Messages from the Dáil.
Local Services (Temporary Economies) (No. 2) Bill, 1933.
Registration of Maternity Homes Bill, 1934.
Children Bill, 1934.
Report of Committee on Procedure and Privileges.
Constitution (Amendment No. 25) Bill, 1934.
Road Transport Bill, 1934—Report and Final Stages.
Public Assistance (Acquisition of Land) Bill, 1934—Message from the Dáil.
Finance (Customs Duties) Bill, 1934 (Certified Money Bill)—Second Stage.
Agriculture (Amendment) Bill, 1934—Second Stage.
Town and Regional Planning Bill, 1933—Report.
 Do chuaidh an Cathaoirleach i gceannas ar 3 p.m.
Cathaoirleach: The following Messages have been received from the Dáil.
Dáil Eireann has agreed to the amendments made by Seanad Eireann to the Local Services (Temporary Economies) (No. 2) Bill, 1933.
Dáil Eireann has agreed to the amendment made by Seanad Eireann to the Registration of Maternity Homes Bill, 1934.
Dáil Eireann has agreed to the amendments made by Seanad Eireann to the Children Bill, 1934.
Leas-Chathaoirleach: I beg to present the Report of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges on the question referred to it by the Seanad on February 28th last and I move that the Report do lie upon the Table of the Seanad.
Mr. Wilson: I beg to second the motion.
Colonel Moore: Is this the Report of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges; if so, I want to state that I, and I think there are other people also, disagree totally and entirely with what was proposed and did not consent to it.
Cathaoirleach: The Senator can raise these matters when the Report comes on for discussion.
Question put and agreed to.
Leas-Chathaoirleach: I move that the Report, Minutes of Evidence and proceedings of the Committee be printed.
Mr. Wilson: I beg to second that.
Question put and agreed to.
Mr. Douglas: I ask leave to introduce a Bill entitled an Act so to amend the Constitution as to provide for the submission to a Referendum of the people of amendments made thereto by way of ordinary legislation within the period of 16 years from the date of the coming into operation thereof.
Unless the Bill is opposed I do not propose to make any speech.
Cathaoirleach: I take it leave is given to introduce the Bill.
Leave given; Bill read a First Time.
Cathaoirleach: I rule amendments Nos. 1, 3 and 4 out of order as being outside the scope of the Bill as read a second time. The Minister for Industry and Commerce will explain amendment No. 2:
New section. Before Section 9 to insert a new section as follows:—
9. Section 9 of the Principal Act is hereby amended in the following respects and shall be construed and have effect accordingly, that is to say—
(a) by the substitution in sub-section (2) of the said section of the word “merchandise” for the words “on a merchandise road transport business” now contained therein;
(b) by the insertion after sub-section (3) of the said section of the  following additional sub-section, that is to say—
“(4) Where a person is proved to have carried merchandise by way of merchandise road transport, such person shall for the purposes of this section be deemed to have so carried such merchandise in the course of a merchandise road transport business carried on by him.”
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): The purpose of this amendment is really to effect a drafting change in the Principal Act, and by doing so to remove doubt which has arisen as to whether the provisions of Section 9 are sufficient and able to ensure enforcement of the licensing system. Sub-section (1) of Section 9 makes it an offence to carry merchandise in any area in Saorstát Eireann except under licence in an exempted area. The words used in the sub-section are:
“In the course of such merchandise road transport business only in such area or such area and other exempted areas,”
and it was necessary to bring in various definitions in the new sub-section (2). The penalty provided under sub-section (2) of Section 9 applies to the carrying of merchandise in road transport business and it is necessary to alter that to read:
“Where a person is proved to have carried merchandise by way of merchandise road transport such person shall... be deemed to have so carried such merchandise in the course of a merchandise road transport business carried on by him.”
The purpose of the amendment is to effect a drafting change in Section 9 and to remove any doubt that the penalty applying in sub-section (2) applies to the matter in sub-section (1).
Question put and agreed to.
Question—“That the Road Transport Bill, 1934, be received for final consideration”—put and agreed to.
Question proposed: “That the Bill do now pass.”
Mr. Counihan: Following the discussions on this Bill, by rejecting the amendments of Senator Wilson we have now given, practically, a complete monopoly to the railways and other transport companies in Saorstát Eireann. We have done that with our eyes open. We were under no delusion as to what we were giving the railway company. Before the Bill passes the final stage I would like to have an assurance from the Minister for Industry and Commerce that in view of the big monopoly that the companies have now got, he will see that we get a proper service and that rates are not unduly raised. I reluctantly supported this Bill, and opposed the amendments of Senator Wilson, on the ground that I thought it necessary to pass this measure in order to save the railways. We cannot do without the railways. Although it was inconsistent for me to do so, I supported this Bill because I always opposed the high rates charged by the railways all my life. I have, to a great extent, in conjunction with the cattle trade, encouraged transport companies to create opposition; and it may be said that it is very ungrateful on my part now to turn down those pioneers who helped to create that position and to reduce the rates. We had experience of transport companies before, when they had monopolies. During the war, when they raised their freights 200 per cent. and when the price of our produce fell 50 per cent., they still kept the same freight up to 1928 and 1929. In all that time we were agitating for a reduction of rates, and we were pointing out to the Government of the day that the farmers could not afford to pay the transport charges imposed on them by the railways and other transport companies. We then set about trying to create a little competition, and we succeeded in getting these people to come in as pioneers into the transport business. We have turned them down now, and I hope the railway companies, when buying them out, will treat them decently.
I have a great deal of experience of railway companies and there is a danger of their getting back to the attitude they adopted previous to the  passing of the Principal Act. Recently the Great Northern Railway took over the Catherwood service which ran between Dublin and Belfast and which was a very efficient service. I was approached by people who had children coming to school in Dublin, and they complained to me that after the railway company had taken over the service they were not getting proper hours for their children. I interviewed the manager and pointed out to him that it was represented to me that the service was a half an hour too early in the morning and an hour too late in the evenings. I also pointed out that there had been an increase of between 15 and 25 per cent. in the fares. I then approached the Minister for Industry and Commerce and he asked me to write his Department. I did so. I mentioned in my letter that the only way I could suggest for securing a proper service was that we should move a motion in this House requesting the Minister to license another company in order to secure a proper service. That was the only thing that had effect upon the railway. We got a remedy so far as the hours were concerned, but the rates are still 15 to 25 per cent. higher than they were. If this continues I think the Minister should take steps to remedy the matter without leaving it to the Railway Tribunal. I have very little confidence in the Railway Tribunal. I say, from my experience of it, there is very little help to be got from it and it costs a lot of money if one has to come before it. For that reason I think we should have some assurance from the Minister that may prevent those increases in rates which I am afraid will occur otherwise.
Mr. Lemass: There are three sets of charges to which the Senator's remarks might apply—railway freight charges, road merchandise charges and charges for the conveyance of passengers in omnibuses. As regards the first two of these, the Minister for Industry and Commerce has certain rights of audience before the Railway Tribunal and is charged with seeing that all relevant considerations are  brought to the attention of the Tribunal when matters are under consideration by it but the fixation or regulation of charges is not in his hands. The Oireachtas has decided that these powers are to be exercised by the Railway Tribunal, which is a judicial body set up under Act of Parliament and charged with certain duties in connection with railway and road transport services. In so far as railway charges are concerned, these are fixed by the Railway Tribunal on a particular basis. The Railway Tribunal determines what the net revenue of the railway company is to be and has an estimate prepared of the amount of transport business likely to offer. Having regard to this estimate of the amount of traffic and the net revenue fixed by it, it determines what the charges will be that will enable the railway company to earn this net revenue. The railway company is entitled, without reference to the Tribunal, to charge 40 per cent. below the actual charges fixed by the Railway Tribunal but it cannot reduce its rate more than 40 per cent. without application to the Tribunal. Public notice of application to the Tribunal for revision of charges or for permission to make special charges is given and all interested parties are entitled to appear before the Tribunal and to make representations. Once the Railway Tribunal has decided, there is no redress, nor is there any power in the Minister for Industry and Commerce to intervene.
The procedure is somewhat different in the case of charges for the transport of merchandise by road by a railway company. In that case, the Railway Tribunal fixes maximum charges only. Again, public notice of the intention to fix these charges is given in the Press and all interested parties can appear before the Tribunal. The railway companies can charge below the charges fixed by the Railway Tribunal, subject to the condition that whatever charges they decide upon and the benefit of which they give to one person seeking to use the service, must be given to all parties seeking to use it.
Mr. Counihan: Has not the Minister power to license a road service?
Mr. Lemass: Only when a railway company refuses to provide it. The railway company cannot reduce its rail services without an order from the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Whatever rail services the companies were running in January, 1933, must be maintained unless an order permitting of their reduction is made. A railway company is under obligation to provide road services. One of the conditions of the licence which a railway company receives is that it will provide services in a manner satisfactory to the public. If it declines to do so in any particular district or in relation to any particular class of traffic, then, and then only, is the Minister entitled to issue a licence to other persons to provide the required facilities. The licence issued has the characteristic that it cannot be revoked or compulsorily acquired by the railway company. If a licence of that kind is issued, it is issued in perpetuity.
The third series of charges relates to passenger transport in omnibuses. In respect of this matter, regulations have been made by me fixing maximum charges. Omnibus companies are required to conform to these maximum charges. The position, therefore, is that in respect of charges for rail and road transport by railway companies the Minister for Industry and Commerce has no power of regulation or control. In respect of services he has. In respect of omnibuses he has certain powers of regulation in respect both to charges and services.
Mr. S. Robinson: Would the Minister say if there is any machinery available to the public for pointing out deficiencies in services? I am thinking of my own area, where previously we had a three-minute bus service. Now the service is a long drawn-out one.
Mr. Lemass: The only machinery required is a sheet of paper. Any person who feels aggrieved with the service which the railway or tramway company provides can make representations to my Department directly or through a Deputy or any other person he chooses.
Question put and agreed to.
Cathaoirleach: The following Message has been received from Dáil Eireann:—
Dáil Eireann has agreed to amendment No. 2, made by Seanad Eireann to the Public Assistance (Acquisition of Land) Bill, 1934; it has disagreed to amendment No. 1, to which the agreement of Seanad Eireann is desired.
Sir John Keane: I was the mover of amendment No. 1, with which the Dáil has now disagreed. I have not had sufficient notice of this disagreement to enable me to explore the possibility of an alternative amendment. For that reason, I ask the House to agree to the adjournment of this matter for a week. If the House does not feel disposed to do that, I shall have no alternative but to move that we insist upon our amendment.
Dr. O'Sullivan: I agree in principle with Senator Sir John Keane's amendment, but I do not think that it is applicable to this Bill. This is a Bill to provide sites for hospitals, which are badly needed throughout the country. Everybody must agree with that. The money is there and there is machinery for acquiring the site and, if Senator Sir John Keane's amendment is carried, possibly two or three years' delay will be caused by having to go to the courts. I do not think that that is desirable. I do not believe that any hardship will be inflicted on anybody by agreeing with the Dáil as regards this amendment. I do not always agree with the Dáil, but I do in this case. I ask the House not to insist on Senator Sir John Keane's amendment.
Cathaoirleach: If we are to agree to adjourn consideration of these amendments we should have no further speeches.
Dr. O'Sullivan: I do not see why we should agree to adjourn consideration.
Mr. Brown: I should like to press for an adjournment. I had an alternative amendment on the paper when this matter was before us but, when the amendment by Senator Sir John Keane was passed, I withdraw it. Nobody wants to delay this Bill, and I can assure Senator O'Sullivan that his idea of legal delay is quite exaggerated. The whole matter could be settled in a week or two.
Mr. Counihan: The only question before the House is whether we shall adjourn this question for a week or not.
Agreed: “To postpone consideration of the Message from the Dáil for a week.”
Question proposed: “That the Bill be read a Second Time.”
Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan): This is a Bill to confirm a duty of 8d. per lb. on butter. The duty up to 1st April was 4d. per lb. The duty is not increased, nor is this Bill necessary as a protective measure. It becomes necessary merely to fulfil certain provisions of the Butter (Stabilisation of Prices) Act, 1932. In that Act it is laid down that the levy must not be more than half the duty existing at the time, and the bounty must not exceed the duty existing at the time. The levy and duty in force at present are 3½d. and 6½d. respectively. We should, therefore, to fulfil the provisions of that Act, need to have a duty of at least 7d. Looking forward to the possibility that the levy might be increased somewhat, or that the bounty might be increased somewhat, it is proposed to make the duty 8d. per lb. This Bill in itself will have no influence on the price of butter, because there is a surplus of butter in the country. A duty on butter coming into the country would, therefore, have no influence. In the second place, under the Butter (Stabilisation of Prices) Act, 1932, the importation of butter is prohibited, so that it would not matter in the least to the price of butter whether the duty  was 8d. or 8/- as matters stand at present. Last year, we had a similar problem to face, and we imposed this duty of 8d. under the Emergency (Imposition of Duties) Act, 1932. When I approached the draftsman this year, I was informed that that could not be done a second time. A duty can be imposed under the Emergency (Imposition of Duties) Act only for eight months. If it is desired to renew the duty, authority has to come from the Oireachtas. Therefore, we come forward with this Bill to confirm the duty of 8d. per lb. on butter.
Miss Browne: Does the Minister give us an assurance that this Bill will not affect farmers' butter, and that no levy such as the 2d. per lb. levy proposed will be made on farmers' butter?
Sir John Keane: I should like to take this opportunity to raise a question incidental to this measure. I hope you, Sir, will not rule that I am out of order. The whole of this policy of butter restriction and levy depends on the cost of production. I have frequently asked the Minister what machinery he has for ascertaining the cost of production. I know that, at one time, there was a costings department in the Department of Agriculture. That department published its results, which were exceedingly instructive. If that work had been continued up to these hard times, the continuous record would have been doubly instructive. I have been unable, in spite of several inquiries, to get any clear statement from the Government as to what is being done in this regard. At one time, I was told that there remained the skeleton of a costings department. If one thing is more pressing than another, it is the ascertaining of the fundamental data of the cost of the farmers' production. I should like the Minister to say whether or not he appreciates that urgency and, if he does, to state what is being done at present.
Dr. Ryan: As to the question asked by Senator Miss Browne, this Bill, as I explained, has no influence on the price  of butter. Neither has it anything to do directly with the raising of a levy on farmers' butter. The proposal to put a levy on farmers' butter would have been possible without this Bill, because the levy would not, in all probability, have exceeded more than 2d. per lb. We could have put a levy of 2d. per lb. on farmers' butter under the old duty of 4d. It is not by any means proposed to drop the idea of putting a levy on farmers' butter, but it would be extremely difficult to administer that levy and to rope in all the people dealing in farmers' butter. I may say that it was never the intention to put a levy on farmers' butter at the source. It was not the intention to put a levy on the two or three lbs. of butter which the farmer might supply to a private customer. It was, however, the intention to levy traders and grocers doing a large trade in farmers' butter. Now that proposition will come before this House again, so that there is no need for me to go into it in detail at this stage. I can assure Senators that this Bill has nothing to do with it, and that it would be possible to do it without this Bill. We mean to do it if at all possible.
With regard to the question raised by Senator Sir John Keane as to costs of production, we have had no regular costings officer in the Department of Agriculture for some time. I think about six or seven years ago—it may be longer—there was an officer in the Department of Agriculture who dealt with costings, but that particular post was then abolished owing to economy measures taken in the Civil Service at the time. Since I came into the Department of Agriculture I have thought the matter a very important one, and I have been agitating for the appointment of a costings officer with, of course, a small staff to help him. It was only within the last four months that I got the necessary authority. An officer has been appointed, but it will take some time before he can produce any figures. Apart from that, the Dairy Faculty in University College, Cork, has been doing some work on the costings of butter. I had hoped that  the results of that work would be published about Easter but that was not found to be possible. They will be published in the near future. I have gone through the figures furnished, and I have come to the conclusion that they were prepared with great care by the Faculty in Cork. I think the figures made available will afford a reliable basis to go on when dealing in the future with such measures as butter prices. I agree with the Senator that it is a most important thing to have costings available at the present time, not only in the case of butter but of all the other products that we have to deal with. In the near future we hope to be bringing a measure before the Oireachtas with regard to bacon when this question will again arise. In the case of bacon, as Senators know the Tribunal appointed sat and took evidence and went into the question of costings in great detail. Apart from that, these costings may vary from time to time, so that it will be very useful when that Act comes to be administered to have a costings officer to guide the person responsible for its administration, particularly as it is probable that he will be someone outside the Department.
Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 16th May.
Question proposed: “That the Bill be read a Second Time.”
Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan): As Senators are probably aware this is a Bill to amend the Agriculture Act of 1931. Experience has shown that there were certain matters overlooked in that Act, and that it contained certain flaws. This Bill proposes to amend it in three respects. In the first place it deals with the payment of expenses to members elected to fill casual vacancies. Under the original  Act a person could not be paid at the end of each half year unless he had attended at least half the meetings held during that half year. Six meetings are held in the half year, so that a person co-opted during the last two months of the half year could not possibly attend half the meetings held during the period. The most he could attend were two meetings. This Bill proposes to amend that particular section. The effect of it will be that if he attends half the meetings during the time he holds office he will be entitled to the payment of his expenses for attendance at those meetings. Under Section 3 there is also an anomaly under the Principal Act. It is this: that people living in urban areas can avail of the schemes of county committees of agriculture although they are in no way responsible for the rate that is struck on the urban population. The urban population contributes a rate of 2d. in the £ towards the schemes carried out by county committees. There is about an equal amount, or perhaps more, given from the Department of Agriculture Vote to those county committees for their schemes. The position is that the urban population does not contribute in any way to the rate although they have availed at times of the schemes. In fact, there is a great danger that officers of county committees—poultry instructresses and horticulture instructors—would be a little bit more inclined to attend to the urban population than they would be to go into the country in response to applications from people who live far away. Under this Bill it will be possible for a technical education committee in an urban area to make arrangements with the county committee of agriculture to get the services of those officers from time to time, the technical education committee paying the county committee of agriculture a small amount in return for the services rendered by its officers. Under that arrangement the people in an urban area will have the right in future to avail, in so far as they require them, of the services of officers such as poultry instructresses and horticulture instructors because they will be paying for those services.
 Section 4 deals with the Borough of Dún Laoghaire. Under the original Act the number of members of a county committee was laid down to be at least three for each county electoral area in a county, and at most four. The county council, of course, appointed them. In doing so it had to appoint one at least who was resident in each electoral area. Under that provision the Dublin County Committee of Agriculture was compelled to nominate somebody on the County Committee of Agriculture who was resident in the Borough of Dún Laoghaire which, as I have already explained, was outside the original Act so far as the payment of a rate was concerned. As far as getting any special benefits from the Act was concerned, and being a county electoral area, it really should have been excluded from the original Act. The opportunity is being taken now to eliminate the county electoral area of Dún Laoghaire from the Act.
Mr. Brown: I can quite understand the necessity for the section dealing with the payment of expenses to people who had not been members of the council during a full period. The Minister explained that they could not be paid their expenses unless they attended half the meetings, and pointed to the difficulties that arose in the case of people appointed to fill casual vacancies. What is puzzling me is this: what is half? Suppose five meetings are held. Will two attendances qualify for the payment of expenses, or must there be three?
Mr. Comyn: I think the Senator may rest assured that the Department of Finance will see that two would not count as the half of five.
Dr. Ryan: As regards the example taken by the Senator, a member would need to give three attendances.
Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 16th May.
Cathaoirleach: The Minister for Local Government and Public Health desires that the Report Stage of the Town and Regional Planning Bill be postponed until Wednesday next, as  the amendments which it is desired to move are not ready yet. Is the House agreed?
The Seanad adjourned at 3.40 p.m. until 3 o'clock on Wednesday, 16th May, 1934.