Intoxicating Liquor Bill, 1942—Committee Stage (Resumed).

Thursday, 28 January 1943

Seanad Éireann Debate
Vol. 27 No. 11

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Debate resumed on amendment No. 15:—

In page 3 to delete paragraph (b), lines 7 and 8, and substitute therefor the following paragraph:—

(b) on any Sunday before the hour of 2 o'clock in the afternoon or after the hour of 5 o'clock in the afternoon.—(Senator Crosbie).

The McGillycuddy of the Reeks: Information on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  Zoom on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  I feel that the Minister is quite adamant on this subject and that he has gone out and had nails put in his shoes so that he cannot slip. With regard to the arguments put forward by various Senators, the first one was put by Senator Goulding and was to the effect that the Guards would not be able to exercise effective control. I was following in father's footsteps, that is to say, the Minister's, when he stated that the removal of the bona fide traffic would ease the difficulties of the Gárdaí—and now that argument is used against me.

There are frightful inconsistencies in the whole of this business. Take the case of 29th June when we have our cattle show in Kerry. On normal days we can have a drink, but if that day happens to fall on a Sunday, it cannot be done. Senator Goulding suggested that the general opening of 40 years ago, when we were all young, was a most unfortunate thing, but he cannot deny that the circumstances of to-day are quite different, the outlook of the people is different, and the quality of drink is different, and that if we have a general opening now, there will not [976] be exactly the same type of excesses as those which he witnessed as a younger man.

I feel that this should be agreed to, but I do not think the Minister will accept it, and I am not prepared to press it in face of his opposition, notwithstanding the fact that I still feel that his arguments have not been entirely convincing. He did say, and I must apologise for not quoting it yesterday, that he thought it would lead to additional drinking. It may lead to additional drinking, but that is no offence, provided people do not drink to excess. There is no reason why they should not have their drink when they want it in the country as people in Dublin can.

I forgot to quote one more remark of the Minister's at the end of his speech in the Dáil. He said that the whole idea of the Sabbath would be put on one side if there was this Sunday opening and that there was no fear of that in the city. If the Minister came down to Kerry and told that to the people there, I do not think he would last very long. We feel that we are as sober people as they are in Dublin and we should have a certain period —I do not care what hours are fixed— in which to drink legally on Sunday.

Mr. Goulding: Information on Seán Goulding  Zoom on Seán Goulding  I do not want my position to be misunderstood. Senator Baxter practically accused me of attacking people in the rural districts, and pointed out that I suggested they were inclined to be rather disorderly when these houses were open. I did not say that at all. What I wanted to point out, and to make clear was that we spent quite a long time in endeavouring to overcome the nuisance complained of in the City of Dublin, where certain members of the community make a habit of taking too much drink after hours and making themselves a general nuisance. That does not refer to the great body of people in Dublin at all, as probably 99.9 per cent. of them are steady, reliable citizens. It is of a small minority in the city that we are all afraid. Unfortunately such people can also be found throughout the country, and it is [977] our duty to safeguard that minority from themselves. If we honestly believe that the opening of these houses would result in this minority making a general nuisance of themselves we are right in taking steps to stop it. When I indicated that the opening hours might lead to the same disorder, I was referring to that particular section and not to the people as a whole. I know the people of rural Ireland, and in recent years they have become much more temperate and steady. I believe that if the houses were open for 24 hours throughout the year these people would be all right. It is against a small minority that we have to guard. I do not want to have the same type making themselves a nuisance in country districts as these unfortunate people do in the city.

Mr. Crosbie: Information on James Crosbie  Zoom on James Crosbie  If I intervene at this stage possibly I might clear the air somewhat. The Minister and I are absolutely ad idem on the question of bona fide drinking. Both of us believe that, as it exists, the Act of 1927 is the source of all the trouble in the administration of the Act of 1924. The Minister did his best by starting off in the Dáil to abolish this nuisance—I cannot describe it as anything else—in the present Bill, but had to submit to force majeure. My proposition might help the Minister and the House. It might assist the Minister in going back to the Dáil if we could get agreement on these lines in this House, that we would agree, with the Minister, to the total abolition of the bona fide traffic as it exists under the 1927 Act, and that, in return, the Minister would bring in an amendment on the Report Stage making provision for a short general opening throughout the country on Sundays, rural areas included. I do not know what the Minister's views on that proposition would be, or whether we could get agreement on it in this House. I realise that the Minister is as keen as I am, but I must confess that I have a bee in my bonnet as far as the bona fide traffic is concerned. If it would in any way strengthen the Minister's position in returning to the other House, I put that proposition to him for his consideration and also for the consideration of the House.

[978]Mr. Robinson: Information on David Lubbock Robinson  Zoom on David Lubbock Robinson  There is undoubtedly a considerable body of opinion in the Seanad that the bona fide traffic should be entirely abolished, but we are not prepared to do that unless we are quite certain that in return rural workers will get the same facilities as others. If the argument is made that persons who work on the land are more drunken than persons who work at desks, how is it that a rural worker is allowed to go three miles to get a drink but is not allowed to get it when it is one or two miles only to the local public house? I think that is a sort of bedlam and that we are taking some strange line that I cannot understand. With a great many other Senators I would be prepared to agree to the total abolition of the bona fide traffic, provided an opportunity to have a drink in the normal way at the nearest public house was given them similar to that given to city workers.

Sir John Keane: Information on John Keane  Zoom on John Keane  I agree with the principle, but I see difficulties about its general adoption. A preference would be given to public houses that sold groceries as against houses that did not sell them. That is a substantial difficulty. If it could be got over I would be in favour of what Senator The McGillycuddy and Senator Robinson suggested.

The McGillycuddy: Information on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  Zoom on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  Senator Keane missed one point. Where you have a fair in a local town on a Sunday a bona fide traveller can go and have a drink in a mixed public house and buy anything he likes in the way of groceries.

Mr. Honan: Information on Thomas V Honan  Zoom on Thomas V Honan  I think there is a great deal too much emphasis being placed on the requirements of the rural worker. I know rural workers very well and there is no rush on their part to the public house after their day's work. As a matter of fact they have no money for such a purpose. It is as much as the rural worker can do with the wage he earns to support himself and his family. Anyway, the only time the rural worker would go into the nearest public house or village would be on a Saturday evening. Therefore, I do not think there is any necessity [979] for making provision for the rural worker, because he cannot avail of it even if it were provided. He has no money to expend on drink every day of the week. Therefore, with advantage to himself and everybody else, he can be left out of consideration altogether. With his present earnings it is as much as he can do to carry on his home. He has no inclination for going to a public house every night of the week.

Dr. Doyle: Information on Patrick Doyle  Zoom on Patrick Doyle  I think Senator Crosbie's suggestion is a very good one and that the Minister ought to accept it. As to opening public houses on a Sunday for a limited time, say, from 4 o'clock to 7 o'clock, it is something anomalous that you can travel three miles on a bicycle and obtain as much drink as you like from 1 o'clock until 8 o'clock under the existing law. People can do that if they want to, but I do not think large numbers do it. It would be really a curtailment in drinking facilities if the hours were changed and everybody who wants a drink could get it, say, for three hours between 4 o'clock and 7 o'clock on a Sunday. I am talking now about rural districts and country public houses. There are men of middle age who would like to have a drink or a little relaxation on a Sunday evening. They only take a couple of pints and have a chat with their neighbours. It is absurd that they should have to travel three miles for that little relaxation. It does not concern the younger people at all because, if they wish to have a drink, travelling three miles on a bicycle is no trouble to them. I think it would be a good idea to have the public houses open for, say, three hours on a Sunday evening and do away with the present facilities under which in the country they can obtain drink for seven hours on a Sunday by travelling three miles. You will remove some abuses by having that opening for three hours on a Sunday. The publican would be delighted with that, because he would have his day free until 4 o'clock in the evening and his usual dinner hour would not be interfered with. I do not think it would create any abuses.

[980]Mr. Healy: Information on Denis Donnchadh D Healy  Zoom on Denis Donnchadh D Healy  I have a certain amount of sympathy with Senator Crosbie's appeal to the Minister in so far as it affects rural areas. In some rural areas people have to travel as much as six or eight miles to go to Divine Service on Sunday. If consideration is given to the city residents, surely that consideration ought to be extended to the rural areas as well. As I say, these people travel very long distances on Sunday and probably meet their friends only once a week in that way. There is an old Irish proverb, Ná déan nós, nó ná bris nós—“Don't make a custom or break a custom.” The old custom exists of friendliness between neighbours who do not see each other for a week at least. Therefore, I join with Senator Crosbie in appealing to the Minister to give some consideration to that type of person.

Mr. MacCabe: Information on Dominick MacCabe  Zoom on Dominick MacCabe  I rise to endorse the remarks of Senator Crosbie, because I feel that in the rural areas and the small towns the people are entitled to some consideration. These people will notice that the City of Dublin and other cities are getting every facility on a Sunday, while the people down the country are getting none. Senator Honan referred to agricultural labourers going to have a drink on a Saturday night or any other night of the week. That is not correct. They have not the means to do that. The only day they would have an opportunity of doing that would be on a Sunday, when they go to the local village or the nearest town. Surely if we do away with the bona fide traffic, which I say we are entitled to do, these people are entitled to facilities for two or three hours on one day of the week during which they can have refreshments with their friends. I would not go so far as Senator Doyle and say three hours, but if they had from 2 o'clock to 4 o'clock on a Sunday, I think it would meet with the approval of the people in country districts. We could then cut out the bona fide traffic, which goes on until 8 o'clock or 9 o'clock at night.

It has been contended that if these drinking facilities are provided, the people are so prone to drink that you [981] will have drunkenness throughout the country. I am delighted to be able to say that there is a great falling off in the matter of drinking amongst young people in the country. I cannot speak for the cities, but I know a great deal about country towns and villages. I have great sympathy for middle-aged boys and men who go to a football match or other amusement, or to meet friends on a Sunday, and who cannot get a drink except at the back door of some public house, with the danger of being prosecuted and being shown up. Therefore, I think the Minister should seriously consider this matter and agree to an opening for two hours on Sunday in the towns and villages.

Mrs. Concannon: Information on Helena Concannon  Zoom on Helena Concannon  It is difficult to avoid confused thinking in this matter because the abuses of the bona fide laws have been mixed up inextricably with the proposal to change the existing law with regard to Sunday closing outside the boroughs. I think that in this case we must take higher ground and that the Minister, as a Minister in a Christian country, would have no right, even to avoid the evils that arise from any abuse of a bona fide privilege, to pass a positive law which would make further encroachments on the sanctity of the Lord's Day. Already there has been a great deal of that. We have gone away from the good idea of Sunday, the day of rest and the day of reverence. If this Sunday opening were to be allowed, it would add very much to the difficulties that parents already have in passing on the traditional view of Sunday observance. There may be pastimes on Sunday, but we should not forget that it is the Lord's Day. In order to obviate the abuse of the bona fide privilege, it would, in my opinion, be very wrong to give further opportunities for drinking on a Sunday to people who, perhaps, under the present law can go three miles to get it. There is quite a difference between having to go three miles and having it at your own doorstep. Apart from the reverence we owe to Sunday, as such, we must look upon this in a practical way. Great numbers of people have nothing to do on Sundays and, if added facilities for drinking are given, it might lead to [982] more drinking being done on Sundays than on ordinary days of the week when these people have to go back to business. Therefore, apart from the fact that Sunday is the Lord's Day, and that we in Ireland should keep it as such, as we always have, I think it is very dangerous from the point of view of the ordinary well-being of our country to give added facilities for drinking on Sundays.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  I have a good deal of sympathy with what, I think, is behind Senator Mrs. Concannon's argument, but it does not lead me to quite the same conclusions as she has come to. In the first place, I should like to say that I do not think shops, employing people, should be open on Sundays at all unless it is necessary that they should be open, and I hold that we ought to keep as near as we can to making Sunday a day in which the largest possible number of people will be free from having to work. Now, we know that, even with that in view, it does not mean that there will not be a certain number of people who, in order to make it possible for other people to be free, will have to do a certain amount of work. Because I hold that view strongly with regard to the Sabbath Day, and would be very sorry to see any extension of shopping of various kinds on Sundays, I am inclined to have sympathy with what Senator Mrs. Concannon has said, but I have had to look at it from a slightly different point of view. I am entirely at one with her, as I think she knows, in that I do not want to see any increase of drunkenness on Sunday, or on any other day in the week, but I have a feeling that, so far as the hours are concerned, the most important thing would be to come to some agreement as to hours that can be and will be observed, and that even if you have to make some concession in a direction that, perhaps, you yourself do not like, it might be well to make that concession if it meant a considerable gain in the total effect.

Rightly or wrongly, the best advice that I can get, both from the country and rural towns, is that it will be extremely difficult to enforce a closing hour so long as the present bona fide[983] law continues, and that if a public house closes, on any day, at the legal hour, any person who is there can stay on and be served additional drinks, more or less ad lib, if he has travelled the necessary number of miles, according to the law. I have not much knowledge of the licensed trade, but I have often wondered how a publican can keep the law under such conditions. I am perfectly certain, with regard to the trade in which I am occupied, that if I had to observe such conditions, I simply could not do it. If I had to inquire, from my customers in the drapery trade, how far they had travelled, and so on, and had to turn certain of them out at a particular hour, while allowing others to remain on, it would lead to the greatest difficulties. From the police point of view, this matter of the bona fide trade has led to the most acute difficulties, because they cannot prove a statement to be false until they go into each individual case and get evidence with regard to each case, which is almost impossible in most cases.

I do not want to see public houses being opened in the towns where they are not in the habit of opening at the present time, but I think that, for all practical purposes, although the doors of these public houses are not open on Sundays, the houses are open from the point of view of the assistants having to work and of certain customers having to be served. As far as I understand, that is the case all over Ireland, and the Sabbath is not being observed from that point of view. It might be well to consider whether it would not be a step nearer to getting Sunday kept as it should be, to have the two hours, as suggested by Senator MacCabe, in preference to the present arrangement, if it would mean doing away with the bona fide traffic. If we were perfectly sure that, by making some concession, we would be able to get away from the present evils, I think it would be better to do so. For that reason, I am more inclined to support Senator MacCabe's suggestion, and if there was general agreement on having the hours from 2 to 4, but doing away with the bonafide[984] traffic, I think it would be a gain. Probably, there is a certain element of risk, but I suggest to the Minister that it might be well to consider whether it would not be better to take that risk in view of the very considerable gain that might be achieved.

Senator MacCabe has suggested two hours, from 2 to 4, and, in my opinion, the Minister might accept those two hours as experimental, and then he could be given power to change them, by order, if they were not found to be satisfactory. If the total abolition of the bona fide traveller is accepted, I am definitely prepared to accept the principle, as put forward by Senator Crosbie, but I should prefer it in the form in which it has been put forward by Senator MacCabe.

Mr. Cummins: Information on William Cummins  Zoom on William Cummins  So far as the rural communities are concerned, I do not think Sunday opening is sought by them or that, if granted, it would be of any great advantage to them. In the rural communities in Ireland, there is a traditional way of observing Sunday. There is Mass, the home, lunch, and then sports or football in the evening, and then back for tea and evening devotions. That is the usual way of observing the Sabbath in the country districts of Ireland. Is it now proposed to change that to Mass in the morning, then the public house, then late for dinner at home, and, possibly, no sports or football? I suggest that that may happen. I do not say that it will happen, nor do I say that any great evils would follow, because I do not think such facilities would be very much availed of by the country people, but I do say that there would be that very great temptation there if there was to be general opening of the public houses on Sundays, when people are coming from Mass. Then there would be a difficulty as to the hours of opening. The only thing would be to open either after last Mass or between the early and late Masses. I suggest that that would be the only thing that would be of use.

Mr. Crosbie: Information on James Crosbie  Zoom on James Crosbie  Nobody suggested that.

Mr. Cummins: Information on William Cummins  Zoom on William Cummins  No, but I am saying [985] that these would be the only times that would be of any use.

Mr. Healy: Information on Denis Donnchadh D Healy  Zoom on Denis Donnchadh D Healy  According to you!

Mr. Cummins: Information on William Cummins  Zoom on William Cummins  The Senator will have an opportunity of speaking afterwards. What I am saying is that these would be the only hours that would be useful but, as a matter of fact, I do not think they would be used at all. Our rural population do not hang around public houses on Sundays. For one thing they have not enough money to keep body and soul together, so I do not think there would be much danger from that quarter. Our farmers are a very temperate class. Of course, certain fairs or markets, such as the famous Puck Fair at Killorglin, and other fairs in western Kerry, are held on Sundays, and I can quite understand that people coming from a long distance to attend these fairs might want a drink, but they would be bona fide travellers in any case, and could get a drink. Such days, however, occur very rarely—the days of the big horse fairs, and so on—and I think it would be reactionary and bad to keep large numbers of people employed on Sundays who at present have leisure to rest. Apart from the question of rest or leisure, very many of these people regard Sunday as a day of prayer, and you will destroy that as well as upsetting a lot of domestic arrangements, such as the preparation of meals, and so on, if people are to be allowed to adjourn to the public house every Sunday when coming from Mass. I do not think it would be any advantage.

Mr. Hawkins: Information on Frederick Joseph H Hawkins  Zoom on Frederick Joseph H Hawkins  I think the proposal made by Senator Crosbie more or less confuses the issue. If my interpretation of his suggestion is correct, he wants to allow the public houses to open on Sundays, and to abolish bona fide traffic. I think we should consider the question of Sunday opening on its merits, instead of suggesting this compromise. I agree with a good deal of what Mrs. Concannon has said. In the country, I do not think there is any great demand for Sunday opening. Furthermore, in regard to this matter [986] there can be no question of comparison between the city and the country. In the large cities, a licensed premises carry on solely the business of a licensed premises, but in the small towns and in the country it is quite a different thing. The publican there is usually the draper, the ironmonger and the grocer as well. If you allow those publicans to open their doors on a Sunday for the purpose of selling intoxicating liquor, you cannot really prevent a man from going in there and buying cigarettes, tobacco, tea, sugar, or any other groceries he may want. In that way, you would be allowing an unfair competition as between the licensed merchant and the unlicensed merchant.

Dr. Doyle: Information on Patrick Doyle  Zoom on Patrick Doyle  Is he not open already for seven hours for bona fide traffic?

Cathaoirleach: Information on Seán Francis Gibbons  Zoom on Seán Francis Gibbons  As this is the Committee Stage, the Senator may speak afterwards if he wishes.

Mr. Hawkins: Information on Frederick Joseph H Hawkins  Zoom on Frederick Joseph H Hawkins  We have heard a lot about the bona fide traveller, and of course there are certain cases where abuses occur. The bona fide traveller is a man who travels from a particular area, three or four or six or even 20 miles distant. He will not go into the local public house in the country for the purpose of purchasing drapery or other goods; that question is likely to arise only in the case of the ordinary residents of the district. We have heard a good deal about abuse of the bona fide regulations. Some time ago here, we set up a board to develop tourism in this country, and we hope that when this war is over—I assume that this Bill is designed to deal with future years—this country will become a great tourist centre. If we abolish the bona fide traffic, as suggested by Senator Crosbie, we will be depriving those tourists of necessary facilities. When those people come here, they like to go out from their hotels for the day, taking their lunch in the car with them, and on their journey they might like to call into the local inn and have a drink there. I think it is to accommodate such people that that section is left in the Bill. Therefore, I would not be in [987] favour of a compromise in this matter; I would not be in favour of abolishing the bona fide traffic and substituting the Sunday opening.

Senator The McGillycuddy referred last night to people coming down from the mountains with their sheep and holding fairs on Sundays. If we are going to do anything in that regard, I think we should first set out to abolish the holding of those fairs on Sundays instead of opening the public houses to accommodate the people who attend them.

The McGillycuddy of the Reeks: Information on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  Zoom on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  I do not think you will abolish them in a hurry.

Mr. Conlon: Information on Martin Conlon  Zoom on Martin Conlon  Senator Hawkins has anticipated some of the points I wanted to make. Obviously, we are discussing this subject on its merits, because we have Senator MacCabe agreeing with Senator Crosbie, and myself agreeing with Senator Hawkins on the general position. The amendment refers to the opening of public houses during certain hours on Sundays. The Minister does not want to grant those facilities, because young people in the neighbourhood—who would not take the trouble of going a distance for the purpose—may be tempted to indulge in drink. Yesterday, some Senator—I think it was Senator Goulding—was trying to find some other word to describe the bona fide traveller. He introduced a new definition—the legitimate traveller. Of course we all know that the bona fide regulations are availed of by people who are fond of drink and would go any distance solely for the purpose of getting it. A certain number do that. I should like to say something on behalf of the legitimate traveller. I myself travel a considerable distance on Sundays. I sometimes travel from here to Galway, or from here to Roscommon. I will certainly say that, when travelling to Galway, I like to break the journey at Athlone.

I am not making a case for myself; I can go without a drink all right, but a great many people who are travelling, particularly in fine weather, [988] would like to be able to get one. This is especially true in the case of tourists, as Senator Hawkins has mentioned. I think it would not be a good thing to wipe out the bona fide laws such as they are, merely because there are infringements of those laws by certain people. It ought to be a question of finding some way of dealing with those people and preventing them from breaking the law. I do not think it is right to deprive the legitimate traveller of those facilities because other people break the law. As Senator Hawkins has mentioned, we are legislating now for future years. This Bill will become part of the law of the country when the emergency is over. We have a tourist association endeavouring to develop our tourist industry, and tourists certainly will not be attracted here if we become a pussyfoot or prohibitionist country, and that is what it would appear to them if the legitimate traveller could not get a drink in the course of his journey. I do not know what attitude the Minister will adopt with regard to the suggestion made by Senator Crosbie. I must say that, as far as I am concerned, I do not agree with the proposal. I am sorry that I cannot agree with Senator Crosbie on this matter.

Minister for Justice (Mr. Boland): Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  I should like to remind Senators that when this Bill was introduced there was no attempt to do away with bona fide traffic on Sundays. We looked at the matter very carefully, and my opinion, and the opinion of those whom I consulted was that, on Sundays, you really had the genuine traveller. He might be going to sports, on a cycle run, or for a walk, or, as Senator Conlon said, he might be going a journey in a car, and between those hours there was no reason why he should not get a drink. The position is that outside the county boroughs there is no opening whatever except for genuine travellers. Those who go purely for the purpose of getting drink are not genuine travellers, but the difficulty, as I think I pointed out before, is that you could not establish that they went for the purpose of getting drink. Certainly, everyone will admit that on [989] Sunday there are more genuine travellers on the road, mostly for pleasure, I suppose, but it does not matter if it is for pleasure or business if they are genuine travellers. That is why the bona fide provision was brought in.

Being satisfied with that, I did not propose, when the Bill was introduced, to interfere with the genuine traveller on Sunday. For that matter, if none but genuine travellers had been drinking during the other hours, the Bill would not have been brought in at all, but it was because we well knew that when public houses closed at 10 o'clock, in the county boroughs or other places, people were in the habit—due, I am sure, to the transport facilities that were available—of going off and drinking at all hours of the night and early hours of the morning, in outlying districts, not alone in Dublin but all over the country. Then there was the other business I mentioned about dances. That was what we tried to remedy, not to put restrictions on the legitimate traveller.

In regard to the alternative, to open for two, three or four hours, I do not think that would be feasible at all because I am perfectly certain—and I think it has emerged from the debate here so far— that you would want public houses open all the day to suit everybody. Different hours have been mentioned. I think Senator The McGillycuddy said the demand was mostly in the earlier part of the day—after Mass.

The McGillycuddy: Information on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  Zoom on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  I said in the evening.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  It has not been stressed so much here, but in the other House several Deputies insisted that after Mass was the best time to open for a couple of hours. I have heard suggestions all over the place for different hours. I think you would really require to have public houses open practically the whole day because you could not cater for one particular section during a particular two hours and for another section during another two hours. Senator O'Donovan said that sheep would be coming down the hill [990] at all hours, that there is no regular time.

The McGillycuddy: Information on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  Zoom on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  He is entirely wrong there. No sheep come down in the evening ever.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  Perhaps not, but I think you could not arrange for them to come down between 3 and 5. At any rate, in regard to general opening, that is the one point on which I did stick my heels in in the other House, and I am not going to loosen them here because I am absolutely convinced that it would lead to a great increase in drinking. I am not a pussyfoot in any way. I am not a strict Sabbatarian, and I never was. The case was well put by several Deputies in the other House, and it has been put here by Senator Hawkins, and I am convinced that you would have general trading carried on on Sunday. In the cities it is different. In the cities licensed premises are merely for supplying refreshment, but in the country places they are practically all mixed houses that sell all sorts of stuff. I do not think that would be the worst evil, but I am perfectly certain that it would be one of them. I am certain there would be the same result in regard to drinking on Sundays as there has been in the matter of betting since betting was legalised.

I must say the Seanad has been very helpful and I have tried to be as receptive as I possibly could, but on this point I am certainly not inclined to give in at all. I do not think it would have a good result. Senator Crosbie suggested that it might help me with the Dáil. My experience is that it would not, because not alone did they want the bona fide trade, but they wanted this as well. They wanted both. There is no question about it. As I said before, I was practically threatened with our own Party voting against me and I said I did not care; I would not have it. I think I was right. I think on the whole, when it is calmly examined, it will be realised that it would be a bad move. I certainly say I would not be prepared to agree to it and I would [991] not be prepared to agree to the abolition of the bona fide trade on Sunday. I think it is very necessary, apart from tourists. I do not care very much about tourists. It is my view that if a tourist comes here he should put up with what he gets. If he is not prepared to do that, he should go somewhere else. I do not cater for tourists, of course. It is not my business. Some other Minister looks after the tourists. But I think that people who come to this country should put up with the conditions that exist here. If they are good enough for us, they ought to be good enough for them. I would not have given in in the Dáil, except I was forced to do it, to abolish the Sunday bona fide trade, because I think it is something that is necessary for the convenience of the general public. I am perfectly satisfied that it is. Even if it does mean a change of population, people who go on bicycles have to go three miles to have a drink and they take some exercise—even though they are not entitled to get a drink if they go only for that purpose. I think there is nothing wrong in it but the general opening would lead to a great increase in drinking and I am sorry I cannot agree to accept it.

Mr. Crosbie: Information on James Crosbie  Zoom on James Crosbie  Certainly, when the Minister is finished putting the Bill through this House, he will be able to say with truth that there has been no lack of suggestions. Whether they have been helpful to him or not, I do not know. I am sorry that he, takes the view that my suggestion would be of no assistance to him, and in view of the terms in which the amendment is drafted I do not see how I could put it to a division as the suggestion I made to-day is not at all in keeping with the terms of the amendment as on the Order Paper. I would like to point out to the Minister and the House that the suggestion I made was the abolition of the bona fide traveller as he exists under the 1927 Act, that is, the man who has simply and solely to travel three miles and no more. I am not particularly athletic, but I can travel three miles on my feet in 35 minutes.

[992]Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Thirty-five?

Mr. Crosbie: Information on James Crosbie  Zoom on James Crosbie  Thirty-five.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  You would have to get a new speed limit introduced.

Mr. Crosbie: Information on James Crosbie  Zoom on James Crosbie  I would suggest to the Minister and to Senator Conlon that it would be quite easy to deal with the case of the genuine traveller on Sunday by making an alteration in the distance which he has to travel. For instance, I made no suggestion that when Senator Conlon is on his way from Dublin to Galway that when he stops at Athlone to have his lunch, he should be debarred from having a drink with his lunch. If Senator Conlon, or any other Senator or any member of the general public, is travelling from Dublin to Galway by car, I would suggest that he should have a drink with his lunch but I would also suggest that he should not be entitled to drive his car and stop every three miles and, shall we say, put some form of fuel in the tank. I think it would not be in the interests of either the general public or the motorist that he should be permitted to do that. At any rate, in view of the attitude taken by the House and by the Minister, I cannot see that I would serve any useful purpose in pushing this amendment to a division.

Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Is the amendment being withdrawn?

Mr. Crosbie: Information on James Crosbie  Zoom on James Crosbie  No, Sir.

Question put and declared negatived.

Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Is the decision on amendment No. 13 being accepted as covering amendment No. 16?

Mr. Crosbie: Information on James Crosbie  Zoom on James Crosbie  That amendment is being withdrawn.

Amendment No. 16 not moved.

Sections 4 to 7 inclusive agreed to.

Mr. Conlon: Information on Martin Conlon  Zoom on Martin Conlon  I move amendment No. 17:—

[993] Before Section 8 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) A person who is at the one time the holder of a six day beer retailer's on-licence and the holder of a seven day beer retailer's on-licence shall be entitled to have the seven day licence transferred to the premises to which the six day licence is attached, but subject to the condition that on such transfer being made, the six day licence shall not be renewed and that the premises to which the seven day licence was attached before such transfer, shall, for the purpose of the Licensing (Ireland) Act, 1902, be deemed not to have been licensed.

(2) The application for the transfer of the licence may be made at any sitting of the justice of the District Court in whose District Court district are situate the premises to which the six day licence is attached.

The object of this amendment is to enable a person who is the occupant of premises to which a seven-day beer retailer's licence is attached and at the same time the occupant of premises to which a six-day beer retailer's licence is attached, to transfer the seven-day licence to the premises to which only a six-day licence is attached. I might point out that these are premises which have a beer retailer's licence only. They have not a licence for wines and spirits. The net result of the transfer of the seven-day licence would be that the six-day licence would be wiped out. I understand that under the old laws there is a provision which provides for the transfer of an ordinary licence from one premises to another, but there is no provision whereby a person who has a beer retailer's licence can transfer a seven-day licence to the premises with the six-day licence. The number of people who would be affected by this provision is, I understand, very small. There are only four six-day licences, while there are something like 147 seven-day licences. This is a privilege which could apply only to a very small number of people indeed. Consequently I would ask the Minister to accept the amendment.

[994]Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  The rule under the present law is that the licence has to be extinguished in the same licensing area and on representations made to me in the Dáil, I extended the area to the District Court district and adjoining districts. As Senator Conlon has pointed out there are only four cases which would be affected by this amendment and, that being so, it cannot do very much harm. I shall, therefore, accept the amendment but it will need re-drafting. The effect of the amendment will be that the provision will apply to the whole country instead of the District Court district and adjoining districts.

Mr. Conlon: Information on Martin Conlon  Zoom on Martin Conlon  I understand that there are only four cases in question.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  I shall accept the amendment but it will need re-drafting.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Would it not be better for the Minister to bring in an amendment of his own?

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  I shall do that.

Mr. Hogan: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Before we pass from this amendment there is one point on which my mind is not as yet clear and which the Minister might clear up. It is whether one can transfer a seven-day grocer's spirit licence to a premises which has a six-day licence. Let me put a concrete case to the Minister. Take for instance a man who has two houses. In the case of one he is the lessee of premises to which a six-day grocer's spirit licence is attached. In the case of the other, in a different townland in the same area, he has a seven-day licence. He wishes to buy the house of which he is lessee and to which the six-day licence is attached and to dispose of the house which has the seven-day licence. Can he transfer the seven-day licence to the house where he has the six-day licence, of which he is the lessee and which he intends to purchase?

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  The six-day licence would be an off-licence?

Mr. Hogan: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Yes.

[995]Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  No, he cannot transfer in that case. If it were a six-day on-licence, he could have the seven-day licence transferred.

Mr. Hogan: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  It is a grocer's spirit licence.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  He cannot obtain a transfer unless it is an on-licence.

Mr. Hogan: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  He cannot transfer his seven-day licence?

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  No, not in the case of an off-licence.

Mr. Hogan: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I think that is a fault in the Bill.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Sections 8 to 10, inclusive, agreed to.

The following amendments appeared on the Order Paper:—

18. In paragraph (a), to delete line 19, and insert instead thereof the words:—“between the hours of six o'clock in the morning and half-past ten o'clock in the evening.”—Senator The McGillycuddy of the Reeks.

19. In paragraph (a) to delete line 19, and substitute instead therefor the words:—“between the hours of six o'clock in the morning and eleven o'clock in the evening.”— Senator James G. Douglas.

20. In paragraph (b) to delete line 22 and insert instead thereof the words:—“words ‘between the hours of six o'clock in the morning and half-past ten o'clock in the evening’.”—Senator The McGillycuddy of the Reeks.

21. In paragraph (b) to delete line 22 and substitute therefor the words:—“words ‘between the hours of six o'clock in the morning and eleven o'clock in the evening’”.— Senator James G. Douglas.

Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Amendments [996] Nos. 18, 19, 20 and 21 may be discussed together.

The McGillycuddy: Information on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  Zoom on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  I move amendment No. 18. In view of what the House did yesterday I think the hour, half-past 10, mentioned in the amendment should read 10 o'clock.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  For county boroughs that is so.

The McGillycuddy: Information on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  Zoom on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  This is an amendment which I hope will be more to the Minister's liking. I do not think it necessary to say a great deal in support of the proposal because members who described what they called Bacchanalian orgies in Dublin on Christmas Eve and possibly at other times and who tell us what happens outside the precincts of public houses at closing time, have to my mind done the job for me. I must say that I think a great many of these statements have been very much exaggerated, and I should like to point out that, if an enemy of this country got hold of statements like these and splashed them in the New York papers, as the reports of the Casablanca meeting were splashed, it would certainly give an absolutely wrong impression of this country. I think, therefore, that people should be much more moderate in what they say. It is possible that two or three people who have taken a little too much drink may give way to a little liveliness or may dance in the street outside public houses. I must say that I deprecate that type of conduct. If it be true that there is more drinking than there should be, I feel that this one and a half hours allowed for bona fide traffic after the normal closing time at 10 o'clock in actual fact makes the closing time to which we have agreed midnight because, unless I am entirely wrong, 50 per cent., or perhaps more, of the people who will be sitting in any particular public house at 10 o'clock immediately become bona fide travellers. All they have got to do is to walk out and walk in again, or they have merely to go to another house and represent themselves as living in Dalkey. Then the whole of the Minister's idea to curtail [997] drinking after hours goes entirely by the board. I think that the Minister would be very well advised to spend an extra halfpenny on tarring the ship properly and to stand over the proposal, when this Bill goes back to the Dáil, to make drinking illegal from closing time until 6 o'clock in the morning.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  The amendment standing in my name is practically the same as that put forward by Senator The McGillycuddy. I put it down in that form partly in the hope that I would hear something from the Minister. The Bill, as it stood before the amendment as regards closing hours was made, provided a gap, which will still remain in the country, of one and a half hours. That is the premises are closed for people residing in the neighbourhood but for an hour and a half afterwards they are open for people who live beyond the requisite distance. That, I think, does not apply in Dublin, because you have not got bona fide traffic in Dublin. I think that I am correct in saying that. I cannot see why one and a half hours in the evening should be required to provide for the wants of the bona fide traveller who happens to be in the district. It seems to me that what the Minister is doing by this one and a half hour period is giving himself trouble in administering the 10.30 p.m. closing. The reason my amendment differs from that of Senator The McGillycuddy is that, when handing in my amendment, I found that he had one down and, by making half an hour difference, I wanted to find out from the Minister whether or not there was a case for a short period. I cannot see any case myself but it is possible that there is a case. Certainly, I cannot see any case for the one and a half hour difference. I would vote for the amendment of Senator The McGillycuddy in preference to my own amendment because his intention is not to have a period after the ordinary closing hour for serving the bona fide travellers. Without that period, I think that the law would be more easily administered.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  There is no doubt that [998] the administration of the law would be simplified if that period of one and a half hours were abolished. That was my hope in the first instance, but there was no provision on which there was more insistence in the Dáil than this provision for the alleged bona fide. I believe that this traffic is a farce, but there was nothing on which there was more insistence in the other House than the making of provision for it.

The McGillycuddy: Information on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  Zoom on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  During those particular hours?

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  Yes. Some Deputies on both sides of the House stressed the fact that, in and around Dublin, large sums had been expended on public houses, and that the owners would be involved in great loss if this particular trade were abolished. I believe that that was always an illegal trade, but it could not be so proved. I do not think that there was much point in that argument, but it weighed with the other House. The case was also made that, in normal times, people drive long distances through the country, and that it was not unreasonable that they should be able to get a drink up to 12 o'clock. I tried to resist these proposals, but I did not put the issue to a division. I am too good a Parliamentarian for that. I did not want to be beaten on an issue that was not really vital. The case made for this provision was strongly supported on all sides of the House. I do not think that any Deputy spoke in support of my argument. I did my best to hold my ground, but I failed.

I thought that the case made for people travelling in cars, say, from Galway to Dublin or Dublin to Galway, was reasonable, though I travel from Roscommon to Dublin, sometimes arriving at 2 o'clock in the morning, and the last thing I would think of would be to go into a pub. When driving a car, I would be nervous about doing that. Some people, however, think it necessary that these facilities should be given. In the neighbourhood of Dublin, I think that this trade is simply a farce. The people who go to these public houses are not genuine travellers. They go there simply to [999] obtain drink. There are border-line cases. In Terenure, public houses must close at 10 o'clock. When one goes a mile out the road, one finds that the public houses can at present remain open all night. Even under this Bill, they can keep open until 12 o'clock?

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  Only for bona fide traffic?

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  Yes.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  That is not done in Dublin.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  They are entitled to do it in Dublin, but they do not try it. I would have great difficulty in inducing the Dáil to go back on this provision. The Seanad has, of course, as much right as the Dáil to back me up. If I had the luck to come here in the first instance, I would have been fortified. Having agreed to a compromise in the other House, I would find it very difficult to recommend something else now. However, that is not a matter which need concern the Seanad. I think that a two-hour gap would be too long. I tried in the other House to have the hour made 11 o'clock but I was beaten. I tried to get it made 11.30 p.m., but that proposal would not be entertained. Then we agreed to 12 o'clock. I think that one and a half hours is somewhat risky and I should not like to see an extension to two hours.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  I thought that the Minister might have some such view and that is the reason I put down my amendment.

Mr. Goulding: Information on Seán Goulding  Zoom on Seán Goulding  There is this argument for the extension of the bona fide limit to 12 o'clock: there are men in the agricultural districts who have land in two places. They travel frequently, late in the evenings, from the home farm to an outlying farm and return to the home farm. These men are legitimate travellers and they would require some refreshment. Then, there are men who, in the harvesting season, hire out harvesting machinery. The men operating that [1000] machinery travel from one farmer's place to another about 11 o'clock or 12 o'clock at night. These men have been working hard all day and are entitled to refreshment. These may be small cases, but the people concerned constitute a minority who are justly entitled to some refreshment and whose only chance of obtaining such refreshment depends on the public houses being open up to 12 o'clock. I am not making a case for the people who travel for the sake of getting drink. The case I make is for legitimate travellers.

Mr. Quirke: Information on William Quirke  Zoom on William Quirke  Eleven o'clock and 12 o'clock have been suggested as the hours of closing for this traffic. If we followed the precedent set yesterday and divided the hour, making the time 11.30, would it meet the views of all concerned?

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I was glad to hear the Minister say that he was sorry that this Bill did not come to the Seanad in the first instance. I urged on a Government for a long time, without very much avail, that Bills of a certain type should be introduced in the Seanad. The Seanad then was differently constituted from the present House, but I think the Minister was quite right in saying—I do not know whether he was jocose or serious——

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  I was serious.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  ——that it was a pity this Bill had not been introduced in the Seanad. Speaking non-politically, I think it is a great pity that certain types of measures are not introduced in the Seanad instead of in the Dáil, particularly measures of this type on which the lines of division are as between individuals and not political. If this were done, it would mean that Bills of this kind would get better consideration, than they get in the Dáil, where there is more hurry and where there is sometimes pressure of financial business. Apart from the fate of this amendment, I am with the Minister in what he said on that subject.

We are concerned in this case with the bona fide traveller in Dublin [1001] County and the bona fide traveller in the country. When I had a car, I went around Dublin County frequently, late at night, and the bona fide traffic was a disgrace. There was no good faith in it at all. If there are people who have vested interests in the traffic, I have some sympathy with them but their vested interests were acquired at the expense of the legitimate publican inside Dublin City. While one does not like to see people who have spent money on improvements losing the fruits of that expenditure, there is no case, so far as Dublin County is concerned, for allowing a man to leave a public house at 10 o'clock, travel five miles and get a drink at the end of his journey. Anybody who has travelled, as I have done, at late hours into Terenure, as the Minister mentioned, or by other routes in County Dublin will, certainly, have come to the conclusion that the fact that you can go the necessary five miles in a motor car in a few minutes means that the whole bona fide business on week nights is nothing but an abuse.

There is every reason for having the same hours for the bona fide traffic as for the ordinary house in Dublin City. I would recommend the Minister to adopt 11 o'clock as a compromise. After all, he can take his chance—we can all take our chance—of what will happen in the Dáil. With regard to the country, I cannot claim the same acquaintance with it as Senator Goulding. As regards motorists going from Dublin to Galway, I have done that kind of thing over and over again, and I know that you can always get a drink, if you want one, and a meal in a hotel.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  If you are staying there.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Even if you are not staying there. If you drop in before 10 o'clock you can get a drink under the present law. I wonder how many motorists are there who undertake a journey from Dublin to Galway, or to any other given point, who cannot so adjust their requirements that they can get whatever drink they want before 10.30. They are very few, I think.

[1002]Mr. Quirke: Information on William Quirke  Zoom on William Quirke  At the present time they are few, but we are not living in normal times. The number of people who, in normal times, travel through the country in motor cars between 9 o'clock and 1 o'clock in the morning is enormous.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I think Senator Quirke misunderstands me. I was thinking of my own experience during the time when cars were plentiful. I was on the road for political and various other purposes late at night, going here and there, and my experience was that I did not meet so many cars. I certainly never saw an immense number of cars on the road after 11 or 12 o'clock at night.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  I think the Senator must have seen a lot drawn up outside certain public houses up to 2 o'clock.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Yes. I happen to have a friend living about four miles from Dublin. He is a very well-known person, and I have come in from his house at all hours in the morning. I have frequently remarked the number of cars outside a public house, of people who had gone there for drink. I have seen young people come out of it full of drink, and, without being a pussyfoot or a rabid temperance reformer at all, I want to say that that sort of thing is a disgrace to County Dublin. Assuming now that motoring will, at some time in the future, revert to its position before the war, I do not know what disadvantage will accrue to people travelling by motor car if they have to adjust themselves to the position that they cannot get a drink after 11 o'clock. They can certainly arrange that, and I think it would be no hardship on them if they cannot get a drink after that hour. Therefore, I think it would be a very good thing if we were to adopt 11 o'clock, because whatever differences of opinion there were between us with regard to Sunday opening in rural areas, I think there is very little difference between us as to the complete bad faith of the bona fide traffic.

Mr. McGee: Information on James Thomas McGee  Zoom on James Thomas McGee  I agree with a good deal of what the last speaker has said. I [1003] would remind him, however, that under legislation introduced by another Minister you must have your car off the streets at a rather early hour in the evening. Some of us living in the country have to come to Dublin, perhaps three or four times during the year, to see solicitors and attend consultations with prominent barristers. Because of the present law we often find it necessary to leave our cars outside a public house. I may say that in the case of my own car, it belongs to one who is almost a total abstainer. As I have said, people find it convenient to leave their cars outside a public house where they have an opportunity of meeting people. I have frequently left a barrister's house at 1 and 2 o'clock in the morning, and have then gone to get my car, which I had left locked, in the vicinity of a public house. One is glad to be able to park his car there, and perhaps to get a drink for your friends. I do not think that this cheese-paring in legislation and argument about a half hour is a good thing. People are finding it so difficult to carry on at the present time that any further regulation of their lives will become a real hardship on them. When people come to Dublin in the circumstances I have described, it is a convenience for them to be able to park their cars in the vicinity of a public house and to be able to get a drink when their work is done. I think we should be slow to make the proposed change. This cheese-paring in legislation is, in my opinion, an unhappy thing, and we should be slow to do anything that would be calculated to cause further hardships to the people.

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran  Zoom on Thomas Foran  I think someone should make a protest against the statement which Senator McGee has made, that he has been detained on consultations in the houses of prominent barristers until 1 and 2 o'clock in the morning and could not get a drink.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I am familiar with a number of barristers, and if the Senator was consulting them until 2 o'clock in the morning and could not [1004] get a drink, then I am afraid he must have been consulting very strange members of the legal profession.

Mr. McGee: Information on James Thomas McGee  Zoom on James Thomas McGee  I was visiting them on business, and did not go to their houses, as perhaps Senator Foran and Senator Hayes did, as friends for the purpose of having a good evening.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  I think Senator McGee makes the case worse when he gives as a reason for not being able to get a drink that he was on business. I suggest to the Minister that, in calculating the number of cars which he and his advisers have seen at a late hour outside public houses in Dublin, he might quite safely deduct from it the number of cars belonging to those visiting barristers' houses since, I am satisfied, the number that will be left will be quite sufficient to prove the Minister's case. I do not think this is a matter of cheese-paring or of half an hour's convenience. To me it is a matter of getting the law that we decide on administered. As far as Dublin City and County are concerned, I believe that the addition of one hour will be quite ample. If we decide to go beyond that, it will, I believe, be almost impossible to get the law administered. I think 11 o'clock ought to meet the position.

Mr. Cummins: Information on William Cummins  Zoom on William Cummins  I agree with Senator McGee that there ought not be any cheese-paring on this matter. I think that if the hour is fixed at 11 o'clock it may create hardships for people travelling from the country to Dublin. Very often sick patients and others have to be taken to Dublin at a late hour of the night, and the application of the rigid rule in a matter of this kind would be a hardship on those accompanying them. I would remind the Minister that the number of cars seen parked outside hotels should not be taken as an index of the number of people in the hotel. Very often hotel grounds are used as parking places for cars. In my view 12 o'clock midnight would not be an unreasonable hour to fix. Senators should also remember that dog racing is carried on in Dublin City over a great part of the year, and that many [1005] of the patrons of that sport travel long journeys from the country. Those people are frequently in need of food and refreshments, and facilities should be available to enable them to get both if they need them.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  When speaking earlier I omitted to tell the House that in the Dáil the demand was for 1 o'clock. Twelve o'clock was arrived at as a compromise. If I did not mention that now it might be said afterwards that I did not tell the Seanad that the demand made in the Dáil was for an 11 o'clock closing for ordinary public houses and 1 o'clock in the morning for the bona fide trade. These were the demands put forward by many Deputies. In the end we compromised on a 10.30 closing for the ordinary public houses, and 12 o'clock for the bona fide trade.

Mr. McGee: Information on James Thomas McGee  Zoom on James Thomas McGee  Is there any chance of going back to 1 o'clock?

Mr. Goulding: Information on Seán Goulding  Zoom on Seán Goulding  My argument for an extension to 12 o'clock on behalf of the country traveller is that there is a difference between the countryman's time and the townsman's time. In the area from which I come, the countryman usually is an hour and a half behind the townsman and 10 o'clock is only 8.30. When he is finished his work at home, the countryman generally sets out to visit an outlying farm, probably taking back machinery or driving cattle. That concerns comparatively few people, but they are legitimate travellers who have to walk a considerable distance between two farms and who legitimately require refreshment.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Christopher Michael Byrne  Zoom on Christopher Michael Byrne  I endorse what Senator Goulding has said. The Minister said he started out to do away with the bona fide traffic, and I am with him in that. I think the compromise was a good one from that point of view. One o'clock is not an unreasonable hour, 11 o'clock would only lead to abuses, while 12 o'clock would be eminently suitable.

Mr. O'Dwyer: Information on Martin ODwyer  Zoom on Martin ODwyer  I would be in favour [1006] of closing at 10.30 or, at the very latest, at 11, and cannot see any necessity for a later hour. I do not agree with Senator Goulding as to the necessity in country districts. The great majority of legitimate business people are at home at 10.30, or are nearly home then, and the question of refreshment would not arise. People travelling between one farm and another are generally back at home before nightfall. Very rarely will you find a farmer—who is not at a dance or at some amusement—late at night on the road, and when that happens and he needs intoxicating drink, he can always go where he will get it.

As the Minister has explained, and as we all understand, the bona fide traffic is 95 per cent. a fraud. Even though a few legitimate travellers may be affected a few times in their lives by this restriction, there is no reason why we should legislate for them. Closing at 10.30 or 11 would be in the general interest, and the great majority of the people would be in favour of it.

Mr. Conlon: Information on Martin Conlon  Zoom on Martin Conlon  I know it would be very difficult for the Minister to arrive at a compromise between all the suggestions made. I know a good deal about rural areas, as I was born in and lived in a rural area. At that time we had not summer time, and usually 10 or 11 o'clock was very early. I have now lived in Dublin for a number of years and, from my experience of both city and country, I think 12 o'clock is not unreasonable, and that is the hour the Dáil decided upon. I understand that that was a compromise, as some Deputies were looking for 1 o'clock. I may be a person who stays up longer than others, but 12 o'clock is reasonably early to me, and I know very many others in the same position. It would be a reasonable arrangement for city and country, and we should not endeavour to change the arrangement made by the Dáil.

Mr. Quirke: Information on William Quirke  Zoom on William Quirke  It is quite obvious that there is a big feeling here that the hour should be earlier than 11. I am not in agreement with that at all, neither am I with Senator McGee that [1007] it should be 1 o'clock. Senator Goulding said, by way of argument, that people are changing cattle from one farm to another at 12 o'clock, but if I met anyone doing it at that hour I would take a good look at him. A good case can be made for farmers who work late at harvest time and then go into town, perhaps to see a barrister, a solicitor or a doctor, or to do some shopping; and 11 o'clock new time would certainly be very early in country districts. There was a big body of opinion in the Dáil in favour of 1 o'clock and a good deal in favour of 11 o'clock, and I suggest that a compromise might be made by putting it at 11.30, which the Dáil might accept.

Mr. Johnston:  I want to support 11 o'clock—and earlier, if possible. I cannot agree with Senator Goulding when he says that people are moving cattle from one farm to another at that time. They would have to be bona fide travellers and be at least three miles from home, in order to get a drink. At least 95 per cent. of the traffic after 10 o'clock or 11 o'clock is not that of genuine travellers. I live in a rural area and know what happens as soon as the public houses close. If the hours are extended, it will only make matters worse.

I regret very much that, every time a Licensing Bill is brought in, all sorts of efforts are made to provide greater facilities for drinking and drunkenness, notwithstanding all that happened some 30 or 40 years ago to spread the spirit of temperance and improve the temperance condition of the people. I hope the Minister and the House will not agree to extend the time beyond 11 o'clock.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Seán Francis Gibbons  Zoom on Seán Francis Gibbons  Is Senator The McGillycuddy pressing the amendment?

The McGillycuddy: Information on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  Zoom on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  Yes. There are various arguments being put up and it is very difficult for the House to decide between the two types—the legitimate and the so-called bona fide traveller. There is a very definite division. We want to get rid of the [1008]bona fide traffic of a particular kind, but I do not want the Minister or the House to do anything they are not really satisfied about. I want something on which the Minister can agree, and which he can take back to the Dáil and say: “I can stand over this, notwithstanding the compromise which I had to make when this Bill came up first.”

I have been impressed considerably by the question of summer time in country districts, and am quite ready to accept 11 o'clock, which was Senator Douglas's proposal. I thought Senator Quirke said 11 o'clock at first and later 11.30.

Mr. Quirke: Information on William Quirke  Zoom on William Quirke  No, 11.30 at first.

The McGillycuddy: Information on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  Zoom on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  If the House would agree, I am prepared to suggest that to the Minister. Several other points have arisen, like the moonshine stories, one of which Senator Quirke has very ably exposed, in the shape of people going to change their cattle in the middle of the night. There is one rather important one—this is more serious. This is the question of continuous refreshment for a man who is driving a motor car. I think the Minister for Justice has no doubt in his mind in this particular respect. He has probably read of a great number of cases where people have transgressed the law as a result of partaking of too much refreshment. I cannot see any argument for allowing that sort of thing. Let us say we are living in ordinary times, that there is plenty of petrol and no speed limit. A man starts out from Dublin with three passengers, all friends, and he finds himself completely exhausted when he reaches Athlone. They go into a public house and have a round of half-ones, and then they have the other half. Somebody else gets into possession, and finally they have a fourth. The driver of that car probably had a drink before he started out from Dublin. He has four more drinks in Athlone, and then he proceeds to drive his car again. That, I think, is a thing which should be cut down as far as possible, and I feel that any extension of hours after closing time helps that kind of thing, [1009] which is a very great danger to the public. I hope the Minister will give us some idea of what he is prepared to accept in regard to this proposal.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  I find myself in a rather difficult position. I did my best when this matter was under consideration in the other House and I am now anticipating what is going to happen to me when I go back there. They knew I was determined to get my point, and they may have a feeling that I was deceiving them. Whatever the Seanad decides, I shall do my best to carry out their wishes.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  I think the Minister's position has been perfectly clear all along. We have taken over responsibility. If some of these things are not agreed to, we shall try to reach a compromise, to find some way out. I am going to ask the Chair to put my amendment.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  It seems to me that there are two points of view. Listening to the debate, I have endeavoured to get my mind clear on what is at issue.

Leas-Chathaoirleach:  I take it that amendments Nos. 18 and 20 are being withdrawn, and that amendments Nos. 19 and 21 are the amendments under discussion.

The McGillycuddy: Information on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  Zoom on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  That is the position.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  We have heard the views of Senator Douglas and Senator The McGillycuddy, and also the arguments of Senators McGee, Cummins, Goulding and Byrne. There is a little problem to be solved, in this sense, that in rural Ireland, in the summer time, midnight is regarded as 10 o'clock, but in the winter months there is quite a different situation. I think it is quite conceivable that we could reach unanimity and accept the [1010] present proposal of 12 o'clock during the summer months, taking Senator Douglas's hour for the remaining period of the year. There is no doubt that there are not so many travellers out through the country between October and February. I think it is accepted that travellers prefer train journeys in the winter season. In the months when we have frost, snow and storms they prefer to travel by train rather than by motor car. But from the spring onwards until mid-harvest the position is quite different. There are more travellers on the main roads during that period. I think we must take cognisance of that, and the position might possibly be met by accepting the Bill as it is for the summer months and accepting the earlier hour of 11 o'clock for the winter period.

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran  Zoom on Thomas Foran  I think the Minister has gone a long way in this Bill to do away with a grave abuse and an absolute scandal that has existed around the City of Dublin. In my opinion, 12 o'clock is an adequate hour to abolish these abuses. Mention has been made of barristers and others going out to see people. No reference has been made to healthy sorts of amusement—other than interviewing barristers. There are periods in the country districts when threshing is carried out. There is useful entertainment in connection with that work; people may like to go down there, and an opportunity ought to be given them to have a drink if they require one. I think we are trying to press the matter too far when we talk about 10.30, 11 or 11.30. There is a clear-cut hour in the Bill, an hour that will be effective in doing away with a grave abuse such as we know exists in and around the City of Dublin, and I think we ought to leave it at that.

Mr. McGee: Information on James Thomas McGee  Zoom on James Thomas McGee  Surely the Senator does not compare the hospitable homes to be met with in the rural districts with what one meets when one comes up to the city?

Amendment No. 19 put.

Concannon, Helena.
Counihan, John J.
Crosbie, James.
Douglas, James G.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Hayes, Michael.
Johnston, James.
Kennedy, Margaret L.
McGillycuddy of the Reeks, The.
O'Dwyer, Martin.
O'Neill, Laurence.
Nic Phiarais, Maighréad M.
Rowlette, Robert J.
Stafford, Matthew.

Baxter, Patrick F.
Blaney, Neal.
Byrne, Christopher M.
Colbert, Micheal.
Conlon, Martin.
Corkery, Daniel.
Cummins, William.
Doyle, Patrick.
Foran, Thomas.
Goulding, Seán.
Hawkins, Frederick.
Hayes, Seán.
Hogan, Patrick.
Honan, Thomas V.
McGee, James T.
O Buachalla, Liam.
O'Connell, Thomas J.
O Máille, Pádraic.
Quirke, William.

Amendment declared negatived.

Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Will that decision be taken as governing amendment No. 21?

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  I move amendment No. 21:—

In paragraph (b) to delete line 22 and substitute therefor the words:—“words ‘between the hours of six o'clock in the morning and eleven o'clock in the evening’”.

The only difference between this and the previous amendment is that one deals with Dublin and the other with the country. I am still of the opinion that the bona fide traffic is undesirable, but there is a majority of the House at present which considers that traffic desirable and if it is to be 12 o'clock for Dublin, there is no case for making it less outside. For that reason, I do not propose to withdraw the amendment, but I shall not ask for a division.

Amendment put and declared negatived.

Mr. McGee: Information on James Thomas McGee  Zoom on James Thomas McGee  I move amendment No. 22:—

In page 4, before paragraph (c), to insert the following new paragraph:—

(c) by the insertion in paragraph (b) after the word “borough” of the words “or in any town the population of which according to the census which is for the time being the last census, exceeds ten thousand.”

I have not much hope of succeeding with this amendment, in view of the Minister's decision last night in respect of perhaps the one and only case in which I would advocate the abolition of the bona fide traffic. However, I have put it before him in the hope that he may have reconsidered the matter since he slept. If he has, I shall be very pleased.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  I am afraid I have not.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment No. 23 not moved.

Sections 11, 12, 13 and 14 agreed to.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I move amendment No. 24:—

Before Section 15 to insert a new section as follows:—

Notwithstanding anything contained in the Licensing (Ireland) Act, 1902, the holder of a six-day licence may apply at any annual licensing District Court, that in lieu of a certificate for the renewal of the six-day licence there be granted to him in respect of the said premises a certificate [1013] for a seven-day licence and the justice of the District Court, if he is satisfied that a certificate for the renewal of the six-day licence might have been granted, may, if he so thinks fit, grant to such applicant the certificate so applied for.

This question was raised in the other House. I do not know what the Minister has to say about it now, but a peculiar situation exists in towns all over the country, where there are six-day licences and side by side with them seven-day licences. There is a case to be made for giving the owner of a six-day licence the opportunity to be put on the same level with the licensee next door, on the consideration that he pays the duty which the other man pays. I do not think this proposal would make for any more drinking, but should do away with a certain amount of illicit drinking that goes on. Obviously, if a man has a client for six days of the week, and on Sundays cannot open, when many people are travelling on buses or to football matches, there is the temptation to carry on a traffic that is not within the law. The owner of such premises should not be tempted. I do not know the history of, or the differentiation between the two types of licensed premises but the position is anomalous. I believe that the owner of a six-day licence ought to be given the opportunity to obtain a seven-day licence. A situation has been permitted to develop whereby a seven-day licence can be purchased by the owner of a six-day licence and he can have it transferred to other premises. Six-day licensed houses are well conducted. I do not know how many of them there are.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  1,758.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I do not know if the change would make for more drinking. It would certainly make for better observance of the law. If a licensee wants to secure a seven-day licence I think he should be given the opportunity to do so provided his premises were conducted in such a way as would justify the court in giving it. I urge [1014] the Minister to give the amendment sympathetic consideration.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  A similar amendment was moved in the other House and I could not see my way to accept it. The position about these houses is that at first it was a voluntary act on the part of the owners. They could have opted for seven-day licences or six-day licences. Since the Act of 1902, no new licences could be issued. There were so many licences in the country that it was laid down in that Act that no more new licences should be granted. The effect of this amendment would be to increase the number of seven-day licences. There is another aspect to this question. In the course of time I am sure that these houses have changed hands, and it is only right that those who paid higher prices for seven-day licences should not have the value of their premises depreciated by bringing in people who paid much lower prices for six-day licences. That is only fair and equitable. If people with six-day licences are particularly anxious they can buy a seven-day licence, which can be transferred. That is provided for and made easier by the Bill. I think that is good enough. I would not be prepared to increase the number of seven-day licences. The movement should be in the other direction. That is the view of the trade. Those engaged in it would be anxious to have less licensed houses, the idea being that there would be a better living for those in it and that it would be better for the conduct of the trade.

The result of this amendment would be to give these houses an enhanced value to which they are not entitled, and consequently to depreciate the value of neighbouring premises. That would not be fair. These are the principal reasons why I object to the amendment, as well as the fact that it would increase the number of licensed houses, which is not desirable. The movement should be in the other direction.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  My point is that it is obviously a very expensive undertaking for the owners of six-day licences, how- [1015] ever suitable their premises, to do as suggested. Some of these are very fine buildings but to get a seven-day licence for them would mean considerable expenditure and would be out of all proportion to what the owners of seven-day licences had spent. In my view there would not be any more intoxicating liquor consumed. I do not know how many people would opt to have a seven-day as against a six-day licence or how the valuation would be affected. The major points are that there would not be more liquor consumed and that it would remove temptation towards breaches of the law, which is undesirable. I am satisfied that the Minister should do something about this matter.

Mr. Quirke: Information on William Quirke  Zoom on William Quirke  I am afraid Senator Baxter has overlooked a very important point in connection with his proposal. There are 1,758 of these houses— I did not think the number was so large—as compared with 12,000 altogether. If the amendment were accepted, the whole position of the licensed trade would be upset and the value of 12,000 houses seriously affected. I understand Senator Baxter's point. He has one or two houses in mind. When he was speaking, I thought the number of these houses was much smaller, and that there was a case for the amendment. His plea is that there is temptation for six-day houses to be on a level with seven-day houses, but there is the equal temptation of people with no licences to trade. In view of the number of licensed houses, I suggest that the amendment should be withdrawn.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Let it be negatived.

Amendment put and negatived.

Sections 15, 16 and 17 agreed to.

Mr. McLoughlin: Information on John MacLoughlin  Zoom on John MacLoughlin  I move amendment No. 25:—

Before Section 18 to insert a new section as follows:—

Section 61 of the Act of 1927 is hereby amended by the addition at [1016] the end of sub-section (1) of the following words:—

“or a person who is carrying on the business of grocer in premises the Poor Law Valuation of which, if situate in a county borough or the Borough of Dun Laoghaire is not less than £50 and, if situate elsewhere, is not less than £30: Provided that such person produce to the Revenue Commissioners a statement in writing from the superintendent of the Gárda Síochána for the district in which the premises in respect of which the application is made are situate that he has no objection to the granting of such new licence, transfer or renewal.”

The purpose of this amendment which I move is to enable reputable members of the grocery trade to supply their customers, when ordering their weekly supplies, with a bottle of wine and thus save them from having recourse to the public house. Under the 1927 Act, the late Mr. Kevin O'Higgins, in an endeavour to combat the evil of the wine shop in the back streets of Dublin, abolished the wine retailer's off-licence, save in respect of chemists' and druggists' establishments. It was, I think, overlooked at the time that a number of these wine licences were held by reputable traders engaged in the grocery business in a substantial way, against whom no complaint had ever been made. These traders found themselves unable to supply their customers with a bottle of wine for consumption with their meals. That position still remains and, it is, I think, unjustifiable, particularly as many English multiple houses in competition with local concerns hold off-licences for the sale of spirits generally—licences which cannot now be obtained.

I have provided in my amendment all the safeguards I could think of. I have ensured that the premises must be of substantial valuation, and I have been unreasonably reasonable in providing that the Gárda superintendent must consent before any licence is granted. The last word, therefore, as to the licence remains with the Minister. The amendment is designed to relieve a [1017] hardship and should be acceptable to the Minister and to the House.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  I am sorry I cannot accept the amendment. The position is that there are far too many retailers of intoxicating liquors and the business is overcrowded. Furthermore it would be very difficult to confine it to establishments of, say, £30 or £50 valuation. It would be very hard to do it in equity. I also understand that to get a clear definition of a grocer is not too easy. I believe that if you sell certain things like tea and coffee, or two or three things of that kind, you could come under the definition of grocer. It would mean a great extension of the number of houses that are allowed to sell wine. That is the principal reason I object to it. Outside those who have a spirit grocer's off-licence, I think only chemists can sell wine.

Mr. McLoughlin: Information on John MacLoughlin  Zoom on John MacLoughlin  And the English firms.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  I am quite satisfied that this would lead to a great extension in the number of firms entitled to sell wine and that it would be very difficult really to define what a grocer is. Besides that, it would be difficult to stand over a limitation of valuation, as is suggested here. For these reasons I am sorry I cannot agree to accept the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Sections 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 agreed to.

Question proposed: “That Section 24 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Crosbie: Information on James Crosbie  Zoom on James Crosbie  Would the Minister explain to the House why in relation to the granting of licences to aerodromes or aircraft he proposes under this section to part with his authority and give it to the Minister for Industry and Commerce?

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  And also why should the court or the police, apparently, have no say in the matter?

[1018]Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  The history of this particular part of the Bill is that it was originally intended that the Minister for Industry and Commerce should bring in a Bill in connection with this matter. They tried to get my Department to do it and I objected. I said that I would have nothing to do with a licensing Bill because I foresaw what has happened in connection with this Bill. It was proposed in the beginning that the Department of Industry and Commerce should bring in a Bill dealing with the licensing of aerodromes. That is how the Minister for Industry and Commerce came into it first. The idea was that he was to nominate a suitable person to take charge of the sale of intoxicating liquor in aerodromes and on aircraft.

I believe the reason the court was left out of it was that it was thought very unlikely indeed that the Minister for Industry and Commerce would nominate a person whom the court would turn down or, if it went before the court, that the court would find great difficulty in turning down a person nominated by the Minister. Therefore it was not considered necessary to do that. That was the only reason. I took that over from that Department when it was decided to introduce this Bill. I was asked if I would agree to include it in this Bill, and I did so. That was the reason why the Minister for Industry and Commerce came into it at all. I think there is not much in the point. There is no authority being taken from the Minister for Justice, because, as Senator Douglas points out, the court grants the licence, and any Minister who nominates a person is unlikely to nominate a person who would not get a licence from the court. As to whether that is legitimate or not, I think it is. I am sure the court would have no hesitation in giving a licence to a person nominated by the Minister.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  Does not the question of renewal also arise? We will assume the infallibility of a particular Minister for the purpose of choosing the holder of a licence, which is rather a large assumption to my mind, though the Minister for Justice seems to [1019] assume it. But, assuming that, he will not go so far as to assume that, because the person is nominated by the Minister, he cannot, possibly, misbehave himself. Even if you take the Minister's infallibility, you will hardly claim that his nominee will be infallible. I do not think there is any difficulty arising in connection with an aerodrome. I certainly do not see why the police in the particular district should not have the same powers of supervision. I do not see why the court, at any rate so far as renewal is concerned, should not decide on the evidence of the police in the same way as with any other licence. I am not alarmed; I do not think there will be abuse. It is not a question of attacking any Minister. I do not know what Minister will do it. It is not as though there would be a difficulty. The court will not refuse the licence. I think the police should have an interest in it. If it must be a Minister, then it should be the Minister to who the police are responsible; it should be the Minister for Justice. I think it should be a licence obtained in the ordinary way.

Mr. Crosbie: Information on James Crosbie  Zoom on James Crosbie  In the case of a railway station, who is in control of the granting of the licence?

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  It is the secretary of the company who gets it from the court.

Mr. Crosbie: Information on James Crosbie  Zoom on James Crosbie  Why not have the same in respect of aerodromes and aircraft? Does the Minister propose to make any provision for the sale of intoxicating liquor, on aircraft, duty free?

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  I think that that would be a question for the Minister for Finance rather than for me. However, there is this much to be said: that any appointment of that kind that the Minister for Industry and Commerce might make could be questioned in the Dáil. In other words, the Minister is directly answerable to the Dáil, and if he makes a wrong appointment—one that is objected to—the question can be raised in the Dáil, whereas, in the case of other licences, it cannot be [1020] raised there. Personally, I may say, that I did not give much attention to this particular section. I accepted it, almost, as it was drafted, because I did not think that there was any likelihood of abuse, but I can certainly say that there was no sinister motive behind it. As I have pointed out already, the Minister for Industry and Commerce is open to public criticism in the Dáil, if he makes a wrong appointment, and I think he would be as good a judge in the matter of appointing the proper person for such a position as a district justice would be.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I think that the two sections here really go together, and the point is that they completely cut out the courts in this matter, and, therefore, so far as the public are concerned, cut out the police, which, perhaps, is a more important matter. In the case of an ordinary licence, an application is made, and the police give evidence in public as to the character, and so on, of the applicant, and then the district justice decides on the merits of the case. With regard to the last point that was made by the Minister, I think it is a very objectionable thing that the Dáil should be compelled to pass judgment on an appointment made by a Minister for Industry and Commerce. I think it should rather be the Courts. I realise that there is nothing sinister behind this particular section, but there is, undoubtedly, this tendency all over the world with regard to giving powers to Ministers, and I suggest that that is what is behind this. The Minister for Industry and Commerce is particularly interested in aerial traffic. He is going to control it, and he is given powers in connection with catering or drinking at aerodromes or on aircraft.

In other words, these sections which we are now discussing are part of a general tendency to pick up power for the Minister concerned, and, if you like, for his officials, as against the courts. I do not suggest that the present Minister for Industry and Commerce has a Fianna Fáil caterer up his sleeve for this appointment. Maybe he has, but I am not saying that [1021] he has, and in any case I think it is much better that the Minister for Justice should be in the position of being able to get up in the Dáil and say: “There is no use in asking me why Patrick Murphy was refused a licence; I have nothing to do with that; it is a matter for the district justice; so do not talk to me about it.” I think it would be far better for the Minister to be in that position than to put him in the position of having to answer a question in the Dáil as to why he refused to give a licence to Patrick Murphy and gave it to Michael Hayes.

For instance, with regard to the transfer of licences, it says here, in Section 26, that the Minister may transfer a licence to a particular person, who appears to him to be a fit and proper person to hold such a licence, on the death of the former holder of the licence, or “for any other reason”. These are the words, “for any other reason”.

Now, of course, the argument is constantly being brought forward that such powers, having been given to Ministers, will not be abused by them or their officials, or will not be unreasonably used. But there is always that proviso put in: “for any other reason”, and between the Minister concerned, the draftsman, and so on, the whole idea is to make the thing watertight, so that, if any question should come up afterwards, it can be said: “Well, here in the Act it says: ‘or for any other reason’.” I do not think it is fair to give the Minister for Industry and Commerce this power. As I have said, it is part of a general tendency, which we discussed here formerly in connection with an education Bill, and I think it is bad. While one may not think that everything is perfect so far as the procedure of the courts is concerned, I think it would be a really better thing that the courts and the police, publicly, and the Minister for Justice, should have control over this thing. I think that the fact that another Minister should be given the power of making such appointments, and be afterwards subject to criticism in the Dáil, is a bad thing.

[1022]Mr. Crosbie: Information on James Crosbie  Zoom on James Crosbie  Like Senator Hayes, I am quite convinced that there was no ulterior or sinister motive behind this section, but I must protest that it is not the duty, under any circumstances, of a Minister for Industry and Commerce to take any part in deciding as to who shall or shall not be given a licence for the sale of liquor. For instance, I am sure that the Minister for Justice would not agree, for one moment, to grant to the Minister for Industry and Commerce the power to give or withhold a licence for the sale of liquor in connection with a railway station, a shipping port, a racecourse, or even a fair-green. Then, why should it be so in the case of an aerodrome? I think the Minister would be well advised to redraft this section before the Report Stage, and to retain to himself and the courts the privilege and responsibility of deciding who shall or shall not be granted a licence to cater at an aerodrome.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce has certain obligations and certain powers as regards aerodromes. He is responsible for the proper administration of these aerodromes, and he is responsible for aerial navigation, and so on and so forth, but I think it would be very inadvisable for this House to agree for one moment to add to that Minister's responsibility and give him the responsibility and the right to nominate—because that is, virtually, what it amounts to—who should be the licensed caterer for an aerodrome or on aircraft. I think that it is really a very serious matter—much more serious than it actually appears in the Bill—and I again suggest for the Minister's consideration that he himself would probably object strenuously if the Minister for Industry and Commerce were to interfere with his rights or the rights of the court in deciding who are to be the caterers at a railway station or a shipping port. I do not see why any exception should be made in the case of aerodromes or aircraft, even though aerial travel in this country happens to be in its initial stages. I do not see why any change in the existing procedure should be made in that respect.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  With regard to the [1023] question of railway stations, the Minister for Justice has no jurisdiction as to who shall or shall not be the caterer.

Mr. Crosbie: Information on James Crosbie  Zoom on James Crosbie  The court has.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  The person who has control of the aerodrome is the Minister, and when it would come to a question of appointing a caterer, I am sure the ordinary machinery for such appointments would be used—advertisements in the papers, open competition, and so on. At least, I imagine that is how it would be done. Just as in the case of the appointment of the controller of the aerodrome, the managing director, or the secretary, which, I take it, is done by means of a selection board or something like that, I am sure that the same process would take place in the case of the caterer. Accordingly, I think it is scarcely necessary to say that if the Minister, being a Minister of State, selected a particular person or firm to be the caterer, the court would hardly turn him down, and I do not think it should be necessary for the court to have a sort of veto on the Minister's selection, because that is what it would amount to. I think that if Senators were to look on the matter from that point of view, they would find that the section is not so bad. Of course, if the Minister were to pick a man out of, let us say, a Fianna Fáil Cumann, and appoint him, I agree that that would be very bad, but as I have pointed out, there is a well-established way of dealing with such appointments —through public advertisements, open competition, and so on. I imagine that is the way it will be. He will say: “I nominate this person.” Is it conceivable that the district justice will turn down a man nominated by the Minister, or is it desirable that he should be in a position to do so? I do not think it is.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  There used to be a complaint long ago, when we were reading our history books, about the power possessed by the king. No king ever possessed power like modern Ministers. The Minister for Justice, [1024] the most reasonable of the Ministers, actually states that it is inconceivable that the district justice would turn down what the Minister does.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  I would not say: “what the Minister does,” but the person he nominates.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Well, the person he nominates. In other words, the whole modern tendency is to have the Government all-powerful. You cannot turn on your heel now without permission from some Minister for something. That is more and more the tendency. The whole structure upon which this democratic system is built is that there should be a Parliament to make the laws, a Government to administer them, and courts to see that they are carried out, and that the courts should have superior power to the Government within certain limits. The Minister is speaking the common language of Ministers, Irish, English and every other kind. Fianna Fáil Ministers, possibly Fine Gael Ministers and every other kind of Minister, all speak the same language. They all say: “I am going to do it. Surely you do not think I will nominate the wrong kind of person? Surely you would not give the district justice any power over my nomination?” That is the tendency, and I want to put myself on record as thinking that it is the wrong tendency.

The railway stations are private property. The railway company nominates a particular caterer. I presume the police have power to see that the rules are properly kept. But if the aerodromes are going to be Government property, that puts the Minister in the position of the railway company, and the Minister may make the nomination. Even there, I do not see why they would not follow the same procedure as the other private business. Let us eliminate the Minister for the moment. Let us assume that Patrick Murphy is selected. Patrick Murphy is selected by civil servants, and the Civil Service does not want to submit itself to the courts.

Mr. Crosbie: Information on James Crosbie  Zoom on James Crosbie  Would the Minister [1025] tell us what his control is with regard to ships?

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  They do not have to apply to the court at all.

Mr. Crosbie: Information on James Crosbie  Zoom on James Crosbie  But while they are anchored at the quay, surely the Minister has control?

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  I am informed that they do not have to go to the court at any time. There is some analogy there, I suppose.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  While I agree with Senator Hayes, and while I have again and again expressed on the general question views similar to his, I think there is more in this than he says. There is a certain basis upon which a licence can be renewed and upon which it is withheld. It is withheld largely, if withheld at all, on the evidence of the police, which is given to an independent authority, namely the justice. The Minister has just said:—

“Can anybody imagine a district justice not renewing a licence on the request of the secretary to the railway company?”

Possibly I have more imagination than the Minister, because I have no difficulty at all in imagining it if the police give evidence to the effect that the place is not properly conducted. I do not think he would hesitate for one moment. If anything should arise in connection with an aerodrome—while it is not probable, it is certainly not impossible—I think the proper way to consider the renewal of that licence is just the same way. I do not think it is the business of the Minister or his civil servants. I do not think he is the best person to judge, when it is a matter of police evidence. If it must be done by a Minister, I think it should be the Minister for Justice, but I do not see the slightest reason why the administration of the law and the renewal of the licence should not be just the same in the case of an aerodrome. However, if the Government wants to do it this way, they have their [1026] majority, and no doubt they can carry it, but I am glad we did not let this pass without drawing attention to it. I would ask the Minister to look into the matter between this and the Report Stage.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I do not think it is desirable that the Minister should act in a matter like this. In a way it is rather a trifling matter, but the prestige of the Minister, the prestige of the State as a whole, and our capacity to administer our affairs in a decent and respectable way which will command the confidence of the people, hinge on small things which Ministers have power to do. In fact, our people can see small faults when they are not able to see great achievements. I do not know what process the Minister or his advisers will employ to see that they select the best person as caterer in an aerodrome. In any case, the Minister will be in the position of taking one out of a number of individuals and giving him certain privileges which he will enjoy for the purposes of private profit. That is a difficult decision to make, and it may sometimes turn out that your judgment and your decision were not very good. You may discover afterwards that the person selected is an individual whom it is not easy to get to conform to the law. Even the police have difficulty in dealing with an individual like that who has been appointed by the Minister. They are perhaps reluctant to have the law applied with the same force and correctness as would be employed if the man had obtained his privileges through the ordinary process of an application through the courts. I suggest to the Minister that he ought to consider this matter between now and the Report Stage. I do not think that decisions like this should be left wholly and entirely with the Minister. They are a bother and annoyance to him; I do not think he should be troubled with those trifling decisions. The Minister's own prestige should not have to stand or fall on the kind of selection he will make in a case like this. It is difficult for a Minister to decide what particular individual he [1027] will select from a number of others, giving him privileges which he will enjoy for the purposes of private profit, and it is difficult to convince the public that the decision was made by the Minister on its merits. I think this is the sort of decision which the Minister should not have to make; some other way should be found. I suggest that the Minister should look into the matter between this and the next stage with a view to seeing what amendment can be suggested.

Mr. Goulding: Information on Seán Goulding  Zoom on Seán Goulding  Could not this point be met in another way? Would it not get over the difficulty if advertisements are issued and caterers are asked to submit their tenders? The most suitable person could then be selected.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  Even so, the Minister would have to make the appointment. I should like to clear up one point— that, as far as the police are concerned, they can go in there and if they see that the regulations have been broken the caterer can be prosecuted. We want that made clear. As it stands here, no matter what method you have of getting your caterer, the Minister will have to nominate him.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  It is Government property.

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  What good would the endorsement of his licence be under this Bill? It would be useless.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  I imagine he would be considered ineligible. The Minister would say: “I am not going to appoint a man whose licence has been endorsed.” However little you may think of the Minister——

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  We do not think little of him.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  ——I say, if the caterer is subject, as he is, to ordinary police supervision and if his licence is endorsed, the Minister would be a queer man if he did not take the contract [1028] from him. I think you are safe as far as that is concerned.

Mr. Crosbie: Information on James Crosbie  Zoom on James Crosbie  The point is that in the ordinary course of events the courts have to be satisfied of the character of the person holding the licence or applying for the licence.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  That is right.

Mr. Crosbie: Information on James Crosbie  Zoom on James Crosbie  And they get that evidence from the police. As the section stands, have we any guarantee that the Minister for Industry and Commerce is going to take evidence from the police before the courts as to the character of the licensee, and so on? Personally I see no sinister motive in it. I think the Minister for Industry and Commerce, if he is a sensible man, would probably go straight away to the police in the case of each applicant but, on the other hand, we have no guarantee that he will do that. I would suggest seriously to the Minister that it would be far better that the old rule should hold and that the licensee should be appointed on application to the courts, with the ordinary formalities of evidence by the police as to his suitability, and so on.

Question put and agreed to.

Question proposed: “That Section 25 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  It seems to me that we can test the opinion of the House as to whether that was a desirable method by dividing on Section 25. If the House rejected Section 25, the Minister could introduce a different method, no doubt, on Report Stage. The simplest way of testing this would be to vote against Section 25.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Is there any possibility of amending this which will make it more in line with the ordinary practice?

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  When you come to examine it, you will find how big a job it is going to be.

[1029]Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That is why I did not do it myself.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  I must say it is a wonder that neither in this House nor in the other House was there any attempt made at an amendment. I was not going to invite it, but you can see how big a job it is going to be. I do think the Senators are making a mountain out of nothing. I do not agree that there is much in it.

[1030]Mr. Douglas: Information on James Green Douglas  Zoom on James Green Douglas  May I point out that Sections 25 and 26 are long, but they are long because all that length was required in order to get the Minister out of the ordinary law. If in the ordinary way the aeroplane company had to apply, probably one section would be sufficient but, I make a present to the Minister that, when it comes to drafting this kind of thing, he can beat us any time.

Question put.

Blaney, Neal.
Brennan, Joseph.
Colbert, Michael.
Concannon, Helena.
Corkery, Daniel.
Foran, Thomas.
Goulding, Seán.
Hayes, Seán.
Honan, Thomas V.
Johnston, James.
Kennedy, Margaret L.
Lynch, Eamonn.
O Buachalla, Liam.
O'Donovan, Seán.
O'Dwyer, Martin.
O Máille, Pádraic.
O'Neill, Laurence.
Nic Phiarais, Maighréad M.
Quirke, William.
Stafford, Matthew.

Alton, Ernest H.
Baxter, Patrick F.
Conlon, Martin.
Counihan, John J.
Crosbie, James.
Cummins, William.
Douglas, James G.
Doyle, Patrick.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Hayes, Michael.
Hogan, Patrick.
O'Connell, Thomas J.

Question declared carried.

Sections 26 to 32, inclusive, and the Title, agreed to.

Report Stage ordered for Wednesday, 10th February.

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  It may be necessary to recommit the Bill.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  For certain amendments?

Mr. Boland: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  Yes.

Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.


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