Dáil Éireann

03/Jun/1958

Prelude

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Registered Unemployed in Wicklow.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Work on Tipperary Bog.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Rural Electrification in Galway.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Workmen's Compensation Insurance for Agricultural Workers.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Unemployment Benefit: Signing by Recipients over 65.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Collection of Income-Tax Arrears.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Wages of Employees of Office of Public Works.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Imports and Exports: Trade Balance.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dungarvan Housing Reconstruction Grant.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Agricultural Workers' Wages.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Wicklow Forestry Stations: Discharged Workers.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Recruitment of Workers at Limerick Forest.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Galway Fish Freezing Plant and Auction Mart.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Castletown River (Dundalk) Ramparts.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - North Tipperary Road Workers.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Extension of Fethard Regional Water Supply.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Radio Éireann News Bulletins.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Radio Éireann Symphony Orchestra.

Return to Writ—Galway South. - Introduction of New Member.

Return to Writ—Galway South. - Order of Business.

Return to Writ—Galway South. - Dublin South (Central) By-Election Writ.

Return to Writ—Galway South. - Transport Bill, 1958—Committee Stage (Resumed).

Return to Writ—Galway South. - Estimates for Public Services, 1958-59.

Committee on Finance. - Vóta 37—Oifig an Aire Oideachais (d'atógaint).

Committee on Finance. - Transport Bill, 1958—Committee Stage (Resumed).

Written Answers. - National Health Insurance Fund.

Written Answers. - Taxation Statistics.

Written Answers. - Investments Available to Trustees.

Written Answers. - Limerick Housing.

Written Answers. - Limerick Telephone and Postal Facilities.

[1003] Do chuaigh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar 3 p.m.

Paidir.

Prayer.

Mr. Everett:  asked the Taoiseach if he will state the number of persons registered as unemployed on the last Saturday in April at Bray, Blessington, Baltinglass, Arklow and Wicklow branch employment offices.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach (Donnchadh Ó Briain):  The number of persons on the Live Register on the last Saturday in April (26th April, 1958) at the following local offices of the Department of Social Welfare were: Bray, 480; Blessington, 65; Baltinglass, 160; Arklow, 202, and Wicklow, 205.

Mr. Tierney:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether Bord na Móna will start work on the bog at Dromboe, Thurles, in view of the large number of unemployed in that area, and, if so, when.

Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. S. Lemass):  Bord na Móna presume that the bog referred to in the Deputy's question is the area known in the board's records as Killeen and Lanespark. I am informed by the board that these two bogs have recently been surveyed, but that no decision as to their acquisition or development has been made.

[1004]Mr. Coogan:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce when rural electrification will be provided for the village of Loughwell, Moycullen, Spiddal area, Galway.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Hilliard):  I am informed by the Electricity Supply Board that they propose to examine the possibility of extending supply to this village on the next occasion when a construction crew will be working in the vicinity of Galway and that such an opportunity may present itself before the end of this year.

Mr. Desmond:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will state in connection with the application of the Workmen's Compensation Acts to agricultural workers (1) the estimated number effectively insured, (2) the estimated number not so insured, and (3) the approximate standard premium charged by insurers in respect of each pound in wages.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Kennedy):  The information asked for at (1) and (2) is not available in my Department. As regards (3), I understand that the approximate standard premium charged by insurers in respect of each pound of wages is 9d.

Mr. Coburn:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware that great hardship is being caused to persons over 65 years of age who are in receipt of unemployment benefit as a result of the obligation imposed on them to sign daily in their local employment exchanges; and, if so, if he will take steps to have this hardship remedied.

Mr. Kennedy:  Regulations of my Department place certain requirements on unemployed persons in the matter [1005] of attending at employment exchanges to sign the unemployed register. These requirements are:— Unemployed persons who reside within two miles of an exchange must attend there every day; unemployed persons residing between two and four miles must attend on three days a week; unemployed persons residing between four and six miles are required to attend once a week only and those over six miles from an exchange are not required to attend at all. Generally speaking, these requirements apply to all unemployed persons between the ages of 16 and 70. I am of opinion that they are not unreasonable requirements and, having regard to the fact that every unemployed person must be capable of work to be eligible for unemployment benefit, I do not think they can be said to cause hardship to unemployed persons.

Mr. Byrne:  asked the Minister for Finance if he will state in respect of the income-tax year 1957-58 the number of demands served on employers under Section 6 of the Finance Act, 1923, to deduct arrears of income-tax from the remuneration of employed persons for payment to the Revenue Commissioners, and the total amount so collected.

Minister for Finance (Dr. Ryan):  Under the revenue statistical and accounting systems, figures are not available in relation to the matter raised by the Deputy. It is estimated, however, that, during the year 1957-58, the provisions of Section 6 of the Finance Act, 1923, were invoked in approximately 39,000 cases.

Mr. Tierney:  asked the Minister for Finance if he has yet come to a decision regarding the granting of the 10/- a week increase to the manual workers employed by the Office of Public Works; and, if not, when he expects to be able to announce his decision in the matter.

Dr. Ryan:  I am not yet in a position [1006] to announce a decision on the question of an increase in pay for the workers to whom the Deputy refers but I hope to be able to do so in the near future.

Mr. Donnellan:  The sooner the better.

Mr. O'Malley:  asked the Minister for External Affairs whether consideration is being given by the Government to the fact that countries in respect of which there is an excess of imports are not in many instances purchasing sufficient of this country's products, particularly agricultural products; and whether he will consider having trade agreements made or some procedure adopted to rectify the position.

Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Aiken):  When a trade agreement is being negotiated full advertence is given to the state of the balance of trade between Ireland and the country concerned, and where a country has the system of quota restrictions every effort is made to get a reasonable quota for the products we have to sell.

However, the fact that a trade agreement makes provision for the admission of goods does not always result in exports. Generally speaking successful exporting depends on the quality and price of what we have to sell.

Mr. Kyne:  asked the Minister for Justice whether he is aware that a complaint has been lodged with the police in Dungarvan regarding the alleged fraudulent securing of a local government housing reconstruction grant and supplementary local authority grant; and if he will indicate the result of the police inquiries in the matter.

Minister for Justice (Mr. Traynor):  A complaint of this kind is under investigation but the investigation has not been completed. Meanwhile I am not prepared to make any further statement.

[1007]Mr. Kyne:  Is the Minister aware that this investigation has already been in progress for two months and could he indicate when it is hoped that the inquiries will be completed?

Mr. Traynor:  I would not have any idea when they will be completed. It is a matter for the police.

Mr. Desmond:  asked the Minister for Agriculture (a) if the Agricultural Wages Board, when fixing different rates of wages for different districts, give due regard to such considerations as the general fertility of the soil, local wage levels and the proximity of markets, and (b) if he will state generally the principal considerations which influence the board to vary rates of wages from district to district.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Smith):  I would refer the Deputy to the reply which I gave on the 4th December, 1957, to a somewhat similar question put by Deputy Kyne. As I indicated then, the considerations which must influence the Agricultural Wages Board in prescribing minimum rates of wages are matters which are entirely within the province of the board.

Mr. Desmond:  asked the Minister for Agricultural if he will state as regards the Agricultural Wages Act, 1936, (a) the number of current permit holders under Section 18 of the Act, and (b) if there is provision whereby the wages specified in a permit granted under Section 18 can be legally recovered from a defaulting employer, and, if not, whereby proceedings can be maintained for the recovery of the appropriate minimum rate fixed under Section 17.

Mr. Smith:  I have been informed by the Agricultural Wages Board that, since the Agricultural Wages Act, 1936, came into operation, 1,126 temporary permits and 2,720 permanent permits were granted by the board to incapacitated workers. Eighty-five temporary permits are current. Permanent permits were granted to elderly or permanently incapacitated workers, [1008] and information as to the number of the holders who are still alive is not available.

As to part (b) of the question, the permits do not specify the wages to be paid to the holders.

Mr. Desmond:  If that is the case, what is the position under Section 17 in relation to claimants? Can they make any move?

Mr. Smith:  As far as I know, they have power to make a stipulation, but I am sure the Deputy will realise the difficulty of making such a stipulation because the degree of inability to work varies so much. To make a stipulation that would have any sense to it, regard would have to be had to the person's capacity to work. Therefore, I take it if no such stipulation is made, it is because there is a recognition between the parties concerned of the circumstances from the health or physical point of view.

Mr. Everett:  asked the Minister for Lands why 14 men, most of whom had over six years' service and are married with dependents, were recently discharged from the State forestry station at Glen of Imaal, County Wicklow; and whether, as no other employment is available in the district, he will consider offering alternative employment to them.

Minister for Lands (Mr. Childers):  Due to a reduction in the volume of work available 14 men had to be laid off at Glen Imaal forest at the end of last March upon completion of the winter work programme. The number at present employed at the forest is sufficient to carry out the work programme for the current year and I regret that I am not in a position to promise that there will be any increase in the overall level of employment provided at the centre although it is expected that necessary staff adjustments at the various properties will make it possible to provide seasonal work for some of the men recently displaced.

I am satisfied that in the selection of [1009] men to be laid off full consideration was given to all relevant factors such as length of service, family and financial circumstances and work output.

Mr. Everett:  Is the Minister aware that some of these men had over eight years' continuous service and that some of them had given service in the National Army and that yet they were the first to be dropped after eight years?

Mr. Childers:  The difficulty is to secure a sufficient reserve of land for planting in a particular area to keep men constantly employed. As the Deputy may not know, there are between 4,500 and 5,000 men employed in forestry as a whole. That comprises, and has comprised, for some years as many as 8,000 different individuals, showing the seasonality of the work. Every effort is being made by the Department to try——

Mr. Everett:  I am aware of that and we are very proud of the forestry we have in Wicklow but I am asking the Minister would he inquire why men who had given satisfactory service over the past eight years and who had been in the Army were the first to be dismissed? There must be some reason and I am afraid it may be the task work that is creating redundancy. If so, I would ask the Minister to review the position.

Mr. Everett:  asked the Minister for Lands if he is aware that a number of men with long service and with dependents have been discharged from the State forestry station at Enniskerry, County Wicklow; and whether he will consider offering alternative employment to them.

Mr. Childers:  There was a reduction in staff at Enniskerry forest at the end of March when the winter programme was completed. The reduction was due to the exhaustion of the reserve of land available for planting at the centre and it was unavoidable. The volume of maintenance and road-work requiring attention in the current season is only sufficient to permit of the continued employment of the present staff and I regret that I am [1010] unable to hold out any hope of additional employment being provided at the forest unless and until more land becomes available for planting there.

Mr. Everett:  Would the Minister not consider that the last men in should be the first to be discharged? One of these men was in the National Army since 1940 and has given service in the F.C.A. in Carlow and yet was the first to be dismissed at Enniskerry.

Mr. Childers:  The length of service is taken into account.

Mr. Everett:  I am asking the Minister to instruct the overseers that the men last in should be the first out especially where the other men concerned have been in the National Army and have given good service. These men should get some consideration and should not be among the first to be dismissed.

Mr. O'Malley:  asked the Minister for Lands if he has received complaints regarding the method of employing workers at Kilfinane forest, County Limerick; and if he will state their nature; what action he has taken to ascertain whether the complaints are well founded; what is the method of employing workers; and whether the workers are recruited through the local employment exchange.

Mr. Childers:  Complaints, including one from the Deputy, that men who were not registered at the local employment exchange were taken on at Kilfinane forest have been received. A complaint from the Deputy that single men were being employed while a number of married men were idle was also received.

The complaints have been investigated and it has been confirmed that all the men were selected from lists submitted by the local employment exchange. There is no evidence that single men received preferential treatment in the matter of employment.

[1011]Mr. O'Malley:  asked the Minister for Lands if he has received complaints regarding the method of employing workers at Cappamore forest, County Limerick; and, if so, if he will state the nature of such complaints, and what action has been taken by him to remedy the position.

Mr. Childers:  As promised in my reply to a similar question by the Deputy on 15th April 1958, I have had the whole employment position of Cappamore forest examined in detail and I am satisfied that when the recent staff reduction was made at the forest the selection of the men to be retained or laid-off respectively followed the lines laid down generally in such cases. Full consideration was given to each man's domestic and financial circumstances, his seniority of service and in particular to his work output and attitude to work.

Mr. Coogan:  asked the Minister for Lands what proposals he has for putting the fish freezing and auction mart at Galway docks into full production.

Mr. Childers:  This is a matter which is receiving the attention of An Bord Iascaigh Mhara, who will put the Galway fish processing station into full production as soon as adequate supplies of fish become available. In recent months landings of fish at Galway have been light. Any assistance which the Deputy can give by encouraging the local fishermen to increase their landings will be appreciated.

Mr. Coogan:  Would the Minister not indicate if he has offered this to a private concern?

Mr. Childers:  The plant belongs to An Bord Iascaigh Mhara and An Bord Iascaigh Mhara would naturally consider any realistic proposal in regard to the station which might be made to them by responsible parties.

Mr. Donnellan:  For sale?

Mr. Childers:  I have not said for sale.

[1012]Mr. Coogan:  Seeing that the Minister has fallen down on this will he hand it over to Gael Linn?

Mr. Childers:  The Minister has not fallen down on this.

Mr. Coogan:  Does the Minister recall his statement at the opening of the plant?

An Ceann Comhairle:  Order! No. 17.

Mr. Coogan:  asked the Minister for Lands if he will state the reason for the delay in appointing a foreman and female supervisor at the fish freezing plant in Galway, and the date on which the advertisement for the posts appeared in the Press.

Mr. Childers:  An advertisement by An Bord Iascaigh Mhara for a working foreman and a female supervisor for the Galway fish processing station appeared in the local Press on 21st September, 1957. The filling of these posts was deferred by the board because of the inadequacy of supplies of fish for processing.

Mr. Donnellan:  That is the reason it is for sale.

Mr. Coogan:  You have three men employed.

Mr. Childers:  The plans for this plant were sanctioned in 1955 after an arrangement made by the previous Government to award the Gaeltacht grants in the first instance in the Galway area had been changed, thus reducing the number of potential Galway fishermen by from five to eight in the area and making it all the more difficult to provide fish for the plant when it opened.

Mr. Coogan:  Would the Minister not consider turning it over——

Mr. Sweetman:  Surely from five to eight is an increase?

Mr. Childers:  It is the last Government's responsibility because they did not provide boats in time.

Mr. Donnellan:  It is your's.

Mr. Sweetman:  Surely from five to eight is an increase, not a reduction?

[1013]Mr. Coburn:  asked the Minister for Local Government if he will reconsider his decision to refuse a grant for the purpose of repairing the southern ramparts of the Castletown river in Dundalk.

Minister for Local Government (Mr. Blaney):  There are at present no funds available to me from which a grant towards the work referred to could be made. The provision in the Department's Estimate for such schemes for the financial year 1958-59 is for the purpose of discharging balances due in respect of schemes carried out under the Local Authorities (Works) Act in previous years.

Mr. Coburn:  Is the Minister aware that houses adjoining this river are in danger of being undermined eventually and that asking the riparian owners to undertake the burden of repairing this bank would be unreasonable? Would the Minister not be prepared to review the matter and make an exception in this case?

Mr. Blaney:  At an earlier stage when this matter was examined from the point of view of the housing section of the Department, it was not considered that the flooding then being caused was any danger to the houses in the area. Subsequent to that, a sum of about £1,300 was spent on this job and, a short time after the job had been done, unusually heavy tides did damage to the repairs that had been carried out. As far as I can gather from the reports I have it would appear that this damage done to work carried out a couple of years ago is responsible for the situation that has now arisen and it would also appear that it would come under the heading of maintenance of work that had been done by means of a grant under this Act. If that is the case the local authority would be well advised to examine the position and note the urgency of the matter in the event of no Government assistance being available.

Mr. Tierney:  asked the Minister for [1014] Local Government if he will state the number of persons employed on road work by North Tipperary County Council on the 10th May, 1958, and on the corresponding dates in 1956 and 1957.

Mr. Blaney:  Returns furnished by local authorities relate to employment on the last day of the month. The number of persons employed by Tipperary North Riding County Council on road works on 30th April last was 411. The numbers at the corresponding dates in 1956 and 1957 were 615 and 480 respectively.

Mr. Davern:  asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state the cause of the delay in inviting tenders for the extension of the Fethard regional water supply to Drangan and Killenaule; and if, in view of the grave danger to public health in the town of Killenaule where there is at present no public water supply or sewerage, he will endeavour to have the matter expedited.

Mr. Blaney:  I would refer the Deputy to my reply on the 4th December, 1957, to a similar question.

The report of the inspector who held the public local inquiry in the matter is at present being examined in my Department and I hope to be in a position to give a decision at an early date.

Mr. Coogan:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will arrange to have news bulletins from Radio Éireann at 7.40 a.m. and at 8.40 a.m. to suit workers.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Boland) (for the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs):  Apart from the extra expense of opening earlier for a 7.40 a.m. bulletin, the Director of Broadcasting would not be in favour of broadcasting news bulletins at uneven times such as those suggested in the question unless there was an overwhelming demand for it. There have in fact been no requests by listeners for bulletins earlier than the present times of 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.

[1015]Mr. Coogan:  Would the Minister not think that the workers who constitute the greatest number of licence holders should be considered in this connection? Workers who must be on the job at 8 o'clock or 9 o'clock should be considered.

Mr. Boland:  There have been no requests whatever for this.

Mr. Donnellan:  If there were, what would happen?

Mr. Everett:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs how he reconciles the monthly costs with the annual costs of the Radio Éireann Symphony Orchestra as given by him in a reply of 28th May, 1958.

Mr. K. Boland:  I gave the Deputy the figures he asked for: the total cost of the Radio Eireann Symphony Orchestra and the numbers and total monthly remuneration of non-nationals and nationals employed as musicians. Not all the people employed as musicians in Radio Éireann are in the Symphony Orchestra.

As it now appears that the Deputy desired that all the information should be confined to the Symphony Orchestra, I repeat the particulars for that orchestra only:—(a) total cost of Symphony Orchestra for year stated £51,518; (b) number of non-nationals in Symphony Orchestra 35; their total monthly remuneration £2,177 (approx.); (c) total monthly remuneration of Irish nationals in the Symphony Orchestra £2,115 (approx.).

Mr. Everett:  The question I asked was the full cost of the Symphony Orchestra for the year. The Minister stated £51,000. He also stated that it cost per month £2,404 for non-nationals and £3,727 for national. Adding the two costs and using simple multiplication, we get £70,000 for the year. It is in the interest of every member to get this clear. I do not blame the Minister.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy is making a speech.

Mr. K. Boland:  The fact is that the question the Deputy asked was the total number of non-nationals employed [1016] as musicians and the salaries, allowances or emoluments paid monthly to them. I think the Department interpreted that quite rightly when they took it to mean musicians employed by Radio Éireann. They had no reason to assume the Deputy meant that to apply to the Symphony Orchestra only.

Mr. Everett:  I asked the number of non-nationals——

Mr. K. Boland:  The Deputy did not ask for it.

An Ceann Comhairle:  There is nothing about nationals or non-nationals in this.

Mr. Everett:  I asked what was the total cost of the Symphony Orchestra for a year.

An Ceann Comhairle:  What has all this got to do with this question?

Mr. Everett:  If you add the other two figures and multiply them, they come to £73,572.

Mr. K. Boland:  The Deputy did not ask for the number of non-nationals employed as musicians in the Symphony Orchestra, nor did he ask for the number of Irish nationals employed as musicians in the Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Everett:  And the total cost comes to £73,572.

Mr. K. Boland:  I gave the Deputy the total of the musicians employed. That is what he asked for.

The Clerk made the following announcement:— I gcomhlíonadh Buan-Orduithe 134 de Bhuan-Orduithe Dháil Éireann i dtaobh Gnótha Phoiblí tá orm a chraoladh gur toghadh Antoine Muilleoir, chun na Dála sa Chorrthoghchán a bhí ann an 30 Bealtaine, 1958, do Dháilcheantar Chontae na Gaillimhe Theas in ionad an Teachta Pádraig Ó Beacháin, a fuair bás.

In compliance with Standing Order 134 of the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business, I have to announce that Anthony G. [1026] Millar has been elected to the Dáil at the by-election held on 30th May, 1958, for the county constituency of South Galway in place of Deputy Patrick Beegan, deceased.

Deputy Anthony G. Millar, the new member for the county constituency of South Galway, was introduced to the Ceann Comhairle by Deputy Ó Briain and took his seat.

Mr. Sweetman:  You seem to be very pleased over dropping 3,000 votes.

Mr. Donnellan:  Now for the motion to abolish the internment camp.

An Tánaiste:  It is proposed to take business in the following order: Nos. 1, 2 and 3, and in 3 Votes 37 to 45. If not already reached it is proposed to interrupt business at 6 p.m. to take No. 3 and resume the order at 8 p.m.

The following motion appeared on the Order Paper in the names of Deputy Dr. Browne and Deputy McQuillan:—

That the Ceann Comhairle direct the Clerk of the Dáil to issue his writ for the election of a member to fill the vacancy which has occurred in the membership of the present Dáil consequent on the resignation by Deputy John Murphy of his seat as a member for the Borough Constituency of Dublin South (Central).

An Tánaiste:  I presume the motion falls?

An Ceann Comhairle:  This motion is one under Standing Order 134 which requires four days' notice. This notice has been given and the mover of the motion may proceed to move it now. If he does not wish to move it for the present it is open to any member of the House to add his name to it and move it.

An Tánaiste:  Under Standing Order 42 a motion which has not been moved lapses. I merely wish the House to be aware that, as the motion has not been moved it is the intention [1027] of the Government Whips to move a similar motion forthwith.

Mr. Donnellan:  At any time?

An Tánaiste:  As soon as possible. I think the House should be aware of the fact.

An Ceann Comhairle:  A motion of this nature is not treated as lapsing, as no date is fixed for it. Any member of the House may support it and move it.

An Tánaiste:  That might not be a procedure which would commend itself to members of the House. I take it that the House would agree that the business of filling a casual vacancy should not be stopped by reason of the fact that Deputies put down a motion to move the writ and do not move it. Therefore, a motion to move for the issue of the writ will be made in the most expeditious manner by the Government Whips.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The motion does not lapse because the proposer does not move it on a particular day that the Government purports to nominate for it. If a member of the House wants it moved, he can secure this by adding his name to the motion. I cannot understand why the Minister says that that may not commend itself to the members of the House.

An Tánaiste:  I take it no member is stopped from putting down a motion?

An Ceann Comhairle:  It would, no doubt, be the same motion.

Mr. Norton:  Would you mind clearing up one matter, Sir? Does this motion now disappear from the Order Paper, unless a similar motion is introduced by some other Deputy?

An Ceann Comhairle:  No.

An Tánaiste:  Perhaps the Ceann Comhairle would refer to Standing Order No. 42?

Mr. Norton:  Will this motion be on the Order Paper which Deputies will [1028] receive to-morrow, or will it have evaporated in the meantime?

An Ceann Comhairle:  This is a special type of formal motion at the commencement of public business. If not moved, it has never been treated as lapsing. There are plenty of precedents where a motion at the commencement of public business remains on the Order Paper until it is moved.

An Tánaiste:  The motion is ordered for to-day.

An Ceann Comhairle:  It is as public business that it may be moved, not as Government business which has been ordered.

An Tánaiste:  The Government has the right to determine the Order of Business.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Tánaiste indicates the Government business to be taken. This is public business which may be moved outside business as indicated by the Government.

An Tánaiste:  The Government has the right to order the public business. I suggest that, under the terms of the Standing Order, the motion lapses and it is open to any other Deputy to move a similar motion.

An Ceann Comhairle:  It is open to any other Deputy to take over the existing motion by putting his name to it. This motion is not a motion which comes under the term of Government business. It should really have been dealt with before Government business was indicated.

An Tánaiste:  I suggest it would be a preposterous situation if two Deputies, by putting down a motion of this kind in the Order Paper and not moving it, could prevent a casual vacancy from being filled. I believe that it is a ridiculous situation which none of us would tolerate.

Mr. Kyne:  To keep matters in order, I move.

Mr. MacEntee:  The Deputy has no permission.

[1029]An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy must give notice unless he has permission from the two Deputies whose names appear on the Order Paper.

Mr. Kyne:  I wanted to find out whether or not we could carry out your ruling.

An Ceann Comhairle:  I say that any Deputy can move by putting his name to the motion on the Order Paper.

Mr. Kyne:  I give notice that I shall do that to-morrow. Will that do?

An Tánaiste:  The matter will be taken to-morrow. So far as the Government is concerned, it desires to have this motion submitted and passed by the Dáil as quickly as possible.

Mr. O'Malley:  Sir, I should like to draw your attention to the fact that the National Democrats are not so very progressive after all.

Mr. Coogan:  The Deputy should know.

Debate resumed on the following amendment:—

To add to the section a new subsection as follows:—

() When the Minister grants a merchandise licence following an application made in accordance with sub-section (5), he shall grant adequate extensions of the conditions specified in such licences in respect of standard vehicle unladen weight, area of operation and classes of merchandise.—(Deputy Cosgrave).

Mr. Cosgrave:  In speaking on this amendment last Thursday, I mentioned the fact that since the 1933 Transport Act was passed, great changes have taken place in the types of lorries used and in the equipment with which these lorries are provided and, as a result, the weights of lorries have increased substantially. I have here some particulars of the types of lorries at present in use. Taking the three normal types, the Austin truck, a five-ton [1030] truck with a petrol engine weighs two tons, 14 cwt., two qrs., to which have to be added three qrs., 11 lb., for helper springs, and additional weights, if it possesses an Eaton two-speed rear axle, making a total of approximately three tons one cwt.; the seven-ton forward control Commer weighs, in the case of those driven by petrol, three tons, one cwt. and in the case of the diesel, three tons four cwt.; the Commer chassis five-ton petrol is two tons 11 cwt. and the five-ton forward control diesel is two tons 19 cwt.

I give these figures because from general experience to-day the present unladen weight usually granted in respect of merchandise licences is inadequate when account is taken of the changes that have occurred. Recently a case arose of a truck owner being requested not merely to weigh the truck but, in addition, to weigh the container which, of course, will bring it far outside the normal maximum of 2 tons 11 cwt., which, so far as I can gather, is the maximum permitted. I would suggest, therefore, that there is a strong case, because of the alteration in the type of truck used, which is safer, is equipped to carry greater loads, is fitted with modern equipment and devices, is therefore, generally in everyday use and is the only truck available, that an extension in the weight range should be granted.

On the question of altering the area of operation and the classes of merchandise, again conditions have altered very considerably since the Transport Act was passed. It is common knowledge that throughout parts of the country unlicensed hauliers are operating, both to the detriment of licensed hauliers and C.I.E. That situation has been allowed to develop without any protection being afforded to those who are possessors of merchandise licences, and in many cases C.I.E. have in fact themselves operated a permit system which is not in accordance with the Road Transport Act and which has been used, or accepted, as a device to comply with the Act but which, in fact, does not come within the terms of the Act at all.

I would suggest to the Minister that as this legislation is being passed, steps [1031] should be taken to bring it into line with conditions as they exist. Whatever abuses exist should be recognised and steps should be taken now to provide in this Bill power to enable the Minister to grant adequate extensions in respect of weight, area of operation and classes of merchandise.

Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. S. Lemass):  The short answer to the Deputy's proposal is that it is superfluous, since the Minister for Industry and Commerce already has power under the Road Transport Act of 1944 to extend the operation of any merchandise licence or grant a new licence where he believes that the transport facilities available are inadequate and that the additional facilities required can be provided more conveniently and more effectively by someone other than a statutory authorised undertaking.

It would be wrong to dispose of Deputy Cosgrave's proposal, however, merely by pointing out that it is superfluous and that the power he is seeking to give the Minister the Minister already has, because we are all aware that the representatives of the Licensed Hauliers' Association have been contacting Deputies and circulars have been addressed to Deputies by that association urging the point of view that in some way the enactment of this legislation will be detrimental to their interests or, alternatively, that the whole basis of our present legislation should be reviewed and altered so as to remove restrictions on the operations of licensed hauliers.

Whatever we may do now or in the future about transport policy, we have got to try to move in one direction only; if we try to move in all directions simultaneously, we will end in futility. The basis of our present transport policy is found in the legislation passed in 1933. I refer in particular to the Road Transport Act of that year. That Act was designed to freeze the transport position of private transport operators engaged in the business of carrying goods on the roads for reward at the point it had then reached and to enable the railway companies to acquire these operators and take over [1032] the business they were doing. A number of them were acquired and substantial sums in compensation were paid by the railway companies. Those concerns which were not acquired— and there are still some 950 licensed transport operators—have since been protected in their share of the transport business by reason of the fact that no new licensed hauliers were allowed to enter into the business.

We now have a proposal from the licensed hauliers that they should be freed of all restrictions. They have some alternative proposals, if that proposal is not adopted, but their main representation is that they should be freed of all restrictions. If we were to take that course, we would be striking at the root of present transport policy. Maybe it is a good thing to do, but let us not do it without appreciating its full significance. It may be that we shall be forced to do that at some time in the future if the present effort to preserve and make more economic the public transport operators should fail.

I do not think that, if we have to write off the public transport operators as a failure and resort to new methods of ensuring that adequate transport facilities are available to the public, any of us would contemplate doing so on the basis of allowing that limited number of individuals licensed under the Act of 1933 alone to develop their operations. In circumstances in which we had to decide to write off the railways and public operators, I am sure we would do what they are proposing to do in the Six Counties, namely, restore the free-for-all position on the roads in which anybody could engage in the carriage of goods for reward.

I feel sure that the proposal of the Licensed Hauliers' Association that they alone should be permitted to operate — and to be permitted to operate without the restrictions — would not be acceptable. Let us consider whether they have a grievance. If they have a grievance, it is the duty of the Government to propose how it would be put right in so far as it can be done without conflicting with the [1033] main aims of policy. I can only put the point of view that the information available to me does not suggest that their situation is as they have described it.

In the first place, they said in the document which they have circulated to Deputies that the position of the licensed hauliers has deteriorated since 1933, due to certain legislative changes made in the meantime. The statistics published in the Trade Journal show the opposite. Taking the last three years for which the statistics are available — that is, 1954, 1955 and 1956 — it seems clear that during these three years, the licensed hauliers steadily increased their business, whereas C.I.E. steadily lost business on its road transport services during the same period.

In so far, therefore, as their suggestion is concerned, that, because of some legislative arrangements, business has been taken from them, the information available appears to show the contrary. It is true that, when the Act of 1933 was passed, each person then engaged in the business of carrying goods for reward on the roads in a motor vehicle was authorised to continue in that business with the same unladen lorry weight as he had then and that those who were not acquired under the compulsory acquisition powers given to the railway companies emerged from the whole operation with their operations limited to the extent that they could continue to operate only the same unladen lorry weight as they had then.

That situation has been changed more than once since—twice, by Acts of this House: once in 1944 and again in 1953. Increased unladen lorry weights were given in a general way to licensed operators. Over and above that, it was arranged that, where a diesel engine was substituted for a petrol engine, the unladen lorry weight specified in the licence was increased by five cwt. and that where a tipping-gear was added to the lorry, the unladen weight specified in the licence was increased by ten cwt. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that the position of these licensed hauliers has been left unchanged since 1933. On the [1034] contrary, this House, in legislation, has taken full cognisance of the changes in the design of lorries which have occurred in the meantime—to the switch-over from petrol to diesel engines and to the need to acquire such equipment as tipping-gears.

In one of the submissions made by the Licensed Hauliers' Association, there is a reference to anomalies. I admit the possibility that there may be anomalies and, if there are, they should be eliminated. I would be prepared to consider any representations in relation to individual cases based on the ground that some anomalous situation existed. We have had representations of that kind in the past and anomalies have been eliminated by alterations in the conditions of licences. In so far as legislation is required to enable that to be done, it was passed many years ago in the Act of 1944. There is no need for an amendment to this Bill or for new legislation to get that power. The power is there. However, while I say I am prepared to deal with any anomalous situation, any impediment which a licensed haulier might be suffering from now because of some mistake made by him or his predecessor when applying for his licence back in 1933, I am not prepared at this stage to consider any general removal of restrictions on licensed hauliers as a class.

If we are to face up to a situation in which we diverge from the policy of trying to get traffic for the C.I.E. service and allowing that traffic to go instead to the licensed operators then we could not consider a situation in which the only people who could benefit by that change would be those who now have licences. We would have to consider either a very considerable extension of the number of licensees or the withdrawal of the licence provision altogether. For the moment, the aim which this Bill is intended to secure is to attract traffic back to the public operators so that they will be able to operate without loss and provide our country with an efficient transport service without the need for subventions from the taxpayer. It would be contrary to that aim of policy to create a situation in [1035] which still more of the traffic C.I.E. might reasonably expect to get would be taken away from them by other operators.

The memorandum circulated suggested that in some way this legislation was unfair to licensed road transport operators. It is true that, under this Bill, C.I.E. are being relieved of the common carrier restrictions which heretofore operated regarding them, but that is also true of the licensed hauliers. I do not know whether or not they were aware of it, but the effect of the legislation is to release them from the common carrier obligation from which C.I.E. are being released.

In so far as the Bill contains provisions for the elimination of illegal haulage—the carriage of goods for reward by people who are not licensed to do so—we can discuss them as we come to them. In so far as that matter is concerned there must be a common interest between those who are anxious to preserve and develop the business of public operators, of C.I.E., and those who are licensed to engage in the haulage business. We can, of course, go to ridiculous lengths in trying to deal with that abuse. The proposals contained in the Bill are based upon the report of the committee and, if they are not as effective as they should be, if Deputies will suggest, or make recommendations as to how these illegal haulage measures can be strengthened, I shall be very glad to consider such recommendations.

The position, therefore, so far as Deputy Cosgrave's amendment is concerned is that these powers are already possessed by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. As to the question of how I should use these powers I am quite prepared to use them to remove anomalies, to straighten out slight irregularities and insure reasonable treatment for individuals as individuals. I am not prepared to use them to reverse the transport policy of which Dáil Éireann has approved. That policy must be directed towards diverting traffic, to the extent that it can be done, to the public operators so that they will be [1036] able to get the volume of business which will enable them to operate without loss.

Mr. Norton:  I think C.I.E. have always admitted that they have never been much worried about licensed carriers as such. There are only about 900 to 1,000 licensed carriers while there are 40,000 odd licensed lorries on the roads. All these lorries are privately owned and are hauling merchandise, the remainder being owned by firms who transport their own goods. They are getting traffic which 40 or 50 years ago went to railways. About 1938 we had 10,000 lorries in the country and now we have over 40,000 lorries. When we had 10,000 lorries, the goods which are now carried by the additional 30,000 lorries which have been placed on the roads since then, were carried by the national railway undertaking. It is that kind of indentation on the available traffic for C.I.E. which has brought about the very serious financial position into which C.I.E. has got.

C.I.E. is being starved for traffic on its freight side and the kind of freight which it does get is the kind of stuff which, unfortunately, does not pay best. It is the kind of freight which many firms with private lorries do not carry themselves, and it is the kind of freight which a private haulier, without a licence, is never keen on seeking. I do not think any small adjustment to the licensed carrier would cause any hardship to C.I.E. The best service that could be done would be to deal with the problem of very large lorries, six and eight wheel lorries with trailers, which can be seen on our roads every day of the week. I do not know what the technical estimate is of the damage which these lorries do on main roads but, where they get in on secondary roads and by-roads, they do irreparable damage in the course of their activities. Every county engineer in the country will testify to that fact.

We are a small community of 3,000,000, with not much prospect in the forseeable future of that population expanding. In fact, all those concerned with the statistical side of the problem will tell you that the tendency [1037] appears to be in the direction of a falling population. Therefore, I think it is not unreasonable that we should ask ourselves this question. Here we have a large transport undertaking represented by C.I.E. which has to indent heavily on the public purse; in fact, to such an extent that now under this Bill we are wiping out £16,500,000 of C.I.E. losses. That has been wiped at the public expense and, in addition, we are giving C.I.E. a subsidy of £1,000,000 for the next five years. All that money is not coming here like manna from Heaven, and it is not being made available because we have discovered a new goldmine. All that money is being got out of the taxpayers of the country.

Is life so easily faced here that we must, while maintaining at public expense a national transport undertaking such as C.I.E., at the same time import—with all the consequences the importation has on our balance of payments—these gigantic juggernauts which are hauling a whole variety of commodities that could be loaded into the empty wagons which are to be seen in the C.I.E. marshalling yards up and down the country? It may well be that we think we can carry on like the big brother next door and permit these things to roam our roads. It may well be that while we have a population of 3,000,000, compared with Britain's 50,000,000, we think we should have the same pattern of life. It may well be that we think we may parallel the German transport system which has these gigantic lorries on the roads all day and all night. Our resources do not permit us to do that.

We should consider whether we shall continue to import these gigantic lorries while apparently we will have an annual balance of payment problem for some years to come.

Mr. S. Lemass:  That is a different and much wider question than this one.

Mr. Norton:  I am suggesting this is the next remedy to find. We should find what to do with this problem. C.I.E. should put the telescope on the real source of their losses but, in relating the entire question——

Mr. S. Lemass:  The amendment relates [1038] solely to licensed carriers and restrictions on them.

Mr. Norton:  I do not know if the Minister objects to what I am saying.

Mr. S. Lemass:  It is not the question we are discussing at the moment.

Mr. Norton:  It is germane to it.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Merchandise licences.

Mr. Norton:  And the effect of extending them. I am pointing out that the effect of the extensions to 1,000 licensed carriers is, in fact, trivial to the whole set up because C.I.E. do not regard the licensed carriers as their enemy as much as they do the very large lorries which are the real enemy taking the traffic from them. These lorries are the enemy of the taxpayers because the taxpayers have to make and maintain the roads for them. They are the enemies of everybody who has to pay for financing our railway system. That system could be made economic if we kept these heavy lorries out in future, compel those who are now using such lorries to divert their traffic into the national railway undertaking and stop C.I.E. having to sign cheques on the public purse.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Deputy Norton has raised a very wide question and there may be something to be said for considering it at some stage. I did not suggest there should be a general extension. What I did suggest was that where weights have increased very much during the last 25 years, adequate extensions should be granted. The Minister says that power exists. I think we have all received the same circulars from the Licensed Hauliers' Association and they do not appear to be satisfied with the extensions granted. However, the Minister says he is prepared to look into it.

He went on to say then that if this were adopted, it would mean a change from existing policy. I think that what is really wrong is that we have been trying to save the railways, while at the same time moving in the opposite direction. The Minister is aware that [1039] a number of State undertakings are themselves the biggest offenders— Bord na Mona, the Sugar Company, the E.S.B., the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, to name only four. They are all either State or semi-State bodies and each of them operates a separate fleet of lorries. Some of the heavy lorries to which Deputy Norton referred—some of the very heaviest— are lorries operated, and which have come into use only in recent years, either in compliance with or in conflict with the express provisions of earlier Transport Acts.

Certainly, one has only to travel over any of the roads, either main or side roads, to see fleets of heavy lorries operated by the Sugar Company. Others, probably less heavy ones in some cases, are operated by the E.S.B. Therefore, if there is to be a national policy of preserving a single transport undertaking, we should start on the basis that no semi-State bodies will be allowed to conflict with that policy. Whatever policy is adopted should be adopted universally for all users and operated impartially, without giving the right to State or semi-State bodies to operate lorries in conflict or in competition with the national transport undertaking.

Mr. Russell:  I am sure that there is a good deal to be said for the Minister's point at this stage, that if there is any question of diverting traffic from the national transport undertaking on to the roads, it would be wrong policy to confine the authorisation to transport goods to the less than 1,000 licensed hauliers who at present enjoy that privilege. The Minister did not say and I do not think he intended to infer, that desirable as it may be to convey, direct or encourage extra traffic to C.I.E., it was in his mind that the licensed haulier as such should be put out of business. In other words, I assume that the Minister agrees they should be kept at their present figure—950—with the present restrictions continuing, with certain small anomalies levelled out.

I wonder if that is quite fair. If you accept the fact that there is a position, [1040] as I think there is, for the licensed haulier, in fairness and in justice, he is entitled to operate on fair terms, particularly now that C.I.E. have been relieved of the restrictions placed upon them as common carriers. The licensed haulier contributes a very useful service to the overall services to the community—which, to my mind, comes even before C.I.E. However, we are not discussing that to-day. The main thing is to provide the public with an efficient transport system. At the moment, that transport system consists of C.I.E. as the national undertaking, the licensed hauliers, the merchants who run their own lorries and the people who run their own motor cars. There is a place for them all. How the goods and passenger traffic should be divided up, I am not quite certain.

It is obvious that at the present time we have far too much transport, both national and otherwise, for the amount of passengers and goods which are there to be carried in this small country; but, whereas from time to time we have heard criticisms of the service which C.I.E gives to passengers and traders, I have yet to hear any complaint against the service which the licensed haulier gives. I have had some experience myself down through the years of these men. They are like one-man or two-man family units: they operate their lorries on a county, a provincial or a Twenty-Six Counties basis. They give a first-class service. Admittedly they work long hours, but they give first-class service to those whom they serve, particularly in the outlying areas where there are no railways; and any question of allowing them to peter out or discouraging their operation would be a step in the wrong direction.

I feel, therefore, the Minister might consider this; and if he will accept that these are an essential unit in the overall transport picture, they are entitled to reasonable conditions in which to operate.

When these licences were issued originally in 1933, conditions were very different from what they are to-day. It is fair to say that undoubtedly the [1041] time has arrived at least to examine the position of these carriers, not merely to iron out anomalies but to see that they have an opportunity of operating and giving an efficient service to the community, particularly to the trading community. It might be worth examining it along the lines that, if they are to get extended licences, they should pay more for them. At the moment they pay only a nominal licence fee of a couple of pounds a year, whether their licence allows them to travel 20 miles or throughout the Twenty-Six Counties. I do not think it would be unfair to ask a man who has a right to travel the whole Twenty-Six Counties to pay more than the man who is restricted to 20 or 30 miles. Apart from anything else, it would be a useful source of revenue to the Exchequer if some such system could be operated.

The question of illegal haulage is probably the biggest bugbear which C.I.E. has to face. One possible way of helping to eliminate it would be to seek the co-operation of the licensed haulier by allowing him to operate under fair conditions. Having done that, we could look for his co-operation in stamping out illegal haulage. I agree with Deputy Norton that these 1,000 licensed hauliers should not be considered as a serious menace to C.I.E. I would regard them as complementary to C.I.E. and as giving a service largely where C.I.E. does not operate or would have to operate uneconomically. From my personal experience over a number of years, I regard them as an essential unit in the overall transport system of the country. In the circumstances, the Minister might go further than just considering some slight anomalies, particularly as to weight or the extension of their licence. I think they should be placed on a rationalised basis and they should pay a licence fee in accordance with the size of the truck and the distance which they cover. I do not think they would menace C.I.E. by this but would be complementary to the service given by C.I.E.

In the past, every Deputy has had some experience of representations being made and of one of the excuses given being that the whole question of [1042] transport, particularly in regard to C.I.E., was under consideration and that nothing could be done in the interim. It seems that, irrespective of what might be in the 1944 Act, the time is opportune now to consider the whole question of the licensed haulier and the service which he gives and his particular place in the overall transport system.

Dr. Esmonde:  I think the Minister might reasonably accept Deputy Cosgrave's amendment. If C.I.E. close down a railway and do not give an alternative service, it is obvious that they are closing it down because it is not economic and they are not providing an alternative road service because it is not economic for them to do so. Then it is a question of someone providing that service. Otherwise, a district would be left totally isolated. Surely, if a merchant applies for a merchandise licence to operate in that district, he is operating under considerable difficulties. He is a single individual, trying to supply the public with the services which the national transport service has failed to provide. I think the Minister accepts that such a man has not the same opportunities as the public transport undertaking has. Public transport has a big organisation at its disposal. It also has its annuity for the next five years which the taxpayer is paying. A private individual is to come in where that public transport system has failed and therefore he should not be limited in any way.

I admit the Minister says that he has now, as Minister for Industry and Commerce, the power to give private individuals whatever facilities they may require. Deputy Cosgrave's amendment asks for facilities with regard to weight, area of operation and so forth. We cannot reasonably expect any private individual to take over an area which has proved uneconomic for this big public transport organisation, if he is to be limited in his facilities. If anybody proposes to set up a private enterprise transport organisation in fairly isolated areas—as in most cases they will be—why should he be restricted entirely to that area? Why should he be restricted in regard to weight? If a person has enough incentive [1043] and enterprise to take over such an area, he should be given every possible facility. It is quite unrealistic to fall back on the system with regard to road transport here. Obviously, the old situation has changed. If it had not changed, we would not be discussing this Bill. The set-up here was that we had, more or less a monopolistic control of public transport. If C.I.E. are unable to carry on, somebody has to take their place.

The Minister could reasonably accept this amendment. I do not think he will be committing himself in any way in doing so. It will serve a very useful purpose as it will ensure that areas are not cut off and that private people with the enterprise and the courage to embark on transport undertakings of this type will be willing to come forward. I think the Minister could accept the amendment and I do not see that it will affect public transport in any way. It is solely concerned with Part V, which deals with the position where the public transport system no longer carries on. That is all that Deputy Cosgrave seeks. He asks that the Minister should give a fair deal to the person coming in. If the Minister does not accept the amendment, he will isolate large areas of this country. C.I.E. cannot have it both ways. If the Bill goes through, with this amendment, they are going to get a pretty fair deal from this House.

Mr. P.J. Burke:  I welcome the Minister's statement that he has examined appeals from private hauliers regarding the 20-mile radius and that he has also carefully examined the position in the changed circumstances that exist to-day, whereby in 1933 a lorry had to have a certain unladen weight. I am satisfied with the Minister's assurance on these two points. The position in regard to the 20-mile radius has changed considerably since 1933 and the point I want to make is that, if we are accepting taxation from private hauliers, and if their business has deteriorated due to other circumstances that have also changed since 1933, I feel in justice we should examine that position. The Minister's statement that he has power under the [1044] 1933 Act to extend the 20-mile radius, after giving the matter due consideration, is good enough for me.

Mr. Norton:  There is no such mileage in the 1933 Act.

Mr. P.J. Burke:  I thought it was in the 1933 Act.

Mr. S. Lemass:  There could have been, in some cases.

Mr. P.J. Burke:  It is in one of the Acts.

Mr. Norton:  It is not in any of the Acts. I am only putting the Deputy right in his arithmetic.

Mr. P.J. Burke:  I am deeply grateful to the Deputy.

Mr. Norton:  I knew the Deputy would be.

Mr. P.J. Burke:  The only point with which I am concerned is that things have changed so much since the licensed haulier got his licence. Now there are thousands more lorries within the country, and as we are asking these people to pay extra taxation and as their conditions have worsened, I thought it was a position which the Minister should examine. However, in reply to Deputy Cosgrave, the Minister said he had examined that position and has also examined the position with regard to weight. I am therefore fully satisfied to leave the matter in the hands of the Minister and I merely raise it because I promised a few of my constituents that I would. Their position has been badly affected as they have lorries and have to get hauliers' licences, to tax the lorries and maintain them. As their conditions have disimproved considerably, I think such people are worthy of some consideration and, in justice, their cases should receive sympathetic consideration.

Mr. T. Lynch:  Is the Deputy in favour of the amendment?

Mr. P.J. Burke:  No; I am accepting the Minister's assurance.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  The Deputy is making the Minister very happy.

Mr. Allen:  I want to inquire from [1045] the Minister whether under existing legislation he has power to extend further the unladen weight of vehicles of licensed hauliers. As far as I know, each time he needed power to act, he had to come to the House for further legislation. Many Deputies will be aware that in the past many approaches were made to them by people holding licensed hauliers' plates who could not operate their new lorries because the unladen weight was greater than that set out in the licence. As far as I understand, there were only two small extensions. I am told, on good authority, that the restrictions they are operating under at the present time do not enable them to increase the carrying capacity of their vehicles to make them economic. The private hauliers, especially those to whom Deputy Norton referred, have eight, 12 and 24-wheeler lorries on the road, but the licensed haulier is confined to a vehicle of a certain unladen weight, the body of the vehicle being weighed in for taxation purposes, and that is a restriction on them. There is no doubt about that. It has been represented to me that they are unable to carry an economic payload with the present unladen weight of the vehicles in many cases. I want the Minister to consider that.

It should be said that there is no intention in the Bill of squeezing 900 people out of existence. I hope that will not happen and I am sure the House would agree they should not be squeezed out by restricting them to an uneconomic sized vehicle as against any competitors they may have. That is the difficulty I see in it. It is one to which I should like the Minister to give further consideration. If 1,000 or 900 licensed hauliers went out of existence in the morning they will not be replaced by C.I.E. vehicles. They will be replaced, as all other vehicles have been replaced in the past ten or 20 years, by privately owned vehicles. There is no doubt about that. No matter what type of legislation may be passed in this House you cannot beat the 40,000 or 60,000 vehicles in this country which are in the hands of private individuals. While it is a sound national policy to try to maintain [1046] a public transport system like C.I.E., Governments which will come in here in future will still have to pump money into that company.

Since the end of the war especially, traders of any kind worth talking about have their own fleets of private transport and nothing which C.I.E. or this House can do will help them in any way. We see Messrs. Guinness with their big tankers. They have doubled up the size of these tankers and they now have trailer tankers carrying stout all round the country. That may be good or bad but there is no come back to C.I.E. from bodies like that which have provided their own fleets of transport at very great expense.

I would suggest to the Minister that he should give consideration to that aspect of the matter. If C.I.E. had been as vigorous and as active as the owners of these 900 vehicles, there would not be so many vehicles in the hands of private individuals carrying merchandise at the present time because there would be no necessity. There is nothing in this Bill to make the situation worse than it is at present. Vehicles coming on the road are very big but in three years' time they will be even bigger. The Minister will then be asked to bring in new legislation to allow those people to operate. I would ask him to consider whether there is a problem there or not.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Could I ask the Minister a question? As I understand it, I think Section 115 of the 1944 Act gives power to grant extensions. Assuming that I am an existing holder of a merchandise licence and that the overall unladen weight is 2 tons 15 cwt.—that is the maximum—and I buy a new truck, a Commer diesel which will weigh about 3 tons 5 cwt., that is an increase of 10 cwt., but if you have to include a container, am I entitled to get the weight increased?

Mr. Norton:  No.

Mr. G. Boland:  I thoroughly agree with Deputy Norton that the big problem is the enormous size of these new lorries coming on the road. This may not be a matter for the Minister for Industry and Commerce but for the [1047] Minister for Local Government, I believe that some of our roads are not fit to carry these enormous weights which are put on them. In my constituency practically all the main roads have bog foundations and are unable to carry the heavy loads. If it is not a question for the Minister for Industry and Commerce, some member of the Government, perhaps the Minister for Local Government, should put a limit on the weight of these lorries. I think they are going far beyond what could be allowed on the roads of this country. Surely the Minister for Local Government cannot look on and see the roads smashed by the heavy vehicular traffic going on them at present?

Mr. Crotty:  I think we are travelling much too far. I wonder if the Minister is right in what he stated about giving general extensions. I do not think general extensions are asked in this amendment. Sub-section (5) says:—

“If the board does not propose to provide an alternative road transport service the notice shall state that applications for passenger licences under the Road Transport Act, 1932, or merchandise licences under the Road Transport Act, 1933, or both, as may be appropriate, may be made by persons desiring to provide alternative road services.”

I take it for granted that this amendment deals only with persons who apply to provide an alternative road service where C.I.E. are not going to provide them. I think this amendment is a proper one. If a person provides an alternative service in an uneconomic area, where C.I.E. will not provide it, that person must be given some extension of the licence. I mean that particular person, not all the licensed merchandise hauliers. The amendment deals only with the particular person who is going to provide an alternative service where C.I.E. are not prepared to do so. I think it is only reasonable, where a person comes in and provides that alternative service, that he should be given a greater area to cover in order to make a living. That is all this amendment deals with. I do not think it deals with every haulier of merchandise. It deals only with the particular [1048] cases where persons are going to provide an alternative service. I think the matter should be dealt with from that point of view. If C.I.E. closes a particular service and I or somebody else will provide a service in that area we should not be confined to the area which has been closed down but we should be given an extension to make the proposition an economic one.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Deputy Crotty may not have been here when I was speaking earlier. There is no problem so far as the amendment is concerned. An amendment of this kind to the Bill does not alter the position in any way. The question is how the Minister is going to use the power he has. If C.I.E. do not provide the transport facilities reasonably required in an area, whether they close down a railway line or not, these facilities may be provided by a licensed haulier. To the extent that that requires either the extension of the scope of some existing licence or the issue of a new licence, that is the way it will be met. There is power to do that. There is no need to get additional power in order to get that done. Therefore, as far as the amendment is concerned, if I had not got that power already, I would not mind taking it. The only objection to the amendment is that it is superfluous. That power already exists.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  Does the amendment not require the Minister to do a particular thing?

Mr. S. Lemass:  In fact, the power I have is wider than the power the amendment proposes to give me. The amendment proposes to give me that power only in circumstances where C.I.E. withdraw a rail service. I have power to do it generally.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  The amendment would require the Minister to exercise it in these particular circumstances.

Mr. S. Lemass:  There is no problem in that regard. That is the power that is there and that can be used and that is how it will be used, to give facilities for the provision of transport facilities by licensed hauliers where C.I.E. are [1049] not providing reasonable facilities for any reason. I also can use that power, and have used it in the past, to deal with cases of hardship, where a licensed haulier shows that the restrictions on his existing licence make it impossible for him to earn a reasonable livelihood, or where he can show that some mistake or error was made when the licence was originally being applied for. There is not a problem of getting powers in this regard. It is a question of how we will use them. I have no desire to travel a bit of the road with everybody. I want to have my position clearly and precisely stated.

The people of the country are entitled to reasonable transport facilities. When it is clear that some additional facilities are needed in any area or for any trade, C.I.E. has the first option on the provision of those facilities and, where they fail to provide them, then, licensed hauliers must be facilitated in providing them, either by getting the necessary authority under existing licences or by the granting of new licences.

I will go a little further than that. If C.I.E. withdraw a rail service or withdraw any facility which they are now providing and the question of allowing licensed hauliers to provide the facility arises, policy should be aimed towards extending, if necessary, the scope of the licence of some existing haulier rather than the granting of a new licence, and in the great majority of cases where the problem is likely to arise, that can be done without any difficulty.

What, however, we have been discussing arising out of representations which have been made to Deputies by the Licensed Hauliers' Association is the question of a general extension in the carrying capacity of licensed hauliers. They say: “Effect that general extension by allowing us to increase our carrying capacity”. The alternative way would be to effect it by increasing the number of licensed hauliers, issuing a number of new licences to people to engage in the business. I am against either course because we cannot go along that road and at the same time try to eliminate [1050] C.I.E. losses. C.I.E. losses arise enentirely from the fact that they are not getting enough traffic. If they could increase the total volume of business available to them by 10 or 15 per cent. their losses would be eliminated. We cannot hope to get C.I.E. that increase in business and at the same time allow the capacity of other people carrying goods for reward to be increased as well.

If, notwithstanding the additional powers and resources we are giving to C.I.E., we find the railways cannot be preserved, that the public transport operators cannot carry on without heavy losses, which the taxpayer will have to meet, then we may have to consider changing our route altogether and dealing with the problem of providing transport facilities by removing all these restrictions and letting anybody who likes carry goods for reward. I do not think that any of us would contemplate providing as a substitute for C.I.E. merely an extension of facilities to existing licensed hauliers. That would be a situation which, in time, could produce twice as many difficulties and twice as many abuses as have arisen so far.

There is one other thing I want to say arising out of remarks by Deputy Allen. There has been a suggestion conveyed to Deputies in some of the representations they have received that in some ways this Bill worsens the position of licensed hauliers. When the Licensed Hauliers' Association came to me and asked that this Bill should be availed of for the purpose of giving them these extensions in their powers which they were seeking, I said that this Bill deals with C.I.E. affairs and with nothing else, and it is not intended that it should deal with anything else, and if there is to be any question of a general revision of the Road Transport Act, 1933, it should be done in a separate Bill.

In fact, there are some provisions of this Bill which have, indirectly, consequences for licensed hauliers, but, in so far as they have, they improve their position. In fact, the only real change made in regard to them is that the termination of the common carrier obligation in respect of C.I.E. is [1051] accompanied by the termination of a similar obligation in regard to licensed hauliers. Apart from that, their position is not affected and is not certainly being worsened in any respect by the enactment of this measure.

It is true that there has been a contention that licensed hauliers cannot get business in sufficient volume to enable them to earn a reasonable livelihood. My answer to that is that the available statistics published in the Trade Journal show that the amount of business they are getting is increasing year by year, at a time when the amount of business that C.I.E. is getting is falling away and that, therefore, would suggest to me that they have advantages which enable them to protect and preserve their position at a time when one, perhaps, would have expected to find something different.

There is power, however, as I said, in the existing legislation to deal with licensed hauliers on an individual basis, to deal with the case of an individual haulier who for some reason could show that the conditions of his existing licence were imposing hardship on him. If, for example, a licensed haulier in Limerick had not authority to carry goods for reward into Clare, I would say that that was due to some mistake at the time the original licensee was making his application, attributable to some oversight on his part, which could be rectified. I should say that a licensed haulier in Limerick should have power to carry for reward, certainly in the counties around, and that would apply to licensed hauliers in Sligo, Cork or anywhere else. If some original applicant made the mistake of leaving out of his application some territory in which he could obviously be expected to be entitled to operate, then the licence could be amended accordingly.

Wherever a case of hardship of that kind arises, there is no problem in dealing with it. Wherever a case arises of providing new facilities, either because of some new need or because of withdrawal of facilities by [1052] C.I.E., there is no problem in dealing with it. The point at which I draw the line is when I am asked to give to all licensed hauliers increased carrying capacity, which must cut away still further the volume of business available to the public transport operators.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Can the Minister say what is the position in regard to an existing licensed haulier who wants to get a new lorry? The unladen weight is much greater now than it was 25 years ago. Will he get an increase in that?

Mr. S. Lemass:  The answer is that the minimum unladen weight of licensed hauliers was increased since 1933 by the 1944 Act and there was a further change in that regard in the 1953 Act. I do not want to say that there may not still be cases of hardship. I would not like to prejudge the position without hearing the individual claims that might be made, but there is power to deal with hardship, if there is hardship, and I will deal with hardship if it can be shown that it exists. But, the representations of the association are not dealing with this one an individual basis. First, they claim that there should be no restrictions on the operations of hauliers, no restrictions on the size or number of lorries that they should operate or, alternatively, that there should be an all-round expansion in their carrying capacity. I could not accept that.

Mr. Cosgrave:  I did not propose that.

Mr. S. Lemass:  No.

Mr. Norton:  It is true that this amendment has limited scope. The Minister, when intervening in reply to Deputy Cosgrave, in the first instance, used the occasion for the purpose of explaining the general effect of this Bill in so far as licensed carriers are concerned. That is how we got into a discussion on the wider issues involved. I am sure the Minister is aware of the difficulties for him in exercising the powers in the 1933 and the 1944 Acts. Under the 1933 Act, all those who were then carrying goods for reward automatically got a licence. They got those [1053] licences on the basis of their unladen weight and on the basis of the areas in which they travelled.

Many of those who owned lorries at that time got other persons to fill in the official form, which was a rather formidable document. They had them filled in by somebody with no knowledge of transport at all and the licence was then issued on the basis of whatever information was conveyed on the form. From time to time, cases have arisen in which it was established that the areas mentioned in the application submitted in 1933 did not adequately represent the area in which, in fact, a lorry operated at that time. Consequently, changes have been made in these licences by extending the area.

Of course, 1933 is now 25 years away and I have had to deal with applications in the Department, as I am sure the Minister had, where persons said they were operating their lorries in areas which were not covered in the licence. There was no means of checking where the lorry they had in 1933 went to. Many of those people kept no accounts whatever and there was no documentary evidence to substantiate their case. The result was that the Minister was left with a big question mark in his mind: Is this story by the applicant true and if it is true what should the Minister do to remedy the situation? Or should be discount the story because of a fear that the applicant is taking advantage of the effluxion of time and trying to say something happened which cannot be disproved at this stage?

That is the problem which besets the Minister in deciding what he will do in these cases. The wisdom of Solomon, even if one could transmit that to present requirements, is not adequate to deal with difficulties of that kind. If my memory serves me correctly, there is a view on the file by the Attorney General as to what constitutes cases of hardship and it is a pretty thin line as to what constitutes cases of hardship. If it is represented by a person with two children that he is suffering hardship in operating his lorry is he to receive the same treatment as a person who has ten children to keep with a similar lorry? One would have to decide [1054] where was the hardship. Was it hardship for a person to be confined to certain areas or was the hardship of a human or of a commercial nature? That is the problem with which the Minister had to deal.

There is the further consideration that if you make a decision in favour of an applicant, instantaneously everybody within 30 or 40 miles knows about it, and immediately you get applications in from everybody in that area saying that his case is on all-fours with that of John X who got an increase in his licence. If individual cases are to be considered, that could develop into nepotism.

Mr. P.J. Burke:  The Deputy should not be putting bad thoughts into the Minister's mind.

Mr. Norton:  He has no more room for bad thoughts—I mean, political ones. That puts in the hands of a Minister terrific power, power to do something for one person while with-holding it from another person. No Minister concerned for the public welfare is anxious to be given powers of that kind, in the exercise of which, no matter what his views may be, he will get political pressure that may at times be difficult to withstand.

Instead of dealing with individual cases of hardship, the Minister should face up to the problem by dealing with it by a mass decision and eliminate the submission of individual cases of hardship which can be supported by all kinds of pleas, some of which it is not now possible to check. It would be better for the Minister to disarm himself of that power, to have no power to look at individual cases, but to look at the problem in its wider context. You will get the basis of smoother and cleaner legislation—when I say “cleaner legislation”, I do not mean any reflection on anybody charged with the administration of the Road Transport Act—in that way. Where a Minister or where a Department has power to make individual exceptions, there is always a danger that a particular kind of pressure skilfully executed will get what the merits of the case would not justify giving.

[1055]Mr. P.J. Burke:  I do not believe it.

Mr. S. Lemass:  To avoid misunderstanding, may I intervene? In my communications with the Licensed Hauliers Association, I did not rule out consideration of action along those lines. I indicated the considerations of policy which would have to be decided in any course I adopted, but if they are prepared to keep their representations as to the changes which they desire in the legislation within those policy limits, I am prepared to consider them and told them so, but I would regard it as a possible matter for separate legislation and not for a Bill which is concerned primarily with C.I.E. affairs.

Mr. Norton:  When I was Minister for Industry and Commerce, I was approached by one person, in the first instance—whom I did not know from Adam—who wanted the licensed weight of his lorry increased because of the fact that he was installing a diesel engine which was heavier than an ordinary petrol engine. He said the carrying capacity of the lorry was not improved by the installation of the diesel engine. It would still carry the same quantity of goods as previously. He felt he should not be penalised because he wanted to instal a diesel engine, now that his old engine was worn out, and that it was a more economic buy, from his point of view. As I have said, I dislike dealing with an individual case and, in consultation with the Department, decided that everybody who fitted a diesel engine instead of a petrol engine, would get an increase in the unladen weight of his vehicle. That decision would apply to all, so that the Minister would not have to concern himself with granting or refusing individual applications.

Similarly, representations were made that tipping gears facilitated the loading and unloading of goods on lorries. The position was put to me that this would increase the unladen weight over and above that set out in the licence. There again I gave a general direction that the licence should be adjusted by the additional weight that was involved by having the tipping gear on the lorry for the purpose of making for more [1056] efficient transport. These two decisions applying to the entire transporting community affected, that is, the licensed hauliers, was a smooth administrative operation and eliminated the possibility of one having to consider giving concessions to one person, whilst withholding them from another. As far as possible Government policy ought to be directed towards giving one decision to all the people in that class.

To some extent, the old Great Southern Railways, in their halcyon days, when they had the patriarchal kind of transport and equipment for which it was noted, by its inertia and indifference, helped to bring about the use of a substantial number of privately-owned lorries. If our transport undertaking had gone after the haulage of goods by a method similar to that subsequently adopted by the large transporters of goods——

Mr. S. Lemass:  The Deputy is forgetting something. Let us be fair to them. They were not allowed to engage in the transportation of goods by road.

Mr. Norton:  I know they were not.

Mr. S. Lemass:  They were prevented by law.

Mr. Norton:  But I do not think that they ever sought power to do what they could have done. I would even extend it to C.I.E. for the purpose of the discussion. They might have instituted an enterprising road haulage policy which would circumvent the use of lorries by large firms. Many of these large firms gave their business entirely to C.I.E. They left C.I.E. for a variety of reasons, reasons not common to all the firms concerned. Many of these firms had to contemplate raising substantial capital, buying a substantial number of lorries, setting up a whole transport fleet, providing accommodation for the fleet and operating it. This was a kind of work entirely different from their normal retail activities, and if they, did that, obviously there was some compelling reason behind their action.

I believe they might have been headed off doing that if C.I.E. had [1057] said: “We will give you, or put at your disposal, a fleet of lorries which will do everything that a privately-owned fleet can do and we will manage your fleet for you and render an account to you. We will undertake that the cost of this will not in fact be more, and will possibly, be less— because of our centralised control and centralised ability to buy — than the fleet you would buy and operate yourselves.”

An enterprising C.I.E. board may well be able to get traffic back under the control of C.I.E. by providing for such firms the kind of service now provided for these firms through their own activities. I think the situation in respect of the licensed hauliers is such that it might be possible for C.I.E. and the licensed hauliers to consider doing a deal. There are only about 900 licensed hauliers in the Twenty Six Counties and many of these have licences for local operation only and many have small lorries. It would pay C.I.E. to enter into negotiations with the licensed hauliers to see if C.I.E. could not give them a contract on a remunerative basis whereby the licensed hauliers would haul locally and feed the traffic they get on to the rails heads. In other words they could feed the rail-heads and in that way divert a substantial quantity of goods now carried on lorries to the traffic-starved wagons which C.I.E. have available in abundance.

It may be it is not possible to do that—to make a national deal between C.I.E. and the licensed hauliers—but it is well worth trying. Even if we got only 35 or 40 per cent. of them to agree it would represent a substantial addition to C.I.E.'s rail traffic. Without doubt, we are hauling too much freight on the roads which could usefully be hauled on the permanent way now available to C.I.E., especially as so much money has been spent by the State and the public in subsidy on the rehabilitation of the rolling stock and the railway lines.

These are matters which I think the Minister might consider and see if it is not possible for him to indicate to C.I.E. new lines of approach to the [1058] problem of getting more freight because C.I.E. can only live and be economic, keep its head above financial water, if it can attract to itself a substantial quantity of economically rewarding freight. Freight is its life blood and it must concentrate all its efforts on seeking additional traffic because unless it can get that traffic this debate will be paralleled over and over again for the next 50 years.

Dr. Esmonde:  I do not think the Minister has really answered the point that I made just now. What we are discussing at the moment is not whether C.I.E. has more traffic on a particular line. We are really discussing what will happen if C.I.E. proposes to clear out of a certain area. Everybody wants C.I.E. to remain and to function even in isolated areas if they possibly can but our actual discussion concerns the situation when C.I.E. decides to retire. It is not necessary, under Section 5, to replace the rail service by an alternative road service. What we are discussing is Deputy Cosgrave's amendment.

If, under private enterprise, a lorry takes over the service in such an area will the owner be given special facilities? The amendment would embody that in legislation. It is true that the Minister has said he has power already to give an owner a licence and has indicated that he will do so but he may not always be Minister for Industry and Commerce. There is always the possibility of the Government going out or of the Minister being put out of his high office. Surely it is reasonable to ask that this amendment should go into the legislation? It will do nobody any harm and it will not effect C.I.E.

The amendment will become operative only if C.I.E. goes out of an area. It is not unreasonable to ask that when somebody comes in through private enterprise he should get an adequate extension. I should like the Minister to reply to that.

Mr. S. Lemass:  I think the Deputy misunderstands the position. The Minister has the right to give the licence——

Dr. Esmonde:  I know that.

[1059]Mr. S. Lemass:  And when he grants a licence, he certainly grants it for the purpose for which it is intended and he has power to do it.

Mr. T. Lynch:  The Minister might as well have two strings to his bow. He should take this one also.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  I want to support the point of view put forward by Deputy Esmonde. I may be misinterpreting the Minister's argument but as I followed him—I did not hear the Minister in his original reply on Deputy Cosgrave's amendment—in his later interventions he seemed to me to make the case that he would not accept the amendment as it was unnecessary because the power was there already and it was his intention to use the power in the manner suggested by Deputy Cosgrave in his amendment. I think that is a fair summary of the Minister's position.

What Deputy Dr. Esmonde has said is quite true. It is one thing for a Minister to hold a particular view and that may not obtain for more than six months or a year——

Mr. S. Lemass:  Even with the amendment it still depends on the Minister's view as to what are adequate facilities.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  There is this distinction: The amendment would require the Minister to give this matter consideration——

Mr. S. Lemass:  The amendment requires the Minister to grant adequate extensions—that is, what the Minister thinks are adequate extensions.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  This would require the Minister——

Mr. S. Lemass:  The Minister has already taken a decision to give the licence and he has power to give the licence.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  He has the power but he may not do it if he thinks fit——

Mr. S. Lemass:  But this amendment deals only with the case where he has already done it.

[1060]Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  No; he has done it. He has given the licence, but he may not have given it with adequate extensions——

Mr. S. Lemass:  Which would be a very foolish thing to do.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  In any case, if the Minister's point is true—that it does not make any difference—that is all the more reason why it should be done, because it is not harming the Minister's Bill or his policy in any way. I took it that the Minister's view was that he would have power to deal with these licences, as far as extensions are concerned, in cases of hardship. I am not talking of new licences but am I right in thinking that the Minister can only deal with extensions if there are cases of hardship?

Mr. S. Lemass:  No, that is not quite correct. The hardship could be general. It does not need to be particular, as may have been assumed from my earlier remarks. It will be remembered that in 1953, for example, there was new legislation regarding road taxation which had an unexpected effect in imposing some hardship on licensed hauliers. That was met by an all-round alteration in conditions of the licences given to these hauliers which overcame that particular hardship.

The point is that the Minister has an obligation to ensure that there are adequate transport facilities. He is empowered to give these licences to private persons to operate, notwithstanding the policy of supporting the public undertaking, where he is satisfied that facilities are inadequate. Deputy Cosgrave says that when he has taken that decision and decided to give new licences, that those licences should have adequate scope. Certainly that is what is intended. The effect of the amendment would not be to alter the position in the least. It would only mean that where the Minister had already taken the decision that facilities were inadequate, he would give the licence.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  The Minister mentioned a point I was about to come [1061] to. To a certain extent, this amendment has been discussed from the point of view of the licensed haulier rather than from the point of view of the public who are depending on the transport. It seems to me that we should all look at it the other way. This section is one of the sections which enables C.I.E. to withdraw a service without imposing on them any obligation whatever to provide an alternative service. That has been done in order to assist bringing C.I.E. to what has been described as “a position of commercial adaptability.”

It is in the interest of C.I.E. that they should get this power without the obligation of providing any alternative service. Power is being vested in the board of withdrawing a service without any kind of effective let or hindrance by any appeal tribunal or anything else. In those circumstances the person to be protected is ordinary John Citizen, who has either been a passenger or a customer dealing in merchandise and who is now going to find himself without the service which heretofore has been provided by C.I.E.

Machinery is being put into this section to enable an alternative service to be provided, if C.I.E. are not going to provide it. It seems to me that if we look at this from the point of view of of the public, not from the point of view of the particular licensed haulier, whether he is an existing one or not, and not from the point of view of C.I.E., it is essential that there should be some kind of safeguard such as is envisaged in this amendment by Deputy Cosgrave.

I should like to make this general suggestion to the Minister. I do not intend to talk on this section again. I do not know whether or not the powers I have in mind are already there, but it seems to me it would be a good policy, and in the public interest, if the Minister had the power, in the event of a service of this sort being withdrawn by C.I.E. and no alternative provision for a road service made by C.I.E., to declare the area affected by the withdrawal as an exempted area, an area where anyone could carry for reward without a licence at all. [1062] The Minister should give some consideration to that aspect of it.

Many of us pay lip service to the idea of private enterprise. In a case like this, where there is a withdrawal of service and if C.I.E. are not providing an alternative, it seems to me that the ideal solution, if the people in that area want the service, is that they should be able to make their case to the Minister and that the Minister should have the power to declare that area an exempted area.

Mr. S. Lemass:  May I say that the intention is that where C.I.E. withdraw a rail service and do not provide an alternative road service, licences to operate these road services will be given to private persons. The section provides that persons interested are entitled to all information to enable them to decide whether or not it is a practicable proposition. I should dislike an amendment which would appear to compel me to meet the transport needs by giving a new licence. In many cases it would be more conveniently and economically met by extending some existing licence, if indeed such extension was required at all. In so far as there may be some question as to whether that intention is clear in the section, I will have it examined. The intention is that in the circumstances described—the withdrawal of a rail service and a decision by C.I.E. not to provide road services —the Minister will grant to applicants in the area the necessary facilities to operate these services, whether passenger or freight.

Dr. Esmonde:  What the Minister has just said seems to raise another point. The Minister mentioned extending the area of an existing licence. Might not that create difficulty? You might have a certain area which perhaps——

Mr. S. Lemass:  The Deputy should appreciate that that might not be the problem. In fact, a number of these licensed hauliers are authorised by their licences to operate anywhere. There will be no question of extending the scope of the licences in that regard. In practice we know they provide transport services only within a [1063] limited range of wherever they have their headquarters. Perhaps it would be better in some instances to issue a new licence. If there was a situation where a local licensed haulier was prepared to provide the services but was prevented from doing so by some limitation of his licence, the removal of that limitation would be the best way of providing an adequate service.

Dr. Esmonde:  I beg to disagree with the Minister. I think he would be causing endless confusion by doing it that way. If you are going to extend a man's scope by, say, another 20 miles, then you have this particular area in one direction. You would have to give him a licence, say, increasing his area from 50 to 70 miles. Would you not have to extend it 70 miles in all directions? You are then letting one man into another man's area.

Mr. S. Lemass:  It is usually expressed in terms of counties.

Dr. Esmonde:  Even so, you will have exactly the same parallel situation.

Mr. S. Lemass:  I shall look at the section.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed: “That Section 18 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Casey:  I feel the Minister has brought a lot of unnecessary trouble on his shoulders in regard to the issue of passenger or merchandise licences in areas where C.I.E. terminate rail services. Looking at the branch lines which might possibly be considered for closure during the next five or six years, I know of none where C.I.E. are not at present operating road passenger and freight services in an adjoining area. It would seem to me that where a branch line is closed by C.I.E. it will be in most cases a simple task for C.I.E., and one which they will probably be glad to undertake, to extend from the adjoining area their own passenger and road merchandise services, in which case the issuing of these licences to private undertakings will not arise at all.

I am wondering whether the Minister has not in fact given himself a great [1064] deal of trouble in providing here for a contingency that is most unlikely to arise. The only occasion on which it could arise would be in an area where C.I.E. have no road passenger or road merchandise services operating in an adjoining area and where they might feel that to start a new road freight or passenger service would be uneconomic. The only occasion upon which an application would be made to the Minister would be where C.I.E. felt they could not make the provision of transport a paying proposition.

I have difficulty in visualising any private individual or private firm applying to the Minister for a licence in such a case if C.I.E. throw in the towel and say that transport in such an area would not pay. C.I.E. would have at its disposal buses and units from its road freight fleet, trained crews and a very wide experience of operating road freight and passenger services. If C.I.E. decide it would not pay, it passes my comprehension how anybody could expect a private individual or a private firm to come along and provide such services. The only way in which it could be done would be if some individual or firm set up a transport undertaking with poor transport, low wages, and inferior conditions as compared with C.I.E.

There is a distinct possibility that in isolated areas, particularly in the poorer and undeveloped areas, no transport will be provided at all. Up to now the obligation quite rightly, was placed on the national transport undertaking to provide adequate facilities in every area in which they already had a rail service. Henceforth the position will be that, if they close a branch line, and decide it is uneconomic to run a road passenger or freight service, such areas will be left without any transport at all. Nobody will be in a position to compel anybody to provide transport then.

We are relieving C.I.E. of a legal obligation they had up to this and we are divesting ourselves of power to compel C.I.E. to provide adequate road passenger and freight transport in any area in which they close down a branch line. That is an undesirable [1065] departure and one which the Minister could easily have avoided if he had seen fit to make provision for these special cases.

Mr. S. Lemass:  The Deputy is wrong in one respect. It is not correct to say that C.I.E. is under obligation to provide transport services in all parts of the country.

Mr. Casey:  Where they close a branch line.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Their obligation is limited in that respect. Where there is no branch line, C.I.E. have the option of providing road transport services and, if they do not take up the option, the right can then be given, and has in the past been given, to other operators. There are some 30 to 40 individuals licensed to operate road passenger services. I cannot say why C.I.E. allowed these to continue initially, but they so allowed them and the services have been operating since to facilitate the public. Since the passing of the Act in 1933 I do not remember having received a single complaint about the services provided by these private operators. The situation is that in future the obligation to provide alternative services where a branch line is closed down is being removed. C.I.E. are being relieved of that obligation. They will be put in the same position as that in which they are in other parts of the country at the present time; either they will provide services, which I am sure they will wish to do in most cases, or, alternatively, a limited licence will be given to private persons.

Dr. Esmonde:  This section gives C.I.E. the right to close down any rail service they consider to be uneconomic. They need only publish a notice in the journals for a period of two months beforehand. That is, I think, a fair interpretation of the section. They need not provide any alternative transport. If the House gives effect to this provision we shall leave certain areas in the country in a very unsatisfactory position. Under these provisions C.I.E. will be free to do what they like and to conduct their own affairs as they like. Section 6, which this section [1066] appears to cut across, stipulates that they must provide reasonable transport. The closing down of a rail service can be a very serious matter. Once it is closed it can never be restored. If C.I.E. decide it is not economic to operate a particular service they will be under no obligation to provide an alternative service. All they are asked to do in this Bill is to make themselves economic. That is the primary intention of the Bill. That is why I object to this section.

The section in effect gives them power to close down any rail service they consider uneconomic. There are probably quite a number of rail services which are uneconomic. There is nothing to stop C.I.E. going far beyond the recommendations of the Beddy Report. If their primary aim and object is to make themselves solvent—it is reasonable to assume that is the point of view they will take—their purpose will be to keep themselves solvent while keeping as many people as possible in permanent employment and, from that point of view, there is no reason why they should not close down so-called uneconomic services all over the country. If there is no obligation on them to provide alternative services, this House has no redress whatsoever.

Constituents come to us and complain now that they are completely isolated. They have no public transport. Now numbers of people are entirely dependent on public transport. People come to us in different rural areas and say: “We are completely isolated here. We have no transport whatsoever. There is no 'bus.” The answer we get here, probably, if we raise the matter is that it is in the Bill, that it was the legislation passed by this House, that the Minister has no function in the matter whatsoever, that he has given full facilities for any private company to set up. It is just ridiculous.

Mr. S. Lemass:  I do not give that answer: I am accepting that I have responsibility.

Dr. Esmonde:  Just read Section 18. Is it not clear that they can terminate any rural services they like? It is entirely within their discretion to do [1067] whatever they like. There is no reference to any parliamentary control; there is no reference to the Minister or to any appeal to any tribunal. They have just to publish the notice in the newspaper.

Mr. S. Lemass:  I have responsibility for seeing that there are transport facilities.

Dr. Esmonde:  There is nothing in the Bill.

Mr. S. Lemass:  The Minister can give a licence to a private operator.

Dr. Esmonde:  You cannot force a private operator to go into a district.

Mr. S. Lemass:  In the great majority of cases there are already alternative services.

Dr. Esmonde:  Can the Minister tell me how he will provide transport for those who have not a car and for those who cannot afford to hire a taxi, if the service is cut down? I strongly object to Section 18.

I would have no objection to this section if, in view of the extraordinary circumstances, the financial concessions being made to C.I.E., the Minister had instituted parliamentary control. As a rule, I am not in favour of parliamentary control. However, as I said on the Second Reading, if we are paying all the debts and giving the company the right to close down where they like, we should at least have parliamentary control. The Minister is not being fair to the House in introducing that legislation. I think Section 18 should not go through without any parliamentary control.

Mr. Norton:  There is no question about it: that is the effect of Section 18. C.I.E. may give notice of their intension to close a branch line. If it is sufficiently attractive to them financailly to operate a road passenger service or a freight service they may do so. Suppose the Board of C.I.E. decide a railway line is uneconomic. Suppose they do not think they can make a profit on the road passenger service or on the freight service. In [1068] such a case, C.I.E. have washed their hands entirely of responsibility for transport in that area. The local people will then say: “Where will we go next?”. That depends on whether there is anybody in the area or outside the area willing to come into the area to operate a 'bus service for passengers or to operate a road freight service or to have his existing business expanded to carry on a road freight service.

I do not think the real danger will arise so much on the road freight service. A sufficient number of people will always want an extension of their road freight licences and provide all the lorries necessary to haul all the goods. I am not worried on that score. I am concerned with people living in isolated areas, sparsely populated areas not offering much road passenger traffic. I fear C.I.E. may count heads and the administrative expenses in each case and say: “No. That would not make a profit for us. Consequently, we will not touch the road passenger service.”

The Minister says a number of road passenger services are running which are not operated by C.I.E. Let us get some particulars of these and see the mileage. In the main, they are small undertakings and the bulk of them are run on shoe-strings. I think quite: number of them are only seasonal activities. We will try to get particulars about these before the Bill finishes. A number of these are mainly run in connection with seasonal activities, usually to a nearby resort or, where the C.I.E. service runs from, say, North to South and C.I.E. will not run an East to West service, they provide an inter-sectional bus service of that kind.

My main concern is this. I think the road freight service will probably look after itself if C.I.E. abandon the branch line: it is the passenger side which I think needs attention. Even if the Minister gives C.I.E. power to abandon or not to provide a road transport service or a road freight service, he should impose on them and retain on them the obligation to provide a road passenger service where they close a branch railway line. It is [1069] in respect of the conveyance of passengers that these rural communities will lose heavily. If C.I.E. cannot profit by conveying passengers in these areas, another operator is hardly likely to come into that area to operate it unless on the basis that he will work his employees 12 hours a day, pay them 60 or 70 per cent. of the normal rate of wages paid to bus drivers and bus conductors, and give them very little holidays. Their general standard of employment will be substantially below that recognised by the public transport undertaking.

C.I.E. are getting very generous concessions in this Bill, but they ought to be reasonable in their appetite. The Minister ought not overfeed them with generosity at the expense of the public. I think the Minister should still retain in the Bill the power to require C.I.E. at least to provide an alternative road passenger service. It is going far too quickly, as I said before, and we are taking far too big a step at this stage to let C.I.E. shed entirely their present statutory responsibility which is that where they close a branch line they have to provide an alternative road passenger service. Even if the Minister wants to let them out on the freight side, he ought still retain the obligation on the passenger side.

Mr. S. Lemass:  For the information of the House, the figures published in the Beddy Report show that in 1955 these licensed operators of passenger transport services operated a total road mileage of 2,158 miles and in that year carried 1,240,000 passengers. There were 31 such operators in that year. On the point made by Deputy Norton, I do not know that in practice the situation he contemplates is likely to arise in relation to passenger services — that is, where C.I.E. refuse to provide a service and no private person will come forward looking for a licence to provide a service or that there is a real need for a service which C.I.E. cannot be persuaded to provide. In practice, there would be no difficulty in getting them to do it where the need is clearly established. In the great majority of cases, where a branch line closes down, alternative road services will already be in existence. I [1070] cannot think of any part of the country where a branch line at present is operating and there is not already a road passenger service functioning there too. I cannot see circumstances under which the situation the Deputy contemplates could arise.

Mr. Russell:  What about a schools' bus to an outlying area?

Mr. S. Lemass:  We are dealing now with a position in which a railway service is withdrawn. In any other case where there is no rail service, where there never was a rail service, C.I.E. have the right to provide a road service but also not to provide it if they think it is likely to be uneconomic. If there is a demonstrated need for a service, others can be allowed to meet it. In relation to the branch line areas, the situation will be as if there never was a branch line. I do not know of a single instance where there was a branch line and where a road service is not already established.

Dr. Esmonde:  Consider the case where a railway line is closed down and an alternative transport service is not provided: I am talking about an individual passenger service. If representations are made to a Deputy by people in that area to the effect that there is no transport and if this Bill is made law and he comes into Dáil Éireann and tries to make that point and to make representations, what redress has anybody got?

Mr. S. Lemass:  There is no upon the Minister for Industry and Commerce, whoever he may be, the obligation of ensuring that reasonable transport services are provided. In these circumstances, the Deputy would be quite entitled to make his case here that transport facilities should be provided in the area in respect of which the complaint has been received.

Dr. Esmonde:  What can the Minister do? Is the Minister empowered to do anything in this section?

Mr. S. Lemass:  What does the Deputy suggest?

[1071]Dr. Esmonde:  Is the Minister empowered in this section to force C.I.E. or the public transport to provide such transport? I think he is not.

Mr. S. Lemass:  The Deputy is talking about complaints which he has now received from areas which have not got a public transport service.

Dr. Esmonde:  I am talking about what will happen, if certain areas close down subsequently.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Can the Deputy tell me one such place where there is not already a C.I.E. bus service?

Dr. Esmonde:  It is not up to me to name areas.

Mr. S. Lemass:  I am suggesting the Deputy has two problems. One is the problem of an area which has no rail or road service at the moment. That problem is not affected by this Bill. No problem of that kind is likely to arise out of this Bill.

Dr. Esmonde:  I am asking a purely hypothetical question as affecting the whole country. I am thinking principally of rural areas. The Minister does not know what railway lines will be closed down, but, according to this section, C.I.E. is empowered to close down railway lines. They have not to provide alternative services and if they close down a railway line—I am referring purely to passenger services——

Mr. S. Lemass:  Does the Deputy seriously contemplate that where there is a rail passenger service now, it will not be possible to get a private operator to provide a bus service?

Dr. Esmonde:  That is not the point I am making. I am making a hypothetical case. What will happen if there is no service to a rural area, if no alternative service is provided?

Mr. S. Lemass:  It is the same as any area where there is no rail service at the moment. C.I.E. has the right to provide a service in such an area or, if they do not, the Minister can give a licence to a private operator.

Mr. Sweetman:  If that situation [1072] does arise, the Minister may come into this House and say: “It is a pity there is not a service, but I can do nothing about it.”

Mr. S. Lemass:  It is not likely to arise where there has been a rail service.

Mr. Sweetman:  If the situation Deputy Esmonde suggests arises, the Minister has no power to deal with that. I want to make it quite clear that Deputy Esmonde is right in his interpretation of the Bill, and to ask the Minister this question. Section 18, as I see it, is in relation to closure in future purely, in places where there are rail services. Rail services have already been closed in certain places, closed under the statutory obligation on C.I.E. to maintain alternative services in those places. I want to have the Minister's assurance that under the provisions of this Bill, C.I.E. will continue to be obliged to provide alternative services in places where there is a closing of railway lines.

Mr. S. Lemass:  The position has not changed, as far as the law is concerned.

Mr. Sweetman:  It has been changed in Section 18.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Not necessarily.

Mr. Sweetman:  But it is only in respect of a future closing, not in respect of any past closing.

Mr. S. Lemass:  There is no change.

Mr. Sweetman:  Shillelagh is one of the places I have in mind.

Mr. S. Lemass:  I cannot see circumstances in which C.I.E. will not service Shillelagh.

Mr. Sweetman:  Does the law remain in that respect?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Whatever obligation exists at the moment is still there——

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  Is that clear?

Mr. S. Lemass:  ——as far as the existing pattern of road services is concerned.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  I had in mind [1073] what the Minister outlined—I am not talking of his Second Reading speech— that the intention of legislation was to allow C.I.E. to close any existing service, road or rail.

Mr. S. Lemass:  This relates only to rail services. I am not quite sure what their statutory obligation is regarding road services. The problem has never arisen. Our road services always kept on growing and growing, and I would not like to say off the cuff what their obligations are in regard to road services.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  They have a statutory obligation to provide a road service where they have closed a rail service?

Mr. Sweetman:  Would the Minister have a look at sub-section (2) of Section [1074] 18. It states: “The Board shall not terminate a service——”

Mr. S. Lemass:  That is a rail service.

Mr. Sweetman:  Is it because road services are also mentioned in the same section lower down? I think it should be defined as a rail service.

Mr. S. Lemass:  It is a “service of trains for passengers and merchandise.”

Mr. Sweetman:  As in sub-section (1)?

Mr. S. Lemass:  That is what is intended to be there.

Mr. Sweetman:  I think it should be tightened up from a drafting point of view.

Question put.

The Committee divided: Tá, 58; Níl, 41.

Allen, Denis.
Blaney, Neal T.
Boland, Gerald.
Boland, Kevin.
Booth, Lionel.
Brady, Philip A.
Brady, Seán.
Brennan, Joseph.
Brennan, Paudge.
Breslin, Cormac.
Briscoe, Robert.
Burke, Patrick.
Childers, Erskine.
Clohessy, Patrick.
Collins, James J.
Cotter, Edward.
Crowley, Honor M.
Cunningham, Liam.
Davern, Mick.
de Valera, Eamon.
Donegan, Batt.
Dooley, Patrick.
Egan, Kieran P.
Egan, Nicholas.
Fanning, John.
Faulkner, Padraig.
Geoghegan, John.
Gibbons, James.
Gilbride, Eugene.
Griffin, James.
Haughey, Charles.
Healy, Augustine A.
Hilliard, Michael.
Humphreys, Francis.
Kenneally, William.
Killilea, Mark.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lemass, Noel T.
Lemass, Seán.
Loughman, Frank.
Lynch, Celia.
Lynch, Jack.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
Maher, Peadar.
Medlar, Martin.
Millar, Anthony G.
Moher, John W.
Moloney, Daniel J.
Moran, Michael.
O Briain, Donnchadh.
O'Malley, Donogh.
O'Toole, James.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Mary B.
Sheridan, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Traynor, Oscar.

Níl

Burke, James.
Byrne, Tom.
Carew, John.
Casey, Seán.
Coburn, George.
Coogan, Fintan.
Corish, Brendan.
Cosgrave, Liam. [1075]Flanagan, Oliver J.
Giles, Patrick.
Hogan, Bridget.
Jones, Denis F.
Kyne, Thomas A.
Larkin, Denis.
Lindsay, Patrick.
Lynch, Thaddeus.
MacEoin, Seán.
McGilligan, Patrick.
McMenamin, Daniel.
Manley, Timothy.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Costello, Declan D.
Crotty, Patrick J.
Desmond, Daniel.
Dillon, James M.
Donnellan, Michael.
Esmonde, Anthony C.
Everett, James.
Fagan, Charles. [1076]Murphy, William.
Norton, William.
O'Higgins, Michael J.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.
O'Reilly, Patrick.
Palmer, Patrick W.
Rooney, Eamonn.
Russell, George E.
Spring, Dan.
Sweetman, Gerard.
Tierney, Patrick.
Tully, John.

Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Ó Briain and Loughman; Níl: Deputies Kyne and Tierney.

Question declared carried.

Section 19 agreed to.

SECTION 20.

Question proposed: “That Section 20 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Norton:  Would the Minister explain what is behind this section?

Mr. S. Lemass:  It is in regard to the Sligo-Leitrim line. There is no procedure under which the Sligo-Leitrim company can abandon the line and this section is designed to enable them to do so.

Question put and agreed to.

SECTION 21.

Question proposed: “That Section 21 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. S. Lemass:  This is to facilitate the Kildare County Council. The present law is that when a railway company abandons a line it may either sell the land under and adjoining such land by private treaty or by public auction. There are no powers to sell to a county council. Kildare County Council has an interest in a railway line, which is already abandoned, for the purposes of some road diversions or some road scheme. This section will enable the railway company to sell to a county council.

Mr. Cosgrave:  They can sell to a private adjoining owner?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Yes.

Mr. Sweetman:  It does not exclude the existing law?

Mr. S. Lemass:  No, but it empowers them to sell it to a county council.

Mr. Sweetman:  I do not know where it is. Can the Minister tell me?

Mr. S. Lemass:  It is a line to Edenderry.

Mr. Sweetman:  Oh, yes.

Question put and agreed to.

SECTION 22.

Mr. Norton:  I move amendment No. 15:—

To delete sub-section (1) and substitute a new sub-section as follows:—

(1) The board may not close to navigation any canal or part of a canal belonging to it save with the consent of the Minister who shall, before giving such consent, seek the views of interested parties and also consult with the Commissioners of Public Works as to the feasibility in all the circumstances of maintaining such canal or such part of a canal as a navigable waterway.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Amendment No. 17 might be taken as meeting the other amendments—I do not know.

Mr. Norton:  I do not think it covers our point of view on this section.

Mr. Sweetman:  The Minister ought to go up to a term of five years. We are doing everything in terms of five years nowadays.

[1077]Mr. Cosgrave:  Does public navigation include a privately-owned barge?

Mr. S. Lemass:  May I say what the section intends? At present C.I.E., under existing law, have power to withdraw a service or barge operating on the canal. C.I.E. abandon a canal only if, in fact, there is no traffic for it. That is what the section was intended to do —only if nobody is using the canal.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Assuming——

Mr. Norton:  May I speak on this amendment?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Are amendments Nos. 15 and 16 being taken together?

Mr. Norton:  Perhaps we could discuss them all. We may get separate votes on them, if they are needed.

Mr. Sweetman:  Amendments Nos. 15 to 19 together.

Mr. Norton:  The purpose of Section 22 is to give C.I.E. power to close to navigation any canal or part of a canal belonging to it and it may do that just by giving one month's notice, to be changed to two months under amendment No. 19 in the name of the Minister. When the board has decided to close the canal or any part of it to navigation, the public have to accept the situation that C.I.E. is under no further obligation to maintain that canal in a navigable condition.

I think C.I.E. regards the canals as unwanted children. It regards them as a nuisance and the sooner they are got rid of the better, so far as C.I.E. is concerned. Its general attitude may not unfairly be described by saying that they did nothing whatever to boost transport by canal, that they did nothing whatever to advertise the services which could be provided by the canal and that, generally speaking, they took no steps whatever to make the canals popular, either with the freight carrying community or with tourists, whether from overseas or holiday-makers at home.

The fact is that the Grand Canal system was constructed at enormous cost and every country in Europe regards [1078] canals as very valuable media of transport. Many of the canals throughout Europe are regarded as pleasure places offering considerable attractions to the local people and offering considerable facilities to tourists. Generally speaking, they are regarded as part and parcel of the economy of the country which they serve. One has only to look at Belgium or Holland, or at some of the canals cut in various parts of Central Europe, to see the extent to which canals are utilised as media of transport. I can see that our population set-up is entirely different from that of these other countries where there are larger populations living in greater densities. Nevertheless, the fact remains that I believe that in almost every country in Europe every effort would be made to maintain such a waterway as the Grand Canal, hooking up as it does with the River Barrow and providing access to one of the finest rivers embellished with numerous lakes, as the Shannon is.

To contemplate closing the Grand Canal for navigable purposes means a severance of that present unified waterway, unified in the sense that it provides access from one part of the waterways to another. If C.I.E. is allowed to do that, a very valuable artery can be lost to the public. At the same time, its closing for navigable purposes may seriously impair the prospects of utilising the canal as a tourist attraction. In recent years on the Continent and elsewhere, the utilisation of canals for holidays has been a striking new development in tourism. One has only to look at what are described as the Norfolk Broads to see how people in England manage to work out holidays for themselves on a waterway the attractions of which do not stand comparison with the beauties to be seen on the Grand Canal and on the Barrow and which certainly fade into utter insignificance when compared with the beauties which the Shannon has to offer tourists.

My fear is that if we allow C.I.E., because it regards the Grand Canal as an unwanted child, to close that canal for navigable purposes, very serious [1079] damage will be done to our tourists possibilities. It is one thing to say to C.I.E.: “We will not ask you to construct a new canal,” but to permit them to close a canal as a waterway seems to be nothing more than short-sightedness, merely because on this undertaking they cannot make a profit. The loss does not appear to be significant because, if I read the Report of the Committee on Internal Transport aright, it seems that the cost of maintaining the service is about £27,000 odd, and that the income of the canal section of C.I.E. is about £24,000.

There may be some other explanation of a deficit which I do not see disclosed here but if it cost only £27,000 to maintain in the Grand Canal system, and if £24,000 of that is available in receipts under other heads, I think some public explanation is called for as to why we are going to permit the possible closing of the canal by C.I.E.

Mr. S. Lemass:  During the adjournment for tea will the Deputy read the speech he made in 1950?

Mr. Norton:  I will read all my past speeches on transport if the Minister having read his 1944 speech on transport does not feel obliged to come in and——

Mr. S. Lemass:  Do not call the canals the unwanted children of C.I.E. The Deputy forced them on C.I.E.

Mr. Norton:  Like the Minister I do not regard the C.I.E. set-up, either in management or directors, as a supernatural body.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Why did you force the children on them?

Mr. Norton:  I admit they are not infallible and that they have all the weaknesses which common man inherits from his ancient predecessor.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Do not forget to read that debate.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.

The Dáil, according to order, went [1080] into Committee on Finance and resumed consideration of Estimates for Public Services for the year ending 31st March 1959.

D'atógadh an díospóireacht ar an dtairiscint seo mar a leanas:—

Go gcuirfí an Meastachán ar ais chun athbhreithniú a dhéanamh air.”—(Risteárd Ua Maolchatha; Dr. Browne).

Dr. Browne:  I was talking about the language revival and the reason why the policies adopted over the years had not been successful from the point of view of reviving the language. In his speech, I think the Minister, with a certain amount of reason, expresses some concern at the fact that year after year an opportunity is taken by Deputies on this Estimate to discuss the whole question of the language revival, when really, as he says, it is a matter the responsibility for which is very much wider than that covered by his Department.

However, it would be very difficult to discuss the question of the language revival without referring to the factors which influence anything he may do in his Department. At the same time, I think the most powerful influence of all from the point of view of persuading people to reject or become indifferent to the language lies in the schools. The policy of the language revival in the schools has been such as to create a certain amount of hostility among some children and a certain amount of indifference among others. Because of that, the Minister must more closely examine the factors in the educational system which tend to create that result.

From my point of view, the most important factor appears to be that the language is taught as a dead language on much the same lines as most of us were taught to read and understand Latin, but we were unable to converse in Latin. From what I can see, that is so in regard to the teaching of the language in the schools. [1081] That is the finding of the I.N.T.O. plan for education when they considered the question of the revival of the language. They say it is commonplace to get boys and girls who, though they may have passed the Intermediate and Leaving Certificate examinations, cannot carry on the simplest conversation on the most elementary topic.

That is a perfectly logical sequel, having regard to the way in which the language is taught. I have the experience of my own children trying to learn poems in Irish, a language which they do not speak, as yet, with any fluency. I think that learning poetry in any language is difficult. It certainly is difficult in a language you do not understand. It seems to me diabolically designed to create antipathy for the language to have to read something which one does not understand. That was a difficult problem to overcome. As I said earlier, it is probably an insuperable problem.

A child spends one hour in four of his life at school. In that one hour, a certain amount of time is devoted to other subjects. Consequently, only a minute period of that time can be devoted to the language revival. The child has to go home where the home language is not Irish in the majority of cases. The child finds himself overpowered with a plethora of English everywhere he turns. You have the cinema, the radio and nowadays television. You have English in the buses and the churches. Everywhere the child goes, the influence is terribly powerful against the language. Without any sense of hostility on the part of anybody, it is a perfectly natural phenomenon, insofar as English is the language of the home in the majority of cases, that the child and the teacher must fight against that. Inevitably they are overwhelmed.

I do not subscribe to the view that the learning of the Irish languages as a separate subject has been responsible for the high level of illiteracy which is found in the schools. I think there are more cogent reasons why a child might not have developed to the level designed by the primary school course. Incidentally, I think the [1082] figures I gave the other day were inaccurate and not in my favour in relation to the question of the number of children availing of primary education. The figure is something like 20,000. The proportion of children who reach the standard laid down by the Department is very much higher than I thought.

The overcrowded schools, overcrowded classes in many cases, working in very difficult circumstances, the relatively few opportunities for the backward, maladjusted or mentally defective child are factors which contribute to the failure of the revival rather than the language itself. I do not want to delay the House on this Estimate. There are so many aspects as to why the language is failing that one could talk for a week upon them. The general impression whether it was intended or not, parents and children get, as a result of their school courses, is that the language is compulsory. They must learn the language compulsorily in school.

It has been associated with the passing of examinations, the getting of jobs, the passing of tests in the Civil Services and promotions generally. In the underlying psychology as to how to restore the language this adds up to a sort of souperism. You are going back to the time of the soupers when, if you were bribed sufficiently, you would change your attitude. That attitude was a very wrong one, as it was wrong at the time of the “soupers”. It was wrong, in our time, to try to bribe or browbeat or blackmail people into doing something. That they should be bribed or browbeaten or compelled to speak the language, which is a very beautiful language, for which they should have an innate love and regard, seems to me to represent a very major misunderstanding of the basic personality of our people. The net result of that attitude has been that the attempt to revive the language compulsorily as the spoken language of our people has failed. I do not think there is any doubt about that.

There are other considerations. The general impression has got about that there is a certain amount of hypocrisy about the anxiety of politicians to [1083] revive the language. Ministers in the Cabinet, Deputies in the Dáil, pass legislation insisting on other sections of society doing something that they themselves will not do, that is, speaking the language. They make knowledge of Irish a precondition to getting an appointment but do not make it a precondition of their coming into the Dáil or being in the Cabinet that they should speak the language. Presumably, there are reasons for that, but, unfortunately, generally speaking, the people do not understand; they see a discrepancy between the insistence, on the one hand, that they should do something and the non-insistence that Deputies should do it.

There may be 19 or 20 candidates for a job or for promotion. They may include people who are not very talented. One is appointed because of his talents. The others are not appointed because of failure to qualify in subjects other than the language. They immediately blame the language. It is the easiest thing to blame. The result is that a number of the 19 who do not succeed become enemies of the revival movement, blame the language and all their friends and relations blame the language, whereas it was not the language that was to blame for their failure but some defect in their knowledge, training, ability or qualifications. The net result is to create a considerable volume of opinion quite wrongly hostile to the language.

One has to deal with the consequence of policies of that kind. The consequences are, over the 25 or 30 years this policy has been in operation, a considerable growth in indifference and, in many cases, hostility to the language; failure to retain the population of the Gaeltacht areas, to improve the standard of living there. I do not believe in keeping the Gaeltacht as a kind of Whipsnade, where native speakers are maintained in order to be the showplace where the language is spoken. The people in the Gaeltacht are entitled to as high a standard of living as the people in the rest of the country enjoy. We have not given them that.

Some Governments have done what they could to try to establish industries [1084] in the Gaeltacht. The industries did not flourish in very many cases. There was the curious position in a number of these factories that the worker down the line would be a native speaker and the manager would be an English-speaker who did not speak Irish or did not have any regard for the language. That seemed to me to create the impression in the minds of people generally that the native language was spoken by what would be contemptuously described as “the peasantry”, and, like the Russian aristocracy speaking French in the old days, our aristocracy speaking English. That is an unfortunate development. The people in the Gaeltacht areas should have been trained to take over these factories so that they would feel that they were controlled and managed by their own people.

I do not know whether the flight from the Gaeltacht areas was preventible or not, but, having failed to hold the people in the Gaeltacht areas, we lost irrevocably a tremendous source of the living language. Instead, we tried to substitute for a very beautiful and mellifluous tongue, ersatz, pidgin Irish, in which words are manufactured by people on every side of the country. We have a language which has one of the largest vocabularies of any language in the world, but words for which there were old Irish words were manufactured. I do not mind such words as “telefón”, “bus”, and so on, for which there are not comparable words, but I do object to such words as “agricultúr”, “teicniciúl” and “eacnamaic”. Nobody with any kind of ear for music or sound could possibly like to speak such a language, particularly when there are very beautiful Irish words for these terms.

There was the tendency to ignore the very beautiful idiomatic Irish and to establish literal translations from English to Irish, so that there was no point in speaking this language which was merely a literal translation of English into direct Irish, where there were, admittedly difficult, but still accepted idioms to express the same idea in the native language. The attempt to revive the language should have been based on the retention of [1085] the native-spoken tongue. I know that that would be a very difficult thing to do, but it seems to me to be sacriligious in ways to have taken this very beautiful tongue and to have tried to impose on it this, perhaps more-readily spoken language, which was manufactured, which did not grow over the centuries as the native-spoken language had done in the Gaeltacht areas.

The first and most important thing should have been to use the native speakers as widely as possible throughout the country and at all costs to try to retain them in our society in order to keep the language as it has been spoken for centuries as the natural flowing and intelligible language, rather than to create a completely new language, the creators of which appeared to think would be more easily spoken. If you go, say, to France or Germany to learn the language, they do not make it easy for you to learn. You learn their French or their German. They tell you to train your tongue, to train your memory and your mind and to speak their language as it should be spoken. The fact that we have not done that has helped in the deterioration of the interest in the language. There is nothing more beautiful than the native spoken word. Admittedly, people on this side of the country or elsewhere had a certain envy or jealousy towards the native speaker, but for one reason or another, the native version has been squeezed out and the new, artificial creation has failed to survive.

Another factor which has militated against the language revival is the suggestion that the primary aim of our society should have been to revive the language. Of course, it should not have been. There is no good in pretending that that is the most important function of a Government. It is a very important one, but not the most important. The primary aim of the Government must be to maintain our society in reasonable economic and social conditions and then, as a byproduct of that, to create a prosperous society in which people will be in a position to develop an interest in the [1086] language and in their own native traditions.

It seems to me that there has been a certain feeling amongst the people that if successive Governments, if these politicians on all sides of the House had decided that they would pursue the establishment of a just social order, instead of trying to pursue the revival of the language as a primary object, we would have prosperity, and that the fact that wrong policies have been pursued is the reason why we find ourselves near bankruptcy, with high emigration and unemployment rates, and so on. The language has been a distraction to our successful politicians and a necessary distraction for our successful politicians.

I see that the Most Rev. Dr. Lucey subscribes to that point of view. It is not often I quote the Hierarchy here, but I wish to quote a report of what Dr. Lucey said recently on the subject:—

“...to give saving the language priority over saving the people was a gross preversion of national value. What made matters worse was that, in actual fact, neither the language nor the people were being the saved. The fact was that there were far fewer Irish-speaking homes in the country now than there were 30 years ago.”

He continued:—

“To pretend otherwise is the grossest disservice not only to truth but to the language revival itself. The present policy of reviving the language has been a tragic and complete failure.”

It is a very desirable development indeed that the bishops should speak out openly on these matters of public importance, but the interesting point is that if there is a condemnation in matters of political interest which suits the politicians, it becomes immediately a matter of moral law irrevocably binding on everybody, but when they make speeches on a subject like this, nobody seems to take any notice of them.

However bona fide the intentions of those seeking to revive the language [1087] have been, they have tried as hard as they know how and have failed. Those people who have been the effective voices in devising policy on the language have made a monumental failure of that job. I would suggest to the Minister that in setting up the new commission to consider the best way of reviving the language, those people who have been prominent in the revival movement are the people who must at all costs be avoided in determining nomination to this commission. They are the people who clearly have no idea as to how successfully to revive the language. It is about time that new minds were brought to bear on the subject, minds which are not hidebound or hagridden by old discredited ideas. This is not just a personal view. There is evidence on all sides. It is the view of Dr. Lucey and it is the view of the I.N.T.O. It has been established that Irish was spoken to a lesser extent in 1945 than in 1922 and to a lesser extent in 1952 than in 1945.

The depressing thing is the number of times that recommendations have been made by experts in relation to the language and ignored. In 1941, a committee of the I.N.T.O. investigated the revival of the language and made a number of recommendations. I do not think any significant ones were accepted. They made the observation, for instance, that the teaching of Irish exclusively in infant classes, where the home language was not Irish, was very undesirable. The first obvious fact which emerges from that inquiry in 1941 is that the majority of teachers of infants were opposed to using the Irish language as the sole method of instruction where English was used in the homes. The great bulk of the members supported that view.

I would ask the Minister to bear that in mind. All of us are anxious to see that the language is revived to the greatest extent humanly possible. However, the people who have been responsible for the language revival have been given every facility; they have devised plans which have not worked, and that is a fairly simple test of success or failure. I should like to quote what the President of [1088] the I.N.T.O., Mr. Liam O'Reilly, has to say on this question:—

“Let us have it one way or the other. If we reject it, let us, in God's name, have the honesty and courage to say so and admit our mistake. If, on the other hand, we consider the language worthy of preservation, let us not act like hypocrites asking little children to shoulder our responsibilities.”

In passing, may I refer to the fact that the Minister has not accepted the suggestion I made to the predecessor a number of years ago in relation to radio services. I was very surprised that he, a young Minister, did not consider this long overdue provision of radio for schools. I do not think I should make a case for it, because it seems to stand on its own legs. We have now reached the stage where neighbouring countries are providing not only radio but television services for schools. The school television programme is probably the best programme but that would probably be too ambitious for us at the present time. Magnificient dramatisations of history, historical events, plays, lectures by scientists and specialists on scientific and other subjects can be made available to schools through radio at a very small cost. These could not possibly be made available in the ordinary way. I would ask the Minister to consider the question of providing radios for schools and establishing schools broadcasts in Radio Éireann.

I think the Minister has again neglected consideration of the fact that we are an agricultural community. This seems to have been neglected in all the activities of our society for many years, but in particular it has been neglected in education to orient children to take an interest in agricultural ideas. There are 134 schools out of about 5,000 in which rural science is taught and obviously this is grossly inadequate. One of the obvious anachronisms, or paradoxes, or bizarre realities is that we, as an agricultural community, were prepared to find money to set up a School for Cosmic Physics before we set up an Agricultural Institute which, of course, is [1089] inestimably more important to us. It is a necessity in such a society as ours and it should have been provided years ago. It is probably too late now, like everything else.

The Minister gives me “poor mouth” answers most times when I ask him to spend money on such things —these are all small items arising out of the Estimate—and when I ask him why he allows a reduction in the money provided for scholarships, which I understand is being reduced; why he reduces grants for free books for necessitous children and why at the same time he allows the grant for advanced studies in cosmic physics to be increased. If he is so hard up, is the School of Cosmic Physics so important? Very few people know what it is doing. Why, if he is so very hard up for money that he cannot consider providing radio in schools, build sufficient schools, increase the number of teachers, reduce the classes and do various other things, does he allow these increases for such a relatively unimportant body as the School of Cosmic Physics. I would have more sympathy for him if he had put his foot down and said: “If there are to be economies, they will be shared equally. If the grant for free books is to be hit, you must not hand over the saving on that to the School for Cosmic Physics.”

I think the Minister's attitude to corporal punishment in the schools is unfortunately the same as that of his predecessor and I wish that he would think a bit on this question because I assure him there is a considerable revolution in thought—it is really over, I think—there has been a revolution of thought about the question of corporal punishment in the schools. Personally, I cannot understand how an adult should ever be permitted to lay hands on a child at all. I know that is a minority viewpoint, but it cannot be completely dismissed. In regard to the beating of children in schools, I do not mind how lightly they are beaten or for what reasons: I do not think an adult should ever use physical violence on a child.

One has to deal either with a child too young to understand—in which [1090] case, of course, there is no sense in beating it; it does not understand why it is beaten and you create a sense of injustice—or with a child who is able to understand your arguments and reasons and if so, it is rational and will respond to reasoned arguments. I do not think that can be controverted. It seems to me that all of us who believe in the power of persuasion as we try to use it on each other here must accept this power of persuasion equally in regard to children. The children differ from us only in that they are younger and less experienced, but they are perfectly responsive to arguments and reason. One must accept that, and, if that is accepted all the rest follows. Beating a child teaches it that the final argument in any discussion—and that is what any attempt to teach a child is, a discussion—is violence. In that way, we destroy his faith and his trust in us and we create an unhealthy interest in the child in violence. It teaches the child the power of violence.

When I was speaking the other day somebody shouted something about teddy boys. It is that violence on the part of teachers—in law, it is, I understand, assault—that teaches the child that the use of violence is the final argument in any situation. Children are very imitative, particularly where adults are concerned. They accept the example of adults. When they see violence they vent that violence on the next, usually the smaller, child. They see that the adult teacher gets away with it and consequently they use their violence on the smaller child. There are the bullies whom we castigate; there is the bully whom a district justice in Cork castigates for his brutal behaviour to young children.

This is going on in our schools all the time—big people hitting little people; grown-ups hitting children. It is in the schools they learn brutality. It is for that reason they like the brutality of our films, which our adults make to show them—the awful shootings, murders and hangings of our films. Their liking for these things comes because of their attempt to sublimate the frustration which results from living in a reign of fear. Most [1091] of them do live in a reign of fear in schools where physical punishment is used.

It took a long time for the use of force to disappear. We do not use it with adults any more. All the arguments used now against the abolition of corporal punishment, in a minor key, of course, were all used against the abolition of the flogging of human beings which used to go on 100 years ago—that there would be an increase in the incidence of various types of crime and so on. I am sure the Minister knows more about that than I do. All those arguments are completely discounted now. Flogging is not used to punish any crime where an adult is concerned.

I would ask the Minister seriously to consider that there is a good case for considering the abolition or prevention of corporal punishment in our schools. As far as I am aware, it is only in the backward sort of schools in Great Britain, the public schools—where they are less progressive than the municipal schools or local authority schools—that beating is still retained. Most of the other schools have abolished it. I have met many school teachers from English and American schools who have never laid a finger on children at all. They are not permitted to do so, but they would not wish to do so either. It is about time that it should be accepted that the beating of children is not desirable or even effective.

The teacher is in a difficulty. I sympathise with his problem. He has 35, 40, 45, 50, 60 or 70 children in his class, all coming from different backgrounds and having different upbringing by their parents. The only sanction they know is force. The class is grossly overcrowded. The only thing he can do is to try and keep order as best he can by fear—fear of the cane or whatever it is. While that is understandable, and I sympathise with his problem, that is punishing the wrong person. If the child is punished in order to keep him quiet, because of an over-large class and if he cannot be kept quiet in any other way, it is not the child is responsible; it is the people [1092] who put the child into that class and put the teacher to teach that class in an overcrowded, dilapidated or insanitary classroom. You must not punish the child for something for which he is not at all responsible. If some people feel the only way they can keep order is by using the stick, cane or rod, that cannot be justified in ordinary justice.

I know that the general practice is to beat children. I know that from my own experience in school here, although it is a long time ago. But I know it still exists. I should like the Minister to consider the question and first of all to accept that it is unnecessary, that in many schools thousands and thousands of children go through the whole of their educational careers and never see a stick, cane or strap. Even here in Dublin I was glad to see at least one Catholic school in which they say in their notes, as I know to be true: “Perhaps the best commentary on the excellent spirit of work, behaviour and discipline prevailing amongst the pupils is the fact that corporal punishment in any shape or form has been found quite unnecessary.” There are about 170 young boys and girls in that school, Dubliners coming from all strata of society. It is not a special school; they are taken from all strata of society.

It is quite clear to me that the time has come for the fact to seep in that the beating of children is a very bad thing, that it creates an interest in violence, respect and regard for violence, and that it teaches children in their turn to use violence. But the most important point is that it is completely unnecessary. The only thing that follows from all that, I am afraid is—and this may seem slightly impertinent on my part—that the teacher could not be denied the right to use force against the child if the parent was not equally denied it. If the only sanction the child understood was force, the teacher would not be successful. I think by considering this matter the Minister would make a very important contribution to a solution of this question. The delightful thing from his point of view is that it would cost him nothing at all.

[1093] There was some difference about figures regarding the number of children who get post primary education. I want to be clear on this. I would be interested in the Minister's figures. The Minister told me some time this year that he was not in a position to furnish the information I required in regard to the percentage of children who obtain no education beyond primary school level. I asked the question at that time but the Minister was not able to give the information. The figures I gave were 11 per cent. in respect of those who went to vocational school and 20 per cent. in respect of those who went to secondary school. I should like to know whether those figures are correct or not.

I am not interested now in children who stay on doing the primary course and take a longer time over it than they should or those who do a glorified primary course and take a longer time over it than they should. I am interested only in post primary education as it concerns giving a child a useful craft or skill which will bring him into a skilled class or profession, where he does not have to do manual labour simply because he has got this qualification which our educational system should give him.

The figures taken from the travel permits issued in 1951 are significant and bear out my contention that the vast majority of our children who emigrate end up in the coolie-labour class. In that year, 3,391 unskilled labourers emigrated, 31 per cent.; agricultural workers, 4,371, 40 per cent.; industrial workers, 12 per cent.; other skilled workers and clerks, 17 per cent. If we take industrial workers, agricultural workers and unskilled workers, the percentage totals 70 per cent. Admittedly, one is limited in analysis because the figures cover only one year. Since, however, the Minister has no definite figures to put before us, these seem to me to give a reasonable indication as to the type of training our young people have when they leave this country.

On the female side, we have 5,122 domestics, 55 per cent.; nursing, 543, 6 per cent.; clerical, 317, 3 per cent; [1094] agriculture, 201, 2 per cent., and then factory workers and so on, 3,144. If one takes domestic workers and factory workers, 55 per cent. and 34 per cent., one gets a total of 89 per cent. Those figures tell their own sad story and they bear out the contention of many people that our educational system is seriously defective.

I want to correct the figure I gave in relation to the need for additional teachers. Instead of 4,000 additional teachers in order to achieve 30 pupils to a class—that was the recommendation of the council—the number required is 3,000 additional trained teachers and 3,000 additional untrained teachers, making 6,000 in all. In order to turn out that number of teachers, one would need to double the training facilities.

I would ask the Minister to increase the secondary schools' scholarships to 2,000 and university scholarships to 500. Vocational education should be free. The total capital needed to do all these things would be £15,000,000 spread over ten years. I am sure the Minister has access to more reliable figures than I have at my disposal and he can make his own calculation, but I think that does represent the sum required. It is not a tremendous amount of money when one considers the return one would get.

I started with the I.N.T.O. and I shall end with them. I know the Minister has a tremendous regard for this organisation. Amongst other things, they said in this booklet: “An education which ends when the pupil is only on the threshold of mental development cannot possibly cater for any of these needs and is neither vocational nor liberal. The society which tolerates such a system is a negation of democracy for democracy aims at providing equality of educational opportunity for all its citizens.” That is the pronunciamento of a very responsible body, the I.N.T.O.

As I said at the outset, I was a very disappointed at the obvious complacency of the Minister. He did express, in passing, some commiseration and regret but he does not seem to appreciate that he holds what is probably the most important post in the [1095] Cabinet; the decisions he could make could do more to create prosperity, that prosperity which the country so badly needs, than would the decisions of any other Minister in Government.

Liam Mac Cuinneagáin:  Is dóigh liom gur Meastachán a léiríonn dul chun cinn an Meastachán ar a dtugtar léirmheas sa ráiteas seo. Dá bhrí sín, ní aontaím leis an méid a dúirt an Teachta deiridh. Aontaím fosta le mórchuid na tairbhe a luaigh an tAire i rith na bliana. Ba mhaith liom a thuille eolais a fháil ar chuid de na tairbhí sin. Tóg, mar shampla, an dí-leanúin leis an chose ar mhná pósta mar mhúinteoirí. An gciallaíonn sé sin go mbaineann an riail nua, nó an díleanúint leis an seanriail, le mná a póstar tar éis an chéad lá d'Iúil, nó an mbaineann sé le gach ban-mhúinteoir a chuaigh isteach sa tseirbhís ó 1934 i leith? Má bhaineann an riail do na daoine a chuaigh amach, ba mhaith liom eolas d'fháil ar an slí ina ndéanfar amach an tuarastal, an pinsean agus na rudaí sin ó thaobh an bhearna atá ina gcuid seirbhíse de bhrí nach féidir le mórchuid aca seirbhís 40 bliain a thabhairt.

Maidir leis an riail nua a bhfuil tagairt di, uimhir a seacht, go gcuirfear triail phearsanta ar na scoláirí ag teacht isteach dóibh sna coláistí oiliúna, ba cheart don tAire cuimhneamh air go dtagann timpeall 80 faoin gcéad de na hiarrthóirí le haghaidh coláiste oiliúna ó na coláistí ullmhúcháin. Tagann na hiarrthóirí sin isteach nuair a bhíonn siad 14 bliana d'aois. Ag caint dom anseo le cúpla bliain anuas, mholas go mbeadh athrú éigin sa slí ina ndéantar oidí a cheapadh. B'ionann sin agus, i gcás bunús achan iarrthóir a chuaigh isteach sa choláiste ullmhúcháin ag 14 bliain d'aois, a rá go bhfuil siad ina múinteoirí as san amach. Sin mar a tharla sé. Anois, beidh triail phearsanta á tabhairt isteach ag an Aire. Conas a bheidh an scéal i gcás na mbuachaillí agus na gcailíní ó na coláistí ullmhúcháin má theipeann orthu sa triail sin? Fuair formhór acu scoláireachtaí a chuir isteach agus a choinnigh iad sna [1096] coláistí ullmhúcháin agus má theipeann ortha sa triail phearsanta seo cad é a tharlós? Sílim féin, má thoghann duine ar bith 60 buachaillí nó cailíní óga in aois 14 bliana agus má théann siad trí na coláistí ullmhúcháin, ní bheidh a leath acu, nó, ar chuma ar bith, roinnt mhaith acu, oiriúnach mar mhúinteoirí. Ba mhaith liom go n-inseodh an tAire cad a tharlós i gcás na ndaoíne sin.

A good deal of the discussion during the debate on the Estimate has centred on the question of the Irish language. Not alone that, but the same subject has come in for a good deal of publicity and discussion in the Press and in public bodies over the past 12 months. The general tone of most of the discussion and statements made in regard to Irish is that the Irish revival has failed. I do not agree with that point of view. A good deal of sound progress has been made all over the country in the teaching, learning and use of Irish in the past 20 to 30 years. You hear it in the streets; you hear it used in churches. I would say that, while the vast majority of our younger people do not use the Irish language, they can understand it and speak it.

The problem facing us to-day in regard to Irish is the problem of devising some means whereby the people will be encouraged to use the Irish language which they learn and can understand. Therefore, I disagree entirely with those people who say that the Irish revival has been a failure. I disagree with Deputy Dr. Browne who says that the Irish revival has been a monumental failure. The evidence which we have in our everyday lives, in meeting people in all parts of the country, gives the lie to that statement. Many people are not clear on what the aim is. Many people think it is the aim of certain sections in this country to have the Irish language, and no other language—to have newspapers in Irish and, in general, to have an Irish-speaking State, with English banned completely. That is not so. To my mind, the aim is that this country should be bilingual, that we should speak Irish equally as well as English and that we should be able to write and read Irish.

A statement was made by Deputy [1097] Dr. Browne that it was the older generation of politicians who imposed Irish on the present generation. That is not correct. The Irish language has been our national language for thousands of years. The English came in here and tried to force us to learn their language, but, all during those centuries of foreign rule, the Irish people loved their language, clung to it and they have it still. It is untrue to say that the Irish revival was something thought of and planned by the older generation of present-day politicians. That is not correct. It is true to say that they helped, encouraged and fostered the revival, and that they gave wonderful assistance. They did so because they believed, like generations before them, that a nation cannot count itself a nation, if it voluntarily and willingly throws away one of its national characteristics.

Again, on that point, Deputy Dr. Browne said the aim should be to abolish international barriers. Does that mean that we must forfeit, as well as that Irish national characteristic, other national characteristics as well? I am glad that the Minister has clarified matters concerning the commission which is about to be set up. It was felt, from Press reports, that the commission was to investigate the progress and the means of improving the teaching of the language in the schools, to recommend the changes which might be needed, and to inquire generally into the set-up in the schools. I am glad to note that is not so. It embraces the after-school problem as well.

I feel that the after-school problem is the greatest one. A child who remains at school until the age of 14, who has competent teachers, who is of average intelligence, can acquire a fairly good knowledge of Irish during that time, even in non-Gaeltacht schools. The unfortunate thing is, and it is a fact, that the child does not use Irish afterwards. Such a pupil neglects to continue to use his Irish, unless he goes to a vocational or secondary school.

However, to come back to the statement which is quite common that the teaching of Irish in the schools retards [1098] the advancement of the child in knowledge, Deputy Dr. Browne insinuated that the children are illiterate or semi-illiterate as a result. Speaking from experience, and having regard to statements made by prominent educationists, we find that the teaching of Irish in the schools does not do that, unless there are some other circumstances which operate. As a matter of fact, it is well known that the learning of Irish has the effect of sharpening and making their minds more capable of assimilating further knowledge. It is well known that, in continental countries where two languages are spoken, the average of intelligence is much higher than in countries where only one language is used.

The statement has also been made that children outside this country of 12 or 13 years of age have acquired a greater knowledge than Irish children. I have experience of the standards of education of children at a certain age in the Six Counties. During the wartime blitz in the North, I had some of these children in my own school. I was able to compare the knowledge which children from the North, of, say, 12 years of age, had with the knowledge of children of the same age in my own and other schools locally, and I found my own experience disproved the statement that the advancement of the children is hindered by the teaching of Irish as a subject.

The phrase “compulsory Irish” has been bandied about a good deal in various statements, in various publications, and in some authoritative ones, at that. It is true to say Irish is a compulsory language, a compulsory subject, in the schools up to first class. Up to that, it is used wholly for the teaching of all subjects, but after that it is not. It depends on the competence of the teacher, on the one hand, and the standard of Irish attained by the children, on the other. If, in the opinion of the teacher and manager, either is not sufficient, then it is quite permissable to recommend that English be used for teaching all other subjects.

I should like to discuss the best stage in a child's school life at which to start to learn Irish. The present policy of the Department, of the Minister [1099] and of various Ministers, has been that the optimum time is the first day the child goes to school and to create the same conditions in the school for Irish as were in the home where the child learned the vernacular—that is, to have all the talk and orders in Irish. Then there is the other school of thought which says the learning of a second language is best left until the age of ten or 11, or possibly later. I think the stronger case can be made for the one which is the official attitude here. I think it is the better one, but I would suggest some variations in the programme.

I suggest, and have suggested previously, that only oral Irish should be used up to third class—or at least until towards the end of second class —that the reading of Irish should be introduced then and that written Irish should not be introduced until fourth class. That would mean both children and teachers would have more time for oral Irish. If all the time which was spared from reading and writing was not necessary for oral Irish, it could be devoted to other subjects. I would suggest that formal grammar should not commence until sixth class. I believe these changes would help to make Irish easier and that they are rational changes which would improve the standard of oral Irish.

I am glad to note that the Minister has introduced oral Irish for the Leaving Certificate. I would rather see him start at the bottom rung of the ladder, with the Primary Certificate and go through the Intermediate and lastly reach the Leaving Certificate. I do not think it is fair to the present group of Leaving Certificate candidates to spring an oral examination on them out of the blue.

Mr. Lynch:  Two years is a long spring.

Mr. Cunningham:  I am sorry, then; it is well that there has been such long notification. By these changes in the national school programme, the children leaving school would be more capable and would be more inclined to use Irish afterwards, instead of there [1100] being the present fall down which occurs in after-school years.

The revival of Irish does not depend on our schools. The progress already made has been due, in the main, to the work of our teachers in primary and secondary schools. They have played a large part in it and will continue to do so, with the cooperation of others in various organisations like Connradh na Gaeilge, Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge and other bodies. Those workers require the assistance of each and every individual—especially the adults, since the adults went through the national school at a time when Irish was taught and when the teachers could impart a good knowledge of it.

Deputy Dr. Browne said the teaching of subjects through Irish was creating havoc and was compulsory. That is not so. While I agree with one of his last statements, that many words have been shoved into the Irish language which already had better words, I still think it is not a bad idea to simplify as much as we can. I am one of the very few from a Gaeltacht area who agree with the simplification of the spelling and the shortening of many of the words. While the intention of the old purists was good, when they wanted to have a perfectly pure language as was spoken hundreds of years ago, we should not be too pernickety about purism in a language, as to whether it is grammatical or otherwise. A good deal of discouragement which learners meet is from people who pounce on a new beginner, or even an old beginner. The attitude of those people of the older school certainly does not encourage him to stick to his guns and to continue with the effort which up to this may have cost him a good deal. If the same person made a grammatical mistake in English, nobody would bother, so there should not be so much fault-finding with the person who is doing his best to learn Irish.

I was sorry to learn that such a large quantity of Irish books was disposed of recently as scrap. It is a pity those Irish stories and translations were not used in some way. Even the amount they realised as scrap [1101] was probably small. They should have been given to various county libraries or vocational committees, even free. They might not be used to-day or tomorrow, but the time might come when they would be of interest. It is a pity such a varied collection was destroyed.

Dealing with publications, I would urge on the Minister, as I did last year, to reconsider giving a grant, similar to that given to other publications, to a publication which circulates in Donegal, Mayo and Galway, that is, Amárach. I get it myself and I marvel at how such a fine publication could keep going for the last three or four years without any assistance from the Department, in competition with publications which get a grant from the Department. It is a good, large-sized paper, with very interesting articles and many items of news. Such news is costly to get. We have other publications which give articles obtained here, there and elsewhere at a lesser cost, but to get live news is a costly business and Amárach is providing it. For that reason, and because it is a totally Irish paper circulating in the Gaeltacht areas I mentioned, there is no valid reason why grants should be withheld from it.

On the recruitment of teachers, in other years I said it was possible to get good teachers by the preparatory college system—good Irish-speaking teachers—but that they could be got in other ways. I said also that the system whereby 60 girls and about the same number of boys were selected at the age of 14 or 14½ and put into preparatory colleges—where they completed the secondary course, usually in four years as compared with five years in other secondary schools, and then went on directly as a result of the Leaving Certificate examination to the training colleges—meant among other things that we got people into the teaching profession who would be marvellous doctors, who would be good solicitors, but who had no vocation for teaching. I think I am correct in saying if the Minister wants to get 65 per cent of the teachers from the Gaeltacht areas, he can do it in other ways.

Mr. Corish:  Does that 65 per cent. come from the Fíor-Ghaeltacht?

Mr. Cunningham:  Yes.

[1102]Mr. Corish:  The Minister or the Department have very little to choose from. It is a very limited area. However, more about that anon.

Mr. Cunningham:  The Minister has introduced a personal fitness——

Mr. J. Lynch:  The 65 per cent. which the Deputy mentioned is all wrong.

Mr. Corish:  I hope so.

Mr. Cunningham:  It may be.

Mr. Lynch:  Twenty-five per cent.

Mr. Cunningham:  I am referring to the position which operated, say, 15 to 20 years ago, where 60 pupils were taken into training. Of these, 80 per cent. were from the preparatory colleges and about 80 per cent. were from the Gaeltacht. I make it, roughly, 60 or 65 per cent.

The Minister has introduced a test where there will be an interview and I take it that the personal fitness of the candidate, his mentality, his attitude and all the things which go to make a good teacher, will be weighed up. That, to my mind, creates a problem for those who have come from preparatory colleges and for others as well. What will happen to those students in the preparatory colleges who are there as a result of having got scholarships—which are financed by the Department, in the main—if a large number are discarded in any particular year, say, if 20 per cent. are found unsuitable and might be better off in some other occupation? Supposing some of these people who went into the preparatory colleges at the age of 14½ and who are meant to be teachers by their parents know themselves that if they do not finish their course in the preparatory college, and do not go on to qualify as teachers, they will not have the money to finance them for any other occupation. What will happen if 20 per cent. of them say to the interviewer: “Look, I am destined to be a teacher. I have come from the preparatory college, but I would rather be an engineer”? What will be the interviewer's attitude towards them? Will he fail them, and if a number such as 10 or 20 per cent. [1103] fail, will they be given an opportunity of following some other career? Will they be assisted in the same way as if they had gone on for teaching into the training colleges where they would be helped by the Department?

I am in favour of the abolition of the marriage ban. It will make available a much needed supply of trained teachers. I understand the provision made for the increased releasing from training of larger numbers was not sufficient to meet the wastage by death and marriage and by the large number of teachers who leave the profession. I remember the 1930 when there was a glut of teachers, when teachers had to wait for as long as four years before they found a position in a national school. I am not using that as an argument against the marriage ban, but it should be remembered that before the marriage ban was abolished, provision was made in the training colleges for the training of increased numbers of boys and girls. That provision is still there. Those increased numbers will be coming out and I suppose there will be no diminution in those numbers for a long time.

This year, we will have about 400 married teachers coming into the service, together with the number which would ordinarily get married. Every year from now on, they will remain so that the Minister will have to guard against what happened in the '30s lest there be a huge surplus of teachers. It will be remembered that about 1937 or 1938 the position had been so bad over the previous six or seven years, or more, that one of the training colleges in Waterford had to be closed down.

Mr. T. Lynch:  I am glad somebody remembered that.

Mr. Cunningham:  Well, it was for that reason that it closed down, and precautions should be taken now so that we would not have a position, not where some of the colleges would close down, but where we would have too many trained teachers who would be doing other people out of jobs by having to take up positions in this country, or emigrate, as they had to at that [1104] time. I was three and a half years doing substitute work, due to the very large surplus of trained teachers at that time. While on that and arising from that unhappy period, I would urge that the Minister should now make allowance for periods of substitute work.

Any teacher who goes out of a school for a month or two and goes into a one-teacher, two-teacher, three-teacher or ten-teacher school for a further period gains very valuable experience from the teacher he relieves by way of advice and so on. The service which he so gives should be regarded as pensionable service. As a matter of fact, were it possible to arrange that every teacher who leaves a training college should spend a month in, say, six different schools, it would be of great help to the teacher. I do not think it is right that a teacher who comes out of a training college at the age of 20 or 21 and gets fitted in as the principal of a two-teacher school should spend the rest of his life there. It would be much better for him to have some post-graduate training as is the case in the other professions.

Again, I would urge the Minister to consider some scheme whereby teachers could have refresher courses from time to time. It is true that they have refresher courses in regard to music, kindergarten and so on, but while these subjects may be important, the other subjects are much more important. It would be very useful if refresher courses could be provided for teachers. It would help primary education very much.

I would urge the Minister to consider the question of parity. By parity, I mean party of conditions with secondary and vocational teachers. It is not a salary matter only. There are other considerations involved, such as the question of status and numbers in classes. All that is involved as well as the question of salary. I think primary teachers should have the same conditions of pay and work as secondary teachers. There should not be such a vast difference between the three branches of education in this country. In the vocational and secondary grades, there are chances of promotion [1105] which do not exist in the primary grades, except in the small two-teacher or three-teacher schools.

Figures in regard to schools which need to be replaced were given by some speaker during the debate. They were very high and were abnormally high compared with ten years ago. Is it that the standards aimed at are now higher; that the system of inspection is more exact and that more schools have been inspected more frequently? By whom is this question of fitness decided? Is it decided by the county medical authorities or is it decided by somebody from the Minister's Department?

It is true to say that many schools need replacement and that reconstruction must be carried out on a fairly large number also. It is a slow business, but, as one of the previous speakers said, an extra drive should be made in regard to school building at the present time. It is well known that the housing problem has eased over a number of years. The number of houses in the various counties which now need replacement is small. There is a falling off in house building generally.

First of all, I would say that work should progress on schools which can be reconstructed. It is a pity to neglect reconstruction because I know there are schools which were built fairly recently and which do not seem to have got the proper attention. The Minister should offer some incentive for the reconstruction of schools that would bring up those which may have to be replaced in five or six years' time. If he does that, he will find that at the end of the five- or six-year period, the problem of new schools will be eased.

There is a gradual increase in the number of new schools year after year. If a drive like that is kept up and if the reconstructed schools are catered for, then in a reasonable time we will have dealt with what was and still is a serious problem. The vast majority of our schools are two-teacher schools and many of them are three-teacher schools. Most rural schools come within that category. When the Minister is considering the erection of new schools, he should consider a change of policy [1106] there also. Where there are two two-teacher schools or a two-teacher and a one-teacher school convenient to each other, both of which need replacement, the Minister should enlarge either of these schools.

It is difficult when dealing with rural areas and scattered areas to have the bigger type of school but our aim should be to have three-teacher or four-teacher schools even in rural areas and, where walking to the school would entail hardship on the children, transport should be provided. In that way there could be more compact schools, better and cheaper heating facilities and it would be easier to have a caretaker. One caretaker in a larger school would do a better job than two or three-caretakers coming into the smaller type of school for mopping up operations once or twice a week. Above all, there would be the advantage that in a four-teacher school subjects could be taught which it is not possible to include in the curriculum in a two-teacher school, such as rural science, agriculture and practical work of various kinds. In addition, the larger type of school would entice better principal teachers.

If such a school were situated some distance from a vocational school, lessons could be given in cookery and needlework for girls. Vocational schools in rural areas are few and far between. While the situation will improve, it is likely to be that way for quite some time. Vocational education committees provide grants for pupils who travel to vocational schools. The community would be better served if one-teacher and two-teacher schools which require replacement were replaced by one larger school, especially where the average is declining. That would help to give better primary education.

Deputy Dr. Browne said that two-thirds of the pupils leaving national schools do not have the chance of getting any further education. According to the figures given here, that statement is very wrong. There are roughly 500,000 pupils attending primary schools, 90,000 attending vocational schools and 66,000 attending secondary schools. The school term for primary pupils is roughly nine years, from the [1107] age of five to the age of 14. By dividing 500,000 by nine, one gets something less than 60,000. That means that 60,000 pupils leave primary schools every year. The vocational programme is a three-year programme. According to the figures I have given, that means that roughly 30,000 go to the vocational schools every year. Taking the secondary school programme as a five year programme, the figures mean that 12,000 pupils go to the secondary schools every year. That means that 42,000 out of less than 60,000 do receive further education, and that is more than two-thirds. Therefore, Deputy Browne's statement seems to be incorrect.

In any case, if possible, every child leaving a primary school should receive further education, either vocational or secondary. Vocational education is available free, or practically free, and, at the present time, is one of the most useful forms of education. In the vocational school are taught continuation subjects and practical subjects which are useful, such as woodwork, building construction, cookery, and so on. In County Donegal, there is a very useful building construction course provided by the vocational education committees and the pupils are taught the principles of draughtsmanship and drawing, which are very useful.

Before concluding. I want to make a special appeal on behalf of the pensioned teachers. Their claim for a retiring gratuity was met in part. That means that the rightness and morality of their claim have been admitted by a former Minister. One-third of their claim was granted. I would urge the present Minister to finish the job, if possible. It may not be possible this year but, at least, he should go part of the way with a view to giving these people, who served the country well, not only in the educational field but in other fields as well, the rest of their claim.

Mr. Corish:  I move to report progress.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.

[1108] Debate resumed on the following amendment:—

SECTION 22.

15. To delete sub-section (1) and substitute a new sub-section as follows:—

(1) The board may not close to navigation any canal or part of a canal belonging to it save with the consent of the Minister who shall before giving such consent, seek the views of interested parties and also consult with the Commissioners of Public Works as to the feasibility in all the circumstances of maintaining such canal or such part of a canal as a navigable waterway.—(Deputy Norton.)

Mr. Norton:  Before the debate was adjourned I had been referring to the economic advantages which could be derived by the nation from the utilisation of the channelled waterways for the transport of goods and to the unrivalled facilities which these two waterways offer to tourists, especially foreign tourists. I think—and I think it is recognised now by the Minister for Lands—that in our appeal to members of coarse fishing clubs in England, who have a membership of approximately 3,000,000, there are considerable possibilities of augmenting our tourist income. That can be done by encouraging the use of the Grand Canal for cruising, boating and fishing purposes as a means of giving our people pleasurable entry into the enthralling beauty of the general waterway itself and the lakes which lung out from that magnificent water highway.

It would be a pity, at this stage especially, if we were capriciously to decide to give C.I.E. power to abandon the canals because if the Grand Canal, for example, is abandoned, it reduces considerable the advantages which we can now offer in the form of boating facilities between the east coast and the West of Ireland. I see nothing in the economics of C.I.E. which justifies giving them power to abandon the Grand Canal system.

When I was referring to that just before I reported progress, the Minister [1109] invited me to read my 1950 speech which I thought indicated that the Minister had done some research into the speeches which I made on transport that year. One of my colleagues, who apparently did not know the Minister as well as I do, took the trouble of looking up the transport debate in this House in 1950 only to discover that in fact I did not speak on the Bill at all because I was not the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

Mr. S. Lemass:  A slight historical inaccuracy.

Mr. Norton:  I said to my colleague: “What you did was most commendable, but if you knew the Minister for Industry and Commerce as well as I do, you would know that he has brought to a fine art this old game of chancing your arm and making statements which have no foundation in fact or truth whatever.”

Mr. S. Lemass:  But the Deputy voted on it.

Mr. Norton:  The Minister should not try to mend his hand. He should lay his cards on the table, no jokers up his sleeve in this debate. I said: “If you did know that the Minister was such a specialist in chancing his arm, you would not have wasted your valuable time in pursuing this matter. It is one of the many demonstrations which the Minister gives of resorting to the low-down and thoroughly disreputable practice of making statements which he knows have no foundation whatever in fact.”

Nothing I said in 1950 or any other year is inconsistent with anything I am saying now or inconsistent with the logic of the situation. As a matter of principle, I do not think we ought to give C.I.E. power to close a canal and nothing that C.I.E. would say from now till the end of the year would induce me to believe that they are right or wise in seeking to close a canal.

I remember many years ago when the wiseacres of the then G.S.R. decided that they would single the line from Dublin to Galway. That was then recommended to everybody as something [1110] that was essential something that was sensible, the postponement of which could not be further delayed. In due course, one line, virtually the whole way from Dublin to Galway, 135 miles, was ripped up. About three years ago, I had the melancholy experience of finding the directors of C.I.E. coming to see me to ask if there was any chance that they could get £900,000 to relay the line to Galway.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Does the Deputy remember who was responsible for that?

Mr. Norton:  Who was responsible does not matter. Would the Minister like to have a guess as to who was responsible? Maybe he would be more accurate this time. Who was responsible does not matter at all. All I am talking about is the crazy economics of tearing up 135 miles of railway line and coming to me three years ago to ask: “Do you know of any place where we would be likely to get £900,000 to relay the line?” They realised, as I said then, that they could not compete with road haulage, unless they could give a faster service by doubling the line. They could not give a faster service so long as they had to work on the principle of keeping a train at a junction until another train passed by.

As surely as we are deciding to give C.I.E. power to close these canals, and if they do close them, some later generation sitting in this House will have recommended to them a decision to reopen the canals for navigation which they will have realised to be more economic than they were at the time C.I.E. abandoned the canals under the powers we are giving them in this Bill.

C.I.E. ought not to be allowed to perform that operation in regard to vital waterways in this country. I do not trust their knowledge, their skill or their ingenuity to pass judgment on that question. They know nothing about what the future development in tourist traffic will be. They know nothing about what the public taste is likely to be. They cannot assess, and have no ability or experience to assess, what the tourist potential of the canal and the Shannon is and as to what extent they will attract visitors to use [1111] these waterways for boating, cruising and fishing.

The House should refuse to give authority to C.I.E. to close these canals for navigation purposes. They should be kept open, and C.I.E., in conjunction with Board Fáilte, ought to boost the tourist possibilities of the Grand Canal and the Shannon. If that were done, I am quite sure it would attract a great number of visitors to spend their holidays along these delightful waterways. I still believe that there is a transport potential on these waterways and I do not believe that the closing of the canal would in any way divert to C.I.E. the traffic which is now being carried on these canals. The curtailment of the transport on the canals has not meant a diversion of that traffic to C.I.E.; rather has it gone to the licensed haulier and perhaps the illegal haulier.

The House should ask C.I.E. to exercise the powers given to them under this Bill to make a success of their undertaking. At this stage, and until we have further experience of the ability of C.I.E. to carry out the tasks assigned to them in a new climate and under new circumstances as are envisaged in this Bill, we ought not to give them power to truncate the excellent waterways which we have in this country both for transport, if we desire to use them, and for the development of our tourist potential as well.

The matter can be looked at at the end of five years when we must have fresh transport legislation to deal with some of the matters in this Bill which are left over for further review. It is not unreasonable to say to C.I.E.: “Go and make a success of the undertaking as a result of the new powers given in this Bill, and we shall look at the canal situation five years hence.” That is the least the Minister ought to do, seeing that C.I.E. are getting valuable concessions in this Bill. They will be given three main facilities from their point of view. They will have debts to the extent of £16,500,000 written off; they will have power to close branch likes without obligation to provide alternative road services, [1112] and power to abandon canals for navigation purposes, and on top of that they are given power to abandon the responsibility which reposed in them as common carriers. The Minister ought to save the canals from destruction by C.I.E. Let us look at the situation five years hence in the light of how C.I.E. can perform with new and exceptional facilities which are being provided for them by way of relief from obligations under this Bill.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Deputy Norton's speech had relevance neither to the policy which he, as a member of the Government, recommended to the House in 1950 nor to the amendment he has just moved. Would the Deputy look at the amendment?

Mr. Norton:  Let us get some accuracy into this. I said I wanted to discuss this matter against the background of the section. I have an amendment down to oppose the section and my speech was in opposition to the section as a whole.

Mr. S. Lemass:  The section makes little or no change in the law as it was established by the Government of which the Deputy was a Minister in 1950. Any changes in the law are purely coincidental. The Deputy was a member of the Government which decided to foist the canals on C.I.E. C.I.E. did not want them. They told the then Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Norton, that they did not want them. They said that if they got the canals their sole concern would be to close them down as quickly as possible. They were still given them canals and they were given the power that they could withdraw, without anybody's consent on prior notification, the services of barges which they were operating on one of the canals. They were also given power to close the canal, if all services of barges were withdrawn, with the consent of the Transport Tribunal. The only difference in this section is that the Transport Tribunal having been abolished it is no longer necessary to seek its consent. Otherwise the law is precisely as Deputy Norton thought it should be in 1950.

[1113] I remember that debate well. I was opposed to the idea of handing over the canals to C.I.E. I moved an amendment to the Bill to try to prevent that and challenged a division on it. I asked the Government if they could name a single canal in the world which after being handed over to a railway company had survived for five years. Yet they persisted in their decision to hand over the canals to C.I.E. against the protests of C.I.E. and in the knowledge that the management of C.I.E. had said that if they got the canals their sole concern would be to get rid of them as quickly as possible—but that is all irrelevant to this section. This section does not change the law one iota. At the present time C.I.E. has no obligation to maintain a service of barges on the Grand Canal. They could stop it to-morrow if they wanted to do it, so far as the law is concerned. At present, if a canal is in fact not used for three years and no barge has passed up or down it, C.I.E. can get authority to abandon it. The only change which this section makes in that respect is this. In the arrangement under the 1950 Act they had to apply to the tribunal before abandoning the canal and in future they will be able to do it when the three years have elapsed during which nobody used the canal, having given necessary public notice of their intention.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Does public navigation mean private firms or individuals using the canal as distinct from C.I.E.?

Mr. S. Lemass:  The precise difference between Deputy Norton's amendment and mine is this. Deputy Norton says C.I.E. can abandon the canal with the consent of the Minister and I have put in an amendment which enables C.I.E. to close the canal if it has not been used for public navigation for three years or more——

Mr. Cosgrave:  Public navigation includes private firms or individuals?

Mr. S. Lemass:  I want to deal now entirely with this question of canals as a means of transport. Whether or not there is any case for keeping canals [1114] open as a tourist attraction, I do not know. I doubt it. Certainly if the Beddy Committee are correct in saying that C.I.E. will save over £100,000 by ceasing operations on the canals there is no case for it, but if anybody thinks there is a case for it C.I.E. is prepared to give them the canals, locks and stocks and everything else free of all liability.

There are two canals, as Deputies are aware. The Royal Canal is not being used by anyone. Is it sensible to keep on C.I.E. the obligation of maintaining it as a canal when nobody uses it? Must there not be some means by which C.I.E. can, in fact, get out of the obligation to maintain it and abandon a canal which nobody wants to use? It is mainly in relation to the Royal Canal that my amendment is put down so far as matters stand now.

There are barges operating on the Grand Canal, C.I.E. barges and, I think, two others operated by private enterprise. In relation to the continued operation of these barges, the position of C.I.E. under the 1950 Act is that they have no legal obligation to continue operating them, but whether or not they will in fact withdraw them is a matter which they will decide in the light of their own consideration of the commercial consequence of maintaining them and the facilities they provide for their customers.

Suppose nobody wants to use barges and C.I.E. has to withdraw them. Suppose that for three years no boat travels up or down the canal. Should we still keep the canal there as a tourist attraction? It does not make sense to me; it did not make sense to the Government of which Deputy Norton was a member in 1950. My conclusion from the facts is just the same now as it was then. We cannot resurrect the canal company and give them back their canal because their organisation has been completely integrated in the C.I.E. organisation. Therefore, we have to consider the situation in which C.I.E. has these canals which they do not want and on which they are losing money. We are prepared to put them in this situation in regard to the canals: that where nobody has used a canal for three long [1115] years for any purpose they can abandon it. If anybody does use it, they cannot abandon it but they are not under any obligation to maintain barges of their own in service unless they——

Mr. Cosgrave:  Will the Minister make it clear whether anybody may use it? Even if a single individual uses it for cruising or pleasure? Must it be for transport purposes?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Representations have been made by an organisation called The Inland Waterways Association regarding the continuation of the canals for purely pleasure purposes. That is a point of view with which I would have some sympathy but, as purely practical men, let us consider how much should the taxpayers pay to keep the canals in operation when they cease to be of any commercial value and solely for the convenience of a very limited number of people who may have yachts and may wish to bring them down the canals? To say C.I.E. can save £100,000, I think is saying too much. Indeed, I would argue that those who think the canals should be retained for that purpose should approach the problem on an entirely different basis from that of putting an obligation on C.I.E. to maintain them regardless of cost when they are no longer serving a transport need. C.I.E. is a transport organisation. Its job is to provide transport facilities and not amenities for yacht owners or tourist attractions. I would not support the plea that the canals should be retained for these limited uses when they are no longer required for the purpose of transport services.

That is not quite the position as regards the Grand Canal. There are commercial firms sending goods by canal on C.I.E. barges who have urged that the withdrawal of these facilities would be injurious to them, that the system of transportation by way of canal suits their business and that they would not wish to see the services withdrawn. The position in that regard will be the same in the future as in the past. In the past, C.I.E. have had the right to withdraw barges any time they wanted. They will consider [1116] any representations and make their own decisions on the commercial prospects of operation, whether they can get back in charges for the services they render enough to meet the cost of providing the services.

But in the case of the Royal Canal, I see no point whatever in putting on C.I.E. an obligation to maintain it when in fact nobody has used it for years. Indeed, that was the decision taken in 1950 when C.I.E. were given power to abandon it, subject to a decision by the Transport Tribunal in favour of their application. Their failure to avail of that particular procedure was more due to defects in the manner in which the section was phrased in the Bill rather than to any desire to maintain the canal when it was not being used.

For the information of the House, C.I.E. wanted to withdraw their services of barges from the canal many years ago. I do not know what represenations they made to Deputy Morrissey when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce, but shortly after I resumed office in 1951, they approached me to tell me that they never wanted the obligation to operate services and that they proposed to withdraw their services of barges very shortly afterwards. I urged them at that time to continue the services of barges. The railway system had not then been reconstituted, the capital investment programme had not been begun and it seemed to me that the transport requirements of the country justified the retention of the services.

Whether I would give them similar advice now, I do not know. It would depend very largely on the importance of the provision of these facilities for the commercial firms still using the canals. I would not be able to assess that, nor would it be my job to assess it. Under the Bill, it would be the job of the C.I.E. management. As far as the Bill is concerned, it makes no change in the law except the one change I indicated. At present, under the 1950 Act, C.I.E. have full power to withdraw canal barges. Deputy Sweetman asked why there was a three years' period in this [1117] section rather than the five years' period in other sections. The answer is that the 1950 Act established that condition: that they could proceed to abandon a canal when it had not been used for three years. It seems to me that is long enough anyway to test whether anybody wants to use the canal.

Mr. Norton:  Would the Minister mind answering a question which I put? The Minister said that anybody can use the canal. What does the Minister mean by “anybody”?

Mr. S. Lemass:  How does the Deputy mean?

Mr. Norton:  In the course of his speech, the Minister said that if the public want the canal, anybody can use it. What does “anybody” mean? Does it mean that a single citizen can sail a small boat down the canal?

Mr. S. Lemass:  There is a public right of navigation in the canal. Anybody can use the canal. If the Inland Waterways Association decide to keep the canal in existence by using it, they can, under the provisions of the Bill as drafted, ensure that it may not be abandoned.

Mr. Norton:  Suppose three people annually sail three boats down the Grand Canal. They will be using the canal?

Mr. S. Lemass:  I think so.

Mr. Norton:  That would prevent C.I.E. from closing it?

Mr. S. Lemass:  That is my interpretation of the law: a limited number of boats using the canal in the year would create a situation in which C.I.E. would not have power to abandon the canal. If there was any argument about what constitutes use of the canal, it would have to be settled by the courts. If any of the firms now using C.I.E. barges decide to use their own barges on the withdrawal of C.I.E. services or if the Inland Waterways Association decided to use the canal by boats owned by their members, it ensures that C.I.E. cannot abandon the canal.

[1118]Mr. Cosgrave:  Is that certain?

Mr. Norton:  If one, two or three boats go down the canal once a year, that constitutes “use” for the purpose of the amendment?

Mr. S. Lemass:  If the canal has not been used for public navigation for three years or more——

Mr. Norton:  It would be used if the Minister or myself went down in a boat once a year?

Mr. S. Lemass:  I am not quite sure of the significance of “public navigation” I think we would have to pay a toll.

Mr. Norton:  Suppose we could get over that, do I take it C.I.E. cannot close the canal? May I take it the Minister says “yes” to that question: that C.I.E. cannot close the canal, once it is used by any person for that purpose?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Any person using the canal and paying for the right to use the canal.

Mr. Norton:  For pleasure or for business?

Mr. Cosgrave:  I take it whatever charge would be imposed would be the same on an individual? It would not vary because of the fact that only one person was using it?

Mr. S. Lemass:  C.I.E. are not under any legal obligation.

Mr. Cosgrave:  I suppose it is not relevant at this stage to deal with the question of the acquisition of the Grand Canal Company by C.I.E. We might as well discuss whether the D.U.T.C. wanted to be amalgamated with the G.S.R. The answer would be “no”, just the same as the Grand Canal Company. The Minister should consider the wisdom of the suggestion in these amendments. There is this difference between the law as it stands at the moment and the section in this Bill, that hitherto the Transport Tribunal had to give a closing order before C.I.E. could close the canal. Now, if the Bill goes through in its [1119] present form, without hearing the views of any interested parties, C.I.E. can close it themselves.

Admittedly, the traffic on the canal has declined considerably. On the other hand, quite a number of traders still use it. I have received representations from one trader who sent me particulars to show that for six months of this year the firm had 70,000 barrels of grain carried by the Grand Canal Company. It does not follow that in a year they would carry twice that, because grain haulage is a seasonal business. They go on to make the point that a number of warehouses and stores are built on the canal, quite a number of mills belonging to either malsters or millers are erected on, or in close proximity to, the present canal system and that factor does lend itself to the satisfactory carriage of grain and malt. In fact, I think the Sugar Company at peak periods of the year carry beet on it.

There is then the question that arose before. It is a question that could arise again. During the emergency, when no alternative system of transport was available, the canals were used, and used satisfactorily. Nowadays, most canal barges are operated by means of oil. Consequently, if there was another crisis like the Suez incident, a shortage of oil might affect that form of transport, but, in view of the fact that so far the canal is in a satisfactory condition for usage, I would suggest that the Minister should either accept the amendment in Deputy Norton's name, or in the name of some of the other Deputies, or alternatively extend the period in his own amendment to five years.

If this Bill has a life of five years, there is no reason why the three years enshrined in the 1950 Act should not be extended, particularly as under that Act the Transport Tribunal could hear the evidence of interested parties. As this Bill stands, C.I.E. can themselves decide to close the canal and they require no ministerial sanction. Neither are they obliged to take into account the fact that other private firms may use it. In all the circumstances, therefore, I believe there is a [1120] good deal to be said for caution in this regard, because not all C.I.E.'s decisions in the past have been characterised by great wisdom and there is something to be said for postponing a decision on this matter until we see, at any rate, how the workings and the operation of the canal will proceed for a few more years.

Mr. S. Lemass:  I do not want to leave the House under any misapprehension. C.I.E. are anxious to withdraw their service of barges on the Grand Canal. They have always been anxious to do that. They have maintained that service reluctantly and at considerable loss. They have always had the power to withdraw that service without reference to anyone and they will continue to have that power in the future. Whether or not they will withdraw will no doubt depend upon the commercial situation to which I have already referred. If they withdraw their barges then, of course, other people who wish to do so can operate barges. There are some private traders operating barges on the canal and, so long as they continue to operate, they can prevent C.I.E. from closing the canal. It is only where there has been no exercise of the public right of navigation for a period of three years that C.I.E. has power to close the canals.

In the case of the Royal Canal, no barges have operated on it since 1951 and I should imagine that C.I.E. will proceed forthwith to withdraw the right of navigation and take measures to ensure that their obligations in relation to the canal will be preserved at minimum cost. They will have to undertake certain works in order to meet the statutory condition that they must prevent flooding and have regard to drainage facilities which the canal may afford.

In the case of the Royal Canal, while I would not attempt to forecast what C.I.E. may do with their own barges, so far as the law is concerned they will have to keep the canal open if the canal is used. If it is not used, there is no obligation and, in that regard, the position will be the same as it has always been since C.I.E. were given [1121] the canals. Under the 1950 Act, which was imperfectly framed, the consent of the tribunal had to be obtained, but I do not think that mattered much and nobody could visualise any tribunal of sensible people not giving the right to close a canal in circumstances where C.I.E. can show that nobody, in fact, uses the canal. Therefore, the change this Bill makes in that regard is of very minor consequence.

Mr. Norton:  I do not think it is of minor significance at all. The Transport Tribunal which C.I.E. always regarded as a fetter and a shackle on them——

Mr. S. Lemass:  And rightly so. That is what it was intended to be.

Mr. Norton:  ——did provide some security from the point of view of the public inasmuch as the whole question was thrown into the arena for discussion and public opinion could be brought to bear on the directors of C.I.E. They do not own the railway company or the canals and they must have regard to public opinion. Through the medium of the Transport Tribunal, one had an opportunity of bringing the public point of view to bear on the tribunal and on the directors of C.I.E. against their pursuing a course on which they might have decided to embark.

At this stage, we need not bother with comparisons between the 1950 Act and the present Bill. I gather the Minister is now prepared to say that this amendment provides that, if any member of the public uses the canal for transport or pleasure, C.I.E. will thereby be prevented from closing the canal. If the canal is used by a member of the public or by a firm for transport or pleasure at any time during the year, that fact will prevent C.I.E. from closing the canal. That is what the Minister said in reply to my previous inquiry. That is his explanation of this section.

Mr. S. Lemass:  The Deputy cannot keep it open by getting a rowboat and rowing up and down between the third and fourth lock. The public right of navigation must be exercised.

[1122]Mr. Norton:  So long as some people genuinely use the canal for the purpose of sailing boats down to Shannon, the position is safeguarded.

Mr. Cosgrave:  The same as a right of way.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Provided they pay the toll.

Mr. Norton:  Provided they pay the toll.

Mr. T. Lynch:  The normal toll.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Whatever toll C.I.E. may decide.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Can C.I.E. make it prohibitive?

Mr. S. Lemass:  The position in that regard will be the same as it has been since we gave the canals to them in 1950.

Mr. T. Lynch:  That is not enough.

Mr. Norton:  Let us get this clarified. I take it that, under the Minister's amendment, if the public at any time use the canal, C.I.E. are stopped from closing it. The canal must be abandoned by everybody for three years before C.I.E. can close it for navigation purposes. That seems to be all right, but we want the Minister to make it more than three years.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Why did the Deputy make it three years in 1950?

Mr. Norton:  I was not personally in charge of the Bill. The Minister's colleagues have done stupid things, too.

Mr. T. Lynch:  The Minister said just now that in 1951 C.I.E. told him they never wanted the canals.

Mr. S. Lemass:  They did not tell me. They told Deputy Morrissey. He was Minister for Industry and Commerce too.

Mr. T. Lynch:  The Minister said they told him.

Mr. S. Lemass:  They told me they wanted to withdraw the barges.

Mr. T. Lynch:  They wanted to get off the canal. The Minister has probably had the circular from the Inland Waterways Association. A few items [1123] are mentioned here. It seems to be typical of C.I.E. policy. Just after the war, they drove the traffic off the iron rail and on to the road, by deliberate policy.

According to these accusations here, unless the Minister can answer them, it seems to me that C.I.E. deliberately set out to sabotage the whole of the canal system. According to this document circulated by the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland:—

“Though the Grand Canal Company operated at a profit until its acquisition by C.I.E., its system has since been run at a loss. This has been achieved by:

1. Breaking up the integrated service offered by the Grand Canal Company.

2. Withdrawal of advertising.

3. Travellers and agents deterred from seeking business.

4. Disciplinary measures against any employee trying to get water-borne trade.

5. Failure to introduce modern methods of handling cargoes.

These are very strong accusations and if they are true the position is very serious. If the accusations are not true, they should be repudiated immediately.

There are a few other questions which I should like to put to the Minister. However, my experience of Ministers is that if you ask a Minister too many questions he will answer one or two of the two-mark questions and leave you on the beach with the six-mark questions. Therefore, I shall content myself now by just asking the Minister to clear up the matter I have raised.

Mr. S. Lemass:  There is no difficulty about that. The canals were forced upon C.I.E. in 1950 by the Government which the Deputy supported. They said they did not want them and that, if they got them, their sole concern would be to get rid of them as quickly as possible.

[1124]Mr. T. Lynch:  And ruin them?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Nobody got any compensation out of that decision by the then Government who forced the canals on C.I.E. except the private owners of the canals—just as nobody got any benefit out of the changes made in the constitution of C.I.E. at that time except the private stockholders. They got a Government guarantee of 3 per cent. stock in return for a common stock which bore no interest at all. The whole effect of the 1950 Act was to benefit a certain number of private people who no longer have any interest in transport and C.I.E. were saddled with an incubus which is costing them £100,000 a year in losses.

Mr. Sweetman:  Incubus?

Mr. S. Lemass:  It is very difficult to understand the enthusiasm of the then owners to get rid of the canals if they were a paying proposition. They were operated on the basis of appallingly low wages and very difficult employment conditions. If, in fact, C.I.E. should retire any of the former employees of the canal company, under the compensation provisions of this Bill, these employees will have much more money in their retirement pensions than they were getting when they were working with the old Grand Canal Company. I think Deputy Larkin could agree with me on that. Indeed, the Grand Canal Company were not making the canal pay. They had a number of assets other than the canal. They had warehouses, investments, properties of one kind or another, which were bringing in revenue. However, only the canals were handed over to C.I.E. The effect of that has been just to increase C.I.E.'s losses.

Mr. Sweetman:  Did the Minister say that only the canals were handed over?

Mr. S. Lemass:  They got the road transport service as well.

Mr. Sweetman:  And the rents—the whole undertaking, lock stock and barrel.

Mr. S. Lemass:  I am not representing that C.I.E. had any enthusiasm for the canals. They had not.

[1125]Mr. T. Lynch:  I am not concerned with that at all.

Mr. S. Lemass:  The question arises: what shall we do about them? It is a reasonable proposition to say that they are free to close down a canal if nobody uses it for three years. That is my sole proposition.

Mr. T. Lynch:  I am not concerned with who shot whom, who got money out of the canals, who got money out of C.I.E., who profited by the Bill of 1944 or the Bill of 1950, who tied the canals round the railway's neck or who tied the railways around the neck-of the D.U.T.C. That is not what I asked the Minister at all.

Mr. Norton:  A few doubtful shillings were turned in 1944.

Mr. Sweetman:  The Minister had a hell of a neck to talk about stockholders getting profit.

Mr. S. Lemass:  It is not my recollection that the stockholders were not very enthusiastic about the 1944 Act.

Mr. Sweetman:  The speculators were.

Mr. T. Lynch:  A lot of people who attended a party in the Gresham Hotel at that time made money out of it. I asked a question and that is why I sat down and did not ask any further questions. I asked the Minister if what this document here says is true. Is it true that C.I.E. deliberately set out to break up the canal system?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Go back to your Inland Waterways Association of Ireland and tell them I shall give them the canals as a free gift.

Mr. Norton:  That is typical of the Minister.

Mr. T. Lynch:  That is not the answer to my question. They smashed up the canals, according to the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland. These people say that C.I.E. broke up the integrated service offered by the Grand Canal Company; that they withdrew advertising; that travellers and agents were deterred from seeking business; that disciplinary [1126] measures were taken against any employee who tried to get water-borne trade and that they failed to introduce modern methods of handling cargoes. I do not want to know anything about the 1944 Act or the 1950 Act. I want to know if the Minister believes that the accusations contained in this document are true. Does the Minister believe that is a fact?

Mr. S. Lemass:  C.I.E. never tried to develop the canal.

Mr. T. Lynch:  Would the Minister say C.I.E. deliberately set out to sabotage the canals?

Mr. S. Lemass:  When Mr. Morrissey came to C.I.E. and said, in effect: “We are giving you the canals”, they said, in effect: “We do not want them and if we get them our aim will be to get rid of them as quickly as we can.”

Mr. T. Lynch:  Is it a fact that they set out to sabotage the canals?

Mr. S. Lemass:  I do not think so, but they certainly did not spend any money.

Mr. T. Lynch:  Why should the Association be allowed to get away with it?

Mr. S. Lemass:  They own some yachts. I do not know that very great attention should be paid to them. They do not own any barges.

Mr. T. Lynch:  We are sent here to represent the taxpayers. We see that something has been turned over to C.I.E. The ordinary taxpayer saw what C.I.E. did with railway transport. That was almost deliberate sabotage of railway transport, too. They drove everything out on to the roads. I am trying to have this cleared up. Would the Minister agree with me that when C.I.E. say they were reluctantly compelled to take over the canals they said, in effect: “We will get level now with this Minister for Industry and Commerce”? Will the Minister agree with me that they set out to sabotage the canals?

Mr. S. Lemass:  I would not say that. Hard as I find it to disagree with the Deputy, I would not go that far.

[1127]Mr. T. Lynch:  I will give a party some time in Dáil Éireann when I get a Minister on those benches to answer some of my questions.

Mr. Corish:  The Minister for Lands, Deputy Childers, is your man. You will never stop him from talking.

Dr. Esmonde:  So far as the debate on the amendment has gone, there has been reference to the fact that C.I.E. apparently did not want to take over the canals and that, having got them, they wanted to get rid of them as quickly as possible. The second point that has emerged is that the Minister is fully satisfied to let them do so.

Mr. S. Lemass:  No, that is not my aim anyway.

Dr. Esmonde:  I think that is a fair interpretation.

Mr. S. Lemass:  No. I am quite willing to let them get rid of the canals if nobody wants to use them.

Dr. Esmonde:  Does it not strike the Minister that this afternoon by virtue of a Fianna Fáil vote, and with everybody else against it, we passed a section of this Bill under which it is possible for C.I.E. to delete any branch railway it wishes? Does it not strike the Minister that a lot of the railway systems of Ireland are to disappear and, if this section goes through, many of the inland waterways of Ireland are going to disappear also, and, as a result of these two sections, excessive traffic will be placed on the roads? A second result is that we shall have the harbours of Ireland entirely dependent on one or two places.

Many of the smaller harbours—I might cite one instance between my constituency and Waterford, New Ross —are largely dependent on the inland waterways. During the emergency, if the Minister turns his mind back, he will remember that were it not that New Ross was kept open, and were it not for the inland waterways, along which goods could be transported safely and economically, when road motor fuel was not available, this country would have been in a very bad way. It is possible that the same set of circumstances might arise again. If [1128] we abandon the inland waterways, we are abandoning a safeguard for an emergency, we are abandoning a cheap method of transport—if the canals were properly serviced—and we are losing the goodwill of the people who are prepared to utilise the canals.

The Minister mentioned the Royal Canal and said it has not been used for some years. That may well be; the reason the Royal Canal was not used was that C.I.E. did not want to take over the inland waterways and, therefore, they did not use it. They had no great incentive to reduce expenditure because they could always recoup any losses they had by coming to Dáil Éireann. There is no reason why the Royal Canal should not be useful in an emergency. Every other country makes good use of their waterways and the Minister stated to-day that seemingly waterways in other countries were not controlled by the railway system of these particular countries. I cannot dispute that point of view because I am not quite sure of the facts, but I am inclined to think that some waterways in other countries are tied up with other transport services of those countries because transport services, in practically all countries, have been nationalised since the war.

I think the Minister should accept the amendment. From what the Minister has told us it is suggested that there is a sufficient safeguard but, having heard the Minister on this amendment, I do not feel that is enough. This House should refuse to agree to the promiscuous closing down of waterways. I think it will lead to transport confusion generally. I should like to ask the Minister, before I sit down—I presume some discussions took place in Dublin with the officials of C.I.E. and those who are generally advising him—did he consider having any discussions with those who are associated with inland waterways, not necessarily the Inland Waterways Association, but with other people concerned, such as tourist interests and so forth? Did he consult with them before coming to the House with this Bill?

Mr. S. Lemass:  I am trying to explain that this Bill makes no change except in one unimportant matter.

[1129]Mr. Sweetman:  Before amendments were put down to this Bill, Section 22 was an entirely different affair from what it now is. As it is now, it is different from what was in the Minister's proposal. At least the amendments put down have had the effect of making the Minister change his mind and see the light to some extent in this respect. Let us be quite clear for the record, however, that the Minister was wrong a minute ago when he said that C.I.E. in 1950 took over only a certain part of the canal company's assets. They took over the whole of the undertaking, including road transport services, including lands owned by the canal company which brought in substantial amounts in rents, including warehouses and certain water rights and water rents. Let us be quite clear also, in putting the record correct, that until C.I.E. took over the canal company they were making a modest profit on the whole undertaking. If the Minister wishes to look back on the records he will find that the whole undertaking was one global entity.

Mr. S. Lemass:  They started to lose money and they went to Mr. Morrissey and said: “Get us out of the canals.” He said: “We will hand them over to C.I.E. and they will look after the losses.”

Mr. Sweetman:  C.I.E. wanted to take over a part only. They wanted to skim the cream and, of course, the Canal Company would have been foolish to be left with the skimmed milk after C.I.E. had taken the cream. Thus, the decision was made that C.I.E. had to take the whole lot. It would have been quite outrageous to have agreed to the one-sided suggestion that was made at that time. The section, with the Minister's amendments, will be somewhat better but, if one were cynically-minded, one could visualise a situation, when it comes to be interpreted by the board of C.I.E. and by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, in which the words “public navigation” in amendment No. 17 will have some type of a different meaning from the meaning that we anticipate.

Mr. Norton:  The Minister has [1130] clarified that as “any member of the public”.

Mr. Sweetman:  And one could find that they will be asked to pay more than a reasonable toll for using the canal. As far as I understand the situation, C.I.E. can change their tolls on the canal without the consent of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. If I am wrong in that respect then the situation is protected in a different way, if the Minister's consent is necessary. But I want it made quite clear that for any members of the public utilising the canal at the ordinary figures, bearing comparison to present tolls and present costs, those tolls cannot be increased prohibitively to amount to a virtual prohibition. If we are all right there, then the amendment that has been brought in as a result of the pressure put on the Minister in relation to this section, has been worth while and has achieved something, but I do not think it goes far enough.

Mr. Russell:  The canals have been losing money because they have lost transport, just the same as C.I.E. C.I.E. cannot be forced not to withdraw its barges, if, by doing so, it will save over £100,000 per annum. It is also significant that the private traders' usage of the canal has been going down every year. Whatever one may say about C.I.E. forcing traffic off the canal, I do not think we can accept the same argument that the private trader is forced off. He is going off because he can get a cheaper service and a faster service elsewhere, probably by his own lorry.

It would be disastrous to close the canals. I do not understand the technical differences between closing canals to navigation and closing canals —in other words, putting them into a state when they can never be used again. If they are closed to navigation, can they be opened to navigation again at some future date?

Mr. S. Lemass:  I do not think so.

Mr. Russell:  The Beddy Report skips over that aspect of closing down [1131] and makes no recommendation. The Minister's amendment goes a good way to meet my objection. If he is accepting Deputy Cosgrave's request to extend the period to five years, for my part, I should be glad to withdraw the amendment I put down.

Mr. S. Lemass:  The Deputy's amendment caused me no embarrassment at all, because the canals are not economic and never will be so. The Deputy's amendment will make no difference.

Mr. Russell:  I accept that and I do not think that in present circumstances, the canals will pay their way, any more than I think C.I.E. itself will ever pay its way. Unless you force traffic back on to the canals or on to the railways, you can not make either entity pay. But there is a strong case for maintaining the canals and keeping them in navigable condition, because we cannot see very far ahead and they may be required again. They are unnavigable at the moment, not being used. C.I.E. does not want them and regards them as a liability, as the Minister has made it clear; but we may want them in five or ten years and may not be able to have them and I think we should see they are maintained, at the least possible cost to the taxpayer. That is all I wish to say on the point. I can see that we should not force C.I.E. to lose £100,000 a year, if they can avoid it.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Let us be clear about what is involved here. The maintenance of the canal is not itself an expensive business: it is on the operation of the barges that C.I.E. lost money and it is the impossibility of operating barges without losing money that has produced this virtual disappearance of the private barge owner. They have gone out of business almost completely. In that regard, I see from the Beddy Report that so far as C.I.E. have had in the past freedom in respect of charges, which they will have in the future, they have used that freedom to give a preference in favour of canal traffic as against other kinds of traffic, a differential of from 5 to 12½ per cent. in favour of the canals.

[1132]Mr. Sweetman:  Of course, you are charging the whole of the canal maintenance to canals and if you take the traffic off the canals and put it on to the roads, the local authority and the Road Fund will pay the cost of the maintenance there. You are not comparing like with like.

Mr. G. Boland:  I think the Minister ought to do what he suggested and give the canals over to somebody else, to the Board of Works, and let them keep them in order. As far as profits were made, I dare say it was on the warehouses and rent and whatever contracts they had, but I understand now there is an obligation on them to maintain certain drainage which will cost something like £40,000 a year— £24,000 on the Grand Canal and about £17,000 for the other. The Board of Works already has charge of the Shannon navigation and I think the canals should be handed over to them. The State may as well pay by giving a bigger grant or subsidy for that to the Board of Works, instead of doing it by subsidy to C.I.E.

Like Deputy Russell, we do not at present see any chance of having transport on the canals, but we do not know what the future may bring. A State Department which already has something to do with navigations is the proper body to deal with this and let C.I.E. keep the other assets, because they may as well get the money that way as by direct subsidy. I agree with this, but I say it is very likely that, when the five year period is over, they will still want a million a year. I would be very much surprised if whoever is the Minister of the day then does not come in to ask for a renewal of the subsidy of £1,000,000. It would be a logical and sensible thing for the Minister to do what he almost suggested he was prepared to do—to take them away from C.I.E. and hand them over to a body which is already managing navigation of the River Shannon.

Mr. S. Lemass:  That is a suggestion certainly which would commend itself to C.I.E. I want to make it clear that the losses which C.I.E. experience on the canals are due almost entirely to the operation of the barges. The [1133] actual cost of maintaining the canal, according to the Beddy Report, was only £27,000 a year. The loss of £108,000 was due to the barges.

Mr. Sweetman:  There is a figure of £24,000 there from rents.

Mr. S. Lemass:  The present cost of maintenance is £27,000, but they are losing £108,000 on the operation of the barges.

Mr. Sweetman:  And they get £24,000 from warehouses.

Mr. S. Lemass:  So far as anyone wants to use the canals, they will keep it navigable.

Mr. T. Lynch:  And bring disciplinary action against anyone who tries to get traffic there?

Dr. Esmonde:  Would the Minister not consider keeping the Barrow navigation alive in view of the fact that the House has possibly voted out the New Ross railway connection this afternoon? Otherwise, New Ross will be isolated except for road transport.

Mr. S. Lemass:  We are dealing only with two canals here.

Mr. Norton:  Deputy Sweetman is afraid—notwithstanding the explicit assurance given by the Minister that if the public use these canals C.I.E. will be prevented from closing them— that somehow or other the C.I.E. directors may fiddle with this phrase and say it does not mean what the ordinary person would interpret it to mean, having regard to the discussion which has taken place here. I think that the C.I.E. directors, being servants in a great public enterprise, must respect the wishes of this House. The Minister made it clear, as a result of interrogations, that he desires that C.I.E. should not close these canals, if the public used the canals in the future and that it is only when they do not use the canals over three years that C.I.E. could consider closing them. If a member of the public sails a boat genuinely on the canal, even once a year, C.I.E. is prevented [1134] from closing it; that is the Minister's desire.

Now, if that is indicated here as parliamentary policy and Government policy towards the canal, we must assume that the directors of C.I.E. will not set out deliberately to thwart the intentions of this House. If they were so reckless and so irresponsible as to do so, we can always table a motion here asking the Minister to remove the directors who have deliberately flouted an understanding arrived at here in Parliament and which indicates the manner in which the canals should be operated in the future. In the light of this discussion and the Minister's intention, I do not think the directors will attempt to get behind these intentions. I am prepared to accept the Minister's amendment, interpreted in the way in which he has interpreted it in lieu of the amendment we have set down.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Would the Minister examine, between now and Report Stage, whether “public navigation” makes it quite clear that use by a private individual or firm will permit the keeping open of the canals? Some of the firms concerned may use only a portion of the canal, say, between one warehouse of theirs and another. It might conceivably be a hardship or a liability on them to ask them to run a barge from, say, Dublin to Carlow or Athy or Shannonbridge, merely for the purpose of complying with the statute.

Whatever about the enactment of this measure as it stands, I think there is something to be said for the suggestion made by Deputy Boland. It might be examined, if it is quite likely that C.I.E. are not equipped to maintain a canal in a navigable condition, or alternatively are not equipped to maintain a canal in a navigable condition, or alternatively are not equipped to maintain it to comply with drainage requirements. Deputy Boland suggested that the Board of Works might take over the canals and although I imagine that they do not want to undertake further liabilities they are probably better equipped to deal with them from the technical point of view than C.I.E. is.

[1135]Mr. Sweetman:  I want to make my difficulty in regard to canal navigation quite clear. Take the analogy of road transport. If a merchant carries his own goods in his own lorry, that is private transport on the road. If, on the other hand, C.I.E., or a licensed haulier, under the 1934 Road Transport Act carry goods of other people on the roads that is public transport. On the canals there are the same two forms of transport. If C.I.E. take the goods of other people in their own barges that is clearly public navigation. To mention one case Minch, Norton and Company, of Athy, carry their own goods in their barges. I want to be quite clear, though that might be the analogy of public transport on the roads, that in relation to this amendment, even thought they might be considered private transport goods—they only carry their own goods—that it is public navigation for the purpose of keeping the canals open.

Mr. S. Lemass:  There are not many of these by-traders. I think there are only a couple left and they only do a fraction of the traffic they did some years ago. So long as they want to keep operating C.I.E. must keep the canal fit for navigation. As regards the River Barrow navigation to which Deputy Esmonde referred, I see in the Beddy Report that there have been no barges south of Carlow for three years.

Mr. Corish:  Better keep a few yachts on it. It would save the Barrow.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment No. 16 not moved.

Mr. S. Lemass:  I move amendment No. 17:—

In sub-section (1), page 8, line 9, to add, at the end of the sub-section, “which has not been used for public navigation for three years or more.”

Mr. Cosgrave:  Will the Minister not make the period five years?

Mr. S. Lemass:  I think three years is reasonable. It is the period fixed already.

[1136]Mr. Sweetman:  Can the Minister say what canals have not been used for three years for public navigation, if any?

Mr. S. Lemass:  I think that is true of the Royal Canal. I would not like to say that it is absolutely true but so far as I know it is.

Mr. Sweetman:  Would the Minister make it three years from the date of passing the Act——

Mr. S. Lemass:  It is three years——

Mr. Sweetman:  ——so that people would get notice now?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Is not the way that I am doing it the better way? It will be three years prior to the date on which the board attempts to take the decision.

Mr. Sweetman:  Make the three years run from now.

Mr. S. Lemass:  No. In view of the condition in which the Royal Canal is at the moment a rather substantial expenditure would be required to make it navigable and nobody wants to use it.

Mr. Sweetman:  Are there no branches of the Grand Canal which the Minister has in mind?

Mr. S. Lemass:  No.

Mr. Sweetman:  No branches over which there is no public navigation at present? If the Minister gives me that assurance I will be satisfied.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Any information I have is in the Beddy Report.

Mr. Sweetman:  If the Minister assures me that is so I am happy.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 18 not moved.

Mr. S. Lemass:  I move amendment No. 19:—

In sub-section (2), page 8, line 11, to delete “one month” and substitute “two months”.

[1137] This is to make the period for the statutory notice two months instead of one.

Amendment agreed to.

Question proposed: “That Section 22, as amended, stand part of the Bill.”

Dr. Esmonde:  On the section, in sub-section (3) it says “that such closure shall not release the board from any obligations, including obligations in regard to drainage or the prevention of flooding”. What does it do in regard to drainage?

Mr. S. Lemass:  The closing of a canal does not release the board from any obligation it has, including these obligations and others which are set out in various statutes.

Dr. Esmonde:  How is money saved by this?

Mr. S. Lemass:  The saving by closing a canal to navigation is not very considerable.

Mr. Norton:  There is virtually no saving except on the operation of the barges.

Mr. Russell:  If that is the case, could it not be kept in a fit condition for navigation? Under sub-section (3)——

Mr. S. Lemass:  That is where the canal has not been used by anybody, they can close it to navigation but they must nevertheless maintain any of the other obligations that are imposed on them.

Mr. Russell:  Excluding keeping it fit for navigation?

Mr. S. Lemass:  In the case of the Royal Canal, a very considerable capital expenditure would be necessary and I could not ask the board for that.

Mr. Russell:  I am talking about keeping it in a fit condition. I have no idea what that would cost as against the cost of drainage.

[1138]Mr. S. Lemass:  In the case of the Grand Canal the cost of maintaining it is £27,000.

Mr. Russell:  That is in a fit condition for navigation?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Yes.

Mr. Russell:  That section excludes the board from that liability?

Mr. S. Lemass:  It will not arise in that case at all, except in the circumstances where the canal is closed to navigation where nobody uses it for three years.

Dr. Esmonde:  If the canal is closed down do they still get the rents of £24,000?

Mr. S. Lemass:  They paid a lot of money for them.

Dr. Esmonde:  Who pays them?

Mr. S. Lemass:  C.I.E. took over the canal company's property.

Dr. Esmonde:  And they still get that amount?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Yes.

Question put and agreed to.

SECTION 23.

Question proposed: “That Section 23 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Casey:  This section seems to exempt C.I.E. from the provisions of Section 7 of the Road Transport Act of 1932. Section 7 of the 1932 Act provides that no person shall carry on a passenger road service save under and in accordance with a licence granted to him under the Act. My interpretation of that is that before C.I.E. or anybody else can operate a road passenger service over a particular route they must go to the Minister for Industry and Commerce and seek a licence and that in issuing that licence the Minister may attach certain conditions which he would regard as desirable.

I feel that in invoking these powers attaching conditions, that naturally the Minister will attach such conditions as he would regard as in the public interest and possibly not in the interests [1139] of those who have to operate the buses on such a service. Whatever may be behind this section is not clear to me, but it would appear to me, and to any ordinary layman, that the obligations imposed on C.I.E. or anybody else under Section 7 of the 1932 Act, could not be regarded as onerous in any way.

It appears that they simply write an application to the Minister for the licence. That would not appear to throw too much work on anybody in C.I.E. Because of that, I am at a loss to know why the Minister should now include Sections 23, exempting C.I.E. from that obligation.

Mr. S. Lemass:  It is an extremely foolish procedure, where we have a publicly owned transport undertaking under an obligation to provide a transport service, that the law should provide that in respect of each road passenger service it operates, it must every year get a licence from the Minister for Industry and Commerce. A whole lot of unncessary clerical work is imposed on C.I.E. and the Department of Industry and Commerce. It was an unforeseen consequence of the provisions of the 1932 Act that all this unnecessary issue of licences was required and we propose to get rid of it. C.I.E. are entitled to trun passenger services. They do not have to get a separate licence every year for every service they run. There is not question of conditions now. They have to go through the formality of applying every year for a licence. There is no sense in it.

Mr. Casey:  I do not think it is true to say that there was no question of conditions. According to the Road Transport Act, 1932, “no person shall carry on a passenger road service save under and in accordance with a licence granted to him under this Act”. That would imply that it was open to the Minister at any time to attach any conditions he might deem fit.

Mr. S. Lemass:  The condition would be that the services would be from Patrick Street to Watergrasshill or something of that kind.

Mr. Casey:  The only thing is to get rid of a lot of unnecessary paper work?

[1140]Mr. Larkin:  Are there no conditions imposed by Section 7 of the 1932 Act, except from the point of view of indicating the point at which the service commences or concludes?

Mr. Sweetman:  I agree with that aspect of the Minister's proposal. It seems obviously right to cut out unnecessary clerical work but where there is a proposal to run a new bus service over a new road, particularly in a rural area, the present situation is that C.I.E. and the local authority have consultations about the condition of the road, and so on. I think the present position is that, before the Minister will give them a licence, he must be satisfied they have cleared matters with the local authority. How will that arise? I think it would be desirable that there should at least be consultation.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Yes. That situation is completely unchanged.

Mr. Sweetman:  Is it a different statutory provision?

Mr. S. Lemass:  It is under the Road Traffic Act.

Mr. Sweetman:  Under the Road Traffic Act and not under the Road Transport Act.

Mr. Cosgrave:  The normal position is—at least, it applies in some of the new housing areas—that, where roads are constructed, not so much by corporations or local authorities as by private developers, there is a great delay before the county council or the corporation, as the case may be, take them over. The developer leaves them is one position and the local authority says it will not take them over until they are in a proper condition. In the meantime, people are residing in the houses. C.I.E. will not run a service on the roads because they are not authorised to operate a service until it is approved by the local authority. I do not know if this will do away with that.

Mr. S. Lemass:  It does not alter it at all. They will still require the approval of the local authority to operate a bus service over an estate.

[1141]Mr. Larkin:  They do not require the approval of the local authority under this section?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Under the Road Traffic Act.

Question put and agreed to.

SECTION 24.

Question proposed: “That Section 24 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Norton:  What is behind this section? It seems to me that C.I.E. is charged with the responsibility of providing a public transport service. This section seems to suggest that, although they are charged with providing a public transport service, they may not provide a service on a route which is already served by a private transport operator, without the consent of the Minister. I should like to know what gave rise to the inclusion of that.

Mr. S. Lemass:  What gave rise to it is this very question we discussed earlier. Suppose C.I.E. close down a rail service and do not undertake to provide a road transport service in substitution, some person is licensed to provide that. It is to protect the existing licensed operator who may get a licence to operate a passenger service. Without the assurance that they would be allowed to operate the service, the difficulty would be increased.

Mr. Norton:  Does this apply only where the private operator has come in to provide a service which C.I.E. would not provide?

Mr. Sweetman:  That may be what is in the Minister's mind, but it is not what is in the section.

Mr. S. Lemass:  They are providing a service which C.I.E. have refused to provide.

Mr. Norton:  If somebody is providing a road passenger service at the moment and if the residents on the road served by the private company feel that the service is unsatisfactory or in any way inadequate, the existing company would not be protected against the possibility of having the service for the community improved by allowing C.I.E. to operate on the road.

[1142]Mr. S. Lemass:  It means that C.I.E. will have to make a deal with the licensee.

Mr. Norton:  Suppose the private operator does not make the deal. Suppose the road passenger operator does not make the deal.

Mr. S. Lemass:  These are all cases where C.I.E. had the option of providing a service and declined to do so.

Mr. Norton:  Does the Minister not see the danger? If you are now going to confirm those who have a private passenger-carrying service and if they are protected against the possibility of C.I.E. ever going back on that route against the existing operator, then there is no reason why the existing operator should maintain an efficient service. The Minister says he will not allow C.I.E. back on that road to operate again.

Mr. S. Lemass:  C.I.E. can do it with the consent of the Minister.

Mr. Norton:  That is what I mean.

Mr. S. Lemass:  As far as I know, all the existing licensed passenger services were services which were in existence in 1932. C.I.E. could have acquired them on the payment of compensation but, after examination, C.I.E. decided not to acquire them. I can see Deputy Norton's point. The Minister can give consent to C.I.E. to operate.

Mr. Norton:  And the Minister can give consent and would not withhold it where it would be an improvement?

Mr. S. Lemass:  The Minister must also be concerned to protect whatever interests the private operator had.

Mr. Norton:  The Minister will agree that he should not fortify the private operator in a position in which the private operator allows his own service to deteriorate?

Mr. S. Lemass:  What I would have in mind is that the provision of the 1932 Act should be applicable; in other words, if C.I.E. wanted to go in on the service, they should negotiate to buy out the licensed operator or, in default of agreement, get a settlement by arbitration.

[1143] Question put and agreed to.

SECTION 25.

Mr. Cosgrave:  I move amendment No. 20:—

In sub-section (1) (a), page 8, line 45, to delete “being used by” and substitute “owned and operated by.”

This amendment is put down because of a complaint received by licensed hauliers that C.I.E. operate some sort of permit system which, apparently, is accepted by the Garda authorities but which does not comply with any known piece of legislation and that, in fact, some unlicensed hauliers are operating lorries using these paper permits issued by C.I.E., to the detriment of existing merchandise businesses. It is for that reason that this amendment proposes that the words “being used by” should be deleted and the words “owned and operated by” should be substituted.

Mr. S. Lemass:  May I say straightway that this section is in the Bill on the advice of the Garda Síochána, who have urged that the change proposed here will facilitate them in their efforts to eliminate illegal haulage? Their contention is that it is unnecessary to have a plate upon a C.I.E. lorry because a C.I.E. lorry is easily identified, but the practice of plating lorries hired temporarily by C.I.E. to assist them in handling beet traffic does, they fear, mean that these plated lorries are used for traffic other than that for which they are hired by C.I.E.; that the tendency of the local Gardai is merely to check whether there is a plate on the lorry and to assume, if there is a plate on the lorry, that it is entitled to carry all traffics under all circumstances, and that they are not as a rule inclined to check very carefully as to the scope of the authority conferred by the plate. They have urged, therefore, that, in respect of these lorries that are hired temporarily by C.I.E. and under the control of C.I.E. when these peak traffic periods are in operation, plates should not be issued because, they say, the issuing of plates has in the past facilitated illegal haulage.

[1144]Mr. Norton:  Are these lorries owned by private, non-merchandise, operators?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Some of them would be plated, anyway.

Mr. Sweetman:  That is, the plate is extended, so to speak?

Mr. S. Lemass:  That is true. They are entitled to carry traffic under licence but most of them are just private lorries hired by C.I.E. for the purpose of supplementing their own fleet, for peak traffic. The Guards would prefer that these lorries should not be plated because, if they are plated, they believe they are used for illegal haulage, to some extent anyway, on the assumed authority of that plate. There are limited licences issued for some vehicles for the distribution of Sunday newspapers and, again, they have urged that that limited use should not require plating because, again, they believe that the plating of these vehicles for that limited use facilitates them in unlimited use for other purposes, for which they are not authorised.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  Is not that a weird argument?

Mr. Corish:  It is.

Mr. Norton:  How does it happen that private lorries could be used for purposes other than those required by C.I.E. if, in fact, they are under the control of C.I.E.?

Mr. S. Lemass:  They are, yes, but they have got a plate and they have a plate on the lorry and the Garda authorities say that it is not usual for a Guard checking up on illegal haulage to do more than just see is there a licence plate on the lorry and that he assumes, if there is, that it is therefore carrying on an authorised business, whereas in fact it may not be; that it would facilitate them in the elimination of illegal traffic if these lorries employed by C.I.E. in peak periods were not plated, and that the same applies to vans used in connection with the distribution of Sunday newspapers.

[1145]Mr. Cosgrave:  I understand the position to be that the licensed hauliers complain that C.I.E., not merely hire licensed hauliers, but hire unlicensed hauliers——

Mr. S. Lemass:  That is right. They are entitled to do that.

Mr. Cosgrave:  ——and to issue them with a “paper” plate. That probably is not the correct description. The complaint is that, not merely do some of these lorries operate outside, in conflict with existing licensed hauliers, but that after they cease to be used by C.I.E. they retain the plate——

Mr. S. Lemass:  That is right.

Mr. Cosgrave:  ——or the paper permit and that, in fact, in at least one particular case, the lorry was sold or was sent to auction by the unlicensed haulier with this permit on it. Does this mean that the paper permit will go for the future?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Yes, that these lorries will not have this plate on them. The Garda say that that will facilitate them in checking illegal haulage through these lorries.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  Is not the only result that the Guards will not have anything to check?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Exactly and, therefore, if the lorry is carrying goods for reward, they know it is not licensed.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  Following that out to its logical conclusion, is not the only effect of that that there will be no checking and the Guards will not know if it is engaged in illegal haulage whereas, at least, if there is this permit there, they have an opportunity of checking? I do not follow the argument. It seems an extraordinary one.

Mr. S. Lemass:  When C.I.E. hire a private lorry for peak traffic, there is a plate put on the lorry which represents C.I.E.'s authority. The lorry is for the time being C.I.E.'s lorry but, when it ceases to be used by C.I.E., it still has the plate on ——

[1146]Mr. Sweetman:  Why? Why do they not take the plate back?

Mr. Cosgrave:  It is a permit rather than a plate.

Mr. S. Lemass:  —— and that means that after a time they could operate carrying other traffics believing that the Garda will be satisfied when he sees the plate on the lorry that they are authorised to carry other traffics, and that it is a far better system that they should not be plated when they are hired by C.I.E., that that will enable the Gardai more easily to check illegal haulage by these lorries.

Mr. Cosgrave:  How will he prove that he is working for C.I.E.? Will he have no document now?

Mr. S. Lemass:  That can be easily checked.

Mr. Sweetman:  I do not see.

Mr. Casey:  I am convinced that the Minister is very well intentioned in making provision in this section to endeavour to stamp out illegal haulage. I think he is as concerned as anybody in this House to get to grips with that problem. He has produced a most novel and silly way of doing what he hopes to do. I think he will not succeed. We all know that the success of C.I.E. has been bedevilled down through the years by illegal haulage more than anything else and we are all quite aware of the attendance at fairs and marts of nondescript lorries that ply for hire and draw illegally from those fairs and marts and draw illegally from one part of the country to another every day of the week.

In those circumstances, if I had been charged with amending the matter so as to ensure that the Gardaí, or whoever is charged with checking illegal haulage, would be facilitated, this certainly would not be the way that I would choose. It appears to me quite obvious now that the Garda's task will be more difficult than it ever was. There will be no indication on a lorry as to whether it is entitled to draw the traffic that is on the lorry at that particular moment or not. I would have gone the other way and would have introduced new signs or plates——

[1147]Mr. Corish:  A big poster on the windscreen.

Mr. Casey:  ——a compulsory description on the cab or some part of the lorry that would make it abundantly clear to the most stupid Garda in the Force that the lorry was drawing traffic illegally if it were doing so. While I am sure that the Minister is as anxious as anybody here to stamp out illegal haulage, I implore him to reconsider this particular section. It is novel and silly to my mind. I suggest that the Minister should have another look at it. He has been very badly advised.

Mr. S. Lemass:  I am not saying the idea occurred to me. We had a conference with the Garda authorities as to how best we could check this illegal haulage and the strongest recommendation they made was to stop plating the lorries that are used by C.I.E., and have limited licences.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Why do C.I.E. not take up the permits after the season is over? What I gather has happened is that C.I.E. do not take them up and that they left them so long that they were sold with the permits on them. To take the permits up would be the best solution.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Put the plate on every morning and take it off every evening?

Mr. Cosgrave:  No.

Mr. S. Lemass:  What happens is that they work eight hours for C.I.E. and eight hours for someone else.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Assuming that someone is hauling in the beet or wheat season, surely at the end of the season, after six weeks, or two months——

Mr. S. Lemass:  No. That is not the problem. They work eight hours for C.I.E. and spend the rest of the day hauling for somebody else on the spurious authority of this plate, and the Garda say: “We can stop that if you stop plating the lorries.”

Mr. Sweetman:  I do not understand this amendment at all. It seems to me [1148] quite daft. It will have this effect. There is no plate and there is no permit. A guard stops a lorry that is genuinely working for C.I.E., issues a summons against that lorry because he does not believe the driver concerned. The driver concerned will have to pay a witness from C.I.E. to come down to the District Court to prove——

Mr. S. Lemass:  No, he still has this paper permit.

Mr. Sweetman:  No, he does not.

Mr. S. Lemass:  We are talking here only of the steel plate. He still has the licence in his pocket.

Mr. Sweetman:  What is the difference?

Mr. S. Lemass:  The difference is that the Garda say that the temptation is for the local guards to look to see if this metal plate is on the lorry and if it is they assume that the lorry is entitled to carry for C.I.E. In fact, he has got that plate only for the purpose of the limited traffic for which he has been engaged for C.I.E., but he uses the availability of the plate to engage in other traffic as well. The Gardaí have urged that for this seasonal traffic we do not plate the lorries and that if we do that we shall cut out a good deal of illegal haulage.

Mr. Sweetman:  But he has the permit?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Yes.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Supposing he is a licensed haulier operating for C.I.E., how is he going to prove it, if he has no plate and has no permit?

Mr. S. Lemass:  He has his licence in his pocket.

Mr. Sweetman:  His driving licence?

Mr. S. Lemass:  His licence from C.I.E. C.I.E. have employed him for the time being on a C.I.E. lorry.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  Can the Minister see any objection to providing for a special type of plate which will show that so far as C.I.E. is concerned it is a temporary plate? If the guards see [1149] that, they can then ask for the permit when this vehicle is in use and can ascertain from the permit whether a man is entitled to be using it for C.I.E.

Mr. S. Lemass:  The Garda say this is by far the most satisfactory method.

A Deputy:  Is there anything but beet involved?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Very little.

Mr. Corish:  Corn.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Not so much. It is almost entirely beet.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  I suggest to the Minister that he should have another conference with the Garda. As I put it to the Minister before, it seems to me that the only advantage in this system is that if there is illegal haulage going on, the Garda are saved the trouble of investigating it because they will not know anything about it. Under the present system apparently, the guards have some difficulty in investigating, but they are saved the trouble of investigating here.

Mr. S. Lemass:  It is the other way round.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  I would suggest to the Minister that there are 101 ways in which an effective system could be evolved. One is, as I have suggested, by putting on a distinctive type of plate.

Mr. S. Lemass:  This is the one the Garda suggested.

Mr. Casey:  I seriously suggest to the Minister that he should go back to the Garda and discuss this matter with them again in the light of what has been said here.

Mr. S. Lemass:  I suggest to the Deputy that he should contact some of the Garda officers who are trying to eliminate this illegal traffic, and get their views.

Mr. Casey:  It should not be beyond the ingenuity of C.I.E. or somebody in the Department to devise a special plate for this seasonal haulage. To my mind, that should make it easier for [1150] the Garda to detect persons engaged in illegal haulage, but it is a cockeyed argument to say: “Strip down everything and let the guards start from scratch and question everybody.”

Mr. S. Lemass:  No. We are aiming to cover only a certain class of people, those who are employed by C.I.E. for a limited period and who have that limited licence.

Mr. Casey:  During the beet season, if a person who is drawing legally on this temporary licence under contract has no special plate, every other lorry owner who is not entitled to draw at all will chance his arm during that season and the Garda will be forced, if they are to detect and prosecute, to stand at every cross-road and question the driver of every lorry.

Mr. S. Lemass:  I will undertake to bring the observations of the Deputy to the Garda authorities.

Mr. Corish:  I do not think the Minister believes the arguments himself. The Minister trusts the guards.

Mr. S. Lemass:  I believe in trusting the experts.

Mr. Norton:  At present C.I.E. hire lorries which have merchandise licences and then there are those which will have merchandise licences under this section. Does the Minister mean that none of these lorries will be required to carry plates?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Of course, the plated lorries will have their plates anyway.

Mr. Norton:  They will be required to carry the plates?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Yes.

Mr. Norton:  Is it worth while building this superstructure for the purpose of dealing with the small number of people who are engaged for a short period carrying a specific type of freight, because quite clearly it is easy to detect these people if the Garda want to detect them? These people, in the main, are employed for the purpose of hauling beet or grain. If they are hauling otherwise, it is a matter for the Garda to detect them because they [1151] have no plates for operating anything other than beet or grain. There may be some hidden depths in this which I am not capable of plumbing, but it seems to be peculiar to say that the best way to identify a thing is to remove all identification from it. I give it up.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  We have been discussing so far paragraph (1) (a) of Section 25, but does the Minister seriously think that whatever weight is in the arguments that have been presented to him by the Guards in relation to that sub-paragraph, the same weight applies to sub-paragraph (b), that is, those with limited licences?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Perhaps not so much. It is true they are smaller vehicles and the abuses perhaps, therefore, less serious, but they are plated, although they are authorised to operate on only one day in the week.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  They operate on only one day or night and consequently there is no question of their being used otherwise, but is there any difficulty in the world about producing a distinctive plate from those merchandise licenses?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Remember this: some of them are light cars and some of them are station wagons.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  And if this section goes through is there anything to prevent my taking my car in? Is any Garda entitled to stop me?

Mr. S. Lemass:  I again make my offer——

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  With all respect to him, the Minister has been helpful enough——

Mr. S. Lemass:  They sold me on this idea and I am not unsold yet.

Mr. Sweetman:  Was the idea of a different coloured metallic plate for these buses discussed?

Mr. S. Lemass:  I presume so.

Mr. Sweetman:  “No, is was not,” is the answer.

[1152]Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  Is the Minister prepared to say to the House in relation to this section what suggestion was put up by himself or the Department at these discussions with the Garda? Was it a question of accepting a memo from the Garda?

Mr. S. Lemass:  It was a general discussion as to how we could have eliminated this.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  Deputy Sweetman has asked if a distinctive plate could not have been considered and I understood the Minister to say he did not know——

Mr. S. Lemass:  But also that I am sure it was.

Mr. Sweetman:  I should like to have something more than the Minister's assumption, if it was.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  Will the Minister tell us what objections the Gardaí made in regard to that idea?

Mr. S. Lemass:  I do not know.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  The Minister is responsible and has inserted into this Bill a section which seems to every Deputy who spoke except the Minister himself to be an amazing one. While we accept the Minister's bona fide about the garda being responsible for the selection, nevertheless the Minister's arguments put up here were quite unconvincing. I have not heard Deputies on the opposite side give their views but I feel sure they would agree with ours.

Mr. Sweetman:  Surely the Minister will at least fulfil his obligation by saying between now and the Report Stage he will discuss with the appropriate Garda authorities whether a distinctive plate would not be a better method and if not, why not, so that the House can be told on Report Stage?

Mr. S. Lemass:  I agree to that.

Mr. Corish:  The Minister is reasonable.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[1153] Amendment No. 21 not moved.

Section 25 agreed to.

SECTION 26.

Mr. Casey:  I move amendment No. 22:—

22. Before Section 26 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) All road motor vehicles used for the transport of merchandise shall be maintained in sound mechanical order and generally in a satisfactory condition.

(2) The Minister shall make regulations providing for the periodical inspection of all road motor vehicles used for the transport of merchandise to ensure compliance with sub-section (1).

(3) The name, address and business of the owner of any road motor vehicle used for the transport of merchandise shall be clearly painted on the near side cab door of every road motor vehicle used for the transport of merchandise.

This amendment seeks to insert a new section before Section 26 providing for three things, first, that all motor vehicles used for the transport of merchandise shall be maintained in sound mechanical order and generally in satisfactory condition. I do not think I need delay the House by bringing arguments to bear on the desirability of such a provision.

Mr. S. Lemass:  May I interrupt the Deputy? I am not going to argue against the amendment. My only point is that it is appropriate to road traffic legislation and there will be a Road Traffic Bill before the Dáil this year. The Deputy might consider that the section would be inappropriate to this Bill but that it would be appropriate to the road traffic legislation on which a new Bill will shortly be before the House.

Mr. Casey:  I am not arguing against this but the amendment was not ruled out as inappropriate——

Mr. S. Lemass:  It would be appropriate to the road traffic legislation which will be proposed. The Deputy [1154] could consider whether it would be appropriate to the situation as he sees it to press this amendment now or to await the new Bill.

Mr. Casey:  I am simply making the point that the amendment was tabled and was not ruled out of order.

Mr. S. Lemass:  The new Road Traffic Bill will be along shortly, perhaps not this session but certainly this year. It may be introduced this session but I do not think we will be enthusiastic about taking it.

Mr. Casey:  I shall accept that.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Casey:  On a point of order, before the Minister moves amendment No. 23 I wonder whether it is strictly in order. In making that point I would refer you, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, to the fact that amendment No. 9, standing in my name and that of Deputy Larkin, was ruled out of order last week. I had a communication from the Ceann Comhairle stating it was outside the scope of the Bill and I saw fit to question that at the time in the House when you were in the Chair. You explained to me and to the House. —I am quoting from the Official Report, column 919, of last Thursday —that: “This Bill deals only with the reorganisation of C.I.E.” You proceeded to rule out of order my amendment which dealt with the Irish Railway Clearing-House because, as you said, this Bill was a C.I.E. Bill. Similarly, when I rose to move amendment No. 22 it was explained to me by the Minister that that amendment was more appropriate to the Road Traffic Bill. If I accept that, I am certainly mystified as to how amendment No. 23 by the Minister which permits a farmer to haul cattle from a farm or mart is appropriate to this Bill. Certainly, it would seem to me that the arguments that have been brought to bear in ruling out my first amendment and in inducing me to withdraw my amendment a few minutes ago would apply to this case. There is nothing in this amendment that applies to C.I.E.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The points raised by the Deputy were carefully [1155] examined by the Ceann Comhairle and he decided that the Minister's amendment was in order on this Bill.

Mr. Casey:  The points raised by me were considered by the Ceann Comhairle?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  All relevant points were considered.

Mr. Casey:  But I did not raise it outside this House. Am I to understand that somebody did raise it, because there were some doubts as to whether the amendment was in order?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  There is not any question of doubt. All these points must be considered before it is decided that an amendment is in order.

Mr. Kyne:  Is there a different law for Deputies and Ministers?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  There is no different law.

Mr. Casey:  Would you explain to me, Sir, and to the House, how this amendment is in order and how my amendment No. 9 was ruled out of order?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Chair informed the Deputy why amendment No. 9 was out of order, and went fully into the matter.

Mr. Casey:  Yes, Sir, and the explanation was that this was a C.I.E. Bill. That is the explanation I got. Now we have an amendment regarding the haulage of cattle by farmers which has nothing to do with C.I.E. and am I to take it that it is in order? It is certainly mystifying to me.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  It has been decided it is in order.

Mr. Larkin:  You indicated, Sir, that the points raised by Deputy Casey had been considered by the Ceann Comhairle. I should like you to explain to the House how the Ceann Comhairle could consider the points before the Deputy spoke or made these points?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  I pointed out to Deputy Casey it was [1156] usual to consider all the relevant points affecting every amendment.

Mr. S. Lemass:  I move amendment No. 23:—

Before Section 26 to insert a new section as follows:—

Notwithstanding Section 9 of the Road Transport Act, 1933, a person whose only or chief occupation is farming may, without being the holder of a merchandise licence, carry for reward in a vehicle drawn by a tractor owned by him livestock owned by a person resident not more than two miles from the carrier's residence if the livestock are being carried to or from a farm from or to a livestock auction mart on the day on which the auction takes place at that mart and they are not being carried in either direction on any part of a public road which is more than twenty miles by public road from his residence.

The Beddy Committee recommended that the provisions of the Road Transport Act should be amended to permit farmers to carry for reward by means of a tractor and trailer the goods of neighbouring farmers resident within two miles of the tractor owner, subject to the condition that the carriage for reward should be limited to farm produce and requisites within that radius. They urged that that concession should not affect the eligibility of the tractor owner for the reduced annual taxation rate. I considered that recommendation very carefully and decided I could not accept it, that it would be impracticable to circumscribe the concessions effectively to ensure that farmers would not engage in haulage for reward on a commercial scale in unfair competition with the public undertakings and licensed hauliers.

Therefore, the Bill as introduced did not contain any proposal to give effect to that recommendation of the Beddy Committee. But since the Bill was circulated, I met representatives of the National Farmers' Association who limited their representations to the particular point raised in this amendment. They asked that the Road Transport Act should be amended so [1157] as to permit a farmer to carry cattle to an auction mart on a day an action was being held and that the concession should be confined to servicing other farmers living within a two-mile radius of the farm of the tractor owner. Their argument was that a new type of traffic need has arisen, in consequence of the development of these auction marts, which cannot conveniently be met by any of the existing transport services, and that if that concession were allowed, a benefit would accrue to C.I.E., in the sense that the collection of cattle in these marts offers to C.I.E. the type of transport business they are seeking, that is, a large volume of freight of a specialised kind collected at a particular centre on a particular day.

I considered the representations they made and I felt considerable sympathy with them. I discussed the matter very fully with them and I emphasised my desire to ensure that no concession of this kind could possibly bring into existence a new type of transport operator who would be seeking to get a livelihood from the provision of this service and who, in default of being able to get a sufficient livelihood, might be tempted into another type of illegal haulage. I feel that, subject to the conditions set out in the amendment, this facility could be allowed without undue risk, that is to say, to allow a farmer, a person whose only or chief occupation is farming, to undertake this service for his neighbour, to carry by means of tractor and trailer live stock owned by a person resident not more than two miles from him, subject to the condition that the live stock is being carried to and from an auction mart on a day on which an auction is taking place and subject also to the over-all limitation that the distance which the live stock can be transported by public road is not more than 20 miles.

I cannot see that that facility can in fact do any harm to C.I.E. I do not think they could provide the type of service which is required and, as I said, it is a new type of transport need which C.I.E. is not equipped to handle. The likelihood is that C.I.E. would be facilitated by the extension [1158] of this facility. Indeed, I think I should say that on that occasion the National Farmers' Association paid tribute to the efficiency with which C.I.E. is handling the transport problem arising at these auction marts in the transport of cattle from the marts to their destinations. They believe that the whole operation would be greatly facilitated, both from their point of view and from C.I.E.'s point of view, if this facility were allowed.

I undertook to bring an amendment to the Dáil and that is what I am doing now. I do not think the danger I had to safeguard against is likely to arise from it—the danger of a new type of transport operator coming along who would seek to supplement what he could get from this operation by engaging in other transport operations—provided it is limited to tractors and limited to the conveyance of live stock to auction marts on the day such marts are held.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Can the Minister say if “auction marts” include fairs?

Mr. S. Lemass:  No. That is one of the questions I put to the National Farmers' Association: whether I was likely to have pressure put on me to extend this facility to fairs? They said “No”. They said fairs are still held in a number of centres to cater for cattle brought in from a comparatively small radius. The problem of the auction marts is to move cattle from a far wider ranges, a longer distance than the cattle could be walked. There is a transport need there which could not be met in any other way.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  The Minister is aware there were four or five weighty arguments against this. Having considered these, the Beddy Committee decided, nevertheless, that this should be done. Has the Minister considered whether or not it is necessary further to extend legislation, once this farmers to use their tractors in this way and to obtain the lower rate of tax?

Mr. S. Lemass:  That is not a matter for this legislation, but certainly the case made by the National Farmers' [1159] Association was that this facility would be of no use, unless at the lower rate of tax.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  That is what I am saying. Will it be necessary to make that clear in the amendment or in the Bill, that it shall be at the reduced rate?

Mr. S. Lemass:  It would not be in this Bill. It would be in the Bill dealing with taxation.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins:  But in the interim period? I am not clear on this. What happens if this goes through in the morning?

Mr. S. Lemass:  If it goes through now, it is of no use to them. They are merely authorised to carry. By reason of this amendment, they do not get the benefit of the lower tax rate. That has to be done by other legislation.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Is Deputy Sweetman moving his amendment?

Mr. Sweetman:  Yes. I move the following amendment to the amendment:—

In the fourth line to delete “drawn by a tractor”.

I thought I could not move an amendment to an amendment until the first amendment had been accepted.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The discussion will cover the two amendments.

Mr. Kyne:  On the amendment, could the Minister say how he can reconcile the fact that earlier this evening he said licensed hauliers found it more difficult to get employment with his statement now that C.I.E. do not want this new business of taking cattle to cattle marts.?

Mr. S. Lemass:  I did not say that. I said it is not the type of service C.I.E. are equipped to provide and I cannot see them equipping themselves to provide it.

Mr. Kyne:  What equipment is necessary?

[1160]Mr. S. Lemass:  This is a service which could most conveniently be provided by the tractor and trailer.

Mr. Kyne:  In my opinion this is a sop to Cerberus. Hitherto, they could always carry provided they did not get paid for it or take a reward. Now, all farmers within a two mile radius of one another should be good neighbours. This will not just be a neighbourly act; this will be doing work which should normally be done by C.I.E. or by licensed hauliers. This is another inroad on an industry which pays good wages and does a good job. It is proposed now to hand this work over as a sideline to people who will pay no wages or, if they do, they will be low wages as compared with those paid by C.I.E., and the licensed hauliers.

Mr. Sweetman:  Let us be clear, first of all, as to what this is. This is not haulage in the ordinary sense at all. This is a man picking up a beast or two from one small farmer, another couple of beasts from another small farmer, and so on. It will operate only under the restriction of the two mile radius. It will not operate as an ordinary haulage business. We all know that a farmer going to a fair or an auction with a tractor or a lorry— I shall deal with the lorry later—is afraid at the moment to take his nextdoor-neighbour's beast for nothing, because if he is stopped by a Guard the Guard will not believe that he is carrying these beasts without reward.

The effect of this amendment will be to leave them free to carry their neighbour's cattle without any fear of the type of investigation that takes place at the moment, an investigation which undoubtedly deters some farmers from doing an ordinary neighbourly act. The two mile radius means that such haulage cannot become a business in the ordinary sense. This haualge will not compete with licensed hauliers or with C.I.E.

I am in some doubt as to whether the Minister is wise in restricting it to an auction mart, as distinct from a fair. The tendency is for farmers, who have lorries or trailers, to go to fairs, even if they are not bringing in animals of their own, so that, if they happen to [1161] buy, they have their own transport to bring home their cattle. Now, suppose a small neighbouring farmer buys a beast, is it good business from an economic point of view to send a C.I.E. lorry ten or 15 miles out of its way merely to deliver one or two beasts to that small farmer? Under this amendment that trifling service can be rendered by a large neighbouring farmer and, having regard to the very restricted type of business it will be it will not matter a hoot from the point of view of other road operators.

I visualise the larger farmer in Kildare, for instance, taking an odd beast for one of his neighbours either to an auction or mart, or home from it, and I say that the provision should be extended to cover fairs as well. This service will not operate where there is a full load available because the full load is a different type of business altogether. It will only be the odd beast which will be carried. I do not believe either C.I.E. or the licensed hauliers want the job of going ten miles out of their way to bring one or two beasts to a small farmer, and then going another five miles out of their way to drop another beast to another farmer. That would be bad economics from the national point of view or, indeed, from any point of view. The large farmer with the tractor or the lorry cannot take his neighbour's beast at the moment because he knows, if he does so, the Guards will not believe that he is doing it without reward and he will have the job of trying to persuade the Guards and the district justice that he is doing it for nothing. Rather than go through that rigmarole, he just will not take his neighbour's beast.

Mr. Larkin:  I am unconvinced by the Minister's explanation as to the necessity for this section and Deputy Sweetman has, to a great extent, confirmed my fears. I do not believe there is any question of this section working on the basis of neighbourly assistance. It is quite clear to me it will constitute the beginning of a commercial operation. It is easy enough to say that it will be restricted to a two-mile radius; the Guards and those who have the task of enforcing the regulations will have [1162] to go round with a tape measuring the distance between the carrier's residence and the other farm, or farms.

There is, too, the question of the suitability of a tractor and trailer for carrying live stock for a distance of 20 miles or so. It is quite clear that the carrying of live stock over that distance is the business of C.I.E. and the licensed hauliers. The underlying suggestion in Deputy Sweetman's submission is that those who have occasion to sell or purchase live stock, sell or purchase only one beast at a time. Deputy Sweetman, in supporting the amendment and, in effect, in supporting the Minister's amendment of the section, made a fairly strong case to the effect that the persons using the tractors or trailers for this purpose would be collecting one beast here, travelling half a mile and collecting another beast, then another half a mile and collecting another beast—all within the little radius of two miles, to carry the beasts 20 miles.

I feel that the inclusion of this sub-section could very seriously affect the trading position of C.I.E., while, according to the Minister, the whole purpose of this Bill is to help C.I.E. to become a self-efficient, self-supporting, economic organisation within the next five years. As has been explained on more than one occasion by other Deputies, even with the substantial financial assistance which the Bill proposes to give C.I.E., if its operation can be prejudiced by the inclusion of sub-sections such as this, then a part of the purpose of the Bill itself may be prejudiced.

In addition, there is the other form of competition that this new sub-section would, I feel, introduce. Whatever about the management and the operation of C.I.E., generally speaking, the national transport company is required to have some regard to the conditions under which its employees work—the hours they work and the payment they receive for that work. Having regard to the manner in which those employed directly in agriculture are treated not only as regards their working hours but also as regards their rates of payment for their work, I can readily see in local areas this type of [1163] service providing a very unfair competition.

I take it that those employed by farmers would, if the amendment is approved, be driving the tractors and trailers on the public road. One need hardly say that the payment which they might receive for their services of driving what would amount to transport vehicles on the public road in carrying out this work would be, I am quite sure, a percentage of what is recognised as a reasonable rate for driving any public service vehicle or merchandise vehicle on the road today.

I think the inclusion by the Minister of this new section in this Bill would lead to a very unsatisfactory position as a whole. I would ask him to reconsider the position.

Mr. Cosgrave:  I should like to support the Minister's amendment, but I think he should consider the question of extending it to fairs. One of the essentials of the eradication of bovine tuberculosis requirements is to prevent cattle from being moved very often by road. They are not moved much nowadays by driving them on the roads, but nevertheless farmers might be tempted to do it. They are entitled to carry them either to or from the fairs where there is an auction mart which will enable them to comply fully with the tuberculin testing of cattle requirements.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Can the Deputy get a definition of “fair” as distinct from a weekly market?

Mr. Cosgrave:  It is difficult, but I suppose there is a generally accepted definition. At any rate, there probably is a definition in the Fairs and Markets Act.

Mr. Sweetman:  I think there is.

Mr. S. Lemass:  I mentioned that the people who came to me from the National Farmers' Association wanted this arrangement for auction marts only. They may have a particular interest in confining it to auction marts. It would be far more suitable, from my point of view, so to do. I [1164] see no difficulty whatsoever as regards enforcing this arrangement in the limited conditions contemplated here because these auction marts are held once a fortnight or so, and clearly it would be a day on which one would expect to see this transportation taking place, whereas, on any other day, one would not expect to see it.

Mr. Norton:  Did the National Farmers' Association put to the Minister the proposition that the tractor should be allowed to operate within 20 miles of the owner's residence?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Not more than 20 miles from the auction mart.

Mr. Norton:  What is the difference?

Mr. S. Lemass:  It is not 20 miles around the owner's residence but around the auction mart.

Mr. Norton:  Suppose the owner's residence is 20 miles from the auction mart, does the Minister seriously contemplate using a tractor with a trailer for 20 miles for driving cattle?

Mr. S. Lemass:  I would hate it myself. I would not sit down for a month after it.

Mr. Norton:  Nor would the Minister get up for two months.

Mr. Cosgrave:  These fellows are used to it.

Mr. Sweetman:  A month there and a month back.

Mr. Norton:  Is it suggested that this tractor, with the vehicle behind it, would take cattle 20 miles?

Mr. S. Lemass:  I do not think so. Twenty miles is the outside limit.

Mr. Norton:  Where did the Minister get the 20 miles?

Mr. Gilbride:  It is quite common.

Mr. Wycherley:  I send cattle to a market 33 miles away.

Mr. Norton:  These prodigious feats have been performed in various places. Dr. Vivian Fuchs recently did some prodigious things with tractors. Is it contemplated that it would be a normal operation that these tractors [1165] would be used for a 20 mile journey to the mart and back?

Mr. S. Lemass:  There are very few auction marts which draw cattle from more than 20 miles distance. The average distance travelled is a great deal less.

Mr. Norton:  Is it contemplated that the penalty set out in Section 26 of the Bill will apply to offences committed in respect of the amendment which the Minister has now introduced?

Mr. S. Lemass:  Yes.

Mr. Gilbride:  Would the Minister consider allowing the use of a tractor to take cattle to a railway station? In the West of Ireland, the cattle markets are very far away from one another. One is probably the most that can be set up in each county. Take my own county, for instance. Two cattle markets are held there—one at Ballina and the other at Ballymote. I know people and the nearest they can get to that is 30 miles. I appeal to the Minister to consider, between now and the Report Stage, increasing the 20 miles to at least 25 miles. I know there will be great hardships in that. I also urge that permission be given to bring the cattle in a lorry. Consider [1166] the position if cattle are being sent to the Dublin market. Take a man living 30 miles from a railway station. How would he get the cattle there?

Mr. S. Lemass:  I could not agree to that at all. The attraction of this proposal, this limited modification of the restrictions of the Road Transport Act, from my point of view, is that the Guards can be facilitated in permitting its operation. They will know the day on which the auction mart is held They will be able to check any operations carried out on that day and, furthermore, they will know the position as it applies on any other day when an auction mart is not being held.

Mr. Casey:  This could be 40 miles away—20 miles on either side of the residence.

Mr. S. Lemass:  Once you are talking about transportation to the railway stations or fairs or something that could be done on any day—then, of course, it becomes impossible.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 4th June, 1958.

Mr. Desmond:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will state separately as regards the National Health Insurance Fund in respect of each of the three years preceding the commencement of the Health Act, 1953, (a) the contribution income (from employers and employees), (b) the number of National Health Insurance stamps sold, (c) the annual cost of hospital and medical charges (of all [1017] classes) paid out of the Fund on behalf of insured persons, and (d) the estimated weekly contribution (in pence) equivalent to the hospital and medical cost element in each insurance stamp.

[1018]Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. MacEntee):  The required information, in so far as it is available, is as follows:—

Calendar Year
1951 1952 1953
(a) Contribution income (from employers and employees) of the N.H.I. Fund £1,309,625 £1,400,968 Not available.
(b) Number of N.H.I. stamps sold 26,077,000 26,928,000 See Note 1.
(c) Cost of hospital and medical charges paid out of the N.H.I. Fund, or the Social Insurance Fund, on behalf of insured persons (See Note 2) £266,980 £315,880 £388,440

(d) The estimated weekly contribution (in pence) equivalent to the hospital and medical cost element in each insurance stamp cannot be stated as the National Health Insurance stamp contained no element in respect of the cost of hospital and medical charges. The cost of these charges was met from the actuarial surplus of the National Health Insurance scheme up to termination of that scheme on the 4th January, 1953, and for the year 1953 was met by the Exchequer.

NOTES.

1. The National Health Insurance Fund ceased in January, 1953, on the merger of that Fund, the Unemployment Fund and the Widows' and Orphans' Pensions Fund in the Social Insurance Fund established under the Social Welfare Act, 1952. Unified social insurance contributions became payable under that Act and it is not possible to relate the contribution income of the Social Insurance Fund, or the stamps sold, to any particular insurance benefit.

2. The amounts given at (c) represent expenditure on Hospital and Convalescent Home benefit, Medical and Surgical Appliances benefit, and Specialist Medical and Specialist Surgical benefit.

Mr. Desmond:  asked the Minister for Finance if he will state in tabular form the change in taxation in real terms between 1938/39 and 1958/59 in the case of earned incomes (Schedule E) for (a) single persons (b) married persons and (c) married persons with two children, under the following headings and sub-headings: (1) income £100 to £1,000, inclusive, (a) 1938/39 income and (b) equivalent 1958/59 income; (2) 1938/39 tax rates (a) actual liabilities, (b) 1958/59 equivalent liabilities; (3) 1958/59 tax rates (a) actual liabilities (b) increase per cent. in relation to 1938/39, and (4) tax liabilities as a percentage of income (a) 1938/39 (b) 1958/59.

Dr. Ryan:  Following is the information:—

[1019][1020] SINGLE PERSONS.

(1) (2) (3) (4)
INCOME (Earned) 1938-39 INCOME-TAX RATES 1958-59 INCOME-TAX RATES INCOME-TAX LIABILITY AS PERCENTAGE OF INCOME
(a) (b) (a) (b) (a) (b) (a) (b)
1938-39 Income *Equivalent 1958-59 Income 1938-39 Actual liability *Equivalent 1958-59 liability Actual liability on Income in Col. 1 (b) Percentage Increase of Col. 3 (a) in relation to Col. 2 (b) 1938-39 Col. 2 (a) and 1 (a) 1958-59 Col. 3 (a) and 1 (b)
£ £ £ s. d. £ s. d. £ s. d.
100 265 nil 7 6 3 2.8
200 530 4 13 9 12 8 5 62 16 3 406 2.3 11.9
300 795 16 17 6 44 14 5 137 6 10 207 5.6 17.3
400 1,060 35 12 6 94 8 2 216 15 0 130 8.9 20.4
500 1,325 55 2 6 146 1 8 296 5 0 103 11.0 22.4
600 1,590 75 7 6 199 14 11 379 2 6 90 12.6 23.8
700 1,855 95 12 6 253 8 2 472 13 9 87 13.7 25.5
800 2,120 115 17 6 307 1 5 586 10 0 91 14.5 27.7
900 2,385 136 2 6 360 14 8 705 15 0 96 15.1 29.6
1,000 2,650 156 7 6 414 7 11 825 0 0 99 15.6 31.1

MARRIED PERSONS.

(1) (2) (3) (4)
INCOME (Earned) 1938-39 INCOME-TAX RATES 1958-59 INCOME-TAX RATES INCOME-TAX LIABILITY AS PERCENTAGE OF INCOME
(a) (b) (a) (b) (a) (b) (a) (b)
1938-39 INCOME *Equivalent 1958-59 Income 1938-39 Actual liability *Equivalent 1958-59 liability Actual liability on Income in Col. 1 (b) Percentage Increase of Col. 3 (a) in relation to Col. 2 (b) 1938-39 Col. 2 (a) and 1 (a) 1958-59 Col. 3 (a) and 1 (b)
£ £ £ s. d. £ s. d. £ s. d.
100 265 Nil Nil Nil
200 530 Nil Nil 13 2 6 2.5
300 795 2 16 3 7 9 1 77 6 10 938 .9 9.7
400 1,060 13 2 6 34 15 8 156 15 0 350 3.3 14.8
500 1,325 32 12 6 86 9 2 236 5 0 173 6.5 17.8
600 1,590 52 17 6 140 2 5 319 2 6 128 8.8 20.1
700 1,855 73 2 6 193 15 8 412 13 9 113 10.4 22.2
800 2,120 93 7 6 247 8 11 526 10 0 113 11.7 24.8
900 2,385 113 12 6 301 2 2 645 15 0 114 12.7 27.1
1,000 2,650 133 17 6 354 15 5 765 0 0 111 13.4 28.9

MARRIED PERSONS WITH TWO CHILDREN.

(1) (2) (3) (4)
INCOME (Earned) 1938-39 INCOME-TAX RATES 1958-59 INCOME-TAX RATES INCOME-TAX LIABILITY AS PERCENTAGE OF INCOME
(a) (b) (a) (b) (a) (b) (a) (b)
1938-39 Income *Equivalent 1958-59 Income 1938-39 Actual liability *Equivalent 1958-59 liability Actual liability on Income in Col. 1 (b) Percentage Increase of Col. 3 (a) in relation to Col.2 (b) 1938-39 Col. 2 (a) and 1 (a) 1958-59 Col. 3 (a) and 1 (b)
£ £ £ s. d. £ s. d. £ s. d.
100 265 Nil Nil Nil
200 530 Nil Nil Nil
300 795 Nil Nil 12 18 9 1.6
400 1,060 Nil Nil 81 15 0 7.7

*The “equivalent 1958-59” figures represent the 1938-39 figures adjusted by reference to the Consumer Price Index at mid-February, 1958.

[1021][1022](1) (2) (3) (4)
INCOME (Earned) 1938-39 INCOME-TAX RATES 1958-59 INCOME-TAX RATES INCOME-TAX LIABILITY AS PERCENTAGE OF INCOME
(a) (b) (a) (b) (a) (b) (a) (b)
1938-39 Income *Equivalent 1958-59 Income 1938-39 Actual liability *Equivalent 1958-59 liability Actual liability on Income in Col. 1 (b) Percentage Increase of Col. 3 (a) in relation to Col. 2 (b) 1938-39 Col. 2 (a) and 1 (a) 1958-59 Col. 3 (a) and 1 (b)
£ £ £ s. d. £ s. d. £ s. d.
500 1,325 8 8 9 22 7 2 161 5 0 622 1.7 12.2
600 1,590 25 17 6 68 11 5 244 2 6 258 4.3 15.4
700 1,855 46 2 6 122 4 8 337 13 9 176 6.6 18.2
800 2,120 66 7 6 175 17 11 451 10 0 157 8.3 21.3
900 2,385 86 12 6 229 11 2 570 15 0 149 9.6 23.9
1,000 2,650 106 17 6 283 4 5 690 0 0 144 10.7 26.0

*The “equivalent 1958-59” figures represent the 1938-39 figures adjusted by reference to the Consumer Price Index at mid-February, 1958.

Mr. Sweetman:  asked the Minister for Finance if he will state particulars of the investments available to trustees after the 2nd July, 1958, in which to invest trust funds which are (a) Government stocks (b) State guaranteed stocks and (c) local authority stocks, including in each case the amount of stock now outstanding; whether income-tax is or is not deducted at source from interest payments, and the provisions for redemption.

Dr. Ryan:  The information requested by the Deputy is as follows. As regards local authority stocks, the table includes particulars only of stocks of harbour authorities; the information regarding other local authority stocks is being obtained and will be forwarded to the Deputy.

Stock Amount outstanding Whether income-tax deducted from interest payments Redemption
£
(a) Government Stocks: At 31st March, 1958 At par—
3¾% Fourth National Loan, 1950-70 3,597,456 No 1.2.1950—1.8.1970
3¼% Financial Agreement Loan, 1953-58 1,255,033 No 15.9.1953—15.9.1958
3¼% National Security Loan, 1956-61 5,680,006 No 1.12.1956—1.12.1961
3% Exchequer Bonds, 1965-70 20,195,331 No 1.10.1965—1.10.1970
3½% Exchequer Bonds, 1965-70 26,682,829 No 15.7.1965—15.7.1970
5% National Loan, 1962-72 17,200,600 No 15.9.1962—15.9.1972
4½% National Loan, 1973-78 20,998,050 No 1.9.1973—1.9.1978
4¼% National Loan, 1975-80 18,488,720 No 1.11.1975—1.11.1980
5% National Savings Bonds, 1971-81 19,564,850 No 15.2.1971—15.2.1981
5½% National Loan, 1966 6,607,626 No 15.12.1966
6% National Loan, 1967 20,421,963 No 15.12.1967
[1023][1024](b) State Guaranteed Stocks: At 31st March, 1958 At par—
£
Land Bonds—
4½% Land Bonds 21,141,417 Yes By sinking fund operating by annual drawings.
4½% New Land Bonds 545,801 Yes do.
4% Land Bonds 3,644,298 Yes do.
3½% Land Bonds 551,986 Yes do.
3% Land Bonds 155,709 Yes do.
4¾% Land Bonds 1,413,152 Yes do. (drawing not yet started)
5% Land Bonds 504,371 Yes do. do.
5¾% Land Bonds 307,079 Yes do. do.
6% Land Bonds 50,832 Yes do. do.
Agricultural Credit Corp. Ltd.
3% State Guaranteed Mortgage Stock, 1957-67 1,000,000 No 1.3.1957—1.9.1967
3½% State Guaranteed Mortgage Stock, 1966-76 500,000 No 1.3.1966—1.9.1976
4½% State Guaranteed Mortgage Stock, 1957-60 500,000 No 1.9.1957—1.9.1960
4% State Guaranteed Mortgage Stock, 1962-65 200,000 No 1.11.1962—1.11.1965
Comhlucht Siuicre Éireann Teo.
4% Guaranteed Debenture Stock, 1954-74 1,000,000 Yes 1.5.1954—1.11.1974
At 31st March, 1958 At par—
Córas Iompair Eireann—
3% Transport Stock, 1955-60 9,889,083 Yes 30.6.1955—30.6.1960
2½% ,,,, 1965-75 3,000,000 Yes 30.6.1965—30.6.1975
3% ,,,, 1975-85 3,514,460 Yes 30.6.1975—30.6.1985
5% ,,,, 1972-77 2,500,000 Yes 1.7.1972—30.6.1977
4¼% ,,,, 1972-77 4,500,000 No 1.7.1972—30.6.1977
Electricity Supply Board—
5% Stock, 1966-75 9,676,100 No 1.4.1966—30.9.1975
6% ,, 1968-78 4,050,000 No 1.7.1968—1.7.1978
(c) Local Authority Stocks:
(Harbour Authorities only)
Dublin Port and Docks Board.
3¼% Redeemable Stock, 1959 164,769 Yes 7.12.1959
5% Redeemable Stock, 1962-85 904,022 Yes 1.1.1962—1.1.1985
4% Redeemable Stock, 1975-95 355,888 Yes 1.11.1975—1.11.1995
3% Redeemable Stock, 1976-96 300,000 Yes 1.1.1976—1.1.1996
Cork Harbour Commissioners.
4% Irredeemable Consolidated Stock 6,170 Yes Irredeemable

Mr. O'Malley:  asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state what proposals are before him at present from the Limerick Corporation in connection with housing (including Compulsory Purchase Orders, etc.) and the present position in each case.

Mr. Blaney:  Plans for the erection of 51 houses on the school site at Cloghaun in the Garryowen scheme [1025] were received on 29th May and are being examined by my technical advisers.

A proposal by the corporation to purchase some ten acres of land at Janesboro' for housing purposes was received in the Department on 23rd May and is under consideration.

The examination of the Garryowen Area No. 1 Compulsory. Purchase Order, 1957, has been completed and a decision will be issued shortly. The inspector's report on the inquiry held on the 16th April into the Garryowen Area No. 2 Compulsory Purchase Order, 1957, is awaited. As soon as it is received it will be examined and a decision issued without avoidable delay.

Mr. O'Malley:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs what proposals exist in his Department for (a) the erection of telephone kiosks and (b) improved postal facilities and services in Limerick City; and if he will state their location.

Mr. K. Boland (for the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs):  There are no proposals at present for the erection of additional telephone kiosks in Limerick City or for the provision of improved postal facilities and services there other than the erection of a letter-box at St. Mary's Park for which arrangements are being made.