Wednesday, 26 November 1924
Seanad Éireann Debate
This was one of the amendments originally put down in my name that I could not see my way to withdraw in the Special Committee. It appears to me to carry this matter of regulation almost to a state of absurdity; it is to try to effect the control of creameries and butter factories in a manner that will not be effective. This amendment and the next one really stand together and should be argued together. The Bill proposes to regulate the entry into registered creameries of all butter other than that coming from registered creameries. If you examine the wording it will be found that the Minister regulating this matter has to deal with very variable, very indeterminate conditions. One is if he is satisfied that there is “a temporary decrease in the quantity of the milk supplied.” I really do not know how he can possibly satisfy himself upon that except by a very detailed analysis of the conditions obtaining at the moment, and also other similar purposes in other years. Any decrease in the quantity of the milk available will depend upon the seasons and a number of factors present on the farm almost impossible for the Government to discover. Or if the Minister is satisfied with the temporary decrease, then he is going to meet the “immediate requirements of the business”... “as normally carried on.” There again he has to examine further into the trade connections of the business, whatever they may be, and barely even known to the business people themselves.  They must obviously be of a very uncertain kind. Then he has also to examine the business “normally carried on”—another exceedingly vague condition.
Trade is a thing that is bound to fluctuate from year to year, depending upon foreign imports in the same market, depending upon purchasing power in the same market, and upon a number of very uncertain factors which go themselves to make up that exceedingly complex mechanism known as trade and commerce which, I submit, no Government is ever able to determine. All these initial difficulties are to be got over by a licence allowing the introduction on to the premises of butter of such and such description. He has to have certain guarantees as to the description of butter introduced under foreign brands, and in such quantities, which is again a very irksome condition I submit. No business can be sure of the quantities required for temporary purposes, yet it is to be entirely dependent upon the discretion and good-will of the Minister as to the quantities allowed. The same thing applies to “every such purpose.” It is quite impossible in reality to determine the period of shortage, governed as it is by a number of conditions of business which even the business man himself, who is most concerned, will not know. Having fulfilled all these conditions, then the premises is allowed to bring in the supplies that are necessary to carry on its winter trade. I submit that is going too far and that these creameries are perfectly competent to do their own business. If they have a normal connection for their summer business, they are not going to prejudice their custom by introducing bad and inferior butter during the winter.
The Minister may say that all the butter going out is under our guarantee, but you cannot guarantee butter which is not manufactured, as this temporarily imported butter will not be, under your own control. I submit that in many cases it will be better or as good as the home-manufactured butter. I really do not see why the Government should be allowed to carry interference with private business  to this unwarrantable length. I am not going to raise the general question—I have done that already—as to these provisions with regard to undue regulations. I think that the power proposed to be given here is such that the Senate would be well advised to withhold it from the Government.
Mr. HOGAN: I must ask the Senate to agree to retain this particular provision. I would like to put a specific question to Senator Sir John Keane. Does he think that a creamery should be perfectly free to bring butter from a butter factory on to their premises, and not only to bring butter from a butter factory but to bring butter from unregistered premises such as a farmhouse, or from an unregistered blender who is making butter of very poor quality for home consumption and which we would not allow him to export? Remember if we refuse registration the manufacture of butter can still go on for all purposes except export. I ask is it the Senator's contention that a creamery making creamery butter, the quality of which we are endeavouring to improve and a reputation for which we are endeavouring to get on the English market, should be perfectly free to bring factory butter or butter manufactured on a farm on to the creamery premises. You know the custom in a country town. I do not say it is the general custom, but you know that it is quite a common thing for people to go into a town and sell 1 lb., 2 lbs., or 3 lbs. of butter to the local shopkeeper, who may be engaged in the sale of liquor, hardware, manures and all the rest. He just takes the parcel of butter and puts it into a barrel under the counter.
Another person comes along and sells him one or two pounds of butter made under different conditions to the butter sold by the first person. That parcel of butter is also put into the barrel under the counter. When the barrel is full all that butter, without being blended or anything else, is sent to some place where the shopkeeper has a buyer to take it. There you have a magnificent sample of butter with water content and all the rest of it.  Is it Senator Sir John Keane's contention that that barrel of butter should be sold to a creamery? If it is not his contention, will he frame some form of words, other than the words that I have here, which will give power to prevent the sale of such butter? I do not want Senators to get the view that I am quoting an extreme case. I am not assuming that that procedure would occur very often, but it might occur often enough in the case of a butter factory or of a shop. Sometimes in the winter creameries get their butter from butter factories or shops. What we ask is that if such a thing does occur we should be in a position to stop it. I might say that this question was discussed by the Agricultural Commission, which contained representatives of farmers, labourers, university professors and so on. I suppose that the Commission examined a couple of hundred witnesses. They had the whole trade before them.
I think I am right in saying that it was unanimously agreed by that Commission and by every other Commission that ever sat on this question—(1) that the word “creamery” should be strictly defined, and (2) that a creamery itself should be strictly inspected from the point of view of seeing that it did not connect with a butter factory or any other registered or non-registered premises except another creamery—that it did not connect with any such premises except by the public road. That provision was inserted in the Bill on the recommendation of the Agricultural Commission and of every other Commission that ever sat on this question. Sub-sections (4), (5) and (6) of Section 14 deal with that point, that no premises in the way of a butter factory or non-registered premises shall be connected with a creamery. That provision was inserted with the goodwill of the whole Seanad without amendment from anyone. Why did we insert it? For the purpose of making sure that butter would not come from a butter factory. It might be found as good or worse butter, but this provision was inserted so that it would not come from a butter factory or any such premises into a creamery sub rosa. If it is right to take power to see that no creamery shall be connected with a butter factory or in any other place where butter is blended; and if it is right for us to see that such factory butter shall not be brought into the creamery, why is it not right to state specifically here that not only shall butter not be brought secretly on to a creamery—secretly by connection with a butter factory through a back yard or something like that—but that it shall not be brought openly on to the premises except under the licence of the Ministry of Agriculture?
It is because we do not want to regulate trade more than we can possibly avoid that we inserted this section. We do not intend to go over to England to see exactly how the butter market is. We do not intend to make an exhaustive inquiry into the amount of milk which a particular creamery is getting at the moment. It is rather an open secret amongst agriculturists that in certain months of the year milk becomes extremely scarce, and anyone engaged in the creamery business could rattle off for you at a moment's notice certain creameries which would be short in their milk supplies during particular months in the year. If a particular creamery were to say that they had not sufficient milk we would require this licence to make the necessary inquiries, and as a result of our inquiries we would be able to say whether the contention of the creameries that they were not getting sufficient milk was likely to be true. On the other hand, if a creamery in the month of July or June comes to us and says: “Our milk supply is short,” we will want to know the reason why. My point is this, that we cannot allow unlimited and unlicensed quantities of butter—that is, factory butter or any other blended butter—to go on to a creamery the produce of which we are trying to improve for the purpose of our foreign markets. We cannot allow them to bring such butter on to premises which we control at a time when we are endeavouring to standardise the products turned out in these premises. You cannot standardise their produce and at the same time allow absolutely free access to non-standardised butter into them.
 On the other hand, we do not say that we have winter dairying in this country. We do say that in certain months of the year it is necessary that butter should come in and that these creameries should be allowed to get in butter which they do not make themselves. We provide for that contingency by giving power to the Ministry to give a licence for that purpose. These are the merits of the case. I go further and say that I do not believe that a single inquiry within the last twenty years has not agreed that butter going into a registered creamery should be controlled.
Mr. DOWDALL: I am quite in agreement with the Minister on this point. If the Bill is to be of any benefit at all for the purpose for which it is intended, the Minister for Lands and Agriculture must control the butter that is permitted to come into registered premises during the winter months. If they do not exercise some such control the stress of competition at times might cause a needy creamery to import something which would lower the standard, and, that being so, the competitors of that creamery would necessarily be compelled to lower their standard also if they were to compete with the creamery that was producing a lower grade and selling at a lower price. I do think there is something in what Senator Sir John Keane says with regard to the interference with trade, which runs right through this Bill. But to my mind that is our safeguard in this way. The success of this Bill depends upon its administration, and if it is unduly onerous on the trade, there are so many persons connected with the trade in Ireland that such a fuss would be kicked up that not only would the Minister for Lands and Agriculture disappear, but the Government themselves would disappear if this Bill were not administered in the sense in which it is intended.
Sir JOHN KEANE: When there is a shortage of milk, I believe there will also be a shortage in factory butter. The conditions which produce a shortage of milk will militate against the supply of factory butter. I would be quite prepared to meet the Minister with regard to the prohibition of the  introduction of butter made in a farm or factory. But we know that to meet the shortage there is imported, every winter, New Zealand or Australian butter. There would be no harm in permitting that to continue.
Sir JOHN KEANE: That could be continued by these regulations. That is my objection to the whole Bill—that there is too much bureaucratic control. Why not allow these recognised brands of butter in without the necessity of having to get these licences and permits? We all know from our experience of legislation that all these conditions do not operate in practice, while we can very well visualise that they are an intolerable nuisance to the trade which is suffering from them. I feel that it is the duty of the State to try to limit all this circumlocution to its least possible limit.
Mr. HOGAN: Senator Sir John Keane's suggestion is that there should be free entry not only for butter from other creameries but for butter from other creameries outside the country, such as New Zealand butter. Now, there are a number of creameries in New Zealand the same as this country. They are exporting butter to this country. Here is a Bill to control butter and to give a reputation to exports of butter from Ireland; and the Senator's contention is that there should be free access to this country of creamery butter entirely uncontrolled. Suppose for a moment that our inspector goes into a creamery and that there he finds butter with 16 per cent. excess water, and that he finds there butter that is dirty, and that he finds other noxious things in it, and all these other particular faults specified in the Bill, and the creamery owner says: “Oh, that is New Zealand butter that we have just got in,” would not that make the administration of the Bill impossible?
I put that as the lowest argument to show that it is essential if foreign butter is allowed in to these premises that are supposed to make a standard article, that that butter can only be  allowed under licence and under certain conditions. I may say that the trade are satisfied with these conditions. There are people here who know the trade better than I do. As long as they can get in New Zealand butter at certain times of the year for home trade they are quite satisfied. We have power to licence them for that purpose, under special conditions. For the reasons I have stated, if it is an insuperable objection, it is because the administration of the Bill would be made impossible if this butter were allowed in and always the inspector would be met with the answer: “This is not our own make.” That is why I say it would be impossible to let in New Zealand butter without control. I am prepared to compromise on any section of this Bill provided the purpose we are aiming at in each section is safeguarded.
Mr. BENNETT: Before you leave Section 16, I wish to say I had an amendment in Committee—I think it will be within the recollection of the Seanad that the Minister said he would consider my proposal and bring forward some suggested amendment, As far as I see, he has done nothing in that respect. I think, therefore, it would be incumbent on me to move my original amendment. It is to Section 16, the Section stating that the manufacture of butter on the premises shall be under the control of a qualified manager, and so on. It was to this effect.
(3) For the purposes of this section a person shall be duly qualified only if he possesses a certificate, issued by the Minister, of qualification for such position. The Minister may, however, at any time previous to the  formation of the Register of Creameries confirm in his appointment, and such confirmation shall be held as qualification, any person who shall satisfy the Minister that he is qualified for the particular position.
Mr. BENNETT: On Sub-section 3, Section 16 of the Bill. That deals with the qualifications of the persons, and that is the very section I propose to amend. The clause as it stands, as I endeavoured to argue in Committee, would allow the Minister at all times to put into the position of creamery manager any person whom he, or any subsequent Minister, thought was qualified for the position. I do not think that is desirable. We have been trying to improve the conditions of the butter industry, and I recognise that this Bill will go a great length in putting the butter industry of Ireland on a sound basis. For a certain period I think it is essential that the men now managing creameries should be ratified in their positions because they have proved their competence; they are acquainted with the details of the management and they could not be adequately replaced. The Minister on this particular clause presupposes a certificate, and then after the lapse of a reasonable time, when this Bill comes into operation, I think it is only fair that no man other than an existing manager, butter-maker or tester, asking for an appointment, should be allowed to carry on unless he is fitted with credentials for that appointment.
I do not think we should put into the position any man who has not the hallmark of ability and the requisite education. For that reason I proposed the amendment in Committee, and I would ask permission to propose it again now. What I mean is, that previous to the registration of creameries there should be, so to speak, a going over of the capacity of the various managers, and where the Minister is satisfied that a manager, although not possessing a certificate, is qualified, then he becomes  by that mere examination qualified and the Minister so certifies. If in three or four years time, the position of manager becomes vacant, then the person appointed should be a certificated manager, or butter-maker, or analyst. That is essential. I understood that the Minister and myself were practically agreed, and I had hoped that he would have met the position in some reasonable way, but I suppose he did not think it was worth doing. I would ask the Seanad to consider my amendment and to say whether this is not essential to the proper working of the Bill.
Mr. BAGWELL: The amendment does not seem to me to achieve the purpose which the Senator has in mind. I entirely agree with what the Senator has said, but I do not think the amendment alters the matter in the slightest way. It would still leave the matter in the hands of the Minister, simply to write something on a piece of paper. There is no qualification which carries any more weight than the weight of the Minister's signature.
Mr. BENNETT: There is already a course for creamery managers in the College of Science, and they take that course. Some such course, I take it, will be defined by the Minister when he speaks of qualified persons. There is a creamery manager's certificate and they will have got that. But my hope is, that only men who have that certificate will, after the stated date, be qualified to be appointed managers.
AN CATHAOIRLEACH: I do not think the Senator has met the point of Senator Bagwell. As the amendment at present stands, the only qualification it prescribes is the certificate of the Minister. It does not say anything about having a certificate as a qualified creamery manager or having passed an examination.
Mr. BENNETT: I took the wording from the section. The section states that a person shall be duly qualified for the position if he possesses a certificate  issued by the Minister. I take it that a certificate would only be issued in such circumstances as Senator Bagwell has in mind. If I were allowed I would make the amendment more explicit.
For the purposes of this section a person shall be duly qualified only if he possesses a certificate, issued by the Minister, of qualification for such position. The Minister may at any time, however, confirm in his appointment any person who shall satisfy the Minister that he is qualified for the particular position, and the Minister shall issue a certificate to such person.
Dr. GOGARTY: I think we are paying too much attention to the mysteries of qualification. I understood that in Committee the idea was to limit the power of the Minister to make appointments. Now Senator Bennett suggests that any little authority from the Minister will qualify a man. Is there any great mystery about being qualified and made the manager of a creamery? Suppose a man is incompetent, he will be held up by other provisions in the Bill. Automatically he will cease to be an active agent in producing butter. I would like to know what is meant by qualification. I think we are unduly mystified by the word itself. It adds greatly to the complexity of the matter. Butter has been made from a time before history.
Dr. GOGARTY: I understand they were to be allowed to act for a certain time, that they were not to be dismissed from their positions as managers, so that this amendment would not be retrospective, or come into force at present, but only after a certain time when the creamery managers were to be reappointed. No new one would be appointed without those mysterious qualifications. I think any sensible man outside an asylum could make butter if he follows the provisions laid down. There is far too much mystery about it.
Mr. BENNETT: Creamery management is highly technical. I can assure the Senator that these positions are very complex. The Creamery Managers' Association gives a certificate of qualification; so does the College of Science. I do not think any man should be allowed to carry on the work unless he is certified and qualified. Senator Gogarty says that any man can make butter. I can assure the Senator that the position of a creamery manager is a most complex one. He has very complex machinery to deal with, and it requires a great deal of skill, training and thought.
“(3) For the purposes of this section a person shall be duly qualified only if he possesses a certificate issued by the Minister of qualification for such position. The Minister may, however, at any time previous to the formation of the Register of Creameries confirm in his appointment, and such confirmation shall be held as qualification, any person who shall satisfy the Minister  that he is qualified for the particular position, and the Minister shall issue a certificate to such person.”
Mr. HOGAN: As that amendment stands, would it not really amount to what is in sub-section 3? It would enable the Minister to issue a certificate to a man who had not got a degree or who had not passed a certain examination. I want to be clear about this. If I understand what Senator Bennett is after, I understood from his first statement that he wanted to ensure that every creamery manager should have passed the appropriate examination and should only get a certificate on passing that examination. If that is his position, then, I take it that it means after registration every creamery manager and every butter maker, and everyone employed in a technical position should have passed the requisite examination for his position and have got a certificate to that effect from the Minister. If that is his position it is vitally different to what is set out in sub-section 3 and to what is set out in his own amendment. What the amendment means is that no man shall be a creamery manager or butter maker unless he has a certificate from the Minister. On the other hand, the Minister may give him such a certificate as is contemplated without having passed the creamery manager's examination. If we got at the exact point we would probably get nearer to agreement.
AN CATHAOIRLEACH: While the Senator wishes that there should be a prescribed examination for new creamery managers, or for other people interested in the butter trade, he wants to have power reserved to the Minister in the case of those already in the trade and occupying these positions, so that they should not be compelled to pass these examinations provided the Minister gives a certificate that he is satisfied with their qualifications.
Mr. HOGAN: So far as the first object is concerned, dealing with existing creamery managers and officials, we are at one. There is only this distinction, that while under sub-section 3 we should recognise them as qualified for the position, it would not be necessary  to issue certificates to them to that effect. That is the only difference. The second point contained in the amendment of Senator Bennett is the real contentious one; that is, that in future all officials, not only managers, but butter-makers, testers and all other officials of a creamery, should have to pass these examinations and get a certificate before acting in any of these capacities. Remember, too, they are Irish examinations. For instance, that would bar out a Dane, would rule out an American, and we have a good many fairly efficient managers who are not of this country and who have not passed examinations here. I agree that is a point that could be covered by drafting, and if Senator Bennett were agreeable we could not only include Irish examinations as a qualification but examinations in other countries.
On the general principle, is it wise to insist that every official in a creamery shall have passed the requisite examination? There are at present short courses for creamery managers, short courses for butter makers, and practically all, I think—certainly the most of the butter makers—have been through that course. On the other hand you have creamery managers, first-class managers, really good business men— and that is what you want in a creamery manager, just as much technical competence—who have never been through a creamery manager's course. The question is, are you going to insist on an examination always? What will be the effect of that? In certain cases a man would go into a creamery perhaps as manager of an auxiliary. He might go there as a butter maker or in a great many other capacities and show himself a really first-class man, get promoted along line, after getting experience, and become a really first-class manager. The creamery manager's course is six months. He does a certain amount of bacteriology of a very elementary type, a certain amount of simple science, in addition to a certain amount of practical work. If the other man is an intelligent man he might learn ten times as much from actual experience as he would learn from a six months' course in the school. If you put in that proviso you  might have a butter maker who has gone through the course and has passed examinations, got the certificate and who is tied to that all his life, or he will have to go back to school and to the creamery manager's course. That would be very serious. You might have such a butter maker there for 7 or 8 years, the best man in the creamery, the manager resigns, and some young fellow, just out of college, walks in, knowing perhaps about one-tenth of what the butter maker who has been acting as assistant manager, might know. You have to take all these considerations into account. I put it to the Seanad: is it wise to lay down here and pass a hard and fast, stringent rule, that no man shall act as a creamery manager unless he has passed the requisite examination in Ireland or elsewhere?
I agree with the principle, or, rather, with Senator Westropp Bennett's point of view, that the really important thing is to get good managers and good butter makers. If you have not efficient men your creamery is no good, no matter what regulations you bring into operation, and no matter what laws are passed. I do not yield to anybody in insisting on getting the really best men to fill executive positions in the creamery. It is from that point of view it is a little bit dangerous to lay down hard and fast rules that nobody except those who have passed the requisite examination should be a creamery manager and to rule out of consideration the man who has been acting as assistant manager. He is notoriously a first-class man, and I think it would be an undesirable decision that he should be over-ridden by a man who has spent six months in a school.
Mr. HOGAN: Before we go on, there are a few amendments which are rendered necessary by the changes which are made in sub-section (3) about good and wholesome water, which I would  ask the House to insert. I will give you copies of them; they are quite simple.
Sir JOHN KEANE: Before this section is passed from I would like to point out to the Minister what may be an omission in the Bill. There is no regulation in the Bill governing cream separating stations. All the other denominations of premises appear to have regulations applicable to them—regulations in reference to registering creameries, regulations governing butter factories, regulations governing manufacturing exporters, and regulations applicable to non-manufacturing exporters. But cream separating stations appear to be omitted. I do not know whether they should be.
Mr. HOGAN: Sub-section (1) states “The Minister shall before registering any premises in the register of creameries or the register of cream separating stations, or the register of manufacturing exporters, or the register of butter factories, be satisfied that the conditions of cleanliness and order are complied with by such premises.” It is considered that the provisions regarding cleanliness and order shall apply to cream separating stations.
Sir JOHN KEANE: This amendment is to try to withhold from the Minister power to make any regulation he likes over and above any safeguard in this Act, in respect of premises supplying cream to an institution which makes that cream into butter, known technically as manufacturing exporters. There are not many of these manufacturing exporters, but it is possible they may increase. Manufacturing exporter is a business which either makes butter from milk separated on the premises or from cream supplied directly from individual farmers. I think I am right in that. Now, when you read sub-section (1), paragraph (a), section 18, you find that gives power to the Minister to make all the regulations he likes or to submit individual suppliers of cream to any conditions he may prescribe. That means to say he can go even beyond the conditions of cleanliness and order, in Section 1, and tie them up to any extent. In fact, we are giving him a blank cheque to impose any conditions whatever on firms supplying cream to a manufacturing exporter. I do not like to lay great stress on that because the Minister has got such enormous powers up and down the Bill, but this is apparently opening the door too wide, and I think the House should, unless they consider it is necessary, curtail this power.
AN CATHAOIRLEACH: Is this amendment seconded? I omitted to call attention to the fact before, because I was under the impression at the moment that we were on the Committee Stage. This being the Report Stage, every amendment requires a seconder, unless it is a Government amendment.
Sir JOHN KEANE: I might remind the House, although the record shows it was withdrawn in Committee, and I think Senator Brown will agree, that the general feeling of the Committee was that it should be left to the House. There was no division taken on it in view of that undertaking.
Mr. BROWN: I think the Minister expressed that view. I might straightaway say that there is a precedent for this unfortunate proposal. It was introduced, during the course of the Committee Stage, without being previously on the paper, into the Egg Bill, giving the Minister similar powers now sought under this Bill. But I would strongly urge that it is an undesirable precedent and should not be repeated. Now, if you examine it, the effect of this will be that on representation made to the Minister by any party, and in any manner, that the creamery has failed in a breach of contract,  the Minister, after hearing what evidence he likes, not evidence given before people competent to judge of the laws of evidence, taken without any judicial safeguards, can cancel registration, which will have the effect of ruining the creamery, because it will have to close the business, and the export trade will have to be stopped. I think that is a very serious and a very grave and a very dangerous power to give to any Government. It infringes the proper functions of the courts which are the judges of a breach of contract and have the right to punish accordingly. It removes all the safeguards that surround judicial proceedings, and gives very dangerous powers to the Executive. Further, I may add there is no appeal whatever from the decree of the Government. An inquiry can, but not necessarily must, be granted. I ask the House, therefore, to accept this amendment and to allow a breach of contract to be dealt with in the dairy business as it would be dealt with in every other business by the courts of law, and by the ordinary laws of contract and of tort governing these cases, and all other cases of commercial dispute.
Mr. DOWDALL: I ask the House not to accept this amendment and not to delete this sub-section. If there is one thing more than another in the butter trade which has brought the whole industry into disrepute in other countries it is the dishonourable efforts of some people who have accepted orders and cannot deliver them trying to get out of their responsibility. I have often felt, as an Irishman in England, degraded at the reproaches thrown at me of this character and which have made me really feel ashamed. It is easy to say that a merchant in England has the right to come over and sue for breach of contract in the courts here.
Now, in the butter trade your turnover takes place forty times a year, and you have something else to do beside coming over to fight the creamery  in some out of the way place, and not knowing the day or the week that the court may sit. This really has had more to do with the difference between the price of Irish butter and Danish butter, than the merits or qualities or intermittency of the supplies can account for. If a man undertakes to sell butter that he cannot deliver the man disappointed sometimes may like to get a little of his own back by penalising Irish butter in a bad market. I admit this is a very peculiar provision to put into a Bill of this kind, but the fact that it is so shows that in the opinion of the Board of Agriculture, not only the Board of this Ministry, but in the opinion of the Board long before the Free State was established, this was something that should be dealt with, and, for my part, I am very pleased that it is dealt with. Both in the interest of the trade and for the good name of the Irish traders, I hope that it will be insisted upon.
Mr. DOUGLAS: I should like to hear this amendment argued very fully before we are asked to vote on it. I was recently in the United States and I found there, not particularly in regard to butter, but in regard to several commodities, that our reputations for keeping contracts was about as bad as it could possibly be. I fear it is one of the most serious obstacles one has to face in the effort to see how far an export trade might arise. There is a great deal in what Sir John Keane has said. His argument appealed to me, but the weakness of it was that he does not provide an alternative, except that of going to the court. I have had, as a trader, to meet breaches of contracts, but I never sue. I simply close the account. It is a much easier and more effective way of dealing with it. I am quite certain that a similar attitude is taken up by persons who buy butter from this country. We are concerned particularly with developing a satisfactory export trade, and I certainly shall feel obliged to vote with the Minister except some amendment providing an alternative other than that of suing in the courts is proposed. I feel there is a good deal in Sir John Keane's criticism except, as I say, that  the only alternative is to leave the law as it was before.
Mr. BROWN: This is a section that should not be in any Bill unless there is absolute necessity for it. I think that was recognised by the Minister as he proceeded in the next clause to give a certain amount of protection, but I do not think quite enough. However, if you read Sub-section (4) you will find the safeguards provided.
Mr. BROWN: I was reading from a copy of the Bill that has not the amendment in it. What I was going to suggest is, that before the word “cancel” there should be inserted “if he is requested by the registered proprietor he should cause an inquiry to be held.”
AN CATHAOIRLEACH: I have it written down “and shall if the registered proprietor so requires cause an inquiry to be held”; that is to say he gives the registered proprietor the right to have the matter inquired into before he actually cancels.
Mr. BAGWELL: I think the House ought to realise that they are dealing here with a question far beyond any question of butter manufacturing. It seems to me to be an interference with the liberty of the subject which is not justified. It is a very serious thing, and I should like to hear some members of the House, who have a greater knowledge of constitutional law than I have, say something about it. I confess it seems to be an extraordinarily drastic thing. It is giving quite exceptional powers to the Minister.
Dr. GOGARTY: I am trying to put myself in the position of a butter dealer in Manchester, because I have sufficient knowledge of the creamery trade to know in any way the advantage of the clause in providing a person to whom  the injured merchant could appeal. Senator Dowdall has shown to us the uncertainty of tribunals in remote parts of the country and also the smallness of the breach of contract, but inasmuch as there is a firm point of appeal to which the merchant whose order has been refused may go, a good deal may be done to give a strong assurance to those engaged in the Irish trade.
It is a very important thing that it should be done. I myself heard of a contract with an American firm which was stopped by wireless merely because the market in England rose a few points. Until we have the solemn assurances to give that contracts will be fulfilled, the whole of the Irish trade will be open to this objection, that nobody can be sure of the word of an Irish trader. In so far as it infringes on the liberty of the subject, it infringes only so far as that subject becomes a butter dealer. He has got many other functions to exercise, but if he likes to put himself under the rules of the trade which will very shortly be one of our most important industries, he must put up with this infringement. I hope the butter trade will very soon make up for the £7,000,000 invisible imports. I think the greatest assurance we can give to our market is that first of all there will be a willing listener and an immediate appeal by this Bill in spite of the fact that it is taken out of the jurisdiction of the courts. I do not think that giving the Minister power over such a department in the country is a precedent that we may dread, because it is only inasmuch as the subject is a butter dealer, and only inasmuch as the Minister is dealing with creameries that these things could apply. Therefore from what I know of the objections on the part of buyers abroad to this particular part of the Irish trade, and for the sake of improving the trade and for the honour of the country I strongly support that clause.
Mr. HOGAN: In answer to Senator Bagwell, I wish to say I do not know of  any other country in which such powers as are taken in clause (c) exist. I will develop this later on. But I do not know of the same conditions in any other country either. I do not believe that the same conditions apply to any other country that is competing with us. I do not believe that the same circumstances apply to the trade of any other country that is competing with us as apply to our trade with England as a result of the shameful breaches of contract that are taking place and the complaints that are being made as Senator Dowdall has referred to.
AN CATHAOIRLEACH: Would it meet the case, supposing this clause were left unaltered, to add to it the words, “The right of appeal to an arbitrator from an order made cancelling his registration”? I think that would get over the difficulty. I think it is a very strong thing to say that his livelihood should be taken from a trader, and that he should have no appeal.
AN CATHAOIRLEACH: If that will satisfy the mover of the amendment we could let it stand over, and by permission it could be disposed of on the final stage. The Minister might bring in a suitable clause. It is not very easy to do these things at a moment's notice. If that would satisfy Senator Sir John Keane it could stand over. Would you be content with that, Sir John?
Sir JOHN KEANE: I do it under protest. I realise that the feeling of the Seanad is against me, and it is only in deference to the majority that I do withdraw. I am not satisfied myself that the principles of our constitution are adequately safeguarded.
Mr. HOGAN: It is clear then that the position is that I am to bring forward an amendment providing for an appeal to an arbitrator as against anything  done by the Minister under Clause (c) only.
The Minister may also by order make regulations prohibiting the placing of any particular mark or marks of any particular class or description on all or any classes, grades, or descriptions of butter, or on any packages or wrappers containing any such butter, or on any letters or invoices or other trade documents issued or used in relation to such butter, and where any such regulations have been made and are in force, any person who places any mark on any butter or any package or wrapper or any letters or invoices or other trade documents in contravention of any such regulation, shall be guilty of an offence under this section, and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds.
In the Select Committee a new sub-section was inserted. In lieu of that sub-section, I propose now this new sub-section. I suppose this will be looked on as an interference with trade. I consider that this is a very necessary section. The previous section of the Bill gives the Minister power to see that certain marks or brands may be placed on a package of butter. This section gives him power to prohibit that. What may happen is this—it is open to any exporter, unless this section is inserted, to place on any package of butter a brand or mark saying “Factory—Inspected by the Government” or “Butter exported under licence of the Free State Government.” That description may be perfectly true and would not be misleading to anyone in this country, but it might be misleading in England. The butter is exported to England to be sold perhaps to a wholesale dealer. He may know the meaning of it. The shopkeeper to whom he sells it may know the meaning of it, but certainly the buyer in  England would not know the meaning of it. If it appeared, say, on the invoice, or on the package of butter that the factory was inspected by the Free State Government, or that the butter was issued under licence by the Free State Government, the buyer would be under the impression that that butter was guaranteed. It is in order to prevent any such false impression being conveyed that I move this amendment.
Mr. HOGAN: I accept the amendment. I believe the Northern Government had reason recently to object to merchants putting on their packages of butter and on their bills the mark: “This butter is guaranteed by the Government” or “This factory is inspected by the Government.”
AN CATHAOIRLEACH: What I was going to suggest is that this clause which the Minister brings in will partly meet the case. We will not finally close the Report Stage to-day, so that on the next day it comes up it will be open to insert this amendment.
Mr. DOWDALL: I have nothing to say against this section, but I would say this, as I said some things recently against my own countrymen, that all the guilt is not on our own side. On the other side traders put brands on butter which would not be sanctioned by the Department here. I think if some arrangement could be made with the Department of Agriculture in England to get penalties instituted there for tampering with the brands of butter, or for putting on brands to which the butter is not entitled, it would do much good.
Mr. HOGAN: There is an amendment that I would ask to have inserted here. It is to sub-section (1) of section  25, to insert after the word “entitled” the words “subject to the production by him if so required of his authority in writing.”
Sir JOHN KEANE: In this case I was going to ask the Oireachtas to exercise their sovereign powers by imposing conditions upon the Minister. We are giving the Minister power to impose almost any conditions he likes on the unfortunate people engaged in the industry. I think that we should impose a definite condition on the Minister and on his Department to see that the inspectors who are appointed are experts in the business. I anticipate that if that were done that you might succeed in introducing not only a factor of sympathy but a factor of economy into the work of the inspectors. I am sure the Minister will say that that is the intention, but I should have liked to have that made perfectly clear here by the statute, that the inspectors who are to carry out the multifarious duties prescribed under the Act shall not only be thoroughly acquainted with the business but shall be technically qualified to show how things, if necessary, should be done. If that is done people will not be able to say “we do not want Government interference by busybodies who know nothing.” I am not tied to the words of my amendment because I do not know what are the qualifications of an instructor in dairying. If the Minister would accept the spirit of the amendment I would not cavil about the wording of it. We all know that instructors appointed  by county committees of agriculture have to possess certain qualifications.
Sir JOHN KEANE: I leave myself entirely in the hands of the Minister. The dairy instructors appointed under the county committees of agriculture are required to possess certain technical qualifications. I would ask that these qualifications should be possessed by every inspector appointed under this Act, with further qualifications on the inspecting side as may be required.
Mr. HOGAN: The qualifications for instructors are as follows:—(1) a certificate of having passed an examination in subjects relating to creamery management; (2) that they must have managed to the satisfaction of the Department a creamery for one year, and that they have received a creamery manager's certificate; (3) that they must have managed successfully for a number of years, a creamery.
Colonel MOORE: I beg to move the following amendment which stands in my name. In Section 45, sub-section (1) to delete, in line 55, the word “consultative” and to substitute therefor the words “dairy produce.”
This seems to be a very small matter  but really it goes much deeper than one might think. The Commission of Inquiry which reported on this subject was given very ample powers. This Bill embodies many of the recommendations which were made by that Commission. This recommendation, however, was not made by the Commission. It is called the consultative committee. It has no power whatever; it is merely a consultative committee according to the Bill, and I agree for the moment it could not be very much more. The powers that were suggested for that commission were very extensive. I think we recognised at the time and certainly recognise now that they could not be handed over all the powers that were then suggested. I think that making the commission a consultative committee stamps it for that purpose alone. I would prefer that a little more liberty were given this body by calling it some other name in order that at some future time when things develop a little better in this country the commission should become something more than consultative.
Therefore, I suggest that the name be changed to “Dairy Produce.” I do not know whether the Minister will go that far, so as to leave the matter open without stamping it always as a consultative committee.
Mr. HOGAN: My position is that you cannot leave this matter open. Either the committee is to be a consultative one or one with administrative functions. We must make up our minds at this Stage whether it is to be one or the other. You could not possibly draft an amendment which would confine the functions of the committee to consultation for the first two years, and then suddenly give them administrative functions. If you give them, you can take them away. You can do that as it is. I dare say you could hand over certain administrative functions to this committee if you liked, but you certainly could not hand over the responsibility of the Department in the matter.
Mr. HOGAN: In answer to that, I am saying that I do not know any form of words which would at the same time establish a consultative council and also establish an administrative council, even if those functions are not to come into operation until a later stage, and which could take over the responsibilities of the Department of Agriculture either in big or small things. Let us consider what is the position at present. If it is changed afterwards I am afraid it will have to be changed by legislation. At the moment we could not have anything except a consultative council, and I do not see any prospect of it in the future.
Mr. HOGAN: We could not have an administrative council. We could not either surrender our responsibilities or our rights in this matter to any outside body. My answer to the second question is, that if later on it does seem necessary to give certain administrative powers, vis a vis the Department, to the Council, I take it the only proper way to do that will be by legislation. It would be a serious step, and it would need legislation and consideration by everybody. It would raise a very important issue.
This amendment deals with the same matter. I do not like this consultative committee to be merely a nominal body which will only turn up when the Minister chooses to call it—perhaps never. I should like to see the committee brought together at least once a quarter—at all events at some specified time, so as to ensure that it is being set up for real practical purposes.
Mr. HOGAN: If it was the intention of the Department to make this Committee a useless body it could be done  in spite of anything you can insert in the Bill. The particular safeguard which the Senator wishes to introduce would be quite useless for that purpose. When I say it could be done I am hardly correct. It would be more correct to put it in another way. No amount of safeguards in the Bill itself will make this consultative committee a real body. It is circumstances outside the Bill that will ensure that the consultative committee shall be a really live body. Senator Dowdall put his finger on the real point. This Bill contains such wide powers that unless they are administered with the co-operation of the trade it will fail. There is no doubt that the trade could wreck this Bill. Everyone sees that it is essential we should have the co-operation of the trade. If we have not that co-operation the Bill is going to fail, and that means a very big discussion in the Dáil, in the Press, and all over the country about this question. It will be in that atmosphere this council will be operating. If the Bill is failing because of some contention, say, between the Department and the creamery managers or farmers on a point that could be put to the council, the question will be asked: why is it not put to it? The fact is, it would be impossible for any Minister, having set up the council, to fail to call it together. I put it to the Senator that these are real safeguards. The council might come together three times a week for six weeks to deal with regulations, and then perhaps might not be called together for four months.
Mr. FARREN: May I point out that there is a provision in the section already stating that the council shall meet on such occasions as they shall determine. If the council wish to meet there is nothing in the section to prevent them.
Butter bearing the national brand of prime quality can command a good  price. The purpose of this and the following amendments is that butter bearing the national mark should be exported at half the fees charged for ordinary butter. I think it is only right we should encourage the export of butter bearing the national mark.
Mr. HOGAN: I agree that the principle, which is to put a premium on efficient creameries, should be encouraged as far as possible. I suggest as an alternative to the amendment, the following, which will effect the same purpose:—
Section 34, sub-section (3), page 23, in line 1 to delete the words “(in this Act called the annual fee),” and in line 2, immediately after the word “Act” to insert the words “or, in the case of premises in respect of which a licence under Part IV. of this Act is in force, such lesser fee as the Minister may, if he so thinks fit, prescribe in respect of such premises,  which fee or lesser fee (as the case may be) is in this Act called the annual fee.”
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