Seanad Éireann

02/Jul/1947

Prelude

Business of Seanad.

Courts of Justice Bill, 1947—Second Stage.

Trade Union Bill, 1947—Second and Subsequent Stages.

Clean Wool Bill, 1947—Second Stage.

Agricultural and Fishery Products (Regulation of Export) Bill, 1947—Second Stage.

Dairy Produce (Amendment) Bill, 1947—Second and Final Stages.

Agricultural and Fishery Products (Regulation of Export) Bill, 1947—Committee and Final Stages.

Business of Seanad.

[99] Do chuaigh an Cathaoirleach i gceannas ar 3 p.m.

Mr. Hayes:  Might I inquire whether we are expected to deal with the Health Bill before we rise this summer?

An Cathaoirleach:  We have no information on the point, but we will have inquiries made and let the House know later on.

Mr. Hayes:  May I put it that a Bill like the Health Bill, which is not controversial in its principles but on which this House might very usefully suggest certain amendments, is the kind of Bill we ought not to get at the end of a session. If a Bill is one to which people have radical objecttions, one might be cynical about its being rushed through, but it is debatable if a Bill in which everybody is interested, about which there ought to be considerable consultation with outside people and to which amendments would be proposed in a helpful manner and for a good purpose, should be put to us at the very end of a session. I do not object to work, as everybody knows, but I think that this kind of Bill is one which we ought not to get at this stage of the proceedings, if it could be possibly avoided. Perhaps some information might be got through the usual channels on that basis.

Mr. Hawkins:  I understand that the Minister for Health is anxious to get the Bill through this House as soon as possible with a view to its enactment.

Mr. Douglas:  Might I suggest that there never was a Minister in charge of a measure who was not anxious to get it through at the earliest possible moment?

[100]Mr. Hayes:  I was about to say that that is the uniform position of all Ministers of all Parties and apparently of all ages and of all types, but is this not the kind of Bill that ought to be got through rather slowly? It is, I understand, an enabling Bill, in the main.

Mr. Baxter:  If that is conveyed in the proper spirit, the Minister will have no objection.

An Cathaoirleach:  Perhaps Senator Hawkins will be good enough to make representations in the course of the evening, in the light of these remarks.

Mrs. Concannon:  Intimating that we would require some time.

An Cathaoirleach:  Yes, Senator.

Question proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”

Minister for Justice (Mr. Boland):  This Bill has three main parts. The first provides for an increase in the remuneration of judges and district justices. The second, and most important part, deals with the reorganisation of the Circuit Court to provide for a President, who will have power to regulate the business in the court. Senators are aware that at present nobody has power to ask a judge to go from one circuit to another, and it does happen that, in some circuits, there is very little to do, while, in others, there is a lot of work, and that one judge might be run off his feet while another would not have very much to do. Under this arrangement, there will be power to assign a judge who has a slack time to give assistance in another area. The third part provides for the ad hoc appointment of a judge who has been temporary for about four years.

With regard to the increases in remuneration, they range from 15 per cent. in the case of the Supreme Court and 20 per cent. in the case of the High Court to 25 per cent. in the case of the Circuit Court and 30 per cent. in the case of district justices. These increases are generally in accordance with what has been given to public [101] servants generally. I do not know whether I am required to make any case for these increases. They are due to the decrease in the purchasing power of money and to the fact that judges, like everybody else, have felt the pinch. We are therefore making some provision—not the full provision —to make up for the loss in purchasing power, as in the case of other public servants.

It has been felt for quite a long time that a reorganisation of the Circuit Court was necessary. Senators who have any experience of the working of the Circuit Court know that in some cases there may be a very big geographical area in which the work is not very great, whereas in another area three times as much work may require to be done. It is considered that this reorganisation should have been carried out in the beginning, but it is only through experience that one can find out the best way of running the court. It has been made abundantly clear that this reorganisation is necessary. The judges themselves, who were consulted with regard to it, are agreed that it should be done.

The status of the President of the Circuit Court is a matter which gave rise to a lot of trouble in the other House. It is provided that he shall have the status of an ex officio High Court judge and exception was taken to that, both on our side and on the other side of the House. The Government went very carefully into the whole matter and they think it necessary that, for the sake of the prestige and status of the President, he should rank as a High Court judge. It is not anticipated that he will be called on to work in the High Court very often, but he will be available if required. As Senators are aware, there is no power to appoint a temporary High Court judge, although there is power to appoint a temporary Circuit Court judge, and, if there were large arrears of work, due to two judges being ill at the same time, it would be very useful to have an extra judge who could give assistance when required.

The third part of the Bill deals with the position of a judge who has been in a temporary capacity for a number of years. It is a bad principle to have [102] temporary judges, if it can be avoided, and, so far as we can see, there will be work for this judge for a few years, but if, before the five years are up, it turns out that, as a result of the reorganisation, we can do without the extra judge, he may be assigned to some vacancy which may arise in the meantime, and we will revert to the position of having only ten permanent Circuit Court judges which is all we are entitled to have until the Bill has passed. The present retiring age for judges is 72 years. We are proposing to cut it to 70 years, because we think 70 is old enough. There is a provision, however, that those who are judges now can remain on until the age of 72, but, for the future, we think 70 years old enough for Circuit Court judges who have to do a lot of travelling around the country.

With regard to district justices' pensions, there was, in the 1936 Act, provision for justices deciding whether they would accept the old judicial scale or the Civil Service scale. The Civil Service scale entitled them to half-pay and a gratuity and the other scale to two-thirds pension on retirement with full service. When we passed the Court Officers Bill some time ago, court registrars were given the option of delaying the making of their election as to which terms they would adopt until they were about to retire and we are giving the same right to district justices. They can wait until the eve of their retirement before deciding that they will elect to take the Civil Service terms of half-pay, with a gratuity of one year's pay, or the two-thirds pension. Arising out of that, there was a case of two justices who died while in office. They had elected to take the judicial terms which did not entitle them to any gratuity. We brought in an amendment in the other House—I think it is Section 20 now— which gives their dependents the same rights as the other justices are now getting.

Mr. Hayes:  Would the Minister say why the decision was made to increase the salary by a percentage instead of making it a round figure and putting that in the Bill?

[103]Mr. Boland:  The Minister for Finance and the Government thought it was better to adhere to some system of percentages and they have done that all along the line. You get the principle better in that way. It was done in the Civil Service generally and the same system has been adopted in the other Bills which will be coming up.

Mr. Sweetman:  The first Part of this Bill is entirely technical, consisting of definitions, and, therefore, it is the second Part which calls for discussion first of all. This House will recollect that I have stressed very strongly on many occasions my view that everything possible must be done to uphold the dignity and prestige of our courts. I believe those courts are the real protection of every individual in the State, whether he is of some importance or of comparatively no importance. Bearing that in mind, we must ensure that the persons who are carrying out the judicial functions in the various courts are adequately paid in comparison with people in other walks of life, to ensure from the point of view of prestige that we will get the right type of people and that there will be no temptation put in their way in respect to graft.

I agree with the Minister that, by comparison with professional and industrial remuneration, the amounts set out here are reasonable and should be supported. I have some apprehension, however, that the general tendency in the country as a whole is not very satisfactory, that is, the general tendency to make industrial and even professional positions be too highly paid by comparison with agricultural occupations of a similar class and a similar nature. That point would really be better put from the other angle— that the agricultural remuneration is far too low by comparison with professional or industrial remuneration. So long as professional or industrial remuneration is at a certain figure, you must ensure that the judges are paid in relation to that, so that you may get the right type of man. It is, perhaps, a little unfair on the Minister for Justice, except in so far as he is a member of the Government, that I should stress this. If our whole economy is not to [104] be completely unbalanced, something must be done to increase agricultural remuneration.

The Minister will agree that I have a certain amount of experience in regard to the District Courts in Dublin and the surrounding counties. When we were dealing with the Metropolitan Districts Bill some six months ago, I made it clear that the work in the metropolitan district is so tedious and so tiresome that there is a very strong case to be made that such a justice should not be asked to sit on as many days as one out in the country. While I accept that principle at once in respect of work, I do not accept the principle the Minister has adumbrated in the Bill—although he is only following an earlier Bill—that there is a case for differentiation in salary. The district justice in the country has greater expenses to bear than the district justice in Dublin or Cork.

I understand the new figures are to be as follows: For the three principal justices in Dublin City £1,560; for the three ordinary district justices in Dublin City and the justices in Cork, £1,430; for other district justices in the country areas, £1,300. There is a very definite case, on the volume, the nature and the type of the work, but there is no case in respect of remuneration. The justice sitting in Dublin is able to get home to his meals, whereas the justice in the country cannot do so but has to sit in different parts of the country one day after the other and is not able to take his meals at home. That means additional expense on the country justice. He also has a greater position to keep up than the city justice. In a city we are all swamped by one another and you have not A looking very carefully at B's standard, whereas in the country we all pretty well estimate to the last pound what standard C is keeping up as against D.

The district justice in the country is considered a proper person to take part in social functions. That is highly desirable, but it involves expense. You cannot keep up that position and carry on social functions of that type without spending money. One has to spend money to do those things and you can have no social life of that sort without it costing something. [105] In the city, the district justices are, to a large extent, swamped by people living around them and they have not to live up to the same standard. The country justice who goes into a town is known as the district justice and has to deal with matters as a district justice, he has to go to the local hotel and has to keep up a proper standard. It is wrong that there should be this differentiation in regard to salary.

Regarding the conditions of employment, many of the country justices have to sit in court houses that leave a good deal to be desired. In that respect, they have to share the discomfort and unpleasantness which Senator O'Dea and I and our professional brethren have to share but, apart from that, they must keep up a standard which is more pertinent and more exacting in the country. I would ask the Minister to amend that provision and make the salary or emoluments for district justices on a flat basis. I would also like the Minister to tell us, when replying, what the provisions are in regard to travelling expenses, if they get any, whether country justices get travelling expenses from their homes if they live outside their area or whether it is from the most central point in the area and exactly how those expenses are computed.

On one occasion, I saw a most disgusting exhibition. I do not know if it was due entirely to the emergency conditions. A district justice had to travel in a bus in which also there were some rather “tight” people—though not too “tight” to be put off the bus —whom he had sentenced, and they carried on a loud conversation, not addressed to him, in which they told each other what exactly they thought of the district justice concerned. If there is anything other than the emergency conditions which compels district justices to travel by bus, it should be remedied. It may have occurred because of the emergency, as it took place about 15 months ago, and may have been due to the shortage of petrol. I would like an assurance from the Minister that there is no necessity for that in the future.

[106] Part III deals with the creation of a new office, the President of the Circuit Court. If there is to be any direction of the work of the Circuit Court, I am in entire agreement with the Minister that it is much better to have that done by a judge rather than by the Department. On another Bill, I objected violently to the Department directing city district justices and am glad to see that, in this Bill, the Minister has come round, in regard to the Circuit Court, to the point of view we pressed on him very strongly. It is pleasant to see such a conversion. The powers given to the President of the Circuit Court in this Bill are very dictatorial and he will need to be blessed with an abundance of tact to carry them out without disharmony. Any remarks I make now are in no way personal. There is a rumour abroad regarding someone who is likely to be appointed as the first president under this Bill and if this rumour is correct I would welcome the appointment most wholeheartedly and many others would feel that gentleman well fitted, not merely to be president of the Circuit Court but also to be a High Court judge. You cannot discuss the provisions in this Bill on a personality. You must discuss them on the principle that if the Bill is passed in its present form there will, at some future date, be another appointment. Some day there will be somebody sitting in the Minister's chair other than Deputy Boland. Some day there will be somebody sitting in the Minister's seat other than a member of the Fianna Fáil Party and it may be that some new Party in future, if I may be so bold as to suggest, might behave with the same rashness——

Mr. Hawkins:  Have the old Parties no hope?

Mr. Sweetman:  There would be no danger of our Party behaving with rashness but some new Party might behave with the same rashness that the Minister and his Party showed when they were first in office. To give the Minister his due I think he regrets some of the rashness that he showed when he came in first, and some of the appointments, and there might be a similar sort of appointments in future.

[107]Mr. Boland:  Quite true.

Mr. Hayes:  That is most disarming.

Mr. Boland:  That will be true of the last Government also.

Mr. Sweetman:  It will be true of every Government. That is why I am worried about the provisions that are included for the powers of the President of the Circuit Court, enabling him and making him an ex-officio judge of the High Court. The Minister was terribly determined about that in the Dáil. He was barraged from all sides. He was barraged about the matter from the official Opposition. A member of his own Party, Deputy O'Connor, advised him very strongly not to include this provision and even at the last minute the previous Minister for Justice, Deputy Ruttledge, came along and he also advised the Minister that it was a bad provision. It is a bad provision. I must confess that quite frequently in this House we have been able to persuade Ministers that what they determined upon in another place was not completely sound. Whether it is our sweet reasonableness or whether it is the atmosphere of this place makes the Minister sweetly reasonable I am not going to argue but on the Committee Stage of this Bill I am going to make an effort to work the same change in the Minister in this respect as we have worked on other occasions.

There is no case whatever for making the President of the Circuit Court also ex officio a judge of the High Court. The Minister in the other House suggested that it was necessary for his dignity and prestige. With due respect to the Minister, there is only one word that can describe that and it is nonsense. It is absolute nonsense. The fact that he is President of the Circuit Court, the fact that powers are given to him in this Bill to direct the work of the Circuit Court, the fact of his salary, all those things are adequately conducive to his dignity, to his prestige, without in any way imposing this method of getting a High Court judge cheap. I suspect that that is what is at the back of it all—the desire of the Department [108] of Finance to work a quick one on the Department of Justice. I am surprised at the Minister. I am particularly surprised at the Minister with all the determination that he has shown from time to time and that he showed in respect of this provision in the Dáil, that he did not show the same determination when the Department of Finance tried to browbeat him into getting a High Court judge cheap in this way.

Mr. Boland:  They never did that. That is not right.

Mr. Hayes:  They never do that?

Mr. Sweetman:  The Department of Finance never browbeat anybody to get something cheap?

Mr. Boland:  The idea that they were trying to get a cheap High Court judge was never intended.

Mr. Sweetman:  That knocks one of the legs away from the support of the provisions of the Bill.

Mr. Boland:  It does not.

Mr. Sweetman:  It means that there is one less argument I have to overcome, which is a great thing.

Mr. Hayes:  There is a touch of the District Court about that.

Mr. Sweetman:  We will come back to that matter on Committee Stage and I do not propose to deal with it further now. There is one particular provision in respect of Section 13 to which I want to refer. I do not see why the Minister, when he has in this Bill set up a President of the Circuit Court, given the President of the Circuit Court the particular powers he has given him, and so forth, does not also provide that it will be the President of the Circuit Court who will arrange the circuits rather than the method provided in Section 13. At least, I think Section 13 should read that the composition of the circuits should not be altered save with the concurrence of the President of the Circuit Court. It appears to me, certainly, that that would be more in keeping with the dignity and prestige of such an office. I would also like the [109] Minister to tell me whether the members of the Circuit Court Rules Committee, some of whom are referred to in Section 12, are paid anything in addition to their ordinary emoluments for acting as members of the Circuit Court Rules Committee. Is the secretary paid, for example? I do not think that the ordinary members are paid but I am not quite clear whether the secretary is paid or not.

Part IV provides for the appointment of an additional Circuit Court judge. It is an unfortunate thing that it is necessary. It is an unfortunate thing that crime has increased to the extent and in the manner that it has increased. It is, I am afraid, one of the resultants of a system under which the public morale has been shaken, under which public opinion believes that there is a great deal more racketeering than in fact there is, although there is a great deal. But the increase in crime is certainly a concommitant of the undermining of public morale. I do not think that the Minister and his Government can hold themselves entirely blameless in that respect but, I will have to leave it to the Minister's conscience to make what atonement he can, even at this late hour.

Mr. O'Dea:  The Minister promised us this Bill on a previous occasion and I think we ought to welcome it now as it has come in response to our requests, particularly our requests for the payment of a proper salary to the district justices. I will not refer to the judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court. I am afraid I would be inclined to give them no increase but, however, they are very few and a good deal of it will be taken back in income-tax and surtax and in that way I do not think it matters very much. The increase to the Circuit Court judges is very necessary. With regard to the district justices, I would like very much to have seen them getting a bigger increase. Thirty per cent., in my opinion, is not enough and, coupled with that, there is the distinction referred to by Senator Sweetman between the justices in Dublin and country justices. First of all, there are the senior justices in Dublin. Then there are the other [110] justices in Dublin, paid a salary of £1,500 a year, I think.

Mr. Boland:  Three of them get £1,560.

Mr. O'Dea:  That is the principal justices?

Mr. Boland:  Yes. The ordinary justice gets £1,100 plus £330, that is £1,430 and the Cork City man gets £1,430.

Mr. O'Dea:  The Cork man is very deserving. I believe one justice does the whole of the work in Cork. He appears to be an excellent man. There are, I think, ten justices in Dublin.

Mr. Hayes:  In Dublin City? Surely not.

Mr. O'Dea:  I think there are ten working in Dublin.

Mr. Sweetman:  No.

Mr. Boland:  Six.

Mr. Sweetman:  Bad and all as the Minister has made the country, he has not made it as bad as that.

Mr. O'Dea:  Six justices in Dublin and one in Cork. That is a very big difference.

Mr. Boland:  It is.

Mr. O'Dea:  With regard to the men in Dublin who are getting £1,430 a year, many of them have been a very short time in the service whereas in the country there are justices who have been there for about 25 years and some of the Dublin justices were trained by them, probably, or did locum for them. There is also the difference of rank. If you have three grades represented by money, it puts the men receiving the lowest salary into a rather inferior rank and they rather resent that more than the money difference. I know that a justice in the City of Dublin has a good deal of work to do, particularly in recent years owing to the Emergency Powers Orders, but the justice in the country also has had to carry out those Orders. Not only has he to do that, but his work is not specialised as it is in the city.

[111] In the city there are different justices for different purposes. In the country the district justice must do all kinds of work. He must do all criminal work, all civil work, breaches of warranty, trespasses, assault, and cases of all kinds. He must keep himself alive to the law as it exists and to every change in the law. He must read reports and statutes and be in a position to give a proper judgment on any kind of case that may crop up before him. Very often there is more law in a small case than there is in a big case in the High Court. There is no doubt about that. As Senator Sweetman says, he must keep up a certain position in life. He must live in a good house. He must entertain. What is more, he has a good deal of travelling to do. He must keep a motor-car. It would be a very bad thing for the State if he did not keep a motor-car.

Senator Sweetman dealt with the expense. As I understand it, a district justice is paid a certain mileage if he keeps his own car. Very often there are disputes with the authorities as to the amount he ought to receive for the mileage he has travelled. That has put them in the position very often that they prefer to hire cars. If a district justice hires a car and sends in a receipt, the amount is paid immediately. If he uses his own car and charges a much less mileage, there is difficulty about it. We must presume, therefore, that in the interests of the State the district justice will keep his own car. A country district justice has travelling to do. A district justice in Dublin has no travelling. Any car that would suit a man of that rank cannot be purchased for less than £600. We may assume, having regard to the amount of travelling to be done, that the car will last three years. That represents a sum of £200 a year. The wear and tear, repairs, petrol and everything else can be put down at about £150, which makes a total of £350 for travelling. Such expenditure is not incurred by the Dublin district justice.

I do not want for a moment to suggest that there should be any reduction made in the salary given to a [112] Dublin district justice. I think the salary is too little perhaps as it is, but I do say that a man of great experience who is working in the country, a man of perhaps many more years' standing than a justice in the City of Dublin, should get at least the same salary. I think such a distinction should not be made. I would like to see the idea of a fixed sum, suggested by Senator Hayes, carried out, rather than have the salaries on a percentage basis. I would ask the Minister to consider that very carefully. I think that, if he takes into account all the expenses which a district justice in the country has to incur, he will come to the conclusion that he should get more perhaps than a man in the city. A district justice in the country has to be there always. It may be said that he has not as much work to do as the man in the city. Sometimes he has very heavy cases to deal with— murder charges and other serious charges. Witnesses very often have to be brought long distances to give evidence in these cases. The district justice will sit until a very late hour in the evening in order to facilitate those witnesses, and in order to save the State the expense of bringing them there on a second occasion. He must be in his district at all times. The salary consideration, rather than the amount of work that a man has to do, is a very important matter.

I do not agree with Senator Sweetman that the President of the Circuit Court should not get the rank of a High Court judge. I think that he ought to, and that it was an excellent idea on the part of the Minister to put that provision in the Bill. As the Minister told us, you cannot have a temporary High Court judge. He will be President of the Circuit Court judges, and will also be available to do any extra work in the High Court, if the existing High Court judges are not able to cope with the work to be done there. That is a very important consideration, so that, I think, it is a good idea to give him the status of a High Court judge.

The President of the Circuit Court who has been a colleague of the present circuit judges is now going to be [113] given a certain amount of power over them. It would be very difficult for him to exercise that power if he had not a certain position. The fact that he will have the status of a High Court judge will give him the proper authority. I do not think for a moment that the powers proposed to be given to him are too great. I have often wondered whether they are sufficient. I do not know what power a Circuit Court judge would have to refuse to go outside his own area to do the work which the president would assign to him in another area. He may say that he has been appointed to a certain district, that he is bound to do the work there and that he is not paid anything extra for going to another area. He may say that he does not know how he can be compelled to go, even if directed by the president. I do not think a situation of that kind is likely to occur, but if you did meet a man who was soured, for some reason or other, it might be necessary to give extra powers if those given already were not sufficient.

Dealing, again, with district justices in the country, a number of them are in big country towns, some of which are very near the City of Dublin. They are men who have to do practically the same kind of work as a Dublin justice. They will probably have nearly as much work to do as a Dublin justice when the Emergency Powers Acts cease to operate. It seems very hard, seeing that they will have all that work to do, plus travelling and other expenses, that they should be on a lower salary than a man in the City of Dublin.

Mr. Duffy:  I have thought it desirable that somebody other than a lawyer should speak on this Bill. The lawyers have their own point of view on this but, even though it is a genuine and bona fide one, it is not that necessarily of the other less fortunate members of the community. I am not going to discuss the mechanism of the Bill because I do not profess to be an authority on that aspect of it. I propose to restrict myself to one or two points regarding which I have a point of view. The Bill seems to be largely concerned with a proposal to increase wages, or shall I call them, salaries or [114] allowances or whatever else they may be described as. On the last occasion the Minister was here with a courts Bill I expressed the opinion that the district justices were inadequately remunerated. I think I expressed the view—if I did not it was in my mind— that some of them were unable to meet their obligations. Now, one may say that a salary of £1,000 for a district justice is very substantial. That is true, but it has to be remembered that a number of our district justices were appointed at a time when £1,000 had a different significance from what it has to-day. If, before 1936, £1,000 was regarded by the State and the Oireachtac as a reasonable rate of remuneration for district justices, it is obviously inadequate now. I doubt, however, whether the proposal in this Bill is adequate.

I think everyone will agree with Senator O'Dea that it is not equitable to draw the distinction that there is in the Bill between two justices, both living on the same road or in the same street in Dublin, and pay them different wages or different salaries simply because they operate in different areas. One justice may operate in Dublin City or in Dún Laoghaire. He is entitled under the Bill, if he is not a principal justice, to, I think, £1,430, but the justice who operates only in Balbriggan, Swords or Kilmainham gets £1,300 a year. There seems to be no scientific arrangement which would justify that discrimination. When this subject was discussed here before, my general view was that a reasonable salary for a district justice, having regard to the changes in the value of money, would be £1,500 a year. That is my view to-day. There may be some point in giving an allowance over and above that amount to a principal justice in Dublin because he has something more than the ordinary justice to do. He has other administrative work to do, and he has to be distinguished from his colleagues who are not principal justices. Some allowance has to be made for that distinction.

I want to say that I am in agreement with Senator Hayes who drew attention to the unscientific manner in which this Bill is drawn in so far as it refers [115] to percentage increases instead of setting out boldly what the salary is to be. I think that, if we want to be fair to the public, we should repeal the section of the Principal Act which lays down the salary, and put a new section in its place saying that the salary of a district justice is to be £X, and that the salary of a Circuit Court judge is to be £X, and so on, rather than to be setting out percentages. Here is how the percentages will work out. In the case of the Chief Justice, he will receive £4,600; the four other judges in the Supreme Court will each receive £4,025; the President of the High Court will receive £3,450, and the ordinary judges of the High Court £3,000. Is there any reason why these figures should not be rounded off, or why the section fixing the salaries originally should not be repealed, with a new section substituted setting out in round figures what the obligation of the State is in relation to salaries?

Senator O'Dea referred to travelling expenses. I understand that a district justice receives a round figure of £200 a year as a travelling allowance. That may have been all right at one period, but it would seem to me to be utterly inadequate in certain cases. I do know that there is substance in what was said by Senator Sweetman that when a justice did in fact have to travel in a certain way on one or two occasions that he was put at a great disadvantage. I agree that during the emergency period when they could not get petrol they must have suffered great disadvantages in that way. In any event, a district justice appointed in the country must use a car and should be allowed a reasonable sum to permit him to do so. Otherwise, he is at a great disadvantage compared to the justice who adjudicates in his own neighbourhood and has not to use a public service vehicle or any other class of vehicle to enable him to do his work.

I should like to say again, in regard to district justices, that there is a good sound principle of having a fixed rate for that position. If we decide that there is to be a certain rate, then that rate should be fixed irrespective of whether the district justice lives in [116] Dublin, Cork, Limerick or Cavan. It is quite immaterial, from the point of view of the district justice, where he operates. The main thing is that he is doing a particular job, and there should be a flat rate for that job.

In regard to the higher salaries, I am not prepared to agree that the proposed new rates are justified. I do not think there is any justification whatever for giving an increase of £600 a year to the Chief Justice. He has £4,000 a year already. I do not subscribe to that. I think he is adequately paid at present. A prominent member of the Minister's Party came to me some years ago in regard to certain proposals. We discussed, among other things, the salaries of judges. I expressed the view then, and I am prepared to do so now, that I think we cannot afford cheap judges. I think that we ought to pay the judges a sufficient salary to make them independent and to save them from temptation.

The suggestion of that prominent member of the Minister's Party on that occasion was that the Chief Justice was being paid double the salary that he ought to be getting. Now, it is proposed to increase it by another £600 a year. I totally dissent from that. I also consider that the other judges of the Supreme Court are adequately remunerated, and I draw attention to the fact that we carried on for 15 or 16 years with three judges in the Supreme Court. We now have five, so that we are making law pretty expensive for ourselves, and I for one do not subscribe to it. With regard to the High Court judges, I think £2,000 a year an adequate salary, and I notice that, whenever a vacancy arises, there does not seem to be any difficulty in getting candidates to fill the post. As a matter of fact, I think it is true to say that the Government would have the pick of the Irish Bar for any vacancy that arises on the High Court bench without any increase in salary.

Mr. Hayes:  But they do not pick them.

Mr. Duffy:  Perhaps Senator Hayes and the Minister will never agree as to what the judges should be.

[117]Mr. Hayes:  Everybody agrees as to the ability of the Irish Bar. There is no difficulty about it.

Mr. Duffy:  And therefore there should be no difficulty in making a good selection, and there should certainly be no difficulty in making that selection with the big increase in salary. I remember a High Court judge telling me that every judge appointed improved his financial position because he became a judge, as distinct from the position in England where barristers earning £20,000 a year have taken judgeships at £3,500. That was a High Court judge expressing to me that, in England, every judge appointed made a sacrifice, because he accepted a salary very much less than half of what he was earning at the Bar. In Ireland, it is the opposite— every judge appointed, so far as I know, has improved his financial position by leaving the Bar to become a judge.

On the point raised by Senator Sweetman regarding the President of the Circuit Court, I do not know anything about the merits of the case as discussed by Senator Sweetman and Senator O'Dea, but if the purpose in view is to avoid the appointment of an additional High Court judge, I think it is meritorious. It is a very wise decision that, in the event of an emergency, there should be available to the Government an additional judge who is qualified to serve on the High Court bench. If it means a saving on the appointment of a new High Court judge, the decisión is wise and we should support it.

There is one section of the Bill, Section 14, which causes me some difficulty. The section authorises the appointment on a permanent basis of one additional Circuit Court judge. It does not name him, but it does everything else. There is no option but to appoint one person. I do not know who he is and I am perfectly indifferent, but I should prefer that the Minister would say clearly that here is a section authorising us to appoint A.B. as a Circuit Court judge, because he has done everything else. He says that he is already serving, that he is to [118] have added years and that he is allowed to serve to the age of 72. It is clear that it relates to some person and, as I say, I do not know who that person is—I am not arguing this on the basis of any one person—but I say that if there is a Circuit Court judge to be appointed, the Minister should reserve some freedom for himself to select a person whom he considers best qualified for the post, rather than to put in a section of this kind which compels him to appoint a particular person.

Generally speaking, while I have expressed agreement with the view that district justices' salaries should be increased, and in fact that a higher standard ought to be set for district justices, I want to urge that the whole question of the amounts involved in the administration of justice ought to be reviewed. This State spends a very large sum, not merely on judges' salaries but on the administration of justice as a whole, and having regard to the large sums paid in fees—I do not suppose I can discuss these now—and the large sum expended on the administration of justice the matter is one which requires a good deal of thought. It has been said by some people that one of our difficulties is that the judges are overworked and in other cases it is said that the business of the District Court is not very well arranged, with the result that, in remand cases, prisoners and witnesses are being brought day after day before the court at great expense to the public and that a different arrangement of the work of the courts, probably a different arrangement of circuits, a re-arrangement of the areas covered by district justices, would obviate a lot of the expense.

I am not in a position to say whether that is so or not. Senators like Senator Sweetman and Senator O'Dea, who work in the courts, will probably know more about it than I, but it seems to me that the total expenditure incurred in the administration of justice is very high. I was told a couple of years ago by a person interested on behalf of the State in a prosecution that the costs ran to somewhere around £4,000. It was a murder trial, and his comment was that, if the costs incurred in the [119] old British days exceeded £2,000, there would be a sworn inquiry to find out who wasted the money. He was engaged on behalf of the State in prosecuting the case, and his view was that it was a bad arrangement, that the court did not deal expeditiously with the case and that far too many witnesses had been brought up. I mention that because it seems to me that there ought to be a review of the expenditure on the administration of justice.

Mr. Hayes:  When an Irish Government took over here from the British, one of the great difficulties which the prophets of evil had in their minds was the administration of justice. Looking back on 25 years of it, we can say that we have succeeded in having justice well and properly administered. This Bill is a Bill to increase the remuneration of judges and justices who have received no increases since their salaries were originally fixed, some as early as 1922 and others in 1924. I think that is correct. With some of what Senator Duffy has said with regard to High Court judges I might be in agreement, but we should, I think, agree with this, that one of the things we cannot afford to have is a badly paid judge. That is one of the things we cannot afford at all. I am not very interested in the difference between £2,500 and £3,000 for a very small number of High Court judges, if it is thought that the administration of justice will be improved by the extra expenditure.

With regard to the question Senator Duffy has raised—before I come to my own points—that, in England, people sacrifice money in becoming judges and that there is no such position here, I think it is true to say that there are people here who are making at the Bar more money than the salary which the High Court judges had, or which they will have when the Bill becomes law. But they are making that money at the expense of very hard work, of very great and very sustained effort, and obviously people will accept a fixed salary with a pension, with holidays and with a fixed amount of work, in preference to a higher income of an uncertain nature [120] which depends entirely upon their own physical health and the maintenance of their own mental vigour. That is the reason why a Government can get barristers to accept judgeships which carry a salary lower than the amount of money a barrister can make in what is called the rough and tumble of the Bar Library. The reasons for that are quite obvious. On the other point that the Minister should have put in the name of the person whom he proposes to appoint as President of the Circuit Court, I think Senator Duffy is scarcely serious in that suggestion, because, if that were done, the individual in question—and I do not know anything about him—would, of course, be subject to debate.

When I said that we have been successful, by and large, with regard to the administration of the courts, there is this also to be said, that the most successful part of the courts is that part which is newest, that is to say, the District Courts. I think the Minister will agree with that. The District Courts owe their origin to the Cosgrave Government, and more particularly to the foresight and courage of Kevin O'Higgins who sent out the district justices and framed that particular scheme with the Attorney-General of the day. That scheme has worked admirably, and my sympathy goes to these people and to their position with regard to salaries. I put it to the Minister that there is general agreement—I think in his own Party as well as in others; Senator O'Dea expressed it to-day and I think it was expressed in the Dáil by members of the Minister's Party—that district justices are not being properly treated, when one considers all the circumstances.

There is a case for making a round salary for all the judges under the Bill, as has been suggested, and particularly in the case of district justices, there is an excellent case for giving a greater increase than 30 per cent. when one remembers that the district justices were appointed, some in 1922, at a salary of £1,000 and are now going to get an increase of £300, having had in the interval 24 or 25 years' experience. One could even extend that, and say that all the people appointed between 1922 and 1939 on a salary of £1,000 are [121] now going to get an increase of only £300, which is very insufficient when one considers all the circumstances. Anybody in the Civil Service who had £1,000 in 1922 is certainly much better off than the district justice and anybody who went into the Civil Service with the qualifications sufficient to make a man a district justice, say, 20 years ago and even a shorter time ago, would fare very much better.

Apart from the question of the Dublin justices and the country justices, the man appointed at £1,000 a year is now to get £1,300. An assistant secretary on £1,000 in the Civil Service has now a consolidated salary of £1,525. The grades lower than assistant secretaries, principal officers, had £750 to £900, and, at the top of their scale, the £900 a year men in the Civil Service, of whom there are a considerable number, get now £1,395, with no social or public obligations of any kind, and with this added, that they have very considerable chances of promotion, whereas the district justice has no chance of promotion, although he is doing solid work. He is really the keystone of the whole arch of justice. It was an experiment when originally begun and it has proved to be most successful. It is one of the few things upon which all sides of both Houses will agree, that the district courts have worked—not only the work of the district justices in their courts but the work which, to a very great extent, I understand, they do outside their courts in the settlement of cases. The district justice in Dublin is living in the metropolis, where we have the headquarters of the police force, the Army and the Civil Service, so there is a considerable number of people on his own level and the public eye is not on him to the same extent as in the town of Mullingar or the City of Galway. There was a time when some people might have sneered at his obligations, but now we are all convinced that the classless State is not possible. I understand the place where the classes are most radically distinguished is Russia. In a country area, the district justice should have a salary sufficient to enable him to play a respectable rôle. I know the word “respectable”[122] in the old Sinn Féin days was one that had a different meaning. I mean it in the sense of a “duine creidiúnach”—to be “creidiúnach” he should have a higher salary than £1,300 on present day values and there is no reason why he should have a smaller salary than his colleague in Dublin.

When we had some argument with the Minister for Education, we were told we made a psychological break in 1922, but political practice and even heads are more easily broken than minds. The Dublin District Court, like the earlier Metropolitan Courts, is still a rather unsavoury place and the justices in Dublin have very unsavoury work to do, though they do it nearer their homes. The argument is not for a higher salary but that they should get less work to do. I was only once in the Dublin District Court and that was accompanying one of the present district justices when he was tried by a divisional magistrate in 1919. The atmosphere is bad and I think the cure is to make them sit on fewer days per week. There is a good argument for an all-round salary of at least £1,500, rather than this extraordinary £1,650, £1,430 and £1,300.

The Minister made a fairly good case for special district justices in Dublin. I do not want to take anything from anyone, but the argument for giving a district justice at least as much as the assistant secretary to any Government Department is a strong one and there are assistant secretaries with more than £1,500.

Mr. Boland:  Are there?

Mr. Hayes:  What about the Department of Finance?

Mr. Boland:  There might be there.

Mr. Hayes:  There is an Irish proverb which says, “The priest christens his own child first”. You will find there are assistant secretaries who are getting £1,525 and a great many principal officers who get more than £1,300. The argument that a district justice who abandons all hope of promotion should not get more than that is an unsound one. One may say he is not asked to take the job, but one should endeavour [123] to get the best people and then give them an opportunity to live up to their office and fill the rôles they have to fill in the administrations of justice. It is not possible and certainly not desirable that a district justice should merely be a person who appears in court and retires home then to live in the cheapest possible manner.

We have lost certain members of our community and, therefore, if an Irishman is placed by an Irish Government in an Irish State in the rôle of district justice, very often knowing the Irish language, he should be looked up to and, whether we like it or not, that will not happen if a great many people in his area are earning far more than he earns. I put this argument to the Minister now, as, while we can argue it on the Committee Stage, we may not be able to put down a suitable amendment.

The district justices in the country have expenses which I know are such expenses that the Minister for Finance is not prepared to take into consideration—but there are more things in our philosophy than are dreamed of by the Minister for Justice. There are expenses which are unavoidable and which the justice should not avoid and he should be in a position in which he need not avoid them. They ought to be carefully selected and appointed and then reasonably well paid. When we consider Civil Service and other salaries of that kind, £1,500 would be a reasonable salary and I hope that the Minister will deal with it.

I am not a practising lawyer and therefore not competent to deal with this question of the President of the Circuit Court. I agree with Senator Sweetman, however, that it is better that the Circuit Court judges should be directed by a President of the Circuit Court rather than by the Department. Justice is something which affects not the rich merely but the poorest of the poor, and every man's rights and liberties, so the District Court is the most important and is worth paying for correctly.

Mr. Honan:  I join in welcoming this Bill. The district justices were discussed on a previous occasion and [124] Senator Mrs. Concannon and myself and others suggested that their salaries should be improved. I had in mind a gentleman acting in that capacity, who was a very good, decent-living man with a family, and he informed me that, were it not that he had saved a little money when young, he would not be able to manage his family responsibilities now. It would be a great pity if such a responsible position were not looked after properly and that can only be done by getting the best men and paying them accordingly. They have a responsible position and have to live up to it and raise their families up to that position, with provision for secondary schools and universities. I am glad that, on the previous occasion, I advocated the improvement of their salaries. I know very little of the requirements of the higher judges in the city, but I have rather intimate acquaintance with those in the country and I know their salaries are entirely inadequate, considering the travelling they have to do from court to court, incurring large expenses—which are not just merely for teas. I think that there is unanimity of opinion that an improvement would be very welcome. Personally, I think it would be desirable to improve on the £1,300, which is not sufficient when they are running a car and have other incidental expenses.

When the Minister was introducing the Bill and pensions were mentioned, I thought of the fact that it happens often that you hear of a man being pensioned and that he dies soon afterwards and the pension passes away with him. There should be an alternative scheme. I know that across the Channel there is such a scheme for higher civil servants, where they may accept a lower pension and in case of their early demise if their wife is still living as a widow the pension passes on to her during her lifetime. It is a very sad thing indeed, after a man's 40 years' work, if he should pass away immediately after retirement and the pension pass with him leaving his widow and other responsibilities entirely unprovided for.

I do not know if there is anything like that in our Civil Service, but it [125] would be well worth consideration. It is just an actuarial examination and if a man makes the sacrifice he may make provision for those coming after him. Not alone district justices and judges, but all members of the Civil Service and other pensionable officers, should be provided for in this way. Very often, people who retire do not live long enough to enjoy the pension they have well earned, and if this provision were available many of them would take advantage of it.

Mr. Tunney:  I am opposed to increases for any person who is in receipt of over £1,000 a year. That has been my view for my lifetime, as long as other workers are getting only £250; and while my own colleagues are out on strike and the Government is doing nothing about it, I cannot conscientiously support this increase. While I would like to express my views in the strongest possible manner in regard to that point, I cannot understand the mentality behind any differentiation in the wages of district justices. If anyone looks up the Press reports, they will realise I should be the last person to advocate an increase for the district justices in County Dublin. However, they have always administered justice and I stand for justice, and I think it too bad that a man whose work is as heavy as it could be in County Dublin— where the people from the city who commit motoring offences come before him—if later he is crossing through the city should meet city justices with higher salaries. From a trade union point of view, it is more or less scab labour that they should be asked to do that. I hope the Minister will look into that point. Their work in the county is heavy and is as well and as creditably done as anywhere else. They administer punishment severely where it is needed and, on the other hand, they are very reasonable with the first offender.

Justice is administered 100 per cent. correctly and I appeal to the Minister to take away that difference. The record of cases tried in County Dublin would show that, during the last seven years, the number is equally proportionate to the number of cases tried [126] by any justice in the city. I cannot understand why the people resident in the city should be put on a higher pedestal than the district justice living in Ballyhaunis. There is the question of the back-to-the-land policy and trying to give the same respect to the people living on the land as those in the cities from the material point of view. I think Senator Hayes said that a man can live more quiently in the City of Dublin than in a country area.

At the same time, I feel that the judges have enough. We would be all right if everyone were as well-off as the judges. There should be an all-round levelling up in the salaries paid to the district justices.

Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha:  Tá mé ar aon aigne le furmhór na ndaoine a labhair ar an gceist seo. Maidir le breithiúin agus lucht riartha dlí, caithfear aird do thabhairt gur féidir leo sin maireachtaint agus saol do riaradh le dighnit oiriúnach don phost, agus ná beidís faoi chomaoin ag aon duine. Caithfear dighnit an bhínse agus an bhreithimh do chóthú ar mhaithe leis an dlí, ar mhaithe leis an gceart agus ar mhaithe le meas an phobail ar an dlí céanna.

Ba mhaith liom focal a rá faoin idirdhealú atá idir tuarastal na mbreitheamh i mBaile Atha Cliath agus tuarastail na mbreitheamh contae sa chúirt íseal faoin dtuaith. Ní dóigh liom gur cóir an idirdhealú sin do dhéanamh. Ba cheart do dtuigfeadh an fear faoin dtuaith go bhfuil sé ar ionannas le fear na cathrach agus chomh tábhachtach leis. Tá súil agam go gcuirfear deireadh leis an idirdhealú sin agus go n-íocfar an tuarastal céanna le gach breitheamh.

Ní thuigim go bhfuil puinn difríochta i dtaobh costas maireachtála sa chathair agus an costas faoin dtuaith, i Tráighlí, i mBealach an Doirín nó i bPortláirge. Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil difríocht ar bith ann maidir leis an bpost seo. Is stróinséir don áit ina mbionn sé an breitheamh. Mar sin, ba cheart go mbeadh an tuarastal céanna ag gabháil leis an bpost céanna, pé áit in Eirinn a bheadh an duine ag obair. Mholfainn don Aire géilleadh don [127] mholadh so mar go bhfuil Seanadóirí ar gach taobh den Teach ag cuidiú leis.

Mr. S.T. Ruane:  If my approach to this Bill was in any way influenced by arguments advanced several years ago, as to the disparity in wages and salaries of certain classes of the community, I would not support it as I intend to do. Those arguments set out in placards and otherwise the salaries paid to judges and Ministers of State, and side by side with that were set out the wages paid to road workers and agricultural workers. That did an irreparable amount of harm, because it raised false standards in the minds of certain people, and I am sorry to say that it looks as if these standards are still those of some people. Even the most extreme votaries of Communism never advanced the theory that the percentage of national income devoted to salaries and wages should be equally divided amongst all classes.

A certain basis must be taken as a guide, and we must consider the question of ability, the type of duty performed by the wage earner, education, social position, utility, and so on. These factors will always be responsible for a difference in the emoluments of sections of the community. In saying that I do not wish to insinuate that I feel that lower-paid workers are adequately paid. Quite a number of these people suffer from financial disability as a result of the wage they are paid, and I trust that they will shortly get the treatment to which they are entitled. Before people can be secured to qualify for certain important positions in law, engineering, medicine, and so on, they must be assured that after consequent expense they will have a scale of remuneration commensurate with the duties they must discharge. If it were otherwise I am satisfied that we would have very few doctors, engineers or technicians in this country. The efficient discharge of duty will always be influenced by the freedom of the individual from financial worry.

I know of no profession where freedom from such worry is more essential for a proper discharge of their duty than amongst the judiciary and district justices. I am not very much concerned [128] with the judiciary, but I was delighted to hear other Senators stressing the importance of the position of district justices. My concern about district justices is because they are the tribunal before whom the majority of the people in rural Ireland must appear when at law.

District justices were first appointed in 1922 and I do not think that anybody would contend that the salaries paid then were fixed on a princely basis. In their case the £ has depreciated just as in the case of every other section of the community. One of the objects of this Bill is to restore equilibrium, and it is to be commended. I wholeheartedly endorse objections that were raised to any differentiation between the position of a district justice in the cities and the rural area. I am prepared to admit that the district justice in Dublin will have a longer list to dispose of than his brother justice in country areas but, as Senator Sweetman rightly pointed out, the former is near his work and has not to travel long distances to his courts that justices in the country have to travel. Very often they have to travel under severe climatic conditions and to dispense justice in buildings that are not as adequately furnished as courts in the cities.

I see no reason, therefore, why there should be any differentiation between the emoluments paid to district justices in the cities and those in the country. A flat rate would be more equitable. It has been stated by opponents of this Bill that if these positions were advertised numbers of people would be only too anxious to take them at the present salaries. That is so. There are no positions whether under the Government, local authority or other body that would not attract a number of people who would be anxious to take them at the salaries offered but that would be a short view to take regarding the filling of positions. Even in the legal profession as in other bodies there are three types, the good, the bad and the indifferent. Lawyers have to pursue a certain course of study, they have to satisfy the examiners that they have reached a certain standard before they qualify to practice, and quite a number of [129] them have a greater aptitude for their profession than have others.

Senators will agree that so far as the ordinary people are concerned they classify lawyers as good lawyers and bad lawyers. The object of the State should be to secure the best lawyers for appointments to the Bench. They will not be secured if a small valuation is placed on the important duties they will have to discharge. I know a number of solicitors whose income from practise is much greater than what they would receive if they became district justices even at the new salaries set out in this Bill. Men could be secured for such appointments who would be dear at £100, whereas other men in the same profession would be cheap at £1,000 a year. I trust the Minister will hearken to the case that has been made by Senators as to the advisability of having equality of emoluments fixed for district justices.

There are a few matters that I find this Bill does not provide for and I would like to avail of this opportunity to refer to them. There is the question of District Court clerks, many of whom were appointed in 1922 and who are now near pensionable age. There is no provision made in the Bill for these people. I think members of this House who are solicitors would admit that the District Court clerk plays a very important part in the successful functioning of the District Court, and because of that, due consideration should be given to him, in the matter of salary and pension.

There is the question of people who, from time to time, are called away from their work to serve on juries. I know members of the farming and commercial community in the country who very often are taken away at the busiest time and made travel very long distances to the court and who receive no return by way of maintenance allowance or to cover out-of-pocket expenses. The Department of Local Government has provided for maintenance allowance for people serving on public bodies and also has authorised the payment of full transport expenses to and from the centres of meeting provided certain conditions are fulfilled. I maintain that people acting on juries are at least discharging as [130] important a duty as is performed by members of public bodies and I feel that they should be provided for in this Bill. I hope it may be possible when the Bill is in Committee to deal with it.

Mr. Boland:  That would be a different Bill—a Juries Bill.

Seán Ó Donobháin:  Is iongantach liom ar fad an méid a dubhradh annseo indiu i dtaobh na difriochta atá idir costasaí an bhreithimh fe'n dtuaith agus costasaí an bhreithimb i mBaile Atha Cliath. Tuigeann gach éinne go bhfuil difriocht mór ionnta, gan dabht.

I think we have spoken in diverse tongues, certainly from the Opposition Benches, in connection with this Bill. The first thing I want to point out is that we are not discussing the salaries of anybody. We are discussing an increase in the cost of living. I cannot see how the matter would be dealt with otherwise than by the method established in connection with the Civil Service and in connection with members of local authorities.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  We are discussing increases in salaries. That is what the Bill deals with.

Mr. O'Donovan:  It is a question of increasing salaries, I suggest, in view of the cost of living. Any increase in money is necessarily an increase of salary but I would suggest that we need not go into the question to establish what was a just salary in 1922 or in 1932 or what is a just salary in 1947. I think we would be more justified in discussing what percentage increase would compensate for the increases in the cost of living which have been caused during the emergency period than in going to all this roundabout way of playing to the gallery.

Mr. Hayes:  That is very unfair.

Mr. O'Donovan:  Senator Hayes suggests that that is very unfair. I say that the remark he passed during the discussion was more unfair, that there are good barristers and they were not appointed.

[131]Mr. Hayes:  There are the best barristers who were not appointed. There is no doubt at all about that. It is plain as a pikestaff. Everybody knows it.

Mr. O'Donovan:  I could ask is the judge who was appointed as High Court judge from this House not the best barrister? We could get into personalities.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  It is better not to deal with it.

Mr. O'Donovan:  That is the very reason that I want to point out that the remark was unworthy of Senator Hayes as Leader of what he calls the Opposition in this House. I think it would have been better left unsaid by him. There is the question of borderline cases, the question of County Dublin versus Dublin City. Naturally, no matter where a person draws the line, there would be somebody with a grievance. The justices appointed to the District Court in the city are paid a higher salary than the justices, or the justice, who has to operate in the suburbs of Dublin. As in every other case, there is somebody with a borderline grievance. I maintain, having seen the District Court in Dublin operating, that there is absolutely no comparison between their work and the work of a district justice in the country. The city justice has to deal with repulsive, nasty cases that no justice in the country has to deal with.

If Senator O'Dea, who looks at me with disapproval, had the same experience as the justices in the city have he would agree with me that there is no comparison between the duties of a district justice in Dublin City and a district justice in any court in the country. Therefore, the very fact of the work they have to do entitles them to a better salary. Our whole approach should be that the person must be paid in virtue of the onerous duties he has to perform. Therefore, I maintain that there should be a distinction in favour of the justice in the large towns.

The question has been raised as to the relative costs. I cannot agree with anyone who says that there is not a [132] greater cost on the individual living in a city like Dublin than there is on the person living in the country. Senators have referred to the cost of transport and have said that there should be some provision made for it. I know that a justice who has to drive to a court in the country is very glad to do it at 11 o'clock on a fine morning. He might not like it at 11 o'clock on a snowy morning. I think a justice would prefer to drive his car to a court in the country than to have to go in a bus to attend the District Court in the centre of the city. I do not agree with the point made as to the cost of travelling and I certainly do not agree with the case made that there is not a higher cost of living in Dublin and I do not agree that the case should be made on this Bill, which is really dealing with the increased cost of living during the emergency.

The question has been raised about the number of justices. I have met nine in the District Court. I do not suppose that we will always have nine district justices in the city. The number has been increased on account of the increased amount of court work during the emergency period. It is the same in this country as in the world. There has been a loosening of a sense of law and morals which has entailed increased work. That will not last, and I am sure the same amount of work will not be imposed in the future on district justices in the city as has been imposed during the emergency and down to the present time. Therefore, the point made by Senator Sweetman that they should have less work and more days off rather than increased pay is a matter that will right itself in a few years as, we hope, other things, including the cost of living, will right themselves. I remember the time when there were only three district justices. There were only three resident magistrates before that. Then there were three district justices.

Mr. Hayes:  That was before Fianna Fáil, obviously.

Mr. O'Donovan:  There were district justices before Fianna Fáil and there were resident magistrates before Fine Gael. Another point raised by Senator [133] Sweetman was that he did not want the Department or the Minister for Justice to control, to appoint or to regulate the altered system under the Circuit Court but he also said that the powers which were being conferred on the president were dictatorial. So, he does not want it either way. What does he want? To a layman reading Section 10 it would seem, right enough, that the newly-appointed President of the Circuit Court will have immense powers. I think we should put in the marginal note that he has duties as well. He is given power to do a lot of things and the duty is imposed on him of doing those things. A Senator referred to the fact that a judge may refuse to obey him. I wonder what would happen if the President of the Circuit Court was disobeyed. I do not know, from reading this, what the machinery would be but Senator Sweetman seemed to think that he was getting dictatorial powers and that there would be difficulty in having the orders which he is empowered to give obeyed. He did not suggest what the remedy would be and I would like to know if there is a remedy or if there will be a remedy or whether it will be feasible to implement the powers given to the President of the Circuit Court in this Section 10. Generally, the debate has gone on lines that I had not anticipated. We had everybody wanting increases in salaries.

Mr. Hayes:  Only for district justices.

Mr. O'Donovan:  Except Senator Tunney. He did not want anything.

Mr. Hayes:  That was not so clear either. Senator Tunney had a mental reservation.

Mr. Boland:  He started off that way.

Mr. O'Donovan:  He wanted it both ways, like most of us, because next week or the week after, at some meeting down the country, Senator Hayes will speak of the extravagance, the squandermania of the Government, but when he comes in here, he wants to see equality between the country district justice and the city district justice. The next thing would be, if [134] the Minister were soft in the matter, as he often proved soft with us, that the Government would be accused of paying out money without consideration of the cost to the taxpayer. We cannot have it both ways, and I do not think we should try to have it both ways.

Mr. M.J. Ryan:  As a member of this House who is in close contact with the working of the courts, I feel that this Bill contains many admirable parts, with very few parts that are not so admirable. When I read this Bill it struck me that its title should be, not the Courts of Justice Bill, 1947, but “The Department of Justice (Relief from Worry) Bill, 1947”. This Bill, apparently, was introduced to relieve the Minister for Justice and the Department of a number of worries which have been afflicting him for a considerable time. He has, no doubt, received representations from the judges and the justices as to the inadequacy of their salaries. He has received, perhaps, complaints about the working of the Circuit Court, and he has received representations from the justices about the unsatisfactory position of their pensions, so that the Bill has been introduced in order to enable the Minister to sleep soundly in his bed without having any nightmares to worry him.

Now, as regards the major portion of this Bill, it must command support and approval as regards the salaries of the judges and justices, having regard to their present-day cost of living and to the status which they are required to maintain. The increase in salary which they will receive under this Bill will be barely adequate to enable them to maintain their position as that position ought to be maintained. Therefore, that portion of the Bill must command unanimous support. Of course, some members of the House may say that that portion of the Bill which increases the salaries of the judges and justices does not go far enough. I quite agree that the district justices should get suitable remuneration for the work they do. I think, no matter what we may say here, that the policy of the Government has either been decided already [135] or will scarcely be affected by our representations. Of course, the Bill seems to be the considered decision of the Government as to the amount of the increase which ought to be granted to the judges and the justices, and I do not think that any representations from us will affect that position.

Now, I would much prefer if this Bill had been limited to the salaries of judges and justices and to the pensions of district justices, and that the other provisions, dealing with the President of the Circuit Court and relating to the Circuit Court had been embodied in a Bill to be called, and rightly called, a Courts of Justice Bill. The introduction into this Bill of the provision dealing with the President of the Circuit Court means that a certain amount of controversy has been raised on an occasion when no controversy should have been raised. In my opinion, while there was considerable urgency for an increase in the salaries of judges and justices, there was no urgency whatever for the introduction into this Bill of a provision dealing with the President of the Circuit Court, because this provision not only provides for the appointment of a President of the Circuit Court but it raises other issues, issues as between the courts of this country—as between the status of the High Court and the status of the courts of local and limited jurisdiction which, I respectfully submit, should have been well considered before being introduced into legislation.

I have been reading lately in the Dáil Reports and in the Press that the Minister for Health is about to form what is known as a consultative council: that is a council of doctors to advise him on questions relating to the Health Bill now before the Dáil. We have seen the beneficial effects of what I may call co-operation between the medical profession and the Minister in hastening into legislation what might otherwise be an unpopular measure, and what was certainly an unpopular measure among certain people when it was introduced last year. We have also seen that the Minister for Agriculture has spoken about a consultative council [136] of agriculturists. I know that, if the Minister for Agriculture introduced a provision relating to agriculture without consulting the agricultural interests, there would immediately be an outcry. Now, the provision in this Bill, dealing with the Circuit Court concerns the members of the legal profession, of persons who make their living in working in the courts and by the courts. I say that anybody who is able to make his living at any profession knows something about it. You may be pitchforked into a job although you have very little qualifications for it, but if you are going to earn your living by the sweat of your brow in open competition against the best brains in the country, then you must know something about your profession before you will succeed and make a good living at it.

I think it would be a very good thing if, before the introduction of the next Courts of Justice Bill, the Minister for Justice were to consult informally the President of the Incorporated Law Society and the Chairman of the Bar Council as to the measure he was about to introduce. Then he would be in a position to know the views of the work-a-day legal profession instead of having to depend upon civil servants, judges and other salaried people who are out of touch with the realities and practices in the profession. Therefore, I say that if the Minister for Justice had consulted the President of the Incorporated Law Society and the Chairman of the Bar Council before he introduced into this Bill the provision relating to the President of the Circuit Court that he probably would not have introduced it at all. That may be, perhaps, a paradox.

I have no great objection to the appointment of a President of the Circuit Court, that is qua President of the Circuit Court, but I have a very strong objection to the making of the President to the Circuit Court anex officio judge of the High Court. There is no necessity whatever for that provision in the Bill. As Senator O'Donovan has said: “Look at Section 10 of the Bill.” An outsider might be amazed, so to speak, at the very drastic powers given to the President [137] of the Circuit Court. That is quite true. As I read that section, I began to wonder whether or not the President of the Circuit Court was not required to be a kind of judicial sergeant-major—that is to order the other circuit judges about. But that is a matter for the circuit judges, and I am sure the Minister ascertained the views of these judges before introducing these provisions. I am sure he has had representations from them, and, if they are satisfied with the powers given to the President of the Circuit Court, no outsiders—not even practising members of the profession —can have any grievance; but when the President of the Circuit Court, whose powers are set out in Section 10, is dealt with in Section 9, he is appointed as something more than President of the Circuit Court. He is appointed what is called an additional judge of the High Court. In other words, the President of the Circuit Court is to be a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He is to be “My Lord” in the High Court and “Your Honour” in the Circuit Court. There are no rules of court at present which can deal with his position.

It has been suggested that a precedent for this appointment is the position of the President of the High Court who is ex officio a member of the Supreme Court. That is not a correct analogy at all. The President of the High Court, in status, takes precedence of the ordinary members of the Supreme Court. He comes next to the Chief Justice who occupies the position of the former Lord Chancellor and occupies the position of Lord Chief Justice in the old days, and in all the Judicature Acts, the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls, the head of the King's Bench Division and the Chancery Division, were ex officio members of the Court of Appeal, but that created no difficulty whatever because they were all members of the superior courts of justice. Under the rules of 1905, the Supreme Court consisted of the High Court and the Court of Appeal, just as our High Court and Supreme Court are regarded as one, because the Supreme Court under the Constitution is an appellate court from the decisions of the High Court.

[138] Certain question of law may be submitted to the Supreme Court from the Circuit Court, as provided in the Bill, but the function of the Supreme Court is to hear appeals from the High Court, so that, therefore, the High Court and Supreme Court are in one water tight compartment. The Circuit Court is in another. It is a court of low and limited jurisdiction. It can function only in a certain limited area and deal with cases of only a limited amount and limited value where land is concerned. Therefore, the introduction of this provision will cause a certain amount of difficulty and confusion. So far as I know, the only two reasons given for it are to give the President of the Circuit Court a certain status— it is like making a regimental sergeant-major an honorary first lieutenant— and because there is the precedent of the President of the High Court being ex officio a member of the Supreme Court.

This provision, in my submission, has not the support of any branch of the legal profession. In the other House, the members of the Bar and solicitors' profession asked the Minister not to proceed with this provision, but apparently his mind has been made up and I can only regret it, because, if he had consulted the members of the legal profession who are earning their living at their profession and working in the courts every day, he would have sensed their views on the matter. The Bar Council passed a resolution disapproving of it but that resolution was too late. The Bill had been printed and the Minister had committed himself and it was, therefore, a pure waste of time. The great advantage of prior consultation and conference between the Minister and the two heads of both branches of the legal profession would have removed a difficulty which ought never to have arisen. However, I do not think we can do anything about it, but it is something which should be a warning for the future, that the Minister should not rely solely upon his advisers in the service or his advisers on the Bench. They have what I may call merely a limited horizon and they are a limited number of individuals, but the professions as a whole contain some hundreds of practitioners who [139] are fully aware of the implications of such a provision as this.

I can only say that I regret its introduction, as I feel that, in the actual working out of the provision, there may be a certain amount of confusion. Once the President of the Circuit Court sits in the High Court as a High Court judge, he will be very reluctant to go back and sit in the Circuit Court. We have always condemned what I may call temporary judicial appointments. They are sometimes necessary in the case of justices, and we have had temporary district justices who sit on the bench for a while and then go back to the Bar. That has never been tried in the case of the High Court.

We have had temporary circuit judges, but no temporary High Court judges, and this appointment is in the nature of the appointment of a temporary High Court judge. Instead of going back to the Bar, the man goes back to the Circuit Court and I think it is inopportune to bring forward such a provision as this without some warning to and some prior consultation with the profession. Personally, I have no strong feelings in the matter. I am merely voicing the views of the profession to which I belong, and I can only hope that, in future, when the new Courts of Justice Bill will be introduced, there will be that prior consultation between the Minister and the legal profession.

There are other provisions in the Bill which I welcome and particularly Section 16, which deals with a case stated by the Circuit judge. I do not think the Minister mentioned that, but reading the speech he made in the Dáil, that is the only section which might strictly belong to a Courts of Justice Bill as distinct from a “Department of Justice (Relief from Worry) Bill.”

Personally, I welcome that paragraph. Under Section 22 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1936, a circuit judge was entitled to state a case by consent, but a decision of the Supreme Court practically made it useless. I am glad the Minister has introduced this section [140] now, enabling the circuit judge to refer a question of law to the Supreme Court. Later on, perhaps on the Committee Stage, one might consider the reference of “questions” of law instead of “a question”, as there may be more than one question to be referred.

I am a great believer in making the Supreme Court work, in other words, getting important questions of law which arise in the Circuit Court and even in the District Court decided authoritatively by the highest authority. Any legislation which enables a question of law arising in an inferior court to be decided in the High Court is always advantageous to the profession and to the litigants. I am glad this section makes provision for a case stated by a circuit judge to replace the case stated provided for by Section 22 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1936, which to a certain extent is now obsolete.

I strongly support the increase in salaries which has been granted and if the Minister could induce the Minister for Finance to agree to greater increases I would be very glad. I feel that the status and prestige of our judges and justices require that they should be free from financial worry. Many people who live in the country may be shocked at the high salaries that judges are paid, but that is due to a very superficial view of the whole matter. The farmers who never pay income-tax, who get food and so on practically for nothing, do not appreciate the high cost of living which prevails in Dublin, especially where judges with large salaries are concerned. I would like to know how many farmers receive begging letters and if they keep waste paper baskets for them. I believe that no one would think of sending begging letters to the ordinary farmer, but judges and those in judicial positions are fair game for these appeals on behalf of charity. Therefore, their salaries are barely adequate and I only wish they were greater. I wish the Bill well and trust that it is not too late for the Minister to reconsider the position of the President of the Circuit Court as embodied in the Bill.

[141]Mr. Boland:  Practically every Senator has done the same as Deputies in the Dáil regarding the district justices. As Senator O'Donovan said, we are not laying down basic salaries but providing for percentage increases on existing salaries. The differentiation between country justice and city justice was there already and we are only providing for a percentage increase. Senator Hayes is right about assistant secretaries, but nevertheless, they had £1,250 in 1939, and what I said in the other House about the 30 per cent. was that the district justice is doing slightly better as regards percentage increase than any member of the Civil Service, because a sliding scale was there in their case. Those who had £1,000 a year had come up to £1,200 odd, due to the cost of living in 1939, but they have undoubtedly more than £1,500 now.

Mr. Hayes:  I will not argue it now, but it is not quite so simple.

Mr. Boland:  I would like to have seen all these district justices, except the present city justices, on the same scale, but that was not possible and we have a percentage increase varying from 15 per cent. in the case of the higher judges to 30 per cent. in the case of others. That is as much as the Government is prepared to do and, on the whole, they are being fairly well treated.

Regarding the different nature of their work, the average district justice in the country has a much nicer time than the man in Dublin. He gets his expenses and also a certain subsistence allowance. It was not a flat rate, though I understand there is some question of fixing a flat rate now. That will have to be done by agreement. They are supposed to live in a centre in their own area and the travelling expenses count from that centre. They are paid subsistence allowances at the same rate as the higher ranks of the Civil Service. If I had the choice, I would prefer to be a country justice rather than a Dublin one. Regarding the travelling by bus, I think that happened only during the emergency, when there was very little petrol.

[142] The question of the president was raised by Senator Sweetman and Senator Ryan. We went into that carefully. I did not think we were required to consult the Bar Council, with all respect to them. We consulted the judges and gave them an advance copy of the Bill. If we were doing something about the Bar, we would have consulted them. As I mentioned in the other House, the judges were consulted and we were told “they welcomed the general principle of appointing a president of the Circuit Court and were anxious to co-operate in carrying out their duties in accordance with the scheme proposed and appreciated that it would be a great advantage to the administration of the Circuit Court as a whole”. I think that was satisfactory. They did not make any reference to the status of the president and I cannot agree with Senator Ryan on that matter. We went into it very carefully and decided it was necessary for the status of the president to have him ex officio a member of the High Court. It was not the intention that he would be there very often, but that he would be available if required; and I see no objection to that.

Senator Sweetman asked if members of the Rule-Making Committee were paid. They are not paid, but they have the services of a draftsman. The secretary is the county registrar and that is part of his ordinary work. As to Senator O'Dea's question about travelling expenses and maintenance, district justices are paid these but there will always be a dispute as to whether that is a satisfactory arrangement. They receive first-class travelling expenses if trains are available, and get the same rates if they use their cars. As to the point raised by Senator Sweetman, there is no necessity to make provision in that respect, as it is not anticipated that the question will arise. It would be very serious if it did. Senator Duffy stated that formerly there were only two judges in the Supreme Court and that there are five now. At that time there was another court, the Privy Council, which was the final court of appeal.

Mr. Sweetman:  Nonsense.

[143]Mr. Hayes:  The Privy Council was never allowed to function.

Mr. Sweetman:  The Privy Council did not function in this country after 1927.

Mr. O'Dea:  They did.

Mr. Hayes:  They were not allowed.

Mr. Boland:  They were not there. They were done away with. I am not trying to throw odium in any way——

Mr. Hayes:  There was another reason for having five judges. Was there not a mathematical reason, of one High Court judge and one Supreme Court judge being overruled?

Mr. Boland:  That was so. As to the provision of pensions for widows, that would be a big job. It does not happen in the Civil Service and I am afraid the Minister for Finance would not listen to such a proposal. Senator S. T. Ruane referred to the position of court clerks and juries. They come under a separate Bill. Senator Ryan said that he would prefer to have two Bills. That was the original intention but there was no urgency about the position of president. That Bill was ready when the salary question came up. It was called the Circuit Court Bill and proposed to deal only with the reorganisation of the Circuit Court. When the question of an increase came up we decided that as payment of judges was provided for in the 1924 Act it would be as well to change the title and to call it the Courts of Justice Bill and to provide for the increases there. That is why all matters are dealt with in one Bill.

I would prefer if somebody else had to deal with the increases, but that was provided for in the 1924 Act. Anybody who knows anything about the amount of work done realises that there is a need to have someone to direct it. Those who know the position in certain of the big towns, in which no court sits, are aware that a considerable expense is incurred for witnesses, but there was nobody to say that a court should sit there. We might have asked judges to do so and they might turn it down. They will be required now to sit in these places and the convenience of the [144] public will have to be considered. I think that is a big point.

Mr. O'Dea:  Senator Ruane referred to the position of District Court clerks and the Minister stated that that would be a matter for another Bill. I should like to know if it is intended to bring in such a Bill.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  The Senator cannot make a further speech now.

Mr. O'Dea:  Is it intended to provide for people who were clerks and resigned, but later were taken on again for a certain time and then got no pensions?

Mr. Boland:  There is some consideration to be given to the whole question of the clerks. All I can say is that if there is provision made, it will not be in the Courts of Justice Bill, but in the Court Officers Bill, and similarly with juries.

Question put and agreed to.

Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 9th July.

Question proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”

Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass):  I do not think this Bill will give Senators any difficulty. Under the Trade Union Act of 1941 trade unions were required to maintain deposits with the High Court as a condition of obtaining negotiating licences. The amount of the deposit in any case was determined by the membership of the union and required from £1,000 to £10,000. It was recognised, however, when the Act was being passed, that some unions, particularly the smaller craft unions, would be adversely affected by prevailing conditions during the emergency and, consequently the Act contained a provision enabling the Minister for Industry and Commerce to grant a negotiating licence, where he thought the circumstances justified it, on making a reduced deposit—25 per cent. of the amount set out in the Schedule.

The power to reduce the deposit without affecting a union's right to a [145] negotiation licence as provided in the Act was to continue for 12 months after the repeal of the Emergency Powers Act and no longer. The position is that in September next all these unions which obtained negotiating licences on the basis of reduced deposits, will be required to make full deposits or surrender the negotiating licences. It is clear, however, that the adverse conditions which affected some of the unions still continue, and representations have been made to me that it is desirable that these powers to permit of a reduced deposit, should be continued for a further period. The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Act, and to continue the operation of Section 8, which relates to the reduction of deposits for a further period of 12 months. I mentioned in the Dáil that certain discussions are proceeding with organisations representative of trade unions, with a view to the preparation of proposals of a more comprehensive kind regarding trade unions. I hope these discussions will allow for the introduction of proposals within the 12 months contemplated in the Bill, and that the House will have an opportunity of discussing them, and, if they think fit, enacting them before the expiration of that period. It is, however, desirable that immediate difficulties for some of these smaller unions should be avoided while the preparation of other legislation is being considered and, therefore, it was decided to ask the Oireachtas to pass this Bill continuing this power to reduce the deposit for a further period of 12 months.

Mr. Duffy:  I think, Sir, that we can all agree that this is a desirable Bill, the passage of which should be facilitated. The Minister, I understand. has utilised the powers conferred on him by the Act of 1941 to reduce the deposit for certain small and certain poor unions so that they may obtain a negotiating licence without having to find £1,000 or in some cases more than £1,000. What he has done is to permit a union to have a negotiating licence on the making of a deposit of, I think, £250. That seems to me a desirable thing to continue because the unions concerned will in the main be [146] small unions covering small groups of people who at any time are not likely to have great wealth. Some of them, I imagine, would have to go out of business if they were asked to provide a larger deposit. I do not think it is the desire of anybody in this House that organisations of that kind should be put out of business merely on the ground that they were poor.

The only point that occurs to me in regard to the Bill is whether the date is just the best date. Last year, when the Minister for Finance was in the House with a Bill to provide for the extension of the Emergency Powers we suggested to him that the 31st December was a better date to convenience both Houses, no doubt, and this House in particular and I am not at all sure that it would not have been wiser of the Minister to insert 31st December rather than 2nd September in this Bill. One can see a difficulty if for any reason there was a dissolution next year in the summer. The opportunity of renewing the Bill might not arise in time and you might find the crisis which the Minister is now trying to avoid taking place in December, 1948, if in the meantime the more comprehensive Bill he has in mind has not become law. However, I am not pressing that point. I merely raise it so that the Minister may consider it.

Mr. Hayes:  I see no objection to this Bill either. I think there is some difficulty about the multiplicity of trade unions but where they actually exist and where they are serving a purpose, I think we would agree with the Minister and with Senator Duffy that they should not be put out of business merely because they cannot produce a considerable sum of money. I think there has been agreement between the Minister and the trade unions on the way the particular powers he received were exercised and, therefore, I think this Bill should be passed. I think Senator Duffy's point about the date is a sound one. The 31st December is a much better date than any date in September from the point of view of the way Parliament does its business and more particularly from the point of view of the financial year which throws a great deal of work into the summer [147] but, of course, it is the Minister's business.

Mr. Lemass:  On the matter of the date I should hope it will be possible to introduce the general legislative proposals I have in mind long before the expiration of this Bill. I had hoped, in fact, to produce them in this session and thus avoid the necessity for this Bill altogether, but the delay in completing them was almost entirely attributable to my own preoccupation with other matters. Discussions have been in progress now for some time and I should hope that we will be well advanced towards the preparation of amending legislation by the next session, in which case we should be able to clear up that situation with a great deal of time to spare even within the 12 months period contemplated.

Question put and agreed to.

Agreed to take remaining stages to-day.

Bill put through Committee without amendment, received for final consideration and passed.

Ordered that the Bill be returned to the Dáil.

Business suspended at 5.50 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.

Question proposed: That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Smith):  Prior to the recent war the greatest part of the Irish wool clip was exported, only a very small proportion being considered suitable for home manufacture. Imports of merino and other fine wools declined steeply in the early war years and progressively greater use was made of the home clip for manufacturing purposes here. With this development the desire on the part of merchants and manufacturers for cleaner fleeces marketed in better condition became more insistent. Their greatest complaints were against the use of tar, pitch and paint as substances for branding sheep, the use of bloom dips, which imparted a stain to [148] the wool that would not scour out under the normal scouring processes, and against the inclusion of “daggings” in the fleeces.

The Irish Wool Federation and the Association of Woollen and Worsted Manufacturers pressed for the complete prohibition of tar, pitch and paint, but because alternative branding fluids were not then available in adequate quantities and because the step was considered too drastic, my Department was unable to agree to the proposed prohibition, but to meet the wishes of the trade to some extent and to try and improve the quality of Irish wool for the post-war export trade, the Emergency Powers Clean Wool Order (No. 85 of 1944) was made in March, 1944. Before the Order was made representatives of producers, merchants and other interested parties were consulted.

The provisions of the Clean Wool Order are as follows:—(1) Every person who shears sheep is required before shearing to separate from the fleece all wool on which tar, pitch or paint is present; (2) The purchase or sale of wool on which tar, pitch or paint is present is prohibited; (3) The manufacture, purchase or sale of sheep dip containing unnecessary colouring matter which imparts a stain or colour to the wool is prohibited.

The Order, backed up by propaganda in the nature of posters and leaflets issued by the trade associations in co-operation with this Department, brought about a considerable improvement. The Order was regarded as an educational measure rather than a penal one and prosecutions for contraventions of its provisions were not undertaken.

On the termination of the emergency, it was decided that the provisions of the Order should be embodied in permanent legislation as it would be a retrograde step to go back to the position which existed pre-war. A draft Bill was, accordingly, prepared but representations were again made by the merchants and manufacturers that the improvement brought about under the Emergency Powers Order had not been maintained and that nothing short of the complete prohibition [149] of the use of tar, pitch and and paint would be effective. On further consideration in the Department it was decided to consult representatives of the wool producers, to put the facts before them and to ascertain their views on the total prohibition of the use of these substances.

The necessity for marketing Irish wool in the best possible condition has become all the greater in the post-war period as wool is one of the few raw materials of which there is a very large world surplus. Considerable difficultities are likely to be encountered in maintaining a satisfactory market for Irish wool either at home or abroad unless the highest standards of cleanliness are maintained. It is, in fact, understood that certain American buyers now require a warranty of freedom from tar, pitch or paint before purchasing Irish wool. The difficulty in this country arises mainly in the case of mountain flocks and black face sheep whose owners say that the marking fluids require to be put on at least twice a year and this creates a lot of difficulty for them. On the other hand, there is practically no home market for black face wool and it is necessary that this should be exported in good condition.

I may say that, in all the discussions which took place before this measure was introduced in the Dáil, the producers were made fully aware of its provisions. They did not like some of them, but on hearing the arguments that were advanced in their favour and on becoming aware of the necessity —because of some of the reasons that I have given—for the taking of some action along the lines indicated, they consented to the provisions contained in the Bill.

Mr. Sweetman:  While I agree with what the Minister has said to a certain extent, I think it is not unfair to say that this Bill has been prepared from the merchant's point of view as against that of the producer's point of view. I think it is also fair to say that, taking the long view, the merchant's point of view will also be the producer's point of view. So far as that is concerned, I think it is desirable that the provisions of the Order should be continued [150] in some form or another. The Minister will agree at once that, during the war, there was great difficulty in obtaining marking fluids with a sufficient degree of permanency without the use of what is termed in the Bill a prohibited substance. I agree at once that the use of tar will spoil a fleece permanently. Tar will spoil the product permanently, but I should like the Minister to assure the House that, when this prohibition is being made, there is even more than a likelihood, that there is a very strong probability, that there will be on the market, in sufficient quantity and at reasonable prices alternative marking fluids which can be used without danger to the fleece, because, unless they are available at suitable prices and in sufficient quantity, there would be no justification for the Bill.

So far as the framing of the Bill is concerned, I want to make only two comments. The Bill is really an enabling Bill. It enables the Minister to implement it by Order and does nothing more than that. When we have any enabling Bill before us, it is desirable that the Orders made by the Minister under it should be tabled before both Houses, so that the Oireachtas will know exactly what has been done, when it has been done and how it is to be carried out. Particularly in so far as Section 3 is concerned, it would be desirable that the Minister should table not merely the Order but also any further Order he may make under sub-section (3) revoking or amending the principal Order. I suggest that he might agree on Committee to an amendment towards that end.

I am a little worried about Section 5. I accept without question that no person should knowingly, or in circumstances in which he should have known, purchase or otherwise acquire, or sell or otherwise dispose of any wool in which a prohibited substance is present, but I think the section as drafted will be very difficult to operate. It is completely absolute and it may very easily happen, and, from what I can find out from wool merchants, does happen, that a great deal of wool is bought which, without any [151] negligence or degree of culpability, may have some small amount of a prohibitive substance in it. Nevertheless, in such circumstances, there would be an offence under Section 5.

I do not want to bring the Minister even as far as saying that there must be positive proof that the person knew of the presence of the prohibited substance, because, just as I think the Minister has gone a little too far in the section, I should be going too far if I suggested that; but the Minister might agree that the section should be so drafted that a person would be committing an offence only if he knew, if the circumstances were such that, if he had carried on his business in a reasonable and proper way, he should have known, or if he had been negligent and blameworthy in not bothering to find out. Innocent circumstances may arise, and, I believe, will arise, under this section, and I suggest there should be some provision to cover such cases.

I do not know whether the Minister was with us when we argued this point before but, on the general principle, it is wrong to put into an Act an absolute offence and leave it merely to the discretion of a justice as to whether a man has been guilty of an offence, knowing that the justice must convict but need not impose a heavy penalty because he feels he is no more than technically guilty. I suggest that the wording of a statute should provide that, where a person is blameworthy, he should be visited with the full rigour of the law, but, where he is not, he should be entitled not merely to a conviction with a nominal penalty or to a dismiss under the Probation of Offenders Act but to an acquittal. I suggest that something in the nature of—if I may use the phrase without meaning to undermine what the Minister has in mind—a watering down of that section is desirable. If the person has been negligent and is not making any inspection, I agree that that is a proper offence; but where a person has, through no fault of his own, sold a small portion of wool, part of a fleece, where there is a prohibited substance, he should not be guilty of an offence and it would be [152] wrong to impose on him a conviction— that the district justice should feel he is bound to convict him though he need not impose any serious penalty.

Mr. Counihan:  I agree with Senator Sweetman about the Bill, which might be drastic and might inflict hardships on a person who, through no fault of his own, may commit an offence under this Bill. If Senator Sweetman drafts something for the Committee Stage, I am sure the Minister will agree with him. The tar marking of sheep has been advocated for a number of years by the wool merchants and they even send out samples of the particular branding which they want sheep owners to use when branding after shearing. I do not think there can be any great objection to making this Bill compulsory on the farmers although it is a merchant's Bill, it is still to the advantage of the farmer.

I am in agreement with the Bill, but would like to point out that it is introduced after the shearing season and the branding time and if it were put into effect this year it would create a lot of hardship, as most people brand their sheep with pitch and tar and, when it would come to the shearing next spring, if the pitch and tar are on the sheep the farmer is to be prosecuted and fined. The Minister should look into that. All sheep shorn in April and May were in most cases branded with pitch and tar and that will be on until the shearing season next year and, according to the Bill, the farmer must be prosecuted; so the Minister should see that these provisions will not be put into operation until next season.

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  As soon as this Bill was circulated, I was very interested in it; and I am amazed to find that it went through the other House so quickly and with so little discussion, all stages going through in one day. Since then, I have discussed some of the points with the Minister. The Bill is not urgent now, as the shearing has taken place for this year and there will be no shearing until next May. If the Emergency Powers' Order which is in force had been complied with, there would at present [153] be no tar branding at all, as this was prohibited under the Emergency Powers (Clean Wool) Order, 1944. In implementing in permanent legislation an Emergency Powers Order which was to a great extent incoperative, we should be careful to have this Bill enacted in terms which will be satisfactory.

As one of the individuals who may be concerned with the operation of this Bill, I would like to have it in a manner in which I could understand it. One of the suggestions I have to make is that the local authority officials should have imposed on them under this Bill the duties set out in the Emergency Powers Order, at least as far as the officials of County Committees of Agriculture are concerned. That is not introduced in this Bill and is a change from the wording of the Emergency Powers Order.

The definition of “sheep dip” does not satisfy me. It says:—

“The expression ‘sheep dip’ means a substance or preparation which is a remedy for sheep scab and is used for the dipping of sheep.”

Sheep are dipped for other purposes and if a farmer wished to evade this definition he could say there was no obligation at this time of the year to dip for that purpose and that he was dipping to prevent other parasites that affect the sheep skin and not for sheep scab. If I had to appear in court to try to prove such an offence, the solicitor for the defence could easily drive a coach and four through my case and the justice on the bench could do the same. The words “substance or” should be knocked out also, leaving it

“The expression ‘sheep dip’ means a preparation which is used for the dipping of sheep”.

Further, it could be a substance not necessarily used for the dipping of sheep but as an application to the wool or back of the sheep, as some dye substances are used for show sheep, which are not dipped at all. What is really a garden watering can is used to pour the colouring matter over the sheep's back. I have prepared a [154] definition which would be far more effective than that in the Bill. It would read:—

“The expression ‘sheep dip’ means a preparation which is used for the dipping of sheep or is applied otherwise as a preventative or treatment of skin parasites.”

I can see why the Bill is drafted with the sheep scab mentality, as the Department of Agriculture is the controlling authority for animal diseases. They only view it from the point of view of the disease with which they are concerned, but intelligent farmers dip their sheep at many times other than the times during which they are compelled to do it by law as a preventive of sheep scab; so that definition should be altered.

When we come to the definition of wool, we find:

“The word ‘wool’ means raw wool (including raw skin-wool).”

The hyphen is between “skin” and “wool”. I do not know what exactly is meant by the words “including raw skin-wool”. All the wool is raw, all the wool grows on the skin; so why the difference? I would interpret it to include the skins of sheep which are slaughtered and the wool attached to those skins. That point requires consideration. That requires very careful consideration, because in the case of animals sent to the market, or when 300 or 400 come to Dublin, it facilitates the owners when they are marked with colouring matter. As far as I know it is paint.

A water colour was previously used but on a wet day it was practically useless. We must have colouring matter which can be applied to sheep's wool which will be effective in identifying them subsequently for the owner, and will prevent contravention of the terms of Section 3. I assume that all these skins of sheep slaughtered in public abattoirs or private slaughterhouses, which have been marked with any identification mark on behalf of the owners, must comply with the terms of Section 3 and must not be marked with tar, pitch or paint.

[155] Section 2 refers to an authorised officer appointed by the Minister. I should like the Minister to include there an officer of a local authority. I pointed out to his predecessor in connection with the Diseases of Animals Act that without the assistance of officers of local authorities, at least veterinary officers, the campaign against foot-and-mouth disease in 1941 would not have been as effective as it was. The Gardaí can supervise satisfactorily through the country, but it would help if an officer of a local authority was in a position to point out generally to a farmer, or to a breeder, what was a contravention. He could explain to an owner that he was making himself liable to penalties if he persisted in certain respects.

It would be an advantage if officers of local authorities, whether veterinary officers or agricultural instructors, were included as authorised officers. I am not thinking so much of giving them work or additional responsibility, but they would be in contact with farmers, and it would be in their interest that the terms of the Bill should be made known to them and in that way prevent contravention of its terms. Naturally, the work of officers of local authorities would be limited to their territory. There is a section in the Health Bill defining such limitations as far as officers of local authorities are concerned. No officer of a local authority is going to go outside the limit of districts which he is appointed to supervise.

In Section 3 there is a definition of prohibited substances meaning tar, pitch or paint. There is scarcely any necessity to define tar or pitch. Everyone knows what they look like, but I think it is necessary to define “paint”. As far as my information goes water paint would not permanently discolour wool. Oil paint would be adhesive and would be permanent, and I assume would be difficult to deal with in the scouring process. I have seen paint sticks applied in orange, green and blue colours. These things are adhesive and will not wash out with rain. It would create a difficulty if they were included as “paint”. I tried to see [156] how permanent these things would be on wool. They are not permanent dyes. I have seen ordinary paint that is put on furniture and on windows applied by men who were in the market marking sheep. That is objectionable colouring matter but it comes under the heading of “paint”.

There are other colouring matters which might be interpreted by some people as coming under the heading of paint. If Senator Counihan were prosecuted for bringing sheep into the market with such colouring matter, and if he employed Senator Sweetman to defend him in the courts, I have no doubt that the Senator would drive a coach and four through the terms of this section, and we would then be faced with what is known as inoperative legislation. My remarks are directed so that as a responsible House we should not have any legislation which might be inoperative. Despite all the farmers in the Dáil no one faced the difficulty of defining “daggings”. It is a new word for the dictionary.

Mr. Sweetman:  On this side of the House we do not use dictionaries.

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  I think the legal people are the people who use dictionaries most.

Mr. Smith:  Do you know what the cattle trader said to Córas Iompair Eireann when he complained of bad transport?—“Come to the fair, Córas Iompair Eireann.” If Senators want a definition of that I say: “Come to the fair.”

Mr. Hayes:  Heigh ho, come to the fair!

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  I accept the Minister's joke. If the Minister was in court giving evidence, he would have to describe what he meant by “daggings”, and if there was a lawyer defending he would say that it did not refer to “daggings” but to something else. I think there could be a simple definition of “daggings”.

Mr. Smith:  Let us have it.

[157]Mr. S. O'Donovan:  Fecal accumulation on the tail and perineum. I think it could be easily translated into Irish.

Mr. Sweetman:  The asides cannot be heard here.

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  I have had experience of legislation passed in all seriousness by the Oireachtas, when it was uni-cameral, when we had not a Seanad to deal with it, where the court decided afterwards on cases that were brought before it and expressed an entirely different opinion from what was the intention of the Oireachtas. The Milk and Dairies Act, 1935, provided that where milk was being sold on the public thoroughfare the name and address of the seller should appear on the vehicle, whether it was a bicycle or a car or on the can if he had not a car or bicycle and that the words “bainne ar diol” should be displayed. It was very desirable that the officials of the corporation should know who the person was who was selling milk from door to door in this way and these words were the first words in Irish that were seen in every street in Dublin. When the corporation brought cases to court under the Act, at first they succeeded, but I do not know whether it was a wily solicitor or a wily justice who ultimately pointed out that selling milk on a door step was not selling milk on the public thoroughfare, that it was selling milk on private property if you went in a few steps on the garden. Cases were dismissed and no case can now be brought unless you find somebody selling milk at College Green, blowing a bugle, as you would sell ice cream. It is the lawyer's job to drive a coach and four through any Act we pass. In this case I would appeal to the Minister to take the suggestions seriously, because I believe they are of importance.

Section 4 provides that a person who shears sheep shall, before the shearing, separate from the fleece all wool on which a prohibited substance is present. If the Bill operates and if everybody keeps the law there will be no prohibited substance on the wool, unless the daggings and if the sheep were washed before shearing the [158] daggings would be washed off. It would be impossible for a farmer to go around all his sheep before shearing, and if there was tar, pitch or paint on the wool to remove it before shearing. I maintain that the insertion of the words “or during” will make it intelligible and applicable. Anybody shearing sheep will remove these prohibited substances during the act of shearing.

Under Section 5, no person shall purchase or otherwise dispose of any wool on which a prohibited substance is present. Senator Mrs. Concannon has drawn my attention to the words “otherwise dispose of”. That would mean that you could not throw it away Selling is defined in the Bill so I imagine the section would operate all right. I suggest that the words “otherwise dispose of” after the word “sell” are unnecessary.

Mr. Smith:  Could you not barter?

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  I was thinking that you could not present it to the Minister but I suppose there is the possibility of barter. If we have got to the stage of bartering I suppose the introduction of that term into the Bill would be necessary. We considered it was scarcely necessary to put in the words “otherwise dispose of”. When you disposed of any article by bartering, I suppose the lawyers would agree that that amounted to selling. It would be exchanging at any rate.

In connection with Section 6, I am not sure of my ground, but I fancy that Section 6 should be part of Section 3 where the Minister defines “prohibited substance” and in the same section he could prohibit the use of the substance. However, that does not concern me so much. When we come to Section 9 it seems to me that the only attempt to enforce this Bill will be that an inspector will visit the premises of a wool dealer or a wool merchant, we will say, one of the bigger merchants in Dublin, and open one of these big bales of wool to see if there is any prohibited substance on it. That would be beginning at the wrong end and would be absolutely ineffective in producing clean wool, right up from the place at which it is [159] shorn until it reaches the merchant or the miller. The section reads:—

“(1) An authorised officer shall be entitled at all reasonable times to enter any premises in which he has reasonable grounds for believing that wool is kept for sale or other disposal and may inspect such premises and examine and take samples of any wool which he finds therein.”

I do not know if, under our laws, we shall always get the same definition for the word “premises” as we find in some Acts passed by the Oireachtas. There is no definition of the word “premises” in this Bill. In some Acts the word “premises” is defined to include land.

Mr. Sweetman:  The word “premises” always includes land.

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  If that is so I am satisfied, but I do not think that definition is given in some of the Acts passed here. I think the section I have read would seem to indicate that the term “premises” does not include land because it says “in which he has reasonable grounds for believing that wool is kept for sale”. Wool is not kept for sale on land. It is kept under shelter in some premises. What I fear is that, under the section as drafted, a justice or a solicitor might say, for example, that the wool which was on Senator Counihan's farm after shearing, and which had all this objectionable material on it did not come within the terms of the section because it was found on land and not on any premises. What I am thinking of is, that the inspectors enforcing this measure will visit the premises of the wool merchant, or some other premises, such as a railway store, and examine the wool there. That, to my mind, would be absolutely ineffective. In saying that, I do not want to be misunderstood. I do not want any Senator to think that the farmer who produces wool should be harried by inspectors. I believe that, with an intelligent approach to farmers and sheep owners on the part of the inspectors, the things that are objectionable and illegal under this measure can be pointed out to them.

The best help that we could give [160] would be to ensure that there will be no objectionable substances on the wool from the time it has been shorn until it goes to the wool miller. Obviously, the only satisfactory time during which those objectionable substances can be removed from the fleece is during or before shearing. No one is going to open bales of wool that have come from some other merchant. He will just take it for granted that it is all right. The wool will pass through several hands before it goes finally to the woollen miller. He will also take it for granted that it is all right. The time to prevent an offence being committed is when the wool is being shorn from the sheep. I would like to see the word “premises” defined as meaning land. If that were done then the word “kept” would not appear to me to be as objectionable as it is in the section. As it is, premises only means a railway store or some similar structure so that it provides an easy way out for an inspector to examine these places and forget all about making a proper inspection. I think that every farmer and sheep owner should be anxious to have the terms of this Bill complied with, if they can be complied with at present.

I should like to know if we have an indelible colouring matter which can be used as an identification mark on sheep and which will not be injurious to the wool in the subsequent processing? I have yet to get an assurance that that is so. The substances which we have tried under the Emergency Powers Order have proved ineffective. The oil paint which is being used at present in every municipal abattoir is not very effective on a wet day. I should like if the Minister could assure me that there is some substance available so that when farmers brand their sheep with it it will be indelible for the greater portion of the year, that it will be an effective method of indentifying a sheep where it happens to stray into a neighbour's farm or while it is on communal grazing land such as the Dublin and Wicklow mountains. There must be some method of identification of sheep on communal grazing land.

It is illegal at present to use tar, but we know that it is being used. I do not [161] want to see this House enacting a Bill which will be inoperative. It may become operative by summoning every farmer who uses tar. His defence will be that he has nothing else which is effective to use. I would not like to see that position. I would like to have an assurance from the Minister that some indelible dye is now available. I would also like him to consider the suggestions which I have made from the point of view of making the Bill a rational and operative one, while at the same time not imposing any extra inconvenience on the farmer who produces the sheep, the trader who has to identify the sheep or on the butcher who subsequently slaughters the sheep and marks it so that he will be able to identify it as his property when it is mixed with the sheep of many different owners in a large abattoir.

I must say that I was amazed that the Bill went through all its stages in the Dáil with such very little discussion and consideration. That is surprising since there are so many farmers in the Dáil interested in this matter. I do seriously point out on behalf of the producers of mutton, of wool and of the trade of the country that this is an important measure. Senators know well how tar is applied as a brand on sheep. The letter “C” is used for Counihan, and “D” for Donovan. The brands are put on with tar. I am told that no matter how you try to scour that fleece afterwards that the small black flecks will appear in an otherwise lovely, white blanket.

That is something we do not want to see happening to the products of our woollen mills of which we are so proud. We do not want, either, to create any inconvenience for the farmer who has to produce that wool. It is an important measure from every point of view and I should like to see it reasonably capable of operation when it passes from this House.

Mrs. Concannon:  It may surprise the Minister to see me intervening in this debate, but the hurler on the fence sometimes sees more of the game than others, and what strikes me is that, if the provisions of the Bill are to be [162] made operative, what Senator O'Donovan has stressed must be realised— there must be the provision of proper dipping and marking substances which will do their job. My object in rising is to suggest that that is a proper subject for investigation by the Industrial Research Council, and I think the Minister would be doing a good day's work if he asked his colleague, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, to put it before that council.

Mr. O'Dea:  Like Senator O'Donovan, I am rather worried about the use of the word “paint” in paragraph (a) of sub-section 3 (1). Furthermore, Section 7 (1) says:—

No person shall manufacture any sheep dip, whether it is or is not approved sheep dip within the meaning of the Sheep Dipping Order, which contains colouring matter (not being an ingredient essential for preventing or treating sheep scab) and which, when applied in any manner to sheep, imparts a stain or colour to the wool.

If it is a brand, surely it must impart a colour? With regard to daggings, I do not know if I caught Senator O'Donovan's definition correctly. He referred to fecal matter, and, so far as I could understand, left out the very important matter, wool.

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  I said, “fecal accumulation on tail and perineum.”

Mr. O'Dea:  I hope we will not put that into the Bill. We know what a fecal accumulation is and to put it into the Bill would reduce it to an absurdity. If he said “wool covered with fecal matter”——

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  I suggest we can insert the words “on the wool of tail and perineum”. Would that meet the Senator's point?

Mr. O'Dea:  It would, but I think Senator Sweetman would have the defence: “What is fecal matter?” when attached to the wool. Is it clay or fecal matter? It is very dangerous to go into these definitions.

Mr. Smith:  Senator Sweetman made a point on Section 5 on which we had [163] a discussion in the other House. Representatives of the trade saw me with regard to this section prior to the introduction of the Bill, but, after arguing the whole matter out with me, they agreed, perhaps reluctantly, that there was no way of dealing with it, other than the way provided in this section. I was interested to hear if Senator Sweetman could suggest any other set of words which would give the power to make this proposal operative and, as I say, in my discussions with the people in the trade, who do not like this section any more than Senator Sweetman, they were unable to be helpful to me, but they went away feeling that it was the only way out.

I am assured that the necessary suitable fluids are available, and, of course, there could be no question of making a prohibition against the use of other objectionable substances, unless and until these are on the market in sufficient quantity and of the quality which would achieve, so far as possible, the purpose desired by the farmer, while, at the same time, doing the minimum of injury. Senator Counihan has suggested that this was a measure largely designed by those immediately concerned in the trade. The same question was put to me, perhaps in another form, in the other House. It was put in this way: what benefits are likely to result for the producer from the passage into law of these proposals?

Mr. Counihan:  They are already branded.

Mr. Smith:  That is a type of question to which it is not easy to give an answer, but, as I tried to make clear in my opening remarks, the difficulties of securing a market for a particular type of wool are fairly great, and there are certain buyers who have already been asking for assurances and guarantees that the wool does not contain any tar, pitch, paint, or other objectionable substances, and, while it is not easy to prove to the producer what he will actually get as a result of the prohibition, those immediately concerned in the trade are the first to be confronted with this proposition and they [164] naturally are the first to convey to the Government the steps which must be taken to eliminate this undesirable practice.

The fact that producers, as I have told the House, have agreed to these proposals, and have agreed to abandon a custom, a long-established, if undesirable, custom, on hearing the arguments in favour of its abandonment, should, I believe, bring home to all our minds the need for abandoning it. They are the first people who would make a protest loudest and longest, and, when they have accepted the provisions of this Bill, there must be a good case for it.

Senator Counihan mentioned the danger of doing an injustice to those who had already branded their sheep. I gave an assurance in the other House that that would not occur.

In reply to Senator O'Donovan, I might say that in regard to Section 9 I am circulating an amendment. As Senator Sweetman has pointed out, the word “premises” includes land, but the whole section appears to be weak and requires strengthening, so I am circulating an amendment to improve it. Some of the other points made by Senator O'Donovan can be discussed on the Committee Stage. I do not think there is very much in any of them and some could be accepted without making much difference one way or the other. If the Senator feels strongly about them, we are open to consider them.

It is difficult to argue these matters on the Second Reading. I thought this Bill would slip through here just as it slipped through the other House, but seeing that is not going to be the case,. I might as well face it and take it inch by inch. Having expressed my disappointment, there is scarcely any reason to argue these different points with Senator O'Donovan now. Therefore, I will be satisfied with the Second Reading, and we will deal with these points on another day.

Question put and agreed to.

Committee Stage fixed for Wednesday, 9th July.

[165] Question proposed “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Smith):  The object of this Bill is to replace and extend the scope of the Agricultural Products (Regulation of Export) Acts, 1933 and 1935, and certain provisions of the Emergency Powers (No. 224) Order, 1939, so as to enable me to regulate from time to time by Order the export of agricultural and fishery products.

The Acts mentioned are limited in scope and were planned to meet the special circumstances obtaining at the time of their enactment. The 1933 Act was designed to enable the Minister for Agriculture to regulate the export of agricultural products to such countries as had established any system of restriction or control on imports of agricultural products to that country. The 1935 Act enabled the Minister to regulate exports to countries which had made a trade agreement with this country. During the emergency, export control powers were found to be inadequate and, under Emergency Powers Orders, the Minister for Agriculture is given considerably wider powers in this matter than he possessed under the aforementioned Acts.

The object of the Emergency Powers Orders controlling exports is to enable the Government to maintain supplies and services essential to the life of the community and the Minister for Agriculture operates wide powers of control over the export of agricultural and fishery products. Foods in short supply are thus conserved. The object of the present Bill is, in the absence of such powers conferred by existing permanent legislation, to endow the Minister with powers to regulate exports—powers which, in the altered circumstances of our time, may be needed.

Mr. Sweetman:  While I agree with the Minister that these provisions are to regulate exports in order to conserve foodstuffs in short supply, it is, perhaps, because of what is not in the Bill rather than what is in it that I want to say anything at all to the House. In [166] regard to the methods by which our exports might be arranged and used to advantage, I want to say a few words. In dealing with a large part of our agricultural exports and almost all our fishery exports, it appears to me that we have to put ourselves into a new orientation. We have to see what method can be used to ensure that our marketing is done in a much better way than ever before. I would ask the Minister if he has considered what could be done by modern methods, particularly in respect of what is generally known as quick freezing, even where meat is concerned. It is highly desirable that we should ensure that the price we get for meat is comparable with the wholesale meat price in the country of import rather than in our own country.

I think there is a tremendous advantage to be gained in ensuring that we are able to sell our meat here, so to speak, as butchers' meat, and not frozen like the old method known as the Argentine method or the New Zealand method. Meat frozen by the old method destroyed the taste and the fibre of the product. The Minister will agree that there has been in recent years a tremendous advance in respect to methods known as quick-freezing and, as the result, it is possible to prove that under that method there is no loss of flavour, no loss in taste, no loss in substance and, in fact, no difference between the completely fresh product and that killed and treated in that way. It would be a tremendous advantage to us in respect to our meat if we could get butchers' price by reason of quick-freezing rather than merely live-meat price.

Whatever advantage there might be in respect of meat, an obvious advantage is to be gained in regard to vegetables, poultry, game, rabbits and even more so in respect to fish than anything else. This is a Bill both to regulate agricultural and fishery products, and I venture to suggest to the Minister first, in respect to fish, that they are the main problem. During the emergency the position was entirely different. From the point of view of the emergency problem, [167] there was a real problem to deal with catches of fish in such a way that increased catches would not glut the market and bring down prices. I think I am correct in saying that in Kerry, in the early months of the year, there was a large catch of valuable black sole. If full advantage of that catch was taken, the market was glutted, prices were brought down and, in consequence, the fishermen were not willing to avail of it to the greatest extent. They were quite right. If they went out five days in the week they would probably get less than they would for two days, because of the way prices through the glut came down.

The shoal in the ordinary course moved from Kerry to the territory of Senator Hawkins and Senator O'Dea, in Galway. The same thing happened in Galway season and then the fish passed on to Killybegs and Donegal. If we are going to make a job of our fisheries it has to be dealt with on some basis of averaging catches over a period, and in such a way that the fixed charge for refrigeration is not going to be so high, by reason of the necessity to keep plants in Cork, in Kerry, in Galway and in Donegal. We must consider it, therefore, from the point of view of mobile plant. We must consider it from the point of view that a mobile plant is able to follow the fish.

I should like to take this advantage of inquiring from the Minister what views he has in that respect, and what policy he proposes to adopt. I think it is true to say that there is available, as a result of advances made in recent years, mobile refrigeration plants which could be utilised in the manner I suggest. It is common ground that necessity is the mother of invention and, so far as the warring nations were concerned, war necessity made them go further in regard to inventions than they would go in peace-time. War in the desert was one necessity that made very great advances in refrigeration. As a result there has been a tremendous advance in quick freezing and mobile refrigeration. It is possible to arrange now for a mobile [168] plant to be available, which could be utilised at the particular area in which there was a “catch” at a particular time.

I am not clear about the Minister's control over the Sea Fisheries Association, but I hope he and his Department will ensure that considerable scope is given towards arriving at some method, by virtue of which we can utilise this new invention. I understand that such plants are operated on diesel oil. Córas Iompair Éireann and Cement Limited have converted their plants for the use of diesel oil. The fuel is available to do the job. From what has occurred I believe that there is something that might be termed a refrigerating lorry, which can do the job of a refrigerator, and then pass on the goods to something in the nature of a small furniture van, and be transported by rail or by road to the market or, what is much more important, they could be held for utilisation at the most suitable time.

In 1937 and 1938 a very small proportion of the available catches of west coast fish was used, because if all was used it would completely glut the market and there would be no possibility of dealing with it. As the situation appears to me, we must deal with it by some method that is going to average out over the whole year the available product, particularly in respect to black sole, for which a very high price is available during some months. It is during the first three months of the year that sole can be taken in substantial quantities in Kerry. It could be held—and I understand from technical people that it can —for an unlimited period in a mobile container. That would be a tremendous advantage as well as being an output for our fisheries.

One of the ways in which the Minister could assist, apart from direct intervention, is by saying a word in the ear of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I understand that there is a duty of 50 per cent. on refrigeration plant. I do not think such plant is produced in this country. The duty must, therefore, be considered a customs duty as far as such plant is concerned. I understand that refrigeration has become one of the largest [169] marketing schemes in the whole of America. A frozen fruit company has 750,000,000 dollars invested in the processing of food, and has enabled the product to be used by averaging over the whole year. It appears to me that there are great possibilities on these lines and that they are lines that should be developed and examined to the full.

I agree that speaking on technical lines I am referring to matters that are perhaps not directly germane to this Bill, but I should like to know what possibilities there are for perishable agricultural commodities being dealt with and particularly fish catches.

Mr. Counihan:  My principal concern with this Bill is in regard to export licences. I am sure that no one wants to deny the Minister's right to control and restrict the export of agricultural produce when he feels that it is essential to do so. Anybody who has had experience of licensing will, I am sure, want to see a different system adopted and will not be satisfied that the Minister should have sole control of the issue of licences through his Department. I do not want to discuss the economic war now, but I want to show how licences operated during those years. Export licences for fat beasts were worth £6 then, and export licences for store beasts were worth £5 each. Everybody connected with the cattle trade knows that to be a fact. The licences were issued in the first instance to people who had a quota for the stock they exported during a previous year. Possibly that was the fairest way that it could be done.

When the number that we could export became so restricted and when licences became so valuable, the Department even at that time should have decided that the first people entitled to licences were the producers of the cattle. They did not get them. The Department continued giving licences and I know that a big number of licences were issued to people who had no connection with the cattle trade to go down to Kerry and buy store cattle in Kerry for export. At that particular time a man could buy 20 cattle in Kerry, get 20 licences and could throw the cattle into the sea and be £50 the better of it. That is so. [170] They could buy cattle in Cahirciveen and Killorglin at 30/- apiece and less and the licence was worth £4.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Is not this all ancient history?

Mr. Counihan:  I do not want to develop that but nobody will agree that the Minister for Agriculture, no matter who he is, or his Department, should be the sole arbiter as to who is to get licences and who is not to get licences. At the present time licences are being issued and have been issued for the last seven or eight years for the export of dairy cattle and in-calf heifers. During the eight years the national executive of the cattle trade in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture have been issuing these licences and I have not heard a single complaint from anybody about the issue of the licences. On Committee Stage I will table an amendment to have such a system introduced and I hope the Minister will agree with it. I know the Minister has no great love for the livestock trade.

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  Do not go too far, now.

Mr. Counihan:  And, I am sure, anything we say he is bound to turn it down. Still, if we keep going on we may get him to have a bit of sense later on when he has had more experience of what the cattle trade is doing. Nobody wants to deprive the Minister for Agriculture of the right to restrict or prohibit the export of agricultural produce when he finds it is necessary to do so. On that score, I support the Bill.

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  I have two remarks to make and one is again in connection with definitions. Section I has fine-combed our products to try to include everything of an agricultural or horticultural nature. I have been wondering what Department will be responsible for our marine products. This evening's paper gives an account of some fine fabrics prepared from seaweed. I have been thinking of carrageen moss and agar that has been produced from moss found on the west coast of Ireland during the emergency [171] period. Carrageen moss, iodine, kelp and agar are very important products and under this Bill, which is an export Bill, the Minister, if they come within his bailiwick, might control the export of these marine products.

Senator Sweetman's speech on this Bill was, I think, entirely out of order because he dealt with the home market and home consumption, whereas the Bill deals with the control of the export of these products.

Mr. Sweetman:  Is that criticism of the Chair?

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  I did not say it was a criticism of the Chair. I wanted to emphasise that it was my opinion and I think the text of the Senator's speech will bear me out in that, that he was referring to home production and consumption.

Mr. Sweetman:  Not at all.

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  When he referred to the salvaging of fish, I think the Senator was referring to salvaging by quick freezing for home consumption. I do not see any likelihood in the near future of our developing an export market in fish and fish products, when there is such a scarcity of fish on the home market. I think quick freezing of fruit, vegetables and fish is quite effective. I do not think in respect of beef, fowl and poultry it is as effective. The principal thing I wish to say in connection with this all-embracing Section 1 is that I would like to see it still more comprehensive and to include these marine products. In connection with Section 3 (4) dealing with penalties, I think the penalty here is too low.

Senator Sweetman, in another debate this evening, referred to phraseology which we find in this Bill, that a person who gives information

“which is to his knowledge false or misleading in any material respect shall be guilty of an offence under the section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding £10.”

I refer to that because the Senator this evening pointed out the difference between a person who commits an [172] offence unknowingly and a person who commits one knowingly. Here is the case of a person who commits an offence by doing it himself, and knowingly makes a false and misleading declaration. The penalty is £10. I think it is too low for an offence which may involve hundreds of pounds' worth of material. It is the same penalty as that provided for the contravention of one of the provisions in connection with clean wool. These are the only points that I have to make on the Bill.

Mr. Honan:  I come from one of the maritime counties. Notwithstanding the fact that Senator O'Donovan is in a very argumentative mood this evening, I wish to follow on the lines of my friend, Senator Sweetman. Of course, we are very interested in fish in my county. Senator Sweetman described the progress of a shoal of fish from Kerry to Donegal, but in doing so he hopped over 100 miles or so of the Clare coast. The unfortunate thing is that in my county we have not any means of catching fish. There were five points in the county where, in other days, canoes and currachs used to be employed to capture the very abundant supply of fish that is there. These currachs and canoes are not being used by the young men of to-day. There is one point, at Liscannor, where fish could be brought in if the pier there, started in the time of the British Government and never completed, could be utilised. The result is that a good fishing smack cannot enter there. The smacks can only fish in that area for two or three months of the year, and then they have to go round to Galway to be harboured for the winter. I think that the appropriate Government Department should spend some little money in removing the rocks in front of the pier. We could then start a fishing industry there. The two or three fishing smacks that went out there last year are rather small. Perhaps the Minister will bring the matter to the notice of the appropriate Department and have the position in connection with that pier examined. The extraordinary thing is that the fish caught along our coast cannot be found in any of the towns along the coast. The fish [173] sold in those towns comes from Cahirciveen and sometimes from across the water. We have an abundant supply of fish along our own coast if only the local people got reasonable facilities to get at them and make them available for the people of the county.

Liam Ó Buachalla:  Like other Senators I am in agreement that we have no option but to give the Minister this Bill. I want to avail of this opportunity to seek a little information regarding one or two points which I think have been very properly touched upon by some other Senators. I wonder if the Minister can give us any indication as to the possibilities there are of developing a trade in dead meat. One of the great advantages that, I believe, to be inherent in the tourist business is that it will enable us to get the top price for meat. For a long time I have been wondering whether it is impossible to do something more than has been done to sell much of the meat that we export as dead meat. It is not a new proposition.

I remember that when I was much younger than I am now I happened to be employed in the first real effort to develop a dead meat trade. The company concerned was adequately capitalised. To the best of my recollection, I think that the capital loss that was suffered eventually amounted to something between £750,000 and £1,000,000. I happened to be just an ordinary servant of that company, but I still carry with me memories of its operation. It may be of interest to say now that I think its failure was due to mismanagement rather than to any other cause. I remember the enthusiasm with which we greeted the establishment of that company—I refer to the Irish Packing Company— and the hopes we had of its development. I remember the disappointment we all felt—producers and workers alike—at its failure. Ever since I have been wondering whether some further effort ought not to be made to develop that trade, and so secure for the producers something more than they have been getting so far for their stock. I wonder whether the officials of the Department have kept their eye on that matter, especially in view of the [174] changes that are occurring in markets, and whether there is not now a reasonable opportunity for restarting that industry and of developing it in the best interests of all concerned.

Again I wonder whether the Minister is in a position to give us any indication as to our prospects of developing a deep-sea fishing industry. I know that, for years, we have been looking at a plan taking shape. In the vocational school in Galway we have been allotted the task of training young men in certain branches of marine engineering and in Cork the vocational schools have been allotted another task, all with the idea of providing us with personnel technically equipped to engage in industry of the nature of deep-sea fishing. I do not know how many boys will have come out of these schools by now. I know that the results of their education are very commendable and I know that Irish Shipping, Limited, is particularly glad to get these boys and to take them in as cadets, but my point is that, by now, we should have adequate personnel to man a number of vessels capable of going afar and of remaining away for considerable periods. I wonder has the Department any information to give us regarding the position and the prospects of such an industry.

Senator Sweetman referred to the possibility of chilling or refrigeration plant. It is a long time now since Australia suffered its great depression in the failure of the wool market and switched over to the market in mutton. As a consequence of the failure of the wool market and their efforts to develop the mutton trade, a new system of meat chilling came in. Senator Sweetman has mentioned that developments in that field have now become so perfect that it is almost impossible for the ordinary man to say where meat carried thousands and thousands of miles in these specially equipped vessels differs from what we will describe as fresh meat. I particularly remember when what is so often referred to as the economic war was on, I frequently visited England and Scotland. I went to a good many fairs, markets and auctions to see what was [175] happening and one of the things I particularly remember was the extent to which people there were switching over to chilled meat. Even doctors told me at that time that they were using chilled meat in the convalescent homes and had found it to be of quite excellent quality. I mention that to indicate the enormous strides made in the development of chilling plant.

Mr. Sweetman:  There was no quick freezing then, either.

Liam Ó Buachalla:  The products are not frozen at all. They are chilled to a degree, but not frozen in the accepted sense of the term. It is in that direction that the main development has come, and there seems to be no reason why we should not now be able to get vessels big enough to carry plant of that kind which would enable ships to go far and, if necessary, to stay out until they got a sufficient catch to make it worth their while to come in and to be able to land that catch in good order. It seems to me also that we might as well make up our minds that the market for fresh fish in the strict sense does not hold out much chance in Ireland. It is a very erratic market from two points of view—the matter of supply and the matter of demand. There is just one day in the week when one can rely on a reasonable demand. Supply is very erratic and demand is equally erratic, but there seems to be, both along our coast and inland, a desire for cured fish. There is a considerable opportunity—the statistics relating to the import of cured fish will give an idea of the extent of the market—for cured fish, and I should like to know whether the Department have that in mind, whether they have examined the efforts which have been made and have considered the causes of their failure and to what extent they think that whatever difficulties did exist have disappeared and to what extent they could be surmounted, if they still exist.

I do not think the suggestion made by Senator O'Donovan with regard to marine products and the advisability of including these within the domain [176] of the Minister for Agriculture a wise suggestion. Anybody who has any knowledge of the products he mentioned will have no hesitation in saying that they are clearly products of an industrial nature and ought to remain as matters for the Minister for Industry and Commerce. However, as I say, we must give the Bill to the Minister, but, like Senator Sweetman, Senator Honan and other Senators, I should like to get some indication as to the possibilities of the development of a deep-sea fishing industry, a curing industry for fish and an export trade in dead meat.

Mr. Smith:  The discussion on this Bill has undoubtedly been very interesting, and, while I would not dream, because, in the first place it would not be in order, and, in the second place, I would not want to do it of accusing the Chair of being rather lenient, I must confess that I found it fairly difficult to relate some of the points made by Senator Sweetman and Senator Ó Buachalla, with its provisions. My Estimates are at present before the Dáil for the Fishery Department, and quite a lot of what has been said here will, I am sure, be said in the discussion of these Estimates. The freezing of fish and making provision for dealing with periods of glut, the building up of an organisation for the disposal of fish, the activities of the Sea Fisheries Association, the desirability of encouraging fishermen down on the Clare coast, the efforts of my Department to encourage deep-sea fishing, the success or lack of success which has attended these efforts so far, what I think, in view of the new methods, of the establishment of a dead meat trade, as referred to by Senator Sweetman and by a number of other Senators— these are all very interesting, very useful and undoubtedly very important matters, but, at the same time, I think the Chair cannot take offence if I say that the Chair was more than lenient in allowing them to be raised. I was not trying to get agreement to proposals that had no relationship to the conditions prevailing there during the economic war. I was trying to get the House to give me legislation to replace power which I now enjoy under [177] Emergency Powers Order. That is it in a nutshell. In the sale or disposal of most of our agricultural and fishery products to Britain, there has been only one customer since the war started, the British Ministry of Food, and so long as that condition of affairs remains, it is necessary that on our side we should regulate our exports to fit in with the arrangements on the other side.

I am not asking for these powers because I want the pleasure of exercising them—the pleasure that some members may think I get out of the power to interfere and probe into the business of any organisation. They are powers I already have and must have in the future, so long as the condition of affairs remains as it is now in Britain, to which we are sending the major portion of our surplus produce. In the case of fish, eggs, poultry, dead and alive, and down nearly the whole list of produce that is sold to the British Ministry of Food, there are times when they do not like to take these products from an unlimited number. As a matter of fact, they are very anxious that the number be as small as possible; and it is necessary for us to make this number sufficiently large to cover all those who have been legitimately in the trade. Senator Counihan may resent anyone in my Department having these powers, but I can assure him that it is a very good thing for the people engaged in this business that there is here a Minister and a Department, in the special circumstances that exist and for the creation of which they have no responsibility, that will try to widen out the source from which these commodities will be taken, so as to preserve the rights and the business of those who were previously engaged in dealing with these commodities.

That is all I am asking the House to give me. I thought there was nothing in the Bill which would entitle the House to ask me to come back again for the further stages, but that is a matter for Senators themselves and I cannot alter it. I suppose we will have other occasions on which we can discuss the very many interesting and important subjects that have been [178] raised to-day. What I am seeking here is something of a much more limited nature and I hope the House will give me, not only the Second Reading but all the stages of this measure.

Question put and agreed to.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  When is it proposed to take the next stage?

Mr. Sweetman:  Am I not correct in thinking that the Minister has all these powers under the Supplies and Services (Temporary) Provisions Act, which does not expire until December 31st next?

Mr. Smith:  That is so, but you never know what may happen between now and 31st December.

Liam Ó Buachalla:  On a Bill of such simple content, would it not be possible to get agreement to dispose of it at once?

Mr. Douglas:  I would like the Minister to understand the position that some of us are in. All stages can be taken only by consent and it is a very serious thing for three of us to agree to that when there is no one else present. No one can take part in a debate on a Bill of this kind on a week's notice. I have always opposed taking all the stages the first time a Bill comes before us, unless the circumstances were very unusual, but we have always given the remaining stages on the second occasion. Senator Sweetman will agree with me that, as far as we are concerned, the remaining stages will be agreed to the next time, but we cannot speak for people who are not here. This is the first time this Bill has come before the House and I do not think we should be asked to take that responsibility.

Mr. Smith:  We have until the 31st December, but there are certain Orders we are about to make and I would prefer to make them under this Bill when it becomes an Act rather than take advantage of the Emergency Powers Order. There is no power in the Bill we have not got already under the Emergency Powers Order and in that case the Seanad could make an exception.

[179]Liam Ó Buachalla:  We are all agreed that, where there are matters of contention, a Bill should not be put through on its first occasion before us, but where it is largely of simple content it should be agreed to, just as we were agreed in regard to the Trade Union Bill.

Mr. Sweetman:  In the case of the Trade Union Bill, there were special circumstances. It is a very much more simple Bill than this and we were aware that the Minister concerned had to go to Paris on Government business. I suggest that this Bill be taken on the next sitting day and then I am not going to object to its being put through.

Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 9th July.

Question proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”

Mr. Smith:  Macamore Co-operative Agricultural and Dairy Society, Limited, was registered in the register of manufacturing exporters and, unlike registered creameries, was entitled to acquire cream separated on farms and manufacture it into butter. The special concession which allowed the society to apply the word “creamery” to such butter was provided for in the Dairy Produce Act, 1924 (Section 42). The period for which this concession could be granted was limited to three years from the passing of the Act. Power was taken, however, to extend the concession for successive periods of three years in the following enactments:—The Dairy Produce (Amendment) Act, 1927 (whole Act); the Dairy Produce Act, 1931 (Section 10); the Dairy Produce (Amendment) Act, 1934 (Section 8).

This Macamore society has recently been amalgamated with another co-operative concern known as the Inch Co-operative Creamery and it has been converted into a separating station or separating plant to serve the central creamery at Inch. It is not lawful for a separating station to collect cream that has been separated on the [180] farmer's premises and as it is desirable to continue that practice for a certain period, I have found it necessary to introduce these proposals so as to enable me to allow the practice that has been followed at Macamore when it was registered, as I have described, to continue, even though it is now a separating station and part and parcel of the Inch Co-operative Creamery.

Mr. Sweetman:  Is that the only case involved?

Mr. Smith:  That is the only case.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. Smith:  I should like to get all stages now.

Liam Ó Buachalla:  I think we should remember that an announcement has been published that the Minister for Agriculture must go abroad in the next few days.

Mr. Sweetman:  I am not going to argue against this.

Agreed to take remaining stages to-day.

Bill put through Committee without amendment, received for final consideration, and passed.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  I have been requested to call this Bill again. The decision in regard to the next stage was that it would be taken on Wednesday next.

Mr. Smith:  There are certain Orders I want to make.

Mr. Sweetman:  Cannot the Seanad discharge an Order it has made and make another Order? If the Minister had made the case that he was going abroad, I would have been quite prepared to meet it. Of course, the plain fact of the matter was that none of the Minister's colleagues on his left and on my right made that case. They have been——

Mr. Hayes:  Singularly remiss.

[181]Mr. Sweetman:  They have been remiss until this late stage just as they were perhaps somewhat remiss yesterday in other matters. But, if they now make the case, and if the Minister makes it, that he is going abroad, I am prepared to agree that the Seanad should discharge the Order previously made.

Ordered: That the Order of to-day fixing the Committee Stage of the Agricultural and Fishery Products Bill for Wednesday next be discharged and that the Committee Stage be now taken.

The Seanad went into Committee on the Bill.

Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.

SECTION 3.

Question proposed: “That Section 3 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Sweetman:  On Section 3, would the Minister not consider some system by virtue of which, without having licences published in the public Press, they could be available in certain circumstances? I would not even go so far as saying that the public could ascertain by publication in the Press but I think that particulars about licences should, for example, be made available to members of the Oireachtas on request.

Mr. Smith:  I have been asked that question before. I have given the assurance that on no occasion would information be refused to a person who was legitimately seeking it, but there are occasions when people would be trying to probe into the business of others and I would not like to give a general assurance that information would be available in all circumstances. I do not think it could be charged against us that we had refused permission when legitimately sought and I can only say that I will give the Seanad the assurance that that practice will be continued, whether the information is sought in a public way or by persons approaching the Department.

Mr. Duffy:  Would the Minister say what process is followed in checking [182] applications for licences? In other words, is this a case in which there is a particular officer specified to issue licences and if so must he be responsible for the issue of every licence, or is it a case of there being in the Department a junior officer who interviews an applicant, considers his case, writes a file, sends it along and the licence is issued automatically? I raised this point—I have raised it on a few occasions—with the officials of the Department of Industry and Commerce during the sitting of the Commission of Vocational Organisation. I could not get a reply on that occasion, and an undertaking was given that if my queries were submitted in writing a written reply would be given. The queries were submitted in writing to the Department. No reply was received. One of the things that has always baffled me is as to how these decisions are reached. I would not expect the Minister to sit down in his office and examine every case. It would be beyond his capacity. It would be beyond the capacity of anyone to do it. I am anxious to know what process is followed in checking applications and reaching decisions.

Mr. Smith:  There is not as much in this as Senator Duffy would seem to suggest. As I have already explained to the Seanad, all these licences were issued to people who were taking parcels of meat, butter or a few eggs to England or to people who were able to furnish a doctor's certificate or something to that effect enabling a brother, a sister or mother to get such things. That was a trivial matter and was entirely routine. Any citizen who made application to the Department, when these licences were being issued, got the licence. It was purely a routine matter. The principal reason for this measure is entirely different. It is, as I have said, in order to deal with the many types of cases that arise as a result of the policy followed by the British Government in having all food imported into the country through the British Ministry of Food. A quantitative arrangement of one kind or another had to be made between the two Governments and in that case, where there was one exporter [183] on the other side, there were perhaps 30 or 40 people engaged in that business here. You had, therefore, to find out who they were. They had to register and they had to get a licence. In consultation with those people themselves the amount had to be distributed among those engaged in the trade.

Take, for example, the canning industry in which nine or 11 concerns were engaged. We entered into a contract with the British Ministry of Food to take so many million lb. of canned meat. We had to register all those canners. Licences are issued to each canner. The apportionment takes place as a result of consultation amongst themselves. Each canner gets a licence to export that portion of the entire contract to which his business entitles him. That is all that is really in this. It is one of the principal reasons why a measure of this kind is necessary. I do not see how any of the fears that Senator Duffy appears to have could arise. Certainly, since I came into office no difficulties have arisen. There has to be consultation on this side with all those who are engaged in whatever business is controlled in the fashion that I have described.

Mr. Duffy:  While I am not making any suggestion with regard to difficulties or abuses the Minister is probably aware that abuses did take place in other Government Departments in regard to licences.

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  The explanation which the Minister has now given in connection with these licences proves that I was right in raising the question of the £10 fine. The canning industry during the emergency period was built up into an immense trade. Therefore, I repeat what I said earlier, that, if someone looking for a new licence makes a declaration which he knows to be false and misleading, a penalty of only £10 is not appropriate at all. I would like to put in an amendment to increase the penalty to £100.

Mr. Smith:  The Minister will not give him a licence.

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  But the licence [184] may have been given to him. Subsequently it is found that, in order to get the licence, he gave evidence which he knew to be false and misleading. I think that the penalty provided is extremely low. I cannot introduce an amendment now.

Mr. Duffy:  The Senator can move it on the next stage.

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  Are we taking the next stage now?

Mr. Counihan:  Can I have an assurance from the Minister that the practice that has been carried on for the past eight years will be continued with regard to the issuing of licences to the national executive of the cattle traders' association in connection with export licences?

Mr. Smith:  This Bill has nothing to do with that.

Sections 3 and 4 agreed to.

SECTION 5.

Question proposed: “That Section 5 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Sweetman:  Will the Minister say what is the reason for Section 5?

Mr. Smith:  It is necessary in the case of certain agricultural produce which is an industrial raw material. Power is being given to transfer from the Minister for Agriculture to the Minister for Industry and Commerce powers which the former Minister exercised.

Mr. Sweetman:  What powers are they?

Mr. Smith:  They relate to wool, feathers, hides, skins.

Mr. Sweetman:  Surely these are matters that should be dealt with by the Minister for Agriculture. I cannot understand why the Minister for Agriculture hands over these agricultural products to the Minister for Industry and Commerce for the purposes of this Bill.

Mr. Smith:  The reason is that they are industrial raw materials. It is felt that it is more appropriate that they should be dealt with by the Minister [185] for Industry and Commerce. Such powers were contained in the 1935 Act. There is nothing new in this. Similar powers were contained in the Act which is being repealed.

Mr. Sweetman:  So that as far back as 1935 the Minister for Industry and Commerce was overruling the Minister for Agriculture.

Mr. Smith:  I am not to be taken as approving of the Senator putting it that way.

Question put and agreed to.

Sections 6, 7 and 8 agreed to.

Schedule agreed to.

Title agreed to.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Is there any objection to the taking of the next stage to-day?

Mr. Sweetman:  Senator O'Donovan indicated that he wanted to move an amendment.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  The Chair does not think that is the proper way of doing it. Surely the amendment should be submitted in writing and I have not yet received it and do not know what its effect may be.

Mr. Douglas:  It has always been understood that when the House agrees to take all stages of a Bill on the one day an amendment may be taken in this way. Otherwise, our proceedings would be just a farce.

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  I want to say in all seriousness that I went out to prepare an amendment to submit on the Report Stage. When I speak in the House I speak seriously. I come back now and I find that the Bill is passed.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  The Bill has not been passed. If there is no objection we will take the amendment on this stage now.

Agreed.

Mr. Smith:  What is the Senator's point.

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  The point is that here is an offence which has been committed knowingly by some person.

[186] He knowingly gives false or misleading information and the penalty provided in the section for that offence is £10. I think it is too small. I suggest that the penalty be increased to £100. When a maximum penalty of £100 is put into a Bill, if an offence is committed and a person is prosecuted and convicted, the justice usually imposes a penalty which is much less than the maximum. The penalty of £10 in the Bill is too small.

Mr. Sweetman:  I entirely support Senator O'Donovan on that.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Senator O'Donovan, I gather, is moving to delete the word “ten” in page 3, line 30, and to substitute the words “one hundred” in line 30.

Mr. Smith:  There is no objection.

Mr. Sweetman:  The purpose of the amendment is to enable the court to fine up to £100. The court can fine anything between ld. and £100 if the amendment is accepted. As the Bill stands the court can fine only between ld. and £10. I think that Senator O'Donovan is perfectly correct. In the case of a serious offence a penalty of £10 is far too small.

Mr. S. O'Donovan:  That is the amendment that I want to move. The canning industry is now worth £1,000,000. If a new company were to come along and make a deliberately false statement, I submit that a maximum penalty of £10 would be ridiculous.

If it is in order, I move the amendment:—

In page 3, line 29, to delete the word “ten” and to substitute therefor the words “one hundred”.

Mr. Smith:  I am prepared to accept the amendment. There is no objection to it.

Amendment agreed to.

Question:—“That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration”—put and agreed to.

Question proposed: “That the Bill do now pass.”

[187]Mr. O'Donovan:  I raised another point on Second Reading with regard to marine products.

Mr. Smith:  It is a matter for the Department of Lands.

Mr. O'Donovan:  I thought these could suitably be brought into this Bill, but Senator Ó Buachalla, who spoke subsequently, said they were clearly matters for the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Now the Minister says it is a matter for the Department of Lands.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  The Senator cannot amend the Bill on the final stage.

Mr. O'Donovan:  I think I can still ask for an explanation as to the jurisdiction within which these marine products come. Is it the Minister for Industry and Commerce or the Minister for Lands?

Mr. Smith:  Gaeltacht Services branch of the Department of Lands.

Mr. Hayes:  Would you, Sir, allow me to say, as a person who has no knowledge of this matter, that the proceedings here are a perfect example of why we should not be asked to pass a Bill through all its stages? The very people who ask us to do so, and who support the Bill and the Minister, do not appear to be satisfied with the Bill themselves, and, when they have had [188] an opportunity of bringing their knowledge to operate upon the Bill, this is a perfect example of how right Senator Douglas was when he suggested, in accordance with what we always do, that we should not take all the stages, even though we are anxious to facilitate Ministers and the conduct of business. On a matter of some importance, this is a perfect example of why that should not be done.

Question put and agreed to.

Ordered: That the Bill as amended be returned to the Dáil.

Mr. Hayes:  I understand that the Minister for Health has been seen with regard to our dealing with the Public Health Bill. It is suggested that we should leave the matter over until next week and deal with it at the beginning of business then. Is it Senator Quirke's intention to proceed with the motion in his name on the Order Paper before the Adjournment?

Mr. Quirke:  Not for the present.

Mr. Sweetman:  I thought that, now that the election in Clonmel is over, we might hear something about it.

The Seanad adjourned at 9.35 p.m. until 3 p.m on Wednesday, 9th July, 1947.