In Committee on Finance. - Dairy Produce (Price Stabilisation) Bill, 1932—Committee.

Tuesday, 24 May 1932

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 41 No. 17

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This Act may be cited as the Dairy Produce (Price Stabilisation) Act, 1932.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Amendment 1, in the name of Deputy McMenamin and amendment 13 in the name of Deputy Davin both deal with the duration of this Bill if it becomes an Act. It is proposed to take the debate on the duration of this measure on Deputy McMenamin's amendment, Deputy Davin to be allowed to move an amendment to that amendment by deleting the figures “1934” and substituting therefor “1933.” Does Deputy Davin agree to that?

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I agree.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Deputy McMenamin must move his amendment before the amendment to it can be moved by Deputy Davin.

Mr. McMenamin: Information on Daniel McMenamin  Zoom on Daniel McMenamin  I formally move amendment 1: At the end of the section to insert a new sub-section as follows:—“This Act shall continue [2333] in force until the 31st day of March, 1934, and shall then expire.”

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I move as an amendment to that amendment: To delete the figures “1934” and substitute therefor the figures “1933.” The members of this group are as anxious as the members of any other group or party in this House to assist the dairying industry to maintain production, and by any and every means possible to maintain our position in the export market. We believe, however, that every other channel available should be carefully investigated before butter consumers are called upon to pay the charge which, as a result of the passing of this measure, they will have to pay in order to find the necessary money. It is quite true, I readily admit, that almost everybody has been taxed by the Minister for Finance in his Budget which we have been just discussing.

If I had been taken into the confidence of the Minister for Finance before he submitted his Budget proposals to the House I would certainly have run the risk of advising him to find the necessary money by further taxation on luxuries and amusements before calling upon the poorest section of the community to pay the increased prices they will have to pay for butter as a result of the proposals contained in this Bill. I do not see why people with dependents and having family responsibilities should not pay for the food that is to be consumed before patronising picture houses, and especially the highly-priced seats. I am certain there are many other channels whereby this money could be found without imposing the burdens contained in this Bill on the poorest of the poor. In my opinion, one of the results of this Bill will be to drive many people who are now in a position to eat butter to the consumption of margarine, thereby reducing the consumption of butter in the home market.

My amendment is put forward for the purpose of limiting the life of this Bill for the shortest possible period. I dare say that nobody in this House or even in the country is in a position [2334] to prophesy what the exact financial position of this State will be twelve months hence. I think it is true to say that. But if the prophecies made by the Minister for Finance can be relied upon there should be, and I am sure will be, some channel other than that outlined in this Bill in which to find this money at the end of twelve months. The Minister for Finance, in his reply this evening, stated quite definitely that he believed, and he has more information than the ordinary Deputy, that the Government would be able to prove their case as regards the claim already made to withhold the land annuities. I hope the Government will be able to prove their case and that they will succeed in retaining the money in this country. If they do, I submit that there is no better source from which to find the money required for the financing of this Bill than by setting aside some of the money thus saved for the purpose of subsidising the dairying industry. The land annuities come from the farming community, and a considerable percentage of the annuities is being found by people engaged in the dairying industry to-day, and if the dairying industry is in the same perilous position twelve months hence, in which we all admit it is to-day, the Government could justifiably come to the House and say: “We must set aside whatever money is necessary to give further assistance to the dairying industry from the money we succeed in retaining in the form of the land annuities.”

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy is aware that suggestions about the land annuities would not be in order on this Bill. That might open up a very wide discussion.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I do not want to make any political argument on the advisability, or otherwise, of retaining the land annuities——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Or disposing of them.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  But I am glad to share with the Minister for Finance the hope [2335] he expressed this evening, that money will be available twelve months hence. I do not believe that Deputies could justify any raising of money by taxation, or by the method proposed in this Bill, to help an industry which will not organise itself on proper lines.

It has been admitted—there may be a few exceptions in the House—that the reduction in the quantity of butter exported to our only market, is mainly due to keen competition in the British market from Denmark, New Zealand and Australia, and the 20 per cent. reduction that has taken place in our exports has been more than captured by these countries, by reason of the method of organisation through which they have put that butter on the British market. The farmers of Denmark, Australia and New Zealand are highly organised for buying and selling on cooperative lines, and the Deputy who believes that individual creameries in this State can stand up against the organised competition in the British market from Denmark, Australia and New Zealand, should be placed in a padded cell in Grangegorman.

The individual seller in the British market to-day is completely out of court, and unless the Minister, either by his eloquence, or whatever other methods he may adopt, takes action within the coming twelve months, to persuade or, if necessary, coerce the creameries of this country into setting up a marketing organisation, this Bill is not going to achieve the purpose for which it was intended. It will cost this State a certain number of hundreds of thousands of pounds, which the butter consumers will have to pay, and I prophesy that, without that marketing machine, the creameries, at the end of twelve months, will be in a worse position than they are to-day. Why, therefore, should not the Minister be given reasonable time—and I submit that twelve months is a reasonable period in present circumstances and with the international situation as we know it to-day—and during that twelve months, persuade or convince or coerce, if necessary, the people engaged in the dairying industry to organise their business on proper lines, and if they [2336] fail to do so, and he refuses to coerce them, if necessary we should be allowed to review the whole position at the end of twelve months.

Our trade with Great Britain is going to depend very largely on the persuasive influence of, perhaps, the Minister for Agriculture, who, with his colleagues, will represent this State at the Economic Conference at Ottawa. I would like to have, at the end of a twelve months' period, an opportunity of seeing how far the Minister and his colleagues will be responsible for improving our position in the British market, or how far they will have responsibility for failing to improve or even maintain our position. I think that this House, for the reasons I have given, is making a fair request to the Minister in asking that the life of the Bill be limited to one year, and that at the end of that year—an eventful year, I am sure, in the history of this State—the people's representatives in this House be given an opportunity of investigating what other means may be adopted, for the purpose of securing the money necessary to finance the dairying industry, and to put it on a firm financial foundation.

Mr. McMenamin: Information on Daniel McMenamin  Zoom on Daniel McMenamin  I am not quarrelling at all with Deputy Davin, as to the duration of this measure, but I think if we are accepting it at all, it should get a chance. It is useless to waste the time of the House in discussing the measure, unless it gets a reasonable chance. I think that Deputy Davin will admit, as a business proposition, that here is a new scheme applied to the creamery industry, for the purpose of relieving it, in its hour of stress, and surely no business man will suggest that it is a business proposition that, at the end of six months, we should ask whether or not that scheme is a success.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Not six months.

Mr. McMenamin: Information on Daniel McMenamin  Zoom on Daniel McMenamin  For the levy months.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  For the financial year.

Mr. McMenamin: Information on Daniel McMenamin  Zoom on Daniel McMenamin  From now until the end of the year means six levy months. At the end of November next the levy [2337] period expires for the current year. That is provided for in the Bill and there in no use in discussing it. The creameries are asked to adopt a new scheme which we all hope will be of material benefit to them, and we are asked to confine it to a period of substantially six months, that is as far as the levy is concerned. That is not a fair chance for the scheme or for the creameries. This scheme is a new one and the creamery managers do not know how it will work. They will have to get into it. Then we should give them another year. The scheme will get into working operation during this year, and when they begin the next levy year, then they start with a clean sheet to test the scheme for what it is worth. I would say that at the end of that time it should have got an ample and reasonable opportunity to test whether or not it would succeed. I am not tied to anything, but if this House is adopting this scheme, and putting a tax on the public in order to benefit the creameries, I say it should have, at least, a fair chance, or do not do it at all. With regard to extending it longer than 1934, it might be injurious both to the creameries and to the public. I am not saying it will happen, but there is a possibility, and perhaps a probability, that this scheme will be injurious to the creameries and that they will be very glad to get clear of it. I think the House and the Minister should accept as a reasonable and practicable proposition that of giving this Bill two years to test its efficiency. I think that would be fair and reasonable both to the public and to the creameries, if the Bill is to be accepted at all. I move my amendment.

Mr. O'Neill: Information on Eamonn O'Neill  Zoom on Eamonn O'Neill  I think the House agrees that this is a temporary measure to deal with an unprecedented and specific condition of affairs. We are now dealing with two amendments, as to whether the Bill is to be in operation for one or two years. I think the Minister himself will realise that it is a temporary measure, and perhaps he will indicate what he thinks would be a fair time to give it a trial, so [2338] that we might be able to come to an agreement and get on to the consideration of the more material parts of the proposal.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  The Bill is, we hope, a very temporary measure. As the Bill is arranged, and as far as our intention goes, if the export price of butter were to reach 123/- the provisions of the Bill would automatically cease. We are hoping that that time will come within a few years, because we do believe that some of our foreign competitors must be finding it just as hard to compete as we are. I might mention that the title of the Bill says it is a price stabilisation Bill. I think it would leave very little hope for the dairy farmer if we were to announce that the Bill is only to operate for one year. We admit in the Bill that the dairy farmer is not even getting the cost of production so far as we can help him by the Bill. We are only holding out a little hope to him that we will meet his losses, as it were, for one or two years until prices improve, in order that he may remain in production until the export price goes up again and he can take advantage of it. If we were to say that the Bill would only operate for one or two years I believe that the sort of despair that has got hold of the dairy farmers for the last three years, in connection with butter prices, would take effect, and that they would go out of dairying altogether, and we would lose the whole object of the Bill.

I should like to emphasise that we are only, under the Bill, giving the cost of production to the farmer. That would be quite evident to anybody who has noticed the price of butter in Dublin to-day. We hoped when bringing in the Bill that we could keep the retail price of butter at 1/5 per lb. That would mean about 142/- per cwt. to the creameries. Since that time, the retail price has gone down to 1/3 in the city of Dublin, which means that the creameries are only getting 122/- or so, per cwt. for butter. If you take the average between that and the export price, and deduct the twopence for the levy, you will find that the price they are getting now for butter is practically nothing more than they [2339] were getting last year. Deputies from creamery districts have stated that if we were to have another year like last year we could not remain in the industry.

The point I want to make is that if we do not give an undertaking to the dairy farmers that we shall continue the Bill for a reasonable period anyway, I am afraid that they will not remain in the industry, and it would be just as well to drop the Bill altogether. I do not see any use in asking the consumer to come to the help of the dairy farmer for the sake of this year. Unless it was going to help us to remain in the dairying industry until the good times come again, I could not see any use for the Bill. Therefore, we should give it a reasonable time. I also think that if we were to put the Bill through for one year and spend a considerable time upon it, and probably spend a good deal of time upon it next year again, it would be hardly fair to the Dáil to ask for so much time. I think that the matter of putting some limit to it might be considered, but that one or two years would be unfair, I would be prepared to consider putting a limit of, say, five years, and of bringing in an amendment to that effect on the Report Stage.

Mr. McMenamin: Information on Daniel McMenamin  Zoom on Daniel McMenamin  If the Minister confined the Bill to two years, he could have it renewed in the Expiring Laws Bill. That is clearly the way out of it.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  That is the proposal.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  I rather favour the idea suggested by Deputy McMenamin. The Minister in the Bill, after the words “in the year 1933,” has the following, “and every succeeding year.” While there is a good deal in what Deputy Davin suggests in his amendment, I feel that if we are to commit ourselves to the Bill at all the dairying industry should get a chance, as the Minister suggests. As representing a very important community, the City of Cork, I feel it is going to be a tremendous burden on the poor people, a very big burden indeed. I am at considerable loss, however, to [2340] understand what construction the Minister puts on sub-sections (2) and (3).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  There are no sub-sections (2) and (3) in the section.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  I want the Minister to explain in greater detail the incidence of this taxation. For instance, a shopkeeper or trader may purchase butter from a farmer, and it may be subsequently blended in a factory. I am rather concerned with butter factories, because there are a number of them in my constituency.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  In Committee Stage, Deputies must deal on each section with what is in the section and the amendment to it. The Deputy is not in order in pursuing his present line of argument.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  I shall not deal with that; I shall hark back to Deputy Davin's amendment and to the suggestion made by Deputy McMenamin, which is, if you like, a compromise. Deputy McMenamin suggested the year 1934. I think that is a reasonable amendment which the Minister might accept. With regard to the amendment in Deputy Davin's name, I think if the Bill is to be adopted at all one year is too short. I think there would be no opportunity of a try-out so far as the dairy farmers are concerned if Deputy Davin's amendment were accepted. I favour the amendment of Deputy McMenamin if the Minister will accept it, although I am against the principle underlying this Bill and the machinery contained in it. I feel if it is to be operative at all the more chastisement our people get the better for them.

Mr. Blythe: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  I think the Minister might be glad himself later on to have a relatively short period of duration fixed for the Bill. It could be renewed comparatively easily if it were working satisfactorily. A simple amendment to Section 1 could alter the date. I would not like to make the first period so short as that suggested by Deputy Davin, but if the Minister accepts the amendment of Deputy McMenamin, even if he added one year to it, I [2341] think that would give a period after which it might reasonably be expected that the matter would be specially brought before the Dáil again. I would not be so keen on having a Bill like this renewed in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, which comes in at the end of the Session, and cannot be discussed at any length, but I think that after a period of two or three years from now the Bill might very well be brought before the Dáil and the whole policy of the duty during the period reconsidered. Before that time so many things might have developed under the Bill that the Minister himself might be very glad to have the chance of letting it drop without having to repeal it.

Mr. Donovan: Information on Timothy Joseph O'Donovan  Zoom on Timothy Joseph O'Donovan  I appeal to the Minister also to accept Deputy McMenamin's amendment although I would be inclinded to favour Deputy Davin's amendment for one year. Although I supported the Second Reading of this Bill on the chance that it may be an incentive to keep us in production I must say I am in doubt about it. One point made by Deputy Davin in moving his amendment was when he said the Bill would hit the poorest of the poor. If a year was put in as an amendment we might all be very glad because at the end of twelve months I think we will be all very poor and we may be very glad to have a reconsideration of the situation at the end of that time.

Mr. Brasier: Information on Brooke W. Brasier  Zoom on Brooke W. Brasier  I support Deputy McMenamin's amendment for this reason that there would be no possibility of the Bill getting a fair chance if it was to terminate in 1933. It must be taken into consideration that we will be in competition with countries like Australia in their winter exportation. That has got to be remembered, and I think that unless at any rate you give the period mentioned in Deputy McMenamin's amendment the Bill would have no possible chance of success. If we are to have the Bill let us try to find out what its merits are like. It will be very much in the nature of an experiment, and if people are to be taxed let us try and see what can be got out of it.

[2342]Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  I find myself in agreement with Deputy Davin for the simple reason that I am fundamentally opposed to this tax on butter, for many reasons, the principal one being that it is about time to face up to the facts. If the farmers of this country cannot hold their own in an industry in the production of which nature has endowed us with abundance of raw material, in the way of green grass, then I cannot see, even with the widest stretch of imagination, how this country is going to succeed in any industry. Again I agree with Deputy Davin that this Bill will not be any advantage to the farmers engaged in the industry. In fact I go so far as to say that it might be better for this country if all the creameries were blown up altogether. I do not know that they have been much use so far as the trade of the country is concerned. And again I am in favour of Deputy Davin's amendment for the reason that this Bill savours of class legislation. It is only going to be of advantage, if it is an advantage at all, to about ten counties. The Free State is composed of twenty-six counties. The other counties have suffered much in the past six or seven years owing to the depression in the farming industry and have received very little consideration from the legislation of the past six, seven or eight years.

Take the County Louth that I represent. The farmers there have suffered very much from bad prices for barley, oats, potatoes and other agricultural products and the people of that county and especially the poor in the towns and villages situated in the county are to be asked to pay 4d. a lb. more for their butter. Another thing I would like to ask the Minister is this. How does it come about that we are the only people who did not increase our butter exports to Great Britain during the past year or two?

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  Is this in order?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy is making a Second Reading speech on a section of the Bill in Committee.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  At the same time I submit that if we are to ask people in [2343] the Free State to pay 4d. more for their butter we would like to be convinced before hand that everything was done that could possibly be done by those engaged in the industry to make it a success. For that reason I think my question is very relevant.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Possibly, but not on this particular section.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  I thought we were discussing Deputy Davin's and Deputy McMenamin's amendments, both of them being taken together. For that reason I think I am entitled to discuss both amendments together.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Certainly.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  That is why I asked why it is that our exports of butter to the British market have fallen off, have decreased instead of showing any increase. Our exports have shown a very notable decrease when we compare them with the exports of Denmark to the British market. For these reasons I would like to support Deputy Davin's amendment to limit the Bill to one year, because I am convinced now as I was convinced when the tariff was put on by the late Government that no improvement will be shown in that industry. After all the proof of the pudding is in the eating. There is no use in imposing an unnecessary burden on the people of the country unless some good results can be shown from it.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  This Bill is really a desperate remedy for dealing with a desperate situation. It does not matter whether it is to continue in operation for two years or for five years. I agree with the Minister that long before two years have passed the price of butter will go to 123/- per cwt. or otherwise farmers will have gone out of dairying. I see no great harm in the Minister accepting Deputy McMenamin's amendment. In order to end the debate might I suggest that the Minister would make the date 1933?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  To accept the amendment would entail consequential amendments [2344] with regard to the terms of the Schedule. I would undertake to bring in an amendment on the Report Stage and it would probably be to make it operative for three years. There will be nothing to prevent Deputies Davin or McMenamin putting down their amendments again. I very much dislike the suggestion that the Act could be brought in under the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. Deputy Blythe's suggestion that we should have an opportunity of discussing the whole measure within three years is a good one. If the price goes down at the rate it is going down now I think there will be no bounty on exports because there will be no exports. Deputy Coburn asked why had exports gone down during the last few years. The reason is because prices were so bad. We are now getting practically the same price as last year. If it goes down further our exports will decline and there will be no such thing as a bounty in question. If the price takes a turn for the better the Bill will not be operative when it reaches 123/-. In any case I think it will be necessary to revise the Bill after three years. I will undertake to bring in an amendment on the Report Stage.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Will the Minister say something on the question which is vital to my amendment? What is the view of the Government on the situation? Has the Minister's Party any views with regard to organised marketing in order to maintain the position on the British market?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  That is dealt with in another amendment.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  The matters raised by Deputy Davin will be referred to later on. One is in connection with central marketing. It is not feasible to compel central marketing under this Bill. It cannot be done. We may create a spirit that will lead to central marketing, but that is all we can hope for. I do not like to go into the question now.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Has the Minister given the matter any consideration, and does he realise the necessity for central [2345] marketing? If so, what are his intentions?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I realise the necessity, and I would like to see it done, but I do not think it is possible in present circumstances. I hope that with this Bill we may create the spirit of co-operation which would be necessary to get central marketing going. Having gone that far, we might by other means do something for central marketing. Another matter raised by Deputy Davin was the suggestion that next year we might be in a position to put a certain amount of money into the fund, that is, to subsidise it out of the Central Fund instead of from the consumers' pocket. If that is possible next year it can be done under the Bill as it stands.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  May I ask the Minister why such a divergence of opinion exists amongst the managers as to how the business should be conducted? We are to subsidise an industry in which those interested do not seem to know their own minds? They appear to be divided amongst themselves.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I suppose creamery managers are individuals who think that they can do their own business better than by central marketing. Some of them gave convincing proof that they had done so. That, generally speaking, is hard to believe, but individually they had a very good case to make for their own marketing as opposed to central marketing.

Mr. Hassett: Information on John Joseph Hassett  Zoom on John Joseph Hassett  I wish to support the suggestion of the Minister that this Bill should get a trial for three years. I think there is no use in introducing the Bill unless there is the guarantee that the producers will get at least the cost of production to enable them to continue in dairying. I got a letter from a creamery manager in my constituency in County Tipperary, saying that the balance sheet for the last year showed that there was a shortage of 64,000 gallons of milk as compared with the previous year's supply. If that goes on for another year there will be no production of butter, and the consumer will have to go to New Zealand or to Australia for his supplies. Farmers [2346] will be blamed much more than they are now. In giving this little subsidy it should be remembered that to a great extent it will be paid by the farmers, because they are 75 per cent. of the community, and they will have to pay 2d per lb. for any butter used in their own homes. Deputy Coburn sneered at farmers because they were not able to produce butter without a subsidy.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  I did not sneer, I asked a question.

Mr. Hassett: Information on John Joseph Hassett  Zoom on John Joseph Hassett  We would do so if there were no tariffs in this country—if we could buy everything in the cheapest possible market and had not to pay a tax of 33? per cent. on boots, 33? on machinery and other things used on the farm and in the home. Tariffs have been put on many things in order to help manufacturers. If farmers are to get a little subsidy now in the shape of a bounty, at least three-fourths of which will be paid by themselves no one has any reason to grumble. The Minister should give this Bill a trial for three years. Otherwise we will not encourage farmers to stop getting rid of their cows. We will not encourage them to produce more butter unless they get the reasonable cost of production or something near it.

Mr. O'Shaughnessy: Information on John Joseph O'Shaughnessy  Zoom on John Joseph O'Shaughnessy  In introducing this Bill, I think the Minister helped to save one of our greatest industries by making the position of the farmer more economic. Only that this Bill was introduced there would soon be no dairying in the Free State. The Bill will not only solve the present difficulty but will give hope to the farmers when they see that there is a Government here that is willing to foster the industry. I think there should be no time limit for the Bill. I hope that the trouble in the industry will right itself and that the price of butter will become such that it will be economic for the farmer to produce it. If the dairying industry goes down the whole machinery of this State will go down. I hope the present policy of the Government will be the policy of any Government in the future, that they [2347] will take steps to see that the main industry of the country will not go down and that it will be made economic for farmers to carry on.

Mr. Gorry: Information on Patrick Joseph Gorry  Zoom on Patrick Joseph Gorry  I think Deputies are not treating the House or the Minister fairly in asking for the imposition of a time limit in connection with this Bill, having regard to the existing position of the farming industry, and particularly of that branch of it which deals with dairying. Those engaged in the dairying industry are asking only for the same consideration for which industrialists are asking—that is that they get the cost of production. Every member of the House has admitted that at a price of 1/5 per lb. the butter producer would not be getting the cost of production. If it is good national policy that we should patriotically support our own products, that we, farmers, should buy boots produced in our own factories, would it be fair for the farmers to ask that they get their boots below the cost of production? I am quite sure that the Minister is as anxious to come back to the House and report as any Deputy is. He is anxious to take the House into his confidence and to treat it fairly. This talk of being hard on the poor is not fair because agricultural labourers are dependent on the farmer for employment. This Bill represents only a small share of compensation to the farmer but it has given him heart. To confine it to a year or two years would undo all the good that has been done by the introduction of the Bill. As my colleague on my left has said, a restriction of that kind would compel farmers to consider whether or not they would continue in the industry and that would be bad for the industry.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  As recently as December, 1930, a very competent Committee investigated the position of the marketing of Irish butter. They drew attention to the fact that the present tendencies with regard to the butter industry generally and the very well-organised competition which that industry had to meet in the export market were such that it appeared vital [2348] to the prosperity of the creamery industry that some sort of concerted action by the producers should be undertaken. That was, no doubt, for the purpose of reducing overhead costs and, to some extent, securing a better price in the market. The necessity for that course is perhaps more pressing to-day than it was in 1930.

Mr. Smith: Information on Patrick Smith  Zoom on Patrick Smith  What has this to do with the time limit?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  May I draw the Deputy's attention to amendment 33, on which the question with which he is dealing will arise?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Under powers given in this Bill, there may come a time when the assistance which is now being required from the ordinary consumer of butter may be contributed by the taxpayer. At present, there is necessity for co-operation. As recently as March of this year, the Irish creamery managers were putting forward a scheme for fixing the home and export prices and were making some attempt at the kind of organisation suggested in the report I have quoted. We are now having this scheme opened up, a scheme which should be worked by the industry itself. In Australia, where such a scheme is in operation, it is worked by the industry without State assistance. If the industry is to organise itself for the purpose of cutting down overhead costs and improving marketing arrangements, the Minister should consider whether the period for the operation of the Bill and the hope that the taxpayer will ultimately step in to support the industry do not constitute too great an inducement to the creamery managers, who have so much difficulty in adopting a scheme, to sit back in their armchairs and leave the industry to jog along in the unorganised way in which it is jogging along at present. I think every section of the House is agreed that a proper, co-operative scheme of marketing on the creamery side is most desirable and that such provisions as a Bill of this kind would contain should direct the minds of the organisers of the creamery industry to the lines on which organisation should [2349] proceed. To give those interested under this Bill a long period or to give them the prospect of support from the ordinary taxpayer may not conduce to what is desired by all sections and the Minister should consider whether the shorter period mentioned in Deputy McMenamin's amendment would not be more useful.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  This does not seem to me to be a very important point. I should like to know if the Dáil would accept three years as the period.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  I take it that the two amendments are withdrawn on condition that the Minister brings in a suitable amendment on the Report Stage.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I want to make it quite clear that the members of the Labour Party have always advocated here the fixing of minimum prices for agricultural products. I hope the House will have the good sense some time to fix such a price as will give farmers the cost of production. I would not advocate a decent rate of wages for other workers and at the same time disregard the fact that the farmer should not get an adequate return as well as the man who works in the factory. The time-limit proposal was put forward for the purpose of finding out whether, at the end of what I believe will be an eventful year, the necessary money could not be found from some other source. If we are to have available a sum of £3,000,000, why should we not give portion of that money back to the people from whom we have got it instead of making the small section of butter consumers responsible for the entire imports? I am sorry some of the Deputies who have spoken shirked the real issue—that the industry is not properly organised for marketing purposes. I have heard Deputy Gorey, even when his own Government were putting on tariffs, weep and tell the House that these tariffs were being put on for the purpose of propping up inefficiency. Why has the Deputy remained silent on this question affecting his own constituency? Surely he has some view on this proposal.

[2350]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Let us hear Deputy Davin's own view.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I think we are all in agreement—this is the first time for a long time—as to the necessity for giving financial assistance to the industry. There is a difference of opinion as to whether the money should be raised at the end of a specified period from some other source. That is the only difference between Deputies interested in the matter.

The question is whether a year or two or three years is a reasonable period in which to review the whole position. Believing that the Minister has certain doubts as to the whole scheme contained in the Bill, I would appeal to him—for the first time I have made an appeal to him as Minister for Agriculture—to let the experimental period be limited to two years, making that appeal on the grounds that at the end of the two years' period we should review the circumstances in which the money has to be found, and if he is Minister at the end of that period I will give him whatever assistance is necessary to enable him through some other channel to find whatever money is necessary to assist an industry that is so vital to the agricultural community.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  I do not see that there is any difference between Deputy Davin and Deputy McMenamin.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Or the Minister.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  Or the Minister. As the Minister has promised to accept certain amendments on the Report Stage I take it that Deputy Davin will consult with Deputy McMenamin, arrive at some sort of amendment and submit it to the House. I want to make my position clear. I feel that the agricultural industry is in need of help, and I am prepared, as I know most citizens are prepared, to help the industry.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Is the Deputy dealing with the duration period now?

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  My feeling is that a try-out for two years should be sufficient and I cannot see the objection of the Minister to accepting the suggestion [2351] made by Deputy McMenamin. The Expiring Laws Continuance Act is there and if Deputy McMenamin's suggestion were adopted, and the Act were allowed to continue until 1934 and then expire, there is nothing to prevent the Minister coming to the House and asking that it should be continued for another year under the Expiring Laws Continuance Act.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I would like to say to Deputy Davin, if his only anxiety is to see where the money is to come from, that he will find that information on page 2 and on the Supplementary Estimate. There will have to be another estimate, not necessarily that we will have to take anything out of State funds, but on account of the fact that the account at a certain period will be considerably overdrawn. There will therefore be a Supplementary Estimate. If that is Deputy Davin's only anxiety, he will have ample opportunity of reviewing it. I would like to emphasise that we should hold out some substantial hope to the farmer that we will keep him alive for three years at any rate.

Mr. McMenamin: Information on Daniel McMenamin  Zoom on Daniel McMenamin  Why not renew it after two years?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  That is not the same as saying that you are sure of it for three years. I propose at any rate to bring in an amendment on the Report Stage for three years.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Would the Minister be prepared to say—I hope it is right for me to say so—that if money will be available on the land annuity question, he will agree to set aside portion of that for this purpose?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Yes.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  Deputy Davin is anticipating.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Section 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

the expression “butter trader” means a person who carries on for trade or gain, whether alone or in [2352] conjunction with any other business, the business of selling butter wholesale;

the expressions “the creamery butter account,”“the factory butter account” and “the miscellaneous butter account” respectively mean the several accounts required by this Act to be kept by the Minister under those respective names;

(2) Each of the following months shall be a levy month for the purposes of this Act, that is to say, the months of June, July, August, September, October, and November in the year 1932, and the months of April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November in the year 1933 and every succeeding year.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I move amendment No. 2:

In sub-section (1), page 3, line 48, to delete the word “wholesale.”

We feel that we cannot deal with certain classes of people in the butter trade under the word “wholesale” there in the definition. There are for instance butter factories that act as agents for retail shops. There are also retailers with multiple shops which sell a considerable amount of farmers' butter. There may be other instances. If we leave out the word “wholesale” we shall have more freedom in dealing with certain classes like that.

Mr. McMenamin: Information on Daniel McMenamin  Zoom on Daniel McMenamin  Would the Minister tell us the classes he means?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I mentioned two classes. First of all there are butter factory agents with retail shops. There are also retailers with multiple shops who buy farmers' butter direct and are in rather a big way in that business. Under the definition section as it stands we could not deal with this particular class. We want freedom to deal with them if necessary and by leaving out the word “wholesale” we shall have more freedom to deal with this particular class.

[2353] Amendment put and agreed to.

Mr. Desmond: Information on William Desmond  Zoom on William Desmond  I move amendment No. 3:

In sub-section (1), page 4, to delete lines 5 to 8 and substitute therefor the words “the expression ‘butter account’ shall mean the account required by this Act to be kept by the Minister under that name.”

In moving this amendment I desire to point out that it is important that the twopence levy shall be paid on all classes of butter and it is essential to preserve the factory until the situation under the Bill is clear.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  The effect of Deputy Desmond's amendment would be to make one common pool which would appear to be unfair to the creameries because the creameries have a bigger proportion of home consumption and therefore would derive more benefit out of the pool than the factories would out of the pool allotted to the factories, if the two were kept separate. I think it is only fair to put the two of them on a separate basis. Of course there will be a tendency as the creamery will get more out of the pool by way of bounty than the factory will get, for the factory to sell more at home and things will even out automatically. I think they should be allowed to come nearer to each other automatically and keep a separate pool. I think the point Deputy Desmond tries to make is that if there was a common pool there would be a levy of twopence and a bounty of about 3½d.

Mr. Blythe: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  Does not the Minister think that, as the present arrangement stands, the factories would be probably obliged to stop working, that the result of the system as set out in the Bill will be, if no amendment is accepted, that gradually farm butter will be withdrawn from the factories and that they will find difficulty in getting supplies? Whatever one may think about the factory system it has served the industry in one way and it is in great danger of coming to an end.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I should not like to make little of what the factories have done [2354] for the industry, but I do not see that the factories can in any way close down. There is a surplus of the farmers' butter during certain months of the summer, there is more than is required for the ordinary needs of the consumers, and this surplus of the farmers' butter must go to the factories. It cannot go anywhere else. The factories certainly will not close down. It may be that the factories will not be able to give the price in proportion to the creameries' price that they are giving at present, but they will not go down.

Mr. McMenamin: Information on Daniel McMenamin  Zoom on Daniel McMenamin  Surely the Minister does not suggest that the butter factories will carry on if they have to pay a levy of 2d. and only get back 2½d. Are they asked as a commercial proposition to go to all the trouble that is involved and to undergo the clerical expenses for the sake of one halfpenny per lb.? If this policy is adopted there is nothing for the butter factories to do except to go out of business, thereby destroying whatever market there is for farm butter. The Minister may have in mind that it is quite a good thing to destroy the market for farm butter, home-made butter, but this House cannot overlook the fact that there is a huge demand in Ireland for butter made at home in the farmhouse, and that it would be a disastrous thing if the butter factories had to close down and that there should be no outlet for this butter. It is a serious thing. I think first of all that we should get a common pool, and secondly, that if they have to pay a levy of 2d. they should get a bounty of 2d. also.

Mr. Kiersey: Information on John Kiersey  Zoom on John Kiersey  Would not that arise on Section 28?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I think that this is an issue which has to be decided at this particular point. The factory people make out that what they really will be getting back in addition to their 2d. levy will be nearer to one-third of a penny than to one halfpenny, and under amendment No. 22 the position in which the farmers' butter will be, if it comes on for sale at all, is that it will run the gauntlet of the levy. There [2355] seems to be a strong case for one pool, particularly in view of the fact that it will make such a small difference in the position of the bounty. So that the question of making one pool ought, I think, be faced here and not on some other amendment, because I think a very strong case could be made for taking out the factory if there is to be a separate pool.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Deputy Kiersey has suggested that the amendment might be taken on another section. But it is allowed here for the reason that it is rather revolutionary. It cuts across the whole principle of the Bill in many respects and will entail, if passed, a number of consequential amendments throughout the Bill. Hence it is taken here.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I should like to reply to Deputy McMenamin's statement as to what is to become of the farmers' butter if the merchants go out. Surely if the butter is there somebody will buy it. There will be merchants there to buy it. Surely if the butter is worth, say, 8½d a lb. at the present time, if the merchants go out of business, you will have a number of enterprising men coming forward and offering 4d or 5d a lb. for it. We have heard a number of complaints about hitting the poor people. If they cannot do anything else they can supply the poor people with butter at 4d or 5d a lb., instead of at 1/5, and the poor people will be getting butter at a price at which they never got it before.

Mr. McMenamin: Information on Daniel McMenamin  Zoom on Daniel McMenamin  It is a monstrous proposition to say that citizens will have to go over the country hawking butter for 4d or 5d a lb. This is not business, and this House should not be a party to it. The Minister is quite as much a farmer as I am, and perhaps he may be more so. He must know that the farmers' butter is not exported. It is made up in lumps in the farmhouses, and then it is taken to the grocer's shop in the village, and then it is passed on to the butter factor who melts it down; it is washed and dressed, and it is standardised to one colour, and it is all of one quality. The disposal of the surplus home made [2356] butter is a very important thing, and it is no way in which to treat the subject to suggest that the farmers' wives and daughters are to go about the country hawking this butter.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I spoke in that way because of the statement that the Deputy made that the butter factories would have to close down. It is the price of the creamery butter which regulates the price of the factory butter, and if we are going to put up the price of the creamery butter the price of the factory butter will also go up. The price of the factory butter in the home market will increase. Deputy McMenamin makes the point that it would not be worth while to pay 2d in order to get 2½d. on account of the clerical expenses. There will be very little clerical expense. The amount of extra work under this Bill will not amount to one halfpenny a cwt., not to speak of a halfpenny a lb.

Mr. McMenamin: Information on Daniel McMenamin  Zoom on Daniel McMenamin  Would the Minister accept as a business proposition that they must pay 2d in order to get 2½d?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I should like to be in the butter trade if the factories went out of business.

Mr. Blythe: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  It would look as if what the Minister envisages would produce the same result in a different way. The Minister presumably feels that if they only get one halfpenny, the factory butter will be put on the home market, and will take the place of the creamery butter, and that consequently there will be proportionately more creamery butter exported, and less consumed at home. It will produce much the same result in another way.

Mr. Kiersey: Information on John Kiersey  Zoom on John Kiersey  I fail to see why the farmer making his own butter at home and selling it to the factor is not placed in the same position as the man supplying the creamery. There are several parts of the country where they have not creameries or separating stations, and the farmers in these districts have to depend on the factories. It has been pointed out by some other Deputies that the factories will take 2d. a lb. off the farmers; that [2357] they will pay the farmers 2d. a lb. less than the value of the butter, and only 2½d. is to be returned. How can the factor know until the end of the month how much he will have to pay back to his customers? If the factor's accounts are not made up until the end of the month I should like to know from the Minister how he can repay his customer.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I should say that he will make quite as good a guess at it as he will at what he will get in the export market. He does not know what he is going to get in the export market and he will be able to make quite as good a guess in this case.

Mr. Hassett: Information on John Joseph Hassett  Zoom on John Joseph Hassett  Will not the factor or the purchaser have to give 2d. down when he buys direct from the farmer?

Mr. Kiersey: Information on John Kiersey  Zoom on John Kiersey  When he is buying from the farmer he deducts the 2d. that is to be deducted from himself.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Why should he do that?

Mr. Kiersey: Information on John Kiersey  Zoom on John Kiersey  Why is it deducted from the creamery? Has not the creamery to wait until the end of the month until it gets its account through?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  The creamery pays 2d. on production, the factory does the same thing, that is, when the butter comes into the factory we levy 2d. It is not payable until about the 17th of the following month. But they pay on the amount of butter that goes into the factory. They pay 2d. and they get 2½d. back when they export it. So there is no reason why they should deduct anything from the farmers. If they take 2d. from the farmer they should also go back to the farmer and give him the 2½d. afterwards.

Mr. Brasier: Information on Brooke W. Brasier  Zoom on Brooke W. Brasier  I support a common pool. There is as much human nature amongst the farmers as any other section of the community, and undoubtedly the home dairy farmer takes this Bill as legislating against himself. A levy of 2d. per lb. is placed upon him and he gets practically nothing back. It is bolstering up the creamery industry very much and the dairy farmer is receiving no benefit. I can say [2358] from what I gathered from those farmers whom I have consulted that there is a note of hostility to the Bill. I have no hesitation in saying that the last stage will be worse than the first. These men will be decidedly in opposition to any Bill of the kind now introduced, because it is a Bill that will do them no real good in the end.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  I cannot understand on what principle the Minister differentiates against the home-made butter and the manufactured butter. So far as I can see, from the point of view of the community the home-made butter is very much more valuable than the butter produced in the creameries. The man who makes his own butter at home is more valuable than the man with the milk-cart. The man who makes his butter at home keeps in his home the buttermilk and he usually gives his children plenty of butter and milk. It is proverbial, as many will tell you, that in the dairying part of the country where the milk is sent to the creameries many of the children are under-fed because they do not get plenty of milk whereas in those districts where the butter is made in the homesteads one will find the children well-fed. There is plenty of good food for the children and it costs little or nothing at all to the farmer.

Why the Minister should leave these people under the impression that the sooner he can get them out of the home butter-making the better pleased he will be, is to me a matter for surprise. I do not understand his action in the matter and I do not see what other construction you can put upon the section which provides that the butter producers shall pay a levy of 2d. and that the creamery man will get 4d. back while the man making the home-made butter will only get 2?d. or 2¼d. per pound. I have not heard anything from the Minister as to why it is he makes the differentiation. Is it because this factory butter acts unfavourably upon the reputation of the Irish butter trade? What is the reason? Whatever it is, I think the result will be to alienate the producers of home-made butter.

[2359]Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  I see the possibility of danger if the Deputies accept this amendment; it might react against the creameries without in any way improving the position of the factory butter. I do not see how it can be any great improvement to their position. I agree that the people who produce factory butter must get their profits just as those making creamery butter must get their profits. There is no injustice to the people if they pay a levy of 2d. per lb. and get back 2½d. As regards the question raised about the factories docking the home-made butter, there is no justification for the suggestion. They are providing a pool for getting back 2½d. if they pay 2d. into the pool. After all, I do not see how their position is in the least worsened by the Bill. On the contrary it is a good deal advanced. I do not see any great benefit in the amendment, and I do not think it will improve matters much for the factory butter people, while it might harm the production of creamery butter. It might be an incentive to people to turn more to the making of home butter.

Mr. O'Donovan: Information on Timothy Joseph O'Donovan  Zoom on Timothy Joseph O'Donovan  I do not agree with this amendment. I think what was most necessary in this country was that the people should turn to the manufacture of creamery butter. I think that it was the credit gained by the creamery butter that saved the name of Irish butter in the world markets. The creameries were erected at considerable expense and on the whole they cost the country in one way or another a considerable amount of money. The maker of the home-made butter does not go to much expense at all. I believe that the producer of the home-made article will gain as much as the creameries. If the Government adopted the policy suggested in the amendment it would be an incentive to people who supply creameries with milk to make their butter at home. That would be a step in the wrong direction for it is these creameries that at considerable expense and trouble have raised the credit of the Irish butter and it is they who are keeping it in the forefront of the [2360] world's markets. For this reason, they are entitled to the best support we can give them.

Mr. Hassett: Information on John Joseph Hassett  Zoom on John Joseph Hassett  None of the previous speakers has touched on one aspect of this question. That is in connection with the home-made butter. Deputies will realise that there will be no levy on butter used in a particular farmhouse where it is made, while the butter worked in the factory or the creamery has to pay a levy of 2d. Nothing has to be paid on what is consumed in the farmer's house. There is no law to prevent the farmer from selling some of his butter to his neighbours whereas the creameries cannot do any such thing. They have to deduct 2d. for every lb. manufactured in that creamery and pay it to the pool. I think the producer of home butter has more advantages under the Bill than those who supply milk to the creameries have.

Mr. Desmond: Information on William Desmond  Zoom on William Desmond  I will not force this to a division. I withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question—“That Section 2, as amended, stand part of the Bill”—put.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  I demand a vote on the section.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Does the Deputy challenge a division on this section?

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  Yes.

Section declared carried, Deputies Coburn and A. Byrne dissenting.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The names of the two dissenting Deputies will be recorded.

Sections 3 and 4 agreed to.

(1) Each of the bodies specified in the First Part of the Schedule to this Act shall be a scheduled society for the purposes of this Act, subject however to the following provisions, that is to say:—

(a) the Minister may from time to time by order under this paragraph declare that any such body [2361] shall cease to be a scheduled society for the purposes of this Act, and so long as such order is in force such body shall not be a scheduled society for the purposes of this Act;

(b) the Minister may by order under this paragraph revoke an order made under the next preceding paragraph.

(2) Each of the several premises specified in the Second Part of the Schedule to this Act shall be scheduled premises for the purposes of this Act, subject however to the following provisions, that is to say:—

(a) the Minister may from time to time by order made under this paragraph declare that any such premises shall cease to be scheduled premises for the purposes of this Act, and so long as such order is in force such premises shall not be scheduled premises for the purposes of this Act;

(b) the Minister may by order under this paragraph revoke an order made under the next preceding paragraph.

Amendment 4. Before sub-section (2), page 4, line 45, to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

“Any body owning and controlling a creamery premises situated within the Gaeltacht as defined in the Housing (Gaeltacht) Act, 1929 (No. 41 of 1929) shall in respect of such creamery premises be a scheduled society for the purposes of this Act.”

Amendment 5. At the end of the section page 4, line 57, to add a new sub-section as follows:—

“Any registered premises situated within the Gaeltacht as defined in the Housing (Gaeltacht) Act, 1929 (No. 41 of 1929) shall be a scheduled premises for the purposes of this Act.”

Mr. Lynch:  I have been asked by Deputy O'Leary, who is unavoidably absent, to move amendments 4 and 5 [2362] standing in his name. The effect of the amendments is to add to the Schedule all creameries situated in the Gaeltacht. In his speech on the Second Reading the Minister gave a general reason and it might be called the principal reason for differentiating as between creameries in the amount of the levy that was to be imposed on them. The general reason was this: “that there are certain creameries which are not in a position to withstand the ordinary competition.”

That applies to all the creameries in the Gaeltacht. The three principal reasons were: first that “They do fulfil certain conditions, such as that the premises were erected and equipped during recent years when the cost of construction and equipment was abnormally high, and they had not a sufficient time, while good prices ruled, to pay off some of that large debt which was contracted in the building and equipment.” And then, he goes on and says, “All those creameries are also in districts where the competition from home butter making is very marked and the benefits to be derived by farmers making their own butter under this Bill would have a serious effect on those creameries if we compelled them to pay a 2d. levy and get a 4d. bounty, thereby giving them a net 2d. per pound, whereas farmers making their own butter in the district might have a greater advantage in competition with them.” I say that the latter reason applies very forcibly to all creameries operating in the Gaeltacht areas.

The other reason also applies to them. The third reason was “they are not in competition with other creameries. They are isolated creameries, every one of them.” That also applies to the creameries operating in the Gaeltacht. They fulfil the general reasons without any doubt but that can be said of all the creameries no matter where they are placed. “They are not in a position to withstand the ordinary competition.” That can be said about the creameries operating in the Gaeltacht. Two of the reasons which the Minister gave certainly apply to these creameries affected by these amendments. I agree that this [2363] would add enormously to the Schedule and that it would have a serious effect on the finance of the Bill as a whole, but I think it is a matter at any rate well worthy of consideration that the creameries operating in the Gaeltacht should be, for the purposes of the Bill, given the benefits that those included in the Schedule get, that is instead of a 2d. levy they have a lesser levy of ½d.

Mr. O'Donovan: Information on Timothy Joseph O'Donovan  Zoom on Timothy Joseph O'Donovan  I desire to support the amendments. I think that the Gaeltacht creameries deserve special consideration. Invariably they have small supplies and their overhead expenses are the same as those of the creameries in Limerick, Tipperary and particularly the Golden Vale. Already in the matter of housing and other matters the Gaeltacht has been favourably considered and I think in this matter too the Minister should agree to give them some little concession.

Mr. McMenamin: Information on Daniel McMenamin  Zoom on Daniel McMenamin  I desire to support the amendments. I have here a balance sheet of one of the creameries situated in the Gaeltacht in my constituency. Last year they manufactured only 277 cwts. of butter, and the cost of production was 67/- per cwt. There was a total loss on the year's trading of £251 10s. 4d. There is one reason why this amendment should be adopted, and that is the elimination of the scrub bull. In a prosperous area there is usually a large number of farmers who are strong financially. They can go to the Dublin Show, the Royal Agricultural Show at Balmoral, Belfast, or to Scotland, and there purchase bulls approved by the Department. In various parts of Donegal the farmers are not in a position to do that. As a result there has been a great dearth of milk. Hundreds of cows have gone off breeding and, in consequence the creameries in the County, particularly the one I have referred to, have been hard hit. I do not know what creameries Deputy Lynch has in mind when he speaks of the Gaeltacht in the West. The creamery I have mentioned is the only one situated in the Gaeltacht in Donegal. I will ask the Minister to adopt the amendments.

[2364]Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  I am opposed to the amendments for the reason that I have in mind several creameries in my constituency suffering from lack of funds. One might be tempted to include them in the Schedule if one did not realise what would then happen. If I were to include in the Schedule all the creameries I have in mind that are deserving of consideration, it would be a very lengthy Schedule indeed. Numbers of creameries were purchased under a recent Act, and the suppliers are at present paying big sums for them. If anybody needs relief, they do. As a matter of fact, I am opposed to the Schedule with the creameries already mentioned there. I am afraid that the creameries set out in the Schedule will have an advantage that will be detrimental to the regular creamery business. They will probably be in a position to under-sell the ordinary creameries in the home market; they will tend to keep down prices. I am afraid that will be the result of giving certain creameries the advantage of a ½d levy as against a 2d levy in the case of other creameries. As a result, the ordinary creameries will not get full advantage of the Bill.

[An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the Chair.]

Mr. McMenamin: Information on Daniel McMenamin  Zoom on Daniel McMenamin  By way of reply to the argument of the Deputy from the Golden Value, Deputy Bennett, I would like to mention that there is a provision in the Bill that meets his point. It is that when a particular creamery comes to the paying point with regard to production, the levy is automatically increased, and in that case those particular creameries cannot under-sell.

Mr. Brasier: Information on Brooke W. Brasier  Zoom on Brooke W. Brasier  I desire to support the amendments. In my area a creamery was started recently. I feel sure that if special help is not given to a creamery of that description it cannot hold out under the conditions that are ruling. I believe you will be striking a blow at concerns of that description if the amendments that have been proposed are not adopted.

Mr. O'Neill: Information on Eamonn O'Neill  Zoom on Eamonn O'Neill  I think the general feeling of the House is in favour of the amendments. It is all right to encourage [2365] creameries in the Gaeltacht, but the point is that we are speaking in the dark when we have not some information from the Minister as to probable changes that may be made in his scheme. Perhaps he will give us some idea of the number of creameries and separating stations in the country, and what difference this will make to his original scheme. Without some such knowledge as that we are really talking in the dark.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I was about to give that information. Deputies will realise that it would be absolutely impossible to include the whole Gaeltacht in the Schedule. If we put all the Gaeltacht creameries in the Schedule it would mean that the Bill would be of little use to any creamery. With regard to central creameries, there are 17 in the Gaeltacht. There are only 6 in the Schedule at present, but they are small. Amongst the 17 creameries there are some of the most successful and the biggest creameries in Ireland. As regards auxiliaries, we have 6 in the Schedule at present. If we had all the Gaeltacht creameries included we would have 69 altogether in the Schedule and 23 centrals, out of a total in the Free State of 200 centrals and 350 auxiliaries. The output of butter by the scheduled creameries is less than 2 per cent. of the whole and if we put the Gaeltacht creameries in it would mean 16 or 17 per cent. It would make the whole scheme unsound if we were to include the Gaeltacht. In the amendments tabled for the Schedule there is a considerable number of creameries indicated by Deputies which are really in the Gaeltacht and I am afraid it will be impossible to consider them.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  What principle guided the Minister in choosing the creameries that he has set out in the Schedule?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  They were included in the Schedule for these reasons:—(1) They were established in recent years in new districts where competition from home-made butter is still very strong; (2) they have capital liabilities which are excessive in proportion to milk [2366] supplies and (3) they are losing milk supplies at an abnormal rate in consequence of such competition and liabilities; (4) that they are not in competition for milk supplies with other creameries; (5) that they are in such a precarious position that they cannot continue to exist without the proposed concession; (6) their present position is not due to any fault of management. The creameries on the scheduled list fulfil all these conditions but there is no creamery as far as I know that is not on the scheduled list that would fulfil all these conditions.

Mr. O'Donovan: Information on Timothy Joseph O'Donovan  Zoom on Timothy Joseph O'Donovan  I think we would be able to give you some.

Mr. Lynch:  I would be willing to withdraw the amendment in Deputy O'Leary's name if the Minister would consider the area mentioned in the School Meals (Gaeltacht) Act instead of the Gaeltacht Housing Act. That has a much smaller area than the area of the Gaeltacht Housing Act. I would ask the Minister to consider that before the Report Stage of the Bill is taken. I cannot say off-hand whether there is a creamery in that area at all. I had the figures the Minister mentioned in connection with the area of the Gaeltacht Housing Act, and I quite realise that if such a large number were included in the Schedule it would render the finances of the Bill absolutely impossible. I would ask the Minister to find out the number of creameries there are in the area covered by the School Meals (Gaeltacht) Act, and if he would consider including them in the Schedule I would not press the amendment.

Mr. Brasier: Information on Brooke W. Brasier  Zoom on Brooke W. Brasier  I take it that will not preclude the Minister from taking into consideration other creameries not in the Gaeltacht area.

Mr. Lynch:  Not if you put them into the Schedule.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I would advise the Minister not to pay too much attention to these claims for certain areas that are being put forward. The principle I think is bad. There are parts of the country outside the Gaeltacht area [2367] that certainly are as poor as parts within the Gaeltacht. When we are considering the financial position of the people of this State, I hold that the people outside the Gaeltacht area are deserving of as much consideration as the people inside it. If it is a question of the spoken language that is at issue—of giving financial assistance on that principle—then let a decision be taken on that.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I am afraid I could not give any undertaking to consider even the area suggested by Deputy Lynch. I do not know what it would entail really. We have gone to a great deal of trouble in connection with this—I am sorry that we have to discuss this because it will all have to be discussed at a later stage again—examining the case of every individual creamery to see that it fulfils the conditions that we thought were just conditions that it should fulfil. I would suggest to the Deputy to leave the matter over until we take up the whole question of these creameries that are proposed to be put on to the scheduled list.

Mr. Lynch:  I agree.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Sections 5, 6, and 7 agreed to.

(1) There shall be paid to the Minister in accordance with this section by every registered proprietor of registered premises on all butter held in stock by or on behalf of such registered proprietor at six o'clock a.m. on the 21st day of April, 1932, a levy at the rate of two pence per pound.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I move amendment 7:— In sub-section (1), page 5, line 19, to insert after the word “butter” the words “manufactured by such registered proprietor and.”

As the section reads at present it might be held that butter held in stock, no matter where or how manufactured, would be subject to the levy. This amendment is to make it plain that it must be manufactured by such registered proprietor and held in stock and so on. A high price before the [2368] 21st April was more or less a natural thing whether this Bill was introduced or not, but after that date the price has been kept up more or less artificially as a result of this Bill. Consequently we have no compunction about levying on stocks and on production since that date because we feel that it is due to the Bill that any benefits have been got for stocks held at that date and since.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. McMenamin: Information on Daniel McMenamin  Zoom on Daniel McMenamin  I move amendment 8:—

To delete sub-section (6) and in lieu thereof to insert the following sub-section:—

“Every such certificate shall be served on the person to whom it relates, and such person may within 14 days after service thereof appeal in the prescribed manner to the District Court from the amount of the levy so certified as payable by such person and the District Court shall have jurisdiction to ascertain and fix the proper amount of such levy; and make such order as to costs as to the Court shall seem fit.”

The reason for putting down this amendment is this: if Deputies look at sub-section (3) of the section they will find that it is there provided that “if any person liable to pay a levy under this section fails or neglects to send the said return in accordance with the next preceding sub-section he shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds.” Under Section 46 of the Bill the Minister is given power to withdraw a licence given to any person, while sub-section (4) of Section 8 provides “as soon as may be after the seventh day after the date of the passing of this Act the Minister shall make in respect of every person (whether such person has or has not made the said return)....”

Now in the first place the creamery can be fined £20 for not making this return; secondly, its licence can be withdrawn, and thirdly, under this sub-section the Minister can make a levy [2369] on it despite the circumstances prevailing. Take as an example of what may happen. The Committee of Management are the responsible people. If any fine or other penalty is inflicted they must bear it, but the failure to send in the return may be due to the neglect of the secretary or manager. The person liable to make the return may be ill and still the Minister is taking power to render the creamery liable to a fine of £20. He is also taking power to withdraw its licence and to make the levy irrespective of whether the levy is right or wrong. His certificate that such a levy has been made will be taken as conclusive proof in a court of law.

My amendment makes provision for the right of appeal to the district court. We all agree that the income tax law is very rigid but yet there is the right of appeal to the Commissioners. Under this Bill, as the result of neglect on the part of a manager or a secretary of a creamery to make the return, the creamery can be mulcted in the way that I have described. The Minister can make a levy that on the sixth night or a prescribed night that the creamery had 100 cwts of butter in the creamery. When the Minister makes up a certificate to that effect the creamery is bound to pay the levy although it may not have 1 cwt. of butter. The sub-section provides that the Minister can make up his certificate, and when that comes in to the creamery committee it may discover that some employee of theirs has neglected to make the return required. The committee have no right to appeal from the Minister's certificate. In view of the wide powers that are given, I think it is only right that the creamery committee should have the right of appeal to the district court.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I am advised that this section is rather drastic, and there is some justification for the amendment put in by the Deputy. I would ask the Deputy to withdraw his amendment and to bring it in again on Report Stage, when I could offer an alternative.

Mr. McMenamin: Information on Daniel McMenamin  Zoom on Daniel McMenamin  Certainly.

[2370] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Section 8 agreed to.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section there shall be paid to the Minister not later than the seventeenth day after the date of the passing of this Act, by the registered proprietor of every creamery premises on all butter manufactured on such creamery premises during the preliminary period the following levies, that is to say:—

(a) in respect of so much (if any) of the said butter as was manufactured from cream separated on scheduled premises, a levy at the rate of one half penny per pound;

(b) if such registered proprietor is a scheduled society, in respect of so much (if any) of the said butter as was manufactured from cream separated on premises owned and controlled by such society, a levy at the rate of one halfpenny per pound;

(c) in respect of so much (if any) of the said butter as does not come within the foregoing paragraphs, a levy at the rate of twopence per pound.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this section, there shall be paid to the Minister not later than the seventh day after the expiration of every levy month by the registered proprietor of every creamery premises on all butter manufactured on such creamery premises during such levy month the following levies—

(a) in respect of so much (if any) of the said butter as is manufactured within five years from the passing of this Act from cream separated on scheduled premises, a levy at the special rate in force at the time of manufacture;

(b) if such registered proprietor is a scheduled society, in respect of so much (if any) of such butter as is manufactured within five years from the passing of this Act from cream separated on premises owned and controlled by [2371] such society, a levy at the special rate in force at the time of manufacture;

(c) in respect of so much (if any) of the said butter as does not come within the provisions of the foregoing paragraphs, a levy at the general rate in force at the time of manufacture.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I move amendment 11:

“In sub-section (1), page 5, line 52, to delete the words ‘subject to the provisions of this section’.”

The reason for this amendment and the following amendment, No. 12, is that sub-section (3) is proposed to be deleted in amendment 17, so that it would not be any longer subject to the provisions of this sub-section. There would be a new section put in to cover the matter instead. It is merely consequential on an amendment coming on.

Amendment agreed to.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I move amendment 12:

“In sub-section (2), page 6, line 4, to delete the word ‘section’ and substitute the word ‘Act’.”

This is the same thing. They both refer to amendment 25 that is coming on.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Blythe: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  I move amendment 14:

“In sub-section (2) (a), line 10, to delete the words ‘five years’ and substitute the words ‘one year’.”

I move this amendment, because I am prepared to accept the view of the Minister that there are, perhaps, a certain number of creameries which require some help, and that it may be allowable to give them the help in this particular way. This, however, is a very substantial subsidy, at the expense of other creameries to these particular scheduled premises. What is going to happen, or what may happen, if they are getting the full extent of the benefit which can be given under the Bill as it now stands, is, that they will get 14/- per cwt. on all the butter they make for the next five years, or whatever period the Bill runs. The Minister has undertaken [2372] to introduce an amendment on Report, limiting the life of the Bill to three years, but as he was proposing that these creameries would be scheduled, and would have this advantage for five years, I presume that we will be now asked that they should have the advantage for three years. It seems to me that that is altogether excessive.

Taking the average butter production—I have not the figures before me, but I looked at them a day or two ago—I think that, in the case of one of the creameries, if we took the average of the last two years as the amount of butter production, it would have a subsidy of about £2,000 a year, and another would have a subsidy of £1,700 a year, and if the Bill were to stand as it is it would mean that a particular creamery is going to get £10,000 handed over to it by the other creameries, many of which have their own difficulties. I would not mind a creamery having 14s. a cwt. of a special subsidy given to it for one year at the expense of the other creameries, although before that is done I think that some further details ought to be given to the House. I think it would be desirable when we come to consider the Schedule that the Minister should, in this matter, give the same amount of information to the House as he would give if he were coming to the House with an Estimate to give subsidies to these particular creameries. I do not see that creameries can expect, or have any right to expect, to have a subsidy voted to them, and still have the right to have their affairs kept entirely private.

I think that when we come to the Schedule, we should know the facts of these creameries in full detail, so that we may see exactly what sort of case is made out for them. However, if we give this subsidy in this, if not exactly concealed way, in this private way, for one year, I think that that is the most we ought to do, and if the creameries cannot continue at the end of the year, on the same basis as the other creameries, that instead of levying an unknown amount, an undisclosed amount, off the other creameries to give to them, the Minister ought to take a [2373] Vote in this House, and inform the House that such and such a creamery cannot continue unless special assistance is given to it.

I am taking it for granted, more or less, that the general statement the Minister has given with regard to the scheduling of these particular creameries and premises, is justified. I am not altogether sure that that is so, and I would like to hear from the Minister whether he does not think that, even at this stage, it might be better to remove the Schedule and the principle of scheduling altogether. If there are creameries which must be helped in a special way, which must have money handed to them, either at the expense of the other creameries, or at the expense of the general taxpayer, the facts should be laid before the House, by way of a Supplementary Estimate, and the amount voted and handed over to them, and that such supervision of their affairs as might be necessary should take place during the period.

Mr. O'Donovan: Information on Timothy Joseph O'Donovan  Zoom on Timothy Joseph O'Donovan  This sub-section is one to which there is extreme opposition by the creameries outside the scheduled list. I agree with Deputy Blythe that if there was a special case, it should get consideration, but if we are to have those in the Gaeltacht included, I think it is unfair that those in the other areas should have to carry them on their backs. I know that feeling is very keen in my area, that this should not be, and the amendment to this sub-section commends itself to me, that one year, if they are to be included, is sufficiently long to give them room to draw their breath, and to improve their position.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I certainly have no intention of paying out £2,000 for five years to any individual creamery. I think the Deputy is possibly correct in assuming that the most favourable case from that point of view, would work out, perhaps, at £10,000 but there was no intention, as I say, of giving that amount.

My intention would be to raise the levy gradually on these creameries if the levy on the general body of creameries is not coming down; in other words, that we would make the [2374] gap between the two narrower each year until they would meet after three years, which they must now as we have accepted another amendment. If we were to put on a ½d. this year, and if the levy remained at 2d. on the general body of creameries, we would raise that ½d. either to ¾d. or 1d., the following year going to 1½d., and the year afterwards they would be on the same list. The benefit to the creameries on the scheduled list would be somewhere between £3,000 and £4,000 instead of £10,000. That particular creamery would get the most. I think myself that some on the scheduled list would not get anything like that. The Deputy is entitled to get the figures he asked for, and we shall have them here to-morrow, and I hope when we come to deal with the scheduled list to give a fairly close estimate of what we think the benefit would amount to in each case. I may say that I have considered this amendment very carefully to see if we could put in an amendment saying a ½d. this year and ¾d. or 1d. next year and I found it would be impossible to amend the Bill in that way. That, however, is our intention if the Deputy is satisfied with it.

Mr. Blythe: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  I think the Bill ought to be amended. I would be willing to leave it over for the Minister to consider between this and the Report Stage, but a very substantial sum is liable to be given to certain creameries. To one of the creameries it is not at all unlikely that something very near £2,000 might be given. That is a very substantial sum. The circumstances next year are something that we cannot foresee, but if more assistance were required I am not sure whether it would not be better for the Minister to face up to the proposal that he should come to the Dáil and ask for any money that is required. After all, when you are paying money out of a general fund to some particular individual, or group or section of people, it is better that it should be done in what is the normal way here, that it should have to run the gauntlet of the House. What will happen if this Bill is not amended is that the Minister will [2375] allow a certain amount to go to the creameries this year. He has the intention of reducing the difference next year. He may find it difficult for a variety of reasons to do that, and he certainly will have, I am sure, all these creameries fighting as hard as possible to retain the maximum advantage.

[An Ceann Comhairle resumed the Chair.]

I cannot undertake myself to draft an amendment gradually to reduce the difference from 1½d. to nothing over a period of two or three years, but I am satisfied it would not be beyond the skill and power of the Parliamentary draftsman to frame such an amendment. I would be satisfied personally to accept something that would wipe out this particular advantage in the period of three years if the Minister would undertake to see whether such an amendment could be drafted.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I shall try.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments 14, 15 and 16 not moved.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I move amendment 17: to delete sub-section (3).

The reason is that we want to give the same benefit to factory butter as to creamery butter in this instance in the case of storing. But the Parliamentary draftsman thought that we should put it back until we had dealt with factory and creamery butter, and then bring in a new section dealing with both. We are deleting this and introducing a new section covered by amendment 25. We want to give the same benefit to factory butter as to creamery butter, and the matter will come up again on amendment 25.

Amendment put and agreed to.

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

(1) There shall be paid to the Minister not later than the seventeenth day after the date of the passing of this Act by the registered proprietor of every premises registered in the [2376] register of butter factories on all butter manufactured in such premises during the preliminary period a levy at the rate of twopence per pound.

(2) There shall be paid to the Minister not later than the seventh day after every levy month by the registered proprietor of every premises registered in the register of butter factories on all butter manufactured in such premises during such levy month a levy at the general rate in force at the time of manufacture.

(3) The factory butter account shall be credited with all moneys received by the Minister under this section.

Mr. Desmond: Information on William Desmond  Zoom on William Desmond  I move amendment 18:—

To delete sub-section (1).

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  This would provide that no levy will be paid during the preliminary period. I think the Deputy afterwards moves that no levy is to be paid up to the 31st of July. Well, of course, if no levy was paid there would be no bounty and the whole financial arrangement would be upset. We would not know how we stood or where we were if we accepted that amendment. The whole Bill is drafted on the supposition that we start the levy at a certain time and the bounty at a certain time and if there was any substantial change in that date it would put us out very much.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I move amendment 19. In sub-section (2), page 6, line 39, to insert before the word “There” the words “Subject to the provisions of this Act.”

On account of the deletion of sub-section (3) of Section 9, and the insertion of a new section by amendment 25 at a later stage the words which are proposed to be inserted here are necessary.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment 20 not moved.

Section 10 as amended agreed to.

Section 11 agreed to.

Progress reported.

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. till Wednesday, 25th May, at 3 p.m.


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