Wednesday, 25 May 1938
Dáil Éireann Debate
the expression “industrial alcohol” means ethyl alcohol, whether denatured or not, which has been distilled or rectified to a strength of not less than forty degrees overproof by a process other than the pot still process.
In the original Bill the expression “industrial alcohol” was defined as meaning ethyl alcohol, whether denatured or not, which has been distilled or rectified to a strength of not less than 55 degrees overproof. That strength has been reduced to 40 degrees in the Bill before us now, and, though this matter was raised on the Second Stage, we could not get from the Minister  what appeared to be a fully satisfactory explanation of the change. We, therefore, afford him by this amendment an opportunity of giving us a somewhat more detailed explanation of why it was deemed expedient to lower the proof in the definition of “industrial alcohol.”
Mr. Lemass: I was under the impression—apparently, a wrong impression— that I had given an adequate and most lucid explanation. The strength was fixed at 55 degrees above proof in the original Bill in order to exclude the possibility of whiskey distillers requiring a licence under it. We were informed by the Revenue Commissioners that whiskey distillers occasionally distil whiskey slightly above 50 degrees overproof. By fixing the figure at 55, we placed ourselves in a position whereby only one firm, other than the industrial alcohol factories, would require a licence—the Cork Yeast Company. Now, however, we think we can exclude the whiskey distillers by inserting the words “other than the pot-still process” in the definition of “agricultural alcohol.” By bringing the strength down to 40 degrees overproof, we secure to the industrial alcohol factories the manufacture of industrial alcohol used in certain commercial process by manufacturing chemists in the production of perfumes. The manufacture of that spirit in our factories would, in our opinion, be a profitable sideline to the main activities of the company. That is the main reason why the change is being made. The effect of the change is to secure that the degree of control for which the Bill provides over the manufacture and use of industrial alcohol will apply to all forms of industrial alcohol. We have retained the position by which a distiller will not require a licence and the only other firm which is likely to require a licence would, in any event, under the earlier definition, with a higher definition, require it. The idea is to secure that industrial alcohol used for commercial purposes will be brought within the definition so that the possibility of selling that alcohol will be secured to this company.
Mr. Dillon: I do not know what relation industrial alcohol bears to that type of alcohol normally consumed as whiskey, gin or brandy, but the Minister might tell us now what proof the stuff will be which it is proposed to sell to the people who will actually mix it through the petrol. Is there any ideal proof at which that should be done? So far as I am aware, if you distil alcohol, you can reduce the proof by adding water to it. If I want to reduce whiskey which is delivered at 40 degrees overproof to the statutory level at which it is normally sold for consumption—24 degrees under-proof—I add a certain calculated amount of distilled water to the whiskey. I cannot see how it can make much difference to the alcohol factories at what proof they produce the alcohol. What is relevant is the proof at which they will sell the alcohol at the fixed price. The Minister has told us that he expects the Industrial Alcohol Company to sell industrial alcohol at 3/- a gallon. When he says that, does he mean that that will be industrial alcohol of 43 degrees overproof?
Mr. Dillon: I do not want to raise any difficulties. I differ profoundly from the Minister as to this industrial alcohol project, but let us get down to the technicalities of the question. We are to have industrial alcohol of 40 degrees over-proof. It has been represented to the Minister that that will be sold to the petrol companies at 3/- and he has given his approval to that proposal. We do not know at what proof it is going to be sold. If industrial alcohol is identical with whiskey, gin or rum, you would reduce that industrial alcohol to proof by adding spring water to it. Does the Minister understand from the Industrial Alcohol Company that they are going to sell industrial alcohol to the petrol-mixers at proof, or at what degree  over-proof, because, until he knows that, he does not know what proportion of the commodity they are going to get 3/- a gallon for will consist of spring water.
Mr. Dillon: I am in this difficulty that if I were reducing whiskey 15 degrees, it would take far more than .8 per cent. of volume to reduce it. You have by definition reduced industrial alcohol from 55 degrees overproof to 40 degrees overproof. If it is possible to produce industrial alcohol at 55 degrees over-proof, industrial alcohol at 40 degrees overproof has prima facie a large percentage of distilled water. Does the Minister propose to raise the proof of that distilled alcohol before it is sold to the mixers and, if so, to what proof is it going to be raised?
Mr. Lemass: The definition has nothing to do with the strength of the alcohol to be produced in the factories and sold to petrol consumers. The only form in which industrial alcohol could be used for motor purposes is as absolute alcohol. It is desirable there should be no water whatever, and, in fact, the only margin allowed is the very small one I have indicated; but if the Deputy will study the Bill, he will see that certain restrictions are placed upon the purchase of industrial alcohol by anybody in the country. The reason this definition of industrial alcohol is inserted is in connection with these provisions in the Bill, and it is designed to secure that industrial alcohol used for commercial purposes and which may, and does, contain a high percentage of water will nevertheless come subject to these provisions so that a market will be secured for these factories.
Mr. Dillon: So these factories are intended to produce two separate articles. One is alcohol unadulterated with any water, so far as it is humanly possible, and the other industrial alcohol for chemical purposes which will be sold at a certain ascertained proof.
Mr. Lemass: It is subject to control, but the Deputy can take it that industrial alcohol used for commercial purposes of that kind is generally sold at a higher price than we will be charging the petrol distributors. The average price, if my memory is correct, is well over 3/-.
Mr. Dillon: This is going to be a most extraordinary position. If you are going to require these people to sell absolute alcohol at 3/- a gallon and then permit them to add, by volume, 20 per cent. of pure water and authorise them to charge substantially more for that water and alcohol than is charged for the pure alcohol, a most extraordinary situation arises, which, I think, requires careful consideration. I have at least directed the Minister's attention to that aspect of the position.
The second question that arises on this definition is this: Let us assume that this company is going to deliver to the petrol mixers industrial alcohol, or, as defined by the Minister, pure alcohol. Can the Minister tell us now if it is true that while it is possible to construct a highly efficient petrol engine, and while it is possible to construct a highly efficient alcohol engine, it is not possible to construct a highly efficient engine that will burn both fuels? If you insist on the consumer in this country burning pure alcohol——
Mr. Dillon: If you insist on forcing the consumer here to use petrol which  contains a considerable percentage of industrial alcohol in an engine which was constructed for the combustion of petrol, the resultant wear and tear on that engine will be substantially increased. That is a matter of fact.
Mr. Dillon: The Deputy might wait a moment. All I am asking the Minister is whether he has put that issue before his technical advisers, and if he has, what is the advice tendered to him by those technical advisers.
Mr. Dillon: Is it true that while it it possible to make a highly efficient petrol engine and a highly efficient alcohol engine, it is not possible to make a highly efficient engine which will burn a blend of these two fuels? Has the Minister any technical advice on that subject?
Mr. Lemass: A very slight adjustment in the ordinary petrol engine will permit of its burning a blend, and burning a blend that will give a much more efficient performance than as a petrol engine. As Deputy Moore mentioned on the previous day, the highest grade of motor fuel known involves a blend of petrol and industrial alcohol.
Mr. Dillon: The Minister is aware that there is such a thing as ethyl petrol. It is produced by the addition of a substance, the name of which perhaps Deputy Moore can tell us. Perhaps the Deputy would tell us what is the substance one adds to petrol to produce ethyl petrol?
Mr. Moore: Might I suggest that Deputy Dillon has the experience of several of the most important countries in the world on which to base a conclusion with regard to this matter? It was pointed out in the debate on the British Budget, for instance, that the consumption of industrial alcohol in England by motorists has risen from less than 200,000 gallons in 1931 to 8,000,000 in the current year. In Italy there is a 15 per cent. mixture. The Deputy knows that the French engineers are not altogether contemptible in the world of engineering and since it was discovered French motorists have been using industrial alcohol as a blend. Of course, he knows that that is the case in Germany, too, to the extent of 10 or 12 per cent., so that why our Minister  should go to all this suggested trouble I do not know. As the Minister has remarked, it is admitted that for aeroplane engines it has a high octane quality—do not ask me what octane means—and for ordinary motors it is supposed to be a strong anti-knock spirit. Altogether so far from there being any disadvantage, there is an advantage to motorists.
Mr. Moore: I raised this point on the Second Reading, and I am sure the Minister has a very satisfactory explanation, but to me it does look strange that moneys which arise from an enterprise of this kind, an enterprise which is altogether apart from the ordinary work of the Government, should be paid into the general Exchequer and used as ordinary revenue. The same question arises under Section 13, sub-section (2). I would imagine that it would give a false idea of revenue, for instance, if in the receipts issued by the Minister for Finance from time to time, there is included any substantial sum from such a source as that, seeing that those moneys are not really general Government moneys at all, but are altogether exceptional, and are not intended to have anything to do with the ordinary activities of the Government.
Mr. Lemass: I do not know that the matter arises on this section, whatever about any other. This section provides that the Minister for Finance may lend a sum not exceeding £1,500 to the company to defray its formation expenses, and that whatever money is repaid to the Minister for Finance will be put into the Exchequer. I do not know what else we should do with it. The money is going from revenue, and going back into the Central Fund of the State in the ordinary way. There is no question here of realising an asset.
Mr. Moore: No, but it is repayment of moneys advanced for a capital purpose, for a purpose altogether outside  the ordinary activities of the Government. Such a repayment is to appear in the accounts of the Government as an ordinary receipt.
Mr. Lemass: I think most financial purists strongly support the idea upon which this State works—the idea of having one Central Fund into which and out of which all Government receipts and expenses are paid.
Mr. Dillon: I do not think it ever yet dawned on the poor Minister for Industry and Commerce what financial integrity means, particularly in the matter of national finance. The Minister for Industry and Commerce simply does not know what Deputy Moore is talking about.
Mr. Dillon: He does not realise the difference between capital and current expenditure. This does not strike him as incongruous at all. His solution of those problems is that you mix them all up together; you borrow and you tax, and whenever you have a deficit you call the deficit capital expenditure, and borrow for it. At the end of the year, when you find you have borrowed too much, you call it a revenue surplus, and have three cheers at a public meeting at College Green. Of course, Deputy Moore is perfectly right. This money is issuing forth from the Treasury for a capital purpose——
Mr. Dillon: ——and as capital expenditure, expenditure in regard to which the Minister for Finance would put his hand upon his heart and say “No one will challenge my right to borrow for this item of expenditure in as much as it is clearly a capital sum.” But suppose he borrowed this, as he might legitimately do on the representation that it was a capital expenditure, Deputy Moore points out that under the terms of this Bill that will come  trickling back into the Treasury as a casual receipt, and appear as revenue, to be used as revenue—a thoroughly unsound practice. But as it amounts only to £1,500, and as the Minister for Finance has been doing this in respect of millions for the last six years, why Deputy Moore should start tossing on his peaceful pillow now I cannot imagine. He has slept sweetly through this performance for six Budgets. Why the industrial alcohol Bill should start him off I cannot imagine, and I sympathise with the Minister's display of embarrassment and dismay at this assault upon his flank. But Deputy Moore is right.
Mr. Lemass: As Deputy Dillon knows so much more than all the rest of us I am astonished that he wastes his time coming in here at all. It must be a terrible effort on his part to come down to our level.
Mr. Lemass: Does it ever occur to the Deputy that he might be wrong? Did that prospect ever dawn on him? Did he ever in his wildest moments look forward to the day when he might make a mistake, when he might say something which was not correct or jump to a conclusion that was a wrong conclusion? There is a very rude awakening waiting for him.
Mr. Lemass: But he is not quite so clever as he thinks he is. Perhaps if he takes the trouble to study in the Official Reports the remarks he has just made he will realise that this long anticipated error of judgment, this one mistake against which he has been training himself all his life, has happened at last. He is wrong. We have in this country the practice of maintaining a Central Fund into which all revenue from all sources is paid and out of which all expenses for all purposes are met. In other countries they have a Capital Fund. They keep a separate fund into which and out of which purely revenue receipts and  revenue expenses are paid, and a Capital Fund for the purposes of which the Minister for Finance borrows, and which is used for the purpose of defraying capital expenditure as authorised by law. That does not happen to be the practice here. But in this particular case it would not matter. The transaction under this section will be completed well within the financial year. The advancing of £1,500 to defray the formation expenses of this company, and the repayment of that amount, will all occur within a very short period. Consequently it is not necessary to go into deep financial theories, however entertaining they may be to Deputy Dillon, in order to understand precisely what this section means. Deputy Moore's point would probably arise in another connection. I think if he studies the financial statement made by the Minister for Finance this year he will find that a very large part of it dealt with that precise matter, and justified my preference for the practice of this State as compared with others.
(3) The total amount which may be expended by the Minister for Finance in the acquisition (under either or both of the two immediately preceding sub-sections) of shares of the company shall not exceed the following sum, that is to say, five hundred thousand pounds less the nominal value of the shares to be issued to him under the next following section.
This amendment is designed to reduce the limit beyond which the Minister may not go without coming back to Parliament for further authority. Under Section 10, sub-section (2), the total amount which may be expended by the Minister for Finance in the acquisition of shares of the company shall not exceed £500,000, less the nominal value of the shares to be issued to him under the next following section. It appears to us from the figures afforded by the Minister for Industry and Commerce so far in the course of the debate that a sufficient sum for the present would be £300,000.
Mr. Dillon: Well, we would be prepared to meet the Minister in that matter if an additional £56,000 would meet his point of view, but we object to leaving in his hands—or indeed in the hands of any Minister—the right to commit the State to an expenditure of a further £150,000 without coming back to this House with some kind of a report on the progress of the enterprise.
I would remind the Minister that these amendments were drawn before the Money Resolution was discussed and that we had to arrive at as good an approximation of the figures as we could get. The Minister says that this leaves him £56,000 short. Is he sure of that? Because the amount provided for in sub-section (3) of Section 10 is governed by Section 11, and the Minister is to receive shares in respect of the money that he has paid to the company for “the acquisition of any land, easement, profit á prendre, or other right, the construction of distilleries, rectifying plants and other necessary works and the purchase of machinery, plant and equipment.” Those purposes having been financed by the Minister, the Minister is entitled to transfer the assets to the company and, on his certificate,  to get shares issued to him. That represents £266,000 of the sum of £356,000 to which the Minister referred. Therefore the Minister will have allotted to him £266,000 in shares at once. Section 10 operates to give him the right to subscribe for £234,000 in addition to that. Our amendment would restrict him to subscribing for only £44,000 in excess of that allocation of shares. He told us that the amount required for working capital was £30,000. That would leave him a surplus of £14,000 over the actual requirements of working capital for such other incidentals as he mentioned. Will that not meet the Minister's requirements?
Mr. Lemass: I think it is much wiser to fix the nominal capital of the company, that is the total amount the Minister for Finance may invest in the shares of the company, at a figure reasonably in excess of the known requirements. It is known that the Minister will have to get under Section 11 shares to the value of the capital expenditure already incurred. Furthermore, the company will be in immediate need of additional capital, the total amount of the expenditure to date, and the immediate capital needs for working capital required being, as I said, £356,000. It is not likely that any substantial additional capital expenditure beyond that will be undertaken immediately. Some minor capital expenditure may be required, but if a substantial expansion in the capital expenditure of the company should be contemplated, then it will be necessary to come to the Minister for Finance, and the Minister will have to come to the Dáil. There is no taking away of the powers of the Dáil here, because the Minister for Finance has no money for the purpose unless the Dáil makes that money available and, consequently, the Dáil will have an opportunity of expressing its opinion on the matter at any time. But, even if the money were voted by the Dáil, the amount invested in the shares of the company could not exceed £500,000 without an amendment of the Act.
Mr. Cosgrave: That is Deputy Dillon's point, that so far as this particular  Act is concerned, it gives the Minister power to expend £500,000. The case he puts up against that is that we should limit our expenditure now to £300,000. If further money is required it is reasonable to come to the Dáil for the other £200,000 if and when it is required.
Mr. Cosgrave: I do not see why, for example, we should make provision in this Bill for payment of interest on the money. Assuming the Minister puts £500,000 into it, portion of the provision which the Minister announced to us this evening was to pay interest. There is an ample sum allowed in the £300,000, with the £30,000 for working capital, and £4,000 for such expenditure as the Minister indicated. If further money is required what is the objection to coming to the Dáil for it instead of getting a blank cheque for the whole sum?
Mr. Lemass: It is a blank cheque up to £500,000, of which £356,000 is to meet capital expenditure. The margin is the difference between them. That is not an unreasonable margin to allow in the case of a commercial enterprise of this kind. We cannot have a commercial enterprise of this kind in the position that it cannot undertake any capital expenditure whatever without having further legislation promoted. That would be involved if we were to limit the provision in Section 10 to the amount known to be necessary, the amount  already expended or involved in the immediate operations of the company. Some margin beyond that is required, and the margin suggested is, I think, not unreasonable if this enterprise is to be run with the same freedom of action that a commercial enterprise would require. It seems to me that we would be better under this system than to work as we are working at present with everything being done by the Minister for Industry and Commerce and in his name, even though in practice he delegates his function to an advisory board. That system has not proved satisfactory, and it is never likely to prove satisfactory, as the whole machinery of a Government Department is not suitable to running a commercial enterprise. That is why we are going away from that system to another system which will set up a company which will be as independent of the Government as any other company, apart from the fact that the Minister for Finance will be its only shareholder. We think that that company should be given precisely the same liberty which an ordinary commercial undertaking would have if it is to work successfully as we hope a commercial company would.
Mr. Cosgrave: The most the Minister can make a case for is £356,000, assuming there is to be no more capital development than at present. The Act under which he has been operating up to date is the 1934 Act, I think, and his estimate of expenditure from that period amounts to £356,000. That is the amount——
Mr. Cosgrave: That has been expended, including £30,000 for working capital, plus £4,000 for some other purpose, plus interest that has to be earned, plus royalties, and making no allowance whatever for any profits which may be anticipated from this particular development. In these circumstances, we put it that this new company should not have, or any nominee of the Minister should not have £144,000 to play with or experiment with. In fact, we consider that he  would be supplied fairly well with £266,000, £30,000 as working capital and £4,000 in addition, and that when any further development is required we ought to hear about it. We ought to know what the company is doing and if they get this £500,000, then they can go on spending it either on the factories they have got or buying or constructing other factories.
Mr. Cosgrave: I know, but the Minister has power to give it, the Minister is a trustee in that respect. The Dáil is asked to give too much money away even to the Minister's nominees in this case—to give £144,000, plus interest and royalties and everything else and to assume that the company will make no money. If my recollection is correct, the Minister stated that we are in a position to make money from this industrial alcohol, selling it at 3/- per gallon. I do not know whether they have charged that price up to this to petrol consumers but whatever price they have charged, I suppose they have made provision for a profit. I do think that the Dáil ought not to give the Minister, or whatever officers he may have, more than this £356,000.
Mr. Dillon: The Minister changes his feet briskly. When caught on one foot he slips lightly over to the other. He said that there was no necessity for alarm, no necessity for the amendment, because, while there was power to issue additional capital if this section passed in its present form, the Minister would have to come back to the Dáil before he could buy further shares, but Section 15 exonerates him from any such necessity. Under Section 15 he can borrow money without further reference to the Dáil of any kind. Say that we authorise the company to issue capital up to £500,000. We authorise the Minister to borrow for investment in industrial alcohol. Having subscribed that £500,000, the company can then proceed to borrow on debentures without limit. There is no limit to its borrowing power under debenture, and the  Minister has an unlimited power of guarantee. They can borrow £1,000,000 under Section 14, and the Minister can guarantee it. Is that not so? Under Section 14:
whenever the company proposes to issue any debentures the Minister for Finance may, if he thinks fit, guarantee in such manner and form as he may think proper the due payment by the company in accordance with the terms of such debentures of the principal moneys and interest secured by such debentures.
Mr. Dillon: If we pass this section in its present form we not only authorise the Minister for Finance to subscribe £500,000 to the shares of the company, but we also authorise him to borrow or pledge the State's credit on debentures to the tune of another £500,000. Our modest proposal is that he should be restricted to subscribing £300,000 or that he should not pledge the State's credit for more than £300,000. I think that is a very reasonable proposal. We do not stickle over £50,000, if the Minister states that the arrangements and commitments already entered into make that addition absolutely vital. Personally, to give up a penny to this enterprise greatly depresses me. There is no use discussing that now, but if the Minister says that he has entered into commitments which makes the provision of £350,000 essential now, we would be prepared to assent to that. I think the Minister could limit himself to that amount, especially in view of the fact that under Section 15 everything we do now can be added to at a later stage.
Mr. Lemass: The key to the Deputy's whole attitude is contained in the sentence  in which he said that he would not give a penny towards this enterprise. That is the difference between us. The Deputy wants to see the enterprise destroyed. We think it is a good and reasonable enterprise, and we think that the Minister for Finance should be authorised to advance £500,000 for this purpose. We propose to ask the Dáil to do that. It is obvious that we cannot possibly reconcile our points of view. The Deputy wants the whole thing washed out. We think it is not unreasonable to ask the Minister for Finance to provide up to £500,000 for the purposes of this enterprise. We are telling the Dáil that the immediate capital requirements do not amount to that figure. They amount to £356,000, which includes £30,000 for working capital. In fact, the total capital expenditure is less, but we are proposing to capitalise the items which I mentioned—the royalties paid to Messrs. Noury and van der Lande, the interest on capital for the first working year, and the excess in the working costs for the first working year. Perhaps the items may be grouped together, because they represent in a sense the same thing. The price of the product was fixed at 3/- per gallon. That price is sufficient to cover the whole of the cost of production, and includes provision for the payment of interest on the capital advanced by the Minister for Finance in respect of shares in the case of the new company. The working costs, however, were in excess of 3/- per gallon for the first year. The year was not complete. Some of the factories were only working for a very small part of the season; consequently the expenses were much higher than in a normal working year, but we believe that it would be possible to sell profitably at that figure in a full working year. By selling at that figure for the first year, a loss was incurred, and that is being capitalised. The capitalisation of that loss, plus the capitalisation of the efficiency and interest payments on the amount advanced for the first year, amount, as I have said, to £26,000 or two sums of £13,000. In addition, we are capitalising the royalty payments. We think it is unreasonable to charge  against the price of the product the bulk sum we have to pay for technical knowledge we had not got. We think that it is more reasonable to capitalise that sum and charge it against the whole enterprise. These two items of £13,000, plus the £30,000 royalty payment, plus the sum of £4,000, which represents capital expenditure not already incurred, plus the £30,000 required for working capital, plus capital expenditure, brings the total sum required to date up to £365,000. Their requirements may, however, increase, and we think it is not unreasonable to propose that the Minister should be authorised to advance beyond that £300,000 up to a limit of £500,000 without having to come for new legislation.
Mr. Lemass: Up to £500,000, the amount he can invest in the ordinary shares of the company. We do that because we want to see it given a chance, and because we do not want to see it unduly handicapped by any unnecessary restrictions of the kind the Deputy mentioned.
Mr. Dillon: It often astonishes me the way Deputies of this House act. Is there any sane Deputy of the House to-day who would invest £1,000,000 of his own money in the manufacture of industrial alcohol?
Mr. Dillon: I do not believe there is any sane man who would invest in such an industry. We are just handing over to the Minister for Finance authority to put £1,000,000 into this enterprise,  £1,000,000 which would establish the greatest seat of learning in Europe in this country and endow it for all time. We are just going to squander that amount on “codology.” Where is the use of talking?
Corry, Martin J.
Fogarty, Patrick J.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Kelly, James P.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick J.
Murphy, Timothy J.
O Briain, Donnchadh.
Pattison, James P.
Walsh, Laurence J.
|Anthony, Richard S.
Bennett, George C.
Benson, Ernest E.
Byrne, Alfred (Junior).
Cole, John J.
Cosgrave, William T.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry M.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Gorey, Denis J.
Minch, Sydney B.
O'Donovan, Timothy J.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.
O'Shaughnessy, John J.
O'Sullivan, John M.
Rogers, Patrick J.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.
Section 10, 11 and 12 agreed to.
Question proposed: “That Section 13 stand part of the Bill.”
Mr. Dillon: I expected to see Deputy Moore springing to his feet, because, if the practice to which he directed attention under Section 8 is to be decried, the activities under this section are beyond the beyond.
Mr. Moore: I referred to Section 13 before.
Mr. Dillon: I invite the Deputy to rise in righteous wrath again and point out to the Minister for Industry and Commerce that by whatever quibble he scrambled out of the difficulty under Section 8 he cannot escape it here, because here the Minister can borrow money to buy shares and, having borrowed money to buy shares, he can then sell the shares to any purchaser and bring the money into revenue and use it as ordinary revenue. The Minister may acquire £500,000 worth of shares, partly under Section 11 and partly under Section 10. He may arrive close to the end of his financial year with one of his customary deficits, and it may suit his political hand to emerge triumphantly with a surplus, whereupon he can resort to one of the many large funds under his command and sell the shares in the Industrial Alcohol Company to one of those funds and arrive triumphantly at the end of the year with a surplus of receipts of £500,000, and devote all that money to defraying what would normally be a substantial deficit on his Budget. What has Deputy Moore to say to that? Come, now, Deputy Moore. Deputy Moore is a gallant campaigner in the cause of righteous finance. I cannot imagine that he has been so completely cowed by the Minister's observations a few moments ago that there is not a yap in him now.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy clearly misunderstands what it is all about. What the Minister does with the money he may get out of the sale of shares is, of course, a matter which might be a subject of criticism. If he were to use money he received in the sale of an asset of this kind as ordinary revenue, there would be some point in the Deputy's remarks, but it does not say that here.
Mr. Dillon: It gives him the right to do so.
Mr. Lemass: It says the money may be used in such manner as he may direct.
Mr. Dillon: Exactly.
Mr. Lemass: He may direct it to be used in the cancellation of debt.
Mr. Dillon: Put that in there.
Mr. Lemass: Or in such manner as would avoid the creation of a new debt.
Mr. Dillon: Put that in there.
Mr. Lemass: And that is quite legitimate and quite sound finance.
Mr. Dillon: Yes, but put it in there.
Mr. Lemass: Will the Deputy suggest what should go in there? What would have to go in there would be something which would involve the creation of some separate fund other than the Central Fund, and I do not know that the Deputy will find that many experts in public finance would agree that that is sound policy. I think that the deputy, if he examines the record of the administration of the public finances of this State for the past six years, will find that the rules of orthodoxy have not been departed from very often. The Deputy spoke about our “customary deficit.” I think if the Party opposite were alive to their business they would find much more effective ground for criticising the Government in the fact that the surplus each year has been too large. If I were in the Opposition that is the line I would take.
Mr. Cosgrave: We know. We have had experience of that before.
Mr. Dillon: You would reduce taxation by £2,000,000 and cut down nobody's salary.
Mr. Lemass: A surplus of £1,000,000 a year would make that very easy.
Mr. Cosgrave: You may get that surplus in the next world. You will not get it here.
Section 13 put and agreed to.
Whenever the company proposes to issue any debentures the Minister  for Finance may, if he thinks fit, guarantee in such manner and form as he may think proper, the due payment by the company in accordance with the terms of such debentures of the principal moneys and interest secured by such debentures.
Mr. Dillon: I move amendment No. 3:—
In line 41, to delete the words “if he thinks fit” and substitute the words “with the prior consent of each House of the Oireachtas”.
This amendment is designed to restrict the Minister from multiplying the rights of subscription to the share capital of this company by two without coming back to the House, and requires the Minister if he is going to guarantee the debentures for this company to come back to the House for authority to do so. I think that is a reasonable proposal. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has founded his case all along during this discussion on the contention that £500,000 provides an ample margin for every contingency that can be foreseen at the present time and that he does not at the moment foresee any contingency which will require the use of all that money, but he likes to have the knowledge that it is there if a contingency should arise.
Section 14, as at present drafted, provides not only the margin included in £500,000, but £500,000 on top of that again without any further reference to the Oireachtas. My amendment does no more than require, in the event of his having to spend a full £500,000 in subscribing for capital, that he will have to go back to Dáil Eireann and inform them of his intention to guarantee debentures of this kind.
Mr. Lemass: I could not agree to that nor would any provision of this kind have any precedent. This is not the first Bill; this is only one of many designed to set up companies under the auspices of this State or to authorise  the Minister for Finance to invest in the shares of companies. Consequently this Bill is in standard form. I do not think we have ever had it suggested in relation to any of the many Bills which preceded this for the establishment of companies for one purpose or another that a provision of this kind should be inserted, nor do I think it desirable, on the face of it, that we should have the affairs of a commercial enterprise subject to public discussion upon every occasion upon which additional capital expenditure has to be undertaken by it. I cannot agree to the amendment. I think we have got to give this company a fair chance. I do not think we should allow Deputy Dillon's hostility to it to induce us to so cripple it that it is desirable that an enterprise in which the State is interested should be run not by a Government Department, but by a company established upon the lines of an ordinary commercial undertaking, then they have got to facilitate that line of development by ensuring that these commercial companies will have the liberty of action and the possibility of success which a privately-owned company would have. If the Deputies want to get rigid control by the Legislature over all the commercial activities and undertakings of this kind the way to do it is to maintain the present position under which the Minister for Industry and Commerce runs the show and not a company set up in the manner contemplated by this Bill. I do not think they want to do that. If they do, in relation to this particular enterprise, it is a departure from their usual policy in such matters. They have always expressed the view, which I hold, that a State Department organised as the Department of Industry and Commerce is organised is not capable of running a purely commercial enterprise. I know that the red tape and regulations necessary in a Government Department where public funds are being administered and every penny accounted for in a particular manner to the Comptroller and Auditor-General——
Mr. Dillon: That is what is wrong, is it?
Mr. Lemass: ——is not fit to run a commercial enterprise successfully. It may run it successfully, but it will run it in a much more costly manner than an ordinary commercial company. It is because of that we are proposing to transfer this enterprise from the Minister for Industry and Commerce to a commercial company, but, if we do that, we must give that commercial company a reasonable prospect of success and not ring it round with restrictions and limitations such as the Deputy now proposes.
Mr. Dillon: With great respect to the Minister, these observations are largely flapdoodle.
Mr. Lemass: I do not know what that means. The Deputy as an expert might tell me.
Mr. Dillon: “Flapdoodle” means nonsense. The Minister says that we must not impose restrictions upon this company other than those we would impose upon an ordinary commercial enterprise. What ordinary commercial enterprise in this country has a right to get its debentures guaranteed by the Minister for Finance? What ordinary commercial enterprise here would claim to have an issue of debentures guaranteed by the Minister for Finance?
Mr. Moore: The Agricultural Credit Corporation, for instance.
Mr. Dillon: Does Deputy Moore call that an ordinary commercial enterprise?
Mr. Lemass: Under the Trades Loan (Guarantee) Act any company that trades gets these debentures guaranteed.
Mr. Dillon: Exactly, but they have got to go and make a case on the merits of their enterprise. The Minister does not give them a general benediction, and indicate that there is a guarantee available for them without any question. The Minister does not give them an undertaking that the Government will always have their issues guaranteed. At this stage there is no question  of the merits or the demerits of this enterprise. Rotten as it is, our job is to make it as efficient as it can be made, in the knowledge that it is floated by this Parliament. But in that set of circumstances we have got to adhere to the reasonable rules of prudence. It does not seem to me to be in accordance with the reasonable rules of prudence to authorise the Minister to provide a sum quite as much as that which the Minister for Industry and Commerce says represents the maximum that he can say is necessary, looking as far ahead as he is able to look. I am not asking the Minister to put into this Bill a prohibition against issuing any further moneys to this company at all. All I am asking is that if the Minister wants to put on the State a further liability of £500,000, that he would come back here and ask for it; that he would come and ask the consent of each House of the Oireachtas. The Minister represents that attitude as striking a death blow at the whole enterprise. His attitude is that it would be a death blow at the enterprise if Deputy MacEntee, the Minister for Finance, were to stand up here and say: “I am about guaranteeing debentures for the industrial alcohol factories——”
Mr. Lemass: And Deputy Dillon would have an opportunity then of saying that the enterprise was rotten; that the loan was an extremely bad one. That would be the position then before the country.
Mr. Dillon: I am exercising what is the common, democratic right of discussing in this Parliament the affairs of the State. I know that the exercise of that right grates severely on the tender feelings of the Minister for Industry and Commerce——
Mr. Smith: On everybody's feelings.
Mr. Dillon: I quite understand Deputy Smith's position. His spiritual home is Berlin. But we have educated Deputy Smith in the past five years and we have also educated the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Deputy Smith has got some education in the last five years, and there is a  hope that in the next 15 or 20 years we will almost civilise him. Having educated the Minister for Industry and Commerce in the last five years, I do not despair that within the next ten years we will make him a good democrat. At the same time, I do not expect the Minister to take kindly to the proposition that he will answer to the House for what he has to do. I do not expect that he will welcome the position in which, instead of guaranteeing these debentures on his own authority without any reference to the Oireachtas, he will stand up here and tell the most insignificant Deputy of this House what he proposes to do. My amendment that the Minister is to get the prior consent of each House of the Oireachtas before  guaranteeing any further debentures for this company is construed by the Minister as a dastardly attack on this industrial alcohol enterprise. That is how the amendment looks to people with the Hitler mind. To the ordinary man, to the ordinary mind, the proposition is one that is perfectly right and proper.
Mr. Lemass: It should occur to the democratic mind of Deputy Dillon that the Minister is responsible to Parliament for all his actions, and Deputies here are entitled to question him at all times.
Question put: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand.”
The Committee divided—Tá: 53; Níl: 38.
Corry, Martin J.
Dowdall, Thomas P.
Fogarty, Patrick J.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Kelly, James P.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick J.
O Briain, Donnchadh.
Pattison, James P.
Walsh, Laurence J.
|Anthony, Richard S.
Benson, Ernest E.
Byrne, Alfred (Junior).
Cole, John J.
Cosgrave, William T.
Dillon, James M. MacEoin, Seán.
Minch, Sydney B.
Murphy, Timothy J.
|Dockrell, Henry M.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Gorey, Denis J.
Linehan, Timothy. O'Donovan, Timothy.
O'Shaughnessy, John J.
O'Sullivan, John M.
Rogers, Patrick J.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Gorey.
Question declared carried.
Section 14 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: May I assume the Deputy will take that decision as governing amendments Nos. 4 and 12?
Mr. Dillon: Amendment No. 4 relates to Section 20. I do not know that that raises quite the same point.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: All right.
Mr. Dillon: Under Section 15, may the Minister borrow money for the subscription of these debentures?
Mr. Lemass: Yes.
Mr. Dillon: I do not think he can, because he cannot buy the debentures; he can only guarantee the debentures.
Mr. Lemass: Quite right. I thought the Deputy was referring to the shares.
Sections 15 to 17, inclusive, agreed to.
Mr. Dillon: Is the requirement contained in sub-section (1) of Section 18, to furnish an annual profit-and-loss account in addition to an annual balance sheet, a new introduction into this kind of legislation?
Mr. Lemass: No, it is the same in them all.
Mr. Dillon: Why are you taking these out from under the Control of Manufactures Act?
Mr. Lemass: We always do that when there is special legislation affecting the industry. The Control of Manufactures Act does not affect any industry in regard to which there is special legislation.
Sections 18 and 19 agreed to.
(1) The Minister for Finance may from time to time authorise the payment of subsidies to the company on such terms and conditions as he thinks fit.
(2) Any moneys required for the payment of subsidies under this section shall be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.
Mr. Dillon: I move amendment No. 4:—
In sub-section (1), line 9, to delete the words “as he thinks fit” and substitute the words “as each House of the Oireachtas may from time to time approve.”
I think this amendment is very much wider than the amendment that went before.
Mr. Lemass: In fact, there is no case for this at all, because here the money must be voted by the Dáil.
Mr. Dillon: Sometimes I am tempted to charge the Minister with bad faith but, on reflection——
Mr. Lemass: Does the Deputy ever do that?
Mr. Dillon: ——I always prefer to assume that he is peculiarly prone to falling into error. As the Minister is aware, Votes are introduced here for general subsidies, giving the Minister a wide discretion as to how those moneys shall be allocated, and I see no reason why, under Section 20, he  could not pay the subsidy out of moneys which had been voted by the Oireachtas under the general head of subsidies.
Mr. Lemass: There is no money voted under the general head.
Mr. Dillon: Well, that I cannot remember for the moment, but I seem to remember that the Minister for Industry and Commerce has a general authority to pay subsidies on industrial exports, for instance, and the Minister for Industry and Commerce himself determines which of those exports he shall pay a subsidy upon. There is a special Vote taken in this House every year, called “Export Bounties and Subsidies.” It is No. 70 in the Book of Estimates. The heading of that Estimate is “An Estimate of the amount required in the year ending 31st March, 1939, for export bounties and subsidies.” There appears to me to be, in this heading, no restriction on the ambit of that Vote. I cannot say what amount of that Vote was surrendered at the end of last year, but the sum appropriated was £2,242,010. Whether there was any surrender at the end of the year or not I do not know, but I am quite satisfied that under sub-head F, which provides for bounties and subsidies on exports of potatoes and other agricultural products, and expenditure on trial consignments to external markets, or under a new sub-head, a provision might be made within the ambit of that Vote for a subsidy on industrial alcohol.
Mr. Lemass: Not without a Supple mentary Estimate.
Mr. Dillon: Why not?
Mr. Lemass: It could not be done.
Mr. Dillon: But why?
Mr. Lemass: I do not know whether it is a matter of administrative practice or of constitutional requirement, but it is never done.
Mr. Cosgrave: You could vote a certain sum, or, let us say, vote £5.
Mr. Lemass: Quite, but it must be a matter for the Dáil.
Mr. Dillon: Now, this is interesting, because I question that. Suppose that you proceed to export some of this industrial alcohol. Under the subheads that have been already opened, it would certainly be possible to pay a subsidy.
Mr. Lemass: Yes, but, clearly, Section 20 would not be required in the Bill in that case. If the Deputy is correct, Section 20 would not be required. Why do we have to put Section 20 in the Bill if we already have power to pay it?
Mr. Dillon: You may or you may not have power to pay on the export of industrial alcohol, but suppose that you do come to pay out the money, will you then have to come back to Dáil Eireann to give that money or will you turn to some cover-all Vote and get, out of it, the requisite money referred to in sub-section (2)? I submit that that is possible, and I think it is a contingency which ought to be provided against, that, if the Minister proposes to pay subsidies to this company, a fresh proposal should be brought before Dáil Eireann. Where are our liabilities in connection with this enterprise going to end? We are going to subscribe, or have taken authority to subscribe, for £500,000 share capital and have taken authority to guarantee £500,000 debentures, and we are now asking authority to issue subsidies to this product. At the same time, we have fixed the community with notice that we are going to authorise this company to collect the equivalent of £175,000 per annum in subsidy, in the price which they are going to charge for the industrial alcohol, which they are going to sell to the public. Is not that so? The Minister told us that he is going to sell a certain quantity of industrial alcohol at 3/-, to take the place of the petrol which can be purchased at 4d.  That represents a subsidy of 2/8 a gallon on industrial alcohol. Suppose we spend the £500,000 on shares and guarantee the debentures, it means that we are going to spend £1,000,000 for the purpose of purchasing a millstone of £175,000 per annum to hang around our necks. I contend that, along with the plain and unadorned mill-stone of £175,000 a year around our necks, the Minister wants us to give him authority to hang a whole lot of little mill-stones on to the big mill-stone, whenever he wants to do so. Surely, you have made a good enough bargain for that enterprise without adding this additional precaution? Surely you do not apprehend that, if you are going to collar 3/- a gallon, you will want any further financial assistance for this enterprise? If the Minister thinks that it is conceivable that any additional assistance should be required, he should tell us now, because it is nothing short of fraud to put this enterprise through Dáil Eireann on certain representations of maximum liability, and then, under cover of Section 20, to come back in 12 months' time and say “We are now deeply committed, and we shall have to shoulder further liabilities if the enterprise is to be carried on.” Either Section 20 is unnecessary or else it conceals an intention of materially increasing the cost of this deplorable enterprise to the community.
Mr. Lemass: No single penny can be paid by the Minister for Finance in subsidy to this company without the money being provided by the Oireachtas; that is to say, unless an Estimate is submitted here and passed. I do not expect that any subsidy will be paid, but I think it is a wise precaution, in enacting legislation of this kind, to make the statutory provision for it, because circumstances might arise at some future date which would make it good policy to do so. At present, however, in so far as we can foresee the future, no subsidy will be payable, nor will the circumstances which might justify a subsidy arise. The price we have fixed for industrial alcohol, as I have said, probably will  be added to cover the entire cost of production and pay interest on capital invested in the enterprise. There is a certain amount of speculation about that, because we have not had the experience of a full year's working of the enterprise yet, nor do we quite know what the cost of manufacture will be in a full year. Of course, at any time there may be a variation in the price of materials, the costs of labour, or in the price of power which would have a bearing on prices. But at the present anticipated cost of potatoes, labour, coal, barley and the other commodities that are used by the company, we think that 3/- a gallon should prove quite capable of recovering the entire cost of production and still leave the margin which I have referred to. There is therefore, no intention of paying a subsidy.
The Deputy proposes that certain words should be deleted from the section. Whatever case he had for deleting the words in an earlier section, where the question of guaranteeing debentures is involved, there is no case here, because this section is inoperative until something has happened in the Dáil, namely, the introduction of a Supplementary Estimate authorising the Minister for Finance to make a payment for the purpose and providing him with the money wherewith to do it.
Mr. Dillon: Why not accept the amendment then?
Mr. Lemass: Because it is unnecessary here. Sub-section (2) is precisely the same as the Deputy's amendment. The section itself provides that—
The Minister for Finance may from time to time authorise the payment of subsidies to the company on such terms and conditions...
and the Deputy wants to insert after the word “conditions”“as each House of the Oireachtas may from time to time approve.” Sub-section (2) of the section provides that—
Any moneys required for the payment of subsidies under this section shall be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.
That, in effect, is the same thing.
Mr. Dillon: Well, it is not, because there are two distinctions. One is that my amendment would require the Minister to get the sanction of this House for the terms upon which he proposes to pay a subsidy which, I think, is in itself desirable. The second thing is that my amendment would bring the Minister's technical justification for the subsidy before this House and the Upper House, whereas a financial resolution could be disposed of in this House alone. Now, you resurrected the Upper House yourselves as a vocational body which was to give some kind of expert advice to Ministers on certain matters. I think you were wise in doing that. You resurrected it on certain lines. Now, let us put it to work. If it has certain qualifications that this House has not got, let us avail of them. It is supposed to have certain technical qualifications that this House has not got. Here is a chance to avail of them. If you want to give a subsidy to the industrial alcohol business, bring your proposition to the Seanad and tell them what it is about. Let them declare that, having heard the Minister, they are quite satisfied with the proposal, and that a subsidy for the industry is defensible and good. Why should the Minister desire to cut the Seanad out?
Mr. Lemass: Because the Seanad has no functions whatever in relation to public finance.
Mr. Dillon: Exactly. I want to make my amendment effective by requiring the Minister for Finance to justify to the Oireachtas the conditions upon which he is going to give a subsidy. It is quite true that the Seanad has no authority over Money Bills, and, therefore, sub-section (2), which brings this matter before the Oireachtas only by way of a Financial Resolution, leaves the Seanad completely out of the business.
Mr. Lemass: This Bill must go to the Seanad.
Mr. Dillon: I know, but I want the conditions of any subsidy which you propose to give to the company to go before the Seanad. Why not?
Mr. Lemass: I would not agree with the Deputy there. If the Dáil decides  to vote money for a particular purpose, that should end the matter. The Dáil is the final authority on financial matters.
Mr. Dillon: Suppose the Dáil decides to subsidise a thing, does the Minister not think that the conditions on which they decide to give a subsidy should be subject to review?
Mr. Lemass: That is a Constitutional question which has been settled in the new Constitution.
Mr. Dillon: One of the functions of the Seanad is to advise and counsel this House. If the Dáil proposes to give a subsidy on terms to an enterprise, surely it is quite within the competence of the Seanad to say: “It is none of our business how much you give, but we advise you that if you are going to give this firm a subsidy, you ought to require certain conditions to be fulfilled, and we think that they ought to give you a certain undertaking.” Otherwise, what function has the Seanad if you are going to withhold from them every expert matter upon which they might reasonably be expected intelligently to pass judgment? Why should you dig them up at all? Why not let them repose in silence?
Mr. Lemass: On every occasion the Deputy makes a summer out of one swallow.
Mr. Dillon: To tell the truth, I do not quite follow what the Minister is up to. I do not ask the Minister to understand, because I do not believe he wishes to understand. I believe in Parliamentary institutions and in supreme authority of Parliament. I apologise to the Minister for pressing that view upon him, as I know how distasteful it is to him, and how difficult it is for him to remain patient when he has no argument to present in face of that thesis.
Mr. Lemass: Five minutes ago the Deputy was claiming that he was entirely responsible for my education. Now he is talking about my ignorance. I cannot follow him at all.
Mr. Dillon: I was simply applying a gentle spur to encourage you on.
 Question put: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand.”
The Committee divided—Tá: 59; Níl: 34.
Corry, Martin J.
Dowdall, Thomas P.
Fogarty, Patrick J.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Kelly, James P.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick J.
McGowan, Gerrard L.
Walsh, Laurence J.
|Anthony, Richard S.
Benson, Ernest E.
Byrne, Alfred (Junior).
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John A.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry M.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Gorey, Denis J.
Minch, Sydney B.
O'Donovan, Timothy J.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.
O'Shaughnessy, John J.
O'Sullivan, John M.
Rogers, Patrick J.
Tellers—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Linehan.
Question declared carried.
Section 20 agreed to.
(1) Any person (in this section referred to as an authorised officer) authorised in this behalf by the company may enter on any land for the purpose of making thereon any inquiry, investigation, or examination preliminary or incidental to the doing of any thing which the company is authorised by this Part of this Act to do.
(2) If any person impedes or obstructs an authorised officer in the exercise of the powers conferred on such authorised officer by this section, such person shall be guilty  of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding £10.
Mr. Dillon: I move amendment No. 5:—
In sub-section (1), line 19, before the word “may” to insert the words “and by the Minister”.
This amendment is one of considerable importance, because Section 21 purports to give to this company power to authorise an inspector to enter upon anybody's land and there conduct inquiries, make examinations and do a variety of other acts which constitute a substantial infringement of an owner's title to his land. It is recognised that for certain public purposes it may be necessary to give inspectors that right, but it is a right which should be carefully circumscribed and should not be vested in any person who does not carry with him the authority of a Minister of State. My amendment is, therefore, designed to secure that any authority issued by the company to this end will be countersigned by the Minister for Industry and Commerce and unless so countersigned will not give an inspector any authority to trespass on a citizen's property.
Mr. Lemass: I do not like the countersigning arrangement, but if the Deputy would prefer to have the authorisation issued by the Minister to having it issued by the company I should be prepared to do that.
Mr. Dillon: That would entirely meet my point.
Mr. Lemass: I shall move an amendment on the next stage to give effect to that.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Mr. Dillon: I move amendment No. 6:—
In sub-section (2), line 24, after the word “person” to insert the words “having been shown the written authority of the authorised officer”.
 I think this amendment will commend itself to the Minister. It is in most of the Acts.
Mr. Lemass: I have no objection to the amendment, but I should like the Deputy to leave it over so that the parliamentary draftsman may look at it.
Mr. Dillon: We are getting along splendidly.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 21 agreed to.
(2) The company shall not, without the previous consent of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, lay down any pipe-line under any public road.
Mr. Dillon: I move amendment No. 7:—
In sub-section (2), line 35, before the word, “Minister” to insert the words “the local authority and the”.
This is the section which gives the company power to lay down certain pipe-lines and carry out certain works which may interfere with public roads and passages for which a local authority is ordinarily responsible. Sub-section 2 requires the company to get the previous consent of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health before they interfere with a public road in the laying down of a pipe line. I feel that it would assist the Minister and make for good feeling all round if the local authority were brought in here and the sub-section were made to read: “The company shall not, without the previous consent of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health and the local authority, lay down any pipe line under any public road”.
Mr. Moore: I think the Deputy has not read it correctly.
Mr. Dillon: I have read it back to front, but it does not make much difference. The net result, if matters  were pushed to a crisis, would be the same, because the Minister for Local Government, I think, by sealed order could compel the local authority to give the necessary permission so that if the Minister were satisfied in his mind that the permission was reasonably sought and was being unreasonably withheld by the local authority, he could issue his sealed order and command the assent of the local authority. The introduction of my amendment would require the local authority to be consulted in each case. I am convinced that if it is not done quarrels will arise in every case where a public road is to be interfered with. I am satisfied that in nine cases out of ten if this amendment is inserted no difficulty will arise with a local authority.
Mr. Lemass: I am not disposed to accept the amendment. I think the section as it stands provides sufficient protection for the local authority in that the consent of the Minister must be secured. I may say in relation to the whole of Part III that it is scarcely necessary at all. In so far as the industrial alcohol factories are concerned, it is not intended that there should be any substantial extension of the enterprise beyond its present size, and, therefore, it can be said that all the construction work intended has already been done. Part III of the Bill is taken in its entirety from other legislation of a similar kind. The most recent legislation of that kind was the Air Navigation Act. The whole of the corresponding part of that Act was dumped in here because it was considered desirable that all these provisions should be inserted. In fact, however, no construction works of major importance are contemplated or likely to arise for a long time to come. So far as the particular point raised is concerned, I think the consent of the Minister for Local Government alone is sufficient protection for the local authority, and I may point out that the section is precisely the same as that in all the other Acts that have passed the Oireachtas authorising Government Departments or bodies  set up by the Government like the Electricity Supply Board, the Sugar Company and the Air Navigation Company to undertake works of construction. No difficulty, to my knowledge, has arisen in consequence of the operation of similar sections in these Acts.
Mr. Brennan: Does it not seem essential that there should be some consultation with the local authority? Take a public road under which you want to put down some drain pipes and with which you interfere in doing so. There must be some agreement that the road will be left in its proper condition, and only by consultation with the local authority can that be done. It may be a kind of gentleman's agreement, if you like, but it ought to be there. There ought to be some consultation with the local authority. Of course, the Minister, I presume, would have overriding authority, but for the sake of peace and of getting the thing done as it ought to be done, there ought to be some consultation with the local authority. It is not good enough for the Minister to say that it will probably never arise.
Mr. Lemass: Is not consultation with and getting the agreement of the Minister in itself a sufficient safeguard? The Minister for Local Government exists to ensure that the interests of local authorities will be protected.
Mr. Brennan: The Minister has no experience of local authorities' work. If he had he would not adopt that attitude. If there is personal contact with the local authority, in the person of the county surveyor, for instance, the whole thing will be settled immediately. If the Minister put in some such words as “consultation with the local authority” it would get the county surveyor into the matter, and arrangements would be made to ensure that the work would be left in a proper condition. I have seen various difficulties arise with contractors——
Mr. Lemass: No difficulty did arise. All the factories are, in fact, built and all the pipes we contemplate will be  required are laid. All that work has been done, and no difficulty has arisen, although the relevant section of the original Act was precisely the same. This part of the Bill is really there because the 1934 Act is being repealed and the corresponding sections have been carried over here; but unless it is decided at some later stage to build a sixth factory in some new part of the country this part of the Bill will not have to operate at all because all the factories are already built and in production.
Mr. Brennan: I think the principle is a very bad one.
Mr. Costello: I take it that all this is of purely academic interest?
Mr. Lemass: All of Part III.
Mr. Costello: As a matter of purely academic interest, would the Minister satisfy my curiosity as to how Section 22 relates to and is consistent with his own amendment later on to Section 23? Section 22 says that the company can lay down pipes under the roadway, but the Minister's own amendment says that they are not to do it. It says that they are not to acquire any land or any right in any land used or owned by a local authority for the purpose of gas or water undertakings or anything of that description. Are there not gas pipes, water pipes and sewers under public roads, and therefore that part of that road is owned by the local authority for the purpose of a gas or water undertaking?
Mr. Lemass: I do not know that that is quite correct.
Mr. Costello: The Minister's amendment does not allow the company to acquire a right in that part of the road where the gas pipes or sewers go. Reading the two sections, they struck me as being rather inconsistent.
Mr. Lemass: I doubt very much whether a gas pipe under a public road makes the public road part of the gas undertaking of a local authority.
Mr. Costello: Look at the wording of the proposed amendment. It says: “The company shall not acquire any land or any right over any land held or occupied by a local authority for the purposes of any railway, tramway, dock, canal, water, gas, electricity or other public undertaking.” In order to put down a sewer pipe, the local authority must have the bit of land through which it goes and it is then owned or occupied by the local authority for the purpose of a sewer pipe.
Mr. Lemass: There is nothing about sewers in it.
Mr. Costello: I am speaking of that as merely comprised of water. Take a big water main. That would come within the word “water.”
Mr. Lemass: We could not acquire a waterworks.
Mr. Costello: But you cannot acquire any interest in the land through which that goes. Therefore, you may have a main water pipe going through a public road. This company hypothetically wants to go through that public road, and it may not be able to do it without going through this pipe.
Mr. Lemass: If the Deputy's interpretation of the amendment is correct I shall have to get the amendment changed.
Mr. Costello: It is a point of academic interest and I raise it as such.
Mr. Lemass: We certainly say we should not take the waterworks or gas undertaking of a local authority, or something of that kind, but a public road is a different matter.
Amendment No. 7, by leave, with drawn.
Section 22 agreed.
(1) The Company may for the purposes of the business of the Company do, with the consent of the Minister,  all or any of the following things, that is to say:—
(a) compulsorily acquire (either permanently or temporarily) any land;
(b) compulsorily acquire (either permanently or temporarily) any easement, way-leave, water-right, fishing right, or other right whatsoever existing over or in respect of any land or water.
Mr. Dillon: I move amendment No. 8:—
In sub-section (1), lines 41/42 and lines 43/44, in sub-section (2), lines 50/51 and lines 1/2, page 8, to delete the words and brackets “(either permanently or temporarily).”
This is a very important amendment. The proposal here is to give the company a power of compulsory acquisition which I have never seen given. We are all familiar with the power conferred upon public authorities or bodies like the E.S.B. compulsorily to acquire lands which are required for the normal development of their responsibilities, but I have never yet seen a power conferred on such a body to acquire land permanently or temporarily as they may see fit. They can compulsorily acquire any land, permanently or temporarily, under paragraph (a) and under paragraph (b) they can compulsorily acquire permanently or temporarily any easement, way-leave, water-right, fishing right, or other right whatsoever existing over or in respect of any land or water. Suppose this company came along and temporarily acquired my fishing right over a stretch of water, wrecked it, and then handed it back to me at the end of a long period, where am I? During the entire period of their tenancy I am in doubt as to what their ultimate intention is. I do not know how long they are going to remain tenants of this piece of property which they have temporarily acquired, and I am not in a position to make any alternative arrangements for the employment of my time or energies. Normally if a man wants to come and take your land, he takes your land; you get your compensation, and you can buy another farm and start up somewhere  else. If he subsequently discovers that he does not want the land any longer, he puts it on the market, sells it for what he can get for it and writes off his loss—the difference between the price he realises and the compensation he paid—or takes to credit the difference if he gets more for it than in fact he gave.
Here, this entirely new arrangement is introduced. I could multiply instances in which the inconvenience of having a compulsory tenant thrust upon you is demonstrated, but I do not think it is necessary. For instance, a man might acquire an easement or a way-leave over your land and become an intolerable nuisance, and then throw the whole thing up after having made your land uninhabitable for the purposes for which you normally used it. It is true to say that no matter what kind of injury you inflict upon your neighbour there must be some measure of the loss which can be ascertained. In theory that is true, but in practice it is not, and I submit to the Minister that we ought not to introduce this new principle of temporary compulsory acquisition. If we are to have compulsory acquisition by a public body or the State, then let it be acquisition for fair compensation, and give the person whose property is temporarily acquired an opportunity of starting up elsewhere. Do not let us leave people suspended like Mohamet's coffin, not knowing the day or the hour when the tenant who has thrust himself compulsorily upon him may pull up his stakes and move off, throwing back on his hands the property which was compulsorily let under this Section. We have, therefore, moved to delete the words “either permanently or temporarily” wherever they appear in this Section. That leaves the Section fully effective for the purpose of compulsorily acquiring such lands as may become necessary for the proper conduct of this industrial alcohol business.
Mr. Lemass: I am sorry I cannot agree that this Amendment is of any importance. It seems to me it does not make much difference one way or the other whether these words are included in the Section or are left out. As I  understand it, if the words are left out, and the word “acquire” left without qualification, it means to acquire permanently. But the company can of course dispose of any property which it acquires. The position is, therefore, that there is some property the cost of permanent acquisition of which may be regarded by the company as prohibitive. They can, as the Bill stands, take a lease of that property for whatever period they need it, but if the words are left out it means they have to acquire it and dispose of it when their use for it is finished.
Mr. Dillon: That is what I want.
Mr. Lemass: I think on the whole it is much better as it is.
Mr. Dillon: What about the owner of the property?
Mr. Lemass: The owner of the property will have the same right to compensation as he would have if the property were permanently acquired. The compensation will be determined, in default of agreement, under the provisions of the Land Clauses Acts. I do not see how the point made by the Deputy arises in that regard. If the user of the property by the company is such as to destroy its subsequent utility to the owner, then presumably that will be taken into account in determining the compensation to be paid or in fixing the agreed rent to be charged. Either way, it does not seem to me that the owner is any better off by leaving the words out.
Mr. Dillon: Does not the Minister see the difference between my arriving at his house to-morrow and announcing that he must move out his lares et penates as I am going to become his tenant for an indefinite term, and my arriving and saying he must move out his lares et penates as I am going to buy his house and he must make up his mind to take a new residence?
Mr. Lemass: There is, of course, a difference, but is the owner any better off? Is it not much better to enable the company to take a temporary lease of the premises, if a temporary lease  is all that they require? What the Deputy is trying to do is to put the company in the position that they must acquire it.
Mr. Dillon: Suppose the owner does not want to give them a temporary lease?
Mr. Lemass: Then the owner has no choice in the matter. All those powers of compulsory acquisition are put in here because the Government is the owner of this company. The Deputy knows quite well that when the Government goes out to buy or lease property the price charged for it goes up at once by 100, or 200, or 300 per cent. The Government cannot get property at the market value. Consequently, unless there is power of compulsory acquisition it will not get property at all except at fabulous and ridiculous prices. I said the other day that quite recent experience showed that the mere knowledge that the Government was supporting an enterprise undertaken by a private company had precisely the same effect upon the value of the land which that private company decided to acquire.
Mr. Larkin: There is an analogous case which will support the Minister's contention. It is the case of the fuel company in County Kildare. For months that particular company was held up because they could not get an easement or a right of way over a canal. The Minister will remember the case himself?
Mr. Lemass: Quite.
Mr. Larkin: In that case tremendous difficulties were thrown in the way of a semi-government concern by the stupidity of those people. Eventually they had to be permitted to put a bridge over the canal. That project was held up for months. In this case, I think, the power in the Bill is a proper one and should be exercised.
Mr. Lemass: If that is so in a case where the Government has only a sort of external interest it is much more true in the case of a company of this kind where the Government is the sole owner.
Mr. Dillon: Quite irrelevant!
Mr. Lemass: Therefore, we have to give powers of compulsory acquisition. If the company requires merely a temporary lease of property it should have power to take a temporary lease. The power of compulsory acquisition is there mainly to ensure that a temporary lease will be given at a reasonable amount. In fact, as the Deputy knows, it is very rarely that the power of compulsory acquisition has to be exercised. I cannot remember a single case during my period as Minister apart from such matters as the acquisition of the Shannon fisheries or a few cases of the kind where this power of compulsory acquisition of land had to be exercised. But the knowledge that the power was there ensured that we were able to get the land at its market value, or something above its market value. The same applies in the case of a temporary lease. The knowledge that we can get it compulsorily will make the owner of the property reasonable to deal with. The deletion of the words merely creates this situation, that the owner is no better off except that the company will have to acquire it completely with a view to disposing of it when the use of it has expired.
Mr. Costello: The discussion has become entirely irrelevant for the purpose proposed as I understand by the amendment. If I might be, perhaps, not quite so irrelevant as the Minister was, I should like to direct his attention to a case that is at hearing to-day in reference to one of the operations of certain people connected with industrial alcohol. Perhaps the facts of the case when he learns them, if he does not know them already, might, perhaps, give him a different view of the way in which these powers have been, in fact, operated. We do not object to the power of compulsory acquisition. In fact, the amendment gives a wider power than the Minister was seeking. Everybody knows that for the purpose of allowing a Government or any public authority to acquire land there must be power of compulsory acquisition, coupled with the right of the owner of the property to get a fair arbitration. That procedure  is supplied in Section 24 which follows. Both the Minister and the owner have an opportunity of presenting their case on the question of the amount in accordance with the principles laid down by the Act of 1919. We are not objecting to that. What we are objecting to is the power of temporary acquisition of certain rights or of a piece of land. If the Minister requires the power of temporary acquisition I suggest that there ought to be some provision put in providing that the company should only be entitled to acquire temporarily on certain conditions.
Take the case Deputy Dillon referred to. If a house is taken over, say, for five years by temporary acquisition, there is nothing in the Bill to say that at the end of the five years the company is to hand it over in good order, repair and condition. If a lease is given to a tenant by a landlord of a house the ordinary covenant is to keep it in good repair and to deliver it up in good repair. Under this section, the company can acquire premises for five years and then go to the arbitrator and say they were only taking a lease for five years, give evidence of the letting value of the house, say, £20 or £25 per year, and say that five times £25 is £125 and that should be the compensation. There is no power that I can see in this section or in the arbitrator to say: “You cannot acquire this land or this house unless you undertake to deliver it up in the same condition as you got it when you compulsorily acquired it.” If it is a house it is an obvious example. If it is a right-of-way lorries and other heavy traffic can go over it and destroy the ground for years after the expiration of the temporary user by the company, and there is no power to impose upon the company the condition that they will deliver up that roadway or the right-of-way that they took in good condition, in the condition they acquired it originally.
These are the kind of notions which are at the back of this amendment. If there were something in the section saying, if it is merely temporary acquisition, that there should be certain conditions imposed on the lines I suggest,  the matter might be fairly equitable and not likely to work hardship. But under the provisions of the section you must get compensation once and for all. You have only one arbitration and one award of compensation. So that if a house is taken over for a period of five years the arbitrator fixes the compensation on the basis of a five years' period and when that is paid, and it is determined once and for all, then at the end of the five years the house may be in a shockingly dilapidated condition as the result of user, neglect, or any other cause which may occur to any one. There is no provision providing for a contingency of that kind. It is matters of that kind that really require consideration and that motivated the putting down of this amendment. It is not any suggestion that there should not be the power of compulsory acquisition. It is only the idea that if it is desired there should be this power of acquisition for a temporary period then there should be some conditions in relation to the compensation attached to it.
Mr. Lemass: I cannot agree that this is without precedent because, in fact, the section is taken word for word from the 1934 Act. I do not think it is important, because in practice it makes no difference, I believe, whether the words are in or not. I realise that that argument is as much against myself as the Deputies, because if I strongly resist the amendment I am doing so without due cause, in the same way as they propose it without due cause. If the Deputies are very strong about it, I am prepared to take these words out. In practice, I do not think it will make any difference.
Mr. Dillon: If the Minister takes them out, and if he wants to insert them in some other Bill, we can reexamine them on their merits.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 9:—
Before sub-section (3) to insert the following new sub-section:—
(3) The company shall not acquire  under this section any land or any right over or in respect of any land held or occupied by a local authority or any body corporate for the purposes of any railway, tramway, dock, canal, water, gas, electricity, or other public undertaking.
It has been put down at the request of some of the statutory authorities concerned, and should perhaps have appeared in the original Bill, as it is in the corresponding part of the Air Navigation and similar Acts. The purport of it is to debar the company from acquiring land which is in use for any public undertaking of the kind mentioned.
Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: “That Section 23, as amended, stand part of the Bill.”
Mr. McGowan: In sub-section 4 (b) (c) are not the periods of one month and three months rather short notice?
Mr. Lemass: It is the usual time. In fact, I think there never was a case where these powers were exercised without longer notice; but that is the standard form in which that section appears in other legislation for compulsory acquisition. There is nothing new in this.
Mr. McGowan: Take a case where they go in under what we call a caretaker's agreement. There have been such delays in a good many instances, that the tenant does not get his money for a long time, but eventually gets interest, although he has to leave his house or land and is seriously inconvenienced.
Mr. Lemass: That is not avoided by giving longer notice. I agree that, as soon as the acquisition has been completed, the terms of the compensation should be fixed expeditiously. But that is a different point from the period of notice to be given.
Mr. McGowan: On the question of going in more or less under a caretaker's agreement, that is generally an invitation to whoever is concerned to delay as long as possible. That is under sub-section (3). In many instances hardship is inflicted.
Mr. Lemass: That matter of temporary acquisition is now ended, because I have agreed that, if compulsory acquisition is resorted to, it will be permanent acquisition.
Mr. McGowan: Suppose, for instance, under (b) you decide to acquire land. There is no reason why we should not make a new law, because this is in another Act.
Mr. Lemass: I think three months' notice as a minimum is not unreasonable.
Mr. McGowan: In a case where a family is occupying a house and you walk in under a caretaker's agreement, I think three months is very short notice. You should give the man time to get another house and to move into it.
Mr. Lemass: I am prepared to agree that in ordinary cases longer notice should be given and I think in every case much longer notice is given. Where, however, a public enterprise is being pushed ahead, different considerations arise. This section appears in the same form in all Bills of this nature, whether dealing with railways, canals or harbours. We cannot allow this enterprise to be held up indefinitely merely for the purpose of giving longer notice to people whose tenancies are likely to be disturbed. I have not, however, known any case where a very long notice was not given. In the case of the Poulaphouca scheme, for instance, more than 12 months' notice was given although the provisions regarding the giving of notice were precisely the same as in this Bill.
Section 23, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Sections 24 to 29 inclusive ordered to stand Part of the Bill.
(2) The following provisions shall have effect in relation to every transport works order, that is to say:—
(b) without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (a) of this sub-section.
 (iv) such order may incorporate all or any of the provisions of the Lands Clauses Consolidation Acts, with such modifications and adaptations as the Minister thinks proper.
(4) Every order made under this section shall have the force of law.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 10:—
In sub-section (2) (b) (iv), page 11, line 6, to delete the word “Consolidation.”
This is just a drafting amendment. The word “Consolidation” should not appear there.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Mr. Costello: I move amendment No. 11:—
To delete sub-section (4).
Sub-section (4) provides that the orders that are referred to in the section, which may contain practically anything that comes into the Minister's head, shall have the force of law. In other words, it gives very wide power to the Minister to legislate and to usurp the functions of Parliament. It is on that question of principle that the amendment is put down. We do not wish to hamper the Minister in the exercise of any power which it is desirable he should have in the making of these orders but it does come rather as a shock that the order which the Minister is empowered to make, after inquiry, “shall contain such provisions as the Minister thinks necessary or expedient for the purposes of such order.” Anything that he thinks proper can be put in the order and it is to have the force of law, just the same as if it were passed in the Dáil. I think that is going beyond the legitimate purpose of a statutory order and should not be insisted upon.
Here we have a general power in the widest possible terms given to the Minister to say that anything he thinks necessary goes into the order, and once he puts it into the order it is the same as if it had gone through both Houses of the Oireachtas. That is going beyond anything that has been done in  the way of delegated legislation in this Oireachtas since it was established. I doubt if there is any precedent for it but, if so, it must have slipped through unnoticed in this House. I think it is quite sufficient that the Minister should have power to make these orders without adding this extraordinary provision that they are to have the force of law, just the same as if they went through the ordinary process of legislation here. The widest possible power is given to the Minister to put into the order anything which he thinks necessary or proper, but I think it will come as a shock to the public conscience that it is to have the force of law. Even if that were not enough, the sub-section proceeds to say that without prejudice to the generality of the overriding paragraph, the order may contain certain provisions. That involves the company, at all events—a matter in which I am not very much interested—in a criminal proceeding, but it may also involve private individuals in criminal proceedings, because the Minister might put in something creating an offence if he thinks it proper to do so. He may think it necessary or proper to create an offence and, at the same time, provide that it should not be heard by the ordinary courts but by the managing director of the company. I do not suggest that any responsible Minister would do that. I am merely producing a reductio ad absurdum for the purpose of giving point to my argument.
Mr. Lemass: What is involved here is a legal point. As I understand it, the insertion of that section is necessary because of the provisions of paragraph 9 of sub-section (2) relating to the penalties which are involved in a breach of the order. I consulted the parliamentary draftsman on this matter—I was not clear myself as to why the clause must appear in that precise form—and he has advised that because of the penalties provided in paragraph 9, sub-section (2), sub-section (4) must go in. The only observation I have to make in that connection is that we are not establishing a precedent as a precisely similar sub-section appeared in the Cement Act, in the Air Navigation Act, and in a number of other  Acts as well. This section relates to transport works orders. It gives the Minister power to authorise by order the construction of certain works. The only difference between the powers given in these orders made by the Minister and those ordinarily given in the case of a private company, is that the private company would have to seek these powers by way of a private Bill. In this section we give the Minister power to make orders authorising the construction of such works.
Mr. Costello: This amendment was put down by me on a matter of principle and not because of the particular character of this Bill. If there is any precedent in the Acts mentioned by the Minister I regret that these provisions were overlooked when the Bills were passing through. Certainly it was a shock to my legal conscience, shall we say, or to my constitutional ideas, when I saw that these orders were to have the force of law. I have no recollection of seeing anything like that in previous measures. It is merely for the purpose of preventing such a precedent from growing up that I have put down this amendment. Delegated powers are the subject matter of very considerable controversy in this country, and very much more so in Great Britain. The Minister stated that he had got certain advice. I would not presume to disagree with an opinion which I have not seen or the reasons for which it is worth, but I am entitled to say that as far as my opinion goes, for what it is worth, there is no necessity for sub-section (4) in order to give effect to paragraph 9. Frequently we find statutory orders and rules being made under statutory orders which create offences.
Mr. Lemass: And which prescribe penalties.
Mr. Costello: Yes, provided they do not go outside the powers provided by the Act. It is perhaps objectionable that statutory orders should create offences and prescribe penalties but it is still more objectionable that, when that power is given, it should have the force of law because if the provision in the statute does not provide  that it is to have the force of law, then it is possible to attack these provisions as being ultra vires and there is a check on the arbitrary use of these powers in that way. There is no check, however, under this legislation by Departmental order. This is legislation of the worst description. It applies not merely to paragraph (ix) but to the whole of anything that the Minister likes to put into the order. In effect, he may create an offence that is not mentioned specifically in the section, which will then have the force of law. I press upon the Minister as forcibly as I can, and not with any desire to obstruct, that this is a bad precedent to follow. It is on the point of principle that I press it, and for no other reason.
Mr. Lemass: I am not inclined to agree to that. In relation to transport undertakings a number of regulations must be made. The bye-laws prescribe specific offences and things of that kind. I agree that it is usually done by law. The Dublin Tramways Company and the Great Southern Railways have to get statutes enacted by legislation.
Mr. Costello: No, with respect. They get power from the Legislature to make bye-laws. Bye-laws have not the force of law, but are derived from the law giving the power to make them.
Mr. Lemass: There is law which gives the right to construct and operate these undertakings.
Mr. Costello: That is what I am arguing.
Mr. Lemass: If this was a private company it would come and promote a Private Bill to construct and operate a transport undertaking, but because it is not a private company, but a public one, we propose to have it in this way and I think it is much better to have it after public inquiry, and to have orders, penalties and offences specified.
Mr. Costello: I repeat that I am not arguing against giving the Minister  power to make orders or to provide for the things he wants to provide for, as specified in the section. What I say is that if he leaves out sub-section (4) he will be in a position to do what is required in the public interest. To add sub-section (4) in my submission goes beyond the power given under any Act of our Parliament, because it gives the Minister power to legislate without reference to the Oireachtas. I do not think that is necessary. The Minister has led himself into a false analogy. If a private company was applying for these powers it would have to have a Bill. Perhaps it would get the powers contained in Section 30, but it would not get sub-section (4).
Mr. Lemass: The Bill itself would have the force of law.
Mr. Costello: No. Take the Dublin Tramways, which is a public company operating transport services. A statute is passed giving them power to operate transport services, and that contains general power to make bye-laws in reference to A, B, C, D and E, matters specifically enumerated and set out seriatum in the Bill. In a general way the details are all filled in by the bye-laws. The company then has power to make bye-laws which have authority but not the force of law. They have statutory authority derivable from the statute. Here I want to leave power to the Minister to do all things. In Section 30 he has full statutory authority to do everything, but to put in sub-section (4) is wholly unnecessary and is going beyond what is reasonably required. Certainly, in my view, it is putting in something that is a matter of grave dereliction of principle.
Mr. Lemass: I am not competent to argue that. I am advised that sub-section (4) is required because of paragraph 9.
Mr. Costello: Will the Minister confine it to paragraph 9?
Mr. Lemass: Paragraph 9 relates to an order made under Section 30, and so does sub-section (4).
Mr. Costello: The Minister says he is advised that sub-section (4) is merely required because of paragraph 9. I offer to accept the application of sub-section (4) to paragraph 9 only. Is that the only one he was advised on?
Mr. Lemass: This gives power to make a lot of different orders. What the section does is to give power to make an order which may contain any provisions.
Mr. Costello: All you have to do is to take out the paragraph and to add the words “such provisions shall have the force of law”.
Mr. Lemass: I prefer to deal with the Parliamentary draftsman. It is too much of a legal point for me.
Mr. Costello: Will the Minister give it consideration?
Mr. Lemass: I will.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 30, as amended, agreed to.
Question proposed: “That Section 31 stand part of the Bill.”
Mr. Benson: I suggest that paragraph (b) of this section gives the Minister power to overrule the courts. It says that the Minister may make regulations, and under them a company that had not been convicted of an offence might be required to do so and so. Say that a company was charged with doing a certain thing, and that it was found not guilty, the Minister might say: “The court says the company was not guilty, but I say it was, and, therefore, it must do so and so.”
Mr. Lemass: I do not think that could be argued. The only thing I can say about the sections is that they are in standard form, and are taken en bloc from other enactments, virtually the only changes being those necessary to adapt them.
Question put and agreed to.
Sections 32 and 33 agreed to.
Question proposed: “That Section 34 stand part of the Bill.”
Mr. Moore: I suppose paragraph (c)  of this section dealing with the protection of public roads and bridges as against the company is founded on previous legislation?
Mr. Lemass: Yes.
Mr. Moore: It is a bit of a surprise to have the Dáil expressing such profound contempt for local authorities. These local authorities or their engineers are not consulted, and the Custom House authorities merely inform them that the liability for their share of the work was so much. I think the Dáil never intended to do that.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy has put me “on the spot”. I remember arguing in a similar way when a similar section appeared in a Bill before the Seanad.
Question put and agreed to.
Sections 35, 36 and 37 agreed to.
Amendment 12 not moved.
Sections 38, 39 and 40 agreed to.
Question proposed: “That Section 41 stand part of the Bill.”
Mr. Benson: I suggest to the Minister that in line 41 there is a difference between the meaning of the words “light” and “lights.”
Mr. Lemass: Yes; there is a printer's error there. The “s” on the end of “light” should not be there.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: It should be “light oils”?
Mr. Lemass: Yes; it is a printer's mistake. There is a similar error in the very first line of the page. “Any sums or sums” should be “any sum or sums”.
Question put and agreed to.
Section 42 agreed to.
(1) On the after the appointed day the company may, whenever and so  often as it thinks fit, by order (in this Part of this Act referred to as a sale order) do, with the consent of the Minister, the following things, that is to say:—
(a) fix a specified quantity of industrial alcohol to be the allotable amount for the purposes of such order.
Mr. Costello: On behalf of Deputy McGilligan and Deputy Dillon I move amendment No. 13:—
In sub-section (1) (a), line 49, after the word “quantity”, to insert the words “not exceeding one gallon of industrial alcohol to forty gallons of mineral hydrocarbon light oil”.
I confess to the Minister that I am not at all clear what the purpose of it is. I did know it some time ago, but I think the general purport of it is this: that a certain amount of industrial alcohol will be made by the various factories that will bear a certain proportion to the amount of petrol, shall we say, that is consumed in the country. The object of this is to prevent, say, the whole of the output of the factories being, so to speak, unloaded on to the petrol suppliers at one time.
Mr. Lemass: Yes, or on one company. I think that is the idea. At the present time it may be said that the proportion that the total production of industrial alcohol of which the factories are capable will bear in relation to the total consumption of petrol in the year will be one to 40 and, if that continues as the ordinary practice, alcohol will be distributed to the distributors in that proportion. They will get one-fortieth of their imports of petrol, but clearly it would be unwise to fix that percentage in the Bill because the percentage of the consumption of petrol may go up or down. It would cause difficulty, and if it prevented the distilleries getting rid of their alcohol it would make it impossible to operate. There is, in fact, not the slightest danger of all the alcohol being unloaded on the distributors at the one time. Quite the reverse. The storage at each of the  distilleries is only sufficient to hold a fortnight's output, so that there must be a continuous outflow of alcohol from the distilleries to the distributors, or else the distilleries will have to stop working. There is not the slightest danger of holding up supplies until a large stock of spirit is ready, and then passing it out in a short while to distributors. That could not happen. They have not the storage. In fact, the arrangements are such that unless there is a steady and continuous outflow from the distilleries to the distributors the factories cannot work at all. While therefore, I say that it is intended to do that to maintain a steady distribution of the spirit, to distribute it evenly amongst the distributors in proportion to their withdrawal from bond of imported petrol, at the same time we cannot fix the percentage in the Bill, because to do so would tie us down to a system of working based upon this year's experience, which might be altogether impracticable in the case of next year.
Mr. Costello: Could the Minister give any indication as to what proportion he intends to be the standard one?
Mr. Lemass: The industrial alcohol will be only about one fortieth of the total consumption of motor spirit in the country, but I am informed that it is not practicable to mix petrol and industrial alcohol in the proportion of one to 40 and, in fact, a much higher percentage of industrial alcohol must be used to get a proper blend, the correct mixture, and, in fact, what is intended is to put a new spirit on the market which will contain petrol and alcohol in the best proportions to constitute a good motor spirit and endeavour to sell that spirit as an adjunct to the existing lines.
Mr. Costello: I take it the Minister has looked into all these things? I gather from some conversation I had that if industrial alcohol is mixed with petrol in a certain way you are liable to be left on the road with your cylinders burnt out.
Mr. Lemass: I think 15 per cent. is the ideal mixture.
Mr. Costello: I take it then that matter has been considered by the Minister?
Mr. Lemass: That again is a matter for the distributors. They get the alcohol and can dispose of it the way they think best. Some may prefer one mixture; others another.
Mr. Costello: Speaking as one who buys petrol occasionally, I think it is also a matter for the purchaser of petrol to see that his interests are safeguarded.
Mr. Lemass: The distributors will see to that. The distributors will be anxious to sell it.
Mr. Costello: The distributors will be anxious to sell it and that is what I am worried about. As a person who goes in to buy petrol, I want to see that I am not going to get something that somebody is trying on the dog or on the motor car.
Mr. Lemass: You will have the alternative of purchasing pure petrol. If they sell the mixture they will sell it because of its superior quality or because of its cheaper price.
Mr. Benson: A point arising out of the Minister's remarks. He says that the factories have only a limited storage. I understand they are also seasonal. They only operate for six months of the year. Who is going to do the storage for the other six months?
Mr. Lemass: The distributors, the companies. They have arranged to do so.
Mr. Benson: The distributors will be anxious to dispose of it. They have to pay for the alcohol and they will be anxious to realise on it as quickly as possible. Is there any possibility that the mixture will vary considerably in each case?
Mr. Lemass: I understand an organisation called Industrial Alcohol Distributors Limited has been created and they are arranging for the distribution.  In fact, we have produced 315,000 gallons of industrial alcohol already and none has been distributed, as far as I know. It is being held in storage by the distributors. They will not start until they have enough to ensure that they can maintain a supply of standard spirit throughout the year.
Mr. Costello: I suppose that company has also arranged to pass on the cost to the consumer?
Mr. Lemass: They have done that long ago.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 43 to 49 agreed.
Question proposed: “That the Schedule stand part of the Bill.”
Mr. McGowan: In regard to the Schedule, these are points that I should have raised on the Second Reading, but I was not here. I notice the Schedule consists practically of the memorandum and articles of association of the company. I think that is practically what the Schedule is. I wonder is it possible to include more powers or reserve more powers for the Minister in the memorandum and articles of association, particularly in regard to the control of the company and the appointment of all the directors. I think only a majority of the directors may be appointed by the Minister for Industry and Commerce as long as certain conditions obtain.
Mr. Lemass: That is only in theory. In practice what it provides for is that certain directors will be appointed by the Minister for Finance after consultation with the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and the balance will be appointed by the shareholders, but, of course, in this particular case, the only shareholder is the Minister for Finance, so in practice he appoints them all.
Mr. McGowan: I have a bee in my bonnet for a long time as regards control. There have been certain undertakings in this country like this, semi-Government, in which there are a lot of what I might call foreign experts in control. Generally, when there are a lot of foreign or some we will call “non-nationals” on the board, there has been certain manipulation carried out to the detriment of the country and to the other individual shareholders. It has been alleged and, in fact, it can be proved, that in some of these connections where there is raw material being delivered from the foreign country to a factory here in this country and a director of the company in Ireland is also a director of the company in England or whatever country it may be, the raw materials are sold by him to the company in Ireland and he collects commission on that as a buyer and as a seller. Furthermore, it has been shown and can be proved that, in addition to that, that particular company sells raw material to another company in Ireland, that some of these people happen to be directors of the third company, and that they have, in fact, collected a commission on two or three occasions. That has actually taken place in semi-Government controlled companies, and the bee I have in my bonnet is this, that the Minister should get more control whereby he can go in and ask for the entire books of these companies and see who is not. I know it is rather late in the day to raise these points now, but I can give the Minister definite proof of where commission has been collected on three occasions on the same matter.
Mr. Lemass: By a Government-controlled company?
Mr. McGowan: Yes, one is the Asbestos Company and another is Cement Limited.
Mr. Lemass: These companies are privately-owned companies and I would advise the Deputy to believe half what he sees and none of what he hears.
Mr. McGowan: But I have seen it myself. My point is that if you have to give them a monopoly they should be properly controlled.
Mr. Minch: If Deputy McGowan is allowed to mention the name of a company——
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy McGowan should not have mentioned the name of any company.
Schedule put and agreed to.
Title put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Report Stage fixed for Tuesday, 31st May, 1938.
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