Thursday, 27 April 1933
Dáil Éireann Debate
 The object of this amendment is to give the Minister power to prescribe regulations dealing with the size of merchandise which can be carried on motor lorries. As the Minister knows, restrictions are necessary, particularly in areas where the roads are narrow, so that other road users may be facilitated. All who use the roadways from time to time know that they occasionally meet lorries with merchandise which projects a considerable distance over the side—so far, in some cases, as to interfere with the rights of other road users. This amendment is designed to enable the Minister to prescribe regulations to deal with that problem.
Minister for Local Government and Public Health (Mr. O'Kelly): What the Deputy proposes to do can be done under paragraph (b) sub-section (1) of Section 15, which deals with the conditions under which vehicles may be used. That enables the Minister to make regulations governing the use of mechanically propelled vehicles. It was left wide in its terms, because we intended that it should be all-embracing, so that we could bring in what the Deputy wants and, perhaps, other things that he may not have in mind.
Mr. O'Kelly: We do not think it is straining it, and we wanted to have it very wide, as the Deputy suggests it is. What the Deputy proposes would limit it in a way we do not desire to have it limited.
Section 40, as it stands, only enables a member of the Gárda Síochána to obtain a person's signature while he is in charge of the vehicle. If he were taken into court or taken to any place where he had not his machine with him, the Gárda would not be in a position to ask for his signature. We want to alter it in the fashion suggested so that we may be enabled to ask him for his signature in any place or at any time.
This is for the purpose of allowing a double-decker to proceed at a rate up to 20 miles per hour. The rate of 15 miles as at present is, I suggest, too slow. The Minister has ample power under Section 47, if he finds that the speed of 20 miles for a double-decker is too great, to correct the matter. At present I think to keep a double-decker down to 15 miles per hour speed would almost interfere with cycle traffic on the road.
 As the Bill stands, there is some confusion between Sections 50 and 51. In every case where a person drives a vehicle in a public place without exercising due care and attention we maintain that ipso facto he drives the vehicle in a manner dangerous to the public. It is thought undesirable that such a case should be allowed to be dealt with as an offence of a less serious character such as Section 50 covers. With this amendment, therefore, Section 50 will deal with less serious charges, such as driving without due consideration and so on.
(d) any person claiming in respect of injury to property sustained while such property was owned by or was in the possession, custody, or control of the insured or the principal debtor in the relevant document, and
(c) any persons claiming in respect of injury to any weighbridge  or to any road or to anything in or below the surface of a road due to the weight of or vibration caused by a mechanically propelled vehicle to which the relevant document relates, and
(f) any person claiming in respect of injury to property due to an explosion of a boiler forming part of a mechanically propelled vehicle to which the relevant document relates or due to sparks or ashes proceeding from any such vehicle, and
(g) any person claiming in respect of an injury to himself or any other person in respect of which he would be entitled to claim and be awarded compensation or other relief under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1906, or any Act (whether passed before or after this Act) extending or amending that Act.
General Mulcahy: It seems to me that under the amendment as it stands if, say, a postman going about his business in a post office yard was injured by a post office van, or if a local authority's ambulance drove over a nurse in an hospital grounds, these cases would not be covered by their insurance under this; that they would be driven back on to the Workmen's Compensation Act.
Mr. O'Kelly: No. What we want to secure is that not alone should they have the Workmen's Compensation Act as a safeguard, but they should also be insured. That is what we are anxious to secure. I should like to amend sub-section (g) of the amendment by inserting after the word “claim” on the third line—“any person claiming in respect of an injury to himself or any other person in respect of which he would be entitled to claim”—the words “against the insured or the principal debtor in the relevant document.”
12. In page 33, line 19, Section 66 (2) (b), after the word “in” to  insert the words “or on” and to delete all from the word “being” in line 20 to the end of the paragraph and substitute the words “getting on to, being put into or on, alighting from, or being taken out of or off such vehicle and injury caused by being thrown out of or off such vehicle.”
13. In page 33, Section 67 (1), to delete all from the word “which” in line 25 to the word “to” in line 28 and substitute the words and bracket “such vehicle insurer shall give to such person the prescribed number of certificates (each of which is referred to in this Act).”
14. In page 33, Section 67 (2), to delete all from the word “which” in line 34 to the word “to” in line 37 and substitute the words and bracket “such vehicle insurer or vehicle guarantor shall give to such person the prescribed number of certificates (each of which is referred to in this Act).”
(1) Whenever an event occurs in relation to a mechanically propelled vehicle in consequence of which the vehicle insurer who issued an approved combined policy and guarantee or the principal debtor under an approved guarantee then in force in respect of such vehicle may become liable to pay money to any person, the person who is the driver of such vehicle when such event happens shall (unless he is himself the owner of such vehicle or the insured under such policy or combined policy and guarantee or the principal debtor under such guarantee or such event occurs in the presence of the owner of such vehicle) give to the owner of such vehicle, within twenty-four hours after the happening of such event, notice of the happening of such event together with full particulars thereof.
(2) Any person who, in contravention of this section, fails to give  to the owner of a mechanically propelled vehicle within the time specified in this section any notice or any particulars which he is required by this section to give to such owner shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding five pounds.
(a) application is made by the owner of a mechanically propelled vehicle to an officer of the Gárda Síochána not below the rank of superintendent for the issue of such permit as is hereinafter mentioned, and
(b) such officer is satisfied that a forthcoming event is likely to attract an assemblage of the public and that, having regard to the facilities available to the public for the transport of passengers to and from the place of occurrence of such event and to any other facilities capable of being procured for such transport, the issue of the permit so applied for is reasonably necessary or desirable, and
(c) such officer has given to the Minister for Industry and Commerce at least seven days' notice of the application for such permit and has received from that Minister no objection to the issue of such permit,
such officer may issue to such owner a permit to use such vehicle for the carriage of passengers for reward on a specified day from and to a specified place to and from the place of occurrence of the said event but subject to such conditions and limitations as such officer shall think proper to specify in such permit, and thereupon such vehicle  shall not be a public service vehicle within the meaning and for the purpose of this Act merely by reason of its being used for the carriage of passengers under and in accordance with such permit.”
21. In page 45, line 47, Section 94 (3), after the word “Síochána” to insert the words “or other person”, and in line 50 to delete the word “he” and substitute the words “any member of the Gárda Síochána.”
22. In page 45, line 59, Section 94 (4), to delete the words “to a member of the Gárda Síochána” and in line 62 to delete the words “by a member of the Gárda Síochána” and substitute the words “under this section.”
In page 50, line 25, Section 108 (1), after the word “vehicle” to add the words “or such vehicle is being used as an omnibus without such conductor under and in accordance with a permit in that behalf issued by the Commissioner under this section.”
Mr. O'Kelly: Amendments 23 and 24 have reference to an amendment moved by Deputy Gibbons on the Committee Stage. They refer to omnibuses used in rural areas for the purpose of  carrying children to school or other purposes where there is a small number of passengers, not more than 14, and they give the Commissioner of Police power to dispense with the conductor on such omnibuses in sparsely populated areas.
(2) The Commissioner may, if he so thinks fit on the application of the owner of a large public service vehicle having sitting accommodation for more than fourteen passengers, issue to such owner and at any time renew or revoke a permit to use such vehicle as an omnibus on a specified service or for a specified purpose without there being carried thereon such conductor as is mentioned in the foregoing sub-section of this section, and may expressly limit such permit to a specified occasion or a specified period and may attach to such permit such conditions as he thinks proper and specifies therein.
25. In page 54, line 8, Section 116 (4), to delete the words “and every” and substitute the words “but shall not make without previous consultation with the Minister for Industry and Commerce any”, and in line 9 to delete the word “made”, and to delete all from the word “shall” in line 13 to the end of the sub-section.
The section as it stands provides that “It shall not be lawful for a person on a bicycle or a tricycle in a public place  to take or retain hold of any other vehicle (other than a pedal bicycle on which no person is riding) which is in motion or of any person or thing on, in, or attached to any such vehicle” without certain penalties. It has been pointed out that that would prevent a cyclist who found himself with a cycling party, and who, say, broke a chain, from either getting assistance home or getting assistance in any way from a motorist. It is not, I take it, intended to make it an offence to “catch on,” but to “catch on” in circumstances that would be dangerous. I submit to the Minister that the addition of the words here, so that it would not be lawful to do it without the consent of the rider or driver of such other vehicle, provides against hardship.
(b) a red reflector in efficient condition and so fitted that when a light is impinging on such vehicle from the rear thereof such reflector is visible to a person in the rear of such vehicle and within a reasonable distance thereof and.
This amendment proposes to take the ordinary motor car from under this section dealing with the limitations of periods of continuous driving. I think the Minister explained that it was not so much his amendment as an amendment of Deputy Davin, and I think  that the Minister has taken Section 167 as it stands without the consideration that it requires. The section was taken from the British Act originally, but it is more than that. It takes a section from the British Act that deals with the continuous driving of a vehicle, say of a commercial nature, or of the public service vehicle type, and it applies those regulations to the chauffeur of an ordinary private person, doing professional work, or I might say domestic work. Even as the section stands as regards public service vehicles, whether for passengers or merchandise, I think the Minister will find that as regards the five and a half hours in Section 1 (a) amending legislation has been introduced by statutory order or otherwise, in Great Britain, to extend that five and a half hours to eight and a half hours in certain circumstances; I think at the present time that there is an application to have it further extended to nine hours, and that the ten consecutive hours for rest provided for in Section 1 (c) has already been reduced to eight in Great Britain. The section as it stands takes the rather drastic limitation of hours applied in Great Britain to public service vehicles, and places that not only on public service vehicles but on the ordinary domestically occupied chauffeur. The amendment I have down would exclude from the operation of that section a light motor vehicle, fitted with a body designed and constructed for the carriage of passengers. I submit that it would be very nonsensical on our part to include vehicles of that particular kind under the regulations that are contemplated in this Section 167.
Mr. Lemass: The intention is to have inserted in the Bill an amendment similar in effect to that which the Deputy is moving. Through an oversight the amendment was not ready for this stage, and I think we can have it inserted when the Bill is before the Seanad. The effect will be to achieve the purpose the Deputy has in mind, but we would like to have the amendment prepared in the draftsman's office.
(9) The Minister for Industry and Commerce may, on the application of any person appearing to him to be interested or concerned in the use of mechanically propelled vehicles on any particular occasion or in relation to or as part of any particular event, and after referring the matter to and being advised by the advisory body to be established under this section, and if he is satisfied that the proposed order will not be detrimental to the public safety in relation to such occasion or event and is otherwise expedient in the circumstances, by order vary in any manner or wholly suspend, in relation to or for the purpose of such event or occasion, any period which is declared by this section or by any order previously made under this section to be an excessive period for the purposes of this section.
The amendment is precautionary. It is thought that “driving” might be too limited; that, if it turned out that the injury was caused to a person not by negligent driving but by the defective condition of the car that was being driven, under the section as it stands the person might not be able to recover damages.
Mr. O'Kelly: I understood from Deputy Costello that he put down this amendment so as to get a clear statement that the intention was to put the  State, as represented by the Minister for Finance, in exactly the same position as a private person, in so far as he is the owner, as it were, of mechanically driven cars, and might be liable to a claim for damages. I am told that he is, as the Bill stands, in exactly the same position as a private person, and that if this amendment were put in his position would be worsened—that it would put him in a worse position than the private owner, I do not think that is the intention.
36. In page 80, line 32, Section 171 (1), to delete all from the word “damages” to the end of the sub-section and substitute the words “if the injured person has been detained in such hospital for treatment in respect of such injuries or has received in such hospital (whether detained or not detained therein) such treatment in respect of such injuries as is mentioned in the next following sub-section of this section, such damages as are mentioned in this section.”—(Mr. O'Kelly.)
(2) The damages payable under this section to the governing body of a hospital shall, subject to the deduction mentioned in the next following sub-section of this section,  consist of one or both (as the case may require) of the following sums, that is to say:—
(a) where the injured person has been detained in such hospital for treatment in respect of his said injuries, a reasonable sum in respect of such detention not exceeding in any case thirty-five pounds and, subject to that overriding limitation, not exceeding whichever of the following sums is the lesser, that is to say:—
(b) where the injured person has received in such hospital in respect of his said injuries (whether detained or not detained in such hospital) treatment with any electrical or other special apparatus or treatment by means of massage, or treatment of any other such special kind, a reasonable sum in respect of such treatment, but not exceeding in any case fifteen pounds;
(3) There shall be deducted from the damages mentioned in the next foregoing sub-section of this section all (if any) sums paid by or on behalf of the injured person to the governing body of the hospital in respect of the detention and treatment or either of them (as the case may be) in respect of which such damages are payable.
On the Committee Stage, Deputy Sir James Craig had an amendment down, and after some discussion it was decided to have an official amendment. As a result we propose this amendment. Deputies will remember that Deputy Sir James Craig's amendment was designed to put a limitation of £25 on the amount to be paid to hospitals. On examination of the  section it will be seen that in its present form it does not carry out that intention. Limit is only imposed in so far as a claim is restricted to any sum that can be paid for maintenance, subject only to the patient having spent a certain time in hospital. In its present form the section is being criticised.
While there is just ground for providing for patients x-ray apparatus, or some similar abnormal and costly methods of treatment, we do not think the same consideration covers ordinary injuries. The section in its present form realises that the premium on motors may be increased, owing to the possibility of unreasonable claims by the hospitals. In order to avoid this possibility this amendment is introduced. Under the amended section the claim will be limited to £35. If, however, special treatment or x-ray treatment is given a reasonable additional sum may be claimed not exceeding £15.
There might be 9d. per day at issue. What is the point of having 9/- or 8/- in the section? What is the use of bringing in a complicated provision of that kind which, as Deputy Mulcahy says, may be seldom availed of and, if it is, would be a nuisance?
Mr. Dillon: They may be very pious people but they are not legislators, and they are certainly not lawyers. Surely the Minister can exercise his own discretion, and will not willingly consent to the insertion of a section  of that character which is vague in the extreme and, where the amount at issue might be 9d. or might be 1½d. It is absurd. Fix a reasonable sum.
Mr. Dillon: Then reduce the 9/- by trying to arrive approximately at what the sum would be. Give a rough figure for cases of accidents, which I hope will not be many. A proviso of that kind strikes me as being bad legislation calculated to promote litigation. I suggest that the Minister should amend it in the Seanad by taking out one clause and revising the other one, if revision is deemed necessary.
In page 80, line 59, Section 171 (3), to delete the word “treatment” and  substitute the words “detention and treatment or either of them,” and to delete all from the word “treatment” in line 61 to the word “treatment” in line 62 and substitute the words “detention and treatment or either of them (as the case may be),” and in line 63, after the word “by” to insert the words “or on behalf of.”—(Mr. O'Kelly.)
In page 81, lines 14 and 15, Section 172, to delete the words “his name and address” and substitute the words “whom such member suspects of having committed any crime or offence or of having been concerned or involved in a collision or other event on a road causing injury to person or property, the name and address of such person. —(Mr. O'Kelly.)
Mr. Good: The only objection I have is to the tendency to rush legislation. On all sides we hear objections to legislation being rushed, and in order to stop Ministers from making it the rule I certainly protest against taking the Final Stage now.
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