Committee on Finance. - Transport Bill, 1964—Committee Stage.

Wednesday, 17 June 1964

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 211 No. 2

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Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  On section 3, amendments Nos. 1 to 5 have been ruled out of order.

Mr. Ryan:  This is the first information I have received that amendment No. 1 has been ruled out of order. I cannot see how many amendment making provision about the disposition of the funds received by CIE could possibly be ruled out of order, particularly [273] when a provision which allegedly has to do with the revival of the Irish language is considered to be of relevance to the Transport Bill while a provision which will affect some 600,000 people using the Dublin bus services is ruled out of order. The House is entitled to an explanation as to why it has been ruled out of order.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  It is not true that the Deputy has not been informed that his amendment is out of order. A letter has been sent to the Deputy by the Ceann Comhairle.

Mr. Ryan:  The Deputy has not yet received it, and he was in the House all day yesterday and all day today. In any event, the House is entitled to an explanation as to why an amendment asking that the profits of the Dublin Transport services be used for the benefit of the users of those services was ruled out of order.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The letter sent to the Deputy informed him that it is long established practice that an amendment to an amending Bill such as this must be relevant to some provision in the Bill as read a Second Time. The amendment tabled by the Deputy did not satisfy those requirements and was accordingly ruled out of order.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I got this communication from the Chair only ten minutes ago. It informs me that amendments Nos. 5 and 25 in my name have been ruled out of order. With respect, Sir, I should like an explanation as to why these amendments have been ruled out of order. Amendment No. 5 is a simple amendment asking that the Board shall furnish to the Minister such information as he may from time to time require regarding matters which relate to its activities. It would be a great help to the Minister. From what we know of him in the House, the Minister is not apparently able to get any information from the Board.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Again, the Deputy was informed that it is long established practice in this House that an amendment to an amending [274] Bill such as this must be relevant to some provision in the Bill as read a Second Time. I would point out to the Deputy that the Bill does not open up for amendment the existing position of CIE vis-à-vis the Oireachtas in relation to the conduct of its undertaking.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  This amendment was put in last week. I was in the House all day yesterday until 10.30 p.m., and I got this letter only today —just now as I was coming into this House. That does not appear to be fair to me at all. I consider that amendment No. 5 should be allowed to stand. Section 3 states:

The Board shall not incur any expenditure that is properly chargeable to capital unless it is satisfied that the expenditure is essential for the efficient operation of its undertaking or that the project in relation to which it is proposed to incur the expenditure will be remunerative to the Board.

In view of that, I think my amendment is a fair one.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy's amendment was very carefully considered and ruled out of order on the ground I have stated. I should also point out that the Bill deals with the financing of Córas Iompair Éireann, redundancy compensation, entry to the clerical grade of CIE, development of property by the Board and some other minor matters.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  Surely Deputies are entitled to ask the Minister for Transport and Power questions regarding large outlays of finance by CIE from time to time? Surely we must try to protect the rights of the people by putting down serious amendments such as this?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  I would point out to the Deputy that the Bill before the House is an amending Bill of a very restricted nature. The Bill in no way opens up for review all the powers and obligations of CIE.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The only restriction I can see is that CIE are now reduced to squandering £2 million.

[275]Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  On a point of order, I may be a bit more fortunate than the others who have raised this matter of the exclusion of these amendments. I was informed about an hour ago of this. I want to say, within the rules of order, to you that I think it is reasonable that we who are the victims of this continuous campaign of being ruled out of order, particularly in reference to this Minister and this Department, so far as amendments and questions are concerned, should have a public explanation in the House for the benefit of the people outside the House. I cannot circularise everybody in my constituency, nor can I afford the time or the money to do it, to let them know what has happened to my particular amendment which reads:

Córas Iompair Éireann shall institute a system of reduced morning and evening fares for persons going to or returning from their places of employment.

That is a vital matter which the public would expect would be discussed on this Bill. I am privately informed, an hour before this debate, that discussion will not be allowed upon that amendment. How am I to convey that to the electorate? There should be a public statement in the House in regard to these amendments and, with all due respect, Sir, I do not think that the explanation given by the Chair fits the situation.

I may say, with all due respect to you and to the Chair, that we are being asked to provide a colossal sum —£2 million—which must surely affect every aspect of the running of CIE and here we are being denied an opportunity to talk about this industry which is vital to the nation. We are being denied once again the chance to say what is in the minds of the people outside.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy's amendment has been rejected because it was not relevant to any provision in the Bill as read a Second Time. The Chair has no option but to rule it out of order.

Mr. Ryan:  On a point of order, this [276] Bill is not described as an amendment Bill. I respectfully submit that a Bill cannot be considered an amendment Bill unless the word “amendment” appears in the title thereof. This Bill is described as “an Act to make further provision in relation to transport”. I respectfully say the amendments to which Deputies T. Lynch and S. Dunne have referred and the amendments in the names of Deputy Byrne, Deputy Reynolds and myself—the one dealing with the Dublin services and the one which says that it shall be the duty of the Board to convey old age pensioners on scheduled passenger transport services of the Board free of charge—are matters which relate to the making of further provision in relation to transport. We are pressing this point and I am sure I am speaking for certain of my colleagues when I say that if you rule against us in this matter, the Committee Stage will proceed under protest and the Minister will have to await the further Stages of this Bill until such time as another tribunal, a proper tribunal, has determined whether or not the Chair's ruling in this matter is right.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy's amendment has also been ruled out of order because it is not relevant to any provision of the Bill as read a Second Time.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Have we passed the Money Resolution yet?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Yes, the Money Resolution has been passed.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Was there any amount stated as being covered by the Money Resolution? For a concern that is to pay its way next year, we are voting, apparently, about £16 million plus something.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  We have already discussed the Money Resolution, have we not?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The House has already dealt with the Money Resolution.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I am asking how much is covered by it.

[277]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  We are now on section 3.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  There is £16 million odd for a concern that was to pay its way next year—is that not right?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Money Resolution has been passed.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Can the Minister not say?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The question of a subsidy arises again on a general section of the Bill.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  There is a Money Resolution which covers everything. How much is in it?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Money Resolution clearly indicates a grant of £2 million.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Surely it is six million pounds in the first paragraph and then two million pounds a year for five years. That is £16 million in my count and there is an extra £1 million, which makes £17 million, and then there is whatever is covered by paragraph (5). Is that not right?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Money Resolution has already been agreed to.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I am raising this point because I want to know if the House is not to be allowed to discuss the expenditure, or potential expenditure, of £17 million plus, in relation to a concern which we were told is to pay its way this year or next year.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The House is now dealing with section 3 of the Bill.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I am coming to section 3 in a moment. I want to know what is covered. My calculation is £17 million with whatever is the undetermined expenditure covered by paragraph (5), that is, the payment out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas of the expenses incurred in the administration of the Act. Certainly there is £17 million clear covered.

In those circumstances, I, with other Deputies, thought we had better have [278] a new orientation towards the Minister in respect of the expenditure of these moneys, and I put down an amendment which you ruled out of order, that is, amendment No. 4, to the effect that the House should be informed from time to time on such matters as the Minister would require information on in order to keep Deputies informed and, through Deputies, to keep the public informed.

Under section 3, the Board is not to incur any expenditure that is properly chargeable to capital. How are we to investigate that? If we ask questions, we will be told certain things are day-to-day administration and will not be permitted for discussion. As Deputy Ryan has pointed out, this is an Act to make further provision in relation to transport and one of the prohibitions now is that the Board is not to charge expenditure to capital unless it is satisfied that the expenditure is required for the efficient operation of the undertaking or else that the expenditure will be remunerative. Again, how are we to know that? If questions are asked here with regard to expenditure, say, on a big number of lorries, and a refusal is given in the House to an application for information on that matter, how are we to know whether the judgment of the Board is to be accepted as to whether it is remunerative or not, unless we can ask these questions?

It is for that reason that I put down this amendment that we should have such information from the Minister as might be required to keep members of either House informed of the activities of the Board; in other words, to inquire whether it is properly chargeable to capital and whether it is remunerative.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy's amendment was ruled out of order because it was not relevant to any provision in the Bill as read a Second Time.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Anything that is covered by section 3 is relevant and capital expenditure is one thing which is covered, and, secondly, the question as to whether expenditure will be remunerative or not is covered. Surely, [279] one is entitled to ask under that as to the administration of the Board in relation to capital expenditure and in relation to ordinary expenditure. I am making these points in order to ask you to withdraw the ruling that my amendment, No. 4, is out of order.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  In order to get the debate back into order, I would ask the Minister to move amendment No. 6 to section 3.

Mr. Treacy: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Before you pass from this crucial issue, may I ask the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, without casting aspersions on the impartiality of the Chair, to indicate to me, whether or not the Ceann Comhairle consults with the Minister for Transport and Power or any member of his Department in considering questions and matters put to him by members of this House appertaining to the functions of the Minister for Transport and Power? Does the Chair act of its own volition or in consultation with the Minister's Department?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Chair does not consult with any Minister or any Department. He rules according to the Standing Orders of this House.

Mr. Treacy: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I should like that to be very clear.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  On a point of order, is it not a fact that, if the Minister says he has no function in the matter, that finishes it as far as the Chair is concerned?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  No. It is a matter for the Chair to decide whether the Minister has a function or not.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  I accept your word but it does not tally with my experience.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  On section 3——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Could we deal with the Ministerial amendment to section 3 and the Deputy can then proceed to discuss his point on [280] section 3. Amendment No. 6—the Minister.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I move amendment No. 6:

In page 2, line 24, after “undertaking” to insert “or to enable it to carry out the general duty imposed on it by subsection (1) of section 7 of the Act of 1958”.

In the course of the Second Stage debate in Dáil Éireann, Deputy Casey suggested that the provisions of section 3 might be interpreted to prohibit capital expenditure by the Board on the restoration and maintenance of long stretches of permanent way, sections of the railway which are not making a profit, or on the provision of better office accommodation and facilities for the staff, and similar views were expressed by Deputy Corish and Deputy Mullen. I also met the Irish Congress of Trade Unions on this matter and they were worried about the actual statement in the section and so I am moving this amendment so that it relates section 3 to subsection (1) of section 7 of the 1958 Act which reads:—

It shall be the general duty of the Board to provide reasonable, efficient and economical transport services with due regard to safety of operation, the encouragement of national economic development and the maintenance of reasonable conditions of employment for its employees.

The amendment therefore relates the general purpose of the section to that subsection of the 1958 Act and thus ensures that the capital can be spent when required for the proper maintenance of the system, for the restoration of the system, and that capital can be provided, if necessary, for social purposes within CIE for the improvement of social conditions within CIE.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  The amendment goes some way to meet some of the objections made by Deputies of this Party. I note that the Minister referred to section 7 of the 1958 Act and said that CIE were charged with promoting general economic development in the [281] country. I think I heard the Minister correctly in that.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The encouragement of national economic development and the maintenance of reasonable conditions of employment for its employees.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  That satisfies me. I am sure that in this whole matter the Minister is concerned with maintaining employment as far as he can in, for example, the workshops of CIE, and I would say therefore that under section 7 of the 1958 Act, CIE must have regard to the value of employment in the workshops. The Minister, however, is aware that CIE have told the trade unions recently that from September next until January, 1966, they propose to construct 255 single-deck buses but that the parts for the construction of these will be in an imported condition — I understand the term is a “completely knocked down condition”—and that from the latter part of 1965 to March, 1967, the company propose to construct 120 double-deck buses and the material for these will also be in a completely knocked down condition. The Minister must also be aware of CIE's responsibility for maintaining employment and the desirability of doing all the work that can be done in their own workshops in this particular regard.

I am informed that CIE have told the trade unions that between 50 and 100 operatives will be dismissed by reason of this action by CIE. I know the Minister has been made aware of this and I should like the Minister's observations about the desirability of assembling and constructing buses and importing parts from abroad concurrent with the proposed dismissal of some 50 to 100 men. The Minister and CIE have a responsibility in this matter to maintain employment where it is possible to do this work in this country.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  This matter will really arise more appropriately on the sections relating to redundancy but, if Deputy Corish would like me to deal with it now, I will. The decision to import the bus bodies in a completely knocked down condition is a departure from previous [282] practice but it is only as regards the main framing of the bus body and the introduction of a quantity of fibre-glass into the design, and the outer panelling and inner trimming and finishing of the bodies will be carried out in the usual way as before. I gather that this is the result of worldwide changes in the techniques of bus design and manufacture and will enable CIE to incorporate up-to-date design and methods without being involved in prohibitive re-tooling costs. It is one of these inevitable productivity operations which are taking place in all parts of industry. In so far as redundancy may take place within the staff, there naturally will be negotiations between the trade unions and CIE. I would hope that we have reached the stage now where it may be possible for some of these men to be transferred to other parts of CIE and that re-training can be arranged for them. As the Deputy knows, the Minister for Industry and Commerce has already received a report from the CIO about re-training in industry consequent on new productivity methods. I think this comes within the ambit of those matters. In any event, CIE will certainly be negotiating with the trade unions with regard to the matter.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  That is not entirely satisfactory from my point of view. The Minister says that the modern trend is to engage in a different type of construction and introduce fibre-glass into certain parts of the bus bodies and that we have to do this in the name of progress. Is it absolutely necessary to do all these things when it means the disemployment of anything up to 100 people? I do not know what reply the Minister will give us on the section dealing with redundancy but it was pointed out on the Second Stage that there was no suggestion—and I do not think there was any suggestion in the Minister's reply, either—that there would be redundancy compensation where men were displaced from workshops. It is not set out specifically in the Bill. It does not appear to us that there is any redundancy compensation in a matter such as that. These workers [283] in the CIE workshops who have been engaged in the construction of buses, especially in the Spa Road workshops, have been complimented on their high degree of workmanship. I do not think the Minister should condone, or appear to condone, the disemployment of so many workers in the name of what is to me in any case doubtful progress.

The buses plying around the country seem to be satisfactory and are most attractive and mechanically they seem to be pretty good. Why we should in our present stage of development try to ape or copy the buses plying in the USA, Germany, France or Great Britain I cannot imagine. One of the fundamentals at present is to ensure that men will not be disemployed. I am not impressed either by the Minister's assurance that his colleague, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, has proposals for re-training and compensating and all that sort of thing. He, too, has been questioned about his proposals in regard to workers who will be rendered redundant by reason of anything the Government may do in preparation for our entry into the European Economic Community but he has not been specific.

I believe that we should not allow this sort of thing to happen, no matter what the results may be. We should not be importing buses in any condition at all. We have too many unemployed in this country and there has been serious redundancy in CIE. If the Minister can give me an assurance that these men will be placed in other sections of CIE, I will be satisfied but he has not given us any such assurance.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  Would the Minister answer Deputy Corish?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have already given Deputies full information on this subject. I would say that the buses which we have in this country need replacement badly and I would also say that we need the most modern type of bus that can be found at whatever cost is reasonable. The competition between buses and people travelling together in motor cars is going to become more intense and unless we have buses [284] produced by the most economic means and in the most up-to-date manner we can get, the only result will be a decline in the numbers travelling by bus. You may have possible reduction in employment for drivers, conductors and maintenance men on the one hand, and the possibility of some reduction in assembly, on the other. This is something that is going on all over the world. The more rapid the growth in the economy, the more substantial are the changes in techniques in industry.

CIE have agreed to enter into discussions with the trade unions as to what steps will be taken in the event of redundancy but it is impossible for me to say what arrangements for transfer will be made and also, if the economy advances, what demand there will be for people trained as fitters and vehicle builders. The Deputy has referred to extensive unemployment but I would argue that there is no very extensive unemployment among skilled workers in Dublin. In some sectors of industry in Dublin, there is good employment; in others, there may be occasional unemployment; but the Deputy has only to look at the figures given each month by the Central Statistics Office to see that the situation has changed very much for the better as compared with five or ten years ago. I do not think we need be unduly alarmed about this matter while the workers have the right to negotiate with CIE about the position.

I could not restrict the advance of modern design in bus building. I feel it is absolutely essential for CIE to have the most modern and up-to-date buses that can be obtained at a reasonable cost and I know that the new buses coming from CIE are much more advanced that those of previous years.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister has said it is necessary for him to use new techniques in order to save money. Does the Minister mean that the new techniques should enable him to introduce buses that are too long? CIE bought buses that were 36 feet long while all the time 30 feet was the legal length of the buses allowed to travel the roads of this country. The Minister's colleague in the Department of [285] Local Government made an order legalising that purchase. I put down a question to the Minister about the matter and he would not answer it. Now he is getting the result of that.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  It is true.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I know nothing about that.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  CIE bought buses longer than those that are legally allowed.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Are they not legally permitted?

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  They were not legal when purchased.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  But they are now.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  That is an old Tammany trick. When Jim Fisk was going to do something illegal, he first brought it to the Legislature and had it made legal.

Mr. Ryan:  He did it first and then had it made legal.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  Why do we have to import buses even partially assembled, as appears to be the case? What is the meaning of the term: “completely knocked down”? Why could we not import the material and build the buses from the ground up? I assume the new buses to be acquired will be something of the type we have brought over from England and which have been travelling around the roads in the south county for the past month or so. If that is so, there appears to be some doubt as to whether these will carry baby-carriages and prams. It is said that they are incapable of this. This may seem to be a light matter for some people here but it is not a light matter for the people of Ballyfermot where, thank God, they have the largest baby population in the country. I would like an assurance that these people's prams and baby-carriages can be carried on the new buses.

Mr. Ryan:  I agree with Deputy Dunne when he speaks about the problem [286] of conveying prams and baby-carriages but I consider it equally important that we should provide for the carriage of elderly people with or without wheel chairs. What arrangements are being made by CIE and the Minister to see that these people are carried?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I am afraid I could not give any information as to the extent to which prams can be carried but CIE do their best to carry mothers and childern. I do not believe that any change in the type of bus will alter the extent to which these people can be facilitated. In regard to the question of assembly, this is a result of a worldwide change in the technique of bus design and it enables CIE to keep up with this design without having to undergo an extensive re-tooling process the cost of which would be very high. I could not give the cost of any particular type of bus but Deputies will be well aware of the enormous cost of a re-tooling process.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Is this the end of bus building in Ireland?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I did not say that.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The Minister has said that CIE will do its best. Many years ago it was said that CIE would do its best to make the undertaking pay. Now we are being asked for £17 million for CIE. That is what CIE means by doing its best. There was a limit imposed, I expect, after consideration of safety on the roads, on the length of buses to be allowed. CIE apparently bought buses longer than the maximum length allowed and an amendment had to be made on an order by the Minister for Local Government in respect of that. Previously, as we know from questions to the Minister here which were not replied to, CIE bought engines which would only run backwards. All information on these matters was refused, the Minister saying this was day-to-day administration. The Minister has introduced an amendment which brings into the section that the Board is still under obligation to run an economic and efficient system. How [287] would we know that? How would we know what capital expenditure is properly incurred? How would we know what capital expenditure is likely to be remunerative to the Board unless we are entitled to ask questions on that matter? Is the Minister now opening the door to us in that respect, so that when questions are put here, after section 3 and particularly after the amendment is carried, he will indicate why it is properly incurred capital expenditure and why the capital expenditure is likely to be remunerative?

The Minister said that there is no shortage of employment for skilled workers. Are we getting back to the old days when, if I remember them, railway employment was so secure that railway employees were not asked to subscribe to unemployment insurance? Their occupation was regarded as so good that they would never get any benefit from unemployment insurance. Does the Minister state we are getting back to that stage? Will he tell me, when he said the other day that 900 people have been declared redundant in CIE, whether they are people he would regard as being unskilled?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Deputy will not trip me up on this. I have not made any statement precisely as to what will happen in connection with the future of CIE. I merely indicated general economic trends. I have no idea what the final negotiations will be between CIE and the trade unions in regard to the men who are affected by these changes in assembly. I was merely indicating that, by and large, CIE has been successful in negotiating with the trade unions in regard to these important matters and I hope, as a result of the improvement in relations that has taken place recently and the improvement in the method of negotiation, they will have further success. I am not committing myself to making any specific statement in regard to any particular group of men who may be found redundant in CIE in the future. I was just giving the general trend.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Perhaps the Minister [288] would confirm or deny the figures I gave him. Is it a fact that from September next until about January, 1966, CIE will import, in a completely knocked-down condition, of course, 255 single-deck buses and, from the latter part of 1965 to March, 1967, 120 double-deck buses? Will the Minister tell me what replacement period would be represented by the importation of 255 single-deck buses and 120 double-deck buses?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I am afraid I have not that information.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  It is very important because I asked the Minister whether or not we are discontinuing the industry of bus building in this country.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  No.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  I want to know what will be the effect on employment in the industry of the CIE proposal to import in a knocked-down condition 255 single-deck buses and 120 double-deck buses? If that is the replacement for five years, it means there will not be employment for five years. Will it always be the policy of CIE to import buses in a knocked-down condition rather than have them completely constructed here?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I think the Deputy is under an illusion about this. As the Deputy knows, there are quota restrictions in regard to motor assembly. CIE will be bound by the quota restrictions and import duties which apply to the whole of the motor car industry. They will be no different from the other assembly plants. They are putting themselves in line with that. They are merely taking the advantage of whatever degree of importation is permitted for the general motor car industry. They are not seeking to assemble here and there is no alteration in the general quota system or in the general import duty system. They will be in exactly the same position as other motor car assemblers.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Why not build all their buses here in Ireland?

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister said that any men who would be declared [289] redundant would be looked after by CIE and alternative employment would be found for them. There were many men declared redundant by CIE in the past few years. They were offered jobs but the jobs they were offered were perhaps 70 or 80 miles away from where they were living.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The question of redundancy would relevantly arise on section 9 which relates to it.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister asked for this himself.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Chair would ask the Deputy to wait until we come to the section.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  If we do not say it now to the Minister, we shall never be allowed to say it. We shall never be ruled out of order. Now is the time to say it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy could not be ruled out of order on section 9 when it is relevant. He can be ruled out of order at the moment.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister has been asked whether the death-knell has been sounded for coach building in Inchicore. He told me yesterday 42 buses were brought into service at 31st March, 1964, at a cost of £455,000. It took three months to get that information from the Minister. What I want the Minister to tell me now is whether the figure that appeared in the Evening Herald two weeks ago of £900,000 for the purchase of buses in the past 12 months was correct or not. If we are to continue purchasing these buses from the Leyland Company, the Leyland Leopard and the Worldmaster, why should they not be brought in here in a knocked-condition to be assembled?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have already answered the question.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister has not answered the question. He has only half answered the question. He said the bodies were brought in, glass fibre and so on. I am talking about the [290] actual chassis. The Minister gave us no information about that. Is it a fact that they were brought in, ready to go without needing anything to be done to them? Believe it or not, I can give credit to the Minister and CIE in one respect. The Minister's area manager invited me and some other people last Monday to see some new coaches at Waterford railway station. They were magnificent and I was delighted to hear they were built entirely in Inchicore. This is what I want to know. If they are still able to build five coaches in Inchicore, why is the Minister bringing in these buses with the coachwork almost finished? These men only screw it together. Could the Minister not make a recommendation to CIE, as he has told us he is responsible for CIE, that in future the designers and the fine coachbuilders at Inchicore be given a chance of building the bodies for the buses entirely in the works?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have dealt with all that and have made it perfectly clear already.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister did not make anything clear.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  It appears from the Minister's statement on this section that CIE intend to modernise their bus fleet and everybody agrees that is a good policy, even though it may be very costly. We should have first-class buses are not constructed in this country. It is a reflection on Irish industrial development that we must import these buses in a knocked-down condition. The Minister should again consult the Board of CIE with a view to getting these buses constructed in toto here. Otherwise, it is a reflection, as it suggests we cannot do that work. I am sure there are men capable of building these buses here.

I agree with modernising the bus fleet but I want to know from the Minister, if this section is approved, will we have an opportunity of discussing the purchase of these buses in the House subsequently, or will we be told by the Minister that he has no function in the matter? The Minister [291] may not know that he has another name—the Minister without functions. I think he should indicate here whether or not he will answer Deputies' questions on the modernisation of the bus fleet.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  That subject may not be discussed on this amendment; it does not arise.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The matter of answering questions put down by Deputies could arise on any section of the Bill. The Minister has made a number of statements here and has indicated that CIE is to modernise its bus fleet, purchasing a number of buses abroad. I want to know will the Minister be in a position to answer questions relating to these buses, asked in the House, or will he adopt the attitude that he has previously adopted of refusing to answer such questions. It is peculiar that some questions relating to the business of CIE, where the answer is likely to be favourable, can be answered.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy is getting away from the amendment, which has nothing to do with answering questions.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I respectfully suggest that the matter of the answering of questions, whether the Minister will answer questions or not in this House, could arise on any section of, or amendment to, the Bill, because, as I said on Second Reading, this is one of the main grievances of the Opposition Benches. Several Deputies who spoke on the Labour and Fine Gael benches referred to this grievance which is an all-round one.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  It does not arise on the amendment and, if the Deputy persists in discussing the particular point, I shall ask him to resume his seat.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I know your line on this, too.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Question proposed: “That section 3, as amended, stand part of the Bill”.

[292]Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  I should like to ask the Minister if he would repeat for my benefit section 7 of the 1958 Act?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Would the Chair permit the Minister to say whether or not he intends answering questions on matters in connection with this section if they are asked at a future date in this House?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  It would be totally irrelevant for the Minister to answer on that particular point.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  I did not wish to make any comment but merely to ask the Minister if he would read out for my benefit subsection (1) of section 7 of the 1958 Act.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The section reads:

It shall be the general duty of the Board to provide reasonable, efficient and economical transport services with due regard to safety of operation, the encouragement of national economic development and the maintenance of reasonable conditions of employment for its employees.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  Would one not consider that CIE were not considering the safety of the public when they lengthened the buses from 30 feet to 36 feet?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy has already discussed that point.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  That is a matter for the Minister for Local Government.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The question is: “That section 3, as amended, stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I thought we were still on the amendment. I did not hear the amendment being put.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  The amendment was put and I interrupted to ask the Minister about the section of the 1958 Act.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I certainly did not get a chance to hear it.

[293]Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  The House did not say “yea” or “nay”.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  We are still on the amendment?

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  Are we still on the amendment?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  We are discussing the section, as amended.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Is the amendment passed?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  It is passed.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I did not hear it.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  The section reads:

The Board shall not incur any expenditure that is properly chargeable to capital unless it is satisfied that the expenditure is essential for the efficient operation of its undertaking or that the project in relation to which it is proposed to incur the expenditure will be remunerative to the Board.

This has been amended by amendment No. 6 to this extent:

... after “undertaking” to insert “or to enable it to carry out the general duty imposed on it by subsection (1) of section 7 of the Act of 1958”.

Herein is contained, I submit, the fundamental philosophy which has motivated every action of the Government towards CIE. The sole yardstick, as far as I can judge, the Government ever applied to the operation of CIE is one of economic profitability. This is where we in the Labour Party disagree with the Government's attitude towards public transport. It is not good enough that CIE should be regarded in the same light as that in which one would regard a private company operating in a commercial fashion with the principal motive of acquiring as much profit as it can for its owners and shareholders.

CIE is the property of the nation and its first function is to serve the nation by providing a transport system. [294] If that can be done economically, well and good. If it can be done through the medium of trying to balance the budget, well and good. But, if we are to sacrifice the public good purely for the sake of being able to say we have narrowed the gap so far as deficit is concerned, while, at the same time, depriving the people of transport, that is no good whatsoever to the people. Not alone that but it is in direct conflict with all progressive thought in the matter of transport and in the matter of public services.

The Minister is very fond of referring to trends abroad in the world and to what is happening in other countries. Very often many of these references on his part have no relevance whatsoever to this country. The sectors of our economy, to use the abominable modern phrase now universally accepted, which compare with those of other countries are few and far between. We have a very different proposition here from what they have across the water, on the continent, or elsewhere. Leaving that aside for the moment, there is no country in the world in which it has been found possible to make transport pay, to my knowledge anyway, and we can hardly be expected to do it here. Inherent in this section, however, is the proposition that the Board must so operate that every act it does must be governed by the question of cost and the public good is not mentioned at all except in a general, meaningless way in a reference to previous Acts. When I refer to the public good, I refer to the possibility, for instance, that there may come to the Board of Córas Iompair Éireann at some time in the future, perhaps with a change of Minister, perhaps with a change of administrators in CIE, the notion that the people of Dublin deserve justice in the matter of fares. It must eventually dawn upon some Minister for Transport——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  That does not arise on the section.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  Oh, surely it does. I am giving the reasons why we are opposing this section, and these are the reasons——

[295]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  They must be relevant to the section. The Deputy is travelling outside the section.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  I am about to indicate the faults we see in the section and the way in which we differ from the Minister and the Government in their attitude towards public transport. This section states that the main purpose of CIE is, in simple language, to make a profit. We disagree with that.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy's amendment has been ruled out of order. The Deputy has been informed why and he may not now raise the subject matter of the amendment in another way on the section.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  I assure you I am not trying to do that. If I use words which have been used in the amendment, it is not with any ill-intention, such as trying to circumvent the ruling of the Chair, or anything like that.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The question of bus fares in Dublin is not relevant and does not arise.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  Surely we are entitled on a Transport Bill to talk about things which concern our constituents. If we are not, then we are not a Parliament at all.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  That is what I am afraid of.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  We will do our best, the Deputy and I, to ensure this will remain a Parliament. But the trend seems to be the other way. As I say, we in the Labour Party feel strongly that the Board of CIE should have as its prime consideration the provision of a transport service and the question of whether or not it can be made a profitable one is of secondary importance. The people of this city are long overdue a fair deal in this matter. I shall not push it further than that, except to say that it would be wrong for us in the Labour Party to let the section go without a protest against it, because, at some stage, the Minister, or some of his aides, will be sufficiently active to discover that we have no such [296] intention. We will watch this Bill and every act of the Minister to ensure that we express, in so far as we are allowed to do so, the views of the Labour Party and the views of the ordinary people who have to put up with a great deal from CIE.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  This section is a very wide one and I should like to ask the Minister now whether questions arising from the operation of the section will in future be answered in this House.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The question of Ministerial replies in the Dáil does not arise on the section.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I am basing this on the section, as amended, and, since it deals with expenditure properly chargeable to capital, will questions on such expenditure be answerable in this House? With respect to you, Sir, I think that question arises directly on this section.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  That question is not contained in the amendment.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  May I ask a further question? I understand it is intended that CIE provide a national service. Deputy Dunne spoke about CIE making transport pay. Am I to assume that in particular areas where transport does not pay services will be withdrawn, as they were withdrawn in the Schull-Goleen area? We are asked here to provide money to the tune of £2 millions to subsidise CIE. That £2 millions will be drawn from the people of the country as a whole. Everyone is asked to pay his or her share of taxation to meet the CIE demands on the Exchequer, but, in some section, where the Minister indicates that a loss is shown on the operation of CIE services, those services will be withdrawn. I am not now dealing with rail services. They have been dealt with here in great detail already. I am dealing with bus services. The service from the town in which I live to the adjoining town of Goleen has been withdrawn.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  That [297] does not arise and is not, therefore, a matter for debate on the section.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Unfortunately the Minister made some untruthful assertions here.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  If Deputy Murphy refuses to listen to the Chair——

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  No, Sir.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  This is an amending Bill of a restrictive character and these questions of detail do not, therefore, arise.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  It is not so described. It is a Bill to make further provision in relation to transport.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Might I point out that it does not open up a debate on the transport code of the whole country?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Am I right in asking whether this Bill is so restricted that we cannot address ourselves to the question as to whether or not CIE intends in future to restrict services in areas which are not showing a profit?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  That does not arise and is not a matter for debate.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  If that is so, then this subvention from State funds does not arise.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy may raise the matter on an Estimate, but it is not relevant on section 3, as amended.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  Is it in order then to raise a matter of legislation on an Estimate? We are stymied every way, no matter how we try to raise it.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  You will agree, Sir, that it was only today you sent me a letter refusing an amendment. I had a letter from our esteemed Ceann Comhairle on 10th June refusing a question.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  We disposed of the amendment and there can be no further questions on it.

[298]Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Now, on a debate on transport, we are told to sit down and that we may not address ourselves to several questions which are of interest to the people and of interest, in particular, to the people we represent here.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  They are not relevant to the Bill.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  So far as transport is concerned, an attempt is made to stifle any discussion. That is an unfortunate outlook.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I want to object to this section. First of all, this is very narrowly restricted, we are told. It is an amending Bill to amend an already restricted piece of legislation. In fact, it is not so at all. The Long Title is “to make further provision in relation to transport”. Part of the further provision is apparently contained in section 3, apart from the amendment, which I shall deal with particularly. Apart from the amendment, which has, apparently, been accepted, two points arise on the section. One is whether certain expenditure is, first of all, chargeable to capital or whether it is essential for the efficient operation of the undertaking and, the second, whether the project in relation to which it is proposed to incur the expenditure is remunerative.

On the question of being remunerative, amendments have been mentioned calling for the institution of a system of reduced morning and evening fares for persons going to or returning from their places of employment. Surely that arises from the matter of remuneration? It is well known that both Aer Lingus and Aerlínte offer seats at very reduced rates to certain special passengers. Those passengers may not take up the seats unless there are no other occupants for them. In other words, Aer Lingus and Aerlínte believe it to be remunerative to carry certain people at one-tenth of the ordinary charge if certain conditions prevail. Is that the sort of thing CIE would ever bring under consideration, that they might have empty buses at certain non-peak hours and it might [299] be possible for them to get passengers at reduced rates—people going to or from their work? Surely that would come under the heading of whether or not the expenditure is remunerative?

The second matter that arises on this—possibly it could be dealt with by way of question—is whether expenditure chargeable to capital is required for the efficient operation of the undertaking. Surely, on that, it would be possible for Deputies to make inquiries as to what the expenditure is likely to be in amount and how far it will be remunerative and whether it is required for the efficient running of the undertaking?

I did not know until I heard it from Deputies that certain buses are so constructed that there is no room in them for prams and for the carriages used for the conveyance of small children. Surely that is a matter that should be inquired into? Would it not help the efficiency of the undertaking that places be provided in buses for prams and a baby carriages? Would not one be entitled to query whether capital expenditure on a bus without such accommodation for children was a proper capital charge and whether it would assist the efficiency of the undertaking?

I hold these things are open to examination. Even though an amendment has been ruled out of order asking that a system of reduced morning and evening fares for persons going to or from work be instituted, it seems to be quite open, after this section is passed in its restricted form, to query what public services CIE might be asked to run for special people at special hours and, secondly, whether or not they should be asked to see their buses will give the accommodation that might be required for children in thickly populated areas.

In any event, the whole situation has changed as between this Bill and the 1950 Act, and even since the 1958 Act. Up to 1958 there was the pretence, maintained by the Minister's refusal to answer questions, that CIE was going to meet its obligations without any subvention from the taxpayer. We [300] have abandoned all that. CIE is now carrying on what amounts to a social welfare service. It is no longer an economic transport undertaking. It is dependent on the taxpayer. By this very big enlargement of the restricted Transports Acts up to this, I suggest Deputies have an enlarged area of inquiry as to what CIE is doing under social welfare conditions.

Mr. Ryan:  The section, as amended, imposes an obligation on the Board to consider the encouragement of national economic development. Therefore, it seems proper to us in Fine Gael to allow the House to consider a number of aspects of public transport and the manner in which they affect economic development. One of the greatest problems affecting about 300,000 people who want to avail of the facilities offered by CIE is the lack of facilities provided for those people. I am concerned particularly with people within a radius of two or three miles of Dublin city centre and taking a radius of about five miles. There is a wheel around Dublin city about two miles in width in which people find it extremely difficult to board buses going to or from their work. This is keeping many working people late for their daily employment and is thus having a grave effect on the economic development of Dublin. CIE and the Minister have consistently refused to tackle this matter and give it serious consideration. The continued growth of Dublin, with consequential extension of routes of up to eight miles from the city centre, has meant that people who reside halfway on those routes find it extremely difficult to board buses. Indeed, the extension of the 5-day week and the increase in the number of people commencing work daily at 9 a.m. and completing work at 5.30 p.m. will multiply that difficulty in the years immediately ahead.

It seems to us in Fine Gael and to all Dublin Deputies that CIE has failed entirely to consider this problem and to attempt to solve it. It will have to acquire additional vehicles for its transport fleet if this difficulty is to be overcome. Even though that may mean there will be a large number of [301] vehicles lying idle for the remainder of the day, if we are to move with the times and meet the needs of these people, we will have to accept the additional capital liability, particularly when we have increased the peak and valley periods. That is what we are doing by allowing the extension of uniform hours of working from 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

The difficulty we have in giving powers like this to CIE is that CIE may interpret them in an extremely narrow sense. It is because it has done so that the transport facilities the people have a right to expect are not being provided. It is important that the difficulties people experience in relation to public transport should be voiced in this House so that the Board will appreciate how they are failing in the duty which we, as legislators, have imposed on them.

It seems most undesirable that we should be taking away work from the Dublin coachbuilders. There is a long and honourable tradition of coachbuilding in Dublin. We have been among some of the best coachbuilders in the world. The coachbuilding works at Spa Road has built up its own tradition over its half-century of experience. I do not believe it is beyond the capacity of the engineers, coachbuilders and designers of Dublin to devise some means of producing reasonably cheap, safe and efficient coach work. I do not at all accept the Minister's contention that it is necessary to import so many of these vehicles in an almost completed state. There are many ways in which coaches and buses can be built and there is no necessity for this country to follow slavishly whatever practice may exist elsewhere. We ought to endeavour to use our own equipment and our own talents. This is part of the duty which the Board should try to discharge under their obligation to encourage national economic development.

The question of the facilities which are to be offered to the people who want to travel by CIE also comes within the general description of national economic development. It is surely a part of national economic development that we should try to [302] extend public transport services to all sections of the community.

Deputy McGilligan has referred to the practice which apparently has been accepted as being respectable in air transport of offering cheaper fares at off periods. To some extent, this principle has been accepted in Dublin by having a cheaper rate of a twopenny trip during the valley periods. It would appear to be equally arguable that CIE ought to have cheaper facilities for all persons offering during valley periods, but, if CIE think that is going too far, we feel that certainly CIE should have cheaper fares or no fares at all for old age pensioners who would travel during the valley periods. This would not be imposing any additional strain on CIE finances because, as things are at the moment, the cost of public transport is so great that it discourages and prevents old people from travelling at all.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  On a point of order, the Leas-Cheann Comhairle has already ruled out discussion on all these matters because they are all referred to in certain amendments. I want to know whether I am to be allowed to reply to them. When the Leas-Cheann Comhairle was in the House, he ruled discussion out of order on the amendment put forward about reduced morning and evening fares for persons going to or returning from their places of employment. He ruled out a number of amendments. Now they are being discussed in general on the section. I am quite willing to answer them if I have your permission. I want to know if I am to prepare notes in advance in order to answer them.

Acting Chairman (Mr. Tully): Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  The Minister can be assured that he will be allowed to answer any questions raised in the Dáil.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  We will never stop the Minister from answering questions.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  We are trying to get the Minister to answer questions. That is the main reason for this debate —to try to get him to answer.

Mr. Ryan:  We will have an allnight sitting if the Minister needs it [303] to reply to all the questions, now that we find that it is the Minister who is anxious.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have already answered all the Deputy's questions on the Second Stage—every single one. The Deputy wants to repeat them for the sake of getting publicity.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister did not answer all the questions he was asked on Second Reading.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I answered them in very great detail.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister did not answer any questions I asked. There were five questions of mine which he did not answer.

Acting Chairman:  Would Deputy Lynch allow Deputy Ryan to continue?

Mr. Ryan:  A good thing cannot be repeated too often and, if repetition embarrasses the Minister, then he will either have to suffer or give up the portfolio. I do not think transport would suffer if he did hand it in tomorrow. It would become more efficient. We accept the pattern of general economic development when we extend public services to all sections of the community and, if we accept that as a valid principle, as we do here, then the provision of transport for all sections of the community falls within the ambit of the obligation which lies on the Board. If this House is indicating that this obligation must be carried out in a generous way and if the Board do not carry it out in a generous way, it will be the Minister, and the Minister alone, who prevents CIE from carrying out the wishes of this House and the Minister will have to accept responsibility for that and will have to submit to continued questions and criticisms by Deputies if he is the person who continually holds back the Board from carrying out the wishes of the people.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Could this section be interpreted later on by the Board as precluding them from providing services which they would deem uneconomic? For instance, the Board [304] may say that under section 3 of this Bill, they are not allowed to invest capital in providing a service which, in their opinion, would not show a profit. We know from our experience of the 1958 Act the type of interpretation that CIE may be likely to give to sections of this Bill, so we must be very cautious in our approach in this House. Could CIE use this section in reply to representations that may be made? If I or interested parties in west Cork were to make representations to the Board subsequent to this section becoming law for resumption of a bus service which existed up to a short time ago on the Schull-Goleen route, could CIE say that under section 3 of the Transport Bill, 1964, it was precluded from providing capital towards that service, that the Act specifically precluded it from doing so?

I have criticised the Minister for Transport and Power on a number of occasions. At the same time, I have a certain admiration for him. I felt that even though his statements might have been unfounded, the Minister believed in his statements. I was surprised that in his reply to assertions made by me on the Second Reading of this Bill the Minister was untruthful. I will not say that he was deliberately untruthful, because I feel that he was not, but I must say that so far as this particular route is concerned, which is of great significance to the part of the country from which I come, and to which the Minister addressed himself on Second Reading, he indicated a weekly loss of £12. That figure is far in excess of the figure I gave in this House and which I and my colleagues got officially from CIE. We were told that the loss on this route was up to £8 weekly. It is the general belief that the loss was not even £8 weekly. When the Minister came to reply in the House he used the figure £12 weekly. I am not saying that the Minister intended to be untruthful but I wonder did CIE, in order to support his argument against providing a service on this route, deliberately inflate the figure and hand the Minister his brief setting down a figure of £12 weekly. If so, they are not a company [305] which could command our respect if, in support of their attitude in the withdrawal of the services on this route, they told the Minister a deliberate untruth and thereby led the Minister into making an untruthful statement in this House, a statement which is contrary to the official information which the three members of the Dáil from Cork South-West got officially from CIE.

I should like the Minister to review this matter. I should like, in particular, him to answer the question I posed at the outset as to whether or not anything contained in section 3 of this Bill could be used subsequently by CIE as an argument against providing a service which in its opinion may not be economic.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  In regard to the character of the Dublin bus services, I have already dealt with that in detail on the Second Stage of the Bill. I pointed out that congestion in the Dublin bus services relates to a number of factors. If Deputies will read the Pacemaker Report, Volume 2, they will see an analysis of the time lag for buses passing during peak hours at various points in Dublin at different hours in the day. They will note that, although it is true that the present changes in the use of the roads in Dublin have improved the position, if the number of buses was very largely increased during peak hours, it might not have any effect in regard to solving the position of people waiting for buses. I said that, and I also pointed out that CIE is now engaging in the process of reorganising its Dublin bus services. It is establishing a traffic control centre in O'Connell Street and decentralising traffic inspectors, putting in more time clocks to control the movements of buses and generally undertaking a reorganisation of the service. Naturally when traffic rules in regard to one-way streets are altered, the whole pattern of bus services has to be re-examined and CIE has this question of congestion constantly in mind.

Another question that was raised was about bus fares. It would be quite impracticable to offer reduced [306] fares to workers going to and from their place of employment and to identify them would be difficult. Where this practice has been tried out, the position now is they are trying to get rid of it. It is far better to establish a sound economy and to have such a level of wages that people can afford to travel to work by bus or in whatever vehicle is appropriate.

I do not need to give again the figures in relation to increased bus fares, increased social service levels, the increase in the cost of living and the increase in workers' earnings over the past five or six years. If Deputies go back to a previous Estimate speech, they will find the relationship of these various things to one another and which have a very human significance. It can be said in general that the prosperity of the people is growing and that to try to arrange special fares for special sections is not the best way to do it; the way to do it is to have bus services as efficient as possible, to provide fares for school children and to provide valley fares at particular times. That seems to be the simplest way of dealing with the matter in general.

Deputy Murphy raised the question of the Goleen and Schull bus services. I am afraid it would be quite impossible if we were to have continuous debates on the existence or closing of every individual bus service in the country. You could take up the whole time of the House if you had questions like that discussed. It is my responsibility and I am prepared to take full responsibility to see that CIE which is now subsidised by the State relates social needs to economic services in a proper manner. I am not going to judge the issue by individual isolated complaints which are made. I have to judge the issue as a whole, of how far the rest of the people can be asked to pay a tax in order to support any bus service. This is a question of watching a general trend, seeing whether complaints multiply, whether there is a great volume of complaint in a particular area. It is my job to exercise a general supervision in that matter. I take full responsibility in this House for any deficiencies in the [307] services of CIE which are the result of my failing to hold a general supervisory position over the provision of services by CIE.

Having said that, there obviously must be some limit to the number of bus services provided. It is quite obvious that CIE could double its services all over the country and you could find one or two or three people going into a bus and the bill before this House would be absolutely enormous. I and my Department have studied the report of CIE on this matter and in relation to the provincial road passenger services, of which there are 234, two-thirds yield an annual revenue of less than £5,000 and account for only 15 per cent of the total revenue in this section. Of this figure, 73 services are wholly profitable, nine are marginally profitable and the remaining 152 are unprofitable. Generally the short distance services are the least profitable.

Taking it large and wide, if that statement is studied, it will be seen that the social need with regard to the provincial bus services is not being ignored. I do not think the existence or the non-existence of a particular country bus service can be looked at in isolation from the general pattern or from the volume of private transport which is constantly growing. I do not believe the bus services are second-class. Taking it large and wide again, the pattern of bus services in the cities and the country is fairly satisfactory in so far as we can compare it with other countries. I have examined map routes of buses in other countries; I have examined the bus structure in rural areas of Scotland; and I have had talks with the head of the Highland Bus Company in order to get some comparative idea of the extent to which social need is satisfied. I believe it is satisfied fairly well by the present bus service. In so far as my responsibility in this House is concerned, as I said before, if I started to get a great many complaints from people and on examining these complaints found that the social needs were not being provided for adequately, I would have to [308] see CIE and discuss the matter. That seems to me to be a reasonable statement.

There is one further point. I note that there is now a definite cleavage of opinion between Deputies of the Labour Party and of Fine Gael. The members of Fine Gael are very much alarmed at the total provision of capital and subsidies to the tune of £17 million, whereas Deputy Dunne implied that even though we are providing £2 million a year, CIE, and I as Minister supervising this expenditure, still have the idea that CIE should pay its way. I do not see how CIE can pay its way if it is subsidised to the tune of £2 million but I know that £2 million is a considerable impost on the taxpayer, and I should like very much when any proposals for great reductions in the fares are made by Deputies that they would vote for the increased money involved. As I indicated, we can examine the level of the subsidies later. It is impossible to make an absolute comparison of subsidies for transport services, but so far as we can get an approximate comparison we find that the subsidy afforded to CIE comes within the higher echelons of subsidies to transport companies in Europe. In other words, by any method of comparison, it is a fairly high subsidy.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The Minister says that he takes full responsibility in this House for CIE but the test of responsibility is the capacity to be questioned and to give satisfactory answers. The Minister has had that responsibility for years and the way he has evaded it is by getting the aid of the Chair and the House to base its rulings on the phrase “day-to-day administration is to be excluded”. If the Minister will answer questions for the future, very well.

The Minister tells us that CIE has to be made remunerative. This Bill is a confession that it cannot be made remunerative. There is at least £2 million lacking in what would be necessary to make it remunerative. The Minister has failed to answer Deputy Murphy's very particular question as to whether it will be possible hereafter [309] for the Minister to say that a service is not remunerative. I think it is quite clear that in the future the Minister will not be able to say that a service is not remunerative. It is not he that will say whether it is remunerative or not but the Board of CIE. The Bill says that the Board shall not incur expenditure properly chargeable to capital unless it is satisfied that it is essential to efficient operation or that the project will be remunerative to the Board.

That means that we are putting this whole question outside the control of the House. Whenever a question is raised, the ruling of the Chair will be that the Minister has no function in the matter. The Chair will rule under this section that the Board must be satisfied that the expenditure is essential to efficient operation or that the project will be remunerative. How does the Minister propose to get between the Board and this House? He has evaded responsibility all along the line and this section provides him with a better opportunity than ever to evade responsibility still further.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The Minister has not answered my question on section 3. I must confess that I was under a complete misapprehension as far as the proposal to close the Schull-Goleen section is concerned. I will never have an opportunity of saying this again and for that reason I propose to address myself briefly to it. I understood that it was CIE closed this bus route but I now interpret the Minister as saying that it was he closed it.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I said nothing of the kind.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  You said you took full responsibility for it. So far as the Minister is concerned, there is no social need for this bus service to Goleen. It does not earn a profit. But it would be difficult for it to be profitable because no parish in Ireland has suffered more from emigration. Within the past ten years, more than 600 people left that parish for England and even more will leave if things go [310] on as they are. It is completely out of place for the national transport body of this country to remove this bus service from the most extreme parish in this country. As a Dáil representative for the area and as a person living within a few miles of Goleen, I want to protest vehemently against the Minister's attitude in this matter.

On the Second Stage of the Bill, I appealed to the Minister to review the position and I told him on that occasion that it was not constitutionally right to deny to these people services that are provided from the national funds. They are as much entitled to retain this service as are any of the people living on the 152 other mainly unprofitable routes the Minister mentioned here. He said that there were 152 other mainly unprofitable routes. Why should Goleen be picked out and the other 73 left in? If one were to judge impartially, it would be all right to say that we cannot continue to pay a subsidy to CIE and that so we must wipe out the unprofitable routes but a large number of these are to be retained. That is what this Bill is for.

If CIE were a paying concern, there would be no need for the Board to come along here and ask for a subvention amounting to £33 million as between 1958 and 1968. As things are going, they may have to increase on that. I am making the case that it is not constitutional for CIE to withdraw a service from a parish such as Goleen which has enjoyed that service up to the present. At the same time, the people of that parish must contribute their share of that £2 million annually, plus the million pounds being written off under this Bill. I am appealing to the Minister to address himself to the question of the closure of the bus service to the parish of Goleen. It may be a short route and it may not be used extensively but, from every point of view, the parish of Goleen is entitled to have its bus service restored.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  That matter can be debated on the Transport Estimate.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The Minister made an untruthful statement in the House. When I referred to that, I said [311] that it was not a deliberate untruth as I felt he would not be guilty of telling a deliberate untruth. I assume the information he got was misleading and was different from the information supplied to the public representatives of west Cork. The Minister deliberately availed of that in order to make a good case in the House but his statements were untruthful and I hope he was not responsible for that himself.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister has just said that there are 73 bus services which were losing money.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan  Zoom on Seán Flanagan  He did not say that. He said that 73 were wholly profitable.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister told us that about a fortnight ago, and when I asked where he got these figures, he said that they were broken down in the Pacemaker Report. I asked him for particulars regarding one particular service and he refused pointblank to give them to me. How can we ever get these particulars?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  You will not.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  We have no objection to keeping CIE going but we are entitled to question the Minister.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have explained it all at great length and, if the Deputy wishes, I will do so again.

Acting Chairman:  Perhaps Deputy Lynch could be allowed to make his contribution.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I am extremely grateful to you, Sir. The Minister is coming before the House to get £2 million a year for CIE and he says that we are not in favour of that. We know that the railways have to be kept going and we have said that all along. We did not say that they could make a profit but we are entitled to ask about the services provided and we are entitled to an answer from the Minister. The Minister is like people who, years ago, used to be found mute of malice.

[312]Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  He does not recognise the House.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I agree with Deputy Coughlan. The Minister has belittled the House. We come in here as responsible representatives of our constituents. We come in here to pass a vote of £2 million a year for CIE. Of course the Minister considers that £75,000 is only small beer. We come here to ask him to break his silence. He is like a fortress there. He will not allow us to ask any questions about anything. This is a very serious matter. If Deputies are to be stopped from asking Ministers questions about companies for which they are responsible or in which the Ministers are share-holders——

Acting Chairman:  This section does not deal with Ministers' questions.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  If you bear with me a little while, I shall explain. We had the example some time ago of a company in which a Minister was a big shareholder and practically had a responsibility, and nobody could ask a question about it in the House. Terrible things were happening inside that company, so much so that a brave servant of that company had to sacrifice himself——

Acting Chairman:  May I point out that this has nothing to do with the section?

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  It has something to do with this section, which reads:

The Board shall not incur any expenditure that is properly chargeable to capital unless it is satisfied that the expenditure is essential for the efficient operation of its undertaking or that the project in relation to which it is proposed to incur the expenditure will be remunerative to the Board.

We can never find out anything about that and, that being so, the same thing can happen. This is the most serious thing that has happened since I came into this House ten years ago. The [313] Minister is standing over that. I make no accusations against the officials in Kingsbridge. However, it is possible for the same thing to happen there as happened in respect of the company I have mentioned. It should not be expected that some brave public servant will have to sacrifice himself, lose his job, in order to let the people outside know what is happening.

We do not intend to ask questions about small matters of day-to-day administration but we are entitled to ask questions about the expenditure of £900,000. We are entitled to ask questions as to whether a bus service is paying or not when we know the Minister has the information. The Minister will get his Bill more quickly than he ever thought if he will say he is prepared for the future to meet Deputies by answering reasonable Parliamentary Questions in relation to the running of CIE.

Mr. M.E. Dockrell: Information on Maurice E. Dockrell  Zoom on Maurice E. Dockrell  The Minister said he would listen to representations on bus services, and so on. I want to put before him the case of a bus service in the suburbs of Dublin city. I might say, in passing, in regard to his reference to CIE delivering the goods as well as any bus service in any other country, that may be, but I have seen with alarm down through the years the growing queues for buses in my constituency and in every other constituency in Dublin. I am sure it is a matter of concern to the Minister and CIE officials. I can remember the days of the trams and, while I do not necessarily want to see the trams back again, I never saw in those days queues 30 or 40 yards long at 5.30 in the evening in the centre of the city as I see every evening now.

Acting Chairman (Mr. Cunningham): Information on Liam Cunningham  Zoom on Liam Cunningham  We cannot discuss every bus service under this section.

Mr. M.E. Dockrell: Information on Maurice E. Dockrell  Zoom on Maurice E. Dockrell  The Minister said he was prepared to listen to representations, and representations have been made to the company again and again.

Acting Chairman:  But it does not arise on this section.

Mr. M.E. Dockrell: Information on Maurice E. Dockrell  Zoom on Maurice E. Dockrell  It arises on the [314] question of expenditure. The claim has been made that it will cost money to extend the services but I believe that if an extension were made to the service in Mount Merrion, it could be made more profitable. I should be obliged if the Minister would take that up with the company. Deputy Murphy referred to a bus service in County Cork so I felt I should refer to one in the suburbs of Dublin.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  The same applies to Ballyfermot.

Acting Chairman:  We cannot roam all over the country.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Certainly we can.

Acting Chairman:  The section relates to capital expenditure.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Capital in the way of the provision of more buses.

Mr. M.E. Dockrell: Information on Maurice E. Dockrell  Zoom on Maurice E. Dockrell  It is an opportunity to place seriously before the Minister the general dissatisfaction which exists in regard to bus services at peak hours in Dublin. I refer particularly to the area of Roebuck, the No. 11 bus service, an area in which there is an old folks' home with 300 or 400 old people in it, where houses are being built every other day, an area which contains huge schools and where people have to walk long distances——

Acting Chairman:  I have pointed out that this line of discussion is not in order.

Mr. M.E. Dockrell: Information on Maurice E. Dockrell  Zoom on Maurice E. Dockrell  I shall accept your ruling. On the section, I want to draw to the Minister's attention the fact that there is general dissatisfaction in that respect on the part of the citizens of Dublin.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  This is a capital expenditure section. It is worth remarking that the control of public expenditure, capital or revenue, is a fundamental function of every democratic Parliament. The Minister is bringing the institutions of parliamentary representation and parliamentary government into complete contempt and disrespect [315] by reason of the policy which he is adopting in regard to these matters raised here this afternoon. It is a very serious development and a very grave reflection on the Minister's respect for the fundamental principles of democracy that he condones the action of CIE in refusing fully to account to the public for their stewardship through this Parliament and through him. It is a very salutary thing that there has been such a to-do——

Acting Chairman:  The Leas-Cheann Comhairle has alredy refused to allow an amendment to appear on this subject.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  I am taking the same line as has been taken by other speakers during the past hour and I am as much entitled to do so as they were.

Acting Chairman:  If that line relates to amendments up to No. 5, they have been ruled out of order.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  I am not dealing with any amendment; I am dealing with section 3. I shall read it:

The Board shall not incur any expenditure that is properly chargeable to capital unless it is satisfied that the expenditure is essential for the efficient operation of its undertaking or that the project in relation to which it is proposed to incur the expenditure will be remunerative to the Board.

A previous speaker has pointed out that the criterion upon which this section is based is that of efficiency and has suggested there is a case for applying other criteria to CIE.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley  Zoom on George Colley  Has the section not been amended?

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  The section has been amended, and I shall read for Deputy Colley's elucidation the section, as amended.

3. —The Board shall not incur any expenditure that is properly chargeable to capital unless it is satisfied that the expenditure is essential for [316] the efficient operation of its undertaking or to enable it to carry out the general duty imposed on it by subsection (1) of section 7 of the Act of 1958.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley  Zoom on George Colley  Surely that makes quite a difference?

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  It widens the scope of the whole section.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Where is the difference?

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley  Zoom on George Colley  If the Deputy cannot see it, I am afraid I cannot help.

Acting Chairman:  Will Deputy Byrne please continue?

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  The Minister is showing absolute contempt for the democratic process and that is a very grave matter for the country.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley  Zoom on George Colley  Whether the discussion has been in order, I am not quite sure, but in view of the fact that Deputy Byrne has been allowed to make the case he has made, I presume the Chair will allow me to make the case in reply. It seems to me completely wrong for Deputies to come into the House and speak as Deputy Byrne has spoken about the Minister for Transport and Power showing complete contempt for Parliament. The fact is that Parliament has laid down the way in which we are to treat not only CIE but other State bodies.

Acting Chairman:  I am afraid the Deputy must keep to section 3.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  We commend the Chair's impartiality.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley  Zoom on George Colley  It appears it has been deemed that under section 3 one may suggest that the House is entitled to obtain details of any expenditure. It will be remembered that the argument was not confined merely to capital expenditure. As I said already, I was somewhat doubtful whether that was in order, but, as it has been allowed, I was endeavouring to answer the general case that has been made and to suggest that Deputies who are trying [317] to make this case are not on the right lines, in my opinion. I shall support them on the general principle and there might be many people, perhaps including the Minister—I do not know: I am speaking personally and I have not discussed it with him, but knowing the Minister I feel he might be concerned about this problem—who will be concerned for this principle. But the manner in which it is being approached here is, I suggest with due deference to the Deputies who have spoken, merely wasting time.

Surely what is involved is the general principle applying to all State companies, and if we want to deal with this, what we should be devoting ourselves to is the principle of providing them with Parliamentary control and at the same time allowing these bodies to operate as commercial organisations rather than Civil Service organisations. There are many ideas I could put forward on this subject but I do not propose to do so now. I suggest that this is a general problem which is becoming more and more acute in all countries, not only in this country, and to get up and attack the Minister as to why he is trying to do this is merely wasting the time of the House.

Acting Chairman:  Amendment No. 4 was specifically ruled out.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister has been wasting the time of the House over the past two years—and the public's money. The Minister for Justice got his Estimate——

Acting Chairman:  That is out of order, and the Deputy knows it.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  It would be very hard to waste the time of this House.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  We want this business to be done democratically.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley  Zoom on George Colley  Why CIE only?

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  Because this is the only Minister who refuses to give information.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley  Zoom on George Colley  That is not so.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  Every other Fianna [318] Fáil Minister will give us information and we are entitled to get it.

Acting Chairman:  If the Deputy proposes to discuss getting information, I must point out that amendment No. 4 which deals with that has been ruled out of order.

Sir Anthony Esmonde: Information on Anthony Charles Esmonde  Zoom on Anthony Charles Esmonde  Is there no section in this Bill on which we can ask the Minister to give this House some information relative to the duties of CIE and where it will be in order to do so?

Acting Chairman:  At the moment we are dealing with section 3, as amended.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  And on that section the Minister said he took full responsibility for CIE. How do we find out how he discharges his responsibility?

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister has been wasting the time of this House since he became Minister for Transport and Power. He knows that himself and every member of his Party knows it.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley  Zoom on George Colley  No such thing. The Oireachtas makes the law, not the Minister.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  The Minister makes a mess of his Department.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Oireachtas has the right to ask questions and the Minister has denied us the right to get answers to any questions about CIE. This is an important matter when the Minister wants £2 million from the House.

Acting Chairman:  That amendment has been ruled out and I cannot allow a discussion on it. The Deputy must cease discussing it.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I am not discussing any amendment.

Acting Chairman:  The Deputy is discussing the subject matter of that amendment.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I am discussing section 3, as amended.

[319]Acting Chairman:  An amendment to section 3 has been ruled out of order.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I am quite well aware of that. I got about five minutes notice of it, coming into the House this afternoon. With no other Minister does the like of this happen. It is a long time since anybody's amendments were ruled out of order in this House.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I am not responsible for the amendment being ruled out of order.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I do not know how this works behind the scenes.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  On a point of order, I must have this matter adjudicated on by the Chair. The Leas-Cheann Comhairle who was here earlier said very clearly that the Department of Transport and Power played absolutely no part whatever in ruling these amendments out of order. Does the Chair confirm that?

Acting Chairman:  Yes.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Department had absolutely no hand in it whatever, directly or indirectly, or by any kind of communication.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I did not say the Department of Transport and Power; I said the Minister.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Or the Minister.

Acting Chairman:  The Minister says he did not do it. The Deputy must accept the Minister's statement.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  That is not the question. It is a question that the Leas-Cheann Comhairle said there had been no communication with the Department or myself. It was the Leas-Cheann Comhairle who said it, not I.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister pointed out that during the Committee Stage the matter I am dealing with now was dealt with at length. If it was in order to talk about it then, why is it not in order now? This is a very important issue before the House [320] with regard to CIE. We are to give them £2 millions. They will get it. We know that CIE must be kept going and we have always said so. It was the Minister, or his predecessor, who said he would make a profit out of it. What I want to know from the Minister is how we are ever to get information from the Minister after the Minister leaves this House with this Bill in his pocket.

Acting Chairman:  That does not arise on section 3, and that has been the ruling all day.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Nothing has been ruled out that arises on section 3.

Acting Chairman:  It has been.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Section 3 is open to discussion, surely. Certain amendments were ruled on, but not the section.

Acting Chairman:  The method of getting the information may not be discussed.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  The subject may be discussed. The Bill can be amended to that extent. There are two different things involved.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  “The Board shall not incur any expenditure that is properly chargeable to capital unless it is satisfied that the expenditure is essential for the efficient operation of its undertaking or that the project in relation to which it is proposed to incur the expenditure will be remunerative to the Board.”

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  “Remunerative” is the operative word.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  How are we to find out anything about this?

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  We will never know whether or not a thing is remunerative.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  We are asking the Minister now. Months ago I asked the Minister for information and he refused to give it to me. But he gave it to me yesterday. What was wrong with him yesterday? Was it the power of the Press or the fact that he knew he was coming in here this afternoon? [321] Why could he not give it to me originally with the ordinary decency and courtesy—I give them credit for it— shown by other Ministers on the Fianna Fáil benches; when one puts down a Parliamentary Question, they reply to it. Why does this Minister not do that? How are we to know what is happening? I am not talking about the amendments which were ruled out of order. I am on the section. How are we to know? How will we know in future?

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley  Zoom on George Colley  Is the Deputy opposing the section because it does not provide——

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I am not opposing any section. I am asking the Minister a question. I want to know how we will get information about this.

Mr. Coogan: Information on Fintan Coogan  Zoom on Fintan Coogan  Fog signals.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  Will the Minister tell us when we ask him? I am asking the Minister that question.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  Mute of malice.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  Just watch the Minister jumping to his feet to answer.

Deputy Coughlan rose.

Acting Chairman:  I am calling Deputy de Valera.

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  I should like to say a few words on the section. I understand it is the section that is before the House. This section appears to me to be a simple declaration, a very desirable thing in a Bill of this nature, to ensure that a body which is receiving a subsidy does not expend that subsidy and its own resources beyond a certain limit. This is the type of section one would expect in any Bill of this kind. The company will get a large amount of money annually and it would obviously be undesirable that any undertaking, whether CIE or any other, should embark on any speculative development. It is from that point of view, I think, that a section such as this must be imported into a Bill of this character. There is on the other hand a drafting difficulty in providing that the moneys are devoted only to the purposes for which they are in fact voted.

[322] It seems to me that, taking the amendment which, I understand, has already been accepted in relation to this section, and embodying it in the section, we are left with a net statement which will not have very much operative effect. It can be effective only in this way: whatever body controls State expenditure—ultimately, I suppose, the Comptroller and Auditor General——

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  He has nothing to do with it.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  Absolutely nothing.

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  I take it the auditor of the company.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Nothing to do with it.

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  There will be some auditing control on expenditure.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  There is no accountability to this House.

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  In relation to the power in this section——

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Will the Deputy read the section? The Board has to be satisfied and nobody else.

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  That is true, but if you read the section, you will find “shall not incur any expenditure that is properly chargeable to capital unless it is satisfied that the expenditure is essential for the efficient operation of its undertaking or——”

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  It is satisfied.

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  I agree with the Deputy. It does say the Board is satisfied, if that is the point the Deputy is making. But can one make it otherwise?

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Yes. Read the section.

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  Whether it is the Board or anybody else in a section of this nature, can you define capital expenditure so tightly that you will not hamstring the company in its [323] legitimate activity? That is the difficulty.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Would the Deputy read the section this way: “The Board shall not incur any expenditure unless the expenditure is essential for the efficient operation of the undertaking”? That would leave it open to us to question whether it is or not.

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  That is essentially what the section says.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  What?

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  That is essentially what the section says.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  No. The section says “if the Board is satisfied” and that finishes the whole thing.

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  I agree, if the Board is satisfied, but only in relation to whether this is capital expenditure or not.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  That is the first part of the section and the second is whether it is going to be remunerative.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  And “remunerative” is the operative word.

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  As I read the section, whether it is remunerative or not, it will apply to expenditure of a capital nature only.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  But the Board is the judge of everything.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  Exactly.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  And not this House.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  Not the Minister.

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  Does this House not delegate powers of interpretation quite frequently in a large number of spheres? This is essentially a direction to the Board and, in actual fact, it can have very little operative effect because of the difficulty of distinguishing between capital expenditure, which should not be incurred, and expenditure [324] which might technically be called capital expenditure which may be necessarily incurred for the purposes of the undertaking, and quite legitimately so. I am putting this to the House as an inherent difficulty in drafting a section of this nature and I am attempting to bring the matter back to a discussion of the fundamentals in the section. I do not think the provisions of this section are suitable for raising the matters the Deputies opposite are raising. I do not think they properly arise on this section.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Nothing will arise except what the Board decides. Then you cannot question them. If the Board is satisfied, that finishes the whole thing.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  Who is to know whether a section is remunerative or not? I heard Deputy Corry tell us that a line in Kanturk was paying its way and then the Minister told us the opposite. Every stationmaster in Ireland was muzzled. They would not be allowed give us any information. The Minister has been untruthful.

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  I do not see how this arises. If the Deputies opposite are looking for a free-for-all to have a go at the Minister, there is nothing much I can contribute to it.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  Are we to be told whether or not a bus service is remunerative? We put down question after question and we get the same stock reply: that the Minister has no function.

Acting Chairman:  The Deputy's contribution so far is not relevant to this section.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  When are we to be told whether any service is remunerative or not? We will not be told it by the Minister. Where are we to find out?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Deputies opposite are raising this for purely political purposes.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  That is not true.

Acting Chairman:  The Minister [325] should be allowed to make his statement.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Deputies opposite are seeking to make political capital and propaganda out of this. The reason they are doing it is this. I am still waiting for an Opposition Deputy to have sufficient responsibility to accede to my request to read the statements I made at very considerable length and with great care in volume 191, columns 909 to 915 and volume 207, columns 1518 to 1522, in which I explained my attitude and the attitude of the Government to the delegation of authority to the State companies under my supervision. Not one Deputy in the Opposition has had even the decency to examine what I said and to engage in an intelligent, and even, if you like, a destructive discussion, paragraph by paragraph.

This is a most complex subject. It is a subject discussed in every Parliament in every democratic country in the world. Our Government and this House have made very specific decisions. This House, in the case of CIE in previous legislation passed by the Coalition Government, has very definitely delegated authority to CIE in regard to the carrying out of its obligations. Do I need to repeat the clause in the 1950 Act which makes it quite clear that CIE is not even bound to provide me with information about its day-to-day administration? Deputy McGilligan, in connection with a report to the Seanad, has already made it quite clear that you could not have efficiency if there were day-to-day interference by way of Parliamentary Question with the operation of State companies.

Having said that, if the House wants to listen to the whole story all over again, I will give it. I do not care how many hours it will take. I feel very keenly my responsibilities about that. Emotionally, I would like to treble my staff and add hundreds of people to the staffs of all the State companies and answer all the day-to-day questions. I would like to feel I could have myself at any one moment a complete and absolute grasp of the situation. No such thing takes place in [326] any country in the world. Even in the socialist administrations in Northern Europe, no Minister interferes with the day-to-day operations of State companies. It would be my emotional inclination to agree to the whole of this, but it has been decided for a long time in many cases that it is impossible to get commercial efficiency if there is excessive and undue political pressure, which eventually leads to interference with staff and to unnecessary and enormous subsidies by the taxpayer to support State companies, whose directors are unable to carry out their day-to-day activities because of constant Parliamentary interference. This matter has been discussed in exactly the same way in the Labour administrations in Sweden and Denmark. It is not something out of which we can make political capital as people are trying to do here. I have made two very carefully propounded statements and not one Deputy in the Opposition has had the decency to read and criticise them. Apparently, I have to start all over again to deal with the matter.

In order to show the ridiculous character of the opposition by Deputy Lynch to all this business of CIE, I took occasion to go through all the speeches on the Estimates, the speeches I made in regard to the report of CIE when the closing of the lines was being considered and the remarks I made when a private Bill was introduced by Deputy Browne and Deputy McQuillan recently. I do not know whether the House wants me to give a list of all the information I gave of a character sufficiently detailed to enable the House fully to understand the operation of CIE? There are pages and pages of information.

I made it perfectly clear at the time that under the 1958 Act CIE was made responsible by this House for closing uneconomic branch lines and that, according to the 1958 Act, in strict truth, I could sit here in the Dáil and reply to absolutely no observations whatever made by the Opposition or any Deputies. In fact, as an illustration I gave to the House a list of all the lines which were being closed and detailed information of the [327] character of the substitute services. I gave information by illustration of the number of passengers entraining at certain terminals to show the light character of the traffic. I gave detailed information as to the nature of the grants from the Minister for Local Government to provide for the improvement of certain roads affected by the closing of lines. I gave full information on questions arising from changes in the transport of beet. I gave information on the proportion of goods carried on the West Cork Railway on behalf of the industries in west Cork before the closing of the railway line as a comparison with the total tonnage of goods carried for those industries. I gave a great deal of information. I have here four pages of notes. On each page there are about ten or 12 items of information I gave.

I made it clear that when CIE was going through some very drastic change in its organisation, it would be my duty to provide information to the House that would satisfy them as to the nature of that change. I did so. There was very full information provided in regard to the circumstances in which certain railway lines and stations were being closed. I also made it clear that under the relative legislation, it would be quite impossible for me in the ordinary way to reply to questions which involved a fragmented analysis of every section of CIE, that it would simply result in political pressure being exercised by every Deputy or every public representative to extend or maintain a service in one area at the expense of the general efficiency of the system, and I said that, in Pacemaker, the House would find a complete analysis of the CIE position, with very definite detailed figures of the bus services that were losing, the bus services that were paying, figures of analysis for income and expenditure for various sectors of the line, which they could see from a study made at a certain period.

I gave in my Second Reading speech a full statement with regard to the losses of CIE over various periods. In the [328] annual report of CIE, the loss or the profits for the main sectors of the company are indicated. The amount of capital expenditure under main heads is included, including the expenditure on buses in each year. There is a wealth of information provided in this kind of way which should make it possible for any Deputy to understand how CIE is operating, the kind of service it is providing for the public, and I do not think I have in any way refused to give information of a necessary kind on this matter.

Take the question of the Goleen-Schull bus service. The question of that service does not really relate to this Bill at all. Deputy Murphy says that I was misinformed in regard to the cost of it. The information I was given was that the loss to the Board was £10. 14s. a week, excluding overheads, and it was £12, including overheads. I am prepared to believe that CIE tell me the truth. I have full trust and confidence in the Board. That is what I was told. I was also told by them that it was cheaper to provide the average of two persons per journey with a car apiece than to run the service. That is not the point.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The point is that you withdrew the service and were misinformed.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The point is that if I started to inquire about the cost of every bus service, the receipts and expenditure for every bus service, it would completely destroy the independence of CIE. It would completely destroy the principle of delegating authority to State companies to carry on and to operate efficiently. The same thing would apply to any other State company. One could ask the ESB to give detailed expenditure in regard to the replacement of generators or transmitter apparatus. It is contrary to the whole principle of operating State companies.

As I have said, I am not trying to shelter behind that because I make it quite clear that I am generally responsible for the supervision of these companies, and if the companies do not operate efficiently or if there are [329] widespread complaints and I am not able to put them right, then I am responsible before this House and the House can take whatever political action they wish.

I do not know whether I need to go into it in very great detail but I have already explained that we have a system of dealing with complaints that come to us in the Department. Deputies write quite frequently. If they are very minor complaints, we send them to the State company concerned and ask them to reply direct. Complaints that look as though they may have a serious character are sent by us to the company concerned and we ask for a copy of their reply to the person. We maintain files of these complaints, which, I am glad to say, are very few, to make quite sure that they are not repetitive and we take the very greatest care to ensure that, in our view, they are providing proper services. For example, if we get particularly any complaints in relation to agricultural services—sometimes there are complaints in regard to the operation of the CIE lorry fleet in relation to cattle marts—we take very great care to have these complaints fully investigated and if the person who makes the complaint is still aggrieved, we ask them to see the CIE area manager about it.

Then another thing arises in this connection, that is, the decentralisation of responsibility in CIE and the appointment of area managers ensures a relationship between the public and CIE which is very excellent and very far-reaching in character. I have never yet had any complaint from any person that he was improperly received by an area manager or any of the officials under him in CIE. It means that the public are acquainted with the character of the CIE service. It means that the public can make complaints when there are deficiencies in the service or when the service is inefficient, on a basis that was not possible before. That is one of the best ways of dealing with the inefficiencies that can arise in a great company.

As I have said, the House knows all this already. The character of the questions answered by my predecessors [330] was exactly the same. There has not been any change in this general refusal to answer questions relating to day-to-day administration and, incidentally, one of my predecessors, the late respected Deputy Norton, when speaking about CIE, expressed the hope that it would pay as a result of the fresh injection of capital. There was nothing new in that as compared with what I said during the passage of the 1958 Act.

I do not know if Deputies want me to go into it any further. If they do, perhaps I should re-read the two lengthy statements I made in detail so that they will fully understand the position, but it is quite impossible for me to diminish general acceptance of the principle of delegation of authority to State companies. I simply am not able to do it and the information I give in the Dáil on the occasion of an Estimate is, in the circumstances, very full indeed. I do my best to satisfy Deputies at the time of an Estimate by giving information which perhaps might normally not be permitted by the Chair in order that everyone can have a full discussion. Unfortunately, there was one occasion on which I was limited to about one and a half hours and I had another three or four pages of notes but the debate lasted so long that I was unable to give replies to very detailed matters.

I like to take a flexible attitude towards this in so far as it is possible but, nevertheless, as I have said, I simply cannot allow the tradition to start whereby information on fragmented sectors of State companies would be perpetually asked for which would inevitably end their independence and result in political pressure of the worst kind being perpetually exercised and get us away from the entire principle of having State companies here.

May I say that we are very lucky in our State companies? Not only in this company, but in my supervision of other State companies, I find the boards which run them are composed of first-class men and the officers and staffs are of the very highest calibre. This would be a completely different [331] debate if we were discussing a company which was suspect by everybody, in which the Board and the high executives were suspect in regard to their honesty, their decency or fundamental efficiency. If we had a debate of that kind on a company, then everything I said could be answered by saying: “We do not trust this company. We do not believe the men are running it properly. We do not believe they are honest. We do not believe they are decent men”. That would nullify the whole character of what I have said already. We have a very fine tradition in connection with the operation of State companies which makes it all the more possible to delegate authority in the way I have mentioned.

I have tried to explain it as best I can. I hope the House will understand it and I hope, before we have another discussion on this subject, Deputies will be kind enough to read what was a more carefully reasoned case than I am now making, the quotations from which I have already given.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  This long speech is a complete evasion of what has been discussed on section 3. The Minister has dragged in this whole matter of State companies and intervention by this House in the day-to-day business of these companies. Nobody is demanding that right at the moment. I myself set the example with regard to the Electricity Supply Board many years ago but then there was a different conception of what day-to-day administration covered. It is only in these recent years, when the Minister has evaded questions properly addressed to him, not on day-to-day administration, that this House has got to understand the great difficulty this Minister is raising in connection with the running of these State companies.

Nobody wants to poke into day-to-day administration matters but questions were asked about a week ago with regard to the purchase by CIE of nearly £1 million worth of lorries and the Minister did not answer. The answer was dragged from him eventually after a colleague had answered a similar type of question about the [332] purchase price of certain powerful aeroplanes but the Minister's statement was that it was a matter of day-to-day administration. It is because of that bad example which he gave that Deputies are quite concerned. There has not been very much trouble with regard to other members of the Government and other State companies. The Minister has brought this on his own head by the extension of the area of day-to-day administration. Because there is a phrase in an old Act excluding day-to-day administration, the Chair has naturally ruled that questions relating to such matters cannot be asked.

Take this amendment which I have down:

Notwithstanding anything contained in section 16 of the Act of 1950 the Board shall furnish to the Minister such information relating to its activities as may from time to time be required to enable the Minister on request to keep members of either House of the Oireachtas informed as to its said activities.

That was ruled out of order because of the narrow restriction imposed in earlier Acts. Deputies should understand that they may not discuss an amendment which asks the Minister to get from the Board such information as might be required to keep members of either House of the Oireachtas aware of their activities. The field has been narrowed to that. Other boards have been properly managed by other Ministers who have faced up to their responsibilities and they have not narrowed the question down to day-to-day administration. It is not easy to draw the line between what is a day-to-day matter of administration and what is an important matter, but surely the question of £1 million worth of rolling stock could not be called a day-to-day matter? But the Minister thought that it was and the Chair agreed.

Deputy de Valera came into this debate late and his remarks have at least helped to clarify what is at issue, although possibly not in the way he wanted to. Deputy Murphy asked if he wanted to raise the question of the Goleen to Schull service, would [333] he be told that he would not be given a reply because it is a day-to-day matter of administration. Suppose a matter of capital expenditure is involved and I want to inquire about some railway line between two points. Remember the House is being requested to pass a Bill which contains the phrase that the Board “shall not incur expenditure that is properly chargeable to capital unless it is satisfied that the expenditure is essential for the efficient operation of its undertaking and, secondly, is satisfied that the project in relation to which it is proposed to incur the expenditure will be remunerative to the Board”. Suppose there were something which the Board decided to count as capital expenditure, but to which there might be another side and if a question is asked about it, hereafter the Minister's easy answer is: “I have no function; the Board are satisfied that it is capital expenditure”. If I am interpreting this wrongly, I should like to be corrected.

Then we go to the second part. If the Board are looking for certain capital moneys and if I ask if this is likely to be remunerative, the Minister will tell me: “I have no function.” The Board tell him that it will be remunerative and that is the beginning and the end of the matter. Surely that is not what this House should be asked to do? When Deputy de Valera was speaking I said that if the section were drafted in a slightly different way, it would be all right. Supposing it were put in this way: “unless the expenditure was essential”—that does not say that the Board are the judges—and suppose that it also read “unless the project will be remunerative to the Board” and left it open, then it could be the subject of questions here. There may be matters which should properly be brought before the House and we do not want to be faced with the statement that as they are matters of day-to-day administration, they cannot be answered, or that the Board are satisfied and that would be the beginning and end of the whole thing.

Dr. Browne: Information on Noel C. Browne  Zoom on Noel C. Browne  I am astonished at the ingenuousness of the Minister [334] talking as a politician to other politicians, as we all are, and taking the extraordinary line that people are putting a point of view forward for political purposes. Of course we are. This is a political assembly and that is our function in life. It is just as if a doctor at a medical meeting were accused, after reading a paper on a subject of interest to the other doctors, of putting forward a point of view for medical reasons. There is no harm in putting forward points of view for political purposes. I have heard this from other Ministers and it seems to me to be a very silly attitude.

On this section, Deputy Colley made a very important point when he interjected “It is the House that makes the law”. He was defending the Minister and of course he is correct. The Minister is hedged in and restricted by laws made here and it is for that reason we have to be particularly careful that we do not tie ourselves by sections of this kind passed apparently with our consent and that we do not deny ourselves a right which we believe we have with regard to the ordinary running of State companies. At some later time Deputy Colley can tell us “In section 3 of the Bill which you passed in 1964, you gave this Minister power”, and queries can be stopped in that way. It is for that reason that the Opposition are anxious that this question should be seriously considered at this stage when we can change the law and make it more in accordance with our wishes. The Minister must bear with the worries of the Opposition in this regard.

The point made by Deputy McGilligan is of course most important and valid. We are saying: “You may spend your money under two conditions, that it will be remunerative and essential”, and then we wash our hands of any responsibility thereafter and of any power thereafter to question whether in fact they have obeyed the law which we are passing here.

I am a socialist and I have a particular vested interest in the activities of these State companies and that they should operate successfully, be [335] respected by the public and be efficient. It is quite wrong to call this a socialist organisation, because it is a State capitalist organisation; it is publicly-owned but not publicly-controlled, and that is the very important difference. The greater the extension of public control which we can inject into legislation of this kind, the more I would like it, and to the extent to which other Deputies want it, I would certainly support them. The issue is not black and white. This is a very complicated question and there cannot be day-to-day investigation into whether a train is late into Kingsbridge or whether it took a train longer to get from one point to another, or into any of these trivialities.

There cannot be questions on that kind of thing, but, at the same time, there must be some access to guiding policies at a particularly difficult period for the transport companies of the world, the transition from steam to oil, from rail to road and the problems created for the public by the Board's decisions which create some conflict of opinion between public representatives and the company. We should have some form of access to the activities which determine the decisions of the company from time to time. The Taoiseach has accepted that there is need for some controlling body and he has thrown it on the Opposition to make suggestions in that regard.

There is validity in many of the objections put forward by the Opposition and there is a responsibility on the Minister to meet the views of the Opposition. The fact that so much animosity has been created in recent years could be due to the fact that the new manager of CIE appears to be an autocrat, or perhaps to the fact that he is facing a period of acute difficulty, but, whatever the cause, the fact remains that there is serious suspicion in the minds of most of us about the apparently autocratic way in which many decisions are taken from time to time by this company and the little power we have over the final outcome of those decisions.

I will go with the Minister in saying [336] that as far as the ordinary member of the public is concerned in his daily relations with CIE, there is good relationship. The ordinary public have a right to go to the company and inquire about various matters and they get reasonably courteous and efficient service. That has been my personal experience. However, as far as public representatives are concerned, we have had a record of bad public relations with this company. My personal experience has been that we cannot get near the controller of this company to ask him any questions. That has not been our experience in regard to any other Minister in any of the Governments we have had. We have always had access to a Minister to discuss matters with him, even if he did nothing about it.

Over recent years, there has been disharmony between this company and public representatives and the Minister must be conscious of that. He must be conscious of the fact that there are a number of semi-State companies in the State which are all subject to the same worry, inquiries and uncertainties. Yet they are free from the same sort of misrepresentation, if you like, or dissatisfaction which we have in relation to CIE. I think it is about time the Minister accepted that fact, the fact that there is something seriously wrong with the public relations of CIE vis-à-vis the members of this House.

We should have the right to question the decisions of CIE to run its affairs strictly on the ground of their remunerative quality or not. We disagree with the general approach which has become more noticeable in recent years in regard to the House, that if a particular service does not pay, it will not be made available to the public. That question arises under this section, the question of the social need as opposed to the economic viability of any particular service. That has been at the bottom of most of the dissatisfaction which has been aroused over the years in all of us. If we accept this section, then we are agreeing to cut ourselves off for all future time from any access to the making of a case or any effort to persuade the controlling Board of [337] CIE that we do not agree with any policy decision they may have taken.

A transport service should be run primarily as a social service. Where you have a transport service with a society such as ours, with a big rural hinterland and a widely scattered population, if you are going to serve the social needs of the people, you will have to run a largely unremunerative service. It is running in complete conflict with the social principles of such a society to curtail and restrict services to the rural population simply because they do not pay. There is an important basic principle enshrined in this section of the Bill and I believe it will be wrong if we give the Minister full power to carry on with the policy which has developed rapidly in recent years and which has created great dissatisfaction throughout the country.

That policy is completely contrary to the principle that if people live in rural areas, they are entitled to the basic services, to the Post Office service, to the telephone service, to an ambulance service, to water and sewerage supplies. Transport is an absolute need for people living in the rural areas and it would be a very wrong principle if the Minister were able to incorporate in this legislation that the service will be supplied only where it pays. The fact that the service is not used to such an extent as would make it pay has nothing to do with what I believe to be the correct social principle of helping people to live in the areas in which they wish to live, to help a predominantly rural society to maintain its characteristic organisation.

It would be wrong if we forced people to leave rural Ireland by insisting on running a purely economic transport system. It would be just the same as if a person had his telephone removed because he did not use it enough; if a Post Office service were cut off because he did not receive enough letters; or if a water supply were cut off because a person did not leave taps running all the time. The whole thing is completely inconsistent and illogical.

It would be most undesirable if the Minister were to get the full powers [338] he is seeking here. I would ask him to give serious consideration to the possibility of achieving a closer link between public representatives and this company, in order, if for no other reason, to save himself the embarrassment to which he is so frequently subjected in this House as a result of the fact that he is tied by provisions of various sections of Acts, as referred to by Deputy Colley, where he simply cannot reply or says himself he cannot reply to questions put to him by Deputies in the legitimate course of carrying out their jobs as politicians.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Deputy Dr. Browne has made a rather logically conceived statement on all this. He raises some of the fundamental issues. CIE is not operating at a profit and I wish Deputies would read the second volume of Pacemaker in which they will see the very large number of road freight, rail freight, railway and bus services that are not paying. They have been losing money and will continue to lose money. The social services given by CIE in the form of losing services are fully indicated in Pacemaker and I gave them in my Second Reading speech. Deputies should know from reading my speech and that report that there is no need for them to have anxiety when they consider asking questions on the day-to-day details of individual bus services. They know from reading Pacemaker the general trend.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Nobody here ever asked a question on day-to-day bus services.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  They will know from the Pacemaker report the general balance of profitable and losing services of CIE and I am prepared on every Estimate to inform the House as to whether there has been any change in the general policy.

CIE is now subsidised deliberately. No longer is it being asked to pay its way. Deputy Dr. Browne may disagree with me but I consider the subsidy of £2 million in relation to its revenue, to its expenditure, to its capital or to the general economic position [339] of the country, to be sufficient and I am afraid that, in the course of the next five years, I shall not be in a position, by yielding to political pressures in regard to individual bus services, to encourage CIE to increase its losses or its deficit through the provision of more and more services of an uneconomic character.

I take full responsibility for that statement. If the members of the Opposition would prefer to have a six months to six months approach to this question and to have questions answered in the House in a general climate of talk which would, in fact, erode the £2 million subsidy very quickly and which would give rise to all sorts of political pressures whereby the £2 million could very easily become £4 million, the Government are entirely against that, and the Opposition can have recourse at a general election to throwing us out, if they can, for that or for any other reason. However, this Bill clearly indicates that it is a five-year measure and therefore within those five years—I am speaking without any regard to any emergency or special difficulties that may arise—that £2 million must provide the difference between expenditure and receipts.

Capital expenditure is sanctioned in my Department and there are discussions with the Board of CIE at official level and I have discussions with the Chairman of CIE when they come to us for capital. We examine the requirements in a general way. We see how their request for capital relates to the total amount of capital being spent. We see how the capital being invested relates to the general progress of the company. In view of the fact that, particularly in this Bill, the subsidy includes the sinking fund and interest advanced from the Capital Fund, at the end of the year CIE provides the House and the public with a full account of their capital expenditure giving it in sectionalised details as to how much was spent on buses, on wagons, and so forth. They give the profit and losses on the main sectors of the Company's operations.

[340] On the occasion of the Estimate and having regard to all the correspondence that goes on between Estimates, it is possible for me to estimate the volume of complaints on the service and to gather from discussions in the House what the problems are. There is no question, in my view, of my preventing full discussion on the operations of CIE during the Estimate debate. If any responsible member of the House feels that any State company is not operating properly, he can ask to have the company's report discussed as the CIE report was discussed because of the protest over the closing of the railways.

Deputy Dr. Browne put his finger on one thing. I think the fact that there has been so much discussion on CIE and that there are no detailed questions asked of me about the cost of different sectors of the ESB rural electrification, of the cost of providing current in Cahirciveen as compared with Monaghan, is due to the very widespread changes which have taken place in the organisation of CIE.

This House enabled CIE reorganisation to take place. Over 1,600 people have left the service of CIE. People have been moved around. There have been widespread changes and, as Deputy Dr. Browne says, this is a conservative country and it causes agitation. Then, of course, the major agitation that has taken place in relation to questions not being answered is of the closing of railway lines. We could have a controversy that could last right up to 10.30 to-night on the closing of railway lines. I claimed the substitute services that were offered were satisfactory and I have had very few complaints. It is not true that if you look at the whole network of the CIE services, including the rail and bus services, that there has been any noticeable contraction in the past five years. An odd bus service might have been stopped here or stopped there but generally there has been no major change in the scope of the service.

I disagree with many Deputies here and I am quite prepared to back CIE in regard to their policy of having closed minor branch lines. I take full [341] responsibility for it. I could at any time have amended the 1958 Act as an act of emergency if I felt they were abusing the freedom they were given by this House. I did not do so. I made that clear to the House and made myself responsible for the general supervision of CIE in regard to the closing of railway lines.

I have been perfectly honest about that. I have not sheltered behind the Act passed by this House which gives them the sole decision in regard to closing of railway lines, because I have admitted that at any time I could have asked for the suspension of that Act, if I so desired. Therefore, no one can accuse me of sheltering behind the 1958 Act which gives CIE those powers. Most of the controversy that has arisen has been caused by the closing of these railway lines. I maintain that in remote rural areas, to avoid double handling of goods and to provide people with as many stopping places as possible, a bus service is much more suitable. Most of the controversy on CIE has arisen from that fact. I also believe with CIE that rail services should be fast long-haul services of passengers and goods and I am prepared to take the criticism of those members who disagree with that policy.

I should mention that Dr. Andrews and his staff received numerous deputations at the time when railway lines were being closed, and particularly during the period of the secondary closings.

Dr. Browne: Information on Noel C. Browne  Zoom on Noel C. Browne  He refused to see Deputy Dunne and myself.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  That was on quite a different matter. That was a question of political pressure being exercised in regard to a particular section of the service——

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Who was to determine whether it was political pressure? Was it Dr. Andrews who came to that conclusion?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I stand on what is in the Reports of this House and I shall leave it at that. I quite understand [342] Deputies disagreeing with me. I do not want to feel antagonistic about this. I believe that in all the statements I have made in reply to questions and on Estimates, I have gone far beyond the strict conception of not answering on day-to-day matters. I have made very elaborate statements on the Bill, both in the opening and closing speeches on the Second Reading. If Deputies read those statements, they could hardly say that I refused to give proper information to enable them to deal with the various sections of this Bill.

This is a very controversial matter and I should like to answer many more questions than I do answer. I have gone into the whole matter and I am satisfied with the manner in which we are now doing it, in a sort of pragmatic way in which much information is provided during Estimate debates and on Bills, and I do not think members of the Opposition have failed to gain the basic information they require to enable them to deal with this measure.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  How can we know whether we can prevent abuses in CIE or not, if we have not got the information? The Minister is still standing on day-to-day administration. I want to put to him again the question put by Deputy Lynch and the question I have repeated several times as to whether the purchase of nearly £1 million worth of rolling stock——

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  That is in the annual report.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I want to know is it a matter that should be raised in this House. Surely the matter of what lorries were bought, what was paid for them, whether they were greater in their over-all length than what was previously on the road—surely that is not day-to-day administration? The Minister refused to answer those questions.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I gave the reply to the question about the lorries——

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The Minister at first refused to answer and afterwards [343] sent a press cutting or something of that sort through his private secretary.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  If the Deputy reads the annual report, he will find more information there.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The Minister might as well say that the ESB produce an annuual report and that you can get anything there, but there are a number of questions arising on important points of policy.

The second point I want to make is that the Minister is so much under criticism in this House because of the very specific promises that were given when the 1958 Act was passed as to the procedure to be adopted when it was proposed to close down branch lines. This was referred to by Deputy Lynch at column 1796 of the Official Report of 20th May of this year. There was an amendment tabled that there should be consultation with the local authorities concerned and with the trade unions, and the present Taoiseach, who was then piloting the Bill, said that, of course, they would get two months notice and, of course, they would see these people in deputations. The purpose of the requirement to give two months notice was to provide a statutory period during which the inevitable representations could be entertained. We know that despite that very specific and clear promise, branch lines were closed down without giving local representatives a chance to make their case and it is because of that breach of confidence that there is so much agitation about this matter. Coming back to section 3, does the Minister think it proper to fortify himself against other questions in the future by the phrasing of section 3 ? If there is a dispute as to whether or not certain moneys are properly regarded as capital moneys and the Minister is asked a question about that, he is empowered to say, if this legislation goes through as it is: “It is only the Board who have to be satisfied about that. I have nothing to do with it.” He might even say: “I do not think myself it is capital money but it is not my business.” Also, [344] if he is asked whether certain expenditure will be remunerative, he is again entitled to say: “It is not my business.” If Deputy M. P. Murphy comes along, when a complaint arises in a part of his constituency, will the Minister say: “The Board tell me that is not going to be remunerative and that is the end of it”? I do not think that is proper and I think it is particularly improper at a time when we are moving from the idea of an economic concern to what amounts to a social service.

Many people feel, and I partly agree with them, that the railways cannot be ruled by the standard whether their capital is going to be remunerated or not; that there is a necessity to keep certain branch lines open for social purposes, whether they are remunerative or not. The Minister is coming in here at a time when the Board have closed down a number of stations and when the situation for the Board—not for the community—has been considerably eased and the Minister wants to fortify himself by this section so that no question can be put to him as to whether moneys are properly expended or not. The Minister's easy answer is to say: “It is not any of my business.” Am I right in that interpretation?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I think the Deputy misunderstands——

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  But as regards the interpretations?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have to sanction capital expenditure by CIE—and the Minister for Finance must sanction it —and I have to assure myself that it is truly capital expenditure. I have to ensure that the capital sanctioned is properly spent. I have to be assured that CIE is carrying out the instructions given to it in general by this Bill.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  Is capital expenditure anywhere defined in the Bill?

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  No.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Where in the [345] Bill does the Minister say that he must decide these matters?

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  He has to get the money from the Minister for Finance.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  If the Deputy examines section 4 of the Bill——

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Let us deal with section 3. The Minister says he has to get the money from the Minister for Finance when he wants capital moneys. He hands that on to the Board but the expenditure of that money is a matter for the Board and it is then a question of what they consider properly chargeable to capital.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I am inclined to change my views as expressed earlier on the Minister's integrity. I think from the two recent statements he has made that he is not honest in his approach to this measure. He said a while ago that instead of not giving information in the House, he feels he has given too much information——

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I did not say “too much”.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  ——and that the 1958 Bill gave him the right of refusing to give any information. That is a clear statement made by the Minister earlier. He listed the type of information he has given in the House. He posed the question: Surely I am not supposed to answer about a particular bus service which operates today or which is likely to operate tomorrow and give particulars of timetables and services? It never happened in this House that the Minister was asked such a question. He was never asked about time schedules. That was a ridiculous assertion on the part of the Minister. It looked as if he were trying to imply that questions of that nature were asked in this House.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  A number of the questions that were refused were exactly like that.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The questions asked here are questions such as those listed by Deputy McGilligan, questions of national importance, matters [346] in which large sums of money are involved, for the purchase of rolling stock, for example, running into seven figures. Such a question was ruled out of order.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  That question was answered.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  And various other questions on important issues were ruled out of order. A question was raised here by me this evening, and later taken up by Deputy McGilligan, in relation to this section providing the Minister with a cover where future questions are concerned. So far as representations are concerned, the Minister can hide behind this section in future and tell whoever is seeking information that, unless a particular service is likely to be remunerative, CIE cannot provide it because section 3 precludes them from doing so.

The Minister went into detail on a particular service which was the subject matter of discussion here earlier this evening. He said that the net cost of that service, according to the information supplied to him, was £10 14s weekly and he added for good measure that the overhead charges were £1 6s. I should like to remind the Minister that his case was necessary to provide a sum equivalent to approximately 15/- per head of the population to subsidise CIE. Add a subvention of £2 millions with a writeoff of £1 million liabilities incurred previously by CIE and the net capital charge will be more than 15/- per head. The particular service I was speaking about would not, even on the Minister's inflated figures, measure up to 15/- per head of the population to be serviced. Therefore, what we are asking here is 15/- per head of the population to enable CIE to continue its operations and, at the same time, we are withdrawing an existing bus service, which, on the Minister's own figures, even if they were correct, would mean that the subsidy would not be more than 9/- or 10/- per head and would, in fact, be less. Surely, on that basis alone, the Minister must review his decision. He informed us earlier that it was a decision of his to withdraw that service. I hope now [347] that the Minister will restore this service.

As Deputy Dr. Browne pointed out, it would be just as easy for the Department of Posts and Telegraphs to say: “We are not getting enough remuneration from the services we provide in your parish. We think we should get more and we are now going to withdraw the postal service because it is not remunerative. People are not writing enough letters. The returns from stamps, telegrams and telephones are not sufficient.”

The Minister introduced the question of the social need for services. This is a social service. Nevertheless, he has withdrawn this social service completely from one parish. I know the Minister has difficulties where CIE is concerned because the Board created a bad public image. Instead of currying favour with the business community and the travelling public, they have gone out of their way to alienate the affections of the people and to cut the people adrift. We heard Deputy McGilligan quoting a passage this evening from a statement made by the Taoiseach in 1958. He was Minister for Industry and Commerce at the time. He spoke about the deliberations which would be bound to take place between local bodies and CIE when proposals to close a particular transport route arose. We know how that promise of the Taoiseach's was implemented. Deputies of this House, members of the county council, members of the county committee of agriculture and other public bodies in Cork were completely ignored and were given no opportunity of any kind to meet the Board of CIE to discuss matters with them.

The Minister is well aware of that. The Board treated any representations made with gross contempt. It is regrettable that the Board responsible for our public transport should have that dictatorial outlook. That is an attitude Irish people will not tolerate. The Minister must get it into his head that Irish people do not accept dictation and will not accept a dictatorial attitude on the part of the Board of CIE. [348] Surely the people who asked that a deputation be received by the Board were sufficiently representative of Cork to be granted that opportunity? In my opinion, they were more than representative enough to be heard by that autocratic body, the Board of CIE. Had the Board adopted a reasonable attitude and met the representatives with some amicable arrangement, the position today might be very different and the arrangement might have resulted not only in conveniencing the general public but also in financing CIE.

Of course, all CIE has to do when faced with deficits is to come along to the Government and ask for a further measure of assistance from this House. All other companies must stand on their own feet. Deputy Dockrell is a big business man here in Dublin. If he were to adopt the attitude adopted by CIE, if he were to refuse to meet his patrons, his business would not continue very long. Deputy Dockrell is, of course, a wise man. He, and other business men like him, would lose money if customers ceased to present themselves. In that set of circumstances, he could not ask to be subsidised from public funds. But it is all right for CIE to do that. They do not have to watch closely their bookkeeping and ensure a profitable and fair return because they can come along here and we will give them a subsidy.

Deputy Dr. Browne made it quite clear that the Labour Party believe in subsidising public transport. We agree it is impossible to provide transport in uneconomic areas and remote and isolated districts on a remunerative basis. But we ask something in return. We ask for civility and courtesy. We ask those responsible in CIE to meet local deputations with a view to agreeing on the establishment of the most suitable type of transport service for the particular area. CIE will not agree to meet any local deputations. They have, as I said, created a very bad public image. In 1958 it was stated that the measure then before the House would, when it became law, see an end to CIE troubles five years later. That is [349] what we were told. By the end of five years CIE would be standing on its own feet and the Irish taxpayer would no longer be asked to subsidise it. Some of us did not accept that at the time because we considered it too farfetched. I agree that a Board who felt in 1958 that in the relatively short period of five years, CIE would be able to stand on its own feet could not be deemed to be competent. Yet, the same Board are continuing now.

I want to get a clear definition from the Minister on section 3 what this particular phrase means. When we discussed the 1958 Act, we were told that the sections were passed and that the Dáil gave CIE this authority. I am not one anxious to give authority to CIE lightly because of the attitude adopted towards us. This House is right in questioning every comma in this measure. We have to be cautious when dealing with a body such as CIE. I regret very much to have to comment so adversely on our public transport body. The Minister has not helped himself by the attitude he has adopted to Deputies seeking legitimate information on matters of national and local importance. He has told the House on innumerable occasions he is not prepared to give information to the Deputies seeking it.

I said on Second Reading that the Board of CIE should be reconstituted. In 1958 this Board asked for five years to put everything right. They got that blank cheque, and they failed. That being so, I maintain we should look around and see if we could get other people with brains to deal with our transport problems. The Minister apparently feels that within the confines of this State, there are only a limited number of people capable of dealing with our transport problems, and that limited number seems to be confined to the Board of CIE. I do not agree that CIE constitute a monopoly of brains as far as transport is concerned. I do not think it is out of place to refer to the many statements made by the Chairman of CIE in relation to transport problems. He said in 1961 that his mind was in a state of flux in regard to transport problems. He admitted on a number [350] of occasions that, as far as transport problems were concerned, he felt rather at a difficulty in dealing with them. He admitted his incapacity for dealing with complex transport problems. Without any reflection on the personnel of the Board, they have had their chance.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  On a point of order, Sir, this is an attack on members of the Board. There is nothing in this section concerning the method of appointment.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  There is nothing in the section relating to the composition of the Board. This section relates to finance.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The Minister is accepting responsibility. He is responsible for the composition of the Board. If the Minister advised the Government, they could reconsitute the Board.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I do not intend to. The Deputy need not speak any more about it.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  That is the Minister's attitude. That is why we want £11 million more in the current five years to subsidise the Board. The Minister is adopting an arrogant attitude, even though I believe he feels at the bottom of his heart that the arguments by the Opposition are entirely correct. Yet he will not give in. He is prepared to allow this Board to travel along the road they have travelled over the years and continue to provide a costly and inefficient transport service.

Let us examine the record of CIE since we gave it all this authority. Not alone has it lost money—its indebtedness is higher than ever—but it has closed miles and miles of railway. It has closed some 700 miles of railway. Now it is turning its attention to road transport and commencing to close routes which it tells us are not economic. Surely a Board with that outlook on transport problems in this relatively small country are not fit to remain in office? The answer to this transport problem is to wipe out the present Board. They had their chance and [351] failed in their undertaking. I believe another Board could be found who would address themselves to our transport problems much more efficiently as far as the common good is concerned.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  I have already pointed out to the Deputy that the composition of the Board does not arise on a section which deals with finance.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The Minister is empowered, if he so desires, to reconstitute the Board.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  That is not the point. It does not arise on the section. The Deputy may get an opportunity on another section.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I think you are very much out of line on this, Sir.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  I am afraid the Deputy is out of line. The section relates to expenditure. The composition of the Board does not arise.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The Minister told us he is not going to change the Board. He has got a little rough this evening. He is not going to listen to reason. He is going to hold on adamantly to the views he expressed earlier to-day. Would the Minister be able to tell me: how does it happen a line is closed? Who initiates the procedure for the closing of a line?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy is getting away from the section.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I should like to know who is responsible. Is there a particular person in CIE who decides when a line is closed?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Board decides it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  This does not arise.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  On this section, can we discuss the abolition of the Minister's position?

[352]Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I should like to know who makes the suggestion that a line is to be closed.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Deputy Murphy will have to relate his remarks to the section. He may not wander all over the question of public transport on this section, which relates to expenditure.

Mr. M.J. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I think this is completely relevant. When a particular route is closed——

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  The Chair is suggesting that this particular route is closed to the Deputy.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I do not mind. This is like an Estimate debate. I am prepared to sit here for hours and hours discussing CIE in general if people want to. It has nothing to do with the Bill.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  If section 3 becomes law and if a Deputy asks a question about the provision of a service, is he not likely to be told that under section 3 of the Transport Act of 1964, the Board are precluded from providing that service?

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  Would it be capital?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  It is the Board will decide, not the House. Section 3 clearly states that it is the Board who will decide whether it is capital expenditure or not. Is it not likely the Minister will make such a reply if a supplementary question is put to him? We have had plenty of experience of that. Is it not likely he will say that section 3 of this Act, approved by the Dáil, gives the Board that authority? This House gives the Board that authority and they are doing nothing more and nothing less than exercising the authority given by this House.

I feel, as has been pointed out by a number of Deputies, that this section is a very dangerous one, having regard to the history of CIE and particularly having regard to the Minister's statement a few minutes ago that he will [353] not reconstitute the Board. Personally, I feel that we should divide the House on this issue and put on record our opposition to this dictatorial line which the Minister has taken. He has again and again been assured by Deputies here and by the House generally that we are all in favour of providing a transport service and we are prepared to dip into our pockets to subsidise that service, but, in return, we expect efficiency and courtesy and do not want this dictatorial attitude of wiping out transport in some part of the country without consulting anybody. We do not want a dictatorial attitude. The Irish people are not prepared to accept a dictatorial attitude. Having regard to all the facts, the House should divide on this section.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I tried to get in immediately after the Minister made his long address in which he said that no Deputy read his closing speech on the Second Reading.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  No, not that—two other speeches which I have already mentioned three or four times and asked people to read.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I was present here for the reading of it. I was not well the following Sunday morning when I read it in bed. It kept me in bed for nearly a fortnight.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I am sorry.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  The Deputy was dieselised.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  It is a great disappointment to me.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister is the best man to cover up that I have ever met. He stated here that night that he would answer every question. He did not answer any of the questions that I put down to him. He will have to answer. I asked him was he going to keep his word about maintaining as efficient a service between Waterford and Tramore as was there before he wrecked the railway. I could not get any answer to that question.

[354]Mr. Geoghegan: Information on John Geoghegan  Zoom on John Geoghegan  It is a pity you did not travel on it.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  Do you hear this man? This man had a whole lot of questions here on the Order Paper yesterday in regard to piers. He had questions down about 37 piers that nobody ever heard of.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Deputy was here at the time the controversy was on. What did he say?

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  What I will keep on saying, until the Minister makes an open confession that his experts were wrong. We will have experts advising this Board and this Board will be there, with their cloaks and daggers, and nobody will know what is happening. We will not have any way of finding out. Some of these experts will tell the Board to do something and the Minister will go off and do it and will make a mess of it, just as the great mistake was made by CIE and by these experts. Many of them fled from CIE afterwards but the Minister stood over it. The king can do no wrong. He was the king in this case, with the idea that it must be done no matter what happened. I have said in this House, and will repeat whenever I get the opportunity, that there were 550,000 people who travelled on that line in its last year.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  We are not discussing the closing of branch lines. We are on section 3.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I am discussing section 3. This Board will incur expenditure of up to £2 million of our money. They will be advised by some of the same experts as closed this line. I ask the Minister to keep his word and to keep the word of his predecessor, the present Taoiseach. They made promises here and they gave their word. If the Minister wants to improve his public relations in my constituency, the only thing for him to do is what is done by everyone in every part of Ireland every day, even by tinkers. They are men of their word. Do not belittle this House by saying one thing and doing the opposite and then remaining mute.

[355] The Minister's advisers advised CIE. We could not find out what was happening at the time. They just went in and smashed everything that was in the Tramore railway station and then sold it to the town commissioners. Now they want the town commissioners to provide a public convenience at the bus stop. They built a bus terminus instead of the railway station.

I intervened when the Minister was closing to ask him to answer questions I had asked the previous night in the House. He did not do it. He sat down. I am glad that I was reported as saying, because I did say it: “The Minister has degraded this Parliament”. That is what is happening. We are here as the representatives of the people. We have been endeavouring to get information here since 3.30 this afternoon.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  That has been happening for ten years.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I want to tell Deputy Coughlan that I thought there must have been a change of heart, because, believe it or not, the Minister answered six Parliamentary Questions for me yesterday. I have them here.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  What relevance has this to section 3?

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I will tell you. We have been here all the evening on this section and we have been asking the Minister about this Board and how Deputies will be able to reach this Board and the Minister has refused pointblank to answer.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  That is not true. I have made the most elaborate statements about it.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister's statements are too elaborate and when a Deputy reads them he finds they amount to nothing at all. Will the Minister get up and say: “I will answer any reasonable question put to me in this House concerning this Board”?

[356]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The question of the Dáil getting information does not arise on this section. That question has been dealt with on previous legislation by the House.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  Unfortunately, it has been dealt with very badly.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  How are we to know whether a line is profitable or not? That is mentioned in section 3. I have experience of the West Clare railway dissolution. There was an expenditure of £90,000 on three engines, at £30,000 each, and the engines were not properly run-in when the Minister closed the line and £90,000 worth was sold for scrap. I put down a question and I got no answer. The Minister had no function. Where are we to go? That was the West Clare railway and CIE houses along that line were sold for £30. That cannot be denied.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I gave the losses for the West Clare railway at the time of the debate.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  When you included the £90,000 for the three diesels.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I gave the bus subsidy.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  That is what we want to protect ourselves against. We are entitled to that information but I had to get the information in a roundabout way.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I gave the full information to the House.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I want to say that the Minister did not give the full information.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I did.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister said that Deputies did not read his statement. I was in the House all the time the Minister was speaking and the Minister knows that. I have a good memory and I will remember what the Minister said all the years of my life. Even at this hour, the Minister should say to us that he will be prepared to meet Deputies if they ask him questions, not about day-to-day administration [357] but questions relating, say, to sums of £50,000 or £100,000, or what was the annual take in regard to a service or in relation to something we know is in his office, which the Pacemaker Report tells us is in his office. The Minister should not be fooling the people and getting it into the national papers that the Deputies did not read the Pacemaker Report. I got a copy of the report in the Library. I asked how many copies were printed and the Minister would not tell me. I asked him if there had even been a dozen printed and the Minister would not say. I believe that if there had been more than one dozen printed, the Minister would have said so. This is an important document and the Minister gets about 12 copies and puts one in the Library of the Dáil, and that is supposed to be publicising it. It is the Minister's way of making it a secret document and adding to his policy of not telling anybody in this House what is happening, how moneys are being spent or how much is being spent——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy has repeated himself more than once.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  It is the only thing we can do.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Repetition is out of order and the Deputy has repeated himself at least four times.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  On this?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  On the question of giving information.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I had an idea when I was sent into Dáil Éireann that I could ask any Minister a Parliamentary Question and that if it was responsible, the Minister should answer it, and I was under the impression that that was all right because when I came into the House, my Party were over there and I bombarded them with Parliamentary Questions and they replied. When the Fianna Fáil Party went over there, I bombarded them, and I must give the Ministers their due, they answered, with the exception [358] of this Minister. How are we to find out anything about this Board and how they are spending this £2 million?

Question put and declared carried.

Question proposed: “That section 4 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I was informed by the Minister that subsection (1) of this section had a bearing on this matter of capital expenditure and perhaps the Minister would explain what he meant.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I thought I had already explained that. Under this Bill, my position is actually strenghtened in that I have to be satisfied, before recommending a capital advance to the Minister for Finance, that the expenditure is necessary within the circumstances defined in section 3.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  In section 3?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Yes.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Surely the Board take control of section 3.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  No; the Board require my consent and that of the Minister for Finance for capital advances.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Do the Board decide that the capital expenditure is required for the efficient operation of the company and for purposes that would be remunerative?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  We have to have discussions with the Board on all those matters.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Whether the project is likely to be remunerative and essential?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Board have the general responsibility of spending the capital according to the provisions of this and of the 1958 Act, but I can have discussions with the Board when they come to me for the capital to ensure that, in my view, the Act is being properly interpreted.

[359]Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Has the Minister anything to do with the expenditure being essential and being remunerative? I suggest not.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  It is my business to examine the general operational policy of CIE——

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Can we write that into the section?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  ——from year to year, and quite obviously any Minister who is responsible for examining CIE accounts has to examine the trend of operation every year. If I see that obviously an excessive amount of capital is being spent on, shall we say, running a very profitable sector of the railway, whereas quite evidently some part of the system elsewhere is being allowed to collapse, it would be my duty to say they are not interpreting the general sense of the transport legislation.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Does the Minister mean that hereafter he will answer questions in this House regarding these matters?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I am not talking about questions. I have already spoken at great length about that and what is the use of bringing it up again?

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Does it follow from the Minister's remarks that he will in fact answer questions?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have already said that I consider the debate on the Estimate, on the CIE report and on Deputy Dr. Browne's motion——

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  I am not talking about what went on in the past.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  ——constitutes a very fair recording of all the facts and the economics in regard to the progress of CIE in the past five years, and I am prepared to stand over that.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  The Minister need not answer if he does not want to.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  He will not answer.

[360]Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  He is not able to.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  May I rewrite section 3 and say that “the Minister is satisfied” in both places?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  No; I explained that to the Deputy.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The Minister has evaded that. The Minister is suggesting that section 3 might as well be read with “the Minister” instead of “it”.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Surely we are not going back to section 3? Section 4 is before the House.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Minister for Transport and Power and the Minister for Finance, the Government and this House have some part in all this and I have made it clear that I am responsible for seeing that when capital is advanced, it is in general going to be spent for a proper purpose, just as the Auditor General who audits the Company's accounts every year has to be assured that the amounts advanced have been properly put to the capital account, or to the current account, or to the appropriation account, and so forth. I do not know what more information the House wishes to have.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  I do not want to appear to be insensitive to the Minister's feelings but he has opened up in this section the question of his duty and functions vis-á-vis the Board regarding questions of expenditure. He has indicated that this section strengthens his position and I gather that the degree of strengthening is only so that he can require discussion, examination and consultation. He has said that he is the person responsible for seeing that anything done is done properly. If that is so, does it not follow from the Minister's claim here that he is being put in a stronger position by this section, that hereafter he can, with a completely clear conscience, answer the questions of Deputies with regard to matters arising from this Bill?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have already answered a great many questions in this House. We can debate this matter [361] all night and not get any further. It is entirely a question of interpretation. Is the Goleen-Schull bus route in which Deputy Murphy is so deeply interested a question of day-to-day administration? This is a very complex question and Deputies are entitled to discuss it but the trouble is that we never seem to get to the end of it. Much of the discussion in political circles has been based on historical considerations, particularly with regard to the early days of the United States when the operations of the railways were subject to political interference.

The idea mooted here is that we should give fragmentary information from day to day on every day the Dáil sits, that we should give a detailed, constantly repeated review of the operations of a vast service such as that of CIE with an expenditure of about £22 million a year and that we should be constantly holding up the Board about the closing of this or that service or the number of buses run on a particular route. If we do, then we will destroy the efficiency of the Board. That has generally been accepted over the whole of Northern Europe where the ordinary democracies have accepted this general view. Everybody worries about these things because of the fact that these companies have achieved great power to expend vast amounts of capital and people are worried over the extent to which they should continue to receive this freedom. We look at the matter absolutely pragmatically and we think the State companies have operated very efficiently over the years.

If we had a multiplicity of questions, to such an extent that it revealed a general unrest over the operations of the Board, the situation might change. I could have an inquiry into the operations of CIE but these things have not happened in the past. A great deal of this controversy here this evening is again due to the tremendous objections there have been to the closing of railway lines. I am sorry that Deputy Murphy has left the House because I could tell him to look at the debate on the CIE report in which the closing [362] of the West Cork railway was discussed.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  The trouble is that he has looked at it.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  My conscience is quite clear that I have given all the information necessary to enable the House to consider the question of whether there was anything wrong, or undesirable, or contrary to the interests of the public in the closing of these railways. If Deputies disagree with me, the result is that we have disagreement in the House about the matter, but I gave all the relevant information at that time.

Now, the major part of the lines to be closed have been closed and I will not curtail the freedom or independence of CIE by asking how much it cost to run the line from Mallow to Cork or what the receipts and expenditure are this year compared with last year. If I did that, it would end the independence of CIE. I have done my best to explain all these points to Deputies.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  The Minister has attempted to give the best explanation he could to the House but I also think that he has attempted to oversimplify the matter. The whole trouble here is that if one accepts that there should be no question in this House about the closing down of a railway line or bus route covering ten miles, then there should be no question about the closing down of one which covers 100 miles.

We on this side of the House do not feel that immense sums of money should be passed through the Minister to a group of people who, when they receive that money, claim that they have no responsibility to this House for explaining how it is spent. I have great sympathy with the Minister because I feel he is in an invidious position. He is trying to defend something that is very hard to defend. I would ask him in his own interests to try to appreciate the fact that we believe there should be parliamentary control over the public transport system. We believe that if we think [363] money has been wrongly spent, we have the right to ask why it was spent in that way.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The Minister has made many lengthy interventions, all with the object of evading the real question. Would he forget for the moment about day-to-day administration? Let us take it that matters of day-to-day administration are excluded. Let us also think of a situation in which capital moneys are required and there is no question of these being for capital expenditure. There are certain safeguards looked for with regard to capital moneys. The Board must be of the opinion that they are necessary for the efficient operation of the undertaking and also that the project for which they are needed will be remunerative to the Board.

Who is to judge on these two points in section 3 as to whether the expenditure is required for the efficient operation of the undertaking or whether the project will be remunerative to the Board? The Minister has nothing to say to that under this section. Remember that day-to-day administration is out of it and that there is no question about these being capital moneys. The decision has now to be taken as to how the capital moneys advanced are to be spent and the decision has to be taken as to whether the project is to be remunerative to the Board. The Minister, under this section, has nothing to say to that.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Surely the House has decided section 3?

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I am building section 3 into section 4 which we are now discussing. The Minister claims that he is being put in a stronger position than ever before. There is now no question of day-to-day administration and there is no question about the money being for capital expenditure. There are two points to be decided, whether the money is for the efficient operation of the undertaking and whether the project will be remunerative to the Board. On that the Minister has nothing to say. If he tells me [364] he has, I will gladly move an amendment on Report Stage to put in the Minister instead of the Board—“but cannot expend these moneys unless the Minister is satisfied”. He can always exclude day-to-day expenditure. We do not want to bring that in for the time being. However, the two pivotal questions are not for the Minister's decision but for the Board's decision.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister, when explaining the section to us, said he would consult with the Board in regard to the outlay of the capital moneys, that is, £6 million. What the Minister did not say was, if the Board of CIE consulted with the Minister in regard to, say, the purchase of helicopters or something like that and the Minister said to them: “I do not agree with this” would the Board be said by the Minister? I should like the Minister to answer that. Has the Minister any power to control this Board? I do not think he has.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I thought I had already made this clear. Capital must be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance on my recommendation and I have to be satisfied that the programme of capital financing is generally satisfactory. There would be discussions at official level and I would have discussions with the Chairman and, if necessary, with the Board. We would look at this list of suggested capital expenditure items and if we were satisfied that in general CIE was operating on a sound basis and looking after that part of the service which is remunerative and, at the same time, supplying essential social services, I would then say to the Minister for Finance: “I approve of the issue of capital to CIE”, and when the capital was issued to CIE, they would then proceed to spend it.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  As they like.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  If the Minister was not satisfied——

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  If I was not satisfied, I could refuse them the money.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Capital moneys, yes, but what about the expenditure of the money?

[365]Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I could refuse them and, if the Board objected, I could ask for their resignations.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The Minister has to be satisfied about two points I made. Is that the reality?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I hope I have described the position correctly but one has to keep to the law about this.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Will the Minister agree that section 3 should be amended?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I recommend the issue of capital and the detailed spending of it is for the Board.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The question at issue is whether the capital moneys ought to be expended and the test is that these two points are left to the Board, not to the Minister.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I am afraid I cannot explain it any further.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The Minister cannot explain it in the face of section 3 which says the opposite to what he is saying.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Minister has to give sanction for the expenditure of capital. He must, in general, be satisfied that the capital is being spent for the right purpose. I cannot see why there should be any difficulty about understanding that.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The incurring of the expenditure is not for the Minister to decide? Is that not right?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The detailed expenditure of the moneys.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The Minister should read section 3 in which the Board is specified. The Minister does not come into section 3.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  He comes into section 4.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Only in the sense of advancing moneys, but not in regard to their expenditure.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Of course, the expenditure of the capital once having been agreed, is a matter for the Board.

[366]Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  There is a reference to capital being properly expended. How is that to be decided?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  On the basis of a programme which we generally accept.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  If the Board are satisfied about two things. What is the good of trying to argue against the section?

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I was asking the Minister, if he was not satisfied, could he prevent the Board going on with capital expenditure. The kind of capital expenditure I have in mind is, perhaps, £1 million. Could the Board go on with that expenditure and take no notice of the Minister's advice in these consultations?

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  They are not bound to have consultations.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  We shall say they did have.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I do not understand the Deputy. I made it absolutely clear. The Board go into the details. They have the responsibility of spending the capital, once it has been advanced to them, and I have responsibility for seeing that the amount of capital they are asking is——

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Is the Minister's responsibility not ended when he passes over the capital moneys?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Yes, except for powers of general supervision.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  I thought when the consultations were being set up, the Minister's hand was being strengthened.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  In practice, there are all sorts of miscellaneous capital items but there would be also important capital items which they would indicate to me.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I am trying to protect the Minister. I am also trying to protect the House and the taxpayer. If CIE were about to spend £1 million on engines which would only go forward—you remember the mistake that [367] was made before in regard to the other engines—could the Minister prevent CIE making that mistake?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Those engines are operating very successfully.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The most successful man in that operation was the salesman. We should get his name and address and invite him over here to start a school of salesmanship. This is a very serious business because there is reference here to the advance from time to time to the Board “of such sums not exceeding in the aggregate £6 million”. One would think it was buttons. There is a crowd of faceless men in Kingsbridge, as far as we are concerned, and the way this Bill is going, they have no responsibility to the House. It appears the Minister must be the fall guy if anything goes wrong. At the same time, no member of this House, none of the elected representatives of the Irish people, can ask the Minister here what is being done with the £6 million. This has nothing to do with day-to-day expenditure or with small bus lines. There is reference here to £6 million and we would not be doing our duty as public representatives if we did not seek a definite statement from the Minister as to how he stood about this.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The capital expenditure is broken down into different items.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  What is capital expenditure?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Capital expenditure by the Board is reported in the accounts.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  A very vague and woolly term.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  That is after it has been expended.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  That is the kind of question the Minister likes to be answering because it means nothing. Before the expenditure, if the Minister has consultations with the Board and if the Minister decides he does not [368] like the proposition the Board are putting up, can he stop the Board from spending that money?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Of course I can. I can refuse to go to the Minister for Finance for sanction.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  You can go to the Minister for Finance.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I can refuse to recommend it to the Minister for Finance.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Take the case where it is recommended.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Once it is recommended, then CIE have the responsibility of spending it.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  As they like.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  As they like. I am certainly not going to allow a situation to arise in which the Dáil could step in in the middle of the year and prevent CIE spending capital. That would be exactly the kind of interference that would make the position of the company impossible.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  The Dáil has a right to interfere in these matters at any time.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The expenditure is indicated in the annual report of CIE——

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  ——which comes after the year, when the money is spent, does it not?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  If the Deputy suggests that it would not be a day-to-day matter for me to list capital expenditure envisaged for future spending, he is right. That would be a question that would be answered—how the moneys are allocated. But if he is going to ask me why CIE buy diesels from General Motors instead of from another concern, that is a matter for the company.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I am taking the case of moneys which have been passed on to the Board as capital moneys and the Board propose to spend them in a way of which the Minister does not approve and he cannot stop them.

[369]Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  On 14th April, I got a letter from the Ceann Comhairle disallowing a question of mine regarding a large purchase of buses by CIE.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The question was answered.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister refused to answer that question. I asked what the length of the buses was, what was the specification and what was the cost. He refused to answer that question. I put it down again last week and he answered it yesterday. It was only a little matter of £445,000. These buses were 36 feet long, six feet over the maximum allowed for any vehicle travelling on Irish roads. These are things this House should know. I was told about them and I was not sure whether it was right or not. I went to the responsible Minister, the Minister who says he is responsible, and he would not tell me.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  As I said, I would not regard it as a matter of day-to-day administration to give to the House details of a substantial capital programme of CIE by simply saying what the division of the money was between the various types of capital expenditure.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister refused to answer the question on 14th April.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Deputy was given an answer to the important part of the question as he knows.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  Somebody in the Minister's Department woke up about ten days afterwards and wrote me a letter. I have a strong objection to that. I asked the question so that the Minister would answer it here and so that the Irish people would know. I did not want a letter sent to me. This is an old trick of the Minister's. He tells us about the Pacemaker Report. Only 12 copies of it were printed. The Minister will come in and say as he said yesterday: “You will find it in this year's report of CIE.” This year's CIE report has not yet been published.

[370] It is not available to anybody in this House.

I wanted the information I was seeking for this debate and for the Estimate. We are entitled to ask these questions and entitled to get answers. We are now dealing with two sections since 3.30 p.m. but the Minister would have had the Bill three hours ago if he had followed the example of his colleagues and answered the Parliamentary Questions.

The Minister says that he can prevent, or object to, CIE taking a certain line of big capital expenditure. We would not expect him to bother with small items which would be merely the day-to-day business that he is always talking about, but when it comes to a big change in policy or a new and expensive step by CIE, I want to know from the Minister, if such a step is being taken and the Deputies become aware of it and want to know if it is a fact, will the Minister answer that question?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have already given the answer to that.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister has not, but that is what he constantly says. He had the audacity to say in the House to-day that he had answered every question I had asked him on the Second Stage of this Bill. I had the Dáil Debates in front of me and I had to protest that he was not answering the questions I had put to him, although he had a fortnight, between the time I spoke and when he replied to the debate, to enable him to get the information. I have no doubt his officials supplied it to him.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I shall not attempt to satisfy the Deputy in regard to that. He is being utterly unreasonable and, so far as that is concerned, it is a matter that is closed with me.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I shall be far more unreasonable because I am dealing with an unreasonable Minister who never showed reason in regard to anything asked on this side of the House or on his own side of the House in regard to his Department. He brushed everybody aside. I am still asking if Deputies ask Parliamentary Questions [371] regarding an important step that CIE might be about to take involving big capital expenditure, possibly up to £6 million, would the Minister answer them. Are we entitled to know?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have already made it clear to the Deputy that he could have a list of capital expenditure and I want to make absolutely clear that agitation in this House will not stop any State company under my supervision from carrying out any programme during the year, if I approve of it. Agitation here will not influence any State company under my supervision as regards the carrying out of its annual programme, the general character of which has been debated here and which has been made perfectly clear to the public. The House has no power to interrupt programmes of that kind. I shall be responsible for any ill results that come and, on the next occasion when the Estimates come before the House, I shall be answerable for any mistakes made by the company in general.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  That is the trouble —the Minister is not answerable.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Deputy who says that is utterly unreasonable.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  Earlier, the Minister spoke about people making political capital. Now he says that agitation here will have no influence. But for agitation, the Minister would not be here or any of us.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  There is going to be delegation of full authority to State companies. The Government stand by that and the Deputy may object to it, but that is the fact. There will be full delegation with relevance to the Acts.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  This is something we should be very careful about. We have had these experts from CIE advising Ministers and advising this Minister before and he came here with their recommendations and forced them upon the House. These recommendations were to be carried out in spite of the fact that even from his own benches he was told he was wrong.

[372] He was wrong, and he was proved wrong. Time proved him wrong. And these experts can be wrong again.

I do not want to clog up the wheels of CIE. I do not want to see any more railway lines dug up. When we are asked, however, to give our assent here to handing the Minister a sum of £18 million over a period of years we have a right to say something about the expenditure of this sum. We have a right to say in what circumstances we will vote this money. We have the right at any time to come into this House and oppose or support any matter. I pointed out earlier the danger of not being allowed to do that.

There was a public company of which another Minister was practically in charge. No Parliamentary Questions were allowed. They were all brushed aside. Grave mistakes were made by that company. It is now in liquidation. A few Parliamentary Questions might have saved that company. The Minister wants to put CIE into an impregnable position. They will get this money. They can take a chance. They can go in for large capital expenditure. If they lose, what about it? Who cares? Nobody can ask questions. Write off the losses. If the Board of CIE knew that, if they made blunders, they just could not go blundering on because they would be brought to book in the Parliament of the country, that would save the situation.

I do not agree with the Minister that he should give all power to these people. This is the Parliament of Ireland. We were sent here by the people of Ireland as custodians of the public weal. The people of Ireland are our masters and we should be the masters of any public company we set up. When I say “we,” I mean this entire Assembly. I have given the Minister about five chances on this. I ask him once more will he give us an undertaking—he need only say “Yes” and I will take a chance; I will take his word for it—that, if Deputies ask questions relating to CIE, or to any State companies and these questions are in respect of very large sums of money and large expenditure, those questions will be answered?

Will the Minister also give us an undertaking to explain to us what the [373] difference is when I put down a question about the price of a fleet of buses and he refuses to tell me, while another Deputy, on the same day, asks the price of three or four very high priced aeroplanes, running into £2 or £3 millions, and the Minister answers the question. In the past four years Deputy after Deputy has asked questions about CIE and the Minister has just brushed them aside. I have my latest addition here:

Dear Deputy,

I regret I had to disallow two questions addressed by you to the Minister for Transport and Power—

(a) regarding the erection of a public convenience at Tramore bus terminus and

(b) ——

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  On a point of order, these questions are decided by the Ceann Comhairle and I have no obligation to defend the action of the Ceann Comhairle in refusing questions.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Why not just subside?

Acting Chairman (Mr. MacCarthy): Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  It is the duty of the Chair to give every possible facility to members to make their points. Members are entitled to quote particular instances, not ruled on, in support of their contentions, but, at the same time, I feel there is a good deal of useless repetition in this debate and that points have been made and quoted over and over again. I would ask members, in the interests of proceeding normally with the business of the House, to be reasonable.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister got up immediately I started to read this letter from the Ceann Comhairle. This was no repetition and, as far as I am concerned, it was not necessary for the Minister to defend the Ceann Comhairle. I accept the Ceann Comhairle's ruling and yours, with all respect. As far as repetition is concerned, we have to be forgiven if we repeat ourselves a little——

Acting Chairman:  Repetition is not in order.

[374]Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I got another letter today which informed me that two amendments tabled in my name Nos. 5 and 25, were ruled out of order.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have no responsibility for that.

Mr. Coogan: Information on Fintan Coogan  Zoom on Fintan Coogan  The Minister has no function in the matter.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  It was the Ceann Comhairle who decided that; it has nothing to do with me.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  It is always a good thing to gallop a horse for his wind.

Acting Chairman:  I think there is a great deal of it here just now.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I galloped a horse. I got one of these letters. This is what I am coming to. I deeply resent Deputy Moher coming in on this because he did enough screaming about his own line down in Youghal.

Acting Chairman:  I think the standards of the House ought to be maintained. Deputies should speak responsibly when dealing with a matter such as this. Interjections across the floor of the House are not orderly and certainly not helpful.

Mr. Moher: Information on John W. Moher  Zoom on John W. Moher  This is a performance.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  If anyone is lowering the standards of the House, it is the Minister. We have a Minister for State, who is being asked to adopt a certain course in relation to a very important State company, and who has refused to give any information or any idea as to what he will do in future. At the same time, he asks us to vote him £18 millions here. I want to put myself on record here so that I may have the satisfaction in two or three years' time, please God, of saying I did make a stand against this. I was here when the Transport Bill of 1958 was passed. The Minister's predecessor, Deputy Lemass, gave an undertaking which he never carried out.

Acting Chairman:  This does not arise on the section.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  Will the Minister [375] answer questions with regard to the capital outlay of the Board of CIE in future?

Mr. Moher: Information on John W. Moher  Zoom on John W. Moher  That has been asked and answered ten times.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  It has not.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  I want to put this case to the Minister. The Minister has stated that he is quite prepared to answer any questions listing the capital expenditure of the Board. A case has been put to him by Deputy T. Lynch with regard to the purchase of buses. A question was asked about that purchase and I understand it was not answered. I understand also from Deputy Lynch's remark that the cost involved was of the order of £400,000 or £450,000 and that the buses at the time exceeded the legal length for such vehicles. I think the regulations in that respect were altered so as to provide for a variation in order to bring the buses within them.

The question I want to put to the Minister arises out of that. Assume for a moment there is agreement between the Minister and the Board that a certain number of buses will be purchased as part of a capital programme of the Board. I take it without question that if the Minister gives sanction for the purchase of buses, he would intend that the buses being purchased would comply in all respects with the law of this land, and if it came to the Minister's notice before the buses were purchased that in fact they were not going to comply with road traffic regulations, there should be some power in the Minister to stop that transaction and there should be some power in the House to raise that kind of question with the Minister, to bring it to his attention and to insist as far as possible that the Minister take action in the matter.

That is what is at issue arising out of the matter raised by Deputy Lynch. I should like to know what is the Minister's attitude there. Apparently, his attitude within the past fortnight was that he had no function in that [376] matter and that he was not going to reply to the question. I want to know when this Bill goes through, when this section goes through, will the Minister's attitude be the same. It is a question of capital expenditure. It is a question of agreement between himself and the Board. Surely it is not sufficient for the Minister to say: “Once I have given my consent and given the money, there is nothing more for me to do and I am not going to put up with agitation by Deputies on this.” As far as I and other Deputies on these benches are concerned, the Minister will put up with agitation unless he is prepared to meet this House fairly and squarely and give us the fullest information on all of these questions.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  The Minister is making the case that he provides reasonable information on all questions of a basic and fundamental nature which do not impinge on the day-to-day operations and practice. That is not the case. Deputy Lynch has given numerous examples of questions to which it was not possible to obtain a reply. I have had similar experience. On at least two occasions, I have tabled a question to inquire as to the profit earned by CIE on the operation of the Dublin city services. That basic fundamental information, without which one cannot appraise the functions of CIE, has been withheld from me and from this House. The Chairman of CIE has admitted to me that that information is available. That is a preposterous state of affairs.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Deputy has the information.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  I have it now for the year to March, 1962. What about the previous years in respect of which it was denied to me?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  That is all the Deputy is going to get, to be quite frank.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  Surely that is contempt for Parliament? Surely the public are entitled to this basic fundamental information, without which no one can evaluate the service rendered by CIE? The citizens of Dublin have a chip on [377] their shoulders. They believe CIE are making extravagant profits on the Dublin city services. Surely, if for no other reason than to disillusion us if we are wrong, it would be in the Minister's interest that we be provided with that information, not for one year but for every year?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Deputy has raised a perfect example. I was trying to think of one. Periodically, we have had these reviews of CIE. In the Pacemaker Report, it was clearly indicated that the surplus on the Dublin bus service was £380,000 and that the loss on the Dublin suburban railway service was £160,000. It was clearly indicated, therefore, that the total surplus on Dublin transport, taken as a whole, was £220,000. It was clearly indicated that a very considerable proportion of the total overhead expenditure of CIE was attributable to work and employment in Dublin. It was clearly indicated that the actual surplus on the city bus account was equivalent to .37 of a 1d per journey. If you work out what it would cost for 12 journeys a week, it would not amount to a frightening sum of money. All that information was given.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  For one year.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  That is not likely to change very much. There is not going to be any extreme or violent change in the profitability of the Dublin bus services. The idea of cross-subsidisation within CIE is entirely permissible. I do not intend to encourage agitation as between cross-subsidisation from one service to another by suggesting to CIE they should sectionalise their accounts in the way suggested by the Deputy.

This is a matter of controversy. The Deputy has his point of view. He is entitled to it. There are other intelligent people who might argue with the Deputy. I am not prepared to say that I am standing here as a person who is so inevitably right that I am certain the Deputy is absolutely wrong. It is a controversial matter. It is different in the case of different State companies. There are some State Companies where very [378] sectionalised accounts might have no adverse affect and it is just my view, supported by the Government, that I do not want to have, every year and every month, discussions in the Dáil by way of questions that involve the principle of attacking the cross-subsidisation of accounts as between the different sections of CIE.

The Deputy knows the total net profit of the Dublin transport service is nothing that could cause a scandal. It is not excessive. It amounts to .37 of 1d per journey. We have had that discussion. It is ended. That review is being undertaken and, in my view, for the next four or five years, until we have another complete review of CIE, if we need one—we may not need one—it is unreasonable to ask CIE to sectionalise the accounts. It is wrong in the interests of the public as a whole and such sectionalising is not conducive to efficient service.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  The Minister is completely begging the question. This information is revealed in the Pacemaker Report, of which 12 copies were printed. It is revealed in respect of the year to the 31st March, 1962, that there was a profit on the Dublin services of £380,000. We are not here at this stage going to discuss Dublin city transport.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The profit is going down.

Acting Chairman:  It is being discussed.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  It is not. I am going on the point of principle. This basic fundamental information has been available to the Minister and CIE year after year, and it is deliberately being withheld from this House. That is gravely wrong. That is a travesty of democracy. It is true that in the year in question, 1962, it has been revealed that the profit was £380,000. All the indications are that in several of the years prior to 1962 the profit on the Dublin city services was in the order of £1 million. Since 31st March, 1962, there have been two increases in fares and, for all I know, the profit on Dublin city services for the year [379] ended 31st March, 1964, could have been £1 million. For all this House knows, it could have been £10 million or there could have been a loss. Whatever the result was, we should know what it was because it is basic fundamental information without which we cannot evaluate CIE.

Acting Chairman:  If we continue to discuss sectional issues such as this, which, to my mind, are more appropriate to the Estimates, we will not make progress with the section under discussion.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  It might be no harm to carry over the section, Sir.

Acting Chairman:  Is the section agreed?

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  No. I do not know whether the Minister, in my absence, has replied to the questions I have put.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have said everything that can be said on the subject.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I want to speak on section 4. I have put to the Minister a proposition. Think in terms of something that is beyond day-to-day administration. Think, also, in terms of some moneys which are clearly capital moneys and not to exceed £6 million in a particular period. The Minister says he is getting great control here because he and the Minister for Finance must agree to expenditure of a capital nature. Let me take up the position where these two points are clear: capital expenditure without a doubt and not day-to-day administration. The Minister then, with the collaboration of his colleague, passes over a certain sum of money inside the £6 million to this Board. It comes to the question of its expenditure.

I have put to the Minister that under the section we have already passed— section 3—he has nothing to say to the two points that then arise for determination: (1) Is the money required for the efficient operation of the undertaking; and (2) Will the project for which the expenditure is proposed be remunerative? I have asked the Minister to agree with me that on [380] those two points he has nothing to say. Supposing he notifies the Board who are to expend the money of his view that the expenditure was not required for the efficient operation of the undertaking or that it was not going to be a remunerative project, I suggest the Minister can be rebuffed by the Board. The Board can simply tell him to take a jump at himself. Am I right about that as the Bill goes? I am not talking about what may happen behind the scenes—persuasive powers and all the rest of it. I am taking the case where the Board are satisfied that the expenditure is properly required and will be remunerative. Can the Minister interfere? He says, of course, there can be consultation. There is nothing about consultation in what we are passing.

I am going to propose on Report Stage, when we come back to section 3, that the authority to be satisfied will not be the Board but will be the Minister, or the Minister after consultation with the Board. As the matter stands at the moment, the Board can cock a snook at the Minister when he tries to interfere in these two points.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have already made that point clear.

Question put and declared carried.

Question proposed: That section 5 stand part of the Bill.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Will the Minister explain section 5?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The section empowers the Board to borrow moneys from the Minister for Finance who in turn is empowered by section 4 to make advances to the Board and to defray capital expenditure. Under section 3 of the Bill, the Board must be satisfied that any such expenditure is incurred only when it is essential——

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  And the Board decide that.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  ——for the operation of the Board's undertaking or on projects which will be remunerative. That is the explanation.

[381]Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  It brings us back to section 3, does it not?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Yes.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  And the Board have complete control there?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have to be generally satisfied, too. The Deputy can argue this all night.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Where is the Minister in this?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Minister exercises general supervision over CIE.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Is the Minister mentioned in section 3?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have got to the end of arguing in detail about this.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins  Has the Minister come to the end of the line?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have got to the end of the line of arguing points about CIE that have no bearing on the general effects of this matter. I give approval for a broad programme of capital expenditure. I have said that.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Is it agreed that section 3 does not mention the Minister?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Agreed.

Question put and agreed to.

Acting Chairman:  There are two amendments to section 6—amendments Nos. 7 and 8—and I understand that it has been agreed that they may be discussed together.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I move amendment No. 7:—

In page 3, to delete subsection (5) and to substitute the following subsection:

“(5) Where an order is proposed to be made under this section, a draft of the order shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and the order shall not be made until a resolution approving of the draft has been passed by each such House.”

[382] This is the question of how the arrangements for a variation in the amount of the annual subsidy is to be debated in this House and, as the Deputy will see, I have conceded the principle which he put forward. The only difference is that I understand that it is not appropriate for the Oireachtas to amend a Ministerial order. That can only be done by me as Minister. That is the only difference between my amendment and that of Deputy McGilligan. Deputy McGilligan felt that there should be a more specific discussion in the House when we get to the end of the five-year period rather than the form suggested in the Bill. I am quite prepared to agree to that, that there be a specific discussion.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  There is a difference between the two amendments. I tried to have it as “the draft shall be open to amendment”. The Minister does not say anything about that.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I would not accept that.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Therefore, we are back again to the old situation. Parliamentary procedure here has developed two lines of approach to these orders. One is the type of order that is made and becomes operative unless it is negatived and the other is the type of order that is put into the House and does not come into operation until it is approved.

In connection with both types of order there is a further distinction, that Ministers have got into the habit of coming into the House with orders and saying. “Take it or leave it. We propose to do such and such a thing and if you do not like that, then we will just not do anything.” Whereas, I want to have a full discussion and have leave to amend an order. That is important.

This is a very important order under section 6. We have to deal with the annual grant and the annual grant is generally to be £2 million a year and that £2 million is to be the expenditure year after year for five years and then, by part of a section, that amount may be varied but the variation is only [383] to take effect if it is approved by the House.

I do not want the Minister to come in here with a draft order saying: “Instead of paying £2 million in one year, we are to pay £3 million,” and I will agree to pay £2½ million and I want to amend to that point, but, if the Minister's proposal is carried, he can come in with an order saying: “Change the £2 million to £3 million and, if you do not like that, we will not change it at all.” Why should we have that position? If the House is to have cognisance of an order at all and to be allowed to approve or reject, surely it ought to be allowed to amend? There are plenty of precedents. The State Guarantees Act, 1954, has a section which deals with a draft order. The Social Welfare Act of 1952 has the same and the Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1953, the same. I think it is essential that we should retain control and be able to amend draft orders——

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I understand that the amendment is put in exactly the same form as it appears in the State Guarantees Act.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Perhaps, but is it possible to amend a draft order under the Minister's amendment?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  No, not technically.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  You take either what the Minister offers or you do not take it at all?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  That is right.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I object to that. We are now voting £2 million for five years and power might be taken to spend £4 million in one year. If we did not agree to the £4 million, then you go back to the original £2 million, but the House might be disposed to pay £3 million but not £4 million. What is the reason for not taking this?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I could amend the order in order to give effect to the wishes of the House, if I felt it right to do so.

[384]Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister wants to take away more of our powers in the House. This kind of niggling legislation is taking away powers from this House and we will be just like county councillors. Ministers will not even be in a position of being like the county managers, but we will have people in Government Departments running the whole show.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I understand that this is a technical matter. The Ministerial order can be framed only in this way.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Who told the Minister that?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Parliamentary Draftsman has so informed me.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  He is our employee and is not here to dictate to us.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The order is in the same form as for the Estimates for the Departments.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Why has this House no control over a variation order?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Estimate for the Department is rather the same, is it not? It can be referred back but I do not know of any amendment suggesting that the Vote for the Department be cut in half.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  There might arise a situation in which the Minister might be persuaded to amend his own order but the House cannot do it. That is outrageous.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  In subsection (1), the Minister has specified that £2 million will be paid to the Board each year until 1969. From my reading of the section, it seems the Minister has in mind not to change the provisions until 1969 and that it is unlikely that there will be need for a change in that period.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  We have gone through that.

Acting Chairman:  We are considering two amendments, an amendment by the Minister and an amendment by [385] Deputy McGilligan which are being debated together.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  We will have it on the section.

Mr. Ryan:  I find myself compelled to support Deputy McGilligan on this matter. If this House has any function, it must be to amend, where it thinks fit, either legislation or draft orders. To say that this House will deny itself that right in legislation is to say that we deny our rights to represent the people and that we are denying the right to the people to amend any draft order put before the House by a Minister, an order drafted by the Civil Service and by the draftsmen who are now telling the Minister that we have no right to amend or qualify any draft order the Minister may put before the House. We know well what the attitude would be—“You must take this draft order or I will accuse you of denying to CIE £2 million and its employees will have you to thank if they do not get a pay cheque next week”. That is the type of thing that is put before the House when you try to put an argument in a democratic manner. It is time that this House recognised its own rights and if it means that we have to take up the matter of not having any right to qualify Ministerial draft orders elsewhere, we will certainly do it.

We certainly do not accept the Minister's amendment. Deputy McGilligan is accepted as one of the leading parliamentarians in this country and in this century, and the House should be guided by what he suggests. His amendment is a very worthy one. The Minister has accepted it in principle and it may well be that he would like to go all the way with Deputy McGilligan.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  If the House should decide, by refusing to agree to this motion, to suggest an alternative sum, it would be up to the Minister of the day to decide whether he would submit a new draft order for that sum or the alternative would be a Government crisis, the defeat of the Government in the House on an important [386] matter. The Deputy knows that just as well as I do and there is no question of there not being a democratic procedure if an order is defeated.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  What is wrong in saying “amend the £2 million to £2½ million but not to £3 million”?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  It would be very difficult in connection with CIE——

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  No; the Minister has brought in an order and we say, instead of giving them £3 million, give them £2½ million. What is wrong with that?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  It is very difficult to decide on a basis of calculation.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  If the Minister cannot produce arguments that £3 million is not necessary——

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  If the House were to decide that £2½ million should be given instead of £3 million, I would then have to reconsider the matter. The Government would have to consider it and the Minister for Finance, and if we agreed, we would come back with a new order.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  That is the way it should be.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  But I am afraid that in the form of these Ministerial orders, it is not possible——

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I never heard of this precedent.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have not got the background.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  It is a pity on an important matter such as this that the Minister did not get the background.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I still think the alternative is just as satisfactory.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The only difference is that under my amendment the draft would be open to amendment.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I think the alternative is just as satisfactory.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Leave this over to the next Stage when perhaps the Minister will be better briefed.

[387]Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I do not think that will get us anywhere. I do not think there should be established a principle in the case of State companies that subsidies proposed can be varied. The Minister has to make up his mind on the order and listen to what the Opposition say and, if he felt they were right, he could come back and suggest a different amount but in the ordinary way this question is decided in advance by the Government.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Is this not a deliberative assembly where we are supposed to be persuaded by argument?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  If the Government were defeated, the House would have prevailed by argument.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  As Deputy Ryan said, if CIE were prevented from getting the money, the blame would be put on us.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  That applies to other——

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  If you could give me any reason for this, I would not mind.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I cannot see any objection to this.

Amendment put and declared carried.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Amendment No. 8 may not be moved since amendment No. 7 has been carried.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  It only adds to amendment No. 7 that the draft should be open to recommendation. The difference is “open to amendment”. It is really an amendment to amendment No. 7.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Amendment No. 7 meets amendment No. 8 to a certain extent.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  With the exception of the important words “open to amendment”. Why not put my amendment and have it defeated?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The [388] Deputy can put down his amendment for Report Stage.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I have been made an offer which I accept.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I agree with the Deputy that I should know more about the background.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  To give the Minister a chance of explaining it, I will put down the amendment for Report Stage.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I think that is reasonable.

Amendment No. 8 not moved.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Amendment No. 9 in the name of Deputy M. P. Murphy is out of order for reasons given.

Amendment No. 9 not moved.

Question proposed: “That section 6, as amended, stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  This section grants a subsidy of £2 million to CIE each year for the next five years. I want to know why this sum of £2 million has been arrived at. Who is to say that £2 million is sufficient to subsidise CIE? Who is to say that it is not too much? I should be grateful if the Minister would enlighten us on that point and tell us what contribution to the CIE pool he expects the Dublin city services to provide. Is this sum of £2 million based on a scientific calculation? I suspect it is based on some sort of a forecast for the coming years.

If so, does that forecast provide for a cross-subsidy, to use the Minister's term, from the Dublin city passenger services to CIE in the order of £250,000, £500,000, or a £1 million, or does it presuppose a loss on the Dublin city services? These are points we ought to know in order to assess the merits of this provision. If the sum of £2 million anticipates a cross-subsidy of the amounts I have mentioned from the Dublin city services, I want to protest. In this Bill we are bringing in a new principle for the first time, the principle that transport has to be subsidised. It is a radical turn about in [389] our transport policy to admit that a State subsidy is necessary.

If we admit that principle, we must be consistent and logical in our application of it and we must cast aside the basis upon which transport policy has been founded for the past number of years. It was wrong from the start to expect the Dublin city services to contribute a large subsidy to the operations of CIE. It is going to be much more grievously wrong in the future because of this new principle of subsidy. It was wrong in the past because the people who are creating this subsidy, the Dublin workers, are being badly treated by CIE for the reason they are being provided with inadequate services for which they have to pay outrageously high prices.

As a Dublin Deputy, I feel somewhat guilty. I have listened here to Deputies from rural parts fighting their corner and making their case strongly for various rural services. I feel that Dublin Deputies on all sides of the House have failed adequately to impress upon the Minister what a damn bad service the people of Dublin are getting from CIE, how unfairly and inequitably they are being treated.

I do not wish to avail of this section to make a protracted speech on the operations of CIE in Dublin. The Minister knows my views on that matter. I have previously indicated the inadequacies in considerable detail —the lack of shelters, the outrageously high fares, the manner in which the stages are fiddled by CIE to ensure that people who are taking the most commonly availed of services will pay the maximum fare.

The Dublin workers from the dormitory housing estates, from Ballyfermot, Cabra and Coolock, people of very modest incomes, have to travel to their work and home again at a cost of from 30/- to £2 a week. They are the people who are creating this pool of profit from which we are to expect CIE to draw. The Minister has the audacity to defend that practice as a legitimate device, to defend this cross-subsidy, as he calls it, and to quote statistics of mileage rates and profit per journey. The people who are using the CIE Dublin city services [390] are people living on modest means. Some of them are badly off. There are young girls in housing schemes travelling considerable distances and paying 10d bus fares to get to their work for which their remuneration is £4 or £4 5s per week. Thirty shillings per week taken out of that modest wage packet is a very considerable sum.

The burden of CIE fares is creating hardship for some parents, particularly for parents of large families whose children have to travel a distance to school. The concession fare provided for schoolchildren, as the Minister is aware, is only available to children going to school in the morning and coming back in the evening. It is not available for travelling at lunch time. Rural Deputies are not aware of the way of life of our Dublin people who have to travel considerable distances and whose children have to travel distances to school. Parents may be making considerable sacrifices to send their children to a secondary school and this added burden of transport fares is the last straw that makes their goal unattainable.

I want to protest against the situation and I shall protest at every opportunity which presents itself, no matter how angry the Minister becomes. The Minister says he does not intend to leave the door open to agitators to exploit a situation such as this. The use of that very phrase illustrates very clearly what contempt the Minister has for Parliament. In making these complaints, we are availing of our democratic right to discharge our duty as legislators.

I spoke here a few moments ago about the profit on the Dublin services and on the refusal of CIE to disclose what profit was being made over the years. The Minister condones that. He admits they have that figure. That fundamental piece of information is available to the directors of CIE, is probably available to the Minister, but is withheld from the public and from their representatives. That is an appalling state of affairs that would not be condoned in any Parliament where the basic principles of democracy are respected.

[391] The harsh glare of publicity is the best safeguard to ensure the fair and efficient operation of our State companies, including CIE. The accounts furnished by CIE do not give anything like adequate information to those of us who wish to appraise the workings of that company. However, I do not propose to become involved in that. I merely wish to avail of this opportunity to inquire from the Minister, who has decided that £2 million is the subsidy which CIE will require per year for each of the coming five years, if this sum is based on a scientifically calculated budget. If so, what contribution is going into that budget from the operation of the Dublin city services? Is it £500,000? Is it £1 million? Whatever it is, we should know.

I would urge the Minister to take into account the basic considerations of equity, to consider that these Dublin workers who are contributing very handsomely to the CIE pool are a section of the community who are most savagely taxed by our taxation code of indirect taxes, together with PAYE, a system of tax applied to wage and salary earners, the only section of the community who have no way out of the tax net. It is, in these circumstances, quite wrong and unjust to expect them to pay an added tax every time they make a journey on a CIE bus.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Like Deputy Byrne, I should like to know how the Minister arrived at this figure of £2 million, what kind of system he applied to ascertain that £2 million was the figure required.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have already explained it on the Second Stage.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Does the Minister not know the history of subsidies to CIE since 1958? Does he not remember the many statements he made, even since 1958 and as late as 1963, that he has retracted in the course of the Second Reading debate? Does he not realise he has made at least five public statements since 1958, the last one in 1963, to the effect that he did not [392] believe in subsidising transport, that he would get rid of that system from our legislation, that there was no justification for spending public funds on subsidising transport. Is the Minister not making changed statements on transport since he was appointed to his office? I shall agree he did not anticipate as late as 1963, less than 12 months ago to be exact, that he would, in the summer of 1964, be asking the Dáil to approve of a sum of £2 million annually for CIE for five years.

We give the £2 million to CIE and, as we have already mentioned in the House several times, we are unlikely to get any more information as to how this money is to be expended. Supposing a number of services are withdrawn. Even though the Minister has indicated in the course of the Second Reading that it is unlikely that services will be withdrawn, all the Minister's statements are suspect. When the Minister put forward a case proposing the closure of the West Cork, West Clare and Tramore railway lines, he made it quite clear that until 31st March, 1964, there would be no question of closing any further lines, that the closure of those lines would be sufficient to balance CIE finances, that there would be no need to make any further changes and that people who were fearful lest their transport system would be withdrawn need have no fear. Within a few months of the Minister making that statement, there was notification of further closures. A number of lines were closed within a matter of months.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The closure of lines does not arise on section 6, which deals with the annual grant to the Board. The Deputy has discussed this point on other sections.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  We are now having nothing but repetitions.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  If the Minister is not careful, I shall go back even further to remind the Minister of statements he has made. I have gone back only as far as the 1958 Transport Act. I wish to quote subsection (1) of this section:

[393] Subject to subsection (2) of this section, the Minister shall in the financial year of the Board beginning on the 1st day of April, 1964, and in each subsequent financial year of the Board make to the Board, out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas, a grant of two million pounds.

This clearly indicates there will be no change until 1969, until which time the flat rate of £2 million a year is being given. Supposing services which are deemed to be uneconomical are withdrawn in a number of areas. I am not speaking now of rail services; I am speaking of rail and bus services generally. The Minister has now commenced to remove the bus services and possibly he may remove other bus services——

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I dealt with all that before. The Deputy is merely repeating himself.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The Deputy has not mentioned this before and it is relevant to the Bill.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Deputy has mentioned it before.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The Minister need not feel irritated because time and again he has irritated Deputies on this side of the House who were trying to get information from him. Naturally, we are very slow to pass any section of the Bill without the closest examination. We know what happened when we tried to get information before. Did the Minister not tell us that in 1958 the House passed the Transport Act which gave CIE power to do this and that and that we were not entitled to get information. He said CIE were acting in accordance with powers they got from the House. That being so, having regard to the treatment we got from the Minister and from CIE, we must be very diligent in our examination of every word and line of this measure.

Subsection (1) of the section gives CIE £2 million per year. We asked, as did the previous speaker, Deputy Byrne, how that figure was reached. At the time of the closure of the railways [394] I have mentioned, it was implied in the Minister's statement that there was a likelihood that CIE would break even, when they would be rid of these uneconomic lines. At that time, they had a good year. I think the deficit was not much more than £250,000. It jumped in the next year to, I think, more than £1,700,000. That was a big jump, despite the fact that the Minister had wiped out a number of lines.

I feel that the State as a whole must contribute this money. No areas are excluded from the obligation to contribute, although areas are excluded from the right of participation in the services provided. Removal of a service from an area does not remove the obligation from the people there to continue subsidising CIE. I am making the case that if, as is not unlikely, in 1966 or 1967, the Minister decides to close the 750 miles of railway which he states are uneconomic and if he decides to close the bus services which he earlier mentioned as being entirely uneconomic, and if he gets back to the opinions he held up to 1963 that CIE should not be subsidised, how would this section work? Whether the Minister likes it or not—unless there is new legislation—this legislation gives CIE a flat sum of £2 million per year.

It is not true that CIE are in the most favourable position as a public company. I have frequently mentioned the obligations of CIE and my belief in their right to subsidisation to provide services in uneconomic districts. Possibly we would not have the discussions we have had on this Bill were it not for the attitude adopted by the Minister and CIE.

If CIE decides, after getting this £2 million to close ten uneconomic routes or any routes it declares to be uneconomic, what will happen? The subsidy will continue. The people affected by the closure of the routes will get no satisfaction from CIE. There is no question of their being told in advance of the proposal to close the transport service. On the 1958 Act, the Taoiseach said that two months notice would be given of the withdrawal of rail services and it was generally assumed that the same would [395] apply to bus services. We then found that the two months notice, although given, was of no avail to the affected areas because the Minister and the Board refused to meet or discuss closures with any responsible authorities locally.

I now find no notice is given to an area when a bus service is withdrawn: the notice does not apply to road transport. The first an area affected knows about services being withdrawn is when they find buses no longer passing through their district. From past experience, that is likely to arise. In the light of experience since 1958, it is most likely to arise and still the subsidy will continue.

I see in this Bill that the Minister is getting something similar to what he got before but we did not have the experience in 1958 we now have. He is getting, or endeavouring to get, a blank cheque from the House for £2 million annually for CIE and approval for wiping out some liabilities which already exist and also approval for amending the figure, if he so wishes, in years to come. In return, he has told the House that he is not prepared to answer any questions that may arise on this matter. He has already indicated that he feels he has given too much information to the House about CIE affairs.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The question of Ministerial replies does not arise on this section. It has already been debated and the Deputy has mentioned it on more than one occasion. The Deputy is repeating himself for the third or fourth time.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  We have to be very careful, and I have mentioned that on a number of occasions, but I think, with due respect, the question of Ministerial answers is relevant to every section of the Bill.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Chair feels otherwise, and it is the decision of the Chair in these matters that counts and not what the Deputy thinks.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  We cannot [396] repeat too often that the Minister's record in answering questions tabled here is not good. I am not speaking of small items. Earlier, Deputy McGilligan told us that when he tried to get information on a transaction running into more than £1 million, he was told that as it was a day-to-day transaction of the Board, he was not entitled to the information.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  To a copy of it.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I do not want to delay the House unduly but at the same time I am in no great hurry to facilitate the Minister. I think his attitude here this evening has changed. In the earlier part of the day, I felt obliged—and I thought it was warranted—to pay him some compliments. Even though his remarks were incorrect and unsoundly based, I gave him credit for being sincere. I withdraw that now. The Minister has grown rather arrogant, if I may use that term. He is impatient. He is trying to ignore the House. That is the attitude adopted not only by the Minister but also by the Government. That is the attitude adopted by the Board of CIE in relation to many matters. The attitude is: “Give us the money”, followed by a refusal to give the representatives of the people here information to which they are lawfully entitled.

I want to know from the Minister now, if services are withdrawn from a district, what will happen? Will the people get advance notice? Will they get any assurances? It is proposed to give CIE £2 millions annually for a certain period. I do not see anything in the section to suggest that the Board of CIE will meet people affected by the withdrawal of either road or rail services in order to discuss their problems.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley  Zoom on George Colley  There is nothing in section 6 about withdrawing services at all.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  But that is likely to happen. As Deputy Colley knows, section 6 is one of the most important sections in the Bill, because under subsection (1), £2 millions annually [397] will be handed over to CIE. The Minister is trying to get that money from this House. In return, there is no assurance that relevant queries in relation to the expenditure of that money will be answered.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley  Zoom on George Colley  There is nothing in the section about withdrawing services.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  In the year in which the services were withdrawn from west Cork, west Clare and Tramore—and Deputy Colley knows this—the Minister made a statement here that no further services would be withdrawn until we had this Bill. Within a few months of making that statement, further services were withdrawn. The Minister has established a record since he took office of wiping out 750 miles of railway line.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on John Geoghegan  Zoom on John Geoghegan  They did not pay.

Mr. Moher: Information on John W. Moher  Zoom on John W. Moher  No one would travel on them.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on John Geoghegan  Zoom on John Geoghegan  Not even the Deputy.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  We were told in 1958 by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, the present Taoiseach, that, if the 1958 Bill were passed, there were sufficient brains on the Board of CIE to develop our transport in such manner as to make it capable of standing on its own feet in a period of five years.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Taoiseach did not commit himself.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  We would all have liked to see that prophecy fulfilled. Unfortunately, it was not fulfilled, and that is why we are addressing ourselves now to these questions. The main theme in relation to the 1958 Bill was that, given the Bill, in five years, the likelihood was that CIE would be able to stand on its own feet. The then Minister, in his opening statement, said that, if the Bill were approved by the House, the anticipation was that CIE would be able to break even in five years. The plea was to give them unfettered power and authority, to leave them to [398] themselves, not to bother them with questions here, and, in five years, everything would be all right. I am sure the Minister will admit he believed that statement because he has committed himself on several occasions in his argument that transport should not be subsidised.

The Labour Party believe in subsidisation of transport. We are not against giving the money but we believe that the money should be used to the best advantage. We believe, too, that members of the Oireachtas are entitled to know how the moneys they vote are employed, whether they are gainfully employed or otherwise. We feel that CIE is not utilising these voted moneys to the best advantage. We feel they are too dictatorial. We believe they should be more approachable. We believe they should treat their potential customers with civility and consideration. Instead of that, CIE alienate people by their dictatorial attitude. Now, whether or not the CIE balance sheet balances at the end of the financial year, it will have £2 millions to cover any deficit. If all private companies adopted the attitude CIE adopts, I wonder what the state of our economy would be.

We heard earlier today about two Dublin Deputies who asked the Board of CIE to discuss a particular matter relating to Dublin. The Board would not trouble to meet them. The Minister should have a word with the Board. He has refused my request to reconstitute the Board. He has told us in a very arrogant manner that he has no intention of reconstituting the Board. He firmly believes they are as good as any board that might replace them. He must tell them, however, to be more courteous and more civil.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The composition of the Board of CIE does not arise on this section. I think the Deputy discussed it already on earlier sections.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I think it does arise, but I shall not continue on that line. It is regrettable that we should have to comment adversely on our public transport system. The criticisms [399] offered by this side of the House have been constructive criticisms. We should not be honouring the trust reposed in us if we did not point out deficiencies, in the hope that notice will be taken of them and they will be rectified. We hope that in the not too distant future there will be a different approach by the Board to the public generally. If that happens, there is bound to be an improvement in the Board's finances and the result of that will be a reduction in the subsidy they require.

Mr. Ryan:  I join with Deputy Byrne and my Fine Gael colleagues representing Dublin in asking the Minister to state what contribution will be made towards the finances of CIE by the Dublin city services over the next five years during which the Minister proposes to make this sum of £2 millions available annually to CIE. On the Second Stage, the Minister said this figure had been assessed by the experts of CIE as being the probable loss which will be suffered over the next five years. In arriving at that figure, some estimate must have been made of the contribution from the Dublin city services. As these are one of the principal revenue earners of CIE, we think detailed particulars should be given of the receipts from the Dublin city services. The figures in the 1962 and 1963 reports show that the Dublin city services produced two-thirds of the road passenger revenue of CIE, much more than the total rail services of CIE. Yet the Minister persistently refuses to give us figures showing the breakdown of the principal revenue earner of CIE. We do not think that is good enough.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Perhaps the Deputy would relate his remarks now to the section, which provides for an annual grant to the Board. The question of receipts from road services in any part of the State does not arise.

Mr. Ryan:  With respect, this section deals with a grant of £2 millions, based, we assume, on some facts. We want to know what the facts are. We are entitled to get them before we [400] either approve or disapprove of this section. The Minister refuses to give them. He weighed down the postman this morning sending around a 30-page document giving details of the operation of his Department and the activities his Department superintends. There is not one figure in that document to show what the revenue is from the Dublin city services. We are given figures for the net losses but there is no breakdown at all to show what contributed to those losses and what contributed to profits. There is no breakdown of road passenger services to show how much is earned on the Dublin city services and how much elsewhere. We are entitled to make that point and submit it as a reason why the Minister should give us the information for which we ask.

From the figures which CIE invariably give us after the Estimate is discussed—therefore, they are of little moment by the time the Estimate comes round the following year—we know that per mile travelled, CIE make more on the Dublin city bus services than on the provincial services. The figure in the 1963 report indicates that on the Dublin city services, there was a profit of 3/1¾ per passenger mile.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  This is a matter for the Estimate, not for the Bill.

Mr. Ryan:  We are dealing with an estimate.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  We are dealing with the annual grant to the Board.

Mr. Ryan:  Based on an estimate of the revenue and losses of CIE over the years. I know this is far above the intelligence and ability of the backbenchers of Fianna Fáil, but we assume the Minister has some understanding of the fact that there must be an assessment of the profit and loss on all sections of CIE. We are entitled to know that, before we give a blanket £2 million to CIE in any year. In the course of his Second Reading speech the Minister presumed to give figures about the Dublin bus routes. As we [401] know, CIE has given misleading figures before. Selected figures have been given. CIE has engaged in special pleading before and has not told the full truth. We cannot accept any figures the Minister and CIE give us.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  That ends it then?

Mr. Ryan:  Until such time as the Minister names, terminus by terminus, each route supposed to be making a profit or loss, we cannot accept figures from CIE. The Minister gave this House to understand, and CIE gave the country to understand a couple of years ago, that the Dublin suburban train services were losing a colossal amount of money. This fiction is still being recited. The Minister said that of the 1,400 miles of railway track in this country, something like half were making a profit. He presumed to distinguish between profitability and marginal profitability. Frankly, I think we have reached the stage where we do not intend to make a profit for wealthy elements in the community, or for the Government, on any particular tracks. That should not be the test. If it is marginally profitable, it ought to be entirely acceptable.

The Minister told us that 700 of the 1,400 miles were paying a profit. He said it did not call for any great intelligence to know that those tracks were situated in the most densely populated part of the country, the eastern seaboard, in particular. Is there a part of the country more densely populated than the Dublin suburbs? What part of the whole rail system is more likely to pay than the part which, according to the Minister, is situated in the part of the country most densely populated? Yet what did CIE do? It loaded those few miles of track with the capital expenditure and maintenance of Amiens Street, Kingsbridge and Westland Row stations, serving the length and breadth of the country. All this was loaded on to the Dublin surburban services so as to give false figures. CIE has not given a breakdown of those figures.

How can we act responsibly in accepting the blanket estimates given when the Minister and CIE persistently refuse to give us the breakdown to [402] which we are entitled for the Dublin services? If they do pretend to give any breakdown, it is based on figures which, on the Minister's admission, cannot be accepted because of the principle he sets out as being incapable of contradiction—the principle that a railway line will pay as long as it is situated in an area with a high density of population.

These matters are fundamental. If the Minister is not prepared to give us this detailed information, if not on this occasion, then on some other occasion, we Dublin Deputies cannot accept that the Dublin services should still continue to help run the services in the rest of the country. The only figure which we know is of any value is now two years old. It was given for a year which was not a particularly good one in transport finances. We are entitled to get the figures for 1963-64. The Minister has not given them in this 30-page document he circulated for our guidance, although I have not found any fact in it of any assistance in discussing either this Bill or the Estimate for his Department.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Surely the Minister will reply to the statements made?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  We have plenty of time. I have no objection to replying but it would not be of much use to give any figures because the figures of CIE are no longer trusted. If Deputies do not accept them, there is not much use at this stage going into figures to any great extent.

Mr. Ryan:  The more figures, the more we can check.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  The Opposition say they believe the figures of CIE are faked, so there is not much use giving them. The question of this subsidy is arranged in this way. Taking into account all the factors which are reasonably foreseeable, CIE estimate the deficit that will arise on their combined operations, including the securing of loans on capital advances from the Exchequer, over each of the next five years. These have formed the basis, taking one year with another, [403] of the average annual subsidy needed to break even. The projection does envisage a contribution from the Dublin bus services of the present proportion.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  What is that?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I could not give the House the detailed breakdown of the figures for the next five years. I have already indicated to Deputy Byrne the figure indicated in Pacemaker. I have told him it represents .37 of a penny per passenger journey, which he does not believe. I have already told him that amounts to some 4d per week for 12 journeys for the average passenger and that I did not consider it excessive. I have already told him — the repetition in this debate is fantastic —that, if you relate the loss on the Dublin rail services to the profit on the Dublin bus services, the total surplus in relation to the total revenue and expenditure of CIE could not constitute an excessive cross-subsidisation. But the Deputy does not believe the figures. I have already said all these things. Now, I shall say to Deputy Ryan that even though he does not believe the figures——

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  On a point of order, the Minister must not misquote me. I said nothing about believing or not believing.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I beg the Deputy's pardon, Deputy Ryan said it. Deputy Ryan has not read Pacemaker, apparently. He has not realised in connection with the Dublin rail services, when I said there was a loss of £160,000, assuming that the rest of the service was closed down, under the new calculation headquarters costs and administration of CIE, and everything that would relate to a great deal of the headquarters expenditure, are allocated to the different sectors of CIE operations throughout the country in a proportionate manner. In saying that the Dublin rail services lose, CIE has not fraudulently put on other expenditure, including a whole lot of headquarters costs which do not really apply. Perhaps that would satisfy the House in regard to that? The reason [404] the Dublin rail services are losing is the same as that in connection with many other commuter services, which have two very high peaks in the morning and evening. Unless there are unusual conditions where people are travelling constantly during the day in enormous numbers a short haul service of that kind is never a paying proposition and there are endless commuter services that lose money. Some of the more favourable kind of services make money. That is why the Dublin suburban railway service loses money and I do not think the net surplus of the whole system is anything that Deputy Byrne need be worried about.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  The Minister has very little regard for our Dublin workers who are being so badly served by CIE.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  In regard to that matter also I made a full statement today and on the Second Stage.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  Tell us when they are going to get shelters to protect them from the elements.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I gave full details to the Deputy of the plans of CIE to try to improve the service, in relation to the congestion of traffic in the centre of the city, which is the main cause of the complaints, that people have to queue at certain times of the day. I explained that at great length. I indicated the plans to the House in my Second Reading speech.

Deputy Murphy asked me some questions about the position in relation to the closing of services. Yes, it is a fact that CIE has the power to close bus services without any notice of a statutory kind as provided in the 1958 Act in relation to the closing of railway services. That is a fact. Deputy Murphy is correct. Again, the whole question of the maintenance of a bus service network throughout the country is something which can be discussed on the Estimate, something for which I am responsible and which cannot be judged by action taken in regard to small individual services; it should be judged by the general character of the services offered by CIE.

[405] In regard to railway services, CIE, under the 1958 Act, still has the power to close a railway service without there being any recourse to the House and without my having to give my consent. That clause in the 1958 Act still stands.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  Was there not to be consultation with the local authorities?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I should add that if the Deputies read the text of my speech on the Second Reading they will find the Government clearly desire and intend to maintain the major arterial railways of this country and the lines that are left, where there might be some concentration or reorganisation, are very small in number. Deputies have only to look at the map and to note the existing railway system to realise that the lines that could be closed are not extensive in character. The Government have agreed to maintain the major arterial railway service. I think I have answered all the questions on this point.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  There is another point. The Minister will appreciate that it was not written into the Act of 1958 that CIE should meet deputations. The then Minister mentioned that it was superfluous to have a provision such as that in the Bill because he felt there would be no difficulty whatever, that there would be too much notice given, that CIE would meet all the interested parties.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The question of receiving deputations does not arise.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  It does not arise on this at all.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  If you will excuse me. The Minister will appreciate that CIE dishonoured the assurance given to the House and which was responsible to a large extent for the passage of that measure without the opposition that it would have got were it not for that assurance. That assurance facilitated the smooth passage of the measure through the House. We were told subsequently that what [406] the Minister said in the course of the discussion had nothing to do with the Bill, that what was in the Bill was what CIE had to do. CIE dishonoured the assurance given by the then Minister, the present Taoiseach. That assurance was given in no uncertain terms. It has been quoted time and again in debates in this House on public transport.

I should like to know from the Minister whether the Minister or the Government took any disciplinary action, if that would be the correct term, in relation to the dishonouring of the assurance given by the responsible Minister to the House. The dishonouring of that assurance led to a world of trouble.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The question does not arise.

Mr. Ryan:  The Minister has taken umbrage because I am challenging figures. We will leave the millions aside for the moment. If I understood the Minister correctly he said the average contribution by Dublin passengers was .37 of 1d per trip and that on the basis of an average passenger travelling 12 times a week the person would be contributing about 8d a week towards the general profit.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Twelve times .37d. obviously.

Mr. Ryan:  Obviously, the Minister and myself are not ad idem on this. If I multiply .37 by 12, I get 4.44.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  It is roughly 4½d.

Mr. Ryan:  That is not very like 8d, which is what I understood the Minister to say before. If the Minister said 4.44 that is all right, but that is not what I thought he said earlier. In any event, if we accept even the Minister's figure, the figure ought to be much nearer 8d or 9d if the Minister now says 4½d on the basis of 12 journeys. The ordinary working person in Dublin who uses public transport for going to and from work will in the course of a week make 24 journeys, taking even six days of the week during which he may travel to and from town. If he comes home for lunch [407] the average contribution will be about 8d or 9d. In many cases, not only the breadwinner of the family, but other members of the household— children going to school—will also have to pay a considerable amount in bus fares and in any household far distant from the centre of town this means a colossal imposition on the family. Of course, the person who travels a longer distance to the more remote suburbs pays more per mile than his fellow citizen nearer to the centre of the city is paying. A person contributing 2d or 3d per journey to and from work is paying 8d per day towards the general profit of CIE. We do not think that that is a fair imposition to continue on the working people of Dublin and we make no apology here or anywhere else for saying so and for saying that we cannot accept the Minister's figures. There are details that we want and which we are entitled to get. Just as members of any company or of any concern or society who are contributing towards the expense of it are entitled to get it, we are entitled to get this detailed information and until such time as we get it we cannot accept the Minister's figures and he cannot blame us.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  There is no use in arguing this question. If the surplus on the Dublin bus service is eliminated then either the general subsidy goes up, the taxpayer has to pay more money or some other people down in West Cork—Deputy Murphy's area —will have to pay extra fare. You can go on arguing this ad infinitum.

I feel that a reasonable element of cross-subsidisation in regard to the Dublin service is quite acceptable having regard to the enormous expenditure by CIE in the Dublin area, not only on the bus services, but the general headquarters. I grant that this is an arguable matter but I am prepared to leave the present situation as it is. I also indicated earlier—we seem to have endless repetition—that if Deputies study the increase in bus fares over the past four or five years, the increase in the earnings of workers, [408] and the increase in social welfare levels, they will find that the increased bus fares bear some relation. I have not got the figures with me, but if Deputies work it out, they will find they bear some relation, so that it cannot be said that the increases are pressing hard on the people in Dublin.

Mr. Ryan:  May I say that the battle has been worthwhile? The Minister has conceded that the Dublin bus fares are making a magnificent contribution——

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  A contribution.

Mr. Ryan:  ——to CIE so that it can be felt in the sinews of the company in West Cork and every other sinew. That is an immense concession from the Minister.

Mr. Treacy: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  With regard to the policy of closing lines and curtailing bus services, and where such services have been terminated, has the Minister any power to reconsider the reopening of such lines or services where it can be proved that their closure was to the disadvantage of the community from a social, business and economic point of view? If CIE takes a decision to close a railway line or terminate a bus service is that final and irrevocable?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I already dealt with that matter but possibly not quite in the form in which the Deputy has put it. I admitted that during the operation of the 1958 Act and up to the present Bill I would have the power to amend the Act whereby CIE can close lines without recourse to the Minister but I did not do it because I was satisfied with the general manner in which CIE was acting, and that is perfectly true now. If I had felt that the policy was having serious effects, I would have gone to the Government to say that there must be an emergency amendment of the Act with regard to certain powers. The Board of CIE have my confidence; if I felt they no longer had my confidence, I could request their resignations. So far as I am aware from all the information made available to me, the substitute services provided are satisfactory and I have [409] heard a great deal of praise of the substitute services in certain areas. I believe the general policy of CIE in regard to the closing of railways was intelligent and in line with what was done in other countries.

Mr. Treacy: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  My concern is that a decision to close a line was implemented by CIE with indecent haste. There was a particular line running from Waterford to Tramore which was the subject of great controversy in this House, in Waterford city and Tramore generally and in south Tipperary and Waterford. CIE knocked down bridges and tore up railway lines within a matter of hours after a decision had been made in this House to close the line. That does not give me the impression that there is any hope of reconsidering the reopening of such services when CIE is permitted to act in such a manner.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  The question has been asked of the Minister over the past five or six hours whether or not he has any function in the closing of a railway line and the Minister has been talking about trends in transport in Great Britain and other countries and has probably spoken about trends in transport legislation. The Minister is well aware that in Great Britain, despite the powers which Dr. Beeching appears to have, he has not the last word in the matter of closing railway lines. It will be recollected that within the past 18 months, Dr. Beeching made certain proposals for the closing of railway stations and lines in Great Britain but many of these were vetoed by the Minister of Transport, Mr. Marples. He has the power to veto proposals for closing railway lines and stations.

I should like to know whether the Minister has ever considered taking such a power to himself by way of legislation. After all, he is the custodian of the public welfare in this. As far as the Board of CIE are concerned, whilst they may be charged with acting in accordance with the general interest of the people, they also had the superhuman task of making CIE break even within a period of five years. There has to be a balance [410] between making a service as economic as it can be made and the public welfare in the matter of transport. In Britain, the Minister is the arbitrator, so to speak, in that.

On the section, the Minister will forgive me if I ask him will £2 million be sufficient or will it be eaten up by operating costs? In deciding on an annual grant of £2 million, does the Minister think it will be sufficient to pay for the redundancy that will undoubtedly come about, in view of his statement regarding the building of buses? I am not convinced that it will be enough. There will, of necessity, be increases in wages during the next five years and it appears that this sum will not be adequate.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  In reply to the Deputy, we have left in the clause in the 1958 Act which gives power to CIE to close branch lines where the Board consider them to be uneconomic. We have not changed that clause and the section of the Act remains. Secondly, I hope the subsidy will be sufficient. It has been carefully calculated and it includes an element of redundancy compensation measured against economies effected. It is also based on the assumption that there will be increases in wages in the next five years, consonant with the growth in national productivity on the basis of what we hope will be an intelligent calculation.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Did the Minister ever consider or would he care to give an expression of his view with regard to the transport legislation in Britain, whereby the Minister of Transport has power to veto proposals with regard to the closing down of railway lines or railway stations?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I did not suggest to the Government that they should alter the Act. One can look at it quite objectively and one can see that no railway line would ever be closed, if the views of local representatives were to be entertained. There were 528 miles of railways closed down before the 1958 Act ever came into operation. Since then, 620 miles of railway have been closed down, and the main protests [411] against this action in almost every case were made by people who never used the railway lines and never intended to use them. I did not consider there was any point in changing the terms of the 1958 Act for the reason that I approved of what happened between 1958 and 1964.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  On the question posed by Deputy Treacy, who asked whether, once an order had been made to close a route, it could be revoked, we all know that when an order is made to close a railway line, it cannot be revoked because the rails are taken up immediately; but so far as a bus route is concerned, it does not entail any capital cost to revoke the order and reopen the route. Do I understand that the Minister will not revoke any decision made by CIE to close a bus route or that CIE will not reconsider the reopening of a closed route? If that is so, then it is useless to make representations to CIE because the decision will not be changed, and the Minister will not interfere.

I think the Minister should consider applications for the reopening of bus routes that have been closed. I agree that CIE acted with indecent haste in taking up railway lines, but so far as the bus routes are concerned, there is no expenditure involved, and I am surprised that the Minister and CIE are not prepared to consider the reopening of bus routes which have been closed.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I have already dealt with this matter at immense length. I have made it clear that I would like to review the whole question of CIE services as a whole over a period of time and in a limited way from year to year, but a transport service could not be operated efficiently if a Minister could stop bus services from closing or if the pressure of views of public representatives could alter a decision of the Board. You cannot run a transport service in that manner. I like to look at the general situation as a whole. There is nothing to stop CIE reopening a bus service which has been closed, if circumstances change.

I have heard nothing here today [412] during the whole of this debate but criticism of the closing of one country bus service. None of the Deputies who have spoken has given credit to CIE for the splendid work they have done in reorganising the bus services throughout the country. There have been no complaints in the areas where the services have been reorganised as a result of intensive market research carried out by CIE. All day there has been nothing but complaints about the closing of the Schull-Goleen service. Whenever a bus service is changed, somebody is going to suffer. You may benefit four people and two people may be aggrieved. I prefer to regard the question in general rather than have CIE administration interfered with week after week and month after month.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Surely it would not be undue interference with the Board of CIE on the part of the Minister if he had the right to approve or disapprove of the discontinuance of a bus service or the closing down of a railway line?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I think the suggestion is hopeless.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  The suggestion is not hopeless. Some hundreds of miles of railway line have been taken up over the past five years. The Minister has shown that he is able to take criticism and that he is able to resist the pressure of big deputations. The Minister has responsibility for the provision of transport services and for seeing that CIE provides such services. These are services that have been enjoyed by people over a long number of years. It is not possible that every single railway line or bus route will in itself be an economic venture for CIE, but, as far as we are concerned, we regard it as the function of CIE to provide a public transport service. It is a serious matter for Waterford and Tramore, or for Schull and Goleen, or for County Monaghan when a railway service is discontinued.

Why does the Minister, who has been quoting to us trends of transport all over the world, including Great Britain, not give himself the power to approve or disapprove what appears to [413] be drastic action to the people affected by the closing down of a railway line or the discontinuance of a bus service? He has said that he would not do that because of what is tantamount to his fear of pressure from the public and of criticism by the Dáil. Every Minister is subject to that. Whether they are Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael, they have at times to resist criticism and the pressure of deputations. We agree that the Minister should not engage in undue interference in the day-to-day administration of CIE, or even in minor policy decisions, but it is no minor policy decision when a railway line that has been running between Waterford and Tramore for years is scrapped by what now appears to be an anonymous body, an anonymous body not responsible to anybody.

If John Doe is sacked from CIE, we do not expect the Minister to defend the action of CIE in sacking him. If CIE want to change the colour of the cushions in their carriages, we do not want the Minister to defend that action here, but when 25 miles of railway track which have been used for years and have been giving good service are taken up, it is a serious matter. With all due respect to those who are on the board of CIE, particularly their Chairman, and having regard to their ability as experts in transport, I do not think it should be left merely to their decision. The Minister should have some function in this and should not appear to be— I do not say he is—hiding behind the Board of CIE.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I want to intervene again on this because the Minister spoke about people putting pressure on him, pressure groups, deputations. Deputy Corish may not be aware of this but the Minister for Transport and Power, in his own inimitable fashion, when the Tramore railway was being put on the block refused to receive any deputation.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Tramore railway cannot be closed again.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister made sure it could be neither closed nor [414] opened. There was a right butchering job done by the Minister 24 hours after it closed.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  There was enough trouble when it was closed once. The Deputy should not try to close it again.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The Minister will not admit it was the greatest mistake he ever made, and he has made many. This was not a railway that was not used. It was used by 550,000 people in the last year of its existence, seven miles of railway with no intermediate stations and involving very little expenditure. The figures we got at that time from the Minister were not the correct figures. The whole business was done with indecent haste. The Minister has been asked a question now by Deputy Treacy and Deputy Corish and he will not face up to it. He cannot face up to being the protector of the people of Ireland, to being their representative in Dáil Éireann. We had a faceless man again. We do not know who made out this report.

Why should it be left to the decision of a group of men in Dublin that a public amenity railway down the country is to be destroyed? This public amenity from the city I represent to Tramore was destroyed. It was a great loss to the ordinary working class people, to their wives and children. They do not travel on the miserable bus service with which the Minister replaced it. The Minister gave an undertaking here and his predecessor gave an undertaking when the 1958 Act was going through that any service they would destroy—and I use the word “destroy” deliberately — they would replace with an equal service. The Minister knows he has not done that. I want to lay at the door of the faceless men in Kingsbridge the disgraceful vandalism they carried out there. They went into the station house in Tramore and smashed the public convenience. This was not done by juvenile delinquents. It was smashed up by CIE. At great public expense, they made a bus terminus and there was no public convenience there. Then they said to the town commissioners in Tramore that it was their business to provide that. They [415] wanted to have it charged to the ratepayers.

I warned this House when we were trying to reach the Minister that if they destroyed this railway, the Irish taxpayers would be mulcted in large sums of money out of the Road Fund. We were told the Tramore railway was losing £3,000 or so a year. A sum of £52,000 has been spent already in Road Fund grants to make up for the depredation of the Minister for Transport and Power. I know in the Minister's county there is £75,000 a year. That is a figure alone but it does show how the taxpayer is being mulcted in other ways. It is not true that the Minister had to suffer any pressure about the railways. He refused to receive a deputation. I think in the end the Corkmen overpowered him and, when it came to Youghal railway, he received a deputation.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  No.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The Deputy ought not to mention anything about a deputation in connection with the Youghal railway. It could be embarrassing.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I know what happened there. He received a deputation and I can assure the Minister that, if he had received a deputation from my constituency, he would not have been embarrassed as much because we are reasonable people.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I never received a deputation.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  In any case the Minister did not tear up the railway line from Cork to Youghal, and as long as I am coming into this House, I shall throw that at the Minister. He has not the decency to say that he, with the faceless men, made a mistake.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  To suggest that Dr. Andrews has not got a face is going a bit far.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  He has not a face as far as I am concerned.

[416]Acting Chairman (Mr. P. O'Donnell): Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Personalities should be left out of this debate.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I did not mention the name.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I merely mentioned it in the most humorous way in order to lighten the tenor of the debate.

Acting Chairman:  The facial expressions of Dr. Andrews are not relevant.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I did not intend to say anything about Dr. Andrews. As far as Dr. Andrews and Tramore railway are concerned, he did not receive the deputation, which was eventually received by officers in Kingsbridge. In my opinion, the officers there were in outer space as far as the Tramore railway was concerned. I have been putting down questions to the Minister as to what was the profit or loss on the bus service to Tramore, and he refused to answer me. I know from the Pacemaker Report that he has that figure but he refuses to give it. He is losing far more on the bus service to Tramore than the railway company was losing. If he had been influenced by the local people who knew their business, it could have been made pay in a year. We were very reasonable about that. We put that proposition to the people in Kingsbridge, that some of the old policies of the Tramore railway should be continued for one year and if it did not pay, they could dig up the railway. They closed it the following Saturday and paid men overtime on Monday to dig it up in the rain. Every time I get an opportunity I shall keep on saying that to the Minister.

Acting Chairman:  Perhaps the Deputy will get an opportunity on another occasion.

Question put and declared carried.

Question proposed: “That section 7 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Will the Minister explain the liabilities which section 7 covers?

[417]Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  This section writes off the advances made to CIE which represent, generally speaking, the difference between the annual fixed subsidy they were given each year and the actual expenditure.

Mr. Kyne: Information on Thomas Anthony Kyne  Zoom on Thomas Anthony Kyne  Would the Minister say if compensation to employees who are redundant will be provided out of that £1 million?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  No. The compensation for redundancy was treated under a separate heading in the Department's Estimate.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  When did the Minister learn that it was essential to give this money to CIE or that this particular liability must be written off? When did this come to his notice or when was the decision made?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  It came to my notice in connection with the working out of the CIE accounts over the five years. They were granted £1,175,000 in each of five years and in addition, they required £1 million to carry on the undertaking.

Mr. Kyne: Information on Thomas Anthony Kyne  Zoom on Thomas Anthony Kyne  This did not arise from the payment of redundancy compensation?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  No. They borrowed this money from the Minister for Finance and now it is written off as a non-returnable grant. It did not include an element of redundancy.

Question put and agreed to.

Question proposed: That section 8 stand part of the Bill.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Perhaps the Minister would explain the section?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  In future CIE is being financed for capital services by advances from the Central Fund made in accordance with section 4 of the Bill. They had power to issue stock which would have to be approved by the Minister for Finance and guaranteed by him up to the value of £15 million. We have now reduced that [418] figure to £12 million because they will not need that money and they will get their capital in future by way of advances from the Central Fund. They will not need power to issue stock to the value of £15 million.

Question put and agreed to.

Acting Chairman:  Amendments Nos. 10 and 11 appear to be related to amendment No. 15 and it may, therefore, be appropriate to take amendments Nos. 10, 11 and 15 together.

Mr. Ryan:  I move amendment No. 10:

In page 4, line 15, after “waterway” to insert “or by road”.

I take it that amendment No. 15 is for the purpose of bringing road employees within the ambit of the redundancy compensation provision and that is the object of the amendments in the names of Deputy Byrne and myself. The Bill, as submitted by the Minister, would allow compensation for employees of CIE who lose their employment or who are disturbed by reason of any withdrawal of transport services by rail or inland waterways or having substituted diesel for steam traction or of the making of an order under section 9 of the Act of 1958 in relation to a specified level-crossing.

What we seek to do here is to have these redundancy provisions applicable to CIE employees engaged on road services. The kind of case we have in mind is likely to arise where road services are discontinued or are reduced, and from what we have heard in the past few hours, apparently this is occurring in different parts of the country. We are also aware of the great difficulty which may yet arise with the introduction of the one-man buses. Men who entered into employment in CIE with a reasonable expectation of remaining as conductors for 30 or 40 years may find themselves withdrawn from a particular service because it is converted to one-man bus operation and being asked to move to an entirely different part of the country [419] for the purpose of taking up alternative employment.

A case which has come to my notice in the last few years concerns a man from County Leitrim transferred to Dublin. While in Leitrim, this man was fortunate enough to have a comfortable house and a garden for a rent of £12 per year. That unfortunate man, since he moved to Dublin with his three children, has to pay £3 10s. for a one-room flat and he has no expectation of getting housing accommodation from Dublin Corporation within the next few years. We are asked to believe he has not had his conditions of service worsened. Previously this man paid less than 5/-a week for his accommodation. Now he is removed from his house and the garden in which he grew his vegetables, transported to Dublin where he has to pay £3 10s. and has no garden or facilities for growing his vegetables. That man has been seriously worsened in his employment. He has been very seriously punished. We believe it would not be unreasonable to provide that such an employee would have the right to elect for the compensation under this Bill or transfer to Dublin because, clearly, the hardship which is now imposed on him and the opportunities which he had in the past and has now forfeited amount to a serious worsening of the man's working conditions.

Another problem we have in mind and which arises from the operation of one-man buses relates to men who for several years have been engaged as conductors on provincial bus services. It is not unfair to say that work as a conductor on a provincial bus service with a limited number of stops is not comparable with work on a double-decker bus in Dublin where the demands on a man's stamina, energy and patience for several hours of the day can be really colossal. Whatever about the chances of a man who enters the conducting service in Dublin on double-decker buses when he is young maintaining sufficient vigour and stamina and thereby being able to operate on such a bus without undue hardship right through to his [420] pensionable age, it is an entirely different problem for a man who has operated on the relatively quiet provincial bus service and then finds himself transferred from that work and put on a double-decker bus in Dublin.

This problem arises in particular for a number of men who for several years were working in Broadstone and whose duties in the summer months were on additional bus services put on during the tourist and holiday season. Their duties during the remainder of the year were to provide relief services for provincial buses, many of which would travel only part of the journey, then turn round, leaving one or two buses to complete the full journey.

Several of these men were asked, on the introduction of one-man buses, to go on double-deck buses in Dublin. They were told they would have no right to elect out of this entirely different type of work or retire with a suitable pension. It may well be that one would not want to leave this election open to all employees, to those who are still vigorous and those who could undertake the new duties without undue hardship. It might be fair to say they should not be allowed the benefit of these compensation provisions but, in the case of a person of mature years, who has cast upon him an additional burden, serious consideration should be given to allowing such a person to avail of the redundancy provisions. That is why we insert here after the sections which allow compensation to be paid to certain employees the words “or by road” or, if any reduction takes place in the services or personnel, compensation may be provided. In case there is any doubt we spell out in greater detail “or having withdrawn conductors from any omnibus service”. The purpose of that is to provide for one-man buses, to which I have already referred.

I do not know whether the Minister is in a position to give any figures here—he may well have them but will not give them—but I understand there is an increasing number of heart conditions amongst bus employees. That is definitely so in the case of drivers. Many men who enjoyed good [421] health on the Dublin tramway service find that, operating the double-deck buses, they have developed heart conditions at a relatively early age. From my own experience of the Dublin tramway service, which was terminated, I think, twelve and fifteen years ago respectively, many of these men deteriorated in health when they went on the buses. Men of fine physique and stamina, with pleasant personalities, when operating the trams, developed all kinds of physical complaints and became quite irritable as a result of operating buses. In these circumstances I do not think it is unreasonable that, since we are providing compensation for certain employees, some choice should be given to these men who find themselves in their maturer years with the threat of dismissal hanging over them, without compensation, or else undertaking duties for which they are not suited.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  I think I made quite clear our reasons for excluding certain categories of workers from compensation on redundancy on the Second Stage. It was made quite clear by the Taoiseach on the 1958 Transport Bill that the redundancy provisions were to be regarded as purely temporary. They were designed for a five-year period only. They were put into the Bill in order to enable CIE to carry out its first programme of reorganisation quickly and to the satisfaction of the workers concerned. The rates of compensation by any standard, at home or abroad, were extremely generous, and the House knows that.

We felt we should continue the redundancy and compensation provisions in so far as CIE are concerned by specifying the amounts on the same basis as the 1958 Act, with one or two minor changes but that, in connection with road services, in view of the general buoyant character of the road services of CIE, there should be no specific provision for compensation and CIE would negotiate with the trade unions whatever kind of agreement they could secure. That seems to me to be quite reasonable. CIE have an agreement with [422] the union in regard to the one-man buses and part of that agreement includes a section which stipulates that no man in regular employment will be required to transfer outside his depot area in consequence of the introduction of one-man bus operation. That is a specific answer to many of the observations of Deputy Ryan. CIE cannot break that agreement with the union unless they negotiate changes of terms. It is up to the union to deal with this matter.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Did that compensation arrangement not cease as from 31st March last?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  What the provision said was that, after expiry of the compensation provisions of the 1958 Transport Act on 31st March, 1964, no driver or conductor in regular employment, as defined in paragraph (1), will be disemployed in the road passenger section as a result of one-man bus operation, nor will such driver or conductor be required to transfer outside of his depot area or to work in any alternative post outside the road passenger section. If new statutory compensation provisions are introduced after 31st March, 1964, they will apply to staff declared redundant in consequence of the further extension of one-man bus operation. That is the position. It is quite clear.

Mr. Ryan:  Why did we not provide that in the Bill?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Because the Government felt that the character of the employment in relation to road services was not the same as the character of the employment in relation to rail services. Road services were tending to expand rather than contract. CIE are constantly taking on new conductors and drivers and the Government felt it should be possible for CIE to re-negotiate terms for severance payment and conditions of transfer. It is a matter for CIE and the trade union.

Mr. Ryan:  I can readily appreciate the desirability of leaving all these [423] matters for negotiation between the company and the trade unions, but there are many problems which arise which just do not permit of things being left on that type of indefinite footing. The Minister has put in obligatory statutory provisions here in relation to some employees. I cannot understand why he should discriminate as between different types of employees. It would be much better, I think, to put them all in. There are some anachronisms which do not readily appear. I have dealt with the problem of the man who had been working for years on a provincial bus service operating out of Dublin, living in Dublin and based on the Broadstone Depot. To transfer that man from a long route provincial bus service down to some Dublin garage, out of which double-deck buses operate from six in the morning until after midnight, is to change his occupation entirely.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers  Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers  No such transfer has taken place. The Deputy must be misinformed.

Mr. Ryan:  I shall be only too glad to discuss the matter with the men in the Broadstone. I have some information, and I do not disbelieve them. If that has not taken place, then it must have been threatened.

There are other problems. Seniority rights may be jeopardised. My information is that the Broadstone provincial bus depot has its own seniority list over the years. The Dublin city bus services have a separate seniority list. Men leaving the Broadstone and going to the Dublin garages forfeit their right of seniority. There are apparently all kinds of perquisites attached to seniority and it could be a serious reduction in a man's status to have such a change imposed on him. My information is—if it is wrong, I shall be glad to have it corrected—that there are certain fringe benefits sometimes attached to the provincial bus services, particularly in relation to the summer tourist traffic, which obviously would not be available in the bustle and tumble of the daily services in Dublin.

All these are matters the men would [424] have a right to decide on. I am forestalled to some extent by the fact that members of the Labour Party, some of whom are trade union officers, have tabled a Bill which to some extent incorporates the same idea. This does not spell out in the same way as the rail provisions do all the benefits to be available for these workers. We should not have the matter in doubt, as it would be even during trade union negotiations with CIE.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  I am not quite clear what the Minister has been trying to convey to the House. We put down this amendment to try to ensure that those who may be rendered redundant will be looked after. As far as I am aware, redundancy compensation ceased after 31st March this year for all but railway men. Even in respect of the railway men, redundancy compensation is limited to a case of the withdrawal of a service or where dieselisation is introduced. I am not quite clear from the Minister's reply on the position with regard to the redundancy compensation provision in respect of the operation of the one-man bus service. There was an agreement between CIE and the unions regarding this service, but two-thirds of the provincial routes have yet to go over to one-man operation. I am not satisfied from what the Minister said, and from this section, that there is to be compensation for those who will be rendered redundant by reason of the introduction of one-man buses on the remaining two-thirds of the provincial routes.

The 1958 Act had a section which provided that the Government would supply the money for schemes of redundancy compensation in respect of the CIE workers. There is no such provision in this Bill. I suppose it is safe to assume, therefore, that CIE, with the resources it has, is expected to pay compensation to the limited number defined in this section—the railwaymen rendered redundant by the closing of a service or the introduction of diesel trains. There is no guarantee in this section either that there will be compensation for those engaged in the road passenger service and engaged in the maintenance of road transport. There is no redundancy [425] compensation provision for the clerical workers in road transport. There is no mention of the redundancy that might arise out of a scheme of reorganisation other than what is set out in the Bill. No redundancy compensation is provided for any changes that may be made in workshops by reason of the introduction of work study and all the other new methods being employed not alone in CIE but in other places as well.

The Minister said these were matters to be negotiated by the trade unions with CIE. I have a copy of the agreement made between the trade unions and CIE during the dispute in connection with the one-man buses. I am not satisfied from it, and from the Minister's remarks, that this agreement will be applied to the type of worker I have mentioned. The 1958 Act includes compensation provisions for many types of workers. For that reason, this amendment was tabled by members of the Labour Party to ensure that all those rendered redundant will be compensated in some measure.

CIE never seem to have regard to compensation. They seem to be very indifferent with regard to those who suffer domestic upset. I have known many cases of people who worked in a railway station that was closed being told they could go to some town 25 miles away where there would be a job for them. That may be all right for CIE, but for the man rendered redundant, it is not so easy to resettle his family in a place 20 or 25 miles away. May I give the Minister an example of two men near New Ross town in a district where the railway was closed completely? They sought redundancy compensation but were told they were not entitled to it because [426] there was an offer of employment with CIE in Waterford city. I am sure the Waterford Deputies know the position with regard to housing in Waterford city. I am sure it is hard enough for Waterford people to get houses, but I do not think anybody from the rural area of Wexford seeking a house in Waterford would be welcomed by the Corporation or the city manager.

There have been scores of cases like this all over the country. Those who cannot live 25 miles from their work because they cannot get a house discover they must give up their job altogether. They should be compensated in some way. I do not suggest we should give them a pension on which they might live for the rest of their lives. Such men have been deprived of a job in which they have been for the past 20 years, perhaps. It is difficult for them to take up some other job.

The Minister has said that compensation provisions agreed between CIE and the unions are pretty good. I will not say they are excellent, but in respect of the limited number of compensation provisions made, they appear to be generous. However, there are many cases of redundancy that have not been dealt with at all. It is for that reason we think the Minister should include in the Bill some provision which will require the Board of CIE to compensate workers who have been rendered redundant by reason of the policy operated by the Board of CIE.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 18th June, 1964.


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