Seanad Éireann








[893] Do chuaidh an Cathaoirleach i gceannas ar a 3 a chlog.

Question proposed: “That the Bill be read a second time.”

Mr. O'FARRELL:  With the general principles of this Bill I do not think any reasonable person can quarrel. It is an attempt merely to confer upon railway companies within the Saorstát rights with regard to road motor transport now enjoyed by every private citizen. It, however, suffers from a number of defects. In the first place, it is, in my opinion, very belated. It should have been introduced at least three years ago before certain vested interests in road transport were created, which will now, to a great extent, help to make its working rather difficult. It divides control between the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Local Government. Thirdly, it is merely another small piecemeal attempt to deal with a very complicated and important problem which can only be dealt with satisfactorily by one comprehensive measure co-ordinating the various systems of transport, both by rail, road, water and air, when we have aerial commercial services. The Government have shown an enormous lack of policy or general constructive ideas with regard to this question of transport. In 1922 they set up a Railways Commission to inquire into the whole question of railway re-organisation. There was a majority report and three out of the four Commissioners recommended the acquisition of the railways by the State. The Government failed to give legislative effect to their findings and introduced instead, a Bill amalgamating the railways completely within the Saorstát. Then, in 1923, they set up a Commission to inquire into the canals and inland [894] waterways. That Commission reported after a careful study of the problem, but the recommendations went by the board, and have, so far, not been acted upon.

In November, 1923, the Labour Party in the Dáil introduced a Transport and Communications Bill which provided for a constructive and comprehensive solution of the whole transport problem. It involved the setting up of a Transport Ministry which should deal with rail, roads, aerial and postal services under the one Ministry. The Government were full of praises for the Bill, but saw that it was heavily defeated nevertheless. In April, 1924, the Railways Bill was introduced and has become law. Since that the Government have had to introduce two amending Bills, one regarding the directorate and another to fix the basis of compensation for redundant employees. Now we have another Bill introduced dealing with the railways and their connection with road motor transport. Strange to say, a month after this Bill is introduced the Government set up a Committee to inquire into the whole question of road transport, traffic regulations, speed maxima, cattle droving and matters of that kind. One would have imagined that a committee would have been set up and that its findings would have been before the Government before they introduced a Bill such as this. In addition, a Commission on Harbours was set up several months ago which is also considering another phase of transport. It is not in a position to deal with all harbours. It cannot deal, for example, with the harbours for Dublin and Cork. The result is that the question of transport is in a most deplorable state of chaos, and the attempt to solve it has been picemeal, without having any relationship to any other attempt. It is quite possible, when the recommendations of the Committee on Transport are available, that some of the Bills, such as the one before us, will have to be repealed or else amended out of all recognition. The question of transport is exceedingly important.

Apart from the question of commercial and industrial development, the [895] amount of traffic passing is exceedingly limited. At the best of times, when the railway had almost a complete monopoly of transport, there was hardly sufficient to keep them going at full speed. It was certainly never a very profitable undertaking even when it paid most absurdly low wages and worked its employees the longest possible hours. Now the transport is being shared by a whole fleet of private motor buses, and this Bill proposes to add to that motor competition on the road. I agree it is an equitable measure to give them an opportunity of engaging in the new form of transport, and is a protection to the community to the extent that the routes must be approved by the Minister; the routes and fares must be fixed, and they cannot be changed except with the approval of the Minister. The motor services must also be run and cannot be withdrawn without permission.

I think it would be a desirable development if transport generally were controlled in that way, because at present there is no standardisation whatever of charges and no assurance that certain services would be changed and no regulations governing the cleanliness of passenger buses, or any of the other regulations considered necessary where railways are involved for the safety and clean transit of the travelling public. To that extent the few buses that the railway company will run will be an improvement on the other forms of transport, but it will only deal with the outside fringe of this big subject, and it is lamentable that the Government could not see its way to go into the whole question of inland transport, and then introduce a comprehensive measure instead of allowing a whole period of vested interests to grow, and then to bring in legislation which will be hampered to the extent that these people will be claiming compensation if there is any limitation of services by restriction of routes. The sooner we have a comprehensive measure the better for the country and its industry.

Sir JOHN KEANE:  When the Minister is making a general statement would he say what is his objection to [896] allowing railways to operate as freely as private owners? I cannot see the reason for those close restrictions on railway companies. If they pay the ordinary taxes, and heavy duties on the lorries, why should they not be allowed to operate and compete? I shudder to think of what is to happen if the last speaker's views are put into operation. We are to have another big Department brought under the State. We will have regulated forms and all that terrible restriction. Of course in time we might get immune by the result of steady inoculation and we may be able to resist the dangerous process.

MINISTER for INDUSTRY and COMMERCE (Mr. McGilligan):  With regard to what Senator O'Farrell said, I have already admitted some more comprehensive measures dealing with transport in all its phases would have to be looked forward to, and we are taking steps to get detailed consideration given to the transport problem generally, so that a measure may be introduced. I can never understand the point of view that what is an injustice should be allowed to continue simply because a particular problem cannot be dealt with in its greatest details. Senator O'Farrell referred to a measure introduced in the other House by the Labour Party. There was not sufficient data in it on which a proper measure could be founded. That is the position at the moment. It is only when this Bill has been in operation for some time and we have seen the services run under ordinary conditions with accounts properly kept, with depreciation and everything attended to that we shall have the material upon which to get a proper estimate of the respective merits of road services and railway services.

Senator Sir John Keane asked me as to the necessity of the restrictions. The restrictions can be abolished by this House if it thinks fit.

All I set out to do was this: To see that the disability which prevented the railway company from operating on the roads should be removed and removed as speedily as possible. In contradistinction the other side had to be [897] looked at, and what presented itself to me was that the railway company should not be allowed to enter into such injudicious competition as would affect the railway revenue and consequently have the effect of increasing by application to the Railway Tribunal the charges which the railway company can make. That was the duty I had to perform more or less in carrying out the Railway Act of 1924. On that process the simple consideration was: Was one going to permit a big corporation like a railway company, free from all restrictions, so to operate that it could drive out every other competitor on the roads, and having driven out every competitor along certain routes, then to withdraw its services forthwith. There are certain restrictions in the Bill intended to guard against the railway company's using its better convenience and better facilities with regard to agents and arrangements of their time-tables so as to wipe out competitors along certain routes, and having done away with that competition, then to withdraw their own service. If it is the desire of the House and if it thinks these restrictions are unduly oppressive, we can have amendments in Committee to take away or to lessen these hardships if it is believed that there are any hardships. The Bill as put forward at the moment is the best attempt that can be made by a Government Department to see that the public will get the best service possible from a combination of rail and road and to protect the railway service and the public generally against increased railway charges, and also to ensure whatever be the best form of transport, whether alone by the railway company or with a private company, should be allowed to continue. We should not enable the overwhelming resources of the railway company, in relation to others operating, to remove their competition so that the public would be no better off.

Mr. FARREN:  I would like to say one or two words in regard to the remarks of Senator Sir John Keane. He is always ready to claim free trade for capital without any interference from anybody outside. Of course, we all understand there must be a certain [898] amount of freedom and liberty for everybody but we also know that the laws of the land are passed to put restrictions upon certain people so as not to give them licence instead of liberty. Senator Sir John Keane when he speaks about the free play for capital seems to forget the important fact that in other countries as well as this the State has to step in to make regulations for the guidance of the subject whether capitalist or working class people. Sir Eric Geddes who is said to be the greatest exponent of capital that we ever had in these islands and the gentleman who has been promoted to be the Chairman of one of the greatest industrial companies in England to save it from disaster and who was Minister for Transport in the Coalition Government in Great Britain in 1919, said in the British House of Commons, on a certain day, dealing with the question of transport something like this:—

“We have realised, perhaps, in the last year or two that without a go-ahead system, a vitalizing system of transportation, the health and housing of the people, agricultural development, settlement of the land, and the industrial development of the country cannot possibly be achieved... The Government has come to the conclusion that some measure of unified control of all systems of transportation is necessary, that there must be somebody who can be asked what the transportation policy of the country is, and whose responsibility it is to have a policy. There is none to-day, and it is only the State, the Government, that can centrally take that position.”

A couple of years after Sir Eric Geddes introduced and carried the Amalgamation Bill of the British railways. In every well-organised community it is necessary for the State to protect the general interests of the people and in this country that is what has been done as far as the railways are concerned. As far as I can understand the principle of this Bill the Minister is endeavouring to give fair play to the railway company [899] while at the same time safeguarding the position of its competitors.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill ordered for Third Stage.

Title postponed.

Section 1 agreed to.


(1) Save as is otherwise provided by this Act, it shall not be lawful for any person in any county borough to sell or expose for sale any intoxicating liquor or to open or keep open any premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor or to permit any intoxicating liquor to be consumed on licensed premises.

Mr. FARREN:  I move amendment No. 1:—

Section 2, sub-section (1) To delete in line 27 the words “In any county borough.”

This amendment deals with the question of the bona fide traffic on Sundays. If the amendment were passed it would mean that every seven-day licensed house in the Saorstát, irrespective of whether it is in a county borough or in a rural area, will be enabled to open on a Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. I thought it was necessary to put this amendment down to the second section because it deals with the hours of opening of Sunday. It is hardly necessary for me to say that it is my object not to open every publichouse on a Sunday from 2 to 5 without bringing about some other alteration as well. The real object of the amendment therefore is, if it is carried, to wipe out the bona fide traffic on Sunday as far as those houses are concerned. As the Bill stands it means that in the county boroughs licensed houses are entitled to open from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. but that in the urban and rural areas they are not entitled to open for ordinary traffic on a Sunday at all. But in the section dealing with the bona fide traffic the most extraordinary position occurs because there they are entitled to be open not, indeed, for three hours, but for eight [900] hours. My object is quite clear. I want to enable all seven-day licensed houses to open from 2 to 5 on Sundays and to prevent the opening of houses in rural areas for eight hours on Sundays. It was mentioned on the Second Reading that there was a three mile limit in the country. Everyone knows, with the present system of transport, that there is no difficulty whatever in people travelling three miles on a Sunday. If they travel three miles they have perfect freedom to drink for eight hours. I think it is an absurd position to have total closing in the rural areas on Sundays except that they can keep open for eight hours for people who come three miles. It means that the people of one parish have only to travel to the next parish and vice versa. Now, we all know what happens in the environments of Dublin on Sunday. I do not want to dwell on what occurs in these places on Sunday evenings. Everybody knows it. If this amendment is passed I have a further amendment down that will deal further with the bona fide traffic, and that is the object I have in view.

MINISTER for JUSTICE (Mr. O'Higgins):  The Senator has told us what it is he intends by this amendment. I may say a word, perhaps, as to what would be effected by his amendment. The effect of the amendment, as I see it, is to make the hours of opening throughout the country and the hours of closing uniform, to remove any differentiation that may exist in any respect between the opening and the closing hours in the county boroughs and the opening and closing hours elsewhere throughout the State. If this amendment were carried it would give complete uniformity, including, of course, the extension of the split day to all parts of the State. And it would be necessary, as a logical consequence of this amendment, if carried, to move on to sub-sections (2) and (3) which relate to the hours in urban districts and places outside the county boroughs, and to delete the provisions contained in the Bill in respect to such places. There may be a great lot to be said for this. What I have to say against it is this: That it is contrary to the [901] recommendations of the Commission on whose report this Bill is based. They did not recommend uniformity; on the contrary, they recommended considerable diversity in different areas throughout the State with regard to the opening hours for licensed houses. They have not recommended the break in the day outside the four county boroughs. The effect of the Senator's amendment would be to extend that to all parts of the State. On the other hand, they do not recommend what the Senator advocates, and what I, to some extent, advocated in the Dáil, that is, the complete abolition of the bona fide traffic in exchange for a limited uniform opening on a Sunday afternoon throughout the State. If we took the Senator's amendment as effecting only that, and, as he explained his intention, it would be merely to make that change.

His intention, as described, would appear simply to be to abolish the bona fide traffic and to substitute therefor a uniform three hours' opening on Sunday afternoons. I tested the feeling of the Dáil on that as it was discussed quite openly and in a non-party way, and the feeling was against that change. If it were otherwise I would gladly introduce the change in the Bill, because it is a change that I, personally, consider desirable. It is a change I believe will come in time. I am prepared to accept as a political phenomenon the fact that public feeling, as represented in the Dáil, and as far as I have been able to obtain it through other sources, does not desire this change; does not desire a uniform three hours' opening on Sunday afternoons throughout the State in exchange for the abolition of the bona fide traffic. That being so, it would not be really advantageous to adopt the amendment. I would not have any hope that the Dáil would accept it. I think in view of the evidence I have as to popular feeling on the matter, I could not ask the Dáil to accept it.

Some people in areas that are not troubled with the bona fide traffic or the abuses arising from it say they do not want Sunday opening, that the effect would be to introduce abuses where there are none. On the other [902] hand, I believe that the bona fide traffic is a growing evil because of the increased use of motor vehicles of one kind or another, and I think in time the people may be glad enough to remove it entirely for the statutory farce it is, and to substitute something on a line with what Senator Farren speaks of in the amendment. The bona fide traffic has, of course, been substantially pruned. It was pruned by the Act of 1924, which cut out the hours in the country between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. It is now proposed to prune it further by restricting the hours to a period of six hours in the non-summer time and seven hours in the summer time. The hours in operation other than in summer time are from 1 to 7 and in summer time they may be one to eight or, alternatively, two to nine. If the system is to remain at all, I think those hours are probably reasonable enough, and I would not be prepared to accept an amendment giving this uniform three hours' opening throughout the State, not because I disapprove of it myself, but because I have every reason to believe the general public opinion of the country is against that change.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  I was rather puzzled by Senator Farren's amendment until he explained the intention. I suggest to the Senator that it would not be desirable to pass the amendment, as it is quite conceiveable that there are Senators who would be prepared to vote for it, but who would not be so enthusiastic in voting for what Senator Farren regards as a necessary corollary, that is, the abolition of the bona fide traffic. I put down an amendment proposing the abolition of the bona fide traffic, and intended to make the same suggestion as Senator Farren, as I thought it wiser to get rid of the bona fide traveller first and put in the two or three hours' opening afterwards. I do not think we should pay too much attention to what the Minister called the political phenomenon as represented by parties in the Dáil. I am not at all convinced, if this issue could be properly put before the people, that there would be any great love for the bona fide traveller. There may be some districts which would risk the bona fide traveller nuisance. Nevertheless [903] I believe from the point of view of the trade and its administration, it would be better to allow opening for a limited period and abolish the bona fide traffic altogether.

I am sometimes supposed to speak in this House for the temperance party. I do not. I have no authority to do so. On this matter I would say that that party is not agreed. A great many that I have consulted would prefer not to have opening on Sundays. If it were possible to abolish the bona fide traffic in return for a general opening for three hours, which could be easily enforced, we would have made a real step forward. That is my definite conviction, having thought the matter over for some time. It is shared by some temperance advocates and opposed by others. I think we should consider this matter on merits.

If there was an amendment—not this one—providing for the abolition of the bona fide traffic, and if that were followed by the insertion of three hours' opening in country districts in another portion of the Bill, and if it were carried, I think we should see whether the Dáil, on a free vote, would not accept it. The Minister argued in favour of that in the Dáil. He said if there was any kind of feeling in favour of it he would be prepared to introduce an amendment to that effect. Speaking subject to correction, I do not think that was definitely proposed or voted on in the Dáil. It was simply a question, that if there was a general feeling he would introduce the amendment. One or two Deputies that I spoke to, who took no action, said they thought that would have been an improvement if it had been made. I do not think it can be done by this amendment. I hope that in some form the House will consider whether it would have been better to abolish the bona fide traffic and to open the houses for a limited period of, say, three hours.

Amendment put and declared lost.


Prohibited Hours.

(1) Save as is otherwise provided by this Act, it shall not be lawful for any person in any county borough to [904] sell or expose for sale any intoxicating liquor or to open or keep open any premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor or to permit any intoxicating liquor to be consumed on licensed premises—

(a) on any ordinary week day, before the hour of ten o'clock in the morning or after the hour of ten o'clock in the evening, or (subject to the exceptions hereinafter mentioned) between the hours of half-past two o'clock and half-past three o'clock in the afternoon, or

(b) on any Saturday, before the hour of ten o'clock in the morning or after the hour of half-past nine o'clock in the evening, or (subject to the exceptions hereinafter mentioned) between the hours of half-past two o'clock and half-past three o'clock in the afternoon, or

(c) on any Sunday or on St. Patrick's Day, before the hour of two o'clock in the afternoon or after the hour of five o'clock in the afternoon, or

(d) at any time on Christmas Day or Good Friday.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  I move:

Section 2, sub-section (1) to delete in lines 34-35 the words “half-past two o'clock and half-past three” and to substitute therefor the words “three o'clock and five.”

In effect this amendment seeks to restore the Bill to its original form with regard to afternoon closing. I recognise that if passed some other amendments would be necessary in order to bring the Bill back to the form in which it was introduced by the Minister. The House, I think, will have no difficulty in voting on the principle of this and following amendments. This matter was debated at length in the Dáil and probably every Senator has made up his mind on the matter. Partly, I presume, as a result of the political phenomenon there was a free vote in the Dáil and, if one can understand the proceeding, the House decided in favour of retaining two hours in the afternoon. At a later stage, which I presume was more free, [905] the other House decided to delete that and to insert one hour. The Intoxicating Liquor Commission recommended, and they stated they placed considerable importance on the recommendation, a two hours' closing in the afternoon in the four boroughs. I believe this is a matter of very considerable importance and that a two hours' break would be a very considerable gain from the point of view of the abolition of drunkenness and the abolition of the hours worked in the licensed houses. I feel that a break from three to five would be of more value than from 2.30 to 3.30, the short hour that is at present in the Bill. The House should have a free vote on the issue and decide it on the merits. I think it would have been better, even if we retained the one hour, to have allowed houses where there are structural alterations to keep the portion which is not used for the consumption of intoxicating liquor on the premises open. I think it would be far better to give the advantage to those houses who go to the trouble and expense of providing structural alterations. Apart from that I hope the House will agree to re-insert the two hours mentioned in the amendment.

Mr. BENNETT:  It was represented to me that one hour's closing is unreasonable, particularly in Limerick. The licence holders argue that farmers and other people attending markets have not in that time sufficient time to secure food. The one-hour period has been accepted by the Dáil. If there is an injustice in that decision there will be much more injustice in the two hours suggested by Senator Douglas. I feel that there is some justice in the argument of licensed traders, especially houses where biscuits and beer can be secured. As the one hour has been accepted by the Dáil I do not think we should depart from it. I would not approve of the two hours' closing as I think it would merely make the clause more inequitable.

Dr. GOGARTY:  When one looks at the title of the Bill one would really think that it is the very opposite of a measure designed to stop drinking in the country. There is one point of view [906] that has not been urged so far. We are trying to make Ireland a more attractive place and a more welcome place for tourists, but if they come over here and find us subject to so many restrictions they will go away with the idea that they are either in a kindergarten establishment or a maison de l' insanité. We are told that the effect of the bona fide regulations is to bring people out of the cities into the country because the publichouses are kept open longer there, but there is a tendency to be overwhelmed by the notion that temperance is a very good thing and that publichouses should be kept closed as long as possible. I see very little intemperance in publichouses, and the sooner people face the fact that we are an adult nation and not a kindergarten community, and the sooner men can get away from these legislative apron strings, the better it will be for all concerned. It is high time that all this nonsense about publichouses being kept open should be stopped. There is a great deal of nonsense being talked in that way, but if a man has not character of his own to save him from intemperance, no amount of legislation or pious talk will do a bit of good.

Mr. KENNY:  I think that Senators are getting away from the original intention of the Bill. The Minister, in introducing the Bill, laid down the principle that the particular interest should not be allowed to prevail over the general interest. He also laid it down that the intention of the Bill was to decrease licenses and the facilities for excessive drinking. That is a very laudable intention, and when we consider the fact that we are spending some seventeen and a half millions on drink, I think Senator Gogarty's argument seems rather weak, that there should be no effort made to restrict the liberty——

Dr. GOGARTY:  The Senator must remember that when you close publichouses you also close distilleries and breweries, and these are sources of considerable income and employment.

Mr. KENNY:  I could if I wished argue against that. We must hold to the intention. The original intention [907] has been departed from in the Dáil, so much so, that the character of the Bill has been entirely altered, and, instead of being a Bill to reduce licences and to restrict the facilities for drinking and the temptation to drink, the Bill, as introduced to this House, is a Bill simply to increase further the privileges of the licensed trade. It has been modified out of all the intentions of the original Bill. With regard to the right of the State to intervene to restrict the evils of the drinking trade, where drink becomes a vice—it may be a necessity to some constitutions, and so far as alcohol is moderately used as a stimulant, in such cases there is no harm done—and when the victims of that vice are a considerable nuisance and a source of considerable expense to the State, it is the duty and the business of the State to step in. This is not a matter in which the State has stepped in for the first time.

We are all familiar with the story of the temperance advocate on a platform who was approached by one of the audience and asked if he would accompany the man in the audience, who would show him the very great amount of good that was derived from the liquor traffic, and the vast amount of employment it provided in distilleries, publichouses, etc. The temperance advocate said: “Yes, certainly, if you will, after our inspection, accompany me and we will look up the records of the police courts, poorhouses, lunatic asylums, inebriate homes, jails and institutions of charitable organisations, ninety per cent. of the cost of which is due to drink and its consequences.” That was a very fair challenge, but it was not taken up. The State has a right to try to minimise this traffic, particularly in the economic circumstances of this country, and our capacity to bear such a drain and such an expenditure. In our present depressed state, every ounce of our efficiency and energy is required to improve the position in which we find ourselves at the moment. Every extra glass of whiskey a man takes, beyond his capacity, is lessening his efficiency, whatever he may be employed at. From the lowliest worker to the manager of [908] the largest establishment it applies equally. They lessen their efficiency by every glass in which they indulge. I certainly would support every amendment that has for its object the reduction of publichouses or the lessening of opportunities or temptations for indulging in drink.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  I must remind the House that the only matter we are discussing now is whether these houses should be closed for one hour or two hours during the business hours of the day. That is the question before the House, not the question of temperance or intemperance.

Mr. FANNING:  I rise to resist the amendment, and I ask that the original clause should stand. The hour selected was arrived at, after very serious consideration, having regard to the various interests. What case has been established for the amendment? The Minister has spoken of the long sitter and the necessity of a little fresh air and of enforcing a respite of a few hours to enable this long sitter to develop a new thirst. I speak in the light of a long experience, and I have never met this bogey or mystery man the Minister has evolved. Perhaps he permitted himself to dip too deeply into the past to try and make us visualise the chronic medico or the Grafton Street Johnny, reading for the Bar immortalised by D'Alton Williams' days of the bar-maid's eyes—the gent with the plaid trousers and carefully-oiled whiskers. I do not link the Minister with that period, but what I do protest against is the desire of Senator Douglas to revive that bogeyman of more than half a century ago. There is no such person to-day as the long sitter, and I consider Senator Douglas must be fairly bankrupt for an argument when he relies on such a statement. Personally, as a trader, I welcome the dinner hour, and the Minister has accepted the decision because it has established his idea. Well, the licensed trade is primarily regarded as a public convenience, and while one hour may not prove inconvenient, we simply say that two hours would be meaningless.

The public are entitled to some consideration because, when all is said and [909] done, they are ultimately the deciding factor. How would the two hours work out? The first batch would leave for dinner at 1 p.m.; the second at 2 p.m.; before they were due to return, closing time had arrived. Then when the opening time came, tea hour had come, and that would go on until 7 o'clock. Consequently the proprietor would be placed in the position of a man trying to carry on business without assistance although he had to bear the expense of a staff of assistants. I have a suspicion that such a condition of affairs would not be tolerated in the vicinity of Camden Street. Now I come to the question of drunkenness, and let me say right off, I find difficulty in reconciling the statements of some clerics as well as those of some pussyfoot diehards with ordinary truth. I leave out fair play, because I am long since satisfied that it does not exist in that particular quarter. Let us get down to a few facts that may perhaps clear the air to some extent. Where is the drunkenness? I am concerned with the city of Dublin where my whole life has been spent, and what are the real facts? Instead of drunkenness I hold that the Irish metropolis is the soberest in Europe to-day. What are the facts? They are capable of proof, because they are the police records, and if they cannot be relied upon, then where are we to seek the truth? What do those records disclose? Simply this, that for the seven days of the week there is not a case of drunkenness in the courts for every fifty thousand of the population.

Mr. DOWDALL:  Does this deal with the amendment?

CATHAOIRLEACH:  I think it is nearer to it than most of the other speeches.

Mr. KENNY:  I would like to point out that Senators are not supposed to read their speeches.

Mr. FANNING:  I have a very distinct recollection of Senator Kenny reading——

CATHAOIRLEACH:  The Senator should address the Chair. I have not seen anything wrong up to the present.

[910]Mr. FANNING:  I stand on that statement, and few and all as the cases are, they are not traceable to any extent to the publichouses. They are chiefly the product of hotel lounges, restaurants and theatre bars, not to speak of the bogus club. Some, of course, will say all this is traceable to legislation. That may be, but I submit it is more directly traceable to the way in which licensed houses are conducted. Nobody has a greater hatred of the drunken man than the proprietor of the licensed house. He is the one man he has no desire to come in contact with. The licensed trader has too much at stake. He has purchased his business at a good price, and has no desire to forfeit his property in the cause of intemperance. I have often thought that a good deal could be accomplished if those concerned with the cause of temperance and national sobriety would only moderate their views, so far as the people engaged in the licensed trade are concerned. If they thought it worth their while to discuss matters with them in conference, a vast amount of good could be accomplished. But no, they prefer frontal attacks on their fellow-countrymen and women, and continue to traffic in war-cries and accusations that are worn threadbare and proved to be false. There is as good a civic spirit within the fold of the licensed trade as can be found in any other community. They ask for no favour; they simply ask for justice and fair play. They ask for an impartial administration of the statutes that is their right, and that being guaranteed, as it should be, they are prepared to play their part as citizens and men. I hope the amendment will not meet with the approval of this House.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  The amendment proposes to restore the two hours' closing, and the Senator moving it recognises that if that is done there would need to be consequential alterations in the Bill. Senators should remember that when the provision was in the Bill for the two hours' closing down in the day, houses doing a mixed business were, under that provision, allowed to keep open for the non-licensed [911] side of their business. I suppose I had less illusions about that than perhaps any member of the Dáil. I recognise that there would be a good deal of evasion of the law, that it would be a difficult matter to administer, and that it would throw a rather heavy burden on the police in the four county boroughs where it applied. When the proposal was made to me to arrive at a compromise with those who dissented from the provision of the two hours' closing, on the basis of one hour's closing, with a complete closing of all licensed establishments, mixed and otherwise, I really had very little difficulty in accepting it. I regarded it as quite as good a provision as the two hours' closing down with the mixed houses open for the non-licensed side of their business. That would have been a matter of extreme difficulty for the police to administer, and I recognise that, even with very vigilant supervision on the part of the police, there would have been a great deal of evasion.

Senator Douglas said that a two hours' closing is better than one hour's closing. I notice that he did not say it was twice as good, because, of course, it is not twice as good. If you get a break in the day, if you get the licensed houses cleared, that in itself is a good thing whether the duration of the closing down be one or two hours. I am very satisfied to have established for the first time in legislation here this principle of some break in the day, and I am not over-worried about the duration of the break. As I say, I am quite prepared to accept an hour with complete closing as a substitute for two hours with the mixed houses open. The position is very complicated here owing to the fact that 85 to 90 per cent. of the publichouses of the country do another kind of business also, and are as much shops as publichouses. It is rather a serious thing to contemplate a two hours' closing down if you insist that throughout those two hours there would be closed doors. I think you could not do that, and therefore you have to choose between what might in many cases be an actual farce—a two hours' closing down for the mixed [912] houses with their doors open for the non-licensed side of their business, and one hour's closing with the entire premises closed. I agree to take the one hour closing of the doors and I am prepared to stand over it. Now, I suppose we will agree that the report of the Intoxicating Liquor Commission should be taken seriously. That Commission sat for a long period. It heard a great many witnesses, and altogether it was a most industrious body. In the course of their report this passage occurs:

“We desire to add that during our proceedings we considered the liquor laws of various other countries, and we were satisfied that in no hard drinking country has the problem of drink control been so successfully handled, or so much improvement secured as under the British system.”

In Great Britain you have this principle of the broken day established everywhere. I am satisfied that it is an eminently desirable reform here. Senators may take it that the hours which prevail for the most part throughout Great Britain are as follow:—In the Metropolis the hours are between 11.30 a.m. and 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and between 5.30 in the afternoon and 11 at night. That is a two and a half hours' break. You have first a three and a half hours' period of having the houses open, and then you have the period from 5.30 to 11 o'clock. In other parts of England the hours are between 11.30 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon, and between 5.30 in the afternoon and 10 at night. That is to say, a period of three and a half hours and four and a half hours open. You have there an eight hours' day with a two hours' break.

Mr. BROWN:  That is in the country districts.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  Yes, and you have an eight hours' day with a two and a half hours' break elsewhere. I have to defend two positions. I am in the middle of the road. Senator Douglas is calling for a two hours' break and others are deprecating any restriction on drinking hours, on the off chance that it may bring a frown to the brow [913] of the genial tourist. Now, the restriction in drinking hours is necessary, it is, at any rate, highly advisable, if we are not to deteriorate into a C3 pleasure-loving people, with very little desire for progress of any kind. I am not over worried nor over impressed by the tourist argument. I think when we go abroad we accept the regulations that we find in any country in this matter of drinking, or in any other matter, and we would get very little hearing or very little sympathy from the inhabitants in a country if we did not accept the regulations existing there. I think that, generally, legislation should be drawn in accordance with the wishes of the people living within the particular country, rather than with undue advertence to the wishes of those who may stray in from outside. When we go to France, Italy or Switzerland we accept the laws we find in existence there. We take it those laws are moulded in accordance with the wishes of the electorate of those countries, and we submit to them whatever they are, and I think we would get very short shrift if we did not.

The tourist coming here must generally conform to the general outlook of the people of the country regarding the hours that are prevailing in this matter, whether on a Sunday or week-days, and I think we do well to find out what our minds and standards are on this matter rather than be guessing at the standards of prospective visitors, whose standards would be as variable as that prevailing amongst the inhabitants of the particular country from which they come.

Senator Kenny said that the Bill is not a Bill imposing any restrictions, that on the contrary it is a Bill extending concessions, and that it has been altered out of all recognition to the original Bill. That is a slovenly remark unworthy of the Senator. It is widely at variance with the facts. The Bill has not been altered out of all recognition. The Bill does not extend further latitude in the matter of sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor. It restricts very substantially the drinking hours of the ordinary week-days and takes six or seven hours off [914] the hours that were formerly available for the sale and consumption of drink on Sundays. In so far as there are alterations, they are not alterations dealing with the matter of hours at all. I need not go now into that. I went into it before on the Second Reading Stage, and I am surprised that the Senator, who, no doubt, was here on that occasion and who knows precisely what changes were made and what changes were not made, should commit himself to a remark of the kind he has made. To get back to the actual question as between these two hours and one hour, I am quite satisfied with the one hour. I regard one hour with complete closing quite as acceptable as two hours with permission to mixed houses to remain open.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  Why?

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  It would not be reasonable. These licences are competing with off-licences and wholesalers. They are competing with other people in the grocery business, and it would not be reasonable to say to them that because they hold a licence for the sale and consumption on the premises of intoxicating liquor, they must close down their mixed business for as large a portion of the day as two hours. If you plump for the two hours I would consider it absolutely necessary to insert a provision that mixed houses be allowed to keep open during these two hours for the non-licensed side of their business. I doubt very much whether that would be an improvement. It would put an unduly heavy task on the police, and whatever the police vigilance would be, it would give rise to a great deal of furtive drinking and evasion of the law. So far as I am personally concerned, I am better satisfied with the provision as it is.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  In reply to what the Minister has stated I would be perfectly frank. My proposal was not to give permission to mixed houses to open for ordinary business for two hours unless there were structural alterations, and I do not think that in the boroughs there is any necessity in the public interest that they should. I admit that it is quite different in the [915] country districts. The only other thing I want to say is that Senator Fanning replied effectively to most of the things which he thought I was going to say but which I did not say.

Mr. FANNING:  The Senator implied them.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  What I want to say is this, that I have not made, and I do not propose to make, in this House any charge against individuals or against traders as a whole. I do not want to make those charges. There are men in the licensed trade who do not conduct their business properly, and there are men in my trade and in other trades who do not conduct their business properly. I am not making any charge against the licensed trade nor against those trades. They are recognised by the law, and if they keep within the law it is not for any individual to make charges against them. I am opposed to such a thing. It is not because a few people make wild charges that people listening to those charges can be said to agree with them. They may agree with them in other matters, but not necessarily in these charges.

Amendment put and negatived.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  The following amendment, I take it, is governed by the decision in the last:-

Section 2, sub-section (1). To delete in lines 40-41 the words “half-past two o'clock and half-past three” and to substitute therefor the words “three o'clock and five.”—(Senator Douglas.)

Amendment not moved.

Mr. FARREN:  I beg to move:-

Section 2, sub-section (1). After the word “Friday” in the line 46 to insert the words “or St. Patrick's Day.”

There should be no misapprehension in the minds of anybody in regard to this amendment nor the object sought to be achieved by it. Under the present licensing laws there are three days in the year that publichouses are to be closed. These are Christmas Day, Good Friday and St. Patrick's Day. In [916] the Bill now before the House the proposal is that publichouses shall remain open on St. Patrick's Day for the sale of intoxicating liquor, and that the day shall be reckoned the same as a Sunday.

I want you to adhere to the position as it exists at the moment. With regard to the total closing on St. Patrick's Day, members of the Seanad will remember that when the last Licensing Bill was being considered we had a real stand up fight on the question of the closing of the publichouses on St. Patrick's Day. The Seanad on that occasion decided to insist on St. Patrick's Day being treated the same as Christmas Day and Good Friday. The matter went back to the Dáil, and the Dáil disagreed with our amendment. It came back to the Seanad, and like good men and true, Senators insisted on their amendment. The result was that a Joint Committee was set up to deal with the question and we carried the day. I see no reason why we should get away from that position. I remember that as far back as twenty years ago the licensed traders in the City of Dublin, or I should say practically the whole of the decent establishments, to their credit, closed voluntarily on St. Patrick's Day, and only a few low-class traders who tried to take advantage of the decent traders kept their houses open. Bearing that fact in mind, I do not see why the licensed traders should not continue to keep their houses closed on St. Patrick's Day. One may say that it is tyranny, and that class of thing, to ask these houses to close on St. Patrick's Day.

Let us examine the matter. In every other class of business or occupation the houses are closed the 52 Sundays of the year, and every Bank Holiday, including St. Patrick's Day. The licensed trader has to close only for three days out of 365. Surely that is not asking too much. One must remember that a number of people are employed in these licensed houses. If people who talk to me outside, and I suppose inside, this House will say that I have no right to be depriving people of a drink on St. Patrick's Day, [917] my reply to them would be: is not the grocer's assistant as well entitled to a holiday on St. Patrick's Day as the other classes of the community? Surely it is not too much to expect that the licensed houses should close for three days in the year. I appeal to Senators who supported me on the last occasion to stand now by the position they took up then. St. Patrick's Day can be celebrated as the National holiday without having the publichouses open. I do not agree with people who may say that to celebrate the feast of the National Apostle it is necessary to have the publichouses open. When the last Bill was under consideration, and when people were talking about having a right to drown the shamrock, I said, and I repeat it now, that if St. Patrick came to earth again and saw the manner in which some people drown the shamrock he would be prepared to drown the people who drown the shamrock. I appeal to the House not to give way on this question, and to insist that on St. Patrick's Day licensed premises shall be closed the same as on Christmas Day and Good Friday.

Mr. TOAL:  I support Senator Farren's amendment, and I hope it will receive the support of the House. As Senator Farren has said, years ago an appeal was made to the publicans to close their houses on St. Patrick's Day, and that appeal was responded to not only in Dublin, but in the other cities. and in the rural areas. It would be a bad principle if we could not celebrate the feast of our national apostle without having the publichouses open. I appeal to the members of the Seanad to insist on St. Patrick's Day being made a day of total closing.

Mr. KENNEDY:  Senator Farren has told the House that the licensed trade of Dublin for some years closed their houses voluntarily. If that is the case why not allow them to continue closing them voluntarily? Why should there be compulsion to make people do what they have done voluntarily? It is a very poor compliment to the trade, considering there has been a voluntary closing, to bring in a measure compelling them to close whether they like it [918] or not. I ask Senator Farren to withdraw his amendment and leave it a matter of voluntary closing.

Colonel MOORE:  I have only a word or two to say in reply to the remarks of the Senator, and that is that, as far as I know, the licensed houses have passed out of grace since the days he has been referring to. Whatever grace was instilled into them by the Gaelic League has vanished into the air. They open their houses now on St. Patrick's Day.


Colonel MOORE:  They cannot. That is a very good reason. In addition, as Senator Farren has pointed out there was a very small proportion of them who took advantage of the opportunity to trade while the better class houses were closed on St. Patrick's Day. Surely Senators will not approve of blacklegging of that kind to continue. It should not be left to them whether they will or not open on St. Patrick's Day.

Mr. JAMESON:  I expect to hear a word from the Minister about the public on this matter. We have heard the Senators who propose to make us a wonderful nation by not allowing us a drop of drink on St. Patrick's Day, and of the great benefits that are to be had by closing on that day. If he tells us that the whole public are in favour of closing on St. Patrick's Day, I think Senators would agree with Senator Farren. But if the people who are wandering all over the country on St. Patrick's Day want a drink I think it would be a strange thing for the Seanad to say they are not to have it. I am only talking common sense. It seems to me it does not matter much whether the publichouses are closed or not. In Dublin, apparently, as Senator Farren has said, they do not open, but a great many people all over the country might want a drink on St. Patrick's Day and why should the Seanad tell them they are not to have entertainment? I think closing on St. Patrick's Day is not going to make an enormous improvement. We should get commonsense into the discussion. I think the Minister [919] should tell us what is in his mind on this matter.

Mr. O'CONNOR:  I support Senator Farren's view on this question. I think our country at least ought to have enough respect for St. Patrick's Day to close the publichouses on that day. It should be considered one of the days that ought to be kept free from anything like abuse. I cannot exactly agree with Senator Kennedy that there should be no law compelling the closing of the publichouses. The Government have a right to pass a law to compel the people of Ireland to do what is for their good. There is every reason for knowing that the law is not very popular with a great many people, especially in the country districts, where they may have a desire to drown the shamrock, as they say. I think that is a great abuse of the day. The drowning of the shamrock on St. Patrick's Day is more of a disgrace than a compliment.

Mr. BENNETT:  Senator Jameson honestly inquires if there is any desire on the part of the community for closing on St. Patrick's Day. We, as the Seanad, I think, might be guided by the fact that exclusions are already made in the Bill—Christmas Day and Good Friday. This is a Christian country. We know the history of St. Patrick, and we all here honour his Christian principles. St. Patrick represents to us Christianity and nationality, and his day, as Senator Farren and others have pointed out, was especially set aside for honour by people with a strong national outlook, to be celebrated in thought, and not in drinking of any sort, but in meditation, so to speak, on his work. I think the lesson inculcated then is one which has proved advantageous to the country, and it is still necessary to keep it before us. I strongly advocate that we, as a Seanad, should not depart from the principle we adopted three or four years ago, when we declared that on St. Patrick's Day there should not be public drinking. I think there is a strong reason why St. Patrick's Day should be numbered with Christmas Day and Good Friday.

[920]Mr. FANNING:  It was very edifying to listen to Senator Farren. For the first time I have learned that it was the Gaelic League discovered St. Patrick, I must confess that is a bit of news to me. I am not prepared, however, to accept it. I object to converting any popular holiday into a sort of day of mourning with everybody moping at home. I might point out that a large number of people go to Baldoyle races on St. Patrick's Day and they can get all the drink they want, and they can get it by going five or six miles out into the country, or if they go to the dog show. If it is a disgrace and unchristian for a man to drink on St. Patrick's Day it must be a greater sin and a far more unchristian act for that man to work on St. Patrick's Day. Yet you have your tramway system working, the postal and telegraph system operating, and trains are running. When Senator Farren goes out to have a few hours sunshine he is guilty of the awful apostacy of working a tram driver to lead him to the sunshine. If he is not entitled to a drink he is not entitled to work. I think it is an invasion of human liberty to deprive a man of a drink who wants it on the national holiday. Are we a nation of savages or brutes? There is no drunkenness in the land. There is only one case of drunkenness to fifty thousand of the population brought up in the courts. When will we cease parading ourselves before the whole world in the wrong light? When will we cease propagating what we know to be untrue? We have passed out of that zone, I hope, never to get back to it. We have arrived at a condition of national sobriety that puts up a challenge to the past. I think we ought to leave it at that.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  In the Act of 1924, it was proposed that St. Patrick's Day, like Good Friday and Christmas Day, be a day of complete closing of the publichouses, and that bona fide traffic facilities would not run. I pleaded for that in the Dáil on the basis of sentiment. I reminded Deputies that in the days of Sinn Fein and the Gaelic League idealism created a public opinion in the country in favour of the [921] closing of publichouses on St. Patrick's Day. It stood as a gesture that we had turned our backs on the time when we had acquired a rather unenviable reputation on the matter of intemperance. I think it was a fine gesture, and I regret that, at the time, the Dáil did not see fit to enshrine it in statutory form. The Dáil, voting freely, rejected the proposal. The Seanad restored the closing of the licensed houses on St. Patrick's Day, but, consciously or not, I cannot remember which, it omitted to restrict the bona fide traffic; in other words, the position under the Act of 1924 was that there was complete closing of the licensed houses on St. Patrick's Day. The 2 to 5 opening did not run in Dublin, Cork, Limerick or Waterford as on Sunday. But the bona fide traffic facilities operated three miles in the country and five miles from the city.

The Commission considered the position with, of course, the 1924 Act before it, and in the light of all the circumstances has made its recommendation that St. Patrick's Day be as Sunday. That would leave the two to five opening in the four cities and leave the bona fide traffic facilities running in the country. In other words, the position would be identical with the ordinary Sunday of the year. I dislike speaking against the recommendations of the Commission. I accepted the report and based the Bill pretty strictly on their report. Personally I could wish that there was a public opinion in the country in favour of complete closing on St. Patrick's Day, but I am afraid there is not. I believe that if it were worth while taking a plebiscite on this matter the result would be the pretty substantial defeat of such a proposal.


Mr. O'HIGGINS:  I would like to believe the Senator, but I do not.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  From whence has the demand come to go back on the previous Bill?

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  The Liquor Commission were conscious of some such demand.

[922]Mr. DOUGLAS:  They did not say so in the report.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  No, but we received in the Department considerable complaints against such restriction as existed in the Act of 1924 with regard to St. Patrick's Day. If the spirit is not there and if the desire is not there, if the thing that would give life to any gesture is not there, whether it is worth while to embody a restrictive provision of this kind in your Act is a question. It is the kind of thing which to be worth while would need to have behind it a much more substantial and articulate public opinion throughout the country than has manifested itself upon the matter. If the Seanad passes this amendment I will ask the Dáil to accept it, but not as a matter of Government confidence, and I am not over-optimistic about the result.

Mr. BRADY:  Like Senator Jameson, I was very anxious to ascertain the view of the Minister. He has helped me to come to a conclusion on the matter by the remarks he has made. I am opposed to the amendment, and am fortified in my opinion by the speech of the Minister, who, of course, is the embodiment of democracy, and he tells us with his intimate knowledge that the Irish people are not prepared at the moment to approve of the principle of closing on Saint Patrick's Day. Now I want to put a consideration before the Seanad which is of great weight, to my mind. All the arguments I have listened to on this and on other amendments are based on the assumption that Irish people are confirmed drunkards.

Mr. DOWDALL:  Not at all.

Mr. BRADY:  I think the experience of us all is that the Irish people are not confirmed drunkards and that temperance has grown in our time very much. Can he suggest that if publichouses are kept open on St. Patrick's Day it is going to involve a great deal of drunkenness in Dublin and elsewhere? That is a thing I do not believe, and the Commission itself, as the Minister told us, recognised the reasonableness of giving some drinking facilities [923] on St. Patrick's Day inasmuch as they suggested that the houses should be open as on Sunday. Already some restrictions as regards Christmas Day and Good Friday are placed in the Bill. St. Patrick's Day is not in that category. It is a day of rejoicing. With all respect to Senator Kenny, I think that if St. Patrick re-visited Ireland on his festive day he would not object to our having a drink or two. I think this amendment is not one which ought to be adopted, as we will not be doing any great harm to our country. On the contrary, I think we will be doing a reasonable thing if we leave matters as they are.

Mr. FARREN:  I have made no accusations about drunkenness or anything else, nor did I cast any aspersions on the licensed trade. I simply put up the position as I viewed it. In reply to what Senator Kenny said, that if the licensed trade had been so good as to close voluntarily why should we not allow them to remain in that position, my answer is: from my knowledge I know that we did succeed by a deputation and otherwise to get the general body of the licensed traders to close on St. Patrick's Day. A few individuals took advantage of the decent men being closed to do what I term an illicit trade. It is only to safeguard the interests of the decent people who voluntarily closed that I am moving to give legislative effect to that. With regard to the arguments put forward by Senator Jameson, they seem to me extraordinary, because if Senator Jameson wants to know what is the demand of the country to close on St. Patrick's Day does not the same remark apply to Christmas Day and Good Friday? To my mind it does. I think it is unfair that the general body of the community should deprive employees of the licensed houses from having a holiday. There is a question of principle involved, and it is that of voluntary effort. The licensed grocers of this country, as a whole, agreed to close their houses on the feast of the national apostle of Ireland. That principle is involved in this. Legislative effect was given in the previous Bill to [924] that. I do not know anyone who complained about it. I do not see why we should go back to the position of opening a licensed house on St. Patrick's Day. I know that, in his heart, the Minister is in favour of this amendment.

Amendment put and, on a show of hands, declared carried.

Mr. GUINNESS:  Would it not be necessary in paragraph (e) of Clause 2 to delete “St. Patrick's Day”?


Amendment 5 not moved.

Mr. BENNETT:  I move on behalf of Senator O'Rourke:-

Amendment 6. Section 3, sub-section (1). To add at the end of the sub-section the words: “in connection with the holders of six-day licences, early-closing licences and ordinary licences and in connection with the holders of early-closing licences during the period of one hour after the time otherwise prescribed by this Act for the closing in the evening on week days of premises to which early-closing relates.”

Section 3 of the Bill gives extra facilities to off-licensed business houses to open for an hour between nine and ten o'clock in the morning. The intention of this amendment is to extend the hour also at the end of the day. The amendment seems to be reasonable and, I think, ought to be carried.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  I could not accept this amendment. It is one thing to give a particular facility in the morning to people to open from nine a.m. to 10 a.m. the non-licensed portion of their premises, but it would be quite another matter for the last hour at night. We say that a mixed trading house may open from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. for the non-licensed side of its business —groceries and so on—and I think there will be very little, if any, evasion or abuse within that hour. But I certainly would not be prepared to grant that facility at night and to say that those early closing houses may remain open as long as the other houses in the same trade, provided that they only open [925] the non-licensed side of their business. I would not have any confidence at all that they would confine themselves to that. Such an experiment would, in fact, result in the abolition of the early closing licenses and would mean the granting of full licences to the holders of those early closing licences, and that I am not prepared to do.

Amendment put and negatived.

Sections 4 to 10, inclusive, were agreed to and added to the Bill.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  I beg to move amendment No. 7:-

New section. Before Section 11 to insert a new section as follows:—

“11.—A licence for the sale by retail of intoxicating liquor for consumption on the premises shall not be transferred to other premises where any business other than the sale of intoxicating liquor is carried on (in this section referred to as non-licensed business) unless the portion of such premises where such non-licensed business is carried on is structurally separated from the remainder of such premises.”

The object of this amendment is to try and provide that where there is an existing licence and where permission is obtained to transfer that existing licence to another premises at any future date, it shall be made obligatory that the new premises to which this transfer will have to be made shall be suitably altered. If there are two classes of business there shall be structural alteration. In the report of the Intoxicating Liquor Commission they dealt at some length with the question of mixed trading and structural alterations, and they said that they had come to the conclusion that in existing conditions in Ireland they could not recommend any legal insistence upon structural alterations, but they said “We are of opinion that while no case is made out for insistence upon immediate structural alterations on licensed premises, yet it would be desirable for any possible steps to be taken in this direction that would not cause any injury to the trade or inconvenience to individuals in the [926] trade.” Now I am not at all certain that this amendment is the best way of doing this. It was drafted by a legal Senator and is an attempt to bring about what I have outlined. I ask the Minister if he does not see his way to accept my amendment to bring in another amendment on his own account. I ask him to consider seriously putting such a provision into the Bill. There would be hardship to enforce existing licence holders to make alteration. But if any time in the future a new premises is opened by means of extension or purchasing of another licence, then I think beyond doubt there should be structural alterations upon those premises and there would be no hardship in so insisting.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  I think the amendment is based on a misapprehension with regard to the existing law and the law proposed.

It seems to me that underlying the amendment you have the idea that it is possible to transfer a licence from one set of premises to another. That is not possible, and that is not proposed, with one reservation only, and that is the reservation provided by Section 11 of the Bill. It is proposed under Section 11 that the holder of a six-days licence who acquires a seven-days licence, and extinguishes it may be, himself, given a seven-days licence on his old premises. Subject to that condition, this six-days licence may be converted into a seven-days licence. That is all for the good, and it is a clear gain. I was rather surprised myself to find that there are 2,000 holders of six-day licences; that is, one in six of the total number of licences in the country. To whatever extent Section 11 is availed of, you will have the process of the reduction of licences expedited. Further, you will have this, that the holder of a six-days licence who is looking round for a seven-days licence to extinguish will buy the smallest, cheapest and dirtiest establishment he can find in his area. That is the kind of establishment we would be all glad, to see go. He buys that licence and extinguishes it, and he, himself, gets now for his old premises, [927] for which he had a six-days licence, a seven-days licence.

There is nothing against the general interest in that; it is all the other way about. But if you proceed to attach a condition that cannot happen, unless the holder of a six-day licence has made structural alterations as well, then you will be saying, in effect, that Section 11 is not to be availed of. Certainly it will be providing that it will not be availed of on a very large scale, because these six-day holders have not premises, for the most part, that would bear structural alterations, and many of them are of a kind that would render it architecturally impossible for them to make structural alterations. So I do not think it wise to insert in the Bill this amendment. It would be an undesirable restriction of Section 11. The more Section 11 is availed of the better. It will help the process of pruning where there is redundancy of licensing in the country, without undue expenditure. It was with that view that I put it into the Bill. You have 2,000 six-day licences; no doubt the majority of them would be glad to have seven-day licences. We say, “Very good. If in your area you buy out and extinguish a six-day licence you, yourself, can get for your premises a seven-day licence.” That is an incentive to extinguish a licence in their area, but if you attach a condition that they cannot have a seven-days licence unless they have structural alterations, then I think you are going to limit the operation of Section 11.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  I understand that under the existing law if I have a licence for a house in one street I could get that transferred to another in the immediate neighbourhood. I believe that to be the case under the existing law. If that is not so, and if it is altered by this Bill, I admit what the Minister said, but it depends on what hangs on the existing law.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  No new licence can be granted under the existing law, and a licence cannot be transferred from one house in one street to another house down the street or down another street. There can be an extension of [928] premises, but only something that would be an alteration or extension, but there cannot be a transfer of a licence from one premises to another under the existing law.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  My advice is different.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  My recollection of the law entirely coincides with that of the Minister. I always understood that the moment connection between the house and the holder of the licence was severed there would be an obligation for a new licence. The licence goes with the house, but you are suggesting that it could be transferred to another house. If I am right in my recollection, the law has universally been that once you sever the connection between the holder of the licence and the house you must get a new licence. In other words, unless it is the same house, and held by the same people, it is a transfer and not a new licence.

Mr. GUINNESS:  Is the licence with the house or with the holder?

CATHAOIRLEACH:  It is with both, but technically it is with the house.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  May I ask leave to withdraw the amendment, with a view to putting it down again on Report, or perhaps the Minister would bring in an amendment dealing with the matter.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  I think what you have in mind is this: It has been the practice, I know certainly in Dublin and in some other parts of the country, for the licensing authority to deal generously when a man came and said, “I want to transfer my business to another house, and I am prepared to buy up and extinguish a licence if you will grant me a licence for the new house.” They then gave him a licence from his house to another, and they did so because they considered he was extinguishing a licence. In these circumstances they met him.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  There was a case in Dublin where a man had a business and he certainly transferred that business to another house or got a new licence for the other place.

[929]CATHAOIRLEACH:  That is the point of difference. You say he either transferred or got a new licence. I agree he got a new licence. On leaving house “A” you can apply for a new licence for house “B,” but you cannot apply for a transfer from “A” to “B.”

Mr. DOUGLAS:  I do not intend to debate the matter. I am satisfied it is one that ought to be looked into. I could bring the matter up again on Report Stage. It was not intended at all to deal with Section 11.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  I think that is reasonable. This does raise a complicated new matter.

Mr. BROWN:  It is possible under the present law to transfer a publican's licensed business to another house in the immediate neighbourhood. It has been done in a case in which I have been engaged in the last two years.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  Are you now speaking of a transfer as distinct from a new licence?

Mr. BROWN:  It probably had to take the form of a new licence. I think the mistake on the amendment has arisen in using the word “transfer.” What Senator Douglas wants is that if a business goes from one house to another the new right should not be given unless there were the necessary structural alterations.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  Does it not come to this, that if a man has a licence for house A and he comes and says: “I want a new licence for B on condition of giving the licence in A, ” he is not to get a new licence for B unless structural alterations are carried out.

Mr. BROWN:  He has to shut one house before he goes to the other.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  My impression is that even that very limited kind of transfer was confined almost to cases where premises were destroyed by fire, or through one cause or another, to which a licence was attached.

Mr. BROWN:  Expiration of lease was one reason.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  I think the number [930] of such cases was rare and that there was some explanation, such as the destruction of premises to which a licence was attached, and a person receiving compensation who decided to build elsewhere, was enabled to bring along, so to speak, his licence.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  Even in that case my contention is that if they can afford to move elsewhere they can afford structural alterations. I would ask the Minister to look into the question.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  I will.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The following amendment standing in the name of Senator Douglas was not moved:-

In Section 11, before the words “a person, ” in line 45, to insert the words “subject to the provisions of the last preceding section.”

Mr. BENNETT:  I move:—

Section 11. To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

(2) A person who is at the one time the holder of an early-closing licence and the holder of an on-licence which is neither a six-day licence nor an early-closing licence (in this sub-section called an ordinary seven-day licence) shall, if the premises to which the said licences are respectively attached are situate in the same licensing area, be entitled to have the ordinary seven-day licence transferred at the annual licensing District Court to the premises to which the early-closing licence is attached, but subject to the condition that on such transfer being made the early-closing licence shall not be renewed and that the premises to which the ordinary seven-day licence was attached before such transfer shall for the purposes of the Licensing (Ireland) Act, 1902, be deemed never to have been licensed.

The amendment is practically word for word with the section dealing with early-closing licences, and it is suggested that where a person has such a licence in one area he should be permitted, if he wishes, to transfer that licence. It seems a reasonable amendment. [931] If the licence is transferred the owner forfeits the early-closing licence, so that one licence goes by the board. Where a man has two licences I do not see why he should not be allowed to elect which premises is the better one for carrying on business in. That is what the amendment seeks, and I think it should be accepted.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  I accept the amendment.

Section 11, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Sections 12, 13 and 14 agreed to.


(1) Nothing in this Act shall operate to prohibit:—

(a) the holder of an on-licence in respect of premises situate in a county borough from selling intoxicating liquor for consumption on such licensed premises to bona fide travellers at any time on any week day, or

(b) the holder of an on-licence in respect of premises not situate in a county borough from selling intoxicating liquor for consumption on such licensed premises to bona fide travellers.

(i) at any time on any weekday, or

(ii) on Saint Patrick's Day between the hours of one o'clock and seven o'clock in the afternoon, or

(iii) if his licence is not a six-day licence, on any Sunday during a period of summer time between the hours of one o'clock and eight o'clock in the afternoon or on any other Sunday between the hours of one o'clock and seven o'clock in the afternoon.

(2) The Justice of the District Court may in his discretion, on the application of the holder of an on-licence in respect of premises situate in the licensing area and after hearing the principal officer of the Gárda Síochána in the licensing area, substitute the hours of two o'clock and [932] nine o'clock in the afternoon for the hours of one o'clock and eight o'clock mentioned in the foregoing sub-section in relation to Sundays during a period of summer time, and whenever such order is so made the foregoing sub-section shall, during the residue of the period of summer time current at the date of the order or, where such order is not made during a period of summer time, during the period of summer time commencing next after the date of the order, have effect as if the hours mentioned therein in relation to Sundays during a period of summer time were two o'clock and nine o'clock in the afternoon.

(3) Every person who by falsely representing himself to be a bona fide traveller buys or obtains or who attempts by such false representation to buy or obtain on any licensed premises any intoxicating liquor during a period in which the sale of intoxicating liquor on such premises is prohibited by this Act shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding five pounds.

(4) It shall be a good defence to any charge of selling intoxicating liquor in contravention of the provisions of this Act relating to prohibited hours for the person so charged to prove to the satisfaction of the Court that such intoxicating liquor was sold for consumption on the premises in which the sale took place and was so sold on premises and at a time on and at which such sale of intoxicating liquor to bona fide travellers is not unlawful under this Act and that the person to whom such intoxicating liquor was so sold represented himself at the time of such sale to be a bona fide traveller and that the person so charged had no reasonable ground for disbelieving such representation.

(5) For the purposes of this section a person shall not be a bona fide traveller unless either the place where he lodged during the previous night is situate in a county borough and is at least five miles (measured by the shortest public thoroughfare) [933] distant from the place where he demands to be supplied with intoxicating liquor, or the place where he lodged during the previous night is situate elsewhere than in a county borough and is at least three miles (similarly measured) distant from the place where he demands to be supplied with intoxicating liquor.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  I move:—

“To delete the section.”

The object of the amendment is to challenge, definitely, a proposal outlined by the Minister in the Dáil in his opening speech. It was partially debated on the previous amendment by Senator Farren. The effect of the amendment would be to abolish the bona fide traffic. If the amendment is carried, in order to complete the proposal, it would be necessary to put down another amendment allowing houses to open all over the country from 2 to 5 on Sundays in lieu of the provision for the bona fide traveller. I suggest that the House should vote for or against the amendment on the specific understanding that if the section is deleted the other section will be inserted.

Mr. JAMESON:  I wonder if it is wise for Senator Douglas to ask the House to decide this question in a few minutes. The question must have been discussed at great length in the Dáil before it was finally put into the Bill. Is this House to decide in a few minutes the bona fide traveller question? I think it is wrong to adopt an amendment which deals with a vital aspect without debate.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  Why not debate it yourself? The question is open for debate now and why not have a try yourself?

Mr. JAMESON:  That is what I am deprecating. I doubt if there are many Senators prepared to discuss intelligently the question in the time at our disposal. I intervened as you, sir, were going to put the question, and probably there would be a division.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  I only did that because no other Senator rose.

[934]Mr. JAMESON:  I would like to hear the Minister and have his guidance. The House should not divide on this question without giving it serious consideration.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  I stated my views on this matter in the Dáil. In the abstract I am satisfied that the abolition of the bona fide traffic is a desirable reform, and that it is a reform worth purchasing at the price of giving a limited uniform opening throughout the country on Sunday afternoon. It was quite clear that that was a minority view in the Dáil. It was my view, and it is still my view.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  It was not voted on.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  No, but a great many Deputies spoke, and, I think, with the exception of Deputy McCurtain, there was scarcely one Deputy in the Dáil in agreement with my view. I am not dejected about that, because I think I have given, perhaps, more thought to the matter than a great many of the Deputies who spoke; naturally because it is part of my job to do so. That is the position in the abstract. I think, looking out over the area of the State, that there would be a great deal less abuse, a great deal less excess, and a great deal less profanation of the Sunday by the abolition of the bona fide traffic, for the farce it undoubtedly is, by allowing a limited uniform opening throughout the entire area of the State. That is my view. Unquestionably down through the country amongst the clergy and laity there is another view. The view there is: “The bona fide traffic presents no problems to us. Such abuses and excesses as we are told exist do not exist here in our area, and we do not want this three hours' opening.” That point of view is perfectly understandable. It is held, I am sure, by a great many responsible people, clergymen and others, in many areas of the State. It is a point of view that has to be taken into consideration. It is there unquestionably.

There is a difference where you view the State as a unit, look out over it and put the question as to whether there will be, more or less, excesses by [935] the adoption of the change, or whether you take particular areas and form your views from them. One can imagine villages in the country where there is no abuse or excess arising from the bona fide traffic. A few fellows may still drink at the back doors, but, taking it all in all, it is a dry Sunday. The people there find themselves confronted with the question as to whether they would like the publichouses opened for three hours on Sundays. They say if the houses are open all the young men standing about the town and the corners on Sundays would go and drink. People have certain fears about that. I think a great many of these fears are unreasonable. They are simply fears of a new thing—a change. I doubt very much if we would hear anything more about it a month or two after the change had come into operation.

The root evil, as I see it, of the bona fide traffic is that you compel men to travel in search of drink if you compel them to cover a statutory distance. They feel that they are bound, in honour, having covered that statutory distance for that express purpose, to see that they get the fullest advantage from the privilege they have so laboriously acquired. I think it is a bad principle myself to tell a man that he must travel for his drink. If he travels he will feel that he is bound to make the most of his privilege. Nevertheless, there is the other aspect. If you send men out from their home areas where they are known by everyone, and where the ordinary checks of human restraint operate, if you make them travel three miles in the country and five miles from the city, you send them out on that mission, and the results can be seen any Sunday afternoon in the summer in the environment of Dublin. I think it would be unwise, perhaps, of the Seanad, in the face of the evidence we have of the unripeness of public opinion throughout the country, to accept this change and to press this amendment. The Commission, after all, has not recommended it, although the report contains a long statement about the question. As far as I could see, the Dáil, by a very substantial [936] majority, is opposed to it. I do not say that the Seanad should be, but, if so, Senators should have some more evidence that they are going along a line that a substantial volume of opinion in the country desires. I doubt if it would be wise to put in an amendment effecting such a great change in what has been the law for a long period without some more substantial evidence that the view of the Dáil is not the view of the country and what people desire. In point of fact I think there would need to be a lot more hard thinking done on the matter before there will be a public opinion in the country ripe to accept a uniform opening on Sunday afternoons throughout the entire area of the State.

I believe it will come, but it will come from the growing abuses of the bona fide traffic owing to the increased mobility of the individual. Owing to the spread of the motor bus throughout the country, people will in the end make up their minds that it is a nuisance and an evil which cannot be allowed to go on and they will say: “We will have done with this statutory farce of the bona fide traffic and we will allow a limited opening everywhere on Sunday afternoon.” Just yet, I believe there would be a great deal of uproar and criticism in the country if people found themselves confronted with the situation that the Oireachtas had decided that the public houses were going to be opened for three hours everywhere on Sunday afternoon and that the bona fide traffic was gone.

The bona fide traffic is well known to us here in Dublin. Anyone travelling on the Bray road on a Sunday at a late hour in summer time is risking his life, and we know that Howth, Bray, Dalkey and Greystones and all these places can speak with knowledge of the evil of the bona fide traffic, but it is less felt down the country and if we are legislating we are legislating for the country. People there will not realise that some great gain has been achieved by abolishing the bona fide traffic, as all they will see is that the publichouses are to be open for three hours on Sunday afternoon and that [937] the young fellows may be inclined to go in and drink too much. I would like to advise the Seanad to leave the position as it is for the time being with much the same outlook as I have myself on the matter, that the other thing will inevitably come.

Mr. O'FARRELL:  Everybody who speaks on this question of the bona-fide traffic seems to take it for granted that if you abolish it, you must have universal Sunday opening. I think that really is the alternative, and one has therefore to consider both questions together. My opinion is that if you have universal Sunday opening and abolition of the bona fide traffic, you will probably have less drunkards, but you will certainly have far more drinkers than there are at the present time. You will restrict the consumption of drink in townships such as Bray, Dun Laoghaire and places of that kind, but you will cause a great deal more drink to be consumed in rural areas than is consumed at present. The ordinary publichouse in the country is generally a provision and grocery establishment, and there will be a great tendency on the part of shoppers if they feel that they can go in on Sunday after Mass, and get their week's groceries, to leave their shopping over until Sunday. There is very little amusement or recreation in the average Irish farmhouse, and it will really be a source of recreation to drop into the town after Mass. The church is generally beside the town. People will very often leave their shopping over until Sunday, and if houses, open for the sale of intoxicating liquor, sell groceries and provisions you will have a tremendous number of people throughout the various urban areas brought into immediate contact with drink. Ordinarily these people would not try to avail of the bona-fide privileges and would not bother drinking. There is many a man who, quite legitimately would have drink in the country areas if he were allowed to have it. I suppose he is entitled to have it so long as he can do so legitimately. He would not be a bona-fide traveller, but if you open the publichouses he will take drink, probably more than one drink. In that way you will encourage a very [938] big traffic not only in drink but in other business that would otherwise be done on ordinary week days.

The bona fide traffic is considerably abused in the vicinity of Dublin and Cork, and, to a great extent, in Waterford. I do not know about Limerick, but I think a good deal of exaggeration is attached to it. At all events, the number of people involved in it, in comparison with the total population of these cities, is rather small, but, in my opinion, the Civic Guard and the police in the past have not been sufficiently vigilant, nor have the courts been sufficiently severe, in punishing violations of the law. I know it is very difficult to prove that people have gone into premises deliberately. People say they come from certain districts, while in reality they come from other districts, but where people are caught giving false information of that kind they should be very severely punished as an example, and cases arising out of the bona fide traffic should have stiff penalties attaching to them. It is hardly fair to penalise a whole community simply because a very small section of that community abuses a certain law. Taking all things into consideration, the question at the moment is not the amount of intemperance, because that has certainly decreased, and is decreasing; it is the amount of money, and it is really a question whether the country can afford to spend £17,000,000 per annum on drink. You are going to increase that bill if you abolish the bona fide traffic and open publichouses for three hours in the country, and you will probably double the consumption in the various rural areas, while there will be a small decrease in the consumption in the suburban areas around the principal cities. I do not think the country can afford to spend any more, and from my point of view it is far more important to spend less than is now being spent.

Mr. KENNY:  The amendment simply deals with the abolition of the bona fide traffic. The Minister's plea is that the time is not ripe for a radical amendment of that sort. He says that in time he thinks that public opinion will [939] veer towards supporting such an amendment, that the public will become alive to the dangers and evils resulting from the abuses of the bona fide privilege. Then, again, he instanced where these dangers are very evident around Dublin, and says it is only a matter of time, because the dangers and evils are moving and shifting. If you alter the distance limit from three or five to ten miles the danger will be at the terminal point, and in between, because of the speed certain motorists, under certain influences, will put up in reaching these towns, both in going and coming. I am sure we all know the plague spots in our own localities at the terminal point of the distance limit. You have only to go there and see people indulge. They feel that they are entitled to indulge because they have gone through the arduous labour and bodily fatigue of travelling a certain distance to get a certain amount of drink. We all know of the unedifying scenes that take place on the occasion of the departure of last trains and trams from these places.

One tendency of the Bill is to lessen the number of licences, but you are really enhancing the value of the licensed houses at these various terminal points. When they become a nuisance and plague spots, and when the local Guards say that these houses, in the interests of the public, should be abolished, you are up against the problem of fixing compensation for the house that is doing this enormous business. Even though it is only a one-day business it is a very considerable business, and you impose the compensation on all the licensed holders within a limited area. The people who are inclined to take advantage of this bona fide traffic are amongst the most dangerous people in the community. The ordinary decent citizen, if he wants to have a drink on Sunday will possibly order in half a dozen of stout or beer or a bottle of whiskey and have it in his house. The people who abuse this privilege are men who have a desire to drink, and who are inclined to go to excess. I do not think there should be any consideration given to this class of people, either in their own interests or [940] in the interests of the community at large.

If this is recognised, and the Minister seems to recognise it, as an evil that should be restricted and removed I think we should act now. If it is thought that the time is not ripe I say the dangers are evident, and we see them round about us. I think one argument upsets the other. If it is a good thing the time to do it is now. If there are arguments for postponing the remedy for this evil I should like to hear them. As to the argument used by Senator O'Farrell, I do not think more drink will be consumed in rural areas if there is a general opening. It is quite open to people living in the vicinity of rural publichouses to go to these houses after their work each evening and to spend an hour drinking, but they do not do it. An odd man may do it. I do not see why they should do it on Sunday. On Sunday they are under observation by their neighbours, and they would not like to be seen drinking amongst their own community. Men who go to drink on Sunday would run the gauntlet of going home before persons whom they know, including possibly their own employers, and I think that would be a sufficient deterrent.

Mr. BROWN:  I am very much against the bona fide traffic. I am inclined to think that the majority of the respectable traders in the country are also against it. I am against bona fide travellers, because they really are not bona fide travellers. They do not travel bona fide from place to place. They travel mala fide from one drink to another. Another reason why I am so strongly against the bona fide traveller is that I consider that every neighbourhood should put up with its own nuisance of Sunday drinking. I do not object to paying the price that Senator Douglas has suggested for the abolition of the bona fide traffic.

I do not anticipate evils from allowing houses in the country districts to remain open for two or three hours on Sundays, and I do not consider that such a thing would produce the evil effects to which Senator O'Farrell has referred. In my opinion, if the opinion of the clergy and of the respectable [941] inhabitants in country districts is found to be against the opening of houses even though they may be legally open, they will cease to be open after a while. I understand that there are neighbourhoods where, though Sunday opening is permissible, yet the houses are not open. I do not therefore think that the evils that Senator O'Farrell has suggested as likely to occur would be so very great as he imagines. I am strongly against the bona-fide traffic and I will vote against this amendment.

Mr. GUINNESS:  I would like to ask the Minister for Justice a question— can the bona fide traveller demand drink in a publichouse on Sunday? Has he the power to have the house opened for the purpose of serving drink?

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  I believe he can insist on being served. In a fully-licensed house, a seven-day licensed house, I believe that a person who has travelled the statutory distance can insist on being served and is entitled to be served. The only thing I would like to add to the discussion, in so far as it has gone, is this: that Senator O'Farrell for the second time has stated that a change of this kind would mean probably less drunkenness, but would mean an increase in the total consumption of drink on that day. That is a statement that one can see grounds for, and I am quite sure that the Senator is convinced that he has stated something that is almost obvious, but I am inclined to doubt it. Because the position has been since the Act of 1924 that if a person travelled three miles he could drink from 1 p.m. until, I suppose, 12 o'clock that night. I doubt if he was compelled to stop even then——

A SENATOR:  Not if he had the money.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  Yes, if he had the money. Prior to the Act of 1924 the position was that he could drink all day on Sunday the full round of the clock. Now if that be so I just wonder whether it would not have been better to have the position throughout the country that anyone anywhere could have a drink, say, as between 2 and 5 [942] o'clock, or that the position throughout the State was that anyone who travelled three miles could drink for twelve hours? But on this question of the total consumption one would want to have a finer mathematical headpiece than I have to say whether it is not better to have a uniform three hours.” opening than to say to every citizen in the State: “If you have travelled three miles you may drink for seven hours.” We are pruning the hours for the bona-fide facilities from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., a period of six hours in the winter, and in the summer time from 1 o'clock to 8 o'clock, a period of seven hours. Whether you will have any greater consumption within those six or seven hours than you would have by a uniform three hours is a nice question. It may be that instead of a uniform three hours if we were to change there might be something to be said for two spells of two hours, say from 1.30 to 3.30 and from 5 to 7, so as to prevent the long period of three hours that the Senator referred to.

The desire, I think, for a change will come simply from the ever-increasing mobility of the individual; by the fact that buses will be spreading throughout the country, that almost every man in the country can become a bona-fide traveller with a minimum of exertion or expenditure. I think it will be realised that it would be better to have a change than to continue that system. With regard to Senator Kenny's point. I would like first to see what is the effect of the substantial pruning that is taking place under this Bill. And there is a substantial pruning taking place. The bona-fide traffic will be eight hours, in the summer and seven hours in the winter. That is different from the time when the bona-fide traveller could drink up to a late hour at night and go home in a dangerous condition along the road. There is room for further pruning if this is not enough. Another hour or two may be taken off. The thing can be reduced to its proper proportion that way without imposing an opening in areas in the country where an opening does not appear to be desired. I have it from Deputies and others who are in a position to give an [943] opinion that there is no desire at all to have Sunday opening in the County Mayo; that the people are satisfied with the complete closing on Sunday, and that there is no claim for a change. If we are going to change we ought not to change hurriedly and without feeling sure that it is desirable and the right thing to change. I think we are doing very well at present in the substantial locking of the door to the bona-fide traveller which we are providing in this Bill. We can watch the effect of that for some time before we make up our minds that it is inadequate.

Mr. MOLLOY:  I am not prepared to admit that the effect of giving two or three hours opening in the country will be of any improvement. It may improve Dublin and the surrounding districts but I do not see why the country should suffer for the benefit of Dublin. At present there are different licensed premises in various towns in the country, and I do not believe those houses sell a single drink on Sunday. There is no reason why for the protection of the citizens of Dublin, the little town in the country should be given permission to open for two or three hours and to allow anybody that wishes to drink. Furthermore, you would have the position that instead of people doing their marketing business on the week-day or the ordinary market day, that they would be drifting into town on Sunday if they had publichouses open for two or three hours on Sunday. It would be a misfortune in rural towns throughout the country if they had permission to open for these two or three hours. As Senator O'Farrell said, it would be only inviting people to drink who would never think of going looking for drink on a Sunday when they would have little or no work to do. They would go in and avail of the fact that the houses were open and they might take an excessive amount of drink. I hope if the Minister ever sees fit to have Sunday opening he will confine it to Dublin and the other cities. I would ask him never to extend it to the rural parts of the country.

Mr. TOAL:  I strongly support the [944] arguments and the plea put forward by Senator Molloy. I do hope that if the Minister ever feels that a change is necessary in connection with the hours of opening that he will consult country opinion on the matter. There is a very strong feeling in the County Monaghan and the adjoining counties against Sunday drinking. It is a fact that in that part of the country the people would be against opening houses on Sundays. You have a mixed community there, and it is the unanimous feeling that it would be a retrograde step to open the publichouses on Sundays. Senator Kenny and others have said that the people have opportunities every day in the week for going in and getting drink if they want it. Well, there is a difference. On Sundays in this country people are not, yet at all events, working. Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. When the labourers' sons and the farmers' sons and others meet at present on a Sunday evening they have no opportunity of going into the publichouses and getting drink. If the publichouses were open they would congregate there in large numbers, and the result would be that trouble might arise. Football matches and other games would be arranged in the vicinity of publichouses, and we would have endless scandals if the publichouses were allowed to open freely on Sundays. I hope the Minister will take a wise view if he ever thinks of making a change. I can assure him that there is no immediate desire on the part of the people in the country districts to see the publichouses open on Sundays. It is quite the opposite. Indeed I may say that the clergy of all denominations are strongly opposed to Sunday opening. I know there has been a great abuse of the bona-fide traffic, and a change now being made is a change in the right direction. It would do a great deal of harm in country districts where they are accustomed to have dances and amusements if the people were allowed freely to go into the publichouses and drink. Now, owing to the change of hours the opportunities for drinking are limited. I do hope that the Minister will see his way to restrict further the bona-fide traveller, [945] and I hope that whatever Government we will have in this country will think well before it will attempt to open the publichouses on Sundays.

Mr. MacLOUGHLIN:  I understand that the Licensing Commission gave a great deal of attention to this very point, and after having all the advantage of hearing witnesses they decided that it was undesirable to abolish the bona fide traffic and open the publichouses for a limited time on Sundays, and after a very full discussion in the Dáil this decision of the Commission was backed up. I think it is clear that the Seanad would not be justified in view of these circumstances in sending this amendment back to the Dáil. No doubt there is a lot of abuse prevailing in connection with the bona fide traffic system and especially so around Dublin. But this abuse is not what it was twenty years ago. In ten years time, with the process of pruning that the Minister has outlined, that abuse will be very much less and may disappear altogether. I think, taking the country as a whole, it would be much preferable, even from the temperance point of view, to have the bona fide traveller system confined to three hours' opening for the whole country. Those who have experience in the North of Ireland of the total abolition of the bona fide traffic do not want a similar state of things here. In that area the tourists arriving in a town or village come provided with bottles of whiskey. They draw up opposite the hotel, where they send in for a syphon of soda, or they go in and order tea and put their whiskey bottles on the table. Last year, in two or three instances, publicans and others got into trouble over the tourists taking in their whiskey. These temperance reforms should be gradually brought about. Measures that are too drastic defeat themselves. I think the Minister is doing very well when he is taking away a number of hours from the bona fide traffic hours on Sundays. Temperance reformers should not be too zealous, because although they may succeed in what looks like and what is almost an impossible task, to make us all sober by Act of Parliament, still [946] they may find that that ideal condition of things entails certain penalties which cannot be altogether disregarded. I read in an American newspaper the other day a paragraph which stated:—

“In the good old virtuous days, before prohibition, when a man uttered an improper phrase we could always make the excuse for him that he was drunk.”

Mr. DOUGLAS:  I think the discussion has served a useful purpose. I do not mean that the useful purpose was the persuasion of Senator MacLoughlin that the three hours' opening on Sunday was to be a measure of temperance reform. I think it would be a mistake to press the amendment. I brought it forward to see whether there was any general concensus of opinion on the matter. I am absolutely in agreement with what Senator Molloy has said. I do not want to be taken as having the desire to add to the three hours opening for bona fide traffic. In view of the discussion, if the Seanad would allow me, I will withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment 11, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. KENNEDY:  I move:—

Section 15, sub-section (1), to delete in line 13 the word “eight” and substitute therefor the word “nine.”

I think impartial members of this House will agree that the object of the amendment is a very reasonable one. We are travelling so fast with licensing legislation in this new little State of ours that one finds it hard to think that only a little over two years ago there was no restriction whatever in regard to hours on the bona fide business. I am not saying that I would be in favour of it, but up to that time people who otherwise complied with the law could get liquid refreshments at any time from 7 a.m. on Sundays to 12 midnight on the next Saturday. Then came the Act of 1924, which provides that no bona fide business can be done until 1 p.m. on Sundays. I would remind Senators that this is a very big change—I won't say for the better or the worse—but now, when it is further proposed to limit the hours at the other [947] end of the day, I feel that many of you will agree with me that it is time to cry halt. I am well aware of the arguments that are being used in favour of this further restriction, but I am not very much struck by them. The vast majority of the people who are pressing for this kind of legislation are people who would wipe out the licensed trade altogether if they had their way. In the Bill, as it stands, the hours for bona fide trading are 1 to 7 in non-summer time, and 1 to 8, or 2 to 9, in summer time. I am not asking for very much when I ask the Senate to sanction 1 to 9 all round. My view is that the point has been reached beyond which any further restriction is not safe in the public interest.

It is the national temperament to oppose restraint, and I feel and fear that the limitation of hours set out in the Bill will lead to the establishment and encouragement of illicit sources of traffic. For six months of the year 9 o'clock is only the advanced afternoon, with several hours of sunshine still remaining, and it is not the tendency to go home and sit down. I do not suggest that on this other head they should travel the requisite distance to qualify for obtaining drink, but I do assert that if people are travelling, or out on Sundays, 9 o'clock either in winter or summer is not an unreasonable hour to terminate the public right in the matter of obtaining liquid refreshment. I would appeal to this assembly not to be carried away by the vapourings of teetotal fanatics. Now, what are the facts? At the moment Ireland is the soberest country in Western Europe. Nothing speaks like facts, and the facts here, as shown in the official returns, are that the number of arrests for drunkenness in Ireland is less than one-seventh of what it was a quarter of a century ago, while in the metropolitan area the falling off in the number is still more marked. This is not due to the high price of drink, as the following figures will show. In 1900, just over a quarter of a century ago—a brief span in the life of a nation—the number of cases for all Ireland was 92,927, while in 1918, the year before the big war duties were imposed, which raised the [948] prices to the consumer, the number had fallen to 11,660. This, I would remind the House, is a rapid pace in the direction of real temperance, and take care that any artificial attempts to increase that pace may not have the opposite effect.

Two years ago the licensed trade interested in this particular traffic gave away six hours which they formerly held, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., and now they are prepared to give away all after 9 p.m. I put it to the House that is a very practical concession, and of rights for which they paid. In all the circumstances I do hope that a majority of the Senators will take the same view and support this amendment.

With your permission I will read a short paragraph from a speech delivered by the Minister for Justice three weeks ago:—

“It seems it is a proper and reasonable thing to take a substantial slice off the end of the day, as in the 1924 Act we took six hours off the earlier part of the day. I think seven or eight hours are quite sufficient to meet all the requirements of the so-called bona fide traveller.”

That is all I am asking for—the eight hours as laid down by the Minister for Justice. I do not think that it is a very great concession to ask for one extra hour. Nine o'clock is a reasonable time, and I hope the Minister will accept the amendment.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  I would not be prepared to ask the Dáil to accept that amendment. It seems to me that the hours in the Bill are reasonable. Remember that we are dealing with travellers, people who have to go home for distances. It is not as if they lived next door, and I would not like to have the closing hour in the non-summer period later than 7 p.m.—the hour in the Bill. For a good deal of the winter it is dark at that hour. If, as sometimes happens people in charge of vehicles, whether horse or motor, are not in full possession of their senses they are a danger to themselves and others. Then with regard to the summer time, I would think that the period is quite long enough. The hours run from one to eight and, alternatively, at the discretion [949] of the District Justices, from 2 to 9, which is a long enough portion of the day, with due advertence to the fact that the day is Sunday, to allow the sale and consumption of drink to take place.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Amendments 13 and 14, by leave, withdrawn.

Section 15, as amended, put and agreed to.

Section 16 put and agreed to.


Mr. LENIHAN:  I desire to say a few words about Section 17. I would like an explanation as to what the result of this section will be. Does the Minister really intend to confine the persons who may be really in the licensed premises during prohibited hours to the persons mentioned in the Bill? I draw attention to the fact that during more than half the lifetime of the holder of a licence he has to live in a house and the only persons who can enter the house are the holder of the licence, or the owner of the premises, or those resident permanent or temporarily on the premises, or persons to whom intoxicating liquor may be sold or supplied on the premises at that time, or in the employment of the holder of the licence, or the owner of the premises, in the ordinary course of such employment. Since the introduction of the Bill there has been added “Or an officer of customs and excise in the course of his duty as an officer.” I draw attention to the fact that no other person can enter the house during prohibited hours except those persons.

Mr. BROWN:  Can enter the licensed premises?

Mr. LENIHAN:  Yes, and as a rule in country districts the residence of the holder is the same as the licensed premises.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  Is that true, Senator? You see the duty is payable on the portion of the premises that is licensed, I think as a rule the owners of licensed premises get the portion of [950] the premises which is licensed separately valued and pay the duty on that. I do not know the practice in the country.

Mr. LENIHAN:  That is not my experience.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  The portion of the premises they use is the ordinary dwelling. That is not licensed as a rule.

Mr. LENIHAN:  What I wish to draw attention to is the fact that relatives of the owners of the licensed premises cannot enter the premises even for the purpose of visiting the holder of the licence, such for instance as the parents of the holder of the licence.

Take, for instance, the parent of the holder of the licence who does not live in the house. His children, brothers and sisters are all subject to a penalty of £5 if found on the licensed premises during prohibited hours. I do not know if it is the wish that such a drastic proposal should be put in the Bill. What I hope is that there may be some steps taken to add another sub-clause to the Bill, to allow people who might be legitimately on the premises not to be liable to a penalty during those prohibited hours.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  I am sorry the Senator did not put down an amendment embodying his views, because it is only on the basis of a specific amendment that the matter could be adequately discussed. There are five headings set out here. Is it considered that there should be a sixth, and if so, what should be in that sixth? We have attempted to exhaust the heads under which people could legitimately be on licensed premises during prohibited hours. Should there be any more than that? If so, let us have the suggestion. We have:—

“(a) the holder of the licence or the owner of the premises, or

(b) resident permanently or temporarily on the premises, or

(c) a person to whom intoxicating liquor may lawfully be sold or supplied on the premises at that time, or

[951] (d) in the employment of the holder of the licence or of the owner of the premises and is on the premises in the ordinary course of such employment, or

(e) an officer of customs and excise in the course of his duty as an officer.”

(c) would cover the case of the bona fide traveller. These are our proposals. This is what we consider reasonable. If the Senator wishes to make any further suggestions, then we are open to consider them, but this must be the line of approach: Here is a person doing a particular class of business. The State considers it wise and necessary to hedge around that business, because of its nature, with certain restrictive legislation. It prescribes certain hours for the conduct of that business. Who are we going to allow on the premises outside those hours? Who is it reasonable to allow? What kind of excuses put up in court can be accepted by District Justices? Clearly you cannot leave the thing at large so that the effect would be that you cannot have prohibited hours at all. I see nothing but to attempt to get down to a definite basis and prescribe the people who will not be liable to penalties in the event of their being found on the premises. I am prepared to consider additions to this list, but I am not in a position to suggest any additions because I do not know of any that should be added.

Mr. LENIHAN:  I will put down an amendment on the Report Stage.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  Your object is, I take it, to extend the permission to the immediate relatives?

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  That is covered by paragraph c.

Question—“That Section 38 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.


(1) A licence may be abolished under this part of this Act on the following and no other ground, that is to say, that there are in the licensing area too many licensed premises and [952] that the said licence should be abolished in preference to any other licence attached to premises in the licensing area.

Mr. KENNY:  I beg to move an amendment to delete in line 55 the words, “ and no other ground,” and to substitute therefor the word “grounds.” One of the objects set out in the Bill is to decrease the number of licences, and this amendment of mine will, I think, facilitate that object. It is no light thing for a man who has been for most of his life a licensed trader, and whose only business is handling spirits and liquor, to have to go to any other occupation. He is unfitted at a late stage of life to take on another business, and it is not right in such circumstances that his occupation should be taken away from him. It may be said there is a compensation clause, but that compensation, I think, would be very rigidly looked into, inasmuch as it is the colleagues of the licensed trader; in a particular area, who will have to bear the burden of the compensation. No doubt he will have to prove his case and show his profits very clearly in connection with the fixing of compensation. If you leave him in the house where he has been in the habit of conducting a certain business he will have a pull with his old clientele and customers, and have their good-will. He has his fittings and accommodation there for conducting a particular business. If his licence is taken from him, he will have to cast round him to see what kind of business he will set up in this particular house. He may go into the grocery or some branch of that sort, but I think it would be well that he should still be allowed to conduct partly the kind of business that he was in the habit of conducting, by giving him an off-licence. His clients might be there still, and possibly they might be induced to take home with them such articles as they formerly consumed on the premises. To that extent it would engender a good habit. A man might learn that drinking at the counter is not to his advantage, and he might take it home with him and drink it with his meals. As against that, ob- [953] jection might be raised to the example that would be set thereby to the children. Well, after all, we all more or less keep drink, and there is really no stigma attached to it. I am not a rabid teetotaller. I take some drink, but I do want, by every means in my power, to suppress a very great practical evil. If we could engender the habit in people of taking home drink it would be safer, in the case of a great many men, than taking drink in publichouses and, possibly, getting drunk. I think it is in the interests of the licensed traders in a district that this amendment of mine should be accepted, because it is calculated rather to lessen the amount of compensation, inasmuch, as a man who has gone out of the licensed trade would still be allowed to have a licence of a sort under a certain licence duty, which would enable that man to retain some of his best clients, and which would also help to engender or make a beginning in the habit of people buying drink and consuming it at home.

I have not much more to say in support of this proposal, but it occurred to me that there might be something in it, and I just brought it up for discussion. With regard to the figures quoted by Senator Kennedy, I think they are easily accounted for. He gave figures for all Ireland for 1918. Of course everybody was so prosperous then there was a considerable amount of drinking, but since that date the whole conditions are altered. The poverty of the people is responsible for a good deal of the sobriety and the price of drink has gone a considerable way to making people sober. If you take the proportion of earning capacity to-day and the amount of unemployment and the number of people who are able to buy drink the figures are easily accounted for. The whole circumstances are entirely altered. My amendment is intended to expedite the process of doing away with the excess of licensed premises inasmuch as you would not have to give as much compensation to the redundant houses and, therefore, the procedure would be expedited. If you could close two houses by giving the owners off-licences as part consideration [954] the resulting compensation would be reduced by a certain figure, whereas under present circumstances if you take the licence away entirely possibly you can only close one house, because the compensation will be so great, and the other licensed traders in the area would have to pay it. If compensation has to be paid for a house closed to-day and the authorities proceed to mark down another redundant house they may find in a short time that the compensation, as spread over the licensed trade in that area would be so heavy that the authorities could not insist upon the closing of another house even if it was redundant, because of the additional burden upon the traders. I think an amendment of the sort I have moved would save all that.

Mr. BROWN:  Has the Senator considered the consequential amendments that would be necessary in clause 42, which deals with the question of compensation and provides how it is to be arrived at. There would have to be something like a dozen consequential amendments.

Mr. KENNY:  I put down with the amendment I moved: “and to make other consequential amendments,” and these words were struck out.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  Certainly they were. You should put down your consequential amendments. You cannot merely say that the House should adopt consequential amendments. Such amendments must be put down, however. The question of these consequential amendments may never arise.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  The Senator's amendment amounts to this: that it should be a ground for the abolition of on-licences that they could be easily converted into off-licences. That is rather a far-reaching proposal, and it raises the question, firstly, whether an increase in the number of off-licences is desirable at all. We find that off-licences are rather troublesome in the matter of the degree of police supervision they require. We have reason to believe that in many cases a quite flourishing on-licence trade is carried on. I certainly would not welcome an addition to the number of off-licences.

[955] They number some hundreds at the moment, and I would not favour an addition to that number.

It is interesting to notice that the off-licence was the one that came first under the axe in Northern Ireland when they embarked on licensing legislation. Most of the off-licence holders carry on a mixed business. They run a grocery business and, in addition, they hold their off-licence for the sale of intoxicating liquor. I would not approve of the amendment on principle, but even if I had some leaning towards it in principle I would be deterred by the very considerable difficulty it raises when one comes to the question of compensation and the portion of the Bill dealing with compensation. It would be a matter of extraordinary difficulty to arrive at any basis for assessing compensation when, and if, the on-licence for the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor on the premises was converted into an off-licence. It would complicate very seriously the portion of the Bill dealing with compensation.

But I do not base my opposition to the amendment solely, or even merely, upon this ground. I uphold it on the ground that I am not satisfied that an increase in the number of off-licences in the country is, in fact, desirable, and that it would be any social advantage to increase the number of off-licences even while reducing the number of full licences.

Amendment put and negatived.

Amendment 14b not moved.

Question—“That Sections 48 to 57, inclusive, stand part of the Bill”— agreed to.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  May I ask the Minister a question with regard to Section 40. It deals with an application by the police for a reference order. In the report of the Commission it was recommended that either an officer of the Gárda or a member of the community should have the power to make an application for a reference order. I am not moving any amendment, but I am seeking for light, and I would be glad to hear the reason that the Government [956] decided finally not to allow anyone but the police to make the application.

In connection with the same subject I would be glad if the Minister would deal briefly with the safeguards there are for a licensed holder, who might feel a certain amount of grievance at being chosen as a licence holder in reference to whom application is to be made. I have no doubt Senator Fanning will be surprised when I say that I have a friend who is the holder of a licence. Some time ago he was speaking to me and stated there were eight licensed premises in the same street. Speaking generally he said they were all well conducted houses. My friend wanted to know if I could give evidence to prove that he was well behaved. I pointed out to him that I would not be a good witness for him. That licence holder had a genuine fear in case the police decided that two out of eight licences were to go. If he were chosen he believed that he could produce excellent evidence to show that some of the others had not as good a record as he had. That man did not know how to prove that his licence should not be the one to go although he knew that there should be a reduction. I mention this as the question has been raised, and it is relevant to the matter as to whether a member of the community can make application.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  We felt when considering the Report and preparing this Bill that it was necessary to keep the question of challenging of licences entirely in the hands of the State or within the machinery of the State, for several reasons. One reason was that we felt we must regulate the rate of extinction; that that could not be left haphazard. For one thing, we, I think, have the right to decide from time to time just how much money the State can afford to have out on this particular mission. Further, I think we are best fitted to decide just how much it is reasonable to ask the surviving licensees in a particular area to bear by way of recouping the State for the compensation paid out. These will be two big factors, the amount of money the State can have out on this business, [957] and the degree of the burden which it is reasonable to ask the survivors to bear in any particular licensing area. Therefore, it cannot be left haphazard to any member of the general public to press the button and set the machinery of this part of the Bill in operation. On the question of challenging an individual licensee Senators should ask themselves whether it is not better, even coming to that aspect of the question, that that also should be a State act rather than a haphazard act by one or more citizens resident in the area. Surely it opens up this vista, that licence holder A dreading that he may be selected for extinction will be at pains to secure a number of citizens to challenge licence holder B on the ground of redundancy before the District Court, and seek a reference order to the Circuit Court. The solidarity and esprit de corps of the trade has excited the admiration of the public, and indeed my own admiration, but I think it would put a strain on that solidarity and esprit de corps if you left it open to one trader to secure that his neighbour who is a trader, be challenged for redundancy, because he was afraid of being challenged himself. Bad as we are, and I am speaking of administration generally and the machinery of my own Department, I think when we act in an area it will be taken that at any rate there is a prima facie case and an assumption that we are acting simply impartially and impersonally in the best interests of the community. Would there be the same acceptance if a private citizen, or two or three private citizens, were to make their demarche against two or three publicans? Would there not be always the suggestion, whether it were true or not, or even if it were half true, that they were acting at the instigation of some other trader who was afraid of being challenged in that way. I think it is wiser, if Senators think it over, that the matter should be left a purely State process.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  I am quite satisfied. I only wanted to get an explanation.

Question—“That Section 57 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

[958]Mr. DOWDALL:  I move:—

Before Section 58 to insert a new section as follows:—

“58. If any excisable liquor is sold or supplied on the premises of a registered club to any person other than a member or guest as provided for in Section 4 (g) of the Registration of Clubs (Ireland) Act, 1904, every person selling or supplying such liquor, and every person who shall consume such liquor, and every person authorising the sale or supply of such liquor, shall be liable severally on summary conviction to a fine of five pounds.”

A District Justice, under the Registration of Clubs Act, on complaint being made, may cancel a club certificate or put a note that the certificate is open to objection at the annual renewal of the licence. In effect, that really means that the club must be put out of existence. The penalty of knocking itself out of existence is so drastic that the Justices have had with some reluctance abstained from doing so. Notwithstanding what has been stated here to-day, it has not been alleged, and I do not think it can be alleged, with any substantial proof that there is very much abuse of the licensing laws in the licensed houses. There are, undoubtedly, abuses, very grave abuses, and I am afraid they are growing in certain institutions called clubs. In the words of the Minister, while they set forth a number of laudable objects in the articles of association, they carry on a very hefty side-line in drink. Really they are institutions, particularly on Sunday, which enable those who are so disposed to drink when the ordinary publichouses are not open. Of the two I would prefer the publichouses rather than allow the existing state of affairs regarding clubs to continue. The owner of a publichouse exercises at least some regard for the safety of his licence and for the good name of the house, but there is no such restriction concerning what I call bogus clubs. The law as it exists does not deal with these cases, so that I would ask that some fairly substantial penalty should be included to deal with abuses in clubs.

[959]Mr. O'HIGGINS:  I think the principle underlying the Senator's amendment will have to be considered. I am prepared to consider it between this and the next stage. I agree that the law as it stands is defective, and I agree that it is wrong that there should be no intermediate penalty between cancellation of the certificate of registration and dismissal of the case. That is the position now. I would like to look into the matter further and would not like to accept the Senator's amendment as it stands. If he would be prepared to withdraw his amendment he can take it that I accept it in principle, but I would like to look into it between now and the Report Stage with a view to seeing what amendment of my own I would bring in.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  I think the amendment is faulty inasmuch as it does not provide for a second offence. The licensed holder might be convicted any number of times under this proposal and his licence could not be touched. Is that the intention?

Mr. DOWDALL:  I leave it in the hands of the Minister.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  You would want to have the amendment amended in that respect.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  There is one portion of the amendment that I should advert to so as not to leave the Seanad under a misapprehension. This amendment proposes to penalise a person actually making the sale. I would not like to accept that principle. The law I think never held the servant or employee personally liable, and I do not think it is desirable that it should. With regard to that portion of the amendment, I probably would not embody that in my own amendment.

Mr. GUINNESS:  What other person besides a member or a guest can there be in any club?

CATHAOIRLEACH:  The person who goes in to the person at the bar and asks for a drink.

Mr. GUINNESS:  It is not customary for people to go into clubs and ask for liquor.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  I am not so sure of that. You will have to extend your travels, Senator.

[960] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The following amendment in the name of Senator Dowdall was not moved:—

Before Section 58 to insert a new section as follows:—

“58. If any person other than a member, servant or guest as is provided for in Section 4 (g) of the Registration of Clubs (Ireland) Act, 1904, is found on the premises of a registered club, he shall, unless he satisfies the Court that his presence on such premises was not in contravention of the provisions of the Principal Act as amended by this Act, be liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding five pounds.”

Mr. DOWDALL:  I move:—

Before Section 58 to insert a new section as follows:—

“58. A club in its corporate capacity shall be liable to prosecution before a District Justice for any breach of the Registration of Clubs (Ireland) Act, 1904, and a District Justice may impose a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds on any such club, which fine may be leviable by distress or by an order of the District Justice closing the club until such fine has been paid. Service of a writ of summons on a club in its corporate capacity may be made by serving the secretary of the club or alternatively by registered letter addressed to the committee of the club at its registered premises.”

At present, under Section 10 of the Principle Act, a Justice can only fine the officials of a club under three headings, when he has already made an order objecting to the renewal of the licence. If it can be proved validly that the secretary or manager of the club is at home at the time of the offence naturally the Justice dismisses the case or imposes a modified penalty for a technical offence, because the person summoned has not and could not have had knowledge of the offence. Advantage of that is taken by clubs, and great abuses arise. The reason I put in such a substantial penalty as £100 is that the profits obtained by these clubs are extraordinarily large. We have seen [961] the figures published recently of the profits of a club in Dublin. I know one club in Cork that has made profits, within the past few years, running into five figures. I know that in that particular club there are grave and persistent abuses day after day, week after week, more particularly on Sundays. I would ask the House and the Minister if they do not accept this amendment exactly in the form in which it is framed that consideration should be given to the principle which it embodies.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  What I said about the Senator's previous amendment applies to this also. I will bring up an amendment on the Report Stage, and if the Senator is not satisfied with my amendment it will be open to him to propose his own.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Section 59 ordered to stand part of the Bill.


(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other Act the Revenue Commissioners shall not grant, whether by way of new licence or of transfer or renewal of an existing licence, a wine retailer's off-licence to any person other than a person who is carrying on the business of chemist or druggist or a person who is for the time being the holder of a spirit retailer's off-licence or a beer retailer's off-licence then in force.

(2) In this section the expressions “wine retailer's off-licence,”“spirit retailer's off-licence” and “beer retailer's off-licence” have the same meanings as such expressions respectively have in the Finance (1909-10) Act, 1910.

Amendment 15 (Senator MacKean) not moved.

Mr. BENNETT (for Senator O'Rourke):  I move:—

Section 60, sub-section (1). To add at the end of the sub-section the words:—“or a grocer who at the date of the passing of this Act is the holder of a wine retailer's off-licence and who secures a certificate from [962] the District Justice that he is a fit person to hold such licence, such certificate to be of effect for the purpose of renewal until revoked on the application of the Superintendent of the Gárda Síochána of the district.”

I understand that there is a number of provision merchants who have power, as the law at present stands, to sell bottles of whiskey from their stores. That is a great advantage to their customers. The Bill, if passed in its present form, would prevent these people from getting a renewal of the permission to sell. I think that is an injustice. If the amendment is accepted, the Superintendent of the Gárda will always have an opportunity of requesting that such a licence be not granted on the grounds that it had been abused by the retailer. Everybody knows that under this provision they could order, when purchasing some of their ordinary groceries, a bottle of whiskey——

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  We are not dealing with whiskey in the section. It is a matter of wine licences only.

Mr. BENNETT:  The same argument applies to wine retailers. There is a number of wine retailers who have this privilege, and I think it should be continued as an off-licence. They have given the utmost satisfaction to the people with whom they have been dealing, and no complaints have been made that they have not been carrying on their business in a legitimate way. All I ask is that they be allowed to carry on a business which they have been carrying on for years. The people who have these privileges should not have them taken from them where the Gárdai are satisfied that they have conducted their business in a proper manner.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  I thought that possibly Senator Kennedy or Senator Fanning might deal with this amendment. The Senator really puts up a case against the section as a whole, and he makes the case that there is no ground for interference with numbers of people throughout the State who hold these licences. In fact, we were asked to legislate to prevent the issue of such licences. A number of small [963] hucksters' shops in back streets, where supervision was difficult or almost impossible, got these wine licences. They could get them easily on payment of a very small fee, and they blossomed out with their windows stacked with bottles of wine. That led to a great deal of drinking on the part of persons who might hesitate to go into a publichouse or the ordinary places of off-licence holders. There has been pressure for years to deal with the matter, and to prevent people in these little sweet shops in side streets taking out these licences and continuing to hold them. We are now legislating along that line, and, in fact, the Senator's amendment is an invitation to us to reverse engines. I would not be prepared to do that.

Mr. FARREN:  I have received a communication from a well-known trader in one of the principal streets, who carries on a grocery, and who has a licence for the sale of wine. He does not sell spirits; he has simply a wine licence, not for consumption on the premises, and I want to ask the Minister will this section debar that man from continuing to sell wine?

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  Yes.

Mr. FARREN:  I consider that is unfair. My views on this question are pretty well known, but I consider it is unfair that a man conducting a genuine business in this way should not be granted a renewal of his licence. I am quite in sympathy with the Minister's desires in regard to small hucksters' shops which have wine licences, but I think some discretion should be left to the District Justice on this matter. If there is a family grocery establishment having a wine licence, it is a hardship to take away that licence and prevent the proprietor from carrying on a legitimate trade. I am quite in sympathy with the object the Minister has in view, but I think he could frame the section so that a discretion could be exercised by the District Justice with regard to the granting of these licences.

Amendment put, and declared lost.

Sections 60, 61, 62 and first Schedule ordered to stand part of the Bill.

[964]Mr. DOUGLAS:  I move:—

Second Schedule. To add at the end of the Schedule the following:—“8 Edw. VII. c. 67. Children Act, 1908. Section 133, sub-section (29).”

The amendment deals with the section of the Children Act with reference to licensed premises, and without going into the exact details I think I can explain what the effect of it would be if passed. The Children Act was passed applicable to Great Britain and Ireland, subject to the last section which deleted certain portions in so far as they affected Ireland and modified other portions. In England it is not permissible to bring into an ordinary licensed premises, where drink is consumed on the premises, a child under the age of 14. In Ireland it is not permissible under the Act to bring in a child under the age of 14, if the child or if the person accompanying the child is going there for the purpose of obtaining intoxicating liquor, but if they are going in for the purpose of buying anything else in the shop the child may be brought in. The section I wish to repeal is that which modified the Act in its relation to Ireland. If that were repealed the effect would be that the whole of the Children Act in reference to the bringing of a child into licensed premises would be applicable. It means that a child under 14 would not be allowed on premises unless it were the child of the owner or unless it were passing through a section of the premises to go to some other business section. I think if the principle were accepted it would be much better to put a definite section in the Bill than simply to repeal a section of the Children Act, but this was the simplest way and I thought it the better way. I know there are certain difficulties in administration, but I really believe it would be far better to keep children of the age of 14 or under out of premises where liquor is consumed.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  Section 120 of the Children Act, 1908, forbids the holder of licensed premises allowing a child at any time in the bar of licensed premises, except during the hours of closing. Section 133, which is the section the Senator has concentrated upon, [965] paragraph 29, provides that Section 120 shall not apply in the case of any child going to or being upon licensed premises if a substantial part of the business carried on in the premises is drapery, grocery, hardware, or other business, wholly unconnected with the sale of intoxicating liquor, and if the child, or the person accompanying the child, is on the premises for the purpose of purchasing goods other than intoxicating liquor.

One can see what happened there when that legislation was being enacted. To those familiar with conditions in England, it was an eminently sound and wise provision, because in England the publichouses are publichouses praeterea nihil. Here 90 per cent. of the publichouses do business of another kind, grocery, hardware, and sometimes even we have a combination of drapery in a publichouse. That was pointed out clearly. Then there was some alteration in the light of the information given with regard to the conditions here. I think, on the whole, it was a proper and necessary one. The legislation which suited one country with the conditions that were predominant there was not so suitable for the other. If this exemption, so to speak, were abolished, and if we were to attempt rigorously to administer the law as it stood, it would undoubtedly give rise to very serious hardship and inconvenience. Remember, a child is a person under the age of 14, and it would mean that such children could not go upon the premises where a mixed business is carried out during the hours in which intoxicating liquor may be sold. They could not go there for any purpose, even when accompanied by their parents. The mother going into a mixed house for groceries would be obliged to leave a boy of 12 on the street. A boy of 12 or 13 years could not be sent to such a house on any errand. That is, perhaps, an unnecessary provision that might press rather hardly on some people. It would be a hardship if a boy of ten or twelve years of age could not be sent round to a mixed place for groceries, say, to a place, a few doors away, where there are two counters doing entirely different business. For instance, take [966] a place like Findlater's, which is a fully licensed premises—a house doing an almost negligible part of licensed business compared with the predominance of the grocery business. It would mean that the boy of twelve or thirteen years of age could not go on these premises for a message. It would be unlawful to take an order from him.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  I would like to draw the attention of the Minister to Section 20 of the Children Act which states:—

“Nothing in this section shall apply in the case of any child of a licensed holder or in the case of a child who is resident but not employed in the licensed premises or who is in the bar of a licensed premises solely for the purpose of passing through in order to obtain access to or egress from some other part of the premises, not being the bar, where there is no other convenient means of access to or egress from that part of the premises,”

and so on. I suggest that the case of Findlater's is met under that section. It does not affect the Minister's main argument but it does affect the special point to which he was directing himself.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  Well, then let us take the main argument. Most publichouses in this country are mixed houses. Do Senators think it desirable to eliminate the principle which enables children to enter such houses? If they do then they see the position as the Senator has recognised it. If they think that that is an unnecessary hardship and that this rigid administration would cause a grave inconvenience to people, then they ought not to accept the Senator's amendment. My own view is that when the legislation to which we were referred now was going through that the provision that was arrived at was a sensible provision under the circumstances.

Mr. JAMESON:  Is it illegal for the publican to sell that child liquor?

Mr. O'HIGGINS:  Yes, it would be illegal.

Mr. JAMESON:  Well, in that case [967] the owner of the house would have to do an illegal act.

Mr. DOUGLAS:  I was dealing entirely with the licensed premises. I am not in favour of making it easy to send children to mixed premises. I ask the leave of the House to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question—“That the Title stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

The Seanad went out of Committee.

Bill reported with amendments.

Mr. BROWN:  I move:—

“That the Seanad hereby approves of the alterations in the Rules of Court (Orders VII and XV) made by the Minister for Justice on the 14th day of April, 1927 under Section 36 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924.”

It is within the recollection of members of the House that where a Rule of the High Court, or any of our courts is altered, the alteration, like the original Rule, has to receive the approval of both Houses. Since the High Court Rules were approved by this House one of them has been found not to work beneficially. It is a Rule which requires that the summary summons, that is an instrument which takes the place of the old writ in the High Courts of Justice, be verified by affidavit before it can be issued and [968] served. Very often it seems necessary that you should issue this originating summons very quickly, because the defendant may get out of the country and you want to catch him before he goes. Therefore, it is frequently quite, impossible to have ready your affidavit which must be made by the plaintiff, who may be out of the country. It has been found quite impossible to carry out the present Rule without inflicting a good deal of injustice and delay. What the alteration does is this, it abolishes that necessity for affidavit before a writ is issued and served and then it provides for the making of an affidavit before you can get judgment in the matter of the writ whether the defendant fails to appear or puts in no defence.

Mr. BENNETT:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

The Bill passed through Committee without amendment.

Bill ordered to be reported.

The Seanad went out of Committee.

The Bill reported.

Motion:—“That the Bill be received for final consideration, and do now pass”—put and agreed to.

The Seanad adjourned at 7 p.m. till to-morrow (Thursday) 28th April.