Thursday, 26 November 1953
Seanad Éireann Debate
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: The purpose of these amendments is to meet the Minister. The Minister indicated on the last occasion when the Bill was before the House that he was most anxious to have a licence for the sale of intoxicating liquor at the bus station. He endeavoured to make a case that he wished to provide for those who would  frequent the bus station as travellers or seeing travellers off or meeting travellers. He would like to enable them to have intoxicating liquor there. I thought there should not be a licence for the sale of intoxicating liquor. However, the Minister made it clear he wished to have the licence and, having considered the matter fully, I thought I might go some way to meet him. I am not now endeavouring to prevent him from getting the licence, but I am suggesting that he should be satisfied with one which will enable C.I.E. to sell intoxicating liquor to anyone who may go to the station building to purchase it, but for consumption only on the premises.
I do not know how a case can be made for a licence that will enable drink to be sold at the station for consumption off the premises. If we feel that people should be facilitated in having a drink on the premises, there is no reason why we should go out of our way by special legislation to give them facilities to purchase drink at the station to be consumed elsewhere. If we give them the right to have a drink at the bus station, are we not doing a great deal to facilitate them? Why go out of our way to enable people to go into the bus station, take a few drinks and perhaps bring away three or four more? The Minister may say such a licence would cause a good deal of difficulty.
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: As the law stands now, drink may not be supplied in a fully licensed public-house for consumption off the premises at times when bona fide travellers only may be supplied. The law is contained in the Intoxicating Liquor Acts of 1927 and 1943. Sections 13 and 15 of the 1927 Act deal with this. A licensee selling to bona fide travellers may not sell for consumption off the premises.
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: Drink may not be supplied at all during prohibited hours. There are no prohibited hours for bona fide travellers. In order to be a bona fide traveller, you must be supplied within particular hours. The Minister suggests he will have a great deal of difficulty if the licence is only for consumption on the premises. I see no such difficulty. He has no difficulty to-day in seeing that on a Sunday, in country districts, a licensed trader will sell drink to bona fide travellers but only for consumption on the premises. He may not sell for consumption off the premises to anyone on a Sunday. Therefore, we have the position already made for us.
We have the position to-day by virtue of the 1927 Act—a person cannot sell for consumption off the premises to a bona fide traveller. What difficulty can the Minister have in applying that law to the bus station? We are concerned not with the wants of people for their homes but for those who are about to go away on a journey or are visitors to the station to see travellers away or to receive travellers. I do not see what difficulty there can be in restricting the sale to consumption on the premises only. No real difficulty has been shown and I suggest that there is none.
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: I am taking the Minister's own case. He says this certificate should be given to C.I.E. to enable them to provide for visitors to the bus station. He has not told us that he wishes to see C.I.E. in a position to go into business with our wholesale and retail spirit grocers who supply drink in the main for consumption off the premises.
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: I ask to be protected, Sir. Were it not that I am endeavouring to meet the Minister, my amendment would have been framed in a different way; to say that the Minister should not be given permission to  get any licence whatsoever. I have given the matter a good deal of thought. I cannot anticipate the Minister saying that I am unreasonable. I am going a long way to meet him and saying that he can have to licence, but let it be the same kind of licence that any traveller has to comply with. Let it be such that the person going to the bus station may have his drink only on the premises. Where is the demand for drink for consumption off the premises? I say there can be no such demand.
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: There is no demand for a licence enabling C.I.E. to sell drink for consumption off the premises. The Minister said he would have difficulty in seeing that such a licence as contemplated would be worked. He would not have the slightest difficulty. The Garda authorities are, throughout the years, seeing that traders do not sell for consumption off the premises at times when they may sell only to bona fide travellers on the premises. I think my amendments are quite reasonable. The effect of the amendments is that the licence will be one for the sale of liquor for consumption on the premises only and I ask the Minister to accept them.
Mr. Quirke: I admire Senator O'Reilly for his sincerity, but it is quite obvious that he does not know what he is talking about. If he were a man who took a drink himself he would realise that a man going by bus to-night to Limerick or Cork and leaving Dublin at a late hour—one of his colleagues is smiling, so he must know what I am talking about—would think it quite reasonable to go in for a drink at the bar with a friend. The friend then stands a drink and, as they are going 130 miles, it would be quite normal for either of them to say: “Better get a half pint for the road.” I see nothing wrong in that at all. There is more harm done by this restricting of the freedom of the individual than there would be by  granting greater liberty. If the Senator is really sincere, he should oppose this altogether, but since he is agreeable to allowing a man to have a drink at the bar, why should he stop him from taking one away? How is he going to stop him from bringing in a half pint bottle and calling for three or four glasses of whiskey, or whatever it takes to fill a half pint bottle, and filling it at the counter?
Mr. McHugh: I think that Senator Quirke does not know what he is talking about. He mentioned a man meeting another man at the bus and the pair of them deciding to take a half pint for the road. Under the Transport Act, a bus conductor is entitled to put a man off the bus if he produces intoxicating liquor and proceeds to consume it. I think that the difficulty the Minister mentions will crop up, if he gets the licence he looks for. What Senator O'Reilly says is correct. Whatever about a train, you are liable to be put off a bus if you produce intoxicating liquor with the intention of consuming it.
Mr. Quirke: Senator McHugh knows very well what I am talking about. Take, for instance, a person who is going on a bus journey from Dublin to Cork and who knows that, because of the hours, the public-houses in the country towns will be closed. Realising how strict country publicans are in observing the licensing laws— and their unwillingness to open at night—if he knows that he will require a drink before arriving at his destination he will take it with him. If the notice in Áras Mhic Dhiarmada read: “For consumption on or off the premises,” and the notice on the bus read “for consumption on the premises,” it would not be so good if somebody on the bus produced a bottle. This is a serious matter and deserves serious consideration. It  might be the means of saving a man's life.
Mr. Loughman: Take, for instance, a person sitting in Áras Mhic Dhiarmada, waiting for a bus. Suppose I join that person and ask him if he would like a glass of whiskey and he says he would, but that for one reason or another he cannot go into the bar. If I am not allowed to bring out the drink to that person—who might, say, be an invalid—is he to go without the drink? I think that Senator O'Reilly is most unreasonable in this amendment.
Mr. Hearne: Senator O'Reilly has made no case, as far as I can understand him, for differentiating between Áras Mhic Dhiarmada and the licensed premises at Kingsbridge, Amiens Street and Westland Row. The licence for these railway stations is similar to the licence that is proposed here.
Mr. Hearne: I beg to differ with the Senator. The same applies—in a different degree, I freely admit—to Collins-town Airport. Because foreigners like to take some of these minature bottles of Irish whiskey back with them to their own country, it would be bad for our country if the restriction which Senator O'Reilly wants for Áras Mhic Dhiarmada applied to Collins-town.
I do not see why there should be any differentiation between the facilities now proposed to be made available for bus travellers in Áras Mhic Dhiarmada and the facilities available for travellers from Kingsbridge Station, Westland Row or Amiens Street Station.
Mr. Boland: Whatever the Senator may say, it certainly would be difficult to enforce the amendment. I do not see why any distinction should be  drawn between the licence given to Áras Mhic Dhiarmada and that to a railway station—none whatever. The suggestion that passengers would bring dozens of stout with them on their journeys is not likely to prove a reality. If a man is leaving for a bus journey and if he does not want a drink in Áras Mhic Dhiarmada, there is no reason why he should not get out of the bus when it stops on the journey and take a drink when he feels he requires it. I do not see any reason why we should have that restriction placed upon him.
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: Why would the Minister not be consistent about this matter? He says that a man should be entitled to buy a drink for consumption on or off the premises. If he is consistent, why does he not amend these two sections?
Mr. O'Higgins: I have no strong views on this amendment at all, but I feel that Senator O'Reilly has put forward a reasoned and reasonable case for it. What was the Minister's reception of that case? He says that he does not see any reason why he should accept it, that it would be difficult to enforce it, that he thinks it would be undesirable. But he did not give a reason for any of the arguments he put up. He thinks it would be difficult to enforce the amendment. He has not asked the Seanad to consider what the difficulties would be. He thinks it would be undesirable to impose this restriction but he has not paid Senator O'Reilly or the other Senators the courtesy of explaining to the House why he considers that it would be undesirable. Under the 1927 Act, the restriction in respect of selling for consumption off the premises is there so far as the ordinary trader is concerned.
Mr. O'Higgins: That is the sum total of the case put up to this House by the man charged by the Government and the country with holding the scales of justice equally not only between all the citizens but between all sections of the people.
I want the Senators sitting behind the Minister to contemplate for a  moment the spectacle they have witnessed here on the consideration of a serious amendment put forward in a serious way by a member of this House. It is not good enough that a Minister should come in here and treat the House in that way. At any rate, when amendments are put down by a Senator—of which the Minister gets notice—the Minister should take the care and trouble to see what they are about. If he does not understand the amendment he should get the advice of his advisers in his Department and get them to explain it to him. If he wants to oppose this amendment, he should come in here and give his grounds for doing so.
Mr. Kissane: I am glad the Minister charged by the Government to pilot this Bill through the House is a man of common sense because any man of common sense could not accept the amendment. In the first place, it would be inoperative if it were accepted and inserted in the Bill. I ask Senators to consider the position of travellers who have to go on long journeys. There are some people who cannot travel on a bus for ten miles without getting sick, and if we accept this amendment these people will be prevented from getting any refreshment on the way to help them to get over their temporary sickness. They will not be allowed to have a drop of brandy or whiskey in case they should get ill and that would apply to both sexes. This amendment is ridiculous. We are told that during travellers' hours people are not permitted to take away drink, but during the hours after which a person must be a bona fide traveller to get drink at all, very few buses will be travelling. They will be travelling during the hours when people can get a drink in the ordinary course of events. The amendment should be rejected by the Seanad.
Mr. O'Donnell: I infer from what Senator O'Higgins has said that the non-acceptance of this amendment operates in favour of the bus station as against the ordinary public weal. He asserts that the refusal by the Minister to accept the amendment means the  passing of legislation by the Government in favour of a State-owned and subsidised body as against the public.
Mr. O'Donnell: I do not know much about this and in what I say I am subject to correction, but Senator O'Reilly said that at present the ordinary publican, on his licence, cannot sell for consumption off the premises——
Mr. Quirke: It is quite obvious that there is not as scrap of sincerity behind the speeches made for the amendment. We have had Senator O'Reilly holding forth about the disaster it will be if a man can bring a half-point of whiskey away with him.
Mr. Quirke: Both he and Senator O'Higgins are playing politics. They are afraid that they might get into the bad graces of a few publicans who kept them going up to the last general election, but who have turned away now, if they went the whole hog and said there should be no drink served at all. Senator McHugh is a member of an organisation, I understand, which not alone agrees to sell whiskey to people who are travelling but encourages them by every possible means, even to the extent of having it up in glass cases with a notice about the privileges they  will enjoy if they condescend to buy a bottle. I should like to know if he would be successful in persuading Senator O'Reilly to go so far as to move an amendment that the licence to sell drink in that way be taken away from that organisation of which he is a member.
So far as the speech made by Senator O'Higgins is concerned, I can only say that it is a repetition of the impertinence we have heard from him before. I hope he will live a long time, but I am afraid he will never live long enough to have as much common-sense and as much ordinary decency as the Minister has, or as much ability, either.
Mr. O'Higgins: I want to call the attention of Senator Hawkins in particular, because there are times when he gives the impression of being a sensible man, to the arguments made against the amendment. I have referred to the arguments made by the Minister. He says he thinks there would be difficulty in enforcing it, but he has not yet told us what those difficulties would be. He said he thought it would be undesirable to impose these restrictions, but he has not yet tole us in what way it would be undesirable.
What were the other arguments advanced against it? I suppose I should apologise to the English language for calling them arguments, because I am referring now to what was said by Senator Quirke. His  arguments against the amendment were (1) that Senator O'Reilly was insincere and was playing politics and (2) that Senator McHugh was concerned with an organisation which endeavoured to induce people to buy whiskey. Argument No. 3 was that Senator O'Higgins was ill-mannered——
Mr. O'Higgins: ——and had not the same ability as the Minister. I want any fair-minded Senator sitting behind Senator Quirke to consider the arguments put forward by him, to ask themselves honestly and to answer themselves honestly: has Senator Quirke made any effort to oppose this amendment in a way that would be accepted even in a school debating society? Has he put forward one proper argument against it? I do not believe he has. He is being led by the nose by the Minister. The Minister came in here with the intention of scoffing at the amendments put down by Senator O'Reilly because he was afraid to face them. Senator Quirke has a string attached to his nose and that string is tied to the Minister's apron. The House can picture the rest of it.
Mr. Ashe: There is one argument which I think Senator O'Reilly has overlooked. It has not struck him that people may go into this bus station and not take any drink there and still may feel that they may want something on the road for a long journey on a winter day. That matter has been mentioned before, and I think that, if the Senator considers that it is quite possible that they would not take any drink at all at the bus station, but might want it for the road, he would drop his amendment immediately.
Mr. Hearne: I do not profess to  know what the legal position is, but the argument in favour of this amendment is that it is a new type of licence, one that has never been heard of before. That is correct. Certain reasons have been advanced as to why this new type of licence should be issued to C.I.E. I am opposing the amendment and, despite what Senator O'Higgins has said, the reasons I gave are sound and valid, and are equally to be considered with the rather nebulous reasons put up by Senator O'Reilly.
Mr. Hearne: I said that my reasons for opposing the amendment are, first, that I could see no sound common-sense reason for differentiating between the facilities given to travellers in Áras Mhic Dhiarmada and the facilities given to travellers at Kingsbridge, Amiens Street or Westland Row, and, secondly, that the licence proposed in the Bill is a licence which is exactly the same as the licence held by the owner of a licensed premises or public-house. When Senator O'Reilly says—and I accept it—that a publican is prevented from selling to bona fide travellers during the hours when bona fide travellers are entitled, if the publican is willing to serve them, to have a drink inside the premises, any drink for consumption off the premises, I say that this licence will impose exactly the same restrictions on C.I.E.
If I read it aright, this licence will impose exactly the same restrictions on C.I.E. in selling for consumption off the premises during these hours as are imposed on the ordinary publican. I am not a lawyer and I know nothing about the legal side but in fairness is that correct or not? Is Senator O'Reilly's argument correct that C.I.E. would be absolved from these conditions during these hours? I do not think so.
A further reason why I suggest to the House not to accept this amendment is consideration for the people who had for years to stand in under a corrugated shelter with the winds blowing through them on the quays. These bus travellers could go to any of the publicans in the vicinity and  take with them anything they wanted to carry on the bus. I travelled on buses to Longford and the West many a time and my experience is that there never has been any abuse. People did not bring a dozen of stout, a half bottle or a naggin of whiskey on to the bus. Therefore, I think that the possibility of having orgies on the buses starting off on long distances from Áras Mhic Dhiarmada is one to which we should not give very much consideration. For these reasons, apart from the impracticability of enforcing the amendment if carried, I suggest the amendment should be rejected.
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: I made the suggestion that the sale of intoxicating liquor should be restricted to consumption “on” only because of what we heard on the Second Reading of this Bill that it was an effort to provide for people who would call there to have a drink.
I appreciate what Senator Hearne said. If I may say so, he made the only sensible contribution which I heard from the other side. It is amazing what a woolly view a number of the other Senators has about this matter.
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: Some people were getting very difficult. I quite appreciate what Senator Hearne said but again he has made a mistake. He thinks it would be impossible to see that intoxicating liquor could be supplied for consumption only on the premises. There could be no difficulty in seeing that the law would be complied with. The Garda Síochána have seen to it that that was done since 1924. However, there are none so blind as those who will not see. They are determined to put this thing through. One observation concerning me was made—that I was interested in this matter purely because of politics and because I was interested in doing something for the publicans. It may be that I am interested in publicans but I want to assure the House that no publican or no member of the licensed trade discussed this Bill with me good, bad or indifferent. I would like to give people who think otherwise my assurance on that.
I am quite sincere so far as this amendment is concerned. I think the whole thing is wrong. It is a strange state of affairs that we cannot erect a building such as this and put a bus station into it without coming into the House and doing everything to facilitate the granting of a new licence. I am quite sincere in asking the Minister to accept my amendment. He will have no difficulty whatever in enforcing it.
Mr. Boland: I have heard no case made why a provision of this kind should not be introduced into this measure. The same restrictions that apply to any publican will apply here. I think I said on the previous stage of this Bill that I did not attempt to make a case that a bus station of this kind ought to be given this facility, as I thought it should be obvious. Everyone accepted that. Even now I find it hard to make the case as everybody would expect that a place of this kind should have a licence.
There are two kinds of licence. One is an “off” licence under which a person can only take drink for consumption off the premises. The other is an “on” licence under which they can  drink on or off the premises. We propose giving a licence allowing consumption on or off the premises. The thing is so obvious that it ought not be necessary to make a case. In fact, I am surprised that there is any opposition to it. As far as I am concerned, politics do not enter the matter. We are merely giving the facilities that any station of this kind ought to have.
Mr. O'Higgins: I consider that Senator Hearne made an honest effort to argue against this amendment. He is the only member of the Opposition who put forward sound arguments and I want to pay him the courtesy of dealing with them.
Senator Hearne made two reasonable points. In the first instance, he did not see why there should be any differentiation as between a licence attaching to the bus station and a licence attaching to one of our railway stations. On the face of it, that appears to be a sound argument when we consider that on the Second Reading the House approved in principle the granting of a licence to this bus station but I think it is fair to bear in mind, as Senator O'Reilly indicated by way of interjection, that there is no similarity between the case of the bus station and a railway station. We have to consider this amendment within the framework of the section. The remarks made by the Minister would have been more appropriate on the section than on the amendment.
The section is one which introduces completely new and completely unorthodox machinery for the granting of this licence. Licences attaching to a railway station are granted by the court and the court considers the question of the demand, the need for the licence and so on. It is not entirely correct to argue, as Senator Hearne did, that there should not be any differentiation. We are enabling C.I.E. to sidestep any inquiry by unprejudiced and impartial members of the judiciary as to the necessity for this licence.
The second argument made by Senator Hearne was that if the amendment was withdrawn the same restrictions that apply to other traders with  regard to supplying bona fide in bona fide hours would also apply here. That argument is a correct argument and a reasonable one to put up if we do not consider the other side of the picture. What is the other side of the picture? Whereas the ordinary trader must go to the court to get his licence, is amenable to the ordinary laws of the land and would be subject to having those laws enforced by the Garda Síochána, this bus station and this licence will be in an entirely different position. The ordinary trader will lose his licence if he gets a certain number of endorsements; the bus station will not. No matter how many prosecutions are brought by the Garda Síochána against those in charge of this particular bar, if the Minister for Industry and Commerce—to whom the Minister for Justice by this Bill is delegating all his authority in the matter—decides that he is going to continue issuing certificates, so often will this bus station get its licence.
Mr. O'Higgins: I think it is because the argument is put up that this licence is merely in the same position as others. I am suggesting it is not and the reason is that it does not matter what view the Minister for Justice or the members of the Garda Síochána may take hereafter of any offence that is committed. They will not be in the same position to deal with those offences as they are in with regard to similar offence committed by an ordinary trader.
Mr. O'Higgins: This is the section by which the Minister for Justice seeks to avoid responsibility, in which the Minister for Justice is authorising the Minister for Industry and Commerce  to decide, firstly, whether or not this particular bus station is to have a licence; and, secondly, if he comes to a decision that it is to have a licence, he is empowered to decide what part or parts of this structure are to get a licence.
The Minister must make his case for this section to the House. He has not done so already. I invite the members to read and reread the Second Reading debate and I think they will all agree with me that the Minister has not made the case for this section. I want to call the attention of the House to this also, that it is incorrect to say that by passing this Act and this section we are deciding that the Store Street bus station should have a licence. We are not doing that. All we are deciding is that the Minister for Industry and Commerce and nobody else—Dáil, Seanad, Government, High Court judge, Circuit Court judge, district justice—will have the say as to whether the Store Street bus station is to obtain a licence. If we pass this Act we are giving authority to the Minister for Industry and Commerce and no one else.
I am disappointed that during the last week the Minister for Justice did not at least recast the section in accordance with the remarks that were made here on the Second Reading, that he himself as custodian of the people's rights in connection with matters of law and order, did not insist on retaining some significant say as to what is to happen to the Store Street bus station licence in the event of incidents occuring there which in the normal course would be grounds for forfeiting the licence.
I would recommend to the Minister, between this and the next stage of this Bill to consider an amendment that if the Government think proper that an on-licence should attach to any portion of this building, then the procedure of giving a certificate to the Revenue Commissioners should be adopted. Here we have the Minister for Justice, the man who should be strong enough to face up to his responsibilities, shirking his job and handling over control to the Minister for Industry and Commerce in a matter  which should not concern the Minister for Industry and Commerce at all. This is the job the Minister for Justice is put there to do and he should do it. If he is afraid of the responsibility, if he does not like coming to decisions on his own, if he is afraid to rely on his officials, then I suggest that he should see that the authority remains in the hands of the Government as a whole and that he should not pass this authority into the hands of a single Minister. That is what he proposes to do in this section and I think it is unwarranted, unprecedented and completely unjustified.
Mr. Boland: In spite of what the Senator has said I assert that what is happening here is that the Oireachtas is deciding that this bus station shall have a licence. What the Minister for Industry and Commerce is doing is to give a certificate as to what particular part of the building that licence will cover. As far as I am concerned, it is not the first time this has been done. When the Intoxicating Liquor Bill of 1943 was going through the very same thing was done in respect of the airport; then we had the same thing in respect of those camps. There is nothing unprecedented in this. The Minister for Justice has nothing to do with licences at all; if it is not the Minister for Industry and Commerce, as it is in the few cases I have mentioned, it is the courts that deal with them.
Mr. O'Higgins: He suggests here, in the firm confidence that he is going to get a chorus of hear! hears! on his left that in passing this Bill the Oireachtas will come to a decision as to whether a licence should be granted or not and that the only function of the Minister for Industry and Commerce  is to decide what particular portion of the station will get it.
“The Minister (for Industry and Commerce) if he thinks it proper that an on-licence should be granted to the board in respect of any particular part of the omnibus station, may issue to the board a certificate approving of the grant of the licence.”
When we pass this, does it mean automatically that Store Street is to get a licence? It does not, unless the Minister for Industry and Commerce is going to be equally rapid in shirking his duty as the Minister for Justice. When this Bill is passed, the Minister for Industry and Commerce must consider the facts (1) as to whether there is any need for a licence and (2) whether there is a need for a licence or not, whether it would be proper to give a licence. When he has considered those questions and if he comes to the conclusion that it would be proper to grant a licence, then he will decide what portion of the building is to get it and he will give a certificate. But if the Minister for Industry and Commerce does his duty, if he considers the facts put forward to him and if on those facts he decides that it is not proper to grant a licence to the bus station or any part of it, then he is bound, by reason of the duties imposed on him under this Bill, not to give a certificate; and when the certificate is not given no licence can be given.
Mr. O'Donnell: It seems to me that Senator O'Higgins is perfectly correct, but I do not believe it is a logical interpretation. Surely we would not have the Minister coming along and  presenting the Bill and putting it through here if he knew the Minister for Industry and Commerce would not give the licence? Surely they would not insult us in that way? Even though technically the word “may” is there instead of “shall”, I consider that Senator O'Higgins' careful argument, with apolgies to him, does not bear the light of day.
This amendment seeks to provide that if the licensee of the bus station wishes to become qualified to obtain an exemption order he must qualify in accordance with the law as it stands now. It seeks to provide that we here shall not qualify him.
I quite appreciate what is meant by this section. The Minister will, no doubt, tell us it is intended that the Oireachtas will confer on the licensee, by virtue of this sub-section, the right to go to court to ask for an exemption order exempting him from the provisions as to prohibited hours on certain occasions. The position to-day is that the owner of a licensed premises who claims that they are a restaurant may, at the sitting of the annual licensing District Court, apply for a certificate that the premises are a restaurant; and if the applicant satisfies the district justice that the premises are structurally adapted for use and bona fide and mainly used as a restaurant, he will issue a restaurant certificate. By virtue of that certificate, the licence holder is exempted from certain provisions as to prohibited hours. For example, he may allow liquor to be consumed on his licensed premises between 2.30 and 3.30 if the drink is consumed with a meal.
The section as it stands would enable the licensee to regard himself as a holder of a restaurant certificate. The section would enable him to go to court  and ask for an exemption order without having had to satisfy a district justice at the annual licensing District Court that his premises were mainly used and suitable for use as a restaurant. Why should not the licensee of C.I.E. be obliged to go to court as any other proprietor of a restaurant must to obtain such a certificate? Why should we make a distinction between C.I.E. and any citizen? Why should we say: “Because you are C.I.E. we are going to make it very simple for you to obtain all kinds of facilities; we are going to say that it will not be necessary for you to go to court to get a justice's certificate as John Smith must go to court; you will get your certificate by virtue of this section”?
I know quite well what we are asked to do. The Oireachtas is being asked to give this certificate in advance, so to speak, to C.I.E. to put them in the same position that a citizen could get into only by going to court and satisfying the court that he is the proprietor of a proper and suitable restaurant. If C.I.E. are really going to carry on a restaurant business here, what difficulty can they anticipate in obtaining from a district justice a restaurant certificate for which any other restaurant owner must apply? Why should we give a most powerful body, such as this, these facilities? I was told on a number of occasions that pressure groups were after me. I denied that; I deny that anyone discussed this Bill with me: any interest I took was actuated solely by desires and wishes of my own. I am inclined to think, however, that a very substantial pressure group was operating to see that it would get facilities that were denied to an ordinary citizen.
As the Minister cannot anticipate there would be any difficulty in C.I.E. obtaining the certificate and as they should not be any better off than the ordinary citizen, I think the Minister should accept the amendment.
Mr. Boland: I do not see any reason why I should. If there is any exception taken to this, if any cases are made against it, those who want to object can go to court and lodge the objection there. I understand that has  been done in the case of the airport and it can be done in this case. I see no case whatever for the amendment. We have the courts in this case to see whether exemption orders will be given or not. I do not know how much this will be availed of, but I see no reason why they should not be able to claim an exemption order if they wish. If they do, they should be in a position to get it. If anyone objects he can go to the court and make the objection there. We are just making provision that if they want the order they should be in a position to get it. If anybody objects to it, I will let them go to the court and make their objection there.
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: I do not object to giving C.I.E. the right to apply for an exemption order. Certainly they should have that right but I say that they should qualify themselves to have that right. They should go to court and get the certificate to enable them to exercise that right. It is all very well for the Minister to say that anybody may go to court and object to the granting of a particular exemption order. That may be done—but why not let us object, if necessary, to the granting of a restaurant certificate to C.I.E.? Why must we give C.I.E. the necessary qualifications to apply for an exemption order when we will not give it to the proprietor of another restaurant? Why, if a restaurant proprietor near a C.I.E. premises must go to court and get a district justice to give him a certificate that he is a restaurant proprietor, must C.I.E. not do that? Why, oh, why, do we seek to confer privileges on bodies such as this, to the detriment of the ordinary citizen? It amazes me. I am surprised that there is no support from the other side of the House for that view.
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: I am quite satisfied with the support which I am receiving on my side of the House. I cannot understand why this amendment  cannot be accepted and supported by the other side of the House.
Mr. O'Donnell: A rather vital principle is involved here, as I mentioned on the Second Reading of the Bill. Would the Minister be good enough to tell us if Senator O'Reilly is correct in saying that a special advantage is being given under this section to C.I.E. —an advantage which is not given to the ordinary citizen? If that is so, would the Minister explain why he is doing it? If the Minister is not making a special exception, then Senator O'Reilly's case falls to the ground.
Mr. O'Donnell: It seems a dangerour precedent, if what Senator O'Reilly says is correct. Apparently, we are giving special facilities to what amounts to a State subsidised organisation—facilities which we refuse to give to the ordinary man in the street. It is a dangerous principle, if it is true.
Mr. O'Higgins: Surely the Minister will at least concede that there is absolutely no question of doubt but that what Senator O'Reilly said is true in every particular and that the only argument which the Minister has is that what is being done now was done before in the case of the airport? There is no point in my going over the Second Reading of the Bill now. The airport is not in the same position but, vis-a-vis the ordinary trader, everything Senator O'Reilly said is quite true.
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: I wonder if the Minister is correct in relying, in this instance, on precedent? Is the Minister quite clear that the airport licensee must not get a restaurant certificate? I am not so clear about it and I suggest that, here again, we  are establishing altogether a new precedent. So far as my recollection serves me, there is no similar provision in the 1943 Act enabling the airport to qualify itself as a restaurant certificate premises. The airport licensee must go to the court and get his restaurant certificate at every annual licensing District Court. But we are going one better now—and next year we will go one better still. We are putting these people into a better position. They get the restaurant certificate by virtue of sub-section (3) of Section 5 of this Bill. Other people have to go to court for exemption orders. The next time we are having a nationalised concern, we will go two or three better.
(3) The local authority shall not issue a certificate where the owner of the lowest estate or tenancy in the premises has received or is entitled to receive compensation from the local authority for the acquisition of the premises.
I move this amendment with a view to having determined that a licence holder or, to be more accurate, the owner of a licensed premises who has been compensated by a local authority in respect of the licensed premises, does not, in addition to the compensation, get facilities to enable him to get a new licence without any trouble. A person whose property is acquired by a local authority is paid compensation for its acquisition. The amount of the compensation is either agreed upon between the local authority and the person whose property is acquired or it is determined by an arbitrator. If the owner of the property accepts, by agreement, from the local authority a particular sum, we may take it that he is reasonably satisfied with the amount he receives. In such an event, why should the owner of the  acquired property get any further compensation, in the way of being put into the position that he may obtain a licence similar to that attaching to the premises which were acquired, without any difficulty whatever? That is the meaning of this part of the Bill as to licensing.
Where the compensation for acquired premises is fixed by an arbitrator, the person whose property was acquired may possibly think that the amount of compensation fixed was very small. My view is that arbitrators award very small compensation but, at any rate, their awards are binding and they can be appealed against only on a point of law. Therefore, where an arbitrator, working on correct principle, makes an award, the award is not challengeable on the amount. It may be that the people who receive compensation through an arbitrator are disappointed. Very many people have expressed strong views as to the arbitrator's ideas of value. However, where compensation has been so awarded, it has been awarded in accordance with the law and, therefore, that compensation should suffice properly to compensate the person whose property was acquired.
Under this Bill, the position as to compensation either by agreement or by arbitration remains as it is to-day but, in addition, a person will be given facilities to enable him to obtain a new licence.
The purpose of this amendment is to get information from the Minister as to what he believes the position to be and to ascertain if he approves that where, say, the Dublin Corporation allows a licensed trader £10,000 for his premises, the trader may, without any difficulty, be put into the position of getting a new licence similar to that attaching to the premises which were acquired from him. According to the Bill, and the Compulsory Acquisition Acts, that appears to me to be the position. I should like to be satisfied by the Minister that that is not the case. If he satisfies me, I shall withdraw this amendment. It seems to me that a person will get compensation both ways. He will get it for the premises which were acquired and, in  addition, he is being given the right to get a new licence for a premises which he will be able to purchase at a site not very far away from his original premises.
Mr. Boland: I do not think that the corporations or other local bodies are so flaithiulach as that, that they are going to give people more compensation than they are entitled to. I have always heard the very reverse—that they have not got enough. It may happen that a person will get a new licence in a different area, where, in the opinion of the local authority, the business would not be as good as it was in the premises demolished and it might be necessary then to give that person something extra. I do not know whether it will or not, but it could happen, and, if we were to accept the amendment, we would unduly tie the hands of the local authority in the awarding of compensation to people whose premises have been demolished. I do not see any case at all for it.
Professor Hayes: Is it true that each kind of compensation might be considered together, that, when a sum of money has been granted, it is taken into consideration that a licence may be granted as well, or that when a licence is applied for, the sum of money is taken into consideration?
Mr. Boland: It could happen Suppose there was some very populous area in which a particular house was doing a big trade. If that house were knocked down, with the surrounding premises, a new licence might be given and the person concerned might agree to take a licence in another part of the town or city which he knew would not bring in anything near the income he had before. I could visualise something in addition being given to compensate him. There would be all sorts of cases like that arising and it would be altogether wrong to tie the hands of a local authority in the way in which acceptance of the amendment would tie them.
Mr. O'Higgins: I ask the Minister to look further into this. Is Senator O'Reilly not right in advancing the view that when a local authority acquires a particular property, they must compensate the owner or the person from whom the property has been acquired and, if that is not done by agreement, as the law stands, it must be done by arbitration, but that, whether by agreement or arbitration, the compensation must be paid? As I understand it, that is the case being put forward by Senator O'Reilly and with which I agree. I think it is a correct reading of the law at the moment. Will the Minister look into this—is there anything in this Bill which is in any way going to take away from the law as it stands? I do not think there is, and I think the position is that, when a premises has been acquired by a local authority, compensation must be paid and that all that the Bill does is to give authority to grant the certificate referred to in the section.
Senator O'Reilly's amendment is designed to call the Minister's attention to that position, that you may have a situation arising in which a local authority is compelled to pay the compensation and will also grant a certificate. He puts forward the question whether or not the granting of a certificate should be taken into account in abatement of the compensation and is there any authority in the Bill to allow that to be done? Senator O'Reilly wants to be fair to both the local authority and the person whose premises may be acquired. It is necessary to be fair to both and I suggest the Minister should look into it again from that point of view.
Mr. Hearne: As a former member of a local authority, who still takes a great interest in their work, I confess —I may be unduly stupid—that I cannot follow the amendment. Am I to understand that this is the case: a house which is a licensed premises is demolished; arbitration or agreement decides that compenstion, £1,000 for the house and £100 for the licence—a total compensation of £1,100—should be paid and that, in addition, the local authority will give a certificate?
Mr. Hearne: Let us leave the legal niceties out of it. Any arbitrator, in my experience, will take into account all relevant circumstances. In other words, the compensation he will decide for the owner of a licensed premises which has to be demolished will be greater than it would be if that premises were not a licensed premises. He will take into account, in assessing his award, the value of the licence attaching to the premises.
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: The arbitrator cannot take into account whether or not the person whose property has been acquired may get a new site. As the law stands at the moment, the arbitrator must find what is the value of the premises. If the value of the premises is £5,000, he may not allow £4,000 because the council may possibly give a certificate enabling a man to get a licence. The owner of the property will be entitled to get the value of his premises, £5,000, and, if he is to get a site in addition to his proper compensation, he is going to have a very good time.
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: I am endeavouring to make clear that an arbitrator must award the full value of the premises and cannot take into consideration  the fact that a man may get a certificate or that the council has actually got a certificate ready to issue to him. It cannot be advanced to the arbitrator by the local authority's adviser: “You must allow less compensation in this case, because we are going to give this person a site.” He cannot take that into consideration. This whole matter has not been properly dealt with a view to ensuring that a person will not have compensation both ways. Do not tell me that there is a pressure group behind me in putting forward this particular amendment. I merely want to see that people will not be compensated twice.
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: I must make this clear at the risk of repeating myself. The fact that a man may get a certificate under this Act from the council may not be taken into consideration by the arbitrator in assessing the compensation. Accordingly, if the arbitrator assesses compensation and acts properly, he awards the full value of the premises and then the applicant may come in and get a certificate under this Act.
Mr. Boland: What is there to investigate? He will either take the money or the licence. He need not opt for the licence. He can apply under the ordinary Housing Acts and claim his compensation there and the local authority would be in a position to sell the licence somewhere else because they will have authority to issue a licence in respect of the premises which have been demolished.
I am sure the Minister will not have any objection to accepting this amendment. Sub-section (3) (d) seeks to provide that, where a licence attached to premises which had been acquired had an endorsement or two endorsements and a new licence is subquently granted in respect, might I say, of these premises, the endorsement or two endorsements should be carried over to the new licence that might be granted. If an applicant has been able to get that far to get a new licence, even though on there were one or two endorsements on the old licence, I think he should be allowed to start with a clean sheet. He should be wished bon voyage by the Minister in regard to his new licence.
We may be told it is in other Acts that, where licences are transferred, any endorsement on the old one is continued on the new. As the Minister has gone to a lot of trouble in this part of the Bill, I am sure he will agree that any person who gets a new licence should be given it with a new sheet. If my amendment is accepted that will be the effect of it. The Minister should accept it. I do not know what objection there could be to it.
Mr. Boland: We are simply giving him the same licence as he had before. If there is an endorsement on the licence it affects the holder of the licence. I do not see any reason why we should change it. The person will get exactly the same licence as he had before. The Senator will agree that,  since the 1943 Act, endorsements are not put on nearly as often. In fact, I think it was mandatory to put on endorsements before that was removed under the 1943 Act. It is only where a justice is satisfied the person deserved to have his licence endorsed that it is done now. It was mandatory before.
Mr. O'Higgins: The only point I see in favour of the amendment was what I thought was the reason Senator O'Reilly moved the amendment. We are dealing now with cases where public-houses may be transferred from one area to another. Without going into details, I think it will be accepted that very often the reason for the endorsement on the licence is the particular environment surrounding the public-house. I thought Senator O'Reilly might have in mind an endorsement in the circumstances visualised by the Minister, and that if the publican is now moving to a new neighbourhood, although in the same city, he could very well be let start with a clean sheet.
Mr. Hawkins: Senator O'Higgins wants the House to accept this amendment despite the fact that he opposed giving additional compensation to persons previously. The fact that the amendment will remove an impediment  on a licence is an additional compensation.
Mr. O'Higgins: I do not object. If the Minister tells us that he has firmly made up his mind not to consider any of the suggestions put forward on the Committee Stage, I do not see any point in objecting.
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