Committee on Finance. - Local Authorities (Combined Purchasing) Bill, 1938—Report Stage.

Wednesday, 24 May 1939

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 76 No. 2

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Minister for Lands (Mr. G. Boland): Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  I move amendment No. 1:—

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.”

On the Committee Stage, I said that that was a drafting amendment, but it was questioned, and so I withdraw it.

Mr. Brennan:  But will the Minister explain the difference to us even now? I would be anxious to hear what is the difference between the two things.

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. Brennan:  Quite. That would be a standard quality.

Mr. Boland:  The second would be by reference to an official sample provided [306] 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 [307] 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:  Well, it has been well considered. I do not agree with the Deputy. I think the amendment is an improvement.

Mr. P.S. Doyle: Information on Peadar Seán Doyle  Zoom on Peadar Seán Doyle  Does the Minister think it right to accept the words that a contractor “was willing to supply”?

Mr. Boland:  That he has stated that he is willing to supply. He undertakes to supply an article of the quality which he has submitted in his sample, at the price at which he is asked to supply.

Mr. Brennan:  That has been agreed on?

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. Brennan:  I do not agree.

Mr. Boland:  Well, that is a matter of opinion.

Mr. Brennan:  I am afraid you are doing us an injustice.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Mr. Boland:  I move amendment No. 2:—

In page 9, section 12 (3), to delete in line 37 and in line 41 the word “accepted” and substitute in each case the words “applied for.”

This is a drafting amendment also, and I withdrew it on the Committee Stage for the same reason. Is the Deputy accepting this amendment?

Mr. Brennan:  Yes.

Amendment put and agreed to.

[308]Mr. Boland:  I move amendment No. 2A on the Order Paper:—

In page 11, line 18, to insert the word “wilfully” before the word “orders.”

Mr. Brennan:  Well, if it is not wilfully ordered I am sure it will not be ordered at all.

Mr. Boland:  We put that in in deference to the opinions expressed here and we did it with full deliberation and, I suppose, with malice aforethought.

Mr. P.S. Doyle: Information on Peadar Seán Doyle  Zoom on Peadar Seán 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.

Amendment No. 2A agreed to.

Mr. Boland:  I move amendment No. 3:—

In page 13, Section 17 (2), lines 26 and 27 to delete the words “in Saorstát Eireann”.

We do not think that there is any need for these words.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, received for final consideration.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  When is it proposed to take the Fifth Stage?

Mr. Boland:  I should like to get the Fifth Stage now.

[309]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.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Is there any [310] objection to taking the Fifth Stage now?

Mr. Corish: Information on Richard Corish  Zoom on Richard Corish  Yes. I want to see the Bill kept back as long as possible.

Fifth Stage ordered for Wednesday, 31st May.

The Dáil adjourned at 7.55 p.m. until Wednesday, 31st May, at 3 p.m.

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