Wednesday, 24 May 1939
Dáil Éireann Debate
In page 8, line 2, Section 10 (1), to delete the words “prescribed standard of quality” and substitute the words “quality which such official contractor stated in his application for appointment that he was willing to supply.”
Mr. Boland: It is very hard to prescribe the standard quality for all articles. This amendment was considered on the Committee Stage and it was thought that it would be inapplicable in the case of some of the methods adopted for fixing the quality of a commodity. In Section 19 the Minister may make regulations for the procedure to be adopted and prescribing the method of fixing or determining the standard of quality of a commodity. Now the quality may be stated in three different ways. The first would be by a description included in the particulars and specification. That is one way.
Mr. Boland: The second would be by reference to an official sample provided  by the Minister. That would be another way, and a third way would be by submission of his own sample by the applicant. The official tender form which the applicant fills up shows, for each commodity, how the quality is to be dealt with. The third method— that is, the submission by the applicant of his own sample—is used in cases of a commodity like tea, where the Minister fixes a price and a comparison between the applicants' samples determines the matter of acceptance. He says that he wants tea at a certain price, invites contractors to submit samples, and decides between them. In that way, it is considered better to put in here the words “quality which such official contractor stated in his application for appointment that he was willing to supply.” That would cover that third method. We think it is much better to have that, and that it makes it clearer.
Mr. Brennan: It certainly makes it clearer in so far as an article such as tea is concerned. It makes it more flexible and more elastic for the Minister and all concerned. But as far as an article, such as cloth, is concerned, you are possibly doing yourself and the local authorities an injury there. My opinion is that the words “prescribed standard of quality” would be a much better expression than to have him supply something which he himself states he is going to supply. Even so far as tea is concerned, you could have got over that by leaving in “standard of quality” I am afraid that you are doing a bigger wrong in the one way than in the other. I see the Minister's point so far as tea is concerned; that is, where the Minister asks for tea at, say 1/6 per lb., or even for cloth at, say 2/6 per yard. Now, if you make a comparison between the two, the Minister and the local authorities might be injured in the one case but not in the other. I think it is better to have there, “prescribed standard of quality”. I would much prefer to see the words left in. I can quite see the difficulty about tea or some other commodity of that kind, but so far as hardware or cloth is concerned, I would much prefer that the standard of quality should be prescribed  rather than have somebody supply something that he said was worth 2/3 per yard, or 4/5 per yard, or whatever it might be. I am afraid you are going to do an injury to the Department and the local authorities by putting in that amendment.
Mr. Boland: Yes. He says that he will do that, and he will be held to it. That is the contract. You cannot prescribe a standard of quality for an article that may vary very much, and this makes it more elastic, as Deputy Brennan says. Where a standard can be laid down it will be laid down. At any rate, after due consideration it is thought that this is a better form than the other.
Mr. P.S. Doyle: Before passing from that, Sir, I should like to ask the Minister a question. On the Committee Stage I asked to have some consideration given to the substitution of the word “shall” for the word “may” in Section 14. It was with a view to making the case of the Dublin Corporation, which is the largest municipal authority, in the purchasing line in particular, and, having regard to their varied requirements, and the Minister promised to have something more definite to meet their particular case.
Mr. Boland: Yes. The undertaking was that the Act would not be put into force until the regulations were drawn up and published, and we will see that that happens. The regulations will be circulated before the Act will be put into force.
Mr. Brennan: We had quite a lot to say on this Bill on the Committee Stage. I must say that the Minister for Lands, who deputised for the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, did not go far to meet us. I have very grave fears regarding many clauses in the Bill.
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