Tuesday, 29 March 1960
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Larkin: When I reported progress last week, I was dealing with this amendment moved by Deputy Belton which, in my opinion, would make a bad Bill worse. It is serious enough in modern times to consider proposals made by a Minister after due, careful,  and proper consideration for those who are entitled to the first consideration of this House, the men, women and children of the general public, and the Minister himself proposes to extend the drinking hours on Sunday evenings. Deputy Belton, in his amendment, proposes conditions which, in my view, are even more unsatisfactory and more prejudicial to general public interest, and more harmful, both to those engaged in the trade and to the members of the families of those who might utilise the extended hours to drink on Sunday evenings.
In connection with this section of the Bill, one should not dwell at any great length on what is happening on the roads and streets under modern conditions, but at least we are entitled to take into account that from authoritative sources in all parts of the world, we learn that death, mutilation and injury are not lessened in cases where people have taken drink. The proposal in the Bill, and the even more unwelcome proposals in the amendments tabled by Deputy Belton, if accepted by this House, in my opinion, would contribute to greater danger for the ordinary citizens of this country in that respect.
The accidental death or injury of any member of the family of an Irish citizen is always very sincerely deplored, and I have no doubt that proper expressions of sympathy are extended from all sides of this House to a family, a member of which has been killed or seriously injured as the result of an accident on the public roads, but it is little use for us solemnly to tender such sympathy to a sorrowing parent or relation if, at the same time, in our legislation, we deliberately perform an act which can have no other effect but to increase the danger of accidents on the roads.
If any Deputy cares to consider this matter with any degree of objectivity, with any degree of thought for the innocent victims, he will readily agree with me that to introduce deliberately into legislation an amendment such as this, undoubtedly would mean greater danger to people using the roads, especially pedestrians.
I want briefly to refer to the point I made earlier. When legislation  is introduced, we have a responsibility to be satisfied, in the first instance, that there is some demand from the general public for it, or some need on the part of the public for an alteration in existing conditions. I have not yet heard any case made by anybody that convinces me in the slightest, or that would convince any neutral observer, that there has been a demand made to extend official drinking hours on Sunday evenings beyond what they are at present. I have not as yet heard any case made that there is any need as far as the general public are concerned for an extension of these Sunday drinking hours.
Is the Minister again faced with the dilemma that he has been faced with in all sections of this Bill? Is he faced with the possibility that some sections of the public, aided and abetted by those who normally should lead public opinion and give example to the ordinary citizen, will continue, as has been said on many occasions in this House, to disregard the licensing laws and, in that respect, bring these laws into public contempt?
I said earlier in Committee, and I repeat, that laws of this nature, obviously, are not made for one small section of the community. If it were possible to arrange matters so that those people who go into public houses, clubs or hotels, and drink to the point where they may be a danger to themselves and an inconvenience and a danger to others, would remain in such places until they became completely sober again, the Minister might have some case.
If it were possible for those people who drive commercial vehicles or private motor cars and those who are of a nature that when they reach a certain stage of intoxication, their next objective must be to insult and injure others, to be kept in the public houses until they had reached such a state of sobriety that they did not constitute a possible danger to innocent people, there might not be such a strong argument against these proposals to amend the present legislation by extending the hours of drinking on Sunday, or against the amendments in the name of Deputy Belton.
 I do not think it is a good thing deliberately to create conditions late on a Sunday evening which may result in people coming out of public houses, clubs, and hotels and driving motor cars while not technically drunk but with their judgment and vision so impaired and prejudiced as to be a danger to the ordinary citizen and his family.
In these matters, the general public, the citizens, particularly the more helpless, weaker section of the community, are entitled to protection from this House. The weaker section of the community are the women and children. I am not proposing, and I have not advocated, a limitation of the present drinking hours. I have opposed on every section of this Bill any extension of these hours, particularly any extension of these hours which in addition to adversely affecting the wellbeing of the general public, would cause, or would be likely to cause, hardship and inconvenience to those who work in the trade, to those who obtain their living by running public houses, and so on.
I do not wish at this stage to refer at any great length to the other factor involved in this proposal to extend the hours on Sunday evening or in the amendment to extend these hours even further. I am a city Deputy. In common with many other people in the city and, I suppose, the majority of people in the country, I like to enjoy, if I can, a Sunday evening with my family, perhaps attending a concert, theatre or some place of amusement, or out in the air. In ordinary life, it is impossible not to be aware of the fact that there are various public houses and places where liquor can be obtained on a Sunday evening. Around the hour of 7 o'clock, which is the existing closing hour, there is an exodus of people in motor cars. It is proposed now to delay that exodus to a later hour on Sunday evening and to deprive those who work in public-houses of reasonable association with their families. There is no need to impose on them through this Bill the obligation of working till 9.30 or 10 o'clock on a Sunday evening.  It has been said in the course of the discussion that an extension of the hours, particularly on Sundays, would result in a demand by the workers for compensation which would, in turn, affect the cost of the commodity. Having had representations from those who represent the workers involved, I know the workers do not want these hours. They have protested very strenuously through their organisation against the proposal to lengthen the hours. They have made it as plain as it is possible to make it that they feel they, like other citizens, are entitled to relaxation, to normal association with their families and to join with their friends in social activities on Sunday evening.
The hardship entailed in this proposal applies equally even in cases where there may be no outside labour employed but where the proprietor and members of his family are the only people engaged in operating the establishment. I feel it is proper to say a word on their behalf, because reference has been made by people from among that section of the community to this question of the longer drinking hours proposed on a Sunday.
The proposal in the Bill is retrograde and reactionary. It will detrimentally affect the interests of those who earn their livelihood by providing the public with intoxicating liquor. It has not been shown that there has been any widespread public demand for an alteration in the hours. It has not been shown that any person is really suffering by reason of the fact that public houses close at 7 o'clock on Sunday evening, and that, in order to allay the suffering of an individual, it is necessary to impose hardships and inconveniences and to affect and interfere with the privileges of the normal family domestic life on Sunday afternoon.
If this proposal is carried, some publicans may make a little more profit. It is a fact, now, that individual owners of these establishments, individual hotel-keepers and individual controllers of clubs repeatedly and regularly break the law by providing intoxicating liquor to people already intoxicated.  Calmly and casually, because of the desire to accumulate a little more of the world's goods, they give drink to people they know are not in a fit condition to drink. One has only to go around any part of Dublin, Cork or any other city and observe —not all the time or the major part of the time but at some times— people coming out of public houses literally unable to stand.
I believe that this Bill is before us and these proposals for the extension of drinking hours on Sunday evenings are before us because of the contempt in which the present licensing laws have been held throughout the country and because of the refusal of the authorities—this Legislature and the law-enforcing body—to live up to and to accept their responsibilities properly. The Minister has no easy task and, in fact, must have had moments of heart-searching in piloting this Bill through the House. I would ask him and Deputies to consider the boys and girls coming out of our secondary schools, attending Universities, seeking and starting in employment, and to consider whether their future, their security and their wellbeing are not much more important than the interests of the unknown pressure group who appear to have inspired this piece of legislation.
I conclude by asking the House to do two things in connection with the amendments we are now discussing—to throw out the amendments of Deputy Belton which are even more reactionary and retrograde than the sections contained in the Bill and, in the interests of Irish citizens and Irish families, amend the Bill by accepting the amendments in my name.
Mr. Traynor: I am not accepting Deputy Belton's amendment but I want to correct an impression which I think Deputy Larkin might convey to people outside the House that the hours suggested in the Bill and recommended by the Commission are far in excess of the hours actually operating at present. That, of course, is not the position. We all know that over the greater part of the country the bona fide law is in operation which permits drinking on  Sunday evenings up to 8 p.m. We also know that by an area exemption order drinking can be continued up to 10 o'clock. I want to make certain that as far as the House is concerned, at any rate, it is understood that the hours which are being recommended, the hours in the Bill, are hours that have been given considerable consideration before they were recommended. They are the hours the Government think should operate.
Personally, I do not favour Deputy Belton's amendment extending the hours to 10 o'clock: I much prefer the hours contained in the Bill, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. We have some idea why the Commission made that recommendation. In the first place, I think it was to make some quid pro quo to the bona fide trade which it was thought would be hard hit by its abolition and secondly, the hour 5 p.m. was designed, I believe, to meet the requirements of people coming from football matches and other sporting events which take place on Sunday afternoons. From that point of view, I am satisfied that the hours recommended in the Bill are the hours which the House should adopt. On the question of the Sunday hours, we should consider dealing with area exemption orders.
Mr. Belton: I do not agree for a moment with the suggestion of Deputy Larkin or with that of the Minister when they say that in my amendment I am proposing an extension of trading hours. In fact, the amendment suggests a curtailment of trading hours. The Bill suggests trading hours of 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; my suggestion in the amendment is 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and I went so far as to say that I would prefer 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. I do not know whether the Commission considered the difficulties that arise, or will arise, in the trade in Dublin and I am sure to a great extent these  difficulties apply in Cork, Limerick and Waterford as well and in other large provincial towns where public houses employ a good deal of labour.
I was very surprised to hear Deputy Larkin's view on this amendment because I think there is a great trade union principle involved in it. When speaking on this matter before, I pointed out that according to the working conditions applying in the licensed trade at the moment, a man is entitled to one Sunday off in two. Take, for example, a licensed house with eight employees; only four employees are working each Sunday and it is really inhuman to expect the staff to have their tea before they report back for work at 5 o'clock. It is also inhuman to expect them to wait until they have closed, cleared up and washed up at 9.30 at night to have their tea, unless the licensee is in a position to have other staff to relieve them. Additional staff cost a lot of money and the only way that can be found is by increasing the price of drink.
It may be suggested: “Let publicans employ extra men.” But the only reason extra men would be needed would be for tea relief on Sunday evenings. After the debate on this section last week, it was suggested to me that people attending sports fixtures at Croke Park or Dalymount Park in Dublin or big matches in Thurles, Cork or Limerick on Sundays, would prefer to have opening hours at 5 o'clock. If the associations have at heart the interests of the people who pay going through their gates, I suggest they should postpone the starting times of their fixtures until 5  o'clock so that those attending sports fixtures would have suitable facilities later. I think this will create one of the biggest problems in the operation of this Bill when it becomes law.
Mr. Moran: I do not like interrupting the Deputy, but that question does not come in under area exemptions. That is a general exemption. The area exemption we are discussing is the type of exemption that will apply on Sundays.
Calleary, Phelim A.
Carty, Michael. Gilbride, Eugene.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lemass, Noel T.
|Crowley, Honor M.
Cummins, Patrick J.
Geoghegan, John. Medlar, Martin.
Millar, Anthony G.
Moher, John W.
Moloney, Daniel J.
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
Ryan, Mary B.
Crotty, Patrick J.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.
Mr. Dillon: I must ask the House to permit me to make the point that I did not associate myself with the two amendments recommended by Deputy Belton because I did not agree with them, but, in respect of amendment 15, which is quite distinct from the other two, I am proposing a reduction of two hours in the evening hours of opening on Sundays in the summer and a reduction of one hour in the evening hours of opening on Sundays in the winter. I want to make that submission for a reason to which I referred on another Stage of the Bill. This is part of the Bill which I had an opportunity of discussing with representatives of the Licensed Grocers' and Vintners' Assistants' Association. They made various representations on this matter to a committee of our Party, and I explained to them that, on the Committee Stage of this Bill, our Party was having a free vote on the various sections. I was so impressed by the case they made, which was a very simple one, that I felt bound to put down this amendment that that case might be brought to the attention of the House.
The case is this. They say that, if their members have to work the new hours proposed in the Bill, it will mean that a young married man with a young family will not get to see his family at all because, by the time he finishes work on a weekday, cleans up and gets home young children are ordinarily in bed. Heretofore, he had the prospect, on Sundays, of getting home in time to spend a few hours with the children. Under the proposal in the Bill, if in winter he has to work until 8 o'clock, he does not get cleaned up and free to go home until nearly 9 o'clock and by the time he reaches home the children are in bed. If in the summer he does not finish until 9 o'clock by the time he gets cleaned up and reaches home it is nearly 10 o'clock. I propose, therefore, that on Sunday evenings the public houses shall be closed at 7 o'clock so that that man can get cleaned and be home before the children are in bed.
The same considerations substantially apply to the small publican who employs no staff. If he is to remain on duty—and he must, in fact, remain on duty for the hours permitted in the Bill if he is to retain his business—it means he finishes in the evening at 9 o'clock in the summer,  and 8 o'clock in the winter, on Sundays and St. Patrick's Day. He reaches the stage really when he has no time in which he can effectively close the door and enjoy the company of his children, or to enable his children to have the benefit of their father's company in their early years.
I have a long experience of the retail trade. I remember once differing pretty trenchantly with the late Deputy Murphy of the Labour Party who was angry with me because I said that at Christmas time I thought it was not an unreasonable demand to make on grocers' assistants, or shop assistants in the retail trade, that they should work late for the convenience of their customers if they got suitable overtime pay. I still hold that view. People who enter the retail trade must justify their existence by affording the customers reasonable convenience, and if seasonal demands are made upon them to work overtime, they ought to do it cheerfully in the service of the people from whom they get their living, provided fairly remunerative overtime is given for the work.
Similarly, if publicans engage in the trade of providing entertainment of this kind, it is reasonable to ask them to reconcile their personal convenience with the convenience of their customers, up to a point. That is something this House is sometimes liable to forget—that there is a Rubicon beyond which we should not go. We have a duty to consider, in connection with legislation of this kind, how far we affect the personal and domestic life of the people who are affected by our legislation. It is not true, in this context, to say that these opening hours are really permissive. Nominally these opening hours are permissive but, in fact, and in practice, they are mandatory because any publican who fails to keep his door open during the hours prescribed in this Bill would not long retain his trade. Therefore, if we say in the Bill that publicans may remain open until 9 o'clock, they must remain open because none of them can afford to close.
Bearing in mind the convenience of  the public, I do not think any case has been made for completely disrupting the family life of a young married man in this trade. That is a circumstance to which we should have regard. It is our duty to do so, having carefully weighed up the corresponding obligation on the publican and his assistants to adopt their convenience to the legitimate requirements of the customers. Is it wholly hopeless to imagine that this House could concern itself about that two hours' domestic enjoyment for a very small section of the community?
I like to cherish what is, perhaps, the illusion that so small a matter is not beneath the attention of this House. It is in that spirit that I find myself with my name in the rather unlikely association with that of Deputy Larkin. Whether our approach to this problem is quite the same, I do not know.
Mr. Larkin: I have spoken on this amendment but I am still not quite clear, even though I am a teetotaller, as to how we shall deal with it when it comes to voting. I submit that amendment No. 15 is not affected in any way by amendment No. 13, on which we have voted.
As I have already indicated, possibly in not quite the same terms as Deputy Dillon, my reason for advocating an earlier closing hour than that proposed on a Sunday evening and on St. Patrick's Day is in consideration of the family life of those engaged in the sale of liquor, their right to some family and domestic association, to some relaxation and to some social life with their families on a Sunday which would very seriously be prejudiced by the proposed extension of the closing hours.
 For those people who may be enjoying —I think that is the term, possibly, Deputy Dillon would use—a drink in the public house, their enjoyment ceases at 7 o'clock but the work of the staff and of the proprietor continues possibly for half-an-hour, an hour or even longer. Their normal pursuits on a Sunday evening are very seriously interfered with. That aspect deserves serious consideration. Unlike Deputy Dillon, however, I think that to consider this matter fully, we must not confine ourselves to the narrow field which was mentioned.
The extension of the hours on a Sunday evening will very materially affect not merely the families of those working in the public houses but also many thousands of families because of those who patronise the public houses. In the cities and in rural areas, very frequently concerts are held on Sunday evenings in the various public halls, parish halls, school halls, and so on. It is one evening of the week when concerts and entertainments are attended not merely by an adult audience but by fathers and mothers who bring their children with them to such entertainment which may be in aid of some charitable objective. They go along to support it and possibly also to enjoy the dramatic and other abilities of members of the family or of friends or relations, or possibly of fellow-students of the children.
Most of these entertainments—and I think they are very useful entertainments—are attended, especially as far as the ordinary community are concerned, on this family basis. They mostly close around 8 o'clock or maybe 8.30 p.m. It all depends on other factors but certainly I do not think the present proposal would make any useful contribution or give any encouragement to those who think that this type of local effort is useful, either from a social or cultural point of view. I do not think it would contribute to the growth and development of a good community life if this type of effort, which is so much associated with a Sunday evening, were in any way prejudiced or interfered with by encouraging fathers or other male members, who would normally attend them, to remain in the public houses and not to  do as they do now, accompany the members of their families to these concerts, plays, dramas and dance demonstrations, and so forth. There is hardly a community where the people gather together to encourage and develop this type of cultural and social activity where the events are not arranged to take place on a Sunday evening.
There is another factor. It may not be a large one but it certainly weighs considerably in my mind. I refer to the unknown initiator of this proposal to increase these hours on Sunday. There was a majority and a minority report and it is not yet clear to many of us which is the majority and which the minority report. Certainly it is quite clear that, aside from some lines in that Report, the suggestion to extend the hours in this way has no real support from any responsible source or any solid basis in our community. Accordingly, I again commend to the House the views expressed in support of the amendment.
Mr. Sherwin: I have a little experience of this sort of business. I was in the dance game a lot one time and I dreaded a holiday occurring on a weekday because, when it did so, the crowd come out half “canned” and I had endless trouble. That is what we are inviting by opening the public houses until 9 o'clock. In the summer, they used have four hours for drinking. They will come out and they will not go home. It will not be worth going home. They will make for the dance hall to give trouble. In any case, if they do not make for the dance halls, they will club crawl.
At that hour of the night, you cannot arrange to go to the pictures or anywhere else, particularly the seaside. The people who come out of the public houses at 9 o'clock will want to finish the night and if they cannot get into a club, they will try to get into a dance hall. There are quite a number of these places in this city. There are clubs and so-called restaurants where you can get tea with a half-one in it. In fact that goes on all night. I raised this question before but the Minister does not seem to be aware of the existence of these places. I was in the dance game for 30 years and I ought  to know what is what and who is who.
We are inviting trouble for the dance hall people on Sunday nights. The people coming out of the public houses at 9 o'clock will club crawl. Therefore, we are actually encouraging drunkenness, whereas if the public houses were closed at 7 o'clock—I agree with the amendment—it would mean that the people could hardly get so “canned”. They may go home and have their tea and make other arrangements, knowing that the public houses are closed. It might be too early for the clubs. They would make other arrangements. They would, perhaps, arrange to go to a cinema. They would have one hour to go home. If it is a fine evening, they will still have time to go to the seaside. In other words, there is a check on drinking the night out.
I think it would be a good thing in many respects. It would be a good thing for the home because where wives are fond of drink, they will go out earlier and will not come back until 9 o'clock. That means that the children will have to fend for themselves. The hour itself is bad because Sunday night is a miserable night if you have not made arrangements to go somewhere. If you go down town, there is nothing in the town. That is why I say that when they come out at 9 o'clock, they do not know what to do with themselves. They will make a beeline somewhere. They will get drink or make a nuisance of themselves. I agree with 7 o'clock because it will allow a publican and his staff to go home. It will be good for the homes because parents will be able to look after their children knowing that the public houses are closed.
The Minister should seriously consider this question of clubs and so-called restaurants. It is very easy to make laws and say they will be uniform but there is always the wide fellow who plans to defeat them. It would be a good thing for everyone if the public houses closed at 7 o'clock. Closing at 9 o'clock will give rise to a nuisance because people will not know what to do with themselves.
Mr. Davern: They are one or two of a minority. You will always get the black sheep. But I am afraid Deputy Sherwin has lost sight of his own argument because he ought to know that no licence can be given to a dance hall after 12 o'clock on a Sunday night. Whether a man goes out at 9 o'clock or 7 o'clock, I think the fellow who waits for three hours and then deliberately goes to buy a dance ticket as well can be described as having a great thirst. There is one thing which we should not lose sight of, and I think Deputy Larkin lost sight of it, that is, that the principal people concerned in this business are the members of the licensed trade. If they are not able to meet the high rates which they have to pay, the high licence fees and all the other demands on them, it will mean a very considerable amount of unemployment.
It is a rather serious matter for a bar assistant to be unemployed because he is not fitted for every sphere of life. We should not lose sight of the principle involved that we should not take from any person without grave reason his means of livelihood.
Mr. Davern: There are many arguments for and against. I think the Minister is very generous with the 6-day licence. I know that Deputy Dillon has a lot to contend with in his own town. I think in his own dear town somebody mentioned that there were 56 6-day licences. I hope that is not true. We must not lose sight of the fact that for the people concerned, it is a difficult type of livelihood. There are all kinds of impediments and difficulties to surmount. Some people talk as if licensed houses were some sort of automatic machine into which people go, spend plenty of money and come out again, having enriched the publican  during their short sojourn there. There are people who spend money freely but the vast majority who frequent publichouses, whether on Sunday evenings or at weekends, are people who drink a pint or two. They ensure that their sojourn in the local publichouse, as well as allaying their thirst, if they have one, and I presume most people who go drinking have, is a social event.
Speaking here the other night, I said that the fact that so many publichouses had closed down in England since the advent of television offers the greatest proof that publichouses are social centres. Deputies should be guarded when they make statements regarding drunkenness. That day has gone. Several Ministers for Finance did more to create a spirit of temperance than anybody else I know of. When the price of drink was 2d. a pint, or 2½d. a glass, many arguments could have been advanced against opening on Sundays or extending hours. Of course, this Bill does not extend the hours of opening for the licensed trade.
Deputy Larkin was concerned about people trying to find their homes at night time. I should prefer to try to find my home at night time than have to find out whether the bank manager was going to keep me another hour in the “sweat house” or not. The majority of the publicans live from day to day and I can assure the House that in rural Ireland there are very few wealthy people in the licensed trade. The profits in the trade are small and everyday demands on the traders are great, owing to the great competition which they must face. You must naturally expect the people in the licensed trade to be, of necessity, more generous than the average person.
In the average town of 4,000 or 5,000 people, you will find four, five or six draperies but you will find 40 to 50 publichouses. You might have two or three hardware shops but again you will have 40 to 50 publichouses competing against one another. The competition is so keen that it is a difficult trade and it is a trade that should command a certain amount of sympathy from everybody here. I think that to curtail the hours of  drinking would be a great injustice. Remember this Bill curtails the hours of drinking and brings with it penalties hanging over the heads of every member of the licensed trade.
We know the home is sacred but the home of the publican is the one home that can be subjected to inspections morning, noon and night, as often as a Guard feels that he should inspect it. In order to enter the home of the ordinary individual, a Guard has to go to a great deal of trouble. He has to swear an affidavit that so and so has happened or is likely to happen in the home, and he has to get authority from the district justice to go into the ordinary house.
Mr. Davern: We know that even under the bed is not sacred, according to Press reports we have seen. I hope that in regard to these amendments, Deputy Larkin, who has always been an abstainer, and Deputy Sherwin, will temper their own good ideas of what should be done with sympathy and mercy.
Mr. Cosgrave: I am opposed to this Bill because, as I said initially, it does extend the drinking hours. It is true it proposes to alter the present bona fide hours of trading but, in so far as the cities are concerned, the present closing hours are 10 p.m. in the winter and 10.30 p.m. in the summer. This Bill proposes to extend those hours to 11 p.m. and 11.30 p.m. and also to apply the same hours between city and country areas. I believe that the case against the Bill as it stands was very well put, and in very moderate tones, by Deputy Maher. He spoke as a person who had, as he put it, experience of the working of the licensing hours in urban and rural areas. He confirmed the views which I had expressed, as I experienced them in my own constituency, which is part urban and part rural, that it is impossible by means of legislation to try to impose the same pattern of life on urban and rural areas.
We are all familiar with the different  time-tables observed by people working in the urban areas and those which obtain in rural areas. These differences need not be repeated, but I believe it is a mistake first of all, to think that the hours are not being extended, because over-all the effect will be longer drinking in the urban areas, and, so far as the bona fide trade is concerned, a half-hour differential between midnight and 11.30 p.m. or midnight and 11 p.m. as the case may be.
Mr. Cosgrave: On the question of the amendment we are considering, I think it reasonable to make the change suggested in amendment 15 in the names of Deputies Dillon, Norton and Larkin and that an improvement would be to substitute “7” as against “8”. Many Deputies have referred to the fact that Sunday night is a night on which families are anxious to remain together and that there is no great case for longer hours. In fact, I believe that the proposed extension of the hours on a Sunday evening is not desirable. For that reason, I believe this amendment should be supported.
Mr. Corish: At this stage one does not know whether this is a Bill to provide for more drinking or less drinking, especially having regard to the undoubted fact that there is quite an amount of illegal drinking in the country at present. I have certain views on the question of drinking on Sunday. I should like to put this case to the Minister and those people in favour of having the public houses open from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. in the summer months and from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. in the winter months. I think it will be accepted that in present circumstances the majority of people who drink here go to take their drink at approximately 8 p.m.
Assuming that the public houses close, as they are supposed to, at 10 p.m. in the winter and 10.30 p.m. in the  summer, it means that on a weekday the great majority of drinkers have about 2½ hours in the summer and two hours in the winter. Now, under the terms of this Bill, they can drink on a Sunday from 12.30 p.m. to 2 p.m., one and a half hours, and from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. in the summer, four hours. Therefore, this section will permit people to drink on a Sunday for 5½ hours while on a normal day they will be permitted under this Bill to drink, for all practical purposes, from 8 p.m. till 11 p.m. in the winter and 8 p.m. until 11.30 p.m. in the summer. You give them 5½ hours' drinking time on a Sunday, while for all practical purposes they get only from three to three and a half hours on an ordinary week-day.
Normally, a man leaves work at 5.30 p.m. or 6 o'clock. He goes home for his tea, does a few odd jobs, reads the evening paper or the daily paper. He does not go out to the public house until 8 o'clock—I would say that would be the earliest. I do not care what anybody else thinks but I say Sunday is a day different from other days. I know that when one talks like that here, one runs the risk of being told one is moralising and telling people how they should respect Sunday but, in my opinion, Sunday has a special place in the week and I believe it is of special significance for the majority of the Irish people.
I am personally opposed to a drinking session of four hours. It is true that the normal man does not get drunk in an hour or an hour and a half, but I fear to think what might happen to him in four hours. Somebody might say to me: “Can you not mind your own business? Let him do what he likes.” In this Bill, however, as in others, we have accepted the principle of control over drinking hours. Anybody who objects to my saying that four hours is too long could say, if we did not accept that principle, that we should have no drinking hours at all but should allow people drink for 24 hours a day.
I have much sympathy with the views expressed by Deputy Dillon,  Deputy Larkin and Deputy Sherwin. I would also have a lot of sympathy with the views of Deputy Davern if this Bill were designed principally for the protection of publicans. I do not think anybody would disagree with Deputy Davern when he says that publicans have to meet heavy expenditure in regard to rent, rates and licence fees as well as providing a living for themselves and their families. As I said, this section will permit 5½ hours of solid drinking. On Sunday there is no question of a man coming home and having to dress up in his best suit. He is ready from the word “Go.” He is ready at twenty-five past 12 to go to the public house, and he may come out at 2 o'clock.
So far the Minister has not told us in detail how the Guards will operate this Bill. He has not told us if it is possible for the Garda, at its present strength, to enforce the provisions of this Bill. It will be an awful tragedy for the country if a majority in this House accept the Bill and there is not absolute control subsequently. If I believed there would be absolute control with regard to the drinking hours permitted by it, then I should be a little happier, but, having regard to the strength of the Garda, it seems to me that it will be impossible for the drinking hours to be rigidly controlled. It may be, however, that even though the Garda will not be able to do it with regard to all licensed premises, the first few fines imposed upon publicans will be enough—to use a colloquialism—to soften the coffin on other publicans who may be inclined to extend their drinking hours. That is why I want to impress upon this House what we are actually doing in this section.
We are giving substantially more time for drinking on Sundays than we are on weekdays, by reason of the fact that on weekdays men cannot go out to drink until 8 p.m., or in some cases 8.30 or 9 o'clock. I object to that. I believe Sunday is different and should be treated differently. I should prefer no drinking at all on Sundays, but that where there were special circumstances, we could provide within the framework of the Bill for the granting of exemptions. Nobody objects to  people getting a drink who come up from Cork, Wexford, Kerry or Donegal to see a match in Dublin, or to people getting a drink who go down to matches in Cork, Galway, Kerry or any other part of the country because they are bona fide travellers. Nobody would object to a Bill providing that district justices could grant exemptions in areas where outstanding sporting events were taking place, or granting exemptions in seaside resorts which cater for large numbers of visitors during particular periods of the year, especially during summer.
Deputy Larkin spoke about the difficulties that publicans' assistants would undergo if this section were operated. I, too, subscribe to that view, but, like Deputy Larkin, I think the position will be much more difficult for the owner-publicans, the owners of public houses who have to serve drinks on Sundays. The trade union movement in the city of Dublin has objected to the extension of hours on weekdays and Sundays, and, by reason of the fact that it is an organised body, will probably be able to do something about it. If there is an extension of the hours, there will probably be a rearrangement of shift work, or compensation will be sought for the extra work involved, but the owner-publican is not in that happy position. As Deputy Dillon said, if he does not open his public house during hours when he does not want it to be open, it will mean that he will lose a certain amount of business. On that point, I have the utmost sympathy with the owner-publicans who have to work in their own premises.
I do not think Deputy Sherwin exaggerated at all when he talked about the effect on dances on Sunday nights. Despite what has been said, dances are conducted reasonably well on Sunday nights. I know that is so as far as provincial towns are concerned, though I should say I am not acquainted with the position existing in Dublin. Further, I do not think Deputy Sherwin gave the impression, as Deputy Davern said, that everyone who drinks on Sunday will start to break up a dance. The man who is drunk is not dangerous at all. It is the  fellow who is half drunk who is dangerous.
Could anybody visualise the situation in dance halls in Dublin, or in provincial towns, if a lot of these young folk who are now termed “teddy boys”, and who act as “teddy boys”, patronise dance halls after being put out of public houses at 9 o'clock on Sunday evenings? I do not say that the majority of people who drink during these hours will behave in that fashion, but one drunk can ruin a dance. The sober man resents the behaviour and interference of a half drunk, and resents the fact that he comes into a dance hall to cause a row. Normally, if a row breaks out, it is between one half drunk man and three other sober fellows, and I do not think we can underestimate the damage on this day which we regard as a day for good, clean amusement.
We also have to have regard to the fact that church services are held between five and nine o'clock on Sunday evenings. That is a very important aspect of this whole affair, and it is a very important aspect of Irish life. I do not think it would be unreasonable for this House to proclaim that there should not be any drinking during the time when church services are normally being held. That is my view and I believe that many Deputies are of the same opinion.
Members of the Labour Party have a different view from the view I hold, even with regard to that, but at least our Party decided that the proposals in this Bill were a matter of conscience. I regret, and I am sure the country regrets, that Fianna Fáil Deputies have not the same freedom. I do not blame the individual Deputies for that. I blame the Front Bench, and the Taoiseach, who told them they could not have consciences in this matter. That is a deplorable thing. I do not say that they would reject the Bill if they had their way, but they certainly would change certain sections of it and I am sure they would substantially change the proposals in this section, judging by the speeches they made.
The Commission did a very important  job of work but the Commission is not as important, or even one-tenth as important, as this House. The people who were on the Commission represented particular interests and to the discredit of the rest of the public, sufficient interest was not taken in that Commission. There was not one-fiftieth of the submissions made that should have been made by various interests, because, unfortunately, people regarded it as just another commission that either would not report at all or would not report for a long time.
Mr. Manley: I just want to make a few brief points on this amendment which I support wholeheartedly. I think the amendment should be accepted if the Bill is to fulfil its entire purpose. I understood the purpose of the Bill was to eliminate anomalies and abuses, to provide reasonable extensions and to effect control in such a way that it would have the full force of the law behind it, and the respect of the people in general. I must compliment the Minister on his judgment and wisdom in the hours he has decided on with regard to the early afternoon opening from 12.30 to 2 o'clock. For years, I have felt that there would be far less abuse if the licensed houses were opened after last Mass, that there would be no illicit trading——
Mr. Manley: I am coming to that. The evening closing is going to be the Becher's Brook of this Bill. It is the question that is giving most concern in most parts of the country. We must realise that in the urban and rural areas, for the first time, the opening on Sunday is being legalised in the hours provided in the Bill. We do not know how the people will react to that and we would want to be  very cautious and circumspect in regard to limitation of the hours.
The hours 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. give reasonable scope. I do not know why the publican should be the slave of the public at all times or why his family cannot have enjoyment or freedom on Sunday evening. It is the day when people make social calls, when they visit friends, the day when they go to the seaside or to amusements of all kinds. Are the publicans to remain inside at all times in order to serve the public? I do not think it is fair to those who are in the trade that that should be the case.
The traders in the towns and rural areas will be very pleased with the privilege they will get under this Bill with regard to the early afternoon opening on Sunday and would be quite satisfied and happy if they were allowed to open from 5 to 7 in the evening.
Deputy Corish spoke very pointedly in regard to the four hours from 5 to 9 p.m. on Sunday evening. The person who takes drink for social pleasure need not have anything to worry about in this Bill. The danger is the man who is inclined to linger on, who is inclined to be an addict. If he goes into licensed premises at 5 in the evening and stays there until 9, what will his condition be when he leaves? Consider the conditions on the roads and streets to-day. Will he be capable of going home safely? If he is in charge of a car, will he be capable of driving it?
Sunday is the day when people, generally, are free, when they like to have a drink at their leisure. The publican does not want the man who is called a “sitter”, who will stay the whole evening. The publican prefers the person who takes a drink or two with some friends and then leaves and goes about his business. That kind of customer is most valuable to the publican. We should not make it possible for those who are the victims of temptation to remain on licensed premises and drink to excess. Therefore, I support whole-heartedly the amendment to the effect that opening on Sunday evening should be 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Mr. Russell: This section of the Bill, like others, allows room for reasonable disagreement and the amendments put down indicate that there are people of different opinions about the closing hours on Sunday evening. There are two choices. There is the amendment proposed by Deputy Belton, which is not accepted. There is the alternative that they should close at 7.
As the Bill stands, the opening hours would be from 5 to 8 or from 5 to 9 in the summer months, thereby cutting through what is normally regarded as the tea hour, the time a person normally returns home for an evening meal. We cannot have it both ways. On balance, I support the amendments put down here. While not wishing to be puritanical, we cannot overlook the fact that Sunday is held in a particular regard in this country and we must have regard to that fact in framing legislation.
We must also have regard to what the normal individual does on a Sunday, whether he lives in the city or in a country area—not the man who has a car or who can afford to hire a car for the day but the average man with a family. He takes a Sunday afternoon off and goes to a football or hurling match and, possibly, on the way home goes into a public house and has a few drinks and gets home at a reasonable hour for his tea. That is how the great majority of family men live and we should legislate to give them a reasonable opportunity of having a few drinks on Sunday afternoon and getting home to their families at a reasonable hour. The amendment does provide for that.
The position of the publican has been put forward by Deputy Davern and the loss that the publican will inevitably incur if an hour or an hour and a half is taken off the suggested hours in the Bill. With all due respect to Deputy Davern, who knows the business better than I do, I do not think that is likely to happen. I do not think that the difference between closing at 7 and closing at 8 would have such a dire effect on the trade that the hundreds of people he visualises would be thrown out of employment. In the rural areas, where  they do a considerable amount of business on the day of a hurling or football match, the closing hour of 7 would give ample opportunity to a man to have a reasonable number of drinks and to go home at a reasonable hour. Therefore, by and large, we would be steering a reasonable middle course, in the interests of the rural and the city areas, if the amendment as set out were accepted by the Minister.
Mr. Dillon: May I register a personal note of protest? Are we not all getting very mealy-mouthed in this House? When I hear people saying with the utmost possible discretion that Sunday is a day for which there is special feeling in Ireland, I turn to my colleague behind me and say, “What is the Third Commandment of the Decalogue?” I am right in saying that it is, “Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath Day.” Why should we be so chary about acknowledging the fact that the Lord God Almighty declared to Moses on the Mountain that it behoved us to keep holy the Sabbath Day? The fact of it is that this House, in its wisdom, has decided in so far as public houses are concerned, to put an end to that Commandment. It makes me shiver, it makes me feel that we are living in another civilisation, that people should regard it as almost indecent to refer to the Ten Commandments in this House any longer.
We ought, with our eyes wide open, to realise that Dáil Éireann has decided, in its wisdom, when it passes this Bill, that so far as public houses are concerned, that Third Commandment of the Decalogue is to be in some degree abrogated. There is no use fiddling with that fact and that is the fact.
The reason that Sunday is held in special respect in this country is a reason not peculiar to Ireland. It is a reason that ought to be a characteristic of the Christian Church the world over. I shall tell you what is peculiar to Ireland is that this must be one of the last countries in the world in which  we are not ashamed to say it. What makes me shiver is when I begin to hear the same careful phraseology employed that I expect to hear at an international conference of the United Nations where, of course, to mention the name of the Lord God Almighty is regarded as highly indecent. Surely we have not reached that level in this country yet?
We know what we are doing and we are doing it, I presume, with our eyes wide open but, having done it, you should not try to put a cloak of respectability on it by saying that Sunday is a day which has always been held in peculiar regard in this country. Sunday is the day referred to in the Third Commandment of the Decalogue and, if anyone has forgotten that, it is time he bought himself a penny catechism and read it again.
Minister for Lands (Mr. Moran): I suppose it was inevitable that there would be some divergence of view here on the opening hours on Sunday afternoon. Taking the divergence of view that emerged in the discussion of the various aspects of this Bill by the Commission, it is significant that they agreed with the hours in this Bill for the country as a whole. They made an exception of the county boroughs but the majority report prescribes the hours we are discussing here for Sunday evening opening. A minority of members of the Commission took the view that these same hours from 5 to 9 p.m. should apply to the country, outside the county boroughs, though why they made an exception of the county boroughs, I am not quite clear. In so far as there seems to be a general view expressed by all sides on the Commission in regard to the country as a whole, it was that the hours set out in the Bill were the most suitable and the most acceptable.
Some of the members of the Commission probably had reservations about this matter, just as some Deputies who have spoken here this evening have had reservations and expressed them. On the other hand, I believe the members of the Commission felt that the hours recommended here were the hours most  likely to succeed in our circumstances. By “succeed”, I mean the hours most likely to appeal to our people and the hours most likely to be enforced.
Listening to some Deputies, one would imagine we were, for the first time, opening wide the doors of publichouses on Sunday, whereas in fact there are very substantial legal opening hours on Sundays. There are the hours of 1 to 7 p.m. in winter time for the bona fide traffic and the hours of 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. in summertime which are now being abolished. In hotels and restaurants throughout the country, on Sundays, you were entitled to drink with meals from 1 to 3 p.m. and from 6 to 9 o'clock every Sunday evening. In addition to that, as Deputies well know, there were area exemption orders which were widely availed of, particularly in recent years. Every dog fight throughout the country was made the excuse for obtaining an area exemption order and these area exemption orders were granted because there was the demand of public opinion largely behind them and because people could enjoy the opening hours that were there, that people with cars, for instance, or even people with bicycles could cycle out three miles and, in accordance with the law, get all the drink they wanted while the man on shank's mare was confined to his local town unless he did as many of them did, paid for a seat in a taxi and went out to the local bona fide house.
Mr. Moran: No. The area exemption order would apply only for four hours and would apply on Sundays only to the seven-day licensees. It was granted generally on the basis of a large influx of people for a football match or some other occasion. The four hours could be split; you could get it, for instance, for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon, and so on. The exemption orders were granted by some justices after 7 o'clock or 8 o'clock, as the case might  be, the closing hour in the evening for bona fide houses. I often had doubts as to whether justices had power to do so, but some of them, at all events, held that they had such power and you had a situation obtaining that area exemption orders were granted, say, from 8 to 10 on a Sunday evening in certain places, particularly in certain seaside resorts.
Let us remember that under this Bill we are doing away with the bona fide traffic. Therefore, we are closing the doors of the publichouses to the people who, by travelling three miles on a Sunday now, can drink from 1 to 7 p.m. in the winter and 1 to 8 p.m. in the summer. We are doing away with the area exemption order to which I have referred under which seven-day licensees could open up in towns throughout the length and breadth of the country for a period of four hours. We are doing away with all these facilities that were there and that were enjoyed by the public. Does anybody suggest that we in this House would be realistic unless we provided reasonable hours as a substitute to cater for the people who enjoy the existing hours?
Deputy Corish has argued about the extraordinary situation of having all these hours available for drink. He says 5½ hours are available on Sunday and refers to the tremendous effect that would have. The Deputy knows very well, if he knows the country, that, even under the existing law, there are many more hours available for drinking, if one wants to drink. He says a man has these hours free on Sunday that he would not have on other occasions. All workers, I think, have a half day on one day or other in the week and on that argument it could be suggested that, say, from 1 o'clock on a Saturday, the worker has ten hours in which to drink.
The answer to all that is, of course, that nobody will sit down for all these hours that are available for drink. There is a limit, particularly in the case of the workers to whom Deputy Corish referred, that is, the economic limit on the amount they can afford to spend on drink. If anybody thinks that a law could be enforced that would not provide a reasonable substitute for the drinking hours the  people now enjoy throughout rural Ireland, he does not know the country.
The case for this amendment has been made on two different lines. Deputy Dillon was putting the case for the amendment solely on the basis of the labour difficulties it would create, on the basis that the barmen with families would not have time to enjoy any family life. However, Deputy Belton who spoke on the previous amendment has told us that the barmen concerned, in accordance with their union rules, work only every other Sunday. If there are eight employees, four work on one Sunday and they are off the following Sunday. If that is the position—and it was so stated in the House by Deputy Belton —the case made by Deputy Dillon would not appear to me to be well founded. There are a number of types of work, trades or employment in which the public must be served and in respect of which the workers have to work unusual hours. I have no doubt that their unions and the custom of these trades provide for what the unions and the trades consider to be ample leisure but immediately cases spring to mind such as bus workers, catering employees or railway men, all of whom work unusual hours.
It might be suggested by some people that Deputies have to work unusual hours. In the catering business —I take it we must regard public houses as being in the catering business—workers must serve the public. It is part of their job, and I believe it is a very highly-organised business from the union point of view and that there are very strict union rules for the workers. Other Deputies have put the case for this amendment on other bases—some on a religious basis, some on a basis of conscience—but, taking the hours as recommended by the Commission, by and large, they appear to me to be the nearest thing for which there is any hope of securing full acceptance. Further, considering that we are doing away with the hours and facilities to which I have already referred, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to try to legislate for lesser hours than those provided in the Bill.
When going into the arguments as  to the desirability of uniformity, I should like the House also to remember that when we are doing away with exemption orders, we must aim at a law in this section that will be suitable for all parts of the country or as near as we can get to it. We have an existing law in Dublin and the county boroughs fixing the hours from 5 to 7 p.m. and we have difficulties in rural areas and towns throughout rural Ireland in catering for the people coming from football matches or other sports functions. We have a demand for longer hours in seaside places and some, of course, would prefer hours to be even longer than are prescribed in the Bill. There is a multiplicity of varying local needs throughout the land and we must aim at providing in this Bill hours that will be generally suitable, so far as we can, for all the citizens.
When we consider that we are doing away with exemption orders and bona fide traffic—which, it is generally agreed, should be done away with— I think the nearest we can go to something generally suitable for every part of the country is to fix the hours prescribed in the Bill. For these reasons, the amendment is not acceptable to the Government.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: I simply want to explain a personal difficulty I feel about this. I do not support amendment No. 14 but I do support amendment No. 15. If the question is put, as I suppose it will be, “That the words proposed to be deleted stand” I can vote against that? I am simply taking this opportunity to say this now because I shall not have it later—if I vote against the question put, my vote is in support of amendment No. 15 and not of amendment No. 14.
Mr. Larkin: I have not the experience of Standing Orders and procedure that other Deputies have in the Front Benches on both sides of the House. In the event of the vote being taken on No. 14 and then with the following amendment falling, shall we have an opportunity of putting an amendment down on No. 15 at a later stage?
An Ceann Comhairle: On Report Stage. If it is in order for the Report Stage, it will be accepted. I cannot decide in advance on a hypothetical amendment. All I can tell the Deputy is that it is possible to put down an amendment on Report Stage.
Mr. Dillon: Can you not tell us, Sir, with a clear conscience that on the motion as put by you—“That the words proposed to be deleted stand”—anyone in favour of either No. 14 or No. 15 would do right to vote against that motion?
Mr. Dillon: I think the Minister would agree with me that anybody supporting amendment No. 14 or amendment No. 15 would vote against the preliminary motion put by the Chair. If we can succeed in defeating that motion the amendments could then be put seriatim.
Mr. Larkin: That may appeal to the wise heads in the House but I am very strongly opposed to any suggestion of having longer hours. I am opposed to the hours proposed by the Minister and I am even more opposed to the suggestion that they be extended. I am afraid I shall have to vote against amendment No. 14 if it it is put, no matter what interpretation may be put on what I am doing.
Blaney, Neil T.
Calleary, Phelim A.
Crowley, Honor M.
Cummins, Patrick J.
Egan, Kieran P.
|Hillery, Patrick J.
Kitt, Michael F.
Kyne, Thomas A.
Lemass, Noel T.
Millar, Anthony G.
Moher, John W.
Moloney, Daniel J.
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
Ryan, Mary B.
Byrne, Patrick. Dillon, James M.
Crotty, Patrick J. O'Higgins, Michael J.
Russell, George E.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Ó Briain and Loughman; Níl: Deputies Belton and M.J. O'Higgins.
Question declared carried.
Amendment Nos. 15 and 16 not moved.
Question put: “That Section 4, as amended, stand part of the Bill.”
The Committee divided: Tá, 51; Níl, 18.
Blaney, Neil T.
Calleary, Phelim A.
Crowley, Honor M.
Cummins, Patrick J.
Egan, Kieran P.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lemass, Noel T.
Millar, Anthony G.
Moher, John W.
Moloney, Daniel J.
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
Ryan, Mary B.
|Kyne, Thomas A.
O'Higgins, Michael J.
Russell, George E.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Ó Briain and Loughman; Níl: Deputies Corish and Larkin.
Question declared carried.
An Ceann Comhairle: Amendment No. 17 fell with amendment No. 2 and amendment No. 18 fell with amendment No. 4.
Amendments Nos. 17 and 18 not moved.
An Ceann Comhairle: Amendment No. 19 is to be moved. Could it be taken with amendment No. 30, which seems much the same?
Mr. Traynor: Yes. I move amendment No. 19:
 In page 5, line 18, after “any Sunday” to insert “, between the hours of two o'clock and three o'clock in the afternoon, or”.
Mr. Dillon: Spare us these procedural difficulties. Can we not move amendment No. 19 on its own and deal with amendment No. 30 later?
An Ceann Comhairle: I was asking if amendment No. 19 could be taken with amendment No. 30.
Mr. Dillon: Let us take them as they come. Nobody is holding up the proceedings. We have had enough confusion without adding to it. I suggest we take the rest of the amendments as they arise.
Mr. Traynor: This amendment could be described as consequential on amendment No. 10. Under the law as it stands, Section 13 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act, 1927, hotels and restaurants are allowed to serve drink with a substantial meal between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. As the Bill, as introduced, proposed to allow general opening of all licensed premises, including hotels and restaurants, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., it was unnecessary to link the provision that hotels and restaurants could serve drink with a meal during that period. We have now provided that the period of general opening should end at 2 p.m. Accordingly, this amendment is necessary to preserve the existing condition that hotels and restaurants can serve drink with a meal up to 3 p.m.
Mr. Cosgrave: This amendment is consequential on amendment No. 10 which the Minister moved and which met an amendment I put down on the same lines. This, as I understand it, brings clubs, hotels and restaurants into line with licensed premises as provided in amendment No. 10. Is that not the position?
Mr. Dillon: I am as simple as a child. I want this clarified. Amendment No. 10 substituted the hours of 12.30 p.m. to 2 p.m. for the proposal of from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Is that not so? Now, this amendment appears to  expand the time during which an hotel can serve drink with a meal from 2 to 3 o'clock. That is——
Mr. Traynor: Originally, in the Bill, the Deputy will remember, we had from 1 to 3 o'clock. Now we have substituted for that 12.30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Therefore, it is consequential on the amendment I have just moved. In other words, we are bringing it into conformity with amendment No. 10, which we passed.
Mr. Dillon: Does the Minister mean the hotel to have a right to go on serving drinks for one hour longer than the public house is open?
Mr. Traynor: Provided they are served with a substantial meal.
Mr. Belton: I should like the Minister to define a “substantial meal”. Under previous licensing Acts, we had the ridiculous situation that stories were told of a plate of sandwiches chained to the counter and the same plate of sandwiches used for the various customers who came in. What would be a “substantial meal” in a restaurant? If this Bill is enacted, I visualise customers leaving public houses and making a rush for restaurants and hotels so as to avail of this extra hour's trading. Will it be possible for a customer to ask for a ham sandwich and then be allowed to drink for a whole hour?
Mr. Cosgrave: Is a hamburger a “substantial meal”?
Mr. Moran: The answer is “No.” It has been decided by the courts that the procedure suggested by Deputy Belton will not work for this purpose. It has been held that a sandwich is not a “substantial meal.”
Mr. Cosgrave: Is a hamburger a “substantial meal”?
Mr. Moran: I do not want to anticipate the decision of the courts but I suggest it is not, as we all understand a substantial meal.
Mr. Norton: Is any acreage defined for the sandwich?
A Deputy: Only the size of a person's pocket.
Mr. Moran: I did not catch that.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: This section provides, in the first instance, that the hotels can be open for this additional hour, if the intoxicating liquor is ordered with a substantial meal. Secondly, it provides that the meal must be consumed at the same time as the liquor is consumed and that they are taken in the same part of the premises. I do not know whether this has been subject to decision before but there is nothing in the section before us which requires the person ordering the liquor to be the same person as the person who consumes the meal.
I could go into a restaurant with Deputy Belton and order liquor and a meal. He could consume the meal and I could consume the liquor as the section stands at the moment. Would the Minister mind clarifying that point?
Mr. Traynor: First of all, you would have to go into the restaurant. You could not be served with a drink at the bar of the hotel. You can have the drink only with a meal in the restaurant part of the hotel.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: There is nothing here to make it necessary for the same person to consume the meal and to consume the liquor.
Mr. Traynor: It will be consumed at the same time as the meal. I think that makes it very clear.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: But not by the same person.
Mr. Norton: You could consume some of the other fellow's lunch.
Mr. Dillon: I might invite the attention of the Ceann Comhairle to the text of the Bill, on page 5. The amendment reads as follows:
In page 5, line 18, after “any Sunday” to insert “, between the hours of two o'clock and three o'clock in the afternoon, or”.
Are those words meant to come in before “during the months of June, July, August and September, between the hours of nine o'clock and 10 o'clock in the evening...”? If they are, the section does not seem to make  any sense at all. I gather that the amendment is now designed to make the section read:
(b) on St. Patrick's Day or, unless his licence is a six-day licence, any Sunday between the hours of two o'clock and three o'clock in the afternoon, or
(i) during the months of June, July, August and September, between the hours of nine o'clock and ten o'clock in the evening, or
(ii) during any other month, between the hours of eight o'clock and ten o'clock in the evening....”
That does not make sense to me. Does the subsection, if amended in that way, make any sense to the Minister? It is a matter of grammar. Is it right that it is in line 18 these words are being inserted?
Mr. Traynor: It reads exactly as the Deputy has just mentioned, that after the words “any Sunday” to insert the words “between the hours of 2 o'clock and 3 o'clock in the afternoon”. Then we go to subsection (i) “during the months of June, July, August and September between the hours of nine o'clock and ten o'clock in the evening”. That is giving them the extra hour in the evening to serve a meal also after the normal closing time.
Mr. Dillon: Surely it should be “and” then?
Mr. Traynor: The hour finishes at nine o'clock. On Sunday the hours are from five to nine and from nine o'clock, they can continue for an extra hour up to ten o'clock. During that hour, the hotels and restaurants can serve drinks with a substantial meal.
Mr. Ryan: There is another point which I think needs elucidation. The Minister said that a meal such as he has in mind will have to be served in the restaurant and cannot be consumed in the bar even in an hotel which has both a bar and a restaurant. That certainly is not clear from the section in the Bill. The section provides that: “Nothing in this Act shall operate to prohibit the holder of an on-licence in respect of premises which are for the time being an hotel or restaurant from supplying intoxicating liquor to any person on the premises or from permitting intoxicating liquor to be consumed on the premises.”
But there are quite a number of hotels which have a public bar. The section, as it stands, would not necessarily mean that the meal would have to be consumed in the restaurant. Apart from that, this section would appear to penalise those publicans who are developing the food end of their business which is a development that ought to be encouraged.
An Ceann Comhairle: That would be more relevant on the section.
Mr. Ryan: The reason I make these remarks is that I am not certain how the matter may be put to the House or on what vote.
An Ceann Comhairle: The amendment will be put as it is. The section will also be put. I think it is more relevant to the section than to the amendment.
Mr. Ryan: I appreciate that now, Sir. The effect of the amendment would be to give an advantage to hotels and restaurants and to penalise those public houses which would serve what might indeed be a more substantial meal than can be got in any hotel or restaurant. It is the experience of many that the best mid-day meal at a reasonable price can be obtained at a public bar.
Mr. Moran: The Deputy seems to be under a misapprehension. There is, in fact, no change being made in the law as far as hotels and restaurants are concerned except in so far as this amendment becomes necessary as a result of No. 10. Heretofore, you were allowed to have drink served with meals in hotels during the closing hour in the middle of the day. Perhaps the Deputy would read the end of that section. It states:
 if, in each case the intoxicating liquor is——
(i) ordered by that person at the same time as a substantial meal is ordered by him,
(ii) consumed at the same time as and with the meal,
(iii) supplied and consumed in the portion of the premises usually set apart for the supply of meals.
I think that makes what we are saying quite clear. This facility, if I may put it that way, had already been in existence before this Bill was brought in.
Mr. Norton: Would the Minister clarify this point? I have in mind the case of an establishment where meals are supplied at the counter, barbecued meals and adjoining this room there is a bar proper. Would it be possible, under the Bill, for the owner of the premises, if he discontinued, as he would be required to do, the sale of intoxicating liquor in the bar proper, to serve intoxicating liquor with a meal at the counter as he is doing at present in an adjoining room?
Mr. Traynor: The bar or hotel must close in conformity with the law, the same as an ordinary public house, but it has been granted the facility of serving drink with a meal during that closed hour. As the Minister for Lands has already pointed out, this facility existed in previous licensing laws. Then, it was from one to three and also from six to nine, so that we are not making any change. The only reason we have to bring in this amendment at all is that we have changed the hour in the Bill, which was one o'clock on a Sunday, to 12.30. Now to conform with the rest of the Bill, we may have to make other consequential changes. That is really all we are doing.
Mr. Norton: So that in that case a person can serve a meal at the counter and serve drinks with it between two o'clock and three o'clock?
Mr. Traynor: No, he cannot. He can serve only in the restaurant portion of the premises.
Mr. Norton: This is not a bar counter. It is a restaurant counter where people take meals.
Mr. Traynor: If the circumstances the Deputy speaks about arise, I presume the restaurant will have a certificate. If it has not a certificate or a licence, it cannot serve a meal in the way the Deputy suggests.
Mr. Norton: Once he has a certificate, he is O.K.?
Mr. Traynor: It must be served in the restaurant proper connected with it.
Mr. Norton: Once he has a certificate, he is O.K?
Mr. Traynor: He cannot give a drink any other way except by serving the meal in the restaurant.
Mr. Carroll: I feel we are overlooking the fact that substantial meals are being served in licensed premises, the owners of which have gone to very great expense. The meal is a substantial one. It is not just a hamburger. It is high-class food. The room is not necessarily a separate one. Consequently, while you can have a full course meal, the place would not be considered a licensed restaurant. Hence a grave disadvantage immediately arises.
A number of these establishments have been set up at very great expense for the convenience of the public. I can speak with some degree of certainty in regard to these places. For a long number of years, even since 1927, there are places where substantial hot meals, from menus, are supplied. Admittedly, they have the kitchens and all the equipment but they are still bar premises. They are probably the most popular eating places for businessmen.
Mr. Dillon: There is a drafting point here that I cannot understand. On the assumption that this amendment will be carried this section will read:
Nothing in this Act shall operate to prohibit the holder of an on-licence in respect of premises which are for the time being a hotel or restaurant from supplying intoxicating liquor to  any person on the premises or from permitting intoxicating liquor to be consumed on the premises...
(b) on Saint Patrick's Day or, unless his licence is a six-day licence, any Sunday—
(i) between the hours of two o'clock and three o'clock in the afternoon or during the months of June, July, August and September...
I submit that should be “and during the months of June, July, August and September between the hours of nine o'clock and ten o'clock and during any other month between the hours of eight o'clock and ten o'clock in the evening”. How are these alternatives to one another? How are the hours between two and three o'clock in the afternoon alternatives to “during the months June, July, August and September between the hours nine o'clock and ten o'clock” and “any other months between the hours of eight o'clock and ten o'clock in the evening”?
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: If you read “or else” instead of “or” I think Deputy Dillon's argument becomes clear.
Mr. Moran: If the Deputy starts off with the way the section starts——
Mr. Dillon: Quite.
Mr. Moran: ——and reads the lines down, in conjunction with that you have “(i) after the hour 11.30 in the evening” and “(ii) after the hour of eleven o'clock in the evening” and “(b) on Saint Patrick's Day, etc., between the hours of two o'clock and three o'clock in the afternoon”.
Mr. Dillon: Go on.
Mr. Moran: It follows in my view. It is the logical way of putting it.
Mr. Dillon: It is purely a drafting matter. I think the Minister means to say “and”. It can be dealt with on Report Stage if there is any point in it. As it appears with the insertion written in, it does not seem to me to make sense.
Mr. Moran: The draftsman considers that it does. He is satisfied.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Would the Minister not agree that when the word “or” is used normally you are providing an alternative? Applying that to the amendment, perhaps, what they are saying is, “on Saint Patrick's Day or, unless his licence is a six-day licence, any Sunday between two and three or else during the months July and August.” In other words, you are putting up the alternative by using the word “or”. As Deputy Dillon quite correctly points out, the Minister should say: “on Saint Patrick's Day or Sundays between two o'clock and three o'clock and during the months July and August,” the other hours. It should be “and” not “or”.
Mr. Traynor: I cannot see any of the difficulties Deputies are raising in this matter. We have already agreed to the Sunday hours and the Saint Patrick's Day hours and therefore we are merely bringing this into line with the needs of the Bill.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: We appreciate that.
Mr. Traynor: As doubts have been expressed—I do not think there is very much in those doubts—I propose to get the draftsman to look at it again to see if there is anything in them.
Mr. Dillon: We are purely concerned to save the Minister trouble.
Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: “That Section 5, as amended, stand part of the Bill.”
Mr. Dillon: On the section, I think a good deal of what has been said might more properly be said now. I fully appreciate that it is not reasonable to ask the Minister across the House if this is a substantial meal or if that is a substantial meal but it would be of assistance to the House if the Minister could give us a decision on that express question, which we are raising, from the case law as  it exists for a definition of “a substantial meal”.
Mr. Moran: I shall put it this way. From my own knowledge I know there are many decisions on what are not substantial meals and the matter has been considered in the highest courts from time to time here and elsewhere.
Mr. Sherwin: Does a substantial meal mean the size of the meal or the cost of the meal? A fish and chip meal is a substantial meal, you can get it for sixpence in some places, but in other places it might cost 6/-. Fish and chips is a substantial meal to a lot of people.
Mr. Corish: Perhaps the Minister would give us an example of the type of decision that has been made.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: The decisions are probably contradictory in any event.
Mr. Corish: That is what I want to get at. The Minister for Lands says that there have been examples of cases where meals have been deemed not to be substantial and others where they were deemed to be substantial. The reason the section is being questioned is to give Deputies time to consider whether they should put down amendments on Report Stage. I think if we had a little more information as to what the Bench has said about substantial meals then we might be in a position to make the law much more watertight. As Deputy O'Higgins said, some of these decisions are in conflict with one another. We are trying to make it more regular.
Mr. Moran: The Deputy will appreciate the utter impossibility of writing into legislation what “a substantial meal” is. It might depend upon where a man might be, in what country he might be. If a man is in China, I imagine a dish of rice might be a substantial meal, or when the German soldiers were arriving over Crete some type of pill might have been a substantial meal for them. At all events, we have decided that a sandwich served with a drink is not a substantial meal and indeed the courts,  speaking from recollection, naturally would not consider solely just what is in front of a man. The court would take other circumstances into consideration, how he got there, where he came from, and so on, in deciding whether in fact what he was consuming could be regarded as a substantial meal at the particular time. A substantial meal would be decided, I am sure, to be what we all regard as a substantial meal. The nearest I can get to it is to say that a snack would not cover one from the point of view of the law, nor would a sandwich cover one, and that a substantial meal would be something we all regard as a main meal.
Mr. Ryan: Following on what Deputy Sherwin has rightly said, is there not the possibility that if a person gets a bottle of stout and eats fish and chips off a plate in a hotel, that may be regarded as a substantial meal. If however, a man cannot afford to go into a costly hotel and instead eats fish and chips out of his hand and has a bottle of stout with them, he may be told he is not having a substantial meal because it is not on a gilt-edged plate. That is the difficulty that the members of the Opposition are trying to resolve. I think it would be desirable that an effort should be made to define “substantial meal” in this Bill if the draftsman can do it. The section is getting away from the point raised here that we ought to encourage what is known as the pub or common bar to serve substantial meals. The section compels the publican, even if he is serving a very substantial meal, to close while it allows the restaurant or hotel across the street to remain open at any time on any day of the week. I believe that is undesirable. I can see that there are difficulties in that, for the time being, the majority of publicans are not serving meals. It would be desirable if some method could be provided in the Bill to encourage publicans to serve substantial meals.
Mr. N. Lemass: Surely this section deals only with hotels and does not deal with publicans at all. Therefore, the bag of chips does not arise?
Mr. Ryan: That is exactly the objection I have.
Mr. N. Lemass: Have we not dealt with the section on public houses? Surely this should have been raised on an earlier section?
Mr. Ryan: The purpose of this section clearly is to allow a person who is having a meal, wherever he is having it, to have a bottle of stout with it. My objection is that it allows him to have that substantial meal only in a hotel or restaurant. If he is having a substantial meal anywhere, even at a pub counter, I believe he should be allowed to have a bottle of stout with it. Many pubs have rooms which are not commonly drinking rooms but which in fact are occupied only for that portion of the day in which people are consuming meals. However, under this section, the Minister argues that they be not permitted to serve meals or drink in such rooms, although even under the subsection to which he refers provided the meals are supplied in premises usually set apart for the supply of meals, they may be consumed. Perhaps I should not encourage the Minister to apply a restriction which the district justice might feel did not apply to such rooms in public bars, but there are plenty of premises which have separate rooms or extra accommodation to cover meal times. I believe we ought to encourage those and not penalise them as we are under this section.
Mr. Traynor: The courts have been deciding this question of a substantial meal for years and I do not think they have made any mistakes. From what we have heard in the House, I do not think any of us could agree on what constitutes a substantial meal. I would challenge Deputy Ryan himself to describe what a substantial meal is.
Mr. Dillon: Fish and chips.
Mr. Traynor: Would every Deputy in the House agree that that was within the definition? I think we have got to leave it to the good sense of the courts. We have been doing that for years, as far as I know without any great difficulty, appeals or anything else. I think we can safely leave it to  the courts to decide what a substantial meal is. In fact, it hardly ever arises.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: I do not think that attitude is quite fair to the courts. The Minister has pointed out the difficulty Deputies have in deciding what a substantial meal is. He says the courts can do it without any great difficulty. Surely the reason is simply that the courts have a set of facts before them in a particular case and the word of the court in the matter is law. It is not a question of having to discuss the thing inside out, as we have to here, and come to a decision as to what should in ordinary circumstances be regarded as a substantial meal or what, on the other hand, should be regarded as a snack, to use the phrase of the Minister for Lands.
I appreciate the Minister's difficulty. My own view is that you cannot go any great distance with a definition. If the Minister assures me that both himself and his officials have endeavoured to see if a definition could be given and have come to the conclusion that it could not, I am prepared to accept that. However, I do appreciate the point of view of Deputies who put forward the case that, if it is possible to find a definition, this is the place to find it and now is the time to find it. The Minister should at least let us know whether he has specifically directed his mind and the mind of his officials to the question of the necessity of endeavouring to give a definition, if a definition can be found.
Mr. Traynor: My point is merely that the courts may not be any more expert than we are here in deciding what is a substantial meal. However, when the courts decide what a substantial meal is, that is a decision and it stands; but when we say what a substantial meal is here, it is merely talk.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Not if we put it in the Bill.
Mr. Traynor: When the courts say what a substantial meal is, that is the law.
Mr. Dillon: Really, a Leas-Cheann  Comhairle, I must enter a demurrer here. There are certain principles which we must vindicate in this House. I think the Minister has got this back to front. A judicial decision stands until reversed by a superior court. There is no other court capable of reversing a decision of Oireachtas Éireann. A decision of Oireachtas Éireann stands unless repealed or altered by Oireachtas Éireann. If we define a substantial meal, no one can change it except us. If any court defines a substantial meal, only a superior court can reverse it or we can reverse it by legislation of this House. No court can reverse us by a decision.
However, to tell the truth, my sympathy goes out to the Minister because when I look on my left and see my colleague, Deputy Blowick, and when I look across at Deputy Loughman and think of an unfortunate district justice being confronted with a prosecution of the pair of them lunching together and having to decide what is a substantial meal, I confess that, like the Minister, I should find myself, were I upon the Bench, at a loss to make a decision in that specific case. If that difficulty presents itself among our very colleagues in this House, when we look at the universality of men in this country, and women too, I agree that to define a substantial meal and to apply that definition to everybody is beyond the possible skill of any draftsman, unless you take up the position of arbitrarily deciding that the test shall be that the meal costs more than the drink. But that is not something I would recommend because it would give rise to an infinity of fraud.
An arbitrary rule of that kind would be a way out of your problem, but that just begets fraud. There is no use legislating in such a way as to set a premium on fraud. I think there probably is no way out of the dilemma except that of adopting the practical principles of common law as to what one should reasonably regard as a substantial meal, conceding at once that, in the exceptional circumstances I envisage, it would require a Solomon to give a satisfactory judgment. But then, unlike the Minister, I rejoice in  the fact that such judicial decisions are not irreversible. If that falls short of equity and justice it can always be referred to a superior court for review. In the last analysis, we are here to put the judiciary right, if that necessity should arise.
Mr. Belton: I do not agree with Deputy Dillon inasmuch as I do see a way out of this difficulty. On the introduction of this Bill, the Minister stated it was proposed to create uniformity in the trade and to do away with differentials in trading. By the abolition of the bona fide trade I suggest the Bill will create another one and a more difficult one to combat. I think the way out of this difficulty is for restaurants, hotels and so forth, to close their public drinking places at the same hour. In that way the difficulty will be very easily overcome.
Question put and agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 20 to 24, inclusive, not moved.
Mr. Traynor: I move amendment No. 25:
In page 6, lines 2 and 3, to delete “one o'clock” and substitute “half past twelve o'clock” and delete “three o'clock” and substitute “two o'clock”.
The Bill, as introduced, gave effect to the recommendations of the Commission that, in the matter of hours of trading, clubs should be put on the same basis as licensed premises generally, with the same right as hotels to serve drink with meals. As the House has agreed to alter the first period for licensed premises generally, it is now necessary to make a corresponding change in the section dealing with clubs in order to preserve parity, and the amendment does that.
Mr. Dillon: Is this supposed to reproduce the effect of amendment No. 19 which related to hotels and restaurants?
Mr. Traynor: This is, in a sense, consequential on amendment No. 10.  Again, it is a question of one o'clock and we have already amended the Bill to substitute 12.30 for 1 o'clock.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Will the Minister look into the question of “or” and “and” in this as well?
Mr. Traynor: Yes. Because of the change I made in amendment No. 10 it is necessary to alter this section.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 26 to 29, inclusive, not moved.
Mr. Traynor: I move amendment No. 30:
In page 6, line 27, after “any Sunday” to insert “, between the hours of two o'clock and three o'clock in the afternoon, or”.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: It is cognate with No. 19.
Mr. Traynor: Its purpose is to make the same alteration in regard to clubs as was made by amendment No. 19 in regard to hotels and restaurants. It is another of these consequential amendments.
Mr. Dillon: And the use of the word “or” arises in that context?
Mr. Moran: That will be looked at.
Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: “That Section 6, as amended, stand part of the Bill.”
Mr. N. Lemass: I wonder would the Minister examine the desirability of giving two or three hour extensions on these hours when the hotel or restaurant maintains a certain fixed number of professional entertainers, say, five or six entertainers in full-time employment? I have in mind only the places which have full-time employees, be it an orchestra or acts. I think it would help the actors' profession and professional musicians if the hours were extended, for wine licences only, during the summer months.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: It does not seem to have any connection with the section as amended.
Mr. N. Lemass: I was just wondering would the Minister consider it.
Mr. Traynor: I cannot see how it arises on this Bill at all. To my mind it is a completely separate suggestion.
Mr. N. Lemass: I am quite prepared to let it go at that. I felt that if there were people in full-time employment in these hotels the implementation of my suggestion would create employment, and it would also be an attraction for visitors to the city and to various resorts.
Mr. Traynor: It would really be a matter for the hotels themselves. If the Deputy is thinking in terms of whole-time employment that would be a matter for the hotels. If he is thinking in terms of dinners and functions of that kind, they usually supply their own entertainment.
Mr. N. Lemass: There can be an extension of the hours under a later section?
Mr. Traynor: Yes.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The section deals with hours in clubs.
Mr. Belton: On a point of clarification, on amendments Nos. 14 and 15, I mentioned something about the duration of special extension hours. I understand amendments Nos. 13, 14 and 15 were dealt with in conjunction with amendment No. 57.
Mr. Traynor: Area exemption orders?
Mr. Belton: Area exemptions. Under the terms of the Bill that comes under Section 9. We have dealt with Section 9 and the next section we are going to deal with is Section 11.
Mr. Dillon: No, Section 7.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Section 7.
Mr. Belton: I am sorry; I am looking at the amendments.
Question put and agreed to.
 SECTION 7.
Question proposed: “That Section 7 stand part of the Bill.”
Mr. Dillon: Does that represent any change in the existing law? It relates to holiday camps.
Mr. Traynor: There is no change in the law.
Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: “That Section 8 stand part of the Bill.”
Mr. Dillon: On the Second Stage of the Bill I asked the Minister whether I might assume that the complicated terms of Section 8, which in part refer back to the Finance Act of 1909-10, maintain the position in respect of firms in rural Ireland with mixed businesses. Is the position now that a shop which opens at 9 o'clock can continue to stay open provided it does not serve drink in the bar?
Mr. Traynor: That is the position.
Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: “That Section 9 stand part of the Bill.”
Mr. Belton: It is my intention, if it is in order, to put down an amendment for Report Stage. In the city of Dublin, general exemption orders are given. At the moment, they apply in relation to the cattle market, the vegetable market and the Port of Dublin. It is understandable that exemption orders of a sort are required for a substantial market, such as the cattle market and, to a lesser degree, the vegetable market, but, unfortunately, these places are seldom availed of by the people for whom the special exemption order is granted. It is more common to see people in dress suits in these places in the mornings rather than the people who go there to sell or buy cattle or vegetables.
I am a little more concerned with the recent granting of special exemption orders for the dock area of Dublin. When a licensee found a  loophole in the last Licensing Act, many people thought that he had hit on something worthwhile. That was the case until every other publican in the district decided to apply for a similar licence and what was a most lucrative business for one public house became a millstone around the necks of the others.
The terms of the amendment which I propose to put down are that where licensees are granted a special exemption order from, say, 7.30 a.m., they should, in turn, be obliged to close their premises at 7.30 p.m., in other words, that each licenced house should have the same number of hours' trading.
Awkward situations have arisen in regard to the grant of these licences because it is at the discretion of the justice to decide where the sphere of influence of dock labour commences and ends. One licenced house could avail of a special exemption order, while another premises across the street or next door would fail to get such a licence. It is wrong that legislation should be passed by the House which would give one trader an unfair advantage over another in the same business or in the same area.
I should be glad if the Minister could see his way to agree to the terms of the amendment I have submitted for Report Stage, that a trader who is granted a special exemption order in respect of the morning will be required to close at a corresponding hour at night, so that he will have the same number of hours' trading as publicans who keep to the terms of this Bill.
Mr. N. Lemass: I agree to some extent with what Deputy Belton has said, but I think the way he suggests of dealing with the problem is not the right one. It is only a year or so ago that applications were made in the dock area for early opening and these special exemption orders apply to a great extent in dockland. The sensible thing to do in this case is to charge a very heavy licence fee. I cannot speak of the cattle markets but I do know that in dockland and the Ringsend area, there is definitely a demand for early opening but only for a limited number of houses. If a licence fee, say,  of £100 a year were charged in respect of special exemption orders only a limited number of houses would avail of them to supply a very definite need and it would not interfere with the basic principles of the Bill.
I suggest that Deputy Belton might think along those lines and the Minister might consider introducing a heavy licence fee. The figure I would suggest is £100 a year. That would solve the problem created by a lot of houses having a licence and not using it except on rare occasions and making things impossible for houses which are providing soup, sandwiches and meals for early morning workers and people returning from shift work. It would ensure the provision of those facilities. That would be the better way to deal with the problem.
Mr. Belton: On a point of explanation, I agree with Deputy Lemass in that but I do not think he realises the difficulties that would have to be overcome. According to the law, the licence fee is determined on the Poor Law Valuation of the house. The Minister would have to bring in amendments to place the licence fee payable on a public house on a similar basis to the basis on which hotels pay a licence fee, namely, on the sales of liquor rather than on the Poor Law Valuation.
Mr. Moran: Possibly what Deputy Lemass has in mind is a special stamp upon the application, which is a different matter and which, if my memory serves me aright, was raised to £3 during the past few years.
Provisions to cater for this class of person have existed for a very long time. These provisions are made to cater for fairs and markets and, in some instances for fishermen. This section is brought in here merely to remove a doubt as to the life of the particular exemption order, as to whether it ends at the annual licensing court or goes on. A doubt was raised in some quarters. This law is a very old law and my personal view of the matter is that I do not think it would be right that a special fee such as has been suggested should be imposed.
This is not really a question of  providing particular facilities for publicans. This law is designed to cater for certain classified workers or people employed in a particular trade. These are the people who must be considered. Furthermore, I could not visualise how a district justice would operate if he were to confine early opening orders, for instance, to one or two houses on fair days in a country town or to one or two houses to cater for this particular trade in the immediate vicinity of where these people work. The people in the trade who apply for these facilities do so because there is a demand from their customers or the people for whom they cater for these facilities. Otherwise, they would not apply. I think that rule, by and large, will still be followed and that only those people who normally cater for this kind of business will take advantage of this law.
As I have said, the law has been in existence for a very long time. There is a necessity for it. Of course, it may be true to say that where there are special opening hours, the odd person for whom the hours were not designed may take advantage of them but you cannot legislate against that. It happens all over the world. I have read recently that in London under the different rules in force, you may drink during the 24 hours of the day if you wish. This law has been operated throughout the country at fairs and fishing ports for a very long time and there would be no mention of it in this Bill except that it was necessary to remove certain doubts as to the operation of the section.
Mr. N. Lemass: Deputy Belton and I seem to be worried about the same problem. Unfortunately, I have not got the statistics, but I am sure the number of early opening premises in the city area, particularly in dockland, has increased almost ten times in the past couple of years. They have got this general exemption order and that is what has brought about this situation which I do not think it was ever intended should develop. It is hard to legislate against people taking advantage of a law that was not intended to  cater for them. If the special stamp on the licence could apply to urban areas only, that would not interfere with the case the Minister has made in respect of rural Ireland.
Mr. Dillon: I take it the Minister has heard the complaint which has been mentioned to me, that these general exemption orders in respect of the vegetable and fruit markets were originally made to provide for licensed houses in the adjoining streets. Then they began to go down Capel Street; then the district justices went around the corner and began to give them down Ormond Quay until a larger area was taken in, parts of which it was very hard to relate to the actual area which it was originally designed to serve.
When this problem was presented to me by the persons interested in this matter, I could not elicit from them, nor have I been able to think of one myself, any means whereby the Oireachtas could fix an inflexible limit. If you admit the principle of these exemption orders at all, I do not think we have any alternative but to leave it to the district justice hoping that, having gone down Ormond Quay, he will not cross the Liffey.
Mr. N. Lemass: The £100 would limit it.
Mr. Dillon: But would it limit equitably? The poor have to live as well as the well-to-do.
Mr. Traynor: The Deputy is aware that it is the courts who grant these orders, and I do not think we can dispute their right to do that. One thing I can assure the House is that as far as this type of house is concerned in Dublin, the police keep a very strict watch over them. So far, they have found nothing in the nature of abuse and I can only assume these houses are serving a public purpose, especially around the dock areas.
I presume the same thing is happening around the market areas, that is, Smithfield, the fishmarket, the vegetable market and these other markets contiguous to Smithfield. However, from the point of view of law and order, they are being conducted in a  way that satisfies the police authorities and so far they have raised no objection to the operation of these premises in the manner which the law permits.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: I recognise there is a problem here and, as Deputy Dillon and the Minister have said, it is largely a problem which must be tackled by the courts. When a question is raised in Committee on a Bill of this sort, we must try to find a solution for the problem in the Dáil. I think I am correct in saying these general exemption orders are granted under the Intoxicating Liquor Act of 1927.
Mr. Dillon: Section 4.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Long before 1927, a problem in relation to public houses generally was tackled by the Act of 1902 which clamped down on the number of new licences which could be issued under Section 4 of the Intoxicating Liquor (Ireland) Act of 1902. I am wondering, if the suggestions made by Deputy Belton or Deputy Lemass do not recommend themselves to the Minister, if it would not be worth considering, in relation to the general exemption order houses, the same kind of clamping down as was done in the 1902 Act in regard to public houses generally. We might consider the position as at a particular date and say that, unless there is an increase in the number of people requiring facilities in an area, there will be no increase in the general exemption orders granted for that area.
The Minister is aware that the approach to the problem of too many public houses in the 1902 Act was that the Legislature then said you could not get a new licence unless you extinguished an existing licence and, in addition, unless you proved there was a 25 per cent. increase in population in the civil parish in which the licence was being sought. My suggestion is that you could tackle this problem in a somewhat similar manner, that these general exemption orders may only be granted if the court is satisfied that they are both  necessary and desirable in order to cater for people using markets or fairs or in connection with some other calling, trade or business which required them to be in an area or locality at a time when the ordinary licensing hours do not suit them.
There are areas in the city where it was necessary and desirable, in the view of the court, that these additional facilities should be granted, as the Minister for Lands rightly pointed out, not to the publican but to the users of the markets or fairs, the wharves or the docks. If there is an abuse, the Minister could look into the question on the basis of clamping down on the granting of further exemption orders for those areas, unless an applicant is in a position to prove that there is some extension of the use of those areas during the off licensing hours. In addition to the present requirements, an applicant should be able to prove there has been an increase in the user in those areas.
Mr. Traynor: These are very interesting and important points and I undertake to have them examined. All the points which have been raised on this Bill, and in regard to which strong opinions have been expressed, will be examined with a view to seeing if it is necessary to take any action in regard to them. The subsection that we are bringing in is intended to cure an ill by making these licensees apply annually for a general exemption order. From that point of view, I have no doubt that the courts when they are examining the application will take into account the desirability of granting orders only to suitable applicants. As far as we are concerned, we have never had any evidence that there were too many of these premises: while we have had occasional suggestions to that effect no one has ever supplied evidence by letter or word of mouth and, from that point of view, we are unaware of the fact, as has been suggested here by some of the Deputies, that there are too many licensed premises with general exemption orders. If the licensees apply to the court and the court grants the order we cannot interfere with the decision of the court. I cannot say whether  there is any truth in the statement that there are too many of these premises. We can, perhaps, look them up and see what the number is. I cannot say what number of premises we have serving this purpose at the moment but we can certainly look into the matter.
Question put and agreed to.
Section 10 agreed to.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Before the Minister moves amendment No. 31, might I ask if the wording is correct:
“Before Section 11, but in Part II ...” Does it mean Part II or Part III?
Mr. Sweetman: I think it means Part II.
Mr. Dillon: It is an addendum to Part II.
Mr. Traynor: I propose on the Report Stage to move to delete subsection (2) of Section 10.
Mr. Dillon: What is that.
Mr. Traynor: On the Report Stage.
Mr. Dillon: I suppose the Minister in moving amendment No. 31 will wish to give us some idea of what this section amounts to but it is now twenty-five past ten. Does the Minister wish to open this matter now?
Mr. Moran: It is a rather long section and if the House agrees I would move to report progress.
Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.25 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 30th March, 1960.
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