it must do it will help to multiply the hare population. These clubs are in parts of the country where there were no coursing clubs and there would be no preservation except, for these clubs.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  Deputy Gorey must have heard of the Cork Coursing Club.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Yes, I have.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  This is a most interesting dialogue between the two Deputies but it has nothing whatever to do with this amendment. It might as well take place upon any other part of the Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That was even dawning upon the Ceann Comhairle.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I quite, agree that this amendment is not necessary.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  What the Deputy wants is to see that when a prosecution is brought, in the name of the secretary of the coursing club or in the name of the owner or the occupier it shall not be a defence to say that he was authorised by the occupier of the land to take hares [343] there. What is the meaning of that? If a prosecution is brought by the occupier I think it ought to be a very good defence to say “You authorised me to do it.” I do not think the Deputy completely understands his own amendment. If the occupier brings a prosecution against a man it ought to be a good defence to say that he was authorised by the occupier, but on the other hand if it was brought by the secretary of the coursing association which has acquired the rights of the occupier then it would be no defence.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment by leave withdrawn.

Amendment 23 not moved.

Section 15 agreed to.

(4) This section shall not apply to the holder of a firearm certificate the excise duty on which is two pounds selling game lawfully killed either by himself or on his land or on land over which he has the right of shooting game.

Mr. O'Mahony: Information on Dermot Gunn O'Mahony  Zoom on Dermot Gunn O'Mahony  I move amendment 24:—

In sub-section (4), line 42, after the word “selling” to insert the words “to the holder of a game dealer's licence.”

The object of this amendment is to try to deal with one of the worst enemies that we have for the preservation of game, that is the professional poacher. He takes out a game licence, and as a rule he wanders about the country on land that does not belong to him, on land that he has no right to shoot on and afterwards he goes around the country selling the game that he has shot. The object of my amendment is to ensure that such a person should be compelled to sell the game to the holder of a game dealer's licence. I cannot see any hardship in compelling everyone who takes out a game licence to sell to the holder of a game dealer's licence. I think that if that is done it will go a long way [344] to prevent the harm that is being done at present by those whom I call professional poachers.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I agree with the Deputy to a considerable extent in what he says, but I am afraid that I cannot go the whole way with him. I agree with him that the professional poacher is a great enemy to the preservation of game. Not only does the professional poacher shoot over the lands of people who have taken steps to preserve game, but he is also very often a gentleman who shoots grouse on the 10th and 11th August in order that he may get the top market price on the 12th August for grouse. I agree with all that, but I do not think that this amendment, if adopted, would put the professional poacher out of action at all, because he can sell the game to a dealer. I think that the professional poacher does sell to the game dealer. I do not think that he sells very much to the private consumer. There are persons who rear their own game and shoot their own game, and yet who, while they may wish to dispose of that game, would not like to be under the necessity of disposing of it to a game dealer. They may wish, so to speak, to cut out the middleman. I can understands someone, for instance, who has large game preserves over which he shoots himself. He may be a wealthy man. He shoots, say, a great deal more than he possibly can consume, or than he wants to give away. He may have a contract with a club or a hotel or something of that kind. I do not think it would be fair to him to prevent him from entering into such a contract. Though I entirely appreciate the motives that moved Deputy O'Mahony to bring in this amendment. I think that possibly it it a little too strict.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  There is just one thing that the Minister may not be aware of. As we all know, there is a good deal of poaching of game going on as well as snaring of hares, while in the close season there is a great deal of destruction of spawning fish. The [345] people who engage in that do not, in many instances, go into the towns to find a market for what they have to sell. They are able to find a market in their own districts. That certainly applies to hares, and to a lesser extent, perhaps, to game. Many of these people are able to find a market for what they have to sell within a mile of their own homes, and sometimes, perhaps, within a hundred yards of them. That is one of the great outlets that the poacher has for what he has to sell. I would like to see some words introduced into this Bill to deal with that. The Minister may take it that the poachers in that way are able to find a considerable outlet for what they have to sell. They are able to effect sales for the game they have to dispose of in too many instances in their own districts.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I am opposed to this amendment. I know a number of small farmers who take out a game licence each year. The game that they shoot they supply to customers weekly, in the same way that they supply eggs and butter and other farm produce. They have bona fide customers for the game which they have to offer for sale. This amendment would rule out these people altogether. It would compel them to sell the game to the middleman, and I think that would be very unfair.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  The question is, do you want to preserve game or not?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I do not see how that comes in. The question seems to me to be whether you are going to prevent the small farmer from being able to take out a licence. I think that is what it comes to. In my opinion this is a landlord's amendment.

Mr. Shaw: Information on Patrick Walter Shaw  Zoom on Patrick Walter Shaw  I would urge on the Minister to consider what steps ought to be taken to deal with this matter. There is no doubt that great abuses are being committed at the present time by these professional poachers. They go out and they shoot pheasants and other [346] birds and it is to be deplored that they are able to find a ready market for them in the country and in towns. That is one of the principal reasons why in the counties that I represent pheasants and partridge are almost extinct at the moment.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  Surely Deputy Shaw is aware that this Bill is drastic enough as it is against the poacher. I do not stand up for the poacher. Is any man in this House going to prevent me, after having paid £2 for my licence, from selling the game that I shoot if I have the desire to do so? I might say, however, that I never sold a bird in my life. At the same time it must be remembered that there are hundreds of good sportsmen in the country who frequently, when they get a good bag, and having made some presents to their friends, are compelled to dispose of the remainder. I would like to know a Deputy Shaw and Deputy O'Mahony in the case of a man who complies with the law by taking out his licence, desire to prevent him from disposing of what is a profit to himself. I consider that this amendment, if adopted, would certainly curtail the liberty of the subject in that respect. I know some of the best sportsmen from cross channel who frequently send the birds they shoot to people in the Leadenhall market to dispose of them for them. To my mind this is a most reactionary amendment.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I do not think that it is reactionary at all. First of all, the people who kill game are licensed. The game dealer is licensed, and in between the two you allow a traffic to be carried on between a private individual and the person who kills the game. There is, of course, a good deal to be said for the point of view of Deputy Anthony, that the man who complies with the law by taking out a licence should have all the freedom and privileges that that licence gives. On the other hand, you are faced with this position, that something must be done to try and preserve game in the country. In many places game is almost extinct at the moment. There are only a [347] few partridge to be found in certain counties. As regards pheasants, they can be imported and hatched out here, but the position is altogether different as regards partridge. I think we must all admit that the man who takes out a licence and who endeavours to make a living out of the shooting of game is, and always has been, a great curse in this country. I am referring now to the type of man who shoots every day from the opening to the end of the season. That the position is as it is with regard to game in this country is largely due to the action of men of that type. I move to report progress.

The Dáil went out of Committee.

Progress reported. The Committee to sit again to-morrow.


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