Tuesday, 31 October 1933
Seanad Éireann Debate
(4) Every regulation made by the Minister under sub-section (3) of this section shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made, and if a resolution is passed by either House of the Oireachtas within the next subsequent twenty-one days on which that House had sat annulling such regulation, such regulation shall be annulled accordingly, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under such regulation.
A person shall not be deemed to be unemployed within the meaning of this Act (a) on any day on which he works for wages or other remuneration, whether paid in money or in goods or otherwise howsoever....
That form of words is very general. It cannot have been put in out of mere fancy. It must have been put in with some inner meaning. I should like the Minister to explain what he or his advisers had in mind in inserting such a form of words. I am chiefly concerned about the position of small farmers and their sons. Are small farmers and their sons—I am not saying whether it is right or wrong—going to be qualified to receive unemployment assistance? The Minister will  understand what I mean. On sub-section (2) the Minister quoted the British experience, or rather English conditions, where they had the benefit of certain experience. My information is that, whether under legislation or under regulation, persons who are not working can draw unemployment benefit, and yet they can work after hours. By some regulation the employment period is set out as an eight-hour day and yet men can go and work from five o'clock to eight o'clock or dark without in any way jeopardising their unemployment or insurance benefit. I should like the Minister to assure the House that he is alive to that fact and to assure the House that it will not be possible for an arbitrary period of an eight-hour day to be adopted here and to allow other persons to take on work outside those hours. The House can understand that if the prescribed period ends at five o'clock and that still a person can work from five o'clock to dark the purpose of the whole Act can be evaded with probably a considerable cost to the taxpayer.
I should like the Minister also to give further information, with regard to sub-section (3), as to how he proposes to apply this employment period. I can see the Minister, perhaps, saying this: that throughout the whole Gaeltacht the months from May to August will be employment periods. That would amount to saying that no small farmers or their sons in that district can draw unemployment assistance during those months. Of course, the presumption will be that they can draw, if qualified, unemployment assistance during the whole of the other six months of the year. In my opinion, that raises rather alarming possibilities. In the same way, the Minister might say that all people employed on farms under a certain valuation are adjudged to be employed during the summer months, say, April to August, and that during the whole of the rest of the year they might be regarded as unemployed. This Bill, in my opinion, is fraught with grave possibilities and I hope that the Minister, when replying, will deal with the cases I have outlined.
Mr. Brown: I raised the question on the Second Reading of the Bill as to whether it was contemplated by the Government that a farmer's son who worked on his father's farm and who also worked regularly during some portion of the year outside his father's farm, would be eligible for unemployment assistance during any portion of the year. I think it is a very important point, because if the question of the farmer's son who works on the farm is to be answered in the affirmative as a proper subject for unemployment assistance under this Bill when it becomes an Act, it opens up an enormous vista of the cost that will be involved. I say that it is unnecessary to give unemployment assistance in the case of a farmer's son. I am raising this now because I got no definite reply from the Minister on the Second Reading of the Bill.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): No definite reply can be given in respect of a whole class of people when the question is asked whether, under certain circumstances, they would be eligible for unemployment assistance. Each individual must prove his right to receive that assistance. Senator Brown's question is not a new one so far as the Department of Industry and Commerce is concerned. It is a question that arises very frequently during the course of the year in the administration of the Unemployment Insurance Acts. A farmer's son who is working on the roads and who goes back for a period to work on his father's farm, may claim unemployment benefit in respect of the number of stamps on his card. He does not always get that benefit. First of all, he has got to prove that he is entitled to it; and if the insurance officer, or on appeal being brought, the court of referees, says that, in fact, the man was not unemployed, he does not get benefit. The administration of this Act will be similar to the administration of the Unemployment Insurance Acts in that respect. The individual must prove that he was available for and genuinely seeking employment and was unable to obtain it. I think that the Senator can rely on the officers of the  Department of Industry and Commerce, who are dealing with similar matters every day of the year, to be able to determine easily the bona fides of individuals' claims. If the decision of these officers is open to question at any time, there is appeal machinery afforded in the Bill.
Senator Sir John Keane's questions are of a similar nature. By that I mean that they are not new questions created by this Bill. They are questions which are arising frequently in the administration of the Unemployment Insurance Acts. The term “or otherwise howsoever,” in paragraph (a) of sub-section (1) Section 4, is inserted as a sort of overriding term designed to prevent frauds. If we used the term “remuneration, whether paid in money or in goods”, somebody might devise something that would be within the strict legal definition of these words and yet would evade the purpose. Consequently, the words “or otherwise howsoever” are put in so that every person working for a remuneration, no matter what form that remuneration may take, will be deemed to be employed. I am sure that Senator Sir John Keane himself can imagine many ways in which a person could be remunerated otherwise than in money or goods.
With regard to the question of working after hours, the practice, to which Senator Sir John Keane refers, exists here as well as in Great Britain. Such people are not debarred from getting the benefit even if they get outside casual work, provided that such work does not exceed a total remuneration of £1 a week. That practice has been operative both in Great Britain and in this country. For instance, an unemployed person, who gets casual work, say, selling tickets in the evening for some entertainment, is not debarred from benefit, subject to the provision that his total remuneration from such casual jobs in that week does not exceed a £1 a week. With regard to the question concerning the employment period referred to in sub-section (3), I am not able to give precise information. We have not got, at the moment, the data which would enable us to state the classes of persons  in respect of which an order might be made under that sub-section. The best illustration I can give—an illustration which will serve as an argument against the Senator's amendment—is the case where in a rural area, during harvest time or some similar period, agricultural labour is usually in demand, and agricultural labourers do not present themselves for work on farms even though, to the knowledge of the Department, a number of them were drawing unemployment assistance. In such circumstances it might be necessary, in that area, to declare a period of two, three, four weeks, or perhaps a longer period, as an employment period so as to ensure that farmers in that district requiring labourers would be able to procure them.
One can imagine a number of other circumstances arising which would make it desirable that there should be power to say, not to an individual but to a class of individuals: “There is work available for you if you seek it, and, in order to induce you to seek it, we are temporarily depriving you of your right to unemployment assistance.” The case of the small farmers and of farmers' sons may also arise. A number of the small farmers will be debarred under the means test from receiving unemployment assistance at all.
Mr. Lemass: If the total value of their land and property, as calculated under the Bill, exceeds £39 a year, they will not be entitled to unemployment assistance. That is the overriding value of the means which, as provided by the Bill, they can hold. If their means exceed £39 per year, they are outside the scope of the Bill altogether. Only if their means be assessed at less than £39 per year are they entitled to unemployment assistance and, if they have means, the rates of payment set out are granted, less the value of the means they are deemed to have. There may be a class of small farmers whose means are less than £39 a year and who would be eligible for some assistance. In respect of them, it may be  the easier administrative method to declare particular periods of the year to be employment periods than to deal with each case separately. It would not follow from that that these persons were deemed to be unemployed at other seasons of the year. Under any circumstances, they would have to demonstrate that they were unemployed, because these would be persons who did not make their living from farming alone. They might be employed at quarry work or road work or in some other way at certain seasons, and investigation would have to take place, and they would have to demonstrate that they were unemployed and unable to obtain employment. I do not think that the particular danger that Senator Brown referred to could possibly arise. The possibility is reduced having regard to the fact that the Act will be administered by people who are, and have been for a number of years, dealing with precisely similar points in relation to a precisely similar measure.
Mr. Brown: I am not quite clear on that point yet. Take the case of a farmer's son who never worked regularly, or even irregularly, outside his father's farm. There are hundreds of cases of that kind. A large number of young men are working this year for the first time outside their fathers' farms. They are engaged on relief work, in respect of which a considerable measure of employment has been given. Are these farmers' sons who work for periods outside the farm, but who have not worked regularly outside the farm, proper objects of this Bill? Is the small farmer, who has never worked for wages in his life, although his income is not £39 a year, a proper object?
Mr. Lemass: Yes. The Senator has, undoubtedly, taken the case that is going to cause most difficulty. Year after year, in the Dáil, on the Estimate covering unemployment insurance, Deputies have raised the question of the small farmer and the small farmer's son who have been deemed by the insurance officer to be employed upon the farm and, consequently, deprived of benefit. That case has been frequently discussed in the Dáil. By administrative action, I think that any possibility of injustice has long ago been removed. At the same time, people think that they are being deprived of something that they are entitled to and write to their local representative. A number of these questions have been raised. In respect of this Bill, the administration will be exactly similar to the administration of the Insurance Acts.
Mr. Crosbie: How will the figure of £39 a year in respect of the small farmer be arrived at? To get at the profits of a farm, is a very complicated business. I should say that to ascertain that in the case of the smallest farm would take almost as much accounting as in the case of the largest farm. I should like to get some idea from the Minister as to how that £39 will be arrived at.
Cathaoirleach: We were discussing whether or not a farmer could get assistance. The Minister stated that if he were in receipt of an income of more than £39 he would be debarred. I think that the Senator is justified in putting a further question on that point.
Mr. Lemass: Section 13 sets out the manner of calculating the means of persons who apply for assistance. That is subject to regulations which are to be made in respect of the interpretation  of certain paragraphs in the section. Generally speaking, the calculation of the means will be carried out in much the same way as under the Old Age Pensions Acts.
Mr. Farren: As one who has had some little experience of unemployment insurance, I can assure Senator Sir John Keane and Senator Brown that, so far from the regulations being too loose, the position is the other way around. The regulations are too tight. Cases have come under my notice of farmers' sons who had worked in a coal mine for years and went back to the farm to live with their people being deprived of unemployment benefit, although they were not working on the farm.
Mr. Farren: What the Minister said is perfectly true. Farmers' sons who had got work in industrial occupations and who had unemployment stamps to their credit received no unemployment benefit. The Minister will admit that that is true. They were not unemployed in the sense that the Act specifies. They were not unemployed and looking for the employment they had before but were living with their people. Numbers of these men have worked on the roads and have unemployment insurance stamps on their cards and some of them have never received unemployment benefit. It depends on the time of year. From my experience, neither Senator Brown nor Senator Sir John Keane need be the slightest bit alarmed with regard to people getting this unemployment assistance if they are not entitled to it. The regulations are not too loose but too stringent.
Miss Browne: Take the case of the farmer and his family whose means a year or two ago would have been £39 but which are not, under present circumstances, £20. Will that man and his family be eligible for assistance? His means have been taken away.
Sir John Keane: In spite of Senator Farren's assurance, I am not the least satisfied. I have experience, too. I am not complaining of the Unemployment Acts. They eased my personal position very considerably in some ways. I know that small farmers' sons who work for me in insurable occupations at times go back to their farms and draw their benefit. That is my experience. The Minister's officers may not be so active in my district, but what I have stated is a fact.
The Minister is sheltering himself— I do not say that in an offensive way— behind the Insurance Acts in his arguments. I will ask the House to realise the great difference between these two measures. The Insurance Acts were limited in their scope, especially in this country. Here you are opening the door practically to every able-bodied man, enabling him to qualify for a certificate. I think the Minister will admit that the possibilities under this Act are immense. Although the principle may be the same, the practice is totally different and the opportunities for evasion are enormous. In all these cases you have to have regard to degree and, of course, degree ultimately means money. If enormous numbers of people are going to take advantage of certain loosenesses you will find the taxpayers having to shoulder very heavy burdens.
I have some figures here which I will mention to the Seanad. They are on general lines and I would like the Minister to take a note of them. The Minister indicated that a large number of farmers will not be qualified under the means test. We must have some regard for what he means by “large.” As everybody in the Seanad knows, there is a preponderating number of small holdings in this country. There are 33,000 holdings under £15 valuation. I do not think it is an overstatement to say that the occupiers of those holdings in the large majority of cases will be eligible for a qualifying certificate. On an average there will be three persons on each holding who will be eligible for a certificate. I will put it that there will be 100,000 persons in that category of small holdings in possession of qualifying  certificates. I will take the average figure of 10/- a head. There are some people who will have a large number of dependants; others will have none. That will mean £50,000 a week. Possibly the Minister will prescribe them as ineligible for one half of the year, and possibly they will be qualified to receive assistance for the other half of the year. The total sum involved in that category alone will be £1,250,000; a staggering figure.
I can see the large majority of small holders coming under the Act. In equity they have as much right to come under it as people similarly circumstanced in the towns. Senators ought to have regard to the tremendous burden that will be placed upon the taxpayers. These figures in general terms are very disquieting. I do not think we realise fully what we are letting ourselves in for under a measure of this kind. It is really an unprecedented measure. I do not think any other country in Europe has established, up to the present, the principle of work or maintenance. Russia may have done so, but none of the Western countries, the more or less stable countries of Europe, have accepted the principle. I do not believe England has reached that stage yet. I believe we are pioneers of this principle of work or maintenance. In view of the little said in the Dáil in regard to these measures, we ought to be very careful as to the direction in which we are moving.
Mr. Johnson: If that is what the Senator means, it shows his calculations are utterly astray. If, on a small farm, the farmer has three sons and has work for only one, I hope the other two sons will, without question, be eligible for unemployment assistance.
Mr. Johnson: I am assuming that two will be employed on a farm of £15 valuation. The valuation of the holding indicates there will be enough work for a man and his son the whole year round. If that is true, then he does not come within this measure at all.
Mr. Johnson: The question of payment does not arise so far as this goes. It is work, employment; if you are employed on a treadmill for a penny a year, that will remove you from the scope of the Bill. Where there are too many sons on a small holding, I hope these sons will be without question eligible under this measure. I gather that Senator Sir John Keane suggests that three persons on each small holding will be eligible and that each of them will be entitled to 10/- a week. I think it is a fair assumption that two of the persons will be people without dependants. The maximum payment in the agricultural areas will be 6/- per week per man without dependants.
There is another matter on this section to which I would like to draw attention. It would have arisen in the ordinary course on the amendment relating to the laying of Orders on the Table, but, as that amendment has been withdrawn, I think it is necessary to refer to the matter on sub-section (3) and to ask whether it is intended that any notice shall be given and, if so, what will be the extent of the notice before a period is declared to be an employment period. I will be quite frank about this. This Bill is not a Bill for this year or next year. I can see the possibility that at some particular time the Minister may declare, in relation to a district where a lockout has occurred, and with the intention  of forcing people to take employment at the rate of wages or under the conditions that the employer attempts to fix, that a certain period is an employment period. Under this section the Minister might, without check, be inclined to declare a definite employment period with the object of forcing men of all kinds into employment. That is a real danger and, unless there is provision made for a check upon the regulations, such as was provided by the amendment put down by Senator Sir John Keane, there will be no safeguard.
I am very glad to find Senator Sir John Keane providing against that kind of risk. As the matter will not arise properly until Section 7 is reached, I suppose I had better not pursue the question of the regulations. At the same time I would like to know what is the intention regarding the period of notice that may be given before regulations are issued or before they come into effect. We may have a decision after all that to-morrow or in two months or three months time, that a particular area or a particular class or that a particular part of the year will be declared an employment period. Then no one in that area or in that class will be eligible for unemployment assistance during that period. I think that contingency should be safeguarded against.
Mr. Douglas: On the section generally, I would be glad if the Minister would explain what paragraph (b) really means—“During any period which is in respect of such person an employment period within the meaning of this section.” I would like to know what “employment period” means. I suppose it is because of my ignorance or stupidity that I do not understand it, but I have spoken to other Senators and they do not seem to know what is meant either. I would be glad if the Minister would explain what that means.
Mr. Lemass: The proposal is that there should be power in the Minister in respect of any class of persons, or in respect of any part of the country or any period, to declare that for a specified class of persons a particular period shall be an employment period; that is, a period in which they shall be deemed capable of finding employment, and consequently barred from getting assistance under the Bill. During the employment period which may be fixed by the Minister, no person under that class will be eligible to get unemployment assistance. They will revert to the position as if they had means in excess of the means specified.
Mr. Lemass: No; the intention would be in the case, say, of small farmers, who would ordinarily be occupied at spring and harvesting work that during these periods they would not be entitled to receive unemployment assistance. If that is now in the Bill it will be easier to administer this scheme. In respect of the whole class you make a rule and, even though that rule may work out a hardship in a number of cases, it simplifies the administration of the whole measure. It will work fairly in 98 per cent. of the cases.
Senator Johnson referred to the clause in respect of employment periods being used unfairly in a trade dispute so as to force people to take employment at a very low rate of wages. It is clear that it could be used for that purpose. In that connection I am afraid there is no means of checking its use except the ordinary means open to a member of the legislature of calling a Minister to account for regulations made under this Bill. One Minister might decide to use that power and another Minister might not.
I can await the possibility of agricultural workers at harvest time declining or avoiding to take work with the farmers and, instead of taking work, reconciling themselves to exist upon the amount of assistance they receive.  I do not think that contingency will arise but if in some parts of the country there is a danger of the harvest rotting in the ground because nobody would accept a job to save it, then it might be necessary to declare that in that area an employment period existed for agricultural workers. The Minister on examining the case might decide that there was good ground for refusing to work either on the grounds of the insufficiency of the wages or something else. In that case, the Minister will have to take responsibility for his actions. It is precisely because the Bill is designed to be used in that particular way that these words are put in. It is impossible to conceive of the Bill being administered if there is any provision requiring that regulations should be laid on the Table of the House and that such regulations may be annulled. For the first two years it is desirable that a more or less free hand should be left to the Minister to deal with such matters when they arise, so that if necessary they may be rectified. If later it is found that the powers given have been exceeded, amendments can be inserted and these amendments can be framed having regard to the experience derived from the working of the measure. I am going to press strongly that we are not to have this tying by regulations, at any rate, for a couple of years, until we have first worked out the administrative problems that will arise in connection with the Bill.
On the question of the finances, I do not know where to start in connection with the figures and calculations given by Senator Sir John Keane. In the first place, the Senator assumes that every farmer with a valuation of £15 and under is a farmer whose means are under £39. I think that is an assumption on the part of the Senator. I think on an average a farmer with a £15 valuation would be held to have means in excess of £39 yearly. Secondly, the Senator assumes that every holding of that class supports a family. That is not correct. There are numbers of farmers who have several such holdings of that kind. In  the third place, he assumes that on such a farm of a valuation of £15 three adult persons will be trying to live, that is trying to live on a farm the full assets of which are calculated at £39 a year. In the fourth place, he does not take into account that if they do succeed in living on such a farm the value of the assistance received from the head of the household either in the form of lodging or board will be calculated against them in the assessment of the amount of assistance which they are entitled to receive. In the fifth place, he assumes that when these people are not employed on the farm they are unemployed, when, as a matter of fact, there are numbers of them engaged on other work of many descriptions when not engaged on the farm. A number of persons in rural areas were last winter engaged on road construction whether inaugurated by the State or by the local authorities. The number of such persons reached 45,000 and they were mostly persons of the class I have referred to.
I think I have covered most of the points raised by the Senator. At any rate, I have said enough to show that Senator Sir John Keane's calculations are not reliable. Consequently the cost of the scheme for that particular class of persons will not be as large, though it is likely that it is persons of that class who may cause a large part of the cost of this scheme. But if these persons are unemployed, if they have not got means of assistance under the Bill, or if they have not any other means of providing for themselves, such as their support by relatives, then they have got to be maintained in some way, and it is more economical to maintain them in this way than in any other way.
Sir John Keane: That is right. I have only just one word to say, and that is in reference to the psychology of the whole matter. Human psychology is at the back of all this. These people to whom the Minister refers are not destitute now. They are  living on the farm. The very minute you set up an institution of this kind the means of these people quickly change, and they rapidly calculate these means. When the Bill was not there these people did not require its benefits at all.
Mr. Crosbie: I am only going to suggest to the Minister that in connection with the payment of unemployment benefit to rural workers, it might be better to join that up in some way with State works, rather than to pay them a dole.
Mr. Lemass: Oh, quite; and in that connection I may say that so far as the Government is concerned, our idea is to provide as much employment as possible, and the introduction of this scheme will in no way diminish the efforts to be made to provide employment. It is merely because it is not possible to work out schemes of employment that will meet the needs of every area at the time when assistance is required that an overriding measure of this kind has been introduced.
Mr. Douglas: I should like to ask the Minister the meaning of the word “regularly” under (a). Does that mean that if a woman works one day per week she is not a dependant or would that be the case if she worked two days per week? If she works—and I know cases where a wife does so in order to supplement the income—two or three hours, say, per week at charring or domestic service, would that meaning apply? Also, if she took in lodgers, which might or might not be held to be ordinary household duties,  will she be regarded as working? I do not want to make the position difficult in respect of casual work occasionally done by a wife, but at the same time I do not want the State to be saddled with people who earn possibly more than their husbands.
Mr. Lemass: The work must be regular work. As a matter of fact, the wording of the section is precisely similar to the wording of the Unemployment Insurance Acts and consequently the same administrative practice will be followed. It is not proposed to institute any change in that regard. The idea is to ensure that a person will not be debarred merely because his wife on occasion gets some casual work to do. If there is a question of lodgers there is, of course, the question of the profit from lodgers and a consequent taking into account in the means calculation of what that profit is so that there will be a diminution in the amount of assistance payable, in any event. There is in relation to this particular phrase more or less an administrative code in existence which is fairly regularly followed under the Unemployment Insurance Acts and which will apply automatically under this Act.
Mr. Douglas: The reply which the Minister has given is very largely the reply I hoped to get, and I think that a good many questions that arise on a number of these sections would be met to some extent by that reply. Reading through this Bill one finds nothing at all to show that the general practice and machinery of the Unemployment Insurance Acts will be applicable. It is the lack of that that has caused a number of people a certain amount of uneasiness with regard to the working of the Bill, and if this could be linked up in any way with the working of the Unemployment Insurance Acts, I think it would cover a good many of the points that would be raised.
Mr. Lemass: Of course that is what will be. The Act will be administered by the same individuals through the same offices with the same headquarters staff and with the same  administrative machinery as that operated under the Unemployment Insurance Acts. The payments will be made by the same person who makes payments of unemployment insurance benefit and so on. It will be a sort of addition to the Unemployment Insurance. Acts administered through precisely the same machinery.
Mr. Lemass: It may be necessary, of course, to increase the staffs in a number of the offices. I think that will arise because of the additional work that will follow. Certain increases in the headquarters staff and in the Claims and Records Office will also be necessary, but the unemployment assistance officers who are referred to in this Bill will not be new. In the main, they will be existing officers of the Department of Industry and Commerce or existing officers of the Revenue Commissioners.
(1) The Minister may, with the sanction of the Minister for Finance, appoint such and so many persons as he thinks proper to be unemployment assistance officers for the purposes of this Act, and every person so appointed shall hold his office as such officer upon such terms and conditions and at such remuneration as the Minister shall, with the sanction of the Minister for Finance, determine.
(2) Regulations made by the Minister under this Act may, subject to the provisions of this Act, prescribe the practice and procedure to be observed by unemployment assistance officers in the performance of their functions under this Act.
Sir John Keane: I should like to ask the Minister if he could give us some idea as to how he proposes to appoint  these unemployment assistance officers. I understand that a large number of them will be necessary and—I hope the Minister will not take exception when I say it—I am sure that he will be subject to a lot of very undesirable pressure. There will be a lot of names put up to him by political clubs pressing to have certain people appointed, and I think he ought to welcome some means whereby all that pressure can be set aside. There has been a lot of uneasiness regarding the character of certain public appointments. I could be more specific if the Minister wishes. It is very difficult to mention these things outside the House, because you know the danger of saying almost anything which might not conceivably be taken as genuine criticism, but here we can, and I am not afraid to be specific if the Minister desires it. There is considerable uneasiness in relation to some appointments and in fact it is said that you have all this very strict machinery for controlling local appointments, while you have much less, and in fact no independent and absolutely impartial machinery controlling central appointments. This is a case in point, and unless the Minister does adopt some very impartial and abstract method of appointing these people, he will be open, I think, to that suggestion. I am sure that for his own sake, the Minister would be glad to be able to deflect the political pressure which will undoubtedly be brought upon him.
Mr. Lemass: There are appointments of a temporary or special nature made by a Minister or by the Executive Council but they would not represent one per cent. of the total of appointments made in respect of the State  service in a year. The other 99 per cent. are appointed as a result of examinations prescribed by the Civil Service Commissioners. If, in my Department, there is a question of appointing any number of permanent officers, the Civil Service Commissioners are informed. They prescribe an examination; they carry out the examination and they furnish the names of the successful applicants. That does not apply in cases of temporary appointments.
Mr. Lemass: There is something in that, I think. That, as I say, does not apply in the case of temporary officers. It does not arise in relation to these officers. In the main, the unemployment assistance officers will be of two classes. They will either be existing insurance or employment officers of the Department of Industry and Commerce who will have certain functions under this Act added to their existing duties or, in other places, existing officers of the Revenue Commissioners who are engaged in the administration of the Old Age Pensions Acts at present. There is an amendment later on which proposes an exchange of information between unemployment assistance officers and pensions officers. In the majority of cases in which that exchange of information might be of value, it is probable that the two offices will be held by the one person. That applies particularly to districts in which some difficulty in bringing this Act into operation may be experienced. In a rural area where there is a question of assessing means and deciding on claims put in by different persons the obvious person to appoint as unemployment assistance officer will be the local old age pensions officer. He will be appointed for that purpose and, in other districts, the employment officer in the different exchanges will act in that capacity. Any individual appointments that may arise in connection with this Bill will either be permanent officers in the employment branch of the Department of Industry and Commerce who will be recruited  in the ordinary way or in some of the branch offices in the exchanges a temporary staff to deal with a rush of work that may arise at the commencement of the Act or at particular periods of the year, the same as takes place at the present time. In the winter months, we have always to appoint additional temporary staff in all the exchanges whose services are dispensed with as soon as the slacker period during the summer comes.
(3) Every regulation made under this Act shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made, and if a resolution annulling such regulation is passed by either House of the Oireachtas within the next subsequent twenty-one days on which that House has sat after such regulation is laid before it, such regulation shall be annulled accordingly, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under such regulation.
I would strongly urge the Minister to accept this amendment. I think there never was a Bill about which we have so little idea as to how it is going to work or how much it is going to cost. So far as the cost is concerned, we have heard some very alarming figures here to-day. I am not going to adopt them, but on the Second Reading of the Bill the Minister himself I think rather vaguely suggested, but still did suggest, that the figure was quite likely to be over £1,000,000 a year, including what is to come from the insurance fund and what is to come from the rates. He said that the whole thing was to cost something like that amount in the year. I take it that is a very conservative estimate of the probable cost of the Bill. The whole thing is a leap in the dark, but it is a leap which we have got to take. All we can do is to try to make the  Bill as safe as we can. The great difficulty will be to secure the proper administration of the Act and the great danger will be the possible abuse of the Act. By “abuse” I do not necessarily mean abuse which is fraudulent. There probably will be some of that. No Act of this kind can be administered without a certain amount of imposition, but the abuse I am thinking of is the difficulty of ascertaining the true facts in the case of individual applicants for unemployment assistance under this Bill and of ascertaining knowledge of changes in the conditions of the individuals who have already got insurance assistance and who may have become employed without reporting that to the proper authorities.
Those are the great dangers and difficulties in this Bill. For these reasons I respectfully submit that the regulations made by the Minister are of such vital importance to the due and proper administration of the Act that they should be laid on the Table of the House so that the House will have an opportunity of seeing the steps that are taken to provide for the due and proper administration of the Act about which we can know so little and about which we can only fear so much. I respectfully suggest to the Minister that the amendment would in no way embarrass him. It will not delay him in any way. There are certain sections in the Bill under which he is empowered to make regulations which really would not very much matter. I might have asked that the Minister should only table those regulations which are of a vital character but I have not done that. I ask the Minister to put on the Table of the House all the regulations which he makes under the Act. It will not cost anything. There will be a very large number of them and the tabling of them will give the House an opportunity of seeing how the Bill when it becomes an Act is being administered under the very difficult circumstances under which it must be administered.
Mr. Douglas: I should like to support the amendment. I think the  Minister speaking on the previous amendment indicated that he did not like this amendment because he was fearful that it would embarrass him in making regulations. I should like to point out to him that there are two forms observed in the laying of regulations on the Table of the House. One form provides that the resolution must be actually brought before the House and passed. The other, which is the form proposed in the amendment, simply gives members of the House an opportunity of seeing the regulations. They have to be printed for circulation. Experience has shown us, both in the case of the last Government and this Government, that no Party or no members of either House, have ever shown any inclination whatever to use that provision for the purpose of embarrassing or creating difficulties for Ministers.
Mr. Douglas: They never did. The whole point is that you have a new Act here and the good administration of that Act is in the interests of everybody, the Government and everybody else in the House. It is inevitable that the introduction of a new Act should create a certain amount of uneasiness. The laying of regulations on the Table will tend to allay that uneasiness. It is an answer to any suggestions that may be made that the regulations are something which the Government cannot stand over. It is a practice which does not embarrass the Minister. He can make any regulation he desires and alter it later by Order if he wishes. I am afraid the number of members who examine these regulations is small. I imagine that Senator Johnson looks at all of them. I only look at those in which I am interested myself and that is not by any means all of them. It is a practice which does not embarrass Ministers and that has been proven in the case of the last Government as well as in the case of the present Government. It is a good procedure which has the effect of creating confidence, and it gives an answer to certain people who are ready to suggest that the administration of the Act is not being carried on in a straightforward way. I would  urge on the Minister that the procedure is really a wise one, and its adoption in this case would involve no cost to the State.
Mr. Johnson: I should like to support the amendment on the ground that it does provide, at least, a means whereby the Oireachtas can keep a continuous check upon what is, in effect, legislation. The Orders to be made under this Act will be, in effect, legislation. They will have statutory effect. They will be in effect new legislation, and if such an amendment as this is not passed it practically means that there will be a very wide field for legislation by Ministerial Order without any real chance of a check by the Oireachtas. As Senator Douglas has pointed out, there is really no danger to the Minister in any case. Nothing that has been done under the regulation is made invalid even if one or other of the Houses declares that the regulation shall not have further effect. Undoubtedly, within the sections which give power to make regulations there is very wide scope. They might take all kinds of forms or any form according to the intentions of the Minister of the day. I would urge strongly that by some formal method the Oireachtas should have the right to revise or annul any such regulation. I agree that the likelihood of such action being taken would be very small, but at least the power is reserved by the Oireachtas to prevent legislation by Ministerial Order of a kind which would not be acceptable to the Oireachtas if it were brought formally before either of the Houses. I cannot see the force at all of the objection which the Minister put before the House on Section 4. I think he should make a rule, unless there is a very strong reason, an absolutely unescapable reason, that in every Bill where there is this kind of power reserved to the Minister this provision should be inserted. It is one way of ensuring that the Oireachtas has the continuous right to oversee administrative decrees of any Minister.
Mr. Johnson: No. Opportunity was  taken once or twice to raise a question before the Dáil and Seanad. That is practically all that is possible, unless one wants to go bluntly against Ministerial policy.
Mr. Lemass: It is, of course, quite foolish for Senators to try to delude themselves into the belief that they can put in an amendment of this kind without holding up the measure. One cannot conceive any Minister administering an Act of this kind with any expedition if the regulations that he makes are to be subject to revision or annulment within a specified time which may run to three or four months. Any Minister who wants to do his job properly, before he proceeds to give effect to his regulations, will certainly proceed cautiously with that possibility of revision before his mind. So far as this Act is concerned, it is in a sense taking a leap in the dark. We are going to make regulations under the Act. We are going to change those regulations and possibly change them again before we will be able to build up the code of regulations which will satisfy our requirements and give us the type of administration that we desire. But Ministers are only human beings. If they make regulations, and can amend them as occasion requires, they will do so, but if they have to come to the Dáil and Seanad and table amending regulations in order to remove mistakes in earlier regulations, then they will be much slower in making regulations at all. That is a factor that is going to make for delay. I would have no objection to the insertion of an amendment of this kind if it were not to operate for say a period of two years. During the first two years we will be proceeding on an experimental basis. We are going to make mistakes. We are going to have some difficulty in collecting data on which to base calculations for the type of administration that is required. We will require a fairly free hand in the matter of making regulations. It would be impossible, for instance, to administer the section dealing with the calculation of means, or a number of other sections in the Bill, if there is any prospect at all that at the end of a  period the regulations framed can be revised or annulled. If that prospect is to be there, then naturally we are going to wait until the end of the period in order to satisfy ourselves that there is no possibility of amendment arising.
This is just an empty formula. In fact very few members of the Oireachtas ever take the opportunity of reading regulations that are tabled. Rarely indeed do they question those orders or regulations. The proposal here is to tighten up the administration of this Act more than the administration of the Unemployment Insurance Acts has been tightened up. Under the Unemployment Insurance Acts there is a provision for the tabling of regulations in respect of certain matters, but under this Act it is proposed that the regulations dealing with all matters should be tabled and be subject to revision and annulment. Since the passing of the Unemployment Insurance Act in 1920, no regulation under it was ever questioned, or any suggestion made to Parliament that the regulations made were not wisely framed. The proposal here is to ensure that all regulations made will be subject to annulment or amendment. Because of that possibility it will be necessary for those administering the Act to walk warily in order to ensure that they are not going to find themselves put into an impossible position.
I would urge on the Seanad not to insert this amendment. It is useful sometimes, I think, to have a provision of this kind in legislation, and quite frequently when I was in opposition I moved to insert an amendment of this kind in a number of Bills. In the case of this particular Bill, I want to put this to the Seanad, that we have not got the time to permit of these revisions. If we want to bring the Act into operation speedily we must be given a certain amount of discretion in the matter of making regulations. If Senators want to take away from us that discretion: to ensure that all these administrative acts will come under the review of both the Dáil and the Seanad and in that way be subject to annulment  or amendment, then we are going to go more slowly and not leave ourselves open to the criticism that we made mistakes that we could have avoided by going more slowly. Because of all those circumstances I would urge on the Seanad that the amendment should not be pressed.
I have no doubt that within a year or two we will be coming here with an amending Act to alter this the Principal Act—to make the amendments in it which experience will then have shown to be necessary. On that occasion an amendment of this kind could be inserted, when the framework of the measure has been built up and when experience in the administration of it has been acquired. Then we will have no objection whatever to tightening up the legislation and of giving to the Oireachtas the greatest possible measure of control. During the preliminary period, however, I would ask that we should be given a free hand so that we will be able to exercise speed in bringing the Act into operation, and without the possibility of having to amend and revise every single mistake that we may make.
Mr. Counihan: The Minister's speech is really an argument in favour of the acceptance of the amendment. If this amendment is accepted it will, as the Minister himself has said, make him walk warily in framing his regulations. I think the House should insist on inserting the amendment.
Mr. Jameson: The Minister's main objection to the amendment seems to be on the question of the delay. It is quite clear from everything that he has said that he is not in the least bit afraid of laying his regulations on the Tables of the two Houses, but he thinks that if the regulations are capable of annulment he may be held up too long, and therefore cannot act under them. There is a great difference between publishing the regulations and the fact that the House will know nothing about them.
Mr. Jameson: The regulations will be published, but the two Houses will have no power to revise them. That is the point that, I think, Senator Johnson dwelt on. We saw the difficulty that arose in the case of Section 4. We could not discuss that section properly because we did not know what regulations are to be made. If we had the regulations before us, we could have discussed Section 4 in a sensible way. The same applies to several other sections of the Bill. This measure is quite different to the Unemployment Insurance Acts. To begin with, it is an experimental measure. The point to be borne in mind is that, under the Bill as it stands, we will have no power to raise a question on any of these regulations when they are published. Could the Minister suggest any means of overcoming that? The Minister says that if this amendment is inserted it will mean delay. The present position is that we are asked to agree to a Bill which gives the Minister power to make every sort of regulation that he wishes. I grant that he is doing everything to the best of his ability. Everything that he has said shows that he wants to act rightly, but I think that, in the interests of the general body of the taxpayers, there should be some method of approach on matters that arise under these regulations which seem to call for explanation. Could the Minister suggest something in the way of giving the House an opportunity of revising the regulations periodically? That is really what we want. We do not want to hamper the Minister, but we do want to have the opportunity of discussing them and of making our opinions known in regard to them.
The Minister might easily, for instance, take a district down in the West and publish regulations about its employment or unemployment periods and everything of that kind. I can see Deputies from that district objecting strongly, and some of us in the Seanad even being pressed by people on matters where they object to these regulations. If we pass this section without amendment then we will not have a ghost of a chance of saying a word about these regulations. I really think if the Minister would design  something to give us a chance of discussing these things we could get over the difficulty. There is no wish, in any part of the House, to hamper the Minister or to delay him in his work. We know the difficulties of the job. But if this House were definitely to agree to have nothing to do with the whole of the regulations I am afraid it would be guilty of some dereliction of duty.
Mr. Johnson: Senator Brown called attention to the fact that he made his amendment apply to all sorts of regulations. He indicated that there was a difference between the classes of regulations. Some were important and would require to be laid upon the Table of the House; others were not so important. I suggest to the Minister that there is a class of regulation that nobody would bother about. For instance, there is the class of regulation mentioned in sub-section (3) of Section 9: “Regulations made by the Minister under this Act may prescribe the tenure and duration of office of members of the unemployment appeals committee and the practice and procedure to be observed by such committee...” We are not much concerned about that. But the Minister may also by regulation make provision for the attending of unemployed persons at a course of instruction. He may also make regulations as to the means test, and he may, as already stated, declare certain districts and certain classes of persons in those districts, to be subject to these unemployment periods. These are the conditions that I consider of most importance and which ought to come formally before the Oireachtas. If the Minister showed any sign of agreeing there might be general acceptance as to a division in the regulations, and as to the kind of regulations that ought formally and inevitably to come before the Oireachtas, and the kind we would not mind, such as the method of carrying out the work of the assistance officers. I do not think anybody is going to trouble about these minor detail matters. But there are major matters that come in under the Bill and I think the Minister should not ask the House to divest itself of the  opportunity of expressing an opinion upon such important subjects.
Mr. Douglas: I am inclined to agree with Senator Johnson. Of course this is a very old question. If the Minister had experience of this House for a longer time he would realise that he is using to-day the same kind of argument that was used by his predecessor. Those of us on this side of the House are never likely to be in office, but even so, I do not think we can sympathise with the position that the Minister has now taken up. We realise that there is a clear distinction between legislation and administration. The minor matters referred to are administrative, and no one wants to interfere with these, but the larger matters are undoubtedly legislative matters. I do not believe it would embarrass the Minister at all to accept this amendment. There is a democratic principle involved in which we are all interested. I may be very innocent, if you like, but I do not see why the Minister cannot make his regulations on the best advice possible and adhere to them. The likelihood that they would be interfered with is small. In regard to tariffs there must be trial by error. We know there must be mistakes, and we do not believe the Minister is responsible for that. No effort will be made to make party capital out of this Act, but I believe there is a principle involved, and that is that in legislation by regulation the latter ought to be laid on the Table of the House.
Mr. Crosbie: I also urge the Minister to accept this amendment. We are in the experimental stage, and if regulations which have been made are to be altered, they ought to be altered from above. Is it not only right that the Houses of the Oireachtas should have an opportunity of pronouncing upon those regulations? There might be some alterations in the regulations that one or other of the Houses might insist upon after they had been in operation for a time. I think it is only right that the House should have an opportunity of knowing how this Act is being administered.
Mr. Brown: Might I make this suggestion to the Minister? If he does not like the amendment in the form in which it appears in the Paper, will he allow me to bring in an amendment on the Report Stage in regard to the sections of the Act in which it is absolutely important and necessary to have a provision of this kind? If he is willing to accept that suggestion I shall be prepared to act accordingly.
Mr. Lemass: I do not know what that is going to involve in the matter of time. I think Senators are under a misunderstanding in this connection. Senators apparently have the opinion that if this were accepted it is going to mean that the Minister will have to act with greater caution and that he will attend to efficiency rather than to popularity if he has to table these regulations. The reverse is actually the position. If everything we do under this Act is to be done with a view to popularity then I or my successors in office will seek popularity rather than efficiency; whereas if it is merely a question of getting the best job possible, and doing that in a most effective way, which will not necessarily secure popularity, there is a much greater chance of efficiency than otherwise. These are questions which might apply generally and upon which we could argue for a long time. I am told there is a democratic principle involved and one must recognise that, although we can disagree with principles, it is very difficult to convince the holder of them that he is wrong. If there is a principle at stake here we must bow to it, or try by some other method to get round it.
On the question or suggestion put forward by Senator Brown I would prefer that the regulations to be tabled should apply to as few sections of the Bill as possible. I was hoping that we would get the Bill through this week and if giving effect to the suggestions made means the postponement of the Report Stage for any length of time I would regret it very much. Undoubtedly quite a number of things in the Bill could be described as matters of very minor detail in which very few would be interested. They  are matters relating to the time of the opening and attendance in offices and matters as to how the claims for certificates are to be made and whether the certificates are in order and things of that kind that are minor matters. Regulations relating to all these things have to be made in any event and if they are subject to revision here it will be a matter for concern, although I think it is most unlikely that anyone will question these regulations. For that reason, if the principle is going to be maintained, irrespective of practical consequences, then I would prefer that the amendment should go through as it is at present in preference to waiting for any period in order to get its application restricted to a few sections of the Bill.
(1) As soon as conveniently may be after the passing of this Act the Minister shall constitute an unemployment appeals committee for the purposes of this Part of this Act.
(2) The unemployment appeals committee shall consist of such and so many persons as the Minister shall from time to time at his discretion appoint to be members thereof.
Mr. Jameson: I move amendment 3:—
Section 9, sub-section (2). To delete all after the word “shall” in line 48 and to substitute therefor the following:—
“be appointed by the Minister and shall consist of representatives of employers and employed persons in equal numbers and a chairman chosen by the Minister.”
This amendment deals with the unemployment appeals committee. Looking over the Bill one came to the conclusion that some of the subscribers to the fund, such as the employees and the employers who are providing  £250,000 of the money to be spent under the Bill, should have some voice on the appeals committee. Since I put down the amendment I have looked through what the Minister said on the section in the Dáil, which was as follows:—
“The procedure in relation to this committee will be based on the pro cedure of the Old Age Pensions Appeals Committee. Questions concerning the amount of assistance to be paid or whether a person is available for work or is unemployed will be determined by the Court of Referees and the Umpire that operate under the Unemployment Insurance Act. Questions relating to the issue of certificates and the calculation of means will be considered by a departmental committee which will be similar in constitution and operation to the Old Age Pensions Committee.”
That is far and away better. That is really what we want, but it is not in the Bill. We have had cases here where a Minister had said certain things and we have acted accordingly and the Minister could not carry out his own wishes. If the Minister will put a clause into the Bill carrying out his own proposals, that is absolutely what we want. It is not in the Bill, however, and I should like to hear from the Minister his objection to putting his own proposals, that he means to act on in carrying out the Act, into the Bill so as to clear up the difficulty.
Mr. Lemass: I submit that Section 9 does, in fact, carry out the intention which I expressed in the Dáil. It provides for the appointment of a committee which shall be the appeals committee in relation to the issue of certificates and consisting of such and so many persons as may be nominated in that behalf by the Minister. That is the procedure which applies under the Old Age Pensions Act. The committee will be similar to the Old Age Pensions Committee, except that it will consist of officers of the Department of Industry and Commerce instead of officers of the Local Government Department. Their function will be to  deal only with appeals relating to the issue of certificates, and most of the questions which will arise in that connection will be on the method of calculating means. Persons may be debarred from getting certificates on the ground of means and may appeal against the decision. It is obvious that the type of investigation which has to be undertaken in such an appeal is absolutely similar to the type of investigation that has to be undertaken by the Old Age Pensions Committee in the Department of Local Government, where there are almost similar appeals. We will no doubt associate with our committee some experienced officer of the Local Government Department as well as an officer of the Revenue Commissioners, who are also interested in the matter. The committee we will get will be an exact counterpart of the existing committee under the Old Age Pensions Act. That is entirely different from the machinery appointed to deal with appeals by persons holding certificates against a refusal to pay benefit, on a question as to whether or not they are employed. They will be determined by a different organisation altogether. Such appeals will be heard by the court of referees and the umpire at present constituted under the Unemployment Insurance Acts. They are two different questions. This committee which, as I have said, will be precisely similar to the Old Age Pensions Committee, can, I submit, be set up with all the powers necessary under Section 9 of the Bill.
Mr. Jameson: Does the committee that I have been talking about come under the answer given in the Dáil with reference to the committee described in Section 9 (1)?
Mr. Lemass: That is the appeals committee.
Mr. Jameson: That is the unemployment appeals committee?
Mr. Lemass: Yes.
Mr. Jameson: Nothing in the answer the Minister gave in the Dáil applies to this committee.
Mr. Lemass: There are two separate machines. A person applies for a certificate, and at that stage the calculation of his means is undertaken. If he has a grievance either arising out of the refusal of the certificate or the putting into the certificate of means higher than he feels he actually possesses, then he appeals to this committee. That is the unemployment appeals committee set up under Section 9. If, after he has got his certificate, he becomes unemployed and applies for benefit, any question as to the amount of the benefit, any question as to whether in fact he is unemployed or not, any question as to the circumstances under which he left his employment and which might debar him from benefit, will be considered not by this committee, but by the court of referees and the umpire.
Mr. Douglas: Under what section is the court of referees?
Mr. Lemass: Section 21. That court and the umpire are there already. There are separate courts in different districts dealing with appeals under the Unemployment Insurance Acts. They can deal with almost similar appeals that will arise here. The only questions to be referred to this committee are questions of means such as are ordinarily referred to the Old Age Pensions Committee.
Mr. Douglas: What the Minister says is exactly what we want, if I understand him correctly, but it does not say so in the Bill. Do I take it to be the Minister's case that the Unemployment Insurance Act had similar provisions to the provisions here?
Mr. Lemass: The Old Age Pensions Act.
Mr. Douglas: That the Old Age Pensions Act had similar provisions, and in effect the Minister did so exercise them, and that the Minister will again do the same?
Mr. Lemass: Quite.
Mr. Jameson: That means that the unemployment appeals committee will consist of such persons as the Minister  shall appoint, and that when selecting these persons he will follow this method.
Mr. Lemass: Undoubtedly. The members of the committee will be civil servants, officers from the Department of Industry and Commerce, from the Revenue Commissioners or from the Department of Local Government.
Cathaoirleach: Civil servants.
Mr. Lemass: There will be no one outside civil servants on the committee. I would not like to put that permanently into the Bill because, conceivably, at some stage, we might like to associate with it officers of local authorities dealing with home assistance.
Mr. Jameson: I agree with that. That is better than my proposal. I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 9 agreed to.
(c) that his means, calculated in accordance with this Act, do not exceed, in case he is resident in a county borough or the borough of Dun Laoghaire, fifty-two pounds or, in case he is resident elsewhere in Saorstát Eireann, thirty-nine pounds per annum or such greater or lesser amount as shall for the time being be prescribed;
Mr. Brown: I move amendment 4:—
Section 10, sub-section (3). To delete in line 22 the words “greater or”.
This section deals with the means test. As the sub-section stands the Minister is given power by regulation to increase the maximum of the means test. It gives him power either to diminish or to increase the £52 in Dublin and Dun Laoghaire, and the 15/- weekly in the country. There can be no objection in principle to the Minister by regulation diminishing the amount of the means test, but to give him power to  turn the £52 into £60, or the 15/- into £1 is to give absolute power of taxation. He cannot increase the £52 or the 15/- weekly without bringing in what might be an immense class of persons, and qualify them for unemployment assistance under the Bill. That means increased taxation. I am not objecting to it on the ground that it is to be done by regulation; it ought not to be done at all, except by legislation and by an Act of the Oireachtas. It is a matter of principle, and I am merely keeping a check on a Minister's regulations. I put it to the House that this is a question upon which we should insist. The Minister need not be at all embarrassed if he has to increase the amount of the means test. All he has to do is to bring in a Bill with a single section and to put it through the two Houses. I can assure him, if he has a decent case, he will have no trouble in this House.
Mr. Johnson: I am wondering whether Senator Brown has stated the case he wished to state if he deletes the words “greater or”. Conditions will have to be fulfilled as to means. Supposing the Minister prescribes that the amount shall be £20, that will bring a larger number of people into the scheme.
Mr. Brown: I agree. I should have worded it the other way. Perhaps I can amend the amendment.
Mr. Farren: It appears to me that the proposal here would be most unfair. Senator Brown says he has no objection to the Minister diminishing the amount, but he has a decided objection to giving power to increase it. That seems to be a very unfair position to take up. Give the Minister power to do either thing, because a set of circumstances might arise when it might be necessary for the Minister to have power under the regulations to increase the valuation of a person entitled to assistance. Circumstances might also arise when it would not be fair that the Minister should have power to reduce it. The House has already accepted an amendment by Senator Brown by which regulations prescribed by the Minister may be  annulled by a resolution of either House. Having passed that amendment there is no necessity for this one, unless the House is going to say that every time the Minister makes a regulation it will have to come before it or otherwise the arrangement will be upset. The Minister repeatedly stated here that the Unemployment Assistance Bill is going to be worked through the machinery already existing for dealing with unemployment insurance, and that it will be in conformity with 20 years' experience of the working of that Act, most of it under the British régime, when things were handled on a very much larger scale. It should be remembered that there are decisions covering every point that is likely to arise. When questions crop up with regard to benefit or any other matter decisions governing them are already available. Seeing that this Bill is going to be hooked on to machinery which deals with the administration of unemployment insurance there is no necessity for this amendment. It is a most unfair and a most unreasonable amendment. The Senator cannot have it both ways. He cannot tie the Minister's hands in one respect and not do so in another respect. The Senator cannot contend that the Minister should not have power to increase but should have absolute power to diminish.
Sir John Keane: I am really unable to follow the last Senator's argument, except, of course, it is a pure case of special pleading. The Senator seems to have failed to grasp the essence of Senator Brown's argument, that if the means test is altered to bring in a far larger number of people than was contemplated, you are indirectly imposing taxation. You are giving the Minister by order power to impose fresh taxation. Does the House think it desirable to allow a Minister to do that? Did anyone ever contemplate allowing elasticity in connection with the old age pensions means test? That was fixed rigidly by statute. If it was to be altered it had to be done in another way.
Mr. Farren: The Minister for Finance has no power under the regulations to diminish the means test under the Old Age Pensions Act.
Sir John Keane: If the Senator likes to have that, he can have it too. We have no objection to the Minister taking power to lessen the number of people qualified. We do not want to let in a lot of people who were never contemplated to be let in. If the Senator objects to it, by all means have it both ways. One way involves lesser taxation, and I do not think he objects to that, but I think that we all, as a House, should object to giving the Minister power to impose fresh taxation of an unknown quantity. Accordingly, I hope the House will insist on the amendment.
Mr. Johnson: Senator Sir John Keane makes his objection on the ground that it affects the taxation. My sympathy is rather with the enlargement of the amendment as suggested by Senator Farren because, as it stands, it might give the Minister power to deprive a lot of people of the benefits to which they are entitled, and I think that is not a thing to be done by administrative order. If Senator Brown would delete all the words after “per annum” in the amendment, I think the Minister should accept it.
Mr. Lemass: I do not really care whether it is deleted or not, because I am quite certain that we will never see a Minister for Industry and Commerce able to persuade a Minister for Finance to increase the means test, or with the courage to reduce it. It is very low in any event.
Cathaoirleach: I think, Senator, it might be as well, in view of what has been said, to take out all the words after “£39 per annum”. I will allow that change in the amendment if the House will permit me. The amendment would then read: “To delete, in line 22, all the words after ‘per annum’ to the end of the paragraph”.
Mr. Brown: I beg to move that.
Mr. Jameson: I presume that means that to alter these conditions fresh legislation would be required.
Cathaoirleach: It means that that goes out of the Bill.
Amendment, as amended, put and declared carried.
Question proposed: “That the section, as amended, stand part of the Bill.”
Mr. Johnson: I should like to ask the Minister if he has anything to say as to whether it is the intention of the Ministry to leave the benefits of this Act open to persons who, though nationals of the Free State, have been working for years in Northern Ireland or in Great Britain, and who may come back home and immediately become eligible. I do not express any views on the point myself, but I should like to have the Minister's views as to his intentions on the matter.
Mr. Douglas: I think that point is rather important, because if there ever was a case for reversing our position with regard to our nationals, I think this is one. If people have been away from the country for five or six years, or a longer period, I think they ought not to be entitled to benefit. For instance, if a man has been out for a long period, say 25 years, in America, it is not good enough for him to come back and, because he was born in Ireland, and perhaps went out to America when he was two or three years old, to get unemployment benefit here.
Mr. Johnson: In view, as has been pointed out, of the signs that Great Britain is going to introduce a Bill very much on these lines and that, I presume, Northern Ireland will do the same, I should like to know whether the Minister has taken any steps to ensure that in this respect at any rate there will be some reciprocity.
Mr. Lemass: I am afraid that we cannot have any reciprocal arrangement until the Government of Northern Ireland or of Great Britain has moved. The problem of persons who were nationals of the Free State  is set out in sub-section (6). The case of any person living abroad who, being unemployed, sought to return to this country for the purpose of receiving this assistance, would have to be carefully considered as a separate problem. I do not think we can deal with that problem here really because this Bill presupposes that every person in the country is entitled to be here and, if suffering hardship from unemployment through no fault of his own, is entitled to receive the assistance which the Bill provides. If there are nationals of Saorstát Eireann in the United States seeking to return here I think that at the present time they are required to satisfy our officers in the United States that they have either a job waiting for them here or people willing to maintain them. Failing either of these, I think they have to satisfy the officers that they have sufficient means of their own to maintain them before they are allowed to return. It is in some such manner as that we would deal with such cases, but once they are in the country they must be provided for in some way. If the public conscience will not tolerate their starving to death they will have to be provided for in public institutions or in some other similar way and, in our view, it is better to provide for them in this way. It may be that we will have to alter the definition of nationals as set out here. There is, in fact, a loophole in all the Acts which involve the definition of what is a “national,” which cannot be rectified until a permanent nationality Act has been introduced. A person might be born in Saorstát Eireann and not be a national of it and consequently, we might be in the position of having to require that person to leave the country if there were need for such action. With regard to Senator Johnson's point I can only say that so far as such persons comply with that definition and the general terms of the Bill they are entitled to assistance no matter where they spent the greater part of their lives.
Sir John Keane: I am intervening at the risk of being accused of being unintelligent, but I am frightfully puzzled about this Bill. I take it that  every able-bodied person who satisfies the means test will be able to get a certificate. I presume that means that every small farmer, of whatever valuation, and all his family—at any rate all the male members of it—over 18 years of age and under 70, are included. I am subject to correction in that. With regard to the question of women I am not at all clear. I understand that in an Act of Parliament “he” also means “she.” Is it intended that women in domestic service are not qualified? Apparently, here, a woman in domestic service, being a spinster—and they are nearly all spinsters—is not qualified unless she has one or more dependants. If she cannot find a dependant she is not qualified. I should like the Minister to let us know if that is so, and I should like to know if the House is satisfied that we are going to exclude altogether the domestic servant class from the benefits of this Act. That is what is involved, as far as my reading of the Bill goes. Are all able-bodied people within the means test—farmers' sons and male members of their families—qualified, and are all the unmarried female members of their families disqualified unless they have got one or more dependants.
Mr. Lemass: It is true that “he” embraces “she” in the text and that the provision there is designed definitely to restrict the operation of the Bill in respect of single women who are not dependent upon anybody and who themselves have no dependants. They are not entitled to unemployment assistance unless they are ordinarily engaged in insurable employment. That excludes domestic servants, and it excludes a great number of single women, daughters of farmers, in respect of most of whom it could be said that they are unemployed, although they may not be very actively seeking employment, and employment could not be provided for them in the place of their residence, or in any area adjacent to their residence. At the same time, we do not want to attract them into insurable employment. That paragraph (f) was inserted in the Dáil by way of amendment.
 Originally, in the Bill, as drafted, there was no provision for dealing with single women at all, mainly on account of the very considerable increase in the cost that would result from their inclusion, but also having regard to the fact that unemployment amongst women is very slight. There is, I think, a greater demand for domestic servants than can be met. Apart from that, the number of women unemployed is very small in proportion to the number of men unemployed. Having regard to these considerations and having regard, particularly, to the very big difference in the cost which the inclusion of single women would entail, we had omitted them altogether from the Bill. Subsequently, representations were made on the ground that, though the reasons for the exclusion of single women were recognised, there was a particular class of women who should be included— women ordinarily employed in insurable occupations in factories, workshops and establishments of that character. It was decided to include these in the Bill by the device set out in paragraph (f)—that is to say, that they should have not less than 52 contributions under the Unemployment Insurance Acts during the four years preceding their application or, in other words, that they should have had one year's employment in an insurable occupation in four years. To attempt to extend that so as to include single women not ordinarily engaged in insurable occupations or who had never been engaged in insurable occupations, would practically double the cost under the Bill.
Sir John Keane: I thank the Minister for his explanation and I congratulate him on resisting the temptation to include these women. The temptation may remain for others on a subsequent occasion.
Section 10, as amended, agreed to.
(1) Every application for a qualification certificate shall be received and considered and every such application and every question arising  thereon shall be determined by an unemployment assistance officer, and every question arising in relation to a qualification certificate after the issue of such certificate shall also be determined by an unemployment assistance officer.
(2) An unemployment assistance officer may, if he so thinks proper, instead of determining it himself, refer in the prescribed manner any application or question which falls to be determined by him under this section to the unemployment appeals committee.
(3) Any person aggrieved by the refusal by an unemployment assistance officer of an application by such person for a qualification certificate or by the determination under this section by an unemployment assistance officer of any matter may, within 21 days after such refusal or determination or such further time (if any) as may in his case be allowed by the Minister, and in the prescribed manner, require such officer to report such refusal or determination to the unemployment appeals committee and thereupon such officer shall report such refusal or determination to the said committee in the prescribed manner.
(4) The unemployment appeals committee shall consider in the prescribed manner and decide every application, question, and determination referred or reported to them under this section, and the decision of the said committee on any such application, question, or determination shall be final and conclusive.
Amendment 5.—Section 11, sub-section (1). After the word “shall” in line 55, to insert the words “be made out in duplicate and shall”.— Senator Douglas.
8. Section 11, sub-section (3). To insert before the sub-section a new sub-section as follows:—
“(3) The unemployment assistance officer shall forward a copy of the application form to the old age pensions officer for the district in  every case in which a qualification certificate has been issued to any person.”—Senator Douglas.
9. Section 11, sub-section (4). To insert before the sub-section a new sub-section as follows:—
“(4) An old age pensions officer may if he so thinks proper appeal to the unemployment appeals committee against the issue of any qualification certificate, and may apply to have such qualification certificate cancelled.”—Senator Douglas.
Mr. Douglas: Amendments 5, 8 and 9 are intended to achieve the same purpose, and I propose, with the permission of the Seanad, to discuss them together.
Mr. Douglas: It seems to me that a flaw exists in Section 11 on the question of appeal. If a person is refused a certificate, there is provision for an appeal. If the officer wishes to raise a point, he can send it to the unemployment appeals committee. But there is no provision in the Bill—such a provision may exist, but it is not mentioned in the Bill—for a check on the cases granted by the officer. Senator Farren has given expression to the view of some Senators that any attempt to check up the machinery under this Bill is going to create hardship. I have nothing of the kind in mind. I believe that if an Act of this kind is going to work within the limits of the capacity of this country, it has got to be gradually worked, with strict fairness, and care has to be taken that it is not abused. I believe that it is just as much in the interest of the unemployed persons for whom this Bill is designed to see that other persons who have means are not enabled to take unfair advantage of the measure, as it is in the interest of other sections of the people. I honestly believe that this country cannot stand any more taxation without that taxation, of itself, creating a certain amount of unemployment. There is a danger that if, by any chance, this Bill grew into something far and away bigger than the Minister has in mind, a certain amount of unemployment would result  by the necessarily increased taxation.
I am not at all certain that these amendments will exactly meet what I have in mind. What I want to effect is that the cases granted should be sent to some other officer for a check; that they be examined periodically by another officer and, if he saw anything that struck him as unsatisfactory or unreasonable, that he might send an appeal to the unemployment appeals committee, such an appeal not to operate against the person concerned until heard. These three amendments represent what some of us thought would be a way of meeting this requirement. The Minister has, to some extent, spiked my guns by telling me that the old age pensions officer may be the public assistance officer. In that event, he would be only sending cases to himself. If that is to be the case, I confess it will spoil my amendments, because it would mean the sending of the work to the officer himself to be checked, which procedure would be without advantage.
One of my objects was to provide a check and another was to bring about an interchange of information which would operate as a check. As it is not practicable to have the public appealing against the issue of a certificate, I want to have a check by another official in case he thought mistakes were being made or that things were going wrongly. It may be that the machinery the Minister has in mind will meet that, but it is not in the Bill and it appeared to me to be desirable that the amendment should be put down.
Mr. Lemass: The practice followed under the Unemployment Insurance Acts provides for such a check, and the practice contemplated in the case of this Bill will provide for such a check. Ordinarily, I should say the position will be: In respect of the average worker in a city or town, the assumption will be that there are no means and, consequently, the administrative machine will be framed to deal in the main with such cases. Outside the cities and towns the assumption will be that there are means. Consequently  there will have to be more elaborate investigation of the personal circumstances to establish accurately what these means are. For that reason, amongst others, we anticipate that it will take longer to bring this Act into operation in the rural areas than in the cities and towns. Where the existence of means is either admitted or suspected, the practice will be to have investigation carried out by the old age pensions officer. It is intended to use the old age pensions officer for the purpose of checking means in each case. These officers are familiar with the procedure in that connection and, although our regulations may differ in some respects from the regulations now operative in respect of old age pensions, nevertheless, it will be much simpler for these officers to carry out this check than it would be for any person specially appointed. Consequently the check will be there. The instructions which will be given to the officers at the initial stages will be that in every case of doubt they are to give a formal refusal so that the decision will come to the committee appointed in the Department. The matter in dispute will always be referred to that committee and we will be able to build up in time a general practice which will simplify the work for the officers throughout the country because they will be able to refer to decided cases and frame their conduct accordingly.
You will, therefore, have the two checks. In the one instance, where means admittedly exist, there will be a check resulting from investigations which will be carried out on similar lines to the investigations in the case of applications for the old age pension. In the second case there will be a standing instruction which will operate in the beginning, that in all doubtful cases there shall be a reference to the committee. In that way we will have decisions recorded which will help officers in the future. In that manner nobody will get a certificate to which he is not entitled except he is particularly clever. It is practically inevitable that in due course we will find him out and, of course, we will take the necessary steps to deal with  him. The aim will be to keep down to the minimum the number of people receiving assistance.
It is our intention that everybody entitled to get assistance will get it. It is quite obvious that the greater the number of persons included, the less will be the attractiveness of the scheme to this or any other Government. It is only in so far as we can deal with hardship at a cost which is within our means that this scheme can be adopted. If, because of slackness in operation or supervision, or because of circumstances over which we have no control, the cost of the scheme were to run to dimensions beyond our contemplation, we would have to abandon the project altogether or else reduce the rates of payment. It is for that reason that Senators can be certain that every safety device will be adopted and every check will be imposed in order to ensure that nobody will get a certificate unless he comes within the category contemplated when the Bill was framed.
Cathaoirleach: None of the administrative machinery is defined in the measure?
Mr. Lemass: No. Amendments 5, 6 and 7 are hardly necessary because what they refer to will be dealt with by way of regulations. So far as getting the application form in duplicate is concerned, our usual difficulty is to get the applicant to fill one form correctly. As I have indicated, the intention is to use the old age pension officers for checking purposes except perhaps in the average cases in the cities where means that are of the class to be taken into account under this Bill very rarely exist. In such cases there might be a tendency towards conceding the scale with greater ease or following a less exacting check than might be made in the country districts where means would be deemed to exist ordinarily. However, even in the cities every case will be checked up in due course through the machinery that will be available for that purpose. We may find that in the cities it will be more effective to have our own investigation machinery  rather than rely on other Departments. In the rural areas, however, the old age pension machinery will be by far the more suitable.
Mr. Douglas: I take it the Minister will devise every means in order to carry out an effective check. Of course the Minister realises the difficulty that exists when there are no administrative provisions. It was inevitable that some people would draw attention to what seemed to be gaps. All I wanted to provide was that within a reasonable time, and quite independent of the assistance officer, his list would be checked by some other person.
Mr. Lemass: I may mention that over and above everything else there is in each district the exchange manager. He is responsible for all the officers in his area. He will be responsible to his senior officers in the Department for the accuracy of everything done in the area under his control by unemployment assistance officers, old age pensions officers and branch managers. They are all accountable to him and he checks up on their work. It is at these exchanges that the records will be kept relating to the people who will be entitled to hold certificates and receive payment. Our existing organisation provides for a periodic check, a periodic inspection of these records. This inspection is carried out generally every three months.
Mr. Douglas: Of course the Minister visualises the scheme, but in this measure there is nothing to show that the manager will be responsible to him. We were merely anxious to find some method by which we would know that the administration of this measure was being carried out on lines parallel with, for instance, the unemployment insurance scheme, because we believe that that is the only way in which it can be done efficiently and satisfactorily. In the circumstances, I will withdraw these three amendments, with the permission of the House.
Amendments 5, 8 and 9, by leave, withdrawn.
Mr. Douglas: Amendments 6 and 7 are similar, and they do not raise any  very important point. I will not press them. The reason I put them down is because it seemed to me that the regulations would have to prescribe the tests, the means to be adopted by the unemployment assistance officer. If he is going to be an experienced official, and if we can feel confident that he will be efficient, the matter is relatively unimportant. Of course, if he is a new official it is quite obvious there ought to be regulations. As the Bill stands a man might say: “I know by the look of you...”, or he might apply conditions almost intolerable in the way of proof. You could go to two extremes. We have the Minister's assurance that the officials will be experienced.
Mr. Lemass: All the senior officials will be in that category. The junior staffs will be recruited. I would not like to undertake the obligation to publish the instructions that will be given to some of these officers, particularly if things begin to go wrong.
Mr. Douglas: When the Minister mentions senior officers, I take it the unemployment assistance officers must be senior officers?
Mr. Lemass: Quite.
Amendments 6 and 7, by leave, withdrawn.
Mr. S. Robinson: I move amendment 9a:—
Section 13, sub-section (1). In subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (b), line 54, to delete the word “his” and substitute the word “current”.
Mr. Lemass: This is a purely formal amendment which I am advised is necessary to prevent certain misunderstandings arising.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 12, as amended, agreed to.
(1) In the calculation of the means of a person for the purpose of this Act the following things and no others shall be deemed to constitute the means of such person, that is to say:—
(a) the yearly value ascertained  in the prescribed manner of all property belonging to such person (not being property personally used or enjoyed by him) which is invested or is otherwise put to profitable use or is capable of being but is not invested or put to profitable use;
(b) all income which such person may reasonably expect to receive during the succeeding year in cash, including the actual or estimated amount of any income which such person may reasonably expect to receive during such succeeding year as head of the household, whether as contributions to the expenses of the household or otherwise, but excluding—
(i) any income or money coming within any other paragraph of this sub-section,
(ii) all moneys earned by such person in respect of his personal employment under a contract of service,
(iii) any moneys received by way of benefit under the National Health Insurance Acts, 1911 to 1933,
(iv) any moneys received by way of unemployment benefit under the Unemployment Insurance Acts, 1920 to 1930,
(v) any moneys received by way of unemployment assistance under this Act,
(vi) any moneys received by way of home assistance;
Mr. Johnson: I move amendment 10:—
Section 13, sub-section (1). At the end of paragraph (b) to add a new sub-paragraph as follows:—
(vii) The money value derived from the cultivation of a garden plot not exceeding one half-acre or any plot attached to a house provided under the Labourers Acts, 1883 to 1931.
There are a number of points that will have to be raised upon paragraph (b). My amendment asks that there shall be a specific exclusion from the items  which would be credited to the applicant of the money value of produce derived from the cultivation of a garden plot not exceeding one-half acre or any plot attached to a house provided under the Labourers Acts, 1883-1891. I want to protect the townsman who has cultivated small plots from the danger he may fear coming to him that if he does his work very well indeed, it is going to come against him in the assessment of his income, and similarly in regard to the agricultural labourer. It is the law that a definite proportion of these labourers' plots should be cultivated. Some of the occupiers of labourers' cottages are more assiduous than others, and I am going to give every encouragement to those who are more assiduous, so that it cannot be said that because a man has cultivated his plot and derived portion of his food from it he is, therefore, going to be mulcted and that the value of the crop derived from his cultivation will not be put on to his income. I think the insertion of this amendment in certain circumstances will at least have the effect of encouraging the better cultivation of plots both in town and country.
Sir John Keane: I am not very happy about this amendment. It looks as if we were setting up two classes of plot-holders, one the plot-holders covered by the Labourers Acts and the plot-holders, who are not so covered. That would be inequitable. Senator Johnson makes a distinction between the two kinds of plot-holders. There are quite a number of people who are occupying plots of under half an acre and there will be differentiation. There is another point to be considered. These cottages are not occupied by bona fide labourers. Everybody knows that. In fact some of them are occupied by returned Americans with very considerable sums of money. There is a good deal of laxity about the whole administration of these Acts.
Does Senator Johnson say that a person who goes in for the growing of tomatoes will be exempt? I think under this amendment he would. You have to consider this also—how will  this read in the courts? I take it that these are statutory benefits and in the last resort there will be an appeal to the courts. I am not a judge but I should be rather sorry if as a judge I had to interpret the meaning of “the money value derived from the cultivation of a garden plot” and whether that would be gross or net or what it would be. I think it would be much better to leave that amendment out and let the matter be dealt with under the Bill as it stands. I see a very great danger in respect of an amendment of this kind.
Mr. Crosbie: I am very much inclined to support Senator Johnson's amendment. After all it is very improbable that the plot-holders such as Senator Sir John Keane describes will ever make application under the Unemployment Assistance Act for assistance. I think it is very detrimental that a labourer who is out of employment and who is energetic and skilful should be in any way prevented from making the most of his plot. For these reasons I support Senator Johnson's amendment.
Mr. Counihan: I agree with Senator Crosbie. I think it would be very harmful to the labourers if they were to believe that the tilling of their plot would tell against them in the securing of unemployment benefit. Perhaps Senator Johnson could devise some form of words to meet Senator Sir John Keane's objection. I am sure the Senator has no idea of procuring benefit for such persons as those described by Senator Sir John Keane.
Mr. Lemass: I am not quite clear as to what Senator Johnson means by this amendment or what the money value derived from the cultivation of a garden plot under the Labourers Acts is intended to mean. I assumed at first it meant the value of the money received for any produce of the plot sold. If that is the meaning of it it is quite clear that it cannot possibly be excluded under any circumstances. If it means the benefit derived from the cultivation of such a plot it cannot be accepted. This is not a Bill to provide compensation for loss of employment. It is not a measure to  provide people with something over and above what they have got. It is a Bill to insure people against hardships caused by unemployment and it must take into account the income they have.
We are taking into account the income the small farmer is getting from an uneconomic holding in the West of Ireland. We value his land and we deduct that amount from whatever benefit he is entitled to receive under this Bill, or perhaps we leave him out altogether. I do not see why we should not follow the same course in the case of a man who has got an acre of land adjacent to a town, a plot of land which is capable of being made use of as a source of profit. We take into account the small pension which an unemployed man may have. We take into account his earning from fishing, from acting as a guide to tourists during the fishing season. All these sources of revenue must be taken into account in determining the assistance the man is to get, because the aim of the Bill is to ensure that destitution will be avoided, and it is to make up to such people by adding to the means they already have so that they may have a means of living.
You must not leave out of account one particular kind of income. If we count an old woman's chickens or the other assets of the small farmer we must also take into account the value of the benefits which come to persons owning these plots. To insert such a provision as this would destroy the general uniformity which the Bill is designed to create. In the matter of providing assistance, the Bill at present says that all means shall be taken into account subject to certain exceptions set out in this section. They only relate to the calculation of means on the basis of receipts in the previous year. We leave out of account anything received in the way of home assistance or national health benefit or anything which a person may receive for working in the previous year. These are all left out of account, but, subject to that, every source of  remuneration which the man has, whether in cash or in kind, is taken into account in determining the assistance to be given. Once you depart from that and proceed to exempt any sort of income, then it is almost impossible to stop, because it is possible to make as strong, if not a stronger case, in respect of many other proposals which might come forward than in respect of the proposal embodied in this amendment.
You have either to stick rigidly to your principle that, subject to your overriding maximum, you are going to make up to the limits set out in the Schedule of the Bill the means of a person when he is unemployed or you are going to ignore certain means and if once we do that, we have to consider so many possible claims that might be made, any one of which is as strong as the other, that the whole basis on which the Bill is founded is going to be destroyed and a position is going to come about in which conceivably we could be expending money on giving assistance to persons who were not in real need of it at all.
Mr. Johnson: I am sorry that the Minister has taken the line that he has taken. He has made provision in a later section of the Bill for the possibility that certain courses of training and the like may be required. He will probably be aware of a movement in England and, I think, in Scotland, for the employment of unemployed men on various kinds of training activities, including garden plots. The cultivation of garden plots as carried out around towns is a very important method of providing the family with vegetables, but it is also an important method of giving a man some occupation. From the Minister's arguments —I am not saying that it would be the effect of the non-acceptance of the amendment—one might take the lesson that all those men who have taken plots around the City of Dublin and other centres for growing vegetables for their own use should cease to grow vegetables for fear the value of those vegetables which they consume in their own houses will be marked up against them in assessing their means.
Mr. Lemass: If they are unemployed?
Mr. Johnson: Yes, if they are unemployed, but this deals with the calculation of means for the purpose of qualification. In reply to Senator Sir John Keane, I point out that what I had in mind was this plot-holders movement which means that the workman in the town will be able to spend his Saturday afternoons cultivating a plot for the provision of vegetables for the use of the family, a very valuable means of spending spare time which ought to be encouraged and not discouraged. It has been encouraged by the Legislature but the Minister's attitude would tend somewhat to discourage it. If a plot-holder produces from his plot a certain few pounds value of produce for consumption in his own house, that is going to be charged up against him and added to any other possible income, pension or otherwise, that he may have and may be used to put him out of assistance benefit if he becomes unemployed. That, I think, would be a bad use to be made of this Bill. All the social value of the plot-holders' movement tends to be destroyed by the calculation of the value of that produce in his means.
With regard to the question of agricultural labourers, or of plots held under the Labourers Acts, which, I agree with Senator Sir John Keane, are not strictly limited to agricultural labourers, the same arguments apply, but, I think, less forcibly than in respect of the town plot-holder. I am not going to force this matter on the Minister, but I really feel disappointed that he has not received it with more sympathy and with a view to giving encouragement to the plot-holder, and particularly the plot-holder of the town, to grow as much vegetables as he can in the gardens the provision of which another Department of the same Ministry is encouraging. If the houses that are being built around the cities and towns are given gardens, and those gardens are to be left uncultivated, I suppose that much of the value of the present housing schemes will be lost, because the schemes provide for spaces around houses and encourage the householder to grow  vegetables on his plot. If that plot is to be valued not merely in accordance with what has actually been produced but, from the Minister's statement, what is capable of being produced in it, I think it will deter the better cultivation of those plots. I regret that the Minister has not received this amendment with more sympathy.
Sir John Keane: Surely the Senator is not right in his reading of this Bill? It is only cash that is involved. There will not be any value, I understand, set on income received in kind in the form of vegetables grown by himself for his own use. It will only apply to produce sold outside for which the plot-holder receives money, and surely it is only reasonable that that should be taken into account.
Mr. Johnson: Will the Senator read what follows after the word “cash”?
Mr. Lemass: I should like to say that it would give me very much pleasure to be able to make all such provisions which may occur to Senator Johnson and to myself. I should like to enable the man who has been thrifty all his life and who has accumulated a little store of savings to carry that little store of savings over a period of unemployment so that he could start accumulating again when work came. If ever I am drowning in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, I shall be very glad to see a huge liner come up beside me and several boats lowered in order to pull me out of the water, but I shall be very thankful if I can get even a lifebuoy. That is what we are doing. We are providing a lifebuoy to these people to keep them from being submerged.
Mr. Johnson: And telling them not to learn to swim.
Mr. Lemass: Unfortunately, we cannot do more than that. You have people unemployed. You have, ordinarily, people who may be out of work and who may be getting unemployment insurance and going back to work again but it is only when the terrible disaster of a prolonged period of unemployment arises that  they come under this Bill and get this assistance. Individual cases, from every consideration, must go by the board in the main task of keeping these people alive and keeping them going until employment turns up. We cannot afford, having regard to the cost involved, to do more than that and that is why we have got to resist the temptation to put in all these provisions that every one of us would like to be able to put in. I hope, however, that, some day, when unemployment is not so widespread and the total cost would be less, we may be able to insert such provisions.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Mr. Johnson: I move amendment No. 11.
Section 13, sub-section (2). To insert before the sub-section a new sub-section as follows:—
(2) In estimating the amount of any income received by the head of a household by way of contribution towards the expenses of the household from a lodger, boarder or other member of such household there shall be deducted from the amount so contributed a sum estimated to be expended for the maintenance of such person.
I put this amendment down with a view to elucidating what is meant by paragraph (b). The section reads:—
In the calculation of the means of a person for the purpose of this Act the following things and no others shall be deemed to constitute the means of such person, that is to say,
(b) all income which such person may reasonably expect to receive during the succeeding year in cash, including the actual or estimated amount of any income which such person may reasonably expect to receive during such succeeding year as head of the household whether as contributions to the expenses of the household or otherwise.
I read that to mean that if there is in Dublin City a father of a family with a couple of sons who are working and  contributing to the expenses of the household, the sum they contribute will be a contribution to the expenses of the household and will be taken into account as the income of the head of the household. The amendment I have put down is to make it clear that it is the profit on those contributions rather than the actual amount of the contributions that shall be taken into account as income. There are other questions which arise. I do not know whether I should deal with them now or perhaps get this particular matter cleared up first. I think that the contribution which the sons of the family make towards the expenses of the household, which includes food, fuel, and perhaps domestic service, if there is a maid in the house, should not be charged as part of the income of the head of the household without taking into account what it cost to feed those sons or to provide fuel for them. I therefore put down the amendment with a view to having the matter made quite clear. If the intention is that it is only the profit derived from the contributions that is to be taken into account, and that that meaning might be made clear by some other form of amendment, I shall be quite satisfied but I think it would be quite unjust to assume that because a son contributes 30/- towards the household expenses and consumes 20/-, say, worth of food, that the whole 30/- should be charged as the income of the head of the household. I should like to have that matter cleared up.
Sir John Keane: Senator Johnson might consider that legislation of this kind is bound to raise complexities of the character which he has indicated. I notice the Minister has not attempted to define household expenses. “Household” is left with the ordinary conversational meaning that everybody gives to it. The Minister has not dealt with the possibility that all these matters may come within the purview of the courts. I do not know to what extent an applicant in the last resort can go to the courts, but if cases arising out of this legislation are to come before the courts, I can foresee a windfall for the lawyers, and a whole body of case-made law.
 We have had a considerable number of such cases under previous Acts like the Insurance Acts. The question of the farmer's son again arises in this connection. The Minister has not answered my point with regard to these farmers' sons. I take it that all these farmers' sons are going to qualify for assistance, or at least all small farmers' sons. At present they live in their fathers' houses. There is no question of payment for their upkeep. Anything that is saved on the farm goes to provide a marriage portion or to help them in their careers. If there are not going to be wholesale evasions of this Act, there will have to be some means by which the value of their work is set off and appears as the income of the head of the house. I cannot see how it can be done in the way Senator Johnson suggests, on a sort of mathematical accounting basis. It would be quite impossible in the case of a small farm to estimate the income in the manner the Senator suggests. The only way to estimate the income from the farm would be to set a value on their labour and let the onus of proof that he has not earned that rest on the applicant himself. The only way to do it would be to say that every able-bodied member of the family living in the house would be assessed at, say, 15/- a week. That would be the notional net income of the head of the house. After all, there is a precedent for that, because the farmers' income for income tax purposes is assessed on his valuation, although in many cases farmers are not making anything at all. The only way is to take every able-bodied member of the household as having a certain notional income, and unless they can prove they have not got it, that shall be calculated as a set off. I wish the Minister would deal with the point, because the whole question of the small farmer's household is one of terrible difficulty, and a terrible amount of this money may be going where it is not really wanted.
Mr. Lemass: It is, of course, clear from the Bill that the methods of calculating the means in any case are to be fixed by regulations. They are not fixed here, but certain guiding principles are  laid down here. Regulations have to be made which will prescribe the manner in which different classes of means will be calculated—capital means or means from income, or where the calculation is based on the earning in the previous year. Senator Johnson's contention that where a man is keeping lodgers, only the net profit should be taken into account in assessing his means is one with which I am in full sympathy. I think that it is quite fair and just. No doubt the regulations which will be made will provide for such cases. The same would apply to the regulations in respect of contributions received from a son. I want to say that we assume that where a man's relatives are able to maintain him he should be maintained by them and not by contributions under this Bill.
We had it down as one of the conditions under Section 10 that a person was debarred from receiving assistance where it was deemed that his relatives were able to maintain him and ordinarily did maintain him. We decided, however, that from the point of view of administration it would be difficult to apply that provision in a practical way, but we inserted another sub-section so devised that there shall be taken into account free lodging, free boarding or free clothing provided by relatives. These items will be taken into account in calculating the means of an applicant and will operate to prevent his getting unemployment assistance or to reduce the amount he may get. I might mention, for instance, the case of a man who has an income of £1,000 or £2,000 a year and who has a son who is too lazy to work. He may say to the son: “Well, you are unemployed. Go and draw your 10/- a week. At least it will keep you in cigarettes.” Obviously we do not want to provide that particular type of individual with any of this money. His father or other relatives are well able to maintain him, and consequently the value of the benefits received by him in the way of lodging or board would be such as to rule him out under the Bill. You can visualise a whole crop of such cases until you get down to the border-line cases in  which there will be a difficulty in coming to a decision. But, generally speaking, the Bill will be operated to provide that where the relatives of an unemployed person are well able to maintain him and ordinarily did maintain him, that person will not get unemployment assistance, certainly not the full amount. On the two questions raised my view is: (1) in the matter of lodgers and the like, I think Senator Johnson's contention is quite right and just and will certainly be covered by regulations made under the Bill. In respect of members of the same family somewhat in the position of lodgers, the same principle will probably apply, but with the other provision that where ordinarily the person was one who was maintained, or should be maintained, by relatives the maintenance provided will have to be taken into account as means.
Mr. Johnson: I am glad the Minister has given a clear indication of his intentions, but I am not quite clear that there is any provision made in the Bill that this method of calculation will be in the instructions issued under the regulations. Sub-section (3) of Section 10 sets out the conditions which shall apply. The method of the calculation of means is set out in Section 13, but there is no reference to regulations. I wish the Minister would look into the phraseology of paragraph (b) and see whether it does not, in fact, leave open to the umpire the obligation to charge, as the income of the head of the household, the contributions towards the expenses of the household of all those people who live in the house, no matter what the food they consumed may have cost. I think the words “net contribution” might meet the case. In any case, it seems to me that it is not clear at present. I do not see any possibility that the Act can be modified by regulation.
Mr. Lemass: The Act cannot be modified by regulation. There is, however, a discretion given in the administration of the Act, namely, that the value of the means shall be such only  as are set out in paragraphs (a) to (e). Subject to these, the unemployment assistance officer, in the first instance, and the appeals committee in the second determines what the means are. They will be provided with regulations, in the same way as old age pensions officers are provided with regulations, to enable them to determine the means arising under any particular head. A certain value is placed on different classes of livestock; a certain value is placed on land and on houses held and owned by the persons concerned, and so on. These calculations are made for old age pensions purposes, and will be made in connection with this Act, subject, however, to the provisions set out. Regulations will be made giving instructions to the unemployment assistance officers. The contention put forward by the Senator with regard to lodgers seems to be a just one. That is a matter to be covered by regulations. The alternative to doing that would be to put into the Bill conditions which would apply to various classes of cases. In my opinion, particularly having regard to the nature of the Bill, it is better to put in an overriding principle and leave the administration to be determined by instructions given to the unemployment assistance officers.
Sir John Keane: The Minister has not dealt with my point as to the extent to which these cases will come within the purview of the courts.
Mr. Lemass: They will not go before the courts at all. Appeals in respect of the administration of the Act are finally determined by the umpire, apart from the appeals that go to the unemployment assistance committee. Its decision is final in any event. Appeals in regard to the interpretation of the Act and on all questions concerning its administration lie, in the first instance, to the court of referees, and with the permission of the court of referees to the umpire in the final resort. There is no appeal to the courts.
Sir John Keane: That will be satisfactory news for the general public: that there will not be an opportunity of having this loose terminology argued  by fashionable counsel in the courts. As the Minister is aware the Gaeltacht is kept going very largely by the earnings of persons who go to Scotland and elsewhere. They return home at the end of the season. I have no doubt that they are not in any great affluence, but one would like to know whether the sums they earn are going to be taken into consideration as income when they become unemployed. The point we have to consider is that we are going to supplement their earnings overseas by unemployment assistance during the slack season. That, of course, would be a very nice thing to do if we could afford it. I would ask the Minister to consider what that may involve.
Mr. Lemass: It is quite obvious that if you were to take into account, in calculating means, all the earnings of a person in the previous year then nobody would ever get a certificate. Where there is no fixed property and no regular income means are calculated on the basis of actual receipts in the previous year but leaving out of account the earnings from employment in that year. Obviously, you cannot take them into account. It is money that has been earned and spent and is no longer available. The section is intended to cover such sources of income as might be occasioned by regular contributions from relatives abroad or some other source of income of that sort. You could not possibly take earnings into account. Unless a person was unemployed for the whole period he must have earned £39 in the year. If you were to take earnings into account in calculating means, in the subsequent year, unless a person had been completely unemployed you would debar him entirely from benefit. In calculating means you cannot hold against a person his earnings in a previous year.
Sir John Keane: Take the case of a person with five children who has been earning £5 a week during six months of the year. It is possible under the Bill for such a person to draw assistance during the six months that he is unemployed.
Mr. Lemass: A person becomes disqualified unless he is able to satisfy the assistance officer that he is genuinely seeking work. If there is an offer of work made to him he must accept it or become disqualified. Ordinarily that will be the main test. Relief work, say, is started in a district. Work will be offered to the people who are on these lists. They will become disqualified if they do not take the work offered to them. That will be the acid test.
Sir John Keane: The Minister does not see my point. I am suspicious about all these things. We know how many loopholes can be found and in ways that were never thought of beforehand. I am trying to foresee what will happen in the case, say, of a man earning £3 or £4 a week for six months. A man with £4 a week for six months would earn £100. He then may be out of work for the next six months, during which he may draw £1 a week from the State. That seems quite possible under the Act. It may not be possible but I should like to know whether it is or not.
Mr. Farren: The Senator, in his statement, has overlooked an important fact. This is an Unemployment Assistance Bill. A man might be lucky enough to have employment for the first six months of the year. He might earn £3 a week, but he may have to pay 17/- a week rent, and he may have three or four children to keep. When he finds himself in unemployment he has nothing left. Is he not to get unemployment assistance because of that? If he was in an insurable occupation he would not come under this Act, but if he is engaged in uninsurable employment his weekly budget is exhausted on the Saturday night while he is in such employment. Senator Sir John Keane may shake his head at that statement but it is an undeniable fact.
Take a labouring man working in Dublin in casual employment. These men are paying as much as 8/- a week for a single room. They are not living in labourers' cottages for which they pay 1/- a week. The casual labourer in Dublin is living in a tenement room or two rooms for which he pays 8/- or 10/-  a week. He buys everything at an enhanced price. When his wife is finished buying for the requirements of the family, we may take it that the last penny is gone. This man at present, if in uninsurable employment, would have to go to the relieving officer for assistance. It was to get away from this degrading system of pauperising decent people, unemployed through no fault of their own, and because they could not get employment, that this Bill was brought forward. Therefore, you cannot take into consideration what a man earns in the first six months of the year unless his income was sufficient to provide for the next six months. The majority of people who apply for assistance are people who, when employed, partially receive sufficient only to carry on for the time. When their employment ceases they have no means to provide for themselves.
Mr. Foran: Would Senator Sir John Keane disqualify a man who works six months of the year?
Sir John Keane: Senator Foran has asked me a hypothetical question: If a man is earning £4 a week for six months of the year he earns £100 for that period. Supposing a man is earning £100 a year, I should say that ought to enable him to live for the whole year if he was living in a rural district. The Senator asked a question, and I have answered it. I say under the Bill that it is possible for a minority of cases— we have to have regard to the whole bearing in this matter—to get unemployment assistance under the Bill without being entitled to it. Senator Farren dealt with only a section of people. It is possible for people living in the Gaeltacht to go to England and in six months earn £100, and then come back here and draw unemployment assistance for the next six months. I think that is regrettable.
Mr. Foran: May I put the alternative? A man working six months may, according to Senator Sir John Keane, receive benefit for six months. But if he does not work at all will he not  receive benefit for the whole twelve months?
Miss Browne: If a man puts his savings into the Post Office will that count?
Mr. Lemass: Yes.
Miss Browne: If a man earns £4 a week and saves £1 or £2 and puts it into the Post Office will that be calculated against him?
Mr. Lemass: Undoubtedly. All means, of any kind, when a man makes application for benefit, will be taken into account.
Mr. Johnson: Will the Minister reconsider the drafting of this sub-section (b)? In my opinion it is dangerously vague, and the umpire will say he is bound by the Act, and not the regulations, in a way that would penalise very many fathers of families in towns. It is not easily understood in its present form. I ask the Minister to re-examine it and see whether it could not be amended so as to make the intentions of the Minister as declared here more easily understood by the reading of the section.
Amendment by leave withdrawn.
Sections 14 and 15 agreed to.
(5) A person who lost employment by reason of a stoppage of work which was due to a trade dispute at the factory, workshop or other premises at which he was employed, shall be disqualified for receiving unemployment assistance so long as the stoppage of work continues, except in the case where he has, during the stoppage of work, become bona fide employed elsewhere in the occupation which he usually follows or has become regularly engaged in some other occupation.
Mr. Johnson: I move amendment 12:
Section 16, sub-section (5). After the word “occupation” in line 20 to add the following words:—
The disqualification on the grounds of a trade dispute shall not apply if the applicant can prove that he is not himself participating in or  directly interested in the trade dispute which caused the stoppage of work.
This raises a matter of some importance. It was discussed in the Dáil in another form. I want to repeat the general claim that it is not fair or reasonable that men, not directly involved in a trade dispute, should be disemployed as a result of a trade dispute and penalised by that fact. I realise the Minister's argument that this Bill must run parallel with the Unemployment Insurance Bill and matters such as that. He does not want to accept any change in the law in respect of unemployment assistance that would not also apply to unemployment insurance. It is important, I think, that it should be emphasised that there is an unfair discrimination against men who are quite accidentally thrown upon the unemployment market by the action of employers who lock-out, or workers who strike, and that these persons who have no interest and who have no benefit derivable from a strike in any way are disqualified. There have been a number of decisions under the Unemployment Insurance Act which quite clearly are indefensible from the point of view of equity, although it may be admitted, inasmuch as they are decided by lawyers, they are quite legal. I have for instance this kind of case. There was a tailors' lock-out in consequence of discrimination and reduction of wages. The employer gave notice of a reduction of wages. The employees declined to accept the new rates. As a result the employers locked them out. After some time work was resumed in one firm but the other firm involved abandoned the tailoring branch of their business. The case of one of the applicants was taken as a test case. The court of referees recommended the claim to be allowed. The insurance officer was unable to accept the recommendation of the court of referees. He was of opinion that the applicant was disqualified for the receipt of benefit by Section 8 (1) of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920 “on the ground that he had lost his employment by reason of a stoppage of work which  was due to a trade dispute at the premises at which he was employed.” The decision was: “On the facts before me my decision is that the claim to benefit must be disallowed.”
The merits of the case did not concern him. There was a dispute and the man in question was permanently disemployed, because even when the dispute was closed that particular department of the business ceased. We have had other cases. We have had the case of the Great Northern Railway men which was cited in the Dáil. We have had the case of a clerk who was unemployed through an employer's dispute with other classes of employees. That man quite accidentally lost his employment, not because he was involved in the dispute, but because the dispute arose out of matters over which he had no control but from which he suffered. I argue that it is unfair and unjust that these people in these circumstances should be disqualified from benefit either under this Bill or under the Unemployment Insurance Acts. As we are not dealing with unemployment insurance but with unemployment assistance, I want to make the case that, whatever may be said about unemployment insurance, the effect of such a ruling under this Bill is practically to tell such persons that whatever may be the benefits provided by the Unemployment Assistance Bill they, at any rate, have to fall back upon the poor law. I hold that the value of this Bill is largely because it is going a long way towards taking people out from the poor law system, but, in this case, where there is a definite disqualification, where the unemployment is due to a trade dispute, you are forcing such persons back upon the poor law.
I do not expect that the Seanad is going to accept the amendment or that the Minister is going to accept it, but I should like to have some assurance from him that he will at a very early date bring in new legislation to remove this disqualification both from the Unemployment Insurance Acts and from this Bill. I do not intend to enlarge further upon it.  One could cite many cases of hardship arising from the operation of this provision in the unemployment insurance code. I would forestall one argument that I am sure the Minister may use, that the business of the State is to hold the balance evenly between the two contending sections. I am arguing that the people concerned are not part of the contending sections at all; that they are non-combatants who are suffering and should not be penalised by the action of others for which they have no responsibility and over whom they have no control.
Mr. Lemass: I am prepared to admit that the phraseology in the Unemployment Insurance Acts is not satisfactory. The unsatisfactory nature of the phraseology was recognised in Great Britain a number of years ago, and, in fact, the Act was amended in 1924 by the insertion of a clause not dissimilar to that which Senator Johnson has proposed in relation to this Bill, a clause which, however, went somewhat further than he now proposes. The amendment, however, was not satisfactory either, and some time afterwards a committee was appointed representative of employers, workers, and State officials to consider and report upon various matters relating to the Unemployment Insurance Acts, including the matter of this particular clause. They examined the matter in detail, and in the end admitted that they were beaten, admitted their inability to produce any clause that could with certainty achieve the end in view. The end in view is to ensure that nobody who is the innocent victim of a trade dispute will be debarred from receiving unemployment insurance benefit or unemployment assistance. It is quite clear, I think, from the examples Senator Johnson has given, such as the example of the firm engaged in the tailoring trade, that the particular difficulty that existed there is not covered by the amendment. The situation would be in no way changed even if the amendment had been inserted at the time that that case arose. I am, however, quite firm upon one point, and I think the logic of the argument  is unanswerable, and that is, that we must have precisely the same clause in this Unemployment Assistance Bill as we have in the Unemployment Insurance Acts. It would be farcical for us to say to persons who were in some way connected with a trade dispute that we refuse to give them unemployment insurance benefit while we were not refusing to give them unemployment assistance. You must have the same phraseology applying. If the people are being legally and properly deprived of benefit because of association with a trade dispute, then we should give neither one nor the other in so far as the State has to hold the balance. Similarly, if a person refuses to accept employment in any place where a trade dispute exists, we do not deprive him of his right to unemployment insurance benefit or to unemployment assistance on account of that refusal. In other words, we say that he is entitled, with out prejudicing his own position, to refuse work in any place where there is a trade dispute. If he, on the other hand, loses his work because of a trade dispute, then he is debarred not merely from unemployment assistance, but also from unemployment insurance benefit. We must have exactly the same phraseology in each Act; each must be administered in the same way; otherwise one stultifies the other.
The existing provision, however, in the Unemployment Insurance Act is admittedly unsound and unsuitable. The British Minister for Labour said he would be prepared to put into the Act any phrase on which the employers and the trade unions could agree. I said the same thing in the Dáil. I recognise, however, that it is most unlikely that we will get a phrase agreed upon between the employers and the trades unions and so I went further and said that I would endeavour myself to produce a phrase which would achieve the purpose we all wanted to achieve while at the same time avoiding the mistakes made either in the existing Acts or the British Acts. That examination is at present being carried out in my Department. The undertaking I gave in the Dáil was that I would either introduce  a Bill to amend the Unemployment Insurance Acts and this Bill simultaneously, or else admit my inability to procure a phrase which would satisfy what I thought was necessary and so inform the members of the Dáil who were interested so that they could try their hands at producing a Bill. I am afraid the phraseology which Senator Johnson suggests does not meet the case at all. It is almost similar to the phraseology used in the British Act.
Mr. Johnson: In the amended form.
Mr. Lemass: In the amended form. It is not the same, I agree, but in so far as it applies to a particular class of case it is very much the same and, in any event, would not cover the particular cases referred to in the British Committee's report. The amendment, however, is certainly a very genuine attempt to get a phrase that meets the cases, but I could give a number of examples where injustice might be caused by the adoption of that phrase. I propose that the Seanad should let the Bill go through with the same phraseology as the Unemployment Insurance Acts. If there is any amendment, it has to be made in the Unemployment Insurance Acts in the first instance and this Bill should be automatically amended at the same time. I undertook to try to produce a phrase which would serve our needs. I gave that undertaking with some trepidation having regard to the fact that successive British Governments and Commissions have altogether failed. However, we are a lot wiser than they are.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 16 to 23 agreed to.
Mr. Jameson: I move amendment 13:—
Section 24. To delete Sections 24 to 27 inclusive and to substitute therefor four new sections as follows:—
24—(1) As soon as may be after the passing of this Act, the Minister shall establish and thereafter maintain under his management and control  a fund which shall be known and is in this Act referred to as the Unemployment Assistance Fund.
(2) The Unemployment Assistance Fund shall be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor-General in such manner as the Minister for Finance may direct.
25.—(1) There shall be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas into the Unemployment Assistance Fund during the period commencing on the passing of this Act and ending on the next following 31st day of March, the sum of £450,000 (four hundred and fifty thousand pounds) and such further sums (if any) as the Minister for Finance, after consultation with the Minister shall determine.
(2) In every financial year commencing after the 31st day of March next after the passing of this Act, there shall be paid into the Unemployment Assistance Fund the following sums, that is to say:—
(a) by the Minister the sum of £250,000 (two hundred and fifty thousand pounds) out of the Unemployment Fund established and maintained under the Unemployment Insurance Acts, 1920 to 1930;
(b) by the council of every county borough and the council of the borough of Dun Laoghaire a sum equal to the amount of a rate of one shilling and sixpence in the pound on the rateable value at the beginning of the immediately preceding financial year of such county borough or the borough of Dun Laoghaire, as the case may be;
(c) by the council of every urban area (other than an urban area which is a county borough or the borough of Dun Laoghaire), a sum equal to the amount of a rate of ninepence in the pound on the rateable value at the beginning of the immediately preceding financial year of such urban area;
(d) by the Minister for Finance out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas, such sum as the said  Minister after consultation with the Minister, shall determine.
(3) In this section the expression “rateable value” means—
(a) in relation to the county borough of Dublin, the valuation under the Valuation Acts as deemed to be reduced by Section 69 of the Local Government (Dublin) Act, 1930 (No. 27 of 1930), of the hereditaments and tenements situate in such county borough rateable to the municipal rate;
(b) in relation to the borough of Dun Laoghaire, the valuation under the Valuation Acts, as deemed to be reduced by the said Section 69 of the hereditaments and tenements situate in such borough rateable to the municipal rate;
(c) in relation to any other urban area, the valuation under the Valuation Acts of the hereditaments and tenements situate in such urban area rateable to the poor rate.
26.—There shall be paid out of the Unemployment Assistance Fund the following moneys, that is to say:—
(a) all expenses, to such amount as shall be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, incurred by the Minister in the execution of this Act;
(b) all unemployment assistance paid under this Act.
27.—(1) It shall be the duty of every council by whom money is payable under this Part of this Act into the unemployment assistance fund in a financial year to pay such money into the said fund in four equal instalments, on the 30th day of June, 30th day of September, 31st day of December, and 31st day of March, in such year, and for that purpose to raise such money by means of, in the case of the council of the county borough of Dublin and the council of the borough of Dun Laoghaire, the municipal rate, but as a separate  item thereof or, in the case of any other council, the poor rate, but as a separate item thereof.
(2) Where any money is payable under this section into the unemployment assistance fund by a council, the amount thereof may be deducted from any sums payable from the Local Taxation (Ireland) Account directly or indirectly to such council, and be paid into the unemployment assistance fund in discharge of such money.”
On this amendment I might borrow the words of the Minister in the Dáil, when he said: “The new amendment looks rather formidable, but it is really very simple.” I am trying to remove what I think was a mistake, and I want to put back in the Bill the clause that was in it when it went through the Committee Stage in the Dáil. When sitting down to see what we could do about this Bill in order to take care that it would work, so that the Oireachtas and the public could see how much money was spent we said: “We must have an unemployment fund and that fund must be checked like the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Reading through the Bill as amended in Committee the question was asked: “What is the good of putting that down? It is in the Bill as amended, word for word, as we wished it to be.” Then we found the clause was taken out in the Dáil on the Report Stage.
The Minister said:
“The new amendment looks rather formidable, but it is really very simple. It is designed for the abolition of the unemployment assistance fund which it was proposed to establish.”
The Dáil had agreed to it in Committee.
“There is no particular advantage in having a fund apart and separate from the Central Fund. The whole purpose of the amendment is to provide that receipts will come into the Central Fund and that payments will go out of the Central Fund.
“Mr. Dillon: Will these receipts  appear in the budgetary statement every year as sundry receipts?”
“Mr. Lemass: I think there will be no difficulty in publishing figures which will indicate the amount of the receipts.”
There is nothing in the Bill as it comes to this House to show that the amount of the receipts will be published separately so that we can understand them. The Minister, continuing, said:
“There will be no difficulty in ascertaining what they are.”
That is where I disagree with the Minister.
“In any case it will not make any difference as the figures will be available for any Deputy who requires them and they will appear in the finance statements published.”
That ended it. The whole of Section 24 was taken out and that did away with the unemployment assistance fund. That also did away with examination of the fund by the Comptroller and Auditor-General.
Mr. Johnson: Oh, no.
Mr. Jameson: Certain other sections were substituted. I will go through the Bill. Section 24 (1) states:
All unemployment assistance payable under this Act shall be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.
I suppose the Minister will tell us that technically that is correct. As a matter of fact employers and employees are going to contribute £250,000. Then we are told that the ratepayers are going to contribute from 1/6 to 1/8 in the £, which is expected to amount to something like £200,000. That means that the ratepayers and employers and employees are going to contribute £450,000 outside of the money to be voted by the Oireachtas. As a matter of fact it is correct to say that unemployment assistance is going to be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas. Of course, it can be said that the Oireachtas passed the Act and made it necessary for us to pay out of the insurance scheme, and made it necessary  for the ratepayers to find a couple of hundred thousand pounds but, as a matter of accounting, the Oireachtas does not provide the £450,000. Sub-section (2) says:
All other expenses incurred in carrying this Act into execution shall, to such extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, he paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.
That appears in both Bills. In other clauses the Minister has power to get Votes to provide the money that is required, outside the two contributions I have mentioned. Then another section of the Bill stated:
.... the Minister shall establish and thereafter maintain under his management and control a fund which shall be known and is in this Act referred to as the Unemployment Assistance Fund.
The Unemployment Assistance Fund shall be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor-General in such manner as the Minister for Finance may direct.
That means that we were to have a special fund and that into that fund all moneys from the insurance fund and the rates are to be put. The Oireachtas was to provide the balance. The whole fund was to be checked so that everyone could see what amount was paid into it. Everyone could get the report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General showing how the money had been spent. The amount needed to keep the fund solvent and the amounts standing separately in it could be seen. There is in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General on the Unemployment Insurance Fund as it exists a very good example of the kind of report we want to get. The report states:
“During the year under review it became necessary to get from the Department of Finance a further advance out of the Central Fund amounting to £34,000 for the purpose of discharging the liabilities of the Unemployment Fund. The necessity for such an advance was due to an  increase in the amount of unemployment benefit paid and to the operations of the Unemployment Insurance Act.”
That showed the demand made on the Exchequer and the amount of money required for the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Reasons were given for that as well as the source from which the money came, and the manner in which it had been spent. The clause in the original Bill before the Dáil gave all these securities. As the Bill came to this House all these reports were provided for. The Fund was to be done away with now and the special audit and report was to done away with.
Mr. Johnson: No.
Mr. Jameson: All we are to get now is a kind of auditor's report on the Central Fund. The Minister said that particulars would appear in the finance statement. The Comptroller and Auditor-General will make a general report on finances, and on the way the money voted by the Dáil has been spent, but that will be mixed up in the Central Fund figures connected with the Unemployment Fund. I have not the slightest doubt that Senator Johnson will be able to worry out what he wants. I daresay the Senator will be able to do it. The ordinary individual will not. It will not appear on any such statement as I have been reading. We will have nothing of the kind. We will have to pick the figures out of the Auditor-General's report on the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Therefore, I think that, where we are opening a new case like this, we are all agreed—the Minister and everybody else—that if a new experiment involving the expenditure of a great deal of money is going to be embarked on—everybody will want to watch it carefully and see how that money is being spent and the amount that is to be expended. I say that it is quite wrong under the circumstances to remove the fund which was to show these figures, and under which special control could be exercised.
 The next thing to which I should like to refer is that Section 25, as it was in the original Bill, provided that “there shall be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas into the Unemployment Assistance Fund during the period commencing on the passing of this Act and ending on the next following 31st day of March, the sum of £450,000 (four hundred and fifty thousand pounds) and such further sums (if any) as the Minister for Finance, after consultation with the Minister, shall determine.” That is now omitted altogether. No sum is mentioned here at all. The sum of £450,000 is left out. We know, of course, that the rates collection which is to go into the fund and the insurance money which, I believe, is specified in it will not begin to take effect until the following March and, therefore, the Minister has to provide money from now until March. We may take that for granted, but the Minister put into the original Bill that he wanted £450,000 and now he cuts it out. I wonder why?
Mr. Johnson: He wants to come again to the Dáil.
Mr. Jameson: Of course; but he is asking the Seanad to pass a Bill in which he gives no information as to the amount of money he will require to spend for the next six months. I do not know why the Minister is doing it. Possibly he thinks that we may begin to criticise it and, possibly, he may think that £450,000 is not enough.
Mr. Lemass: I do not think we will succeed in spending that much in this financial year.
Mr. Jameson: At any rate, the Minister is placing the Seanad in the position that the information which was given to the Dáil during the whole of the discussions of the Bill in the Dáil until its final stages—to the effect that they wanted £450,000—is not in the Bill as it comes to the Seanad. No such information is provided in the Bill as it comes to the Seanad. There must be some reason for taking it out, and I do not think it is fair to ask the Seanad to pass a Bill of this nature, involving,  as it does, such a tremendous amount of possible expenditure, without some intimation of how much money is going to be required in the next six months for this purpose. Say what we will, I think that the coming six months will be very vital months in our existence in the Free State. At the end of those six months the Budget is going to be prepared, and I think that for us to be asked to pass a Bill of this kind, without any knowledge whatever as to how much money will be required to be spent in that six months on that particular Bill, is a fairly large order. If the Minister thinks that he wants anything differing from that £450,000 he should tell us so, and I think that, if he did not want anything much differing from that, with the power that he was taking—to the extent that “such further sums as the Minister for Finance after consultation with him should determine”—that power was quite sufficient to give him all the money he could possibly want. I do think that the Seanad is entitled to know how much money the Minister believes is required and how much is to be budgeted for. As a matter of fact, it is not budgeted for yet. It is money that will have to come either from increased taxation or from borrowing during the next six months. We know that when we were discussing even the taking off of £30,000 from the Civic Guards we were told that the whole Budget would have to be recast, and the Minister for Finance said that it was a serious thing. Now, when it is a question of practically half a million pounds, it is evidently not regarded as so serious.
Mr. Johnson: This sum was provided for in the Budget.
Mr. Douglas: How much?
Mr. Jameson: Where was it provided for?
Mr. Johnson: In the Budget.
Mr. Jameson: In what Budget?
Mr. Johnson: In last year's Budget.
Mr. Jameson: In what item of the Budget?
Mr. Johnson: Well, I cannot give the exact item.
Mr. Lemass: I can tell the Senator that the sum of £450,000 was provided in the Budget for this Bill.
Mr. Jameson: Then why does the Minister take it out of the Bill?
Mr. Lemass: I shall explain later, but the trouble is that the Senator does not believe that the difference is only the difference between tweedledum and tweedledee. It only means that slightly more control is given to the Dáil over the finances of the Bill. From our point of view I think it is simpler to have the fund in the Bill than otherwise, but it was held that sound democratic principle required that the fund should be abolished and that full control over the finances of the measure should be retained for the Oireachtas. What happens is that receipts come into the Central Fund and that payments go out of it after being voted by the Dáil. The sum is not mentioned now merely because the fund has now been abolished. The separate fund has now been abolished and the Central Fund has been substituted for it, where the £450,000 already is, so that it is not necessary to mention it. The Vote will have to be carried in the Dáil allocating that amount of money for the purposes of this Act. Possibly, the amount required will be less than the full £450,000, but that will depend on the date on which we succeed in getting the Act in operation. I can assure the Senator that in making this change I was not trying to strengthen the position of the Executive as against the Dáil, or trying to bring about any change by subterfuge. In plain fact, there was no change except that the Central Fund was substituted for the separate fund. That change is hardly even a matter of accountancy. It is only a change in the system of payment and has no real significance at all.
Mr. Jameson: Well, I may take it then that the Minister is now definitely stating that the amount of £450,000 is not going to be interfered with?
Mr. Lemass: No, not at all.
Mr. Jameson: Oh, well, that is an answer to one of my arguments. As far as that is concerned, the amount of money remains the same. Then the whole of my argument really comes down to the removal of this clause about the fund. I do not think that the Minister is right in suggesting that this is a better way of enabling the Oireachtas to have a check over the fund than the former method. Take the words of clause 27:
“Any moneys transferred or paid to the Minister under the two immediately preceding sections, shall be paid into or disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer in such manner as the Minister for Finance shall direct.”
Technically, I suppose the Minister is quite correct but we are not paying out of the Insurance Fund or out of the rates money for the benefit of the Exchequer. We are paying money for a particular purpose—for the support of the Unemployment Assistance Fund. That money is being paid for that special purpose. To say, by a clause in the Bill, that that money is being disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer requires a great deal of explanation. I suppose the Minister will tell us that, owing to various safeguards, the Minister for Finance cannot include any of that money in the general Exchequer receipts and spend it as he pleases. There is, however, nothing in that clause to ensure that he does not do so. To the ordinary man in the street who does not know the intricacies of Exchequer work, the simple way of dealing with the matter would be to provide a fund which would be specially audited and checked by the Comptroller and Auditor-General and to ensure that the Oireachtas would be aware of what assistance was needed by way of money grants from the Dáil. I do not agree with the Minister that the sections now before the House constitute as simple and as clear a way of dealing with the matter as was the case when the Bill was going through Committee of the other House. The Minister said there that there would be no  difficulty in publishing figures that would indicate the amount of the receipts.
I take it from that that the Minister is going to publish the receipts in respect of this fund. He will say, I take it, that the publication of these receipts will be an easy matter, that there will be no difficulty in ascertaining them. On the part of the ordinary man, there would be considerable difficulty in ascertaining them but, if a return of that class is made, we shall know where we are so far as that transaction is concerned. The Minister pointed out in the other House that the change would not make any difference, that the figures would be there for any Deputy who would require them and that they would appear in the financial statement. That is true, but these figures will be mixed up with others and will only be reported on by the Comptroller and Auditor-General as ordinary Exchequer accounts. No particular information will be given as to the amount paid in or as to the general financial reactions of this measure. The Minister told us that the £450,000 is not going to be altered. As the Bill stands now, we know that the Minister will have to get a Vote of so much money from the Dáil. There is no use arguing over that. But it would be much easier to judge the reactions of the measure if the moneys were paid into an account which would be specially audited rather than having them paid into the Central Fund, which members of the Oireachtas will have to poke through in order to get the information they require. The original method remained in the Bill up to the end of the Committee Stage in the other House. It was then removed without discussion. In my opinion, it provided a far better way of dealing with the matter than does the Bill in its present form.
Mr. Johnson: I have some sympathy with Senator Jameson's view because, on several occasions during the last ten or eleven years, I suggested that certain taxation should be set aside for certain special purposes. I have been told many times since 1922 that  the policy of the Minister for Finance, following the clear intention of the Constitution, was that all revenue should be paid into one fund, that it was bad financial policy to multiply the number of separate funds.
The Unemployment Insurance Fund was established by British law, and so was the Road Fund. It has been the well-considered policy of the Department of Finance to advise that there should not be a multiplication of funds, that all moneys should be paid into the Central Fund. It is argued with a great deal of force that there is very much closer control of moneys on the part of the Dáil by this method than by the method of setting up separate funds. It is quite wrong to suggest that there will be a less effective audit by the Comptroller and Auditor-General by this method than there would be by the method of the separate fund. While I do not say that the audit will be any more effective, or less effective, by the method in the Bill, the publicity will be more definite and clear than would be the case if a separate fund were established. The moneys will be included in the Appropriation Accounts, to which the Comptroller and Auditor-General will make reference in the first place. That will come specifically before the Committee of Public Accounts and the Dáil. The check is really greater by this method than it would be by the method of setting up a separate account.
In Section 25 of his amendment Senator Jameson provides:
“There shall be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas into the Unemployment Assistance Fund ... the sum of £450,000 ... and such further sums (if any) as the Minister for Finance, after consultation with the Minister, shall determine.”
That fixes a sum. As the Bill now stands, this sum may be only £250,000 or £350,000, and the Senator's objective would be more likely to be achieved by the method in the Bill than by the method put forward by him  in his amendment. The £450,000 will inevitably have to be transferred under this amendment, but it need not necessarily be transferred under the Bill.
Mr. Jameson: I shall wait until I see what the Minister is prepared to offer.
Mr. Douglas: In the Unemployment Insurance Act of 1920 there is a provision similar to the provision contained in this Bill as originally introduced for the establishment of a separate fund and a specific type of audit. I am informed that a practice of checking and auditing has been established and it has been continued here by successive Ministers for Finance. It gives a very satisfactory check over the whole scheme of unemployment insurance. Reports are issued periodically and are made public; they usually appear in the newspapers. It did seem as if the creation of a separate fund provided with the same type of audit and the same system of report was intended by the Bill when it was introduced. Perhaps the Minister will let us know if that is correct. He has told us that they intend working on practically the same lines as under the Unemployment Insurance Acts. Will the same system be adopted with regard to checks and reports in the matter of finance? When this measure appeared first it seemed as if it was the intention to follow the lines of the Unemployment Insurance Acts and then at the last minute it seemed as if the Government were not prepared to do so. To my mind, that is the point raised by Senator Jameson's amendment.
Sir John Keane: In this matter of public accountancy I think the Minister will admit that he is very much in the hands of his expert advisers. Knowing something about this question from the inside, I am aware that the experts like putting all the receipts into one pool and placing all the outgoings in another. The Central Fund has been referred to, but the Central Fund deals with special services, while payment under this account will be classified  under supply services. Here is an important service self-contained, unemployment assistance, and has not every citizen, not to mention every member of the Oireachtas, a right to see all the transactions under that head set out in one account? That is all that this amendment asks. All the transactions should be in one account instead of a person having, with a good deal of expert knowledge, to dive into one place for the outgoings and into another place, under the head of miscellaneous receipts, in order to find out the necessary information. As a matter of fact, under the system proposed that is what would have to be done. Instead of receiving it all in one separate united fund, such as any business person would automatically expect, we are to have these scattered accounts.
I would like to correct certain figures that I gave earlier in the debate—I would like to correct them in the sense of showing that I made a total underestimate of the possibilities of the cost of this measure. I mentioned 33,000 holdings under £15 valuation. That figure represents valuations between £10 and £15. There are over 300,000 holdings. We will try to be frank in this matter, because there is a code of honour, even among politicians. At the rate of only 5/- per head per holding that would involve £75,000 a week, and for six months of the year it would mean a sum of £1,800,000. You see what it may mean. How we are to exclude all the small farmers I do not know. I mention these figures merely to show the importance of the whole question of finance and, further, to emphasise the importance of having these transactions in one separate fund. Do not let us get fogged over the theory of public accountancy.
Mr. Lemass: I am completely at a loss to understand the importance that is attached to this amendment. In fact, there is practically no difference between the Bill and the amendment. When we were devising the Bill we drew up our scheme and asked ourselves how it was to be financed. A decision was made that we would have  so much from the Unemployment Insurance Fund, so much from the rates and the rest from the Exchequer. It was a mere accident of drafting that these three amounts were grouped in a fund and that the Bill appeared with provision for an Unemployment Assistance Fund. While the Bill was going through the Dáil it was represented to me that objection would be raised to the fund, particularly here. I was told the Seanad would probably object to a separate fund; that it was regarded as a sound democratic principle that a separate fund should be abolished.
Mr. Douglas: I hope the Minister will not believe everything he hears about the Seanad.
Mr. Lemass: We were told that it was regarded as a sound democratic principle that separate funds should be restricted in number so that the power of the Oireachtas over public finance would not even appear to be impaired. There is no analogy between this fund and the Unemployment Insurance Fund. The Unemployment Insurance Fund is an insurance fund. The State contributes to it only a fixed sum per person. If there is a deficiency in that fund money has to be borrowed. Senator Jameson referred to an amount of £34,000 borrowed from the Exchequer in order to make good a deficiency in the fund last year. That amount was borrowed; it is repayable and until it is repaid there is interest paid on it. What information can be given concerning this scheme? We get £250,000 from the Unemployment Insurance Fund, £200,000 from the rates and the balance from the Exchequer. That is all that would appear in the accounts of any one year. Whatever is on the other side of the account, the difference is made up by the Exchequer. On the other side, there can only appear the cost of administration and the amount granted by way of assistance.
Mr. Jameson: Those two things will appear?
Mr. Lemass: Yes, and they will also appear in the finance accounts of the State and in the Estimates submitted to the Dáil. The only difference between the Bill and the amendment  is that under the Bill we will go to the Dáil and get a vote for the full amount required for financing the scheme. Under the amendment we will go to the Dáil and get a vote for the full amount less £450,000, that amount having been paid into the fund from the Unemployment Insurance Fund and from the rates. The Bill was changed in order to preserve and strengthen the power of the Oireachtas over its finances, and for no other reason. The Bill in its original form was my production and, if the Seanad insists on retaining that form, it will not worry me very much but it will worry those who are concerned with the theory of the procedure adopted in these matters. They maintained that I was, in fact, trying to limit the power of the Dáil and they persuaded me to change the Bill so that the power of the Dáil over its finances would be increased.
The Comptroller and Auditor-General will be responsible for checking all the income and expenditure under this Bill. The whole matter, in the way of the details affected, will come under the microscope of the Public Accounts Committee. The amount of £450,000 is, however, affected in the way Senator Johnson said. If we leave the Bill in its original form, the form in which Senator Jameson wants to send it back to the Dáil, the full amount of £450,000 will be paid from the Exchequer into this fund when the Bill is law. The amount may not be expended in this financial year and any unexpended balance would remain to the credit of the fund, whereas, if the Bill passes in its present form any unexpended balance of the £450,000 will be surrendered to the Exchequer at the end of the financial year. That is, however, a matter of accounting; for, if in one year you spend more than you did in the past year then you take a smaller amount next year. It does not make any real difference in the end. I am unable to understand the importance that has been attached to it. The balance of the argument is in favour of leaving the Bill as it stands, but in fact, the adoption of Senator Jameson's motion would mean a  diminution of the power of the Oireachtas over finance and an increase in departmental power as against control by the Auditor-General and the Department of Finance in relation to the finances of the Bill. My advice to the Senator is that he should seriously consider the amendment he is suggesting because in fact the Bill was amended to meet possible objections on the ground that we were limiting the Dáil's power over finance.
Mr. Jameson: I hardly see how the Minister says it is such a good thing because he admits himself that the clause, as drawn in the Bill, will give the Minister for Finance power to spend the money voted for this fund in some other way.
Mr. Lemass: No.
Mr. Jameson: You said so.
Mr. Lemass: No, no!
Mr. Jameson: I will say what is in my mind as to what the Minister did say. I understood him to say that the Dáil votes £450,000 for this special purpose to be spent in this way, and supposing by the end of March that £450,000 is not required, the balance will fall back to the Exchequer to be spent in any way the Minister for Finance decides.
Mr. Lemass: No. It becomes part of the balance in the Exchequer at the end of the financial year. This is the same as moneys voted in relation to every single Estimate. In relation to each of these Votes it is a common practice that the total of the money voted is not expended and there is an unexpended balance. It is not unusual for the Minister for Finance to take into account, when making up his Budget, that he will have an unexpended balance, and he allows so much for it in his Budget statement. He allows for over-estimation. He reduces the revenue side of his Budget by that amount, but there will be no difference in the practical application of this sum any more than there is in connection with any other Estimate.
Mr. Jameson: It is quite outside the ordinary, and one of the objections we had was that the balance of any moneys  that were left there to the credit of the Exchequer at the end of the year could be spent by the Minister for Finance in any way he chose.
Mr. Lemass: No, he can only spend it in the way the Dáil votes it. At the end of the financial year he will either have a surplus or a deficiency. Any money that he has over he cannot spend. He has to get a Vote in the Dáil for all moneys spent. He has to get his Estimates passed. Any money that remains over is not available to him unless it is voted again.
Mr. Jameson: Then it would not be possible for him to take credit for these moneys or to use them in any way except for unemployment assistance?
Mr. Lemass: Oh, no. He can only spend the money for the purpose for which it was voted.
Mr. Jameson: I was fishing out information on this matter, and I was informed that certain moneys voted and not required could be spent for other purposes by the Department of Finance.
Mr. Lemass: No, if not voted.
Mr. Jameson: They must be voted?
Mr. Lemass: Yes, every penny.
Mr. Johnson: And then checked by the Department of Finance and doled out.
Mr. Lemass: It is true that upon occasion a substantial saving on one sub-head was used to make payments under another sub-head. The Public Accounts Committee had something to say on it and that practice was discontinued.
Mr. Douglas: It seems pretty clear to me that the Minister for Finance has intervened in order to get the particular form the Department wanted.
Mr. Lemass: Quite.
Mr. Douglas: I do not appreciate what happened. I only agreed with that particular form. I do not think that the provision of the Constitution  was necessarily wise and I did not vote for it at the time. I believe that in many matters a separate fund for departmental expenses would be the best and that ministerial responsibility for a fund of this kind would be far better than a system of one fund. I do not believe in following the British system. I have taken that view and I am still of the same opinion. I think the Minister made a bad blunder when he agreed to the alteration. He was on much sounder lines as he was. Things that may be excellent in a country like Great Britain, where you have 200 or 300 years of tradition behind you and where you have a system adopted may not be suitable here. I am not satisfied that complete control by the Minister for Finance over the details of the fund is necessarily wise. The Minister said this gave increased control to the Department of Finance and the Comptroller and Auditor-General. I think he is not correct there. I would not take for one moment the separate fund and not have absolute control by the Comptroller and Auditor-General and the Minister for Finance. That is not the same as control by the Minister for Finance. I listened to the debate and I do not think there is much in it one way or another.
Mr. Lemass: I would tell the Senator that if he is prepared to raise the banner of revolt against the Department of Finance he will be able to get support in an unexpected quarter.
Mr. Jameson: I believe Senator Douglas is right—that a separate fund should be established and that the Minister's first thoughts were the best. As he says, it would make no difference to him, and I would undertake to say that the Seanad should overrule the objections of the officials who suggested this alteration. It will be much better a year hence to have it as we suggest in this amendment. It will be much easier for the Auditor-General and for all of us to know what is going on than if we go searching through the various items in the Central Fund. I would ask the House to approve of the original form as it stood in the Bill as first prepared by the Minister.
Mr. Johnson: The Senator has asked the House to decide upon a matter which is, above all other questions, left to the Dáil. It is not the voting of the moneys. It is the method of the disposal of these moneys and submitting the accounts. I submit to the Senator that that is not the best kind of issue to raise and go into disagreement upon with the Dáil.
Mr. Douglas: I think Senator Johnson is making the speech which would be an excellent speech to make when this thing comes back from the Dáil.
Mr. Johnson: I want to suggest to the Senator that I think the object he has in mind is to have a separate account, and that could be secured by a new amendment to the present Bill. I think it would be a very much better way of dealing with the subject than having a kind of amendment which practically says to the Dáil: “Although you are responsible for finance in general, and you amended the Bill specifically, we do not think you did right to amend it, and we are asking you to put back your original thoughts.” I think that is a wrong ground to go on, and it would be far better to amend the Bill by a specific clause asking that a separate account should be published.
Mr. Jameson: One does not want to criticise what went on in the Dáil but I do say that this clause in the Bill went right through and it was not until it was passed in its amended form and was brought in on Report Stage that it got one statement of about three sentences from the Minister but no discussion. We have given the matter more attention and are probably justified in whatever opinion we form with regard to it. The Dáil—I do not like to say these things about the Dáil—did not give it the attention it required or the discussion it ought to have had and I should like to hear what the Seanad decides with regard to it.
Mr. Lemass: I should like to say, in fairness to the Dáil, that one of the reasons why there was so little discussion on the Fourth Stage was that notification of intention to move the  amendment was given on Committee Stage and, no doubt, members of the Dáil had had an opportunity of considering their attitude and decided not to object to the amendment. I should also like to say that whereas there might be a lot to be said for the rather revolutionary proposals put forward by Senator Douglas in connection with public finance, I do not think it is quite desirable that the campaign to secure that reform should be initiated in this particular manner. In so far as this Bill is concerned there is, in fact, very little difference between one and the other and there is no decided advantage one way or another. The question of Departmental funds controlled by Ministers responsible for the finances of their own Department is a big question. It would necessitate the giving to each Minister of greater financial control than in fact it was proposed to give to the Minister for Industry and Commerce under the Bill as originally introduced in relation to this particular matter. The only thing which produced the fund in the Bill originally was the idea that it might be administratively more simple and because of its similarity to the Unemployment Insurance Fund. That, I think, was possibly a mistake, because there was an essential difference between the two funds. In one case, the Department of Finance paid a fixed contribution and made repayable advances on which interest was charged; and in the other case the Exchequer had to make up whatever amount was required to meet the payments from the fund. It was quite obvious that the creation of the fund was merely a waste of ink and that the amount to be paid would not be diminished, whereas, on the other hand, the direct control of the Dáil over all matters of finance did appear to be impaired even if the extent to which it was impaired was very slight.
That was the only change made and I would strongly advise that the matter should not be raised by the insertion of this amendment in a form which I think Senators do not fully appreciate. It would seem to me that conservative opinion would be in favour of the Bill as it stands as against the amendment.  The Bill, as it stands, is based not merely on the existing practice of this State but on the existing practice of Great Britain and the institution of changes should only be embarked upon after very careful consideration particularly if, as I gather, it is possibly intended that these changes should form a precedent for similar amendments in future Bills. We might then find that we had broken down the barriers of correct financial control and had landed ourselves in a position of considerable difficulty. If we adopt that course after due consideration of all the factors involved, no one can complain but if we adopt it piecemeal, arising out of a minor detail on a measure of this kind, I do not know where we will get.
Mr. Douglas: Could the Minister tell me if there is any case in which money taken from rates goes directly to the Central Fund? It seems to me that this is a new precedent altogether.
Mr. Lemass: I could not answer that question.
Mr. Douglas: I think that in every case there is a separate fund, such as the Road Fund, where they are supplemented from the rates.
Mr. Lemass: I think the Senator will find, if he looks up the Finance Accounts, that there is a table of miscellaneous receipts which include, I am quite certain, various contributions from different rating authorities. The Dublin Corporation certainly made a contribution in respect of the police.
Mr. Johnson: The repayment of local loans goes into the Central Fund.
Mr. Jameson: The Minister and Senator Johnson between them have started some terrible wild beast which the Seanad is up against in deciding what it is going to do on this amendment. I should like to see the Seanad saying what it thinks about this. We can consider the matter when it comes back from the Dáil, and if the Dáil thinks that its dignity has been insulted and that the finance system is being intruded on, we can listen to  what they say and if necessary discuss it. The Seanad may then give way, but at the present moment I feel that we have heard nothing from Senator Johnson or from the Minister which would give us anything like the information we are fishing for and trying to get in this matter of the separate fund and the Auditor-General's report on it, and I think we ought to stick to that for the present at any rate.
Mr. Connolly: I did not intend to intervene in this debate, and I think that the Minister has covered all the points raised, but one thing does strike me as extraordinary and that is the complete reversal of the Seanad's usual attitude to Ministers. Normally, we find here that the Seanad does not want to entrust any powers to a Minister's Department and that they want to have control over most of his actions. This amendment really places the fund within the Minister's Department and also empowers the Department to get additional moneys with the consent of the Minister for Finance and to have these within their control. A good many Ministers handling their Departments would probably welcome such a move, but I think at the same time, that, leaving the ministerial point of view out of it, it is much wiser and sounder that the Dáil, which has responsibility for all matters of finance, should know on each demand what exactly is the amount of money that is going to be made available for any particular work and how that money is going to be spent.
I am rather surprised, I must confess, to find Senator Jameson and Senator Douglas more or less taking up the attitude that the Dáil should not have that control. Some of the suggestions made here to-day would indicate that the Minister for Finance should do what he likes with moneys out of the Central Fund. We know very well that the Minister for Finance cannot spend a penny unless it has been, first of all, voted on and approved by the Dáil. Does Senator Jameson suggest that that power should be removed from the Dáil and that the  Minister for Industry and Commerce should be given £450,000 plus any other moneys which the Minister for Finance and himself may agree are necessary for this work, and that the Dáil should have nothing to do with it until the money has been spent and the auditor's report comes back? I think that Estimates going through the Dáil are very severely criticised and that the Dáil wants to know in advance how the money which they are voting is going to be used, and that, I think, is a much more severe check both on the Minister for Finance and on the Minister responsible for the Department concerned than any check that has been suggested by Senator Jameson's amendment.
Mr. Jameson: Senator Connolly has referred to the remarks I made. I made statements as to what I believed, and the Minister refuted them and told me exactly that the Minister for Finance could not spend the money. I accepted what he said at once, and what Senator Connolly has now said has nothing to do with the question before the House at present. The Dáil, I understand, will vote this money and will see how it is spent just as well under one system as the other. It would be easier for anyone to understand, if it is kept in a separate fund and reported on separately. It has nothing to do with questions between the Dáil and the Seanad, and if the Dáil chooses to take up the attitude that we are wrong, we will consider what they have to say when we hear about it.
Amendment put and declared carried.
Sections 24 to 27 deleted.
SECTION 26 (1)
26.—(1) In every financial year commencing after the 31st day of March, 1934, there shall be paid to the Minister, in such manner as the Minister may direct, the following sums, that is to say:—
(a) by the council of every county borough and the council of the borough of Dun Laoghaire, a sum equal to the amount of a rate of one shilling and sixpence in the pound on the rateable value at the beginning of the immediately preceding  financial year of such county borough or the borough of Dun Laoghaire, as the case may be;
(b) by the council of every urban area (other than an urban area which is a county borough or the borough of Dun Laoghaire), a sum equal to the amount of a rate of ninepence in the pound on the rateable value at the beginning of the immediately preceding financial year of such urban area.
Mr. Staines: I move amendment No. 14:—
14. Section 26, sub-section (1). To delete the word “rateable” in line 25 and to substitute therefor the word “assessable.”
Cathaoirleach: I should like to point out to the House that what we are really doing now is amending clause (b) of sub-section (2) of the new Section 25. I am allowing Senator Staines to do this as it is really the same question.
Mr. Staines: Under different Acts of the Oireachtas—the Building Facilities Act, the Local Government Act of 1929, the Small Dwellings Act of 1928 and the Electricity Supply Board Act of 1930 —in the case of the City of Dublin there is a valuation of £109,264 which is rateable but not assessable. In other words, the Corporation of the City of Dublin cannot levy the 1/6 in the £ on this £109,246 of the rateable valuation although the Minister asked them to do so. The object of my amendment is to know where the money is to come from. The only way it can be done to my mind is by increasing the rate to about 1/8 on the assessable valuation. If that has to be done, the people should be told that now. That is my object in proposing to delete the word “rateable” and substitute the word “assessable.” I think that the amendment is a reasonable one and that the Minister ought to accept it.
Mr. Douglas: I should like if the Minister would explain how we stand with regard to Rathmines and other districts in which the rates cannot be increased for a period of five years.  Can the ? in the £ provided for in this Bill be added? If not, it might operate unfairly on other ratepayers. This is a rather important point which I should like the Minister to answer.
Mr. Lemass: It is clear that the amendment suggested by Senator Staines cannot be accepted. It is similar to an amendment which was moved in the Dáil and which represented, as far as I have been able to discover, another move in a longstanding war that has been going on between certain local authorities and the Department of Local Government. These local authorities have on many occasions tried to insert in legislation such phrases as “assessable valuation” or “effective rateable valuation” and always they have been resisted by the Department of Local Government which says such phrases have no legal significance and cannot be referred to any recognised standard. It is quite clear, however, on this Bill that even if there has been a precedent established on other Bills, we could not accept this particular standard at all. There is a fixed amount of money which it is desired to get from each of the local authorities and they are requested to impose whatever rate is required to produce that fixed amount, an amount equivalent to ? in the £ on the rateable valuation in certain areas and 9d. in the £ on the rateable valuations in other areas. If a local authority decides to give a temporary remission of rates in respect of new houses, then it gives that remission at its own expense. The effect of the temporary remission is to increase the rates on other hereditaments. If there is an increase in the rates in respect of irrecoverable rates or for some other reason within the control of the local authority, that is its lookout. It cannot proceed to reduce its obligations because of its own unwillingness to collect the rates in full. Consequently it seems clear that the only course you can take is to fix the amount of money you want to ask the local authority to provide.
We have asked the local authority  to provide us with an amount equivalent to ? in the £ on the rateable valuation, or 9d. in the £ in certain areas, and if the local authorities cannot get that amount by a rate of ? or 9d., then they have got to impose whatever rates are necessary to produce it. If they are unable to get it by a rate of ?, then it is their own fault. I do not say that they are subject to any blame in the matter. The giving of a rates remission in order to encourage buildings is very laudable, but if they have given a remission, they cannot proceed to try to get the amount from some other source. The reductions effected by the Local Government Act of 1930 are preserved by this Bill, although the general principle embodied in that Act was one which was certainly open to criticism. The position now is that it would not be possible to effect a change without elaborate legislative provisions which it would not be possible to insert in this Bill. If Senator Douglas would turn to Section 26, sub-section (5) (a) he will see that the term “rateable value” means, in relation to the county borough of Dublin, the valuation under the Valuation Acts, as deemed to be reduced by Section 69 of the Local Government Dublin Act of 1930.
Mr. Douglas: I do not think the Minister is quite fair in his statement with regard to the reductions granted in rates to encourage building. That has been done by Acts of the Oireachtas in which local authorities have no say. Apart from that altogether, take the case of an old building which, for the sake of argument, we will say is assessed at £50. In order to attract people to erect a new building on that site, which will possibly be assessed at £150, a remission of rates is given and the old rate is charged for a period of five years. That is an attraction in order to gain for the community the payment of a higher rate afterwards. I do not think it is right for the Minister to say that it was the fault of the local authority if the full rate is not charged now. He did not say it in any culpable sense, but I do not think it right to suggest that other ratepayers should be penalised because of that. They  are increasing the sum total of the rateable value by that scheme, and they are adding to the income tax which can be collected by the State under that scheme. I think the Minister is entirely wrong in his argument. It seems to me that in that particular case, where it is a new building, that for any scheme of this kind it is only fair that the old rate for the five years, which in many cases would be all that they would have got but for the inducement to increase buildings, is the proper rate which ought to be charged. I do not say that the amendment moved by Senator Staines would fully meet it. I am astonished at the Minister's statement because it seems to me unfair.
Mr. Lemass: That is a matter for the local authorities. All that we are concerned with in this Bill is that we get a certain sum which we have calculated on a particular basis, namely, ? on the rateable value in one case and 9d. on the rateable value in the other. That is the amount we want. So far as we are concerned, the local authority, if it so wishes, can provide that amount by buying tickets in the sweepstake. So long as we get the amount we are satisfied. I must resist this amendment. It is apparently a matter of principle with the Department of Local Government. I do not profess to be able to explain fully all the issues raised by this. It is at any rate a very old issue between the Department of Local Government—one on which they have taken a very definite stand—and the local authorities. I am assured by the Department of Local Government that to admit the principle contained in this amendment in any Act, of assessing on “effective” value or levying on “assessable” value would mean a complete disorganisation of its functions at the present time. Even at the expense of holding up the Bill I must resist the insertion of this amendment.
Mr. Farren: I think there is something to be said in favour of the idea behind the amendment. The Minister must be aware that there are people in the City of Dublin who will  not only have to pay this ? in the £ on the full valuation of their houses, but, in addition, will have to make up for the ? that will not be paid by other people who, in my opinion, should have to pay. The Minister says that it is entirely a question for the local authorities. I do not agree with him because, under the Housing Acts passed by the Oireachtas, there is a remission of two-thirds of the rates for the first seven years in the case of certain classes of new houses. Then there is the question of the added areas, which was also dealt with by an Act of the Oireachtas. For a period of five years after the passing of that Act the rates in these added areas cannot be increased beyond a particular figure. Since that Act was passed a most extraordinary thing occurred in what is now one of the added areas. A road fell in and the repair of it cost a considerable sum of money. The strange thing was that it was the people within the old city boundary who had to pay the cost. I think that some means should be devised so that all ratepayers would pay their fair share of the cost of this Bill. Poor law relief charges ought to be equitably distributed. I do not profess to know much about conditions in the rural areas, but so far as Dublin is concerned there is something to be said in favour of the amendment.
The Minister has stated that he has got strict instructions from the Department of Local Government to resist the insertion of this amendment. I am not prepared to vote for the holding up of the Bill, but at the same time I think the Government ought to consider the question which is involved in it and see that justice is done all round. I do not see why the wealthy people in Pembroke, Rathmines and Rathgar and other areas should be exempt from contributing their fair share to the cost of this Bill.
Cathaoirleach: But they are not, Senator. They are all made pay on the rateable value.
Mr. Farren: But the point is that under the Act of the Oireachtas which took in these added areas the rates in  them cannot be increased beyond a certain figure for a period of five years.
Mr. Lemass: The time is nearly up now.
Mr. Farren: It will not be up, I think, for another two years. The result is that the people within the old city boundary will have to make up the amount that, in equity, should be paid by those in the added areas.
Sir John Keane: The outside areas to which the Senator refers are going to have very considerable savings in their home assistance bill. This Bill is going to relieve them to a certain extent. Will they not, by the economies effected under the heading of home assistance, be able to raise certain funds required under this Act?
Mr. Staines: I cannot understand why the Minister objects so strongly to the amendment. Exemptions in the matter of rates have already been granted under one of the Local Government Acts. For the life of me I cannot see why the Electricity Supply Board, for instance, should get a remission of two-thirds on its valuation of nearly £3,000 under the Act of 1930, while traders and others who are finding it extremely difficult to make ends meet are being asked to pay, roughly, 2d. in the £ extra under this Bill.
Amendment put and declared lost.
Section 26 agreed to.
New Section 27 agreed to.
Sections 28 to 31, inclusive, agreed to.
Sir John Keane: I move amendment 15:—
Section 32. To insert after the section a new section as follows:—
33.—Unemployment assistance officers shall at all times supply to public assistance committees particulars of unemployment assistance paid to persons seeking or in receipt of home assistance.
 The object of the amendment is to ascertain from the Minister what liaison there is going to be between the local authorities dispensing home assistance and the central authority administering this Bill. I hope the Minister will agree that it is most important that those two bodies should have close association and that those dealing with home assistance should have full particulars of the monies paid out in respect of the unemployment insurance assistance. The object of this amendment is to secure that.
Mr. Lemass: The Senator may be certain that any information required by the home assistance authorities, relative to any individual, will be very freely given. We expect that from time to time the home assistance authorities will make application for information in respect to individuals to the Department of Industry and Commerce and to the local branches administering the Act. It would be obviously impossible for the Department of Industry and Commerce to send out fifty thousand or sixty thousand names every week. It is desirable that the body dealing with the lesser number of persons should seek the information. That can easily be arranged. The numbers receiving home assistance will be substantially less than those receiving unemployment assistance, and any information sought by the home assistance people will be easily available. I cannot say what arrangements exactly will be made, but it will be far more convenient for the home assistance officer to ring up the telephone for information about a certain individual and he will get that by return. In that way an effective check will be exercised and home assistance will be safeguarded.
Sir John Keane: The Minister has satisfied me. I never expected that they would give more information than they were asked for.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question—“That Section 32 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.
Schedule agreed to.
Cathaoirleach: There is a motion on the Order Paper for the suspension of the Standing Orders to enable the Report Stage of the Bill to be taken to-day. I think this Bill being so controversial, it would not be right to suspend the Standing Orders in regard to it.
Mr. Connolly: I do not want to press the matter but I felt that there was an understanding, on the Second Reading of the Bill, that the remaining stages would be taken to-day. We then put back the Committee Stage for a fortnight instead of a week. I thought it was understood at that time that the Committee Stage and, if possible, the Report and Final Stages would be taken to-day. However I do not press the matter.
Mr. Lemass: If the Bill were passed through the Seanad with amendments which I was prepared to ask the Dáil to accept, it would be possible to go ahead and take the necessary steps for the administration of the Act. In case there should be any misunderstanding I would like it to be clearly on record that it will take a period of three months from the date on which it is signed for the first payments to be made. If there is any complaint about delay in making payments that delay cannot possibly be avoided because the period I have mentioned must elapse to enable the administrative machinery to be set up. Consequently every week's delay at this stage is to be deplored because it means the Bill will not be available during the worst periods of the winter. If the Seanad was prepared to give us all the stages this week it would be satisfactory but as we do not know the way in which the Bill will emerge from the Seanad, it might nullify the arrangements that we might make otherwise.
Sir John Keane: The Seanad has amended the Bill. The Minister does not suggest, surely, that we should now withdraw our amendments?
Mr. Lemass: No, no!
Sir John Keane: Then it means the Bill must go back to the Dáil.
Mr. Lemass: There would be no objection to taking the Report Stage next week if I could have an assurance that there would be no further amendments.
Sir John Keane: We could not give that assurance.
Cathaoirleach: The Dáil does not meet until November 15th. If there are amendments next week we could take the Final Stages on that day.
Mr. Lemass: As long as it is understood that no preparations for payments can be made before the Bill emerges in its final shape I am satisfied.
Mr. Johnson: If we get rid of it in this House before the Dáil meets is not that all that is necessary?
Mr. Lemass: Administrative action could be taken prior to the signing of the Bill in order to enable it to be brought into operation. But that action cannot be taken until we know the form in which the Bill will become law. We could prepare our administrative machinery if we knew the shape in which it would emerge from this House. We cannot know now until next week what regulations will be required. The day on which the Bill will become law is the day on which we can finally know the final form it is to take.
Mr. Jameson: Is there any reason why we should not take the Report Stage now?
Cathaoirleach: The only reason is this: where a Bill is controversial and many amendments have been moved it is the practice to give a further opportunity for the consideration of the Report Stage. That is a sound practice. Where important amendments had been moved it has never been the practice to take the Report Stage on the same day.
Mr. Jameson: No, but are we not now settling that the Report Stage can be taken next Wednesday? Will not that give the Minister all the opportunity he requires?
Cathaoirleach: The Minister seems to think that if we made further amendments in it he would not know where he stands until then.
Mr. Farren: The point troubling the Minister is, that on the Report Stage there might be further amendments and that that would upset the arrangements now made. He is not satisfied that he could get his machinery in motion in time if there are further important or vital amendments moved on the Report Stage.
Sir John Keane: The whole idea of a Committee Stage is to clarify our minds. Many important questions were discussed to-day in Committee, but in the meantime it might occur to any one of us to put down an amendment for the Report Stage dealing with some important matter.
Ordered: That the Report Stage be taken on Wednesday, 8th November, 1933.
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