Thursday, 25 February 1954
Seanad Éireann Debate
Rúnaí Parlaiminte an Aire Talmhaíochta (Gearóid Mac Pharthaláin): An chéad rud a bhí le réiteach nuair a bhíothas ag iarraidh tuille airgid a sholáthar i gcóir caomhantas an bhradáin cé an chaoi ar chóir é a thóraíocht. Tá trí bhealach ann ó thús i. rátaí a gearrtar ar chearta leithleasacha iascaigh, ceadúnais líontóireachta sna hinbhir agus sa bhfairrge agus ceadúnais iascach slaite. Faoi láthair, agus le tamall anuas, tá, an ceathrú bealach ann, ' sé sin deontais a dhéanamh as Vóta An Iascaigh do na Boird siúd nach rabh i ndon fáltas agus caiteachas a chothromú. hÁrdaíodh na rátaí go minic go dtí go bhfuila dhá oiread le fáil uathu is a gheibhtí i mbliain a naoi déag tríocha naoi. Sé laghdú luach an airgid idir an dá linn faoi ndear ganntan theacht-isteach na mBord Caomhnóirí. Nuair nach rabh mórán de chabhair mar dheontas ag teastáil ní rabh sé thar réasún é a bhaint de Vóta an Iascaigh. Le blianta beaga anuas, áfach, tá na héilimh ar an gcabhair seo ag éirigh chomh líonmhar sin agus chomh trom sa méid a hiarrtar go mbéigean socrú faoi leith a dhéanamh.
Tá méadú i líon na gceadúnaithe ó chuaigh praghas an bhradáin suas  go mór de bharr dí-rialaithe thall; agus do réir chuile chúntais, tá, méadú níos, mó ar an bpóitseáil san am chéanna. Is cruthúnas do-shéanta é seo go bhfuil brabach thar a gcoitian le baint as an mbradán agus go bhfuil sé dá bhaint. San iomlán, tá timpeall seacht míle fostaithe sa tionscal agus bordáil sé mhíle duine a bhaineas spórt as an iascach seo. Tá chuile dhuine acu seo go tréan ar thaobh tuille chaomhantais a sholáthar ins na haibhneacha, agus níl sé thar réasún go n-íocfaidís féin an costas.
The proposals contained in this Bill have been framed with the object of creating a fund fed annually by levies on exports of salmon and on salmon rod licences, the produce of which can be applied for the conservation of the stocks of salmon on which the salmon fishing industry depends for its prosperity. It is hardly necessary for me to say that this industry is an extremely valuable one inasmuch as it produces an exportable surplus valued at close on £750,000 yearly, and also offers highly enjoyable sport both to our native anglers and to a growing body of visitors to this country.
The duty of protecting and conserving stocks of salmon is placed by statute on boards of fishery conservators who are provided by law with two main sources of income, namely fishery rates and licence duties. Proprietary fisheries are already bearing a very considerable burden of rates in contributing a total of some £26,000 annually to conservancy funds, and the licence duties on rods and on the various fishing engines used for commercial capture of salmon bring in another £15,000. In the past few years, with salmon commanding unprecedentedly high prices, there has been added incentive to the capture of fish in season and out of season and whether by fair means or foul.
The conservators have done all that is possible within the resources at their command to strengthen their protection services and to meet the  growing demand for better pay on the part of their hardworking protection staff. The majority of boards find themselves committed to spending in excess of their statutory revenues in order to maintain a minimum protection service, and steadily increasing provision has had to be made in the Vote for Fisheries for the payment of grants to boards which find themselves in this position. A sum of £8,000 which was provided for this purpose in the present financial year did not, in fact, suffice to meet all the calls for financial assistance which, on the information available to me, as to deficiencies in staffing of protection services, I should have felt fully justified in meeting had the necessary funds been at my disposal.
It might appear that this shortage of funds could readily be met by increasing the statutory revenues of the conservators but as I have already said, fishery ratepayers are already bearing a very heavy burden, with the rate in many cases standing at a higher rate per pound than that for local authority purposes. If an increase in licence duties were to be relied upon, nothing less than 100 per cent. increase all round would be worth while and this I am satisfied, would not result in an equitable distribution of the additional burden particularly for the working fisherman who would have to find double his present licence duty before the season opens, irrespective of whether the season should prove to be a good one or whether the particular fishery in which he plies his trade enables him to sell on the early market or only in the late summer when prices have fallen on arrival of the grilse run in our waters. To meet such a variety of conditions, it is obvious that the contributions by the fishermen using the commercial methods is best secured on a pay-as-you-earn system.
The provisions of the Bill providing for the imposition of the two forms of levy call for little elaboration. Section 2 provides for the making of Orders requiring the payment of levy on all salmon proposed to be exported. and Section 3 provides for the fixing of the rate of levy from time to time. By  sub-section (3) the rate is subject to a ceilling of 2d. per lb., which may be lifted only if an Order is made prescribing a higher rate and is confirmed by resolution of each House of the Oireachtas, in accordance with sub-section (4). On the basis of exports of the volume experienced in recent years, it is expected that adequate revenue will be brought in by levy at the rate of 2d. a lb. on exports up to the end of May in each year, and 1d. per lb. from 1st June onwards when fish of the grilse type form the major portion of the catch and market prices are correspondingly lower.
Section 4 provides for the payment of levy on salmon rod licences at a rate which is not to exceed one-half of the licence duty. This provision will apply to the present £2 rod licence for a whole season in any fishery district and to the short-term licences issued at £1 each by certain boards for 14 days or for a period after 1st July in any year. As provided in sub-section (4), no levy will be chargeable on the 10/- endorsement fee payable by a rod fisherman to the board of conservators for each additional district after the first in which he proposes to fish. As at present advised, I consider that a levy on salmon rods at the rate of one-fourth of the licence duty will correspond in a rough and ready way with the rates of levy on exported salmon. I may say, however, that this is based on a very conservative estimate of anglers' catch for which we must rely on statistical returns furnished by the rod fishermen themselves. We have allowed for an average annual catch of only five fish per rod and, in these days when there are so many professional anglers and when even the sportsmen are becoming increasingly interested in the commercial value of their catch, these ideas may have to be radically revised.
The only other matter of principle to which it seems necessary to refer is the fact that Section 7 provides for the making of grants or repayable advances into the Salmon Conservancy Fund out of voted moneys. This is purely a precautionary measure as I see no reason to apprehend that at any time in the foreseeable future the revenues coming into the fund should  be insufficient for the purpose intended save, perhaps, in the event of exceptional circumstances when advances might be required to make good some temporary deficiency due to a poor salmon-fishing season.
I may say that the principle underlying this Bill, namely that the funds required for the better protection of salmon should be found from within the salmon-fishing industry itself, is one that has been discussed fairly widely, and I know of no reasoned case which has been made against it. If any additional information is required to enable the House to appreciate the necessity for this measure, I shall be very happy to afford it.
Mr. P.F. O'Reilly: I feel I must oppose any attempt to impose a levy on the export of fish. I take it that what is comtemplated by “export” is export from this country, not, say, from one county to another. I am sure the Parliamentary Secretary will make that clear to us.
Not very long ago, it was suggested here that a levy or tax should be imposed on cattle leaving the country. That was very strongly opposed at the time and the suggestion, when made, was immediately suppressed. We never heard anything more about that.
The levy of 2d. per lb. proposed to be imposed on the export of salmon— with the right, on approval by both House of the Oireachtas, to increase it—may not appear very great. I think I may concede straightway that it is a small tax. However, I thoroughly dislike the idea of taxing any export of ours. I fear it may open the door for this suggestion that was made some time ago that cattle being exported from the country should be taxed. If only for that reason, we should oppose the proposal to levy a tax on salmon which is being exported.
I did not hear the Parliamentary Secretary say what amount it was expected would be realised by this imposition. I do not know if the Minister's expectancy in regard to this amount will be fully realised. The imposition of the levy may start  another industry and the Minister may not be able to collect any money at all. The new industry that may be started, following the imposition of this levy, will be the illicit export of salmon with a view to avoiding payment of the levy. I thoroughly oppose the levy for the reasons which I have stated.
May I ask the Parliamentary Secretary what effort is being made to deal with the poaching of fish? I understand that poaching has increased very considerably in recent years. I learned not long ago that there was not the co-operation that we might expect between the boards of conservators and the Garda Síochána. If that information is correct, I should like the Parliamentary Secretary to do what he can to ensure that there will be complete co-operation between the Garda authorities and the conservators, with a view to preventing poaching. I think that poaching has proceeded recently on a very extensive scale, with very great damage to fishing both from the point of view of those commercially engaged in it and from the point of view of those people who take a rod and line to fish by way of sport.
For the reasons which I have indicated, I think we should oppose this levy on exported fish. I think it is all wrong that we should impose that levy. I find it difficult to believe that the Minister could not raise the funds otherwise than by a levy.
Mr. O'Donnell: I wonder if the Parliamentary Secretary would tell us whether he has been in consultation with fishery associations on this matter and what the reaction is? I understand from friends of mine who are interested in deep-sea salmon fishing in the Donegal area that this levy will be a very serious deterrent to them in the development of their fishing. The majority of people operating in that area are people of small capital and limited means. If it were necessary at all to finance a board of conservators to help them to combat poaching or to protect the fisheries, it would be more desirable that some  other source should be found for the provision of this money.
The Donegal fishermen tell me that though it might appear a small amount, it can have a very severe effect on them. It is a haphazard life and very great risks are involved. There is an increasing capital expenditure accruing from day to day. They look on this as a sort of thing that would drive them back to the limits of their endurance and endanger their survival as fishermen. There is more involved than the mere provision of the money for a certain purpose. The majority of the men who are deep-sea fishermen belong to the Fíor-Ghaeltacht. Anything we may do which might injure the inhabitants of that area should be very carefully considered. If the Parliamentary Secretary had asked for a sum from the Central Fund he would have had more ready approval.
Apart altogether from that point, this principle of the introduction of a levy on an export article is a rather unsound one and it is rather unfair, except in times of emergency or where it is in the national interest that no goods should be exported, particularly anything that is native to the country. Senator Hearne shakes his head, probably as disagreeing with me, but I can see no reason why, when times are normal and when trade is being sought for through the ordinary channels, an export levy should be imposed on any export article—except where it is being exported to the detriment of the national interest. The Parliamentary Secretary cannot say that the export of salmon—of which he said there was a considerable export surplus last year —is doing something against the national interest.
The real trouble about salmon is that the ordinary people cannot afford to buy it. It is priced out of the market. It seems to be one of the luxury articles for which we have succeeded in finding a market abroad. We should be careful now about doing anything which may damage that market—apart from the effect it may have on the lives of people in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht who are fishermen by tradition and who are living upon the fringe of near  starvation. No one knows that better than the Parliamentary Secretary himself, who comes from the area and knows I am pleading for people of his own kith and kin. I am sure he would be the last to impose this levy if there were any other means of doing it. I suggest he might reconsider the method employed and the principle involved. It is sure to have a bad effect on these people and also it is creating a precedent in the export of goods.
There is another aspect which strikes me. I am not quite clear as to how it will affect the single rod angler. It is obvious that if there is one thing that can be sold here as a tourist attraction, it is above all others the art of angling. We have been blessed in Ireland with a number of rivers where there is fine fishing accommodation and fine fish. Anyone in touch with anglers knows that for the past few months, since the fishing opened on the 1st February, there is abundant evidence that the sport of salmon fishing is one that should be developed in every way. There is nothing which would react more unfavourably on private angling —apart altogether from the principle of increased charges—than a levy of this kind. It should be carefully avoided by any Government.
On the one hand we have the Minister for Industry and Commerce coming here to tell us all the good things we have and all that Fógra Fáilte and the Tourist Association are doing. Probably there is no attraction in which there is more enjoyment or more in which there is material benefit than that of angling. If this Bill is going to react upon anglers we ought to view it from that aspect. I see Senator Dowdall here and I think that she in another capacity might be able to see that point. Anything that would damage private angling should be avoided.
My primary consideration is for the fishermen, for those living on the fringe of the Fíor-Ghaeltacht area. They tell me at least—I do not know what they told the Parliamentary Secretary—that this levy, small as it may be, will make things difficult for  them. We know how these things work and how State officials, when they get in the thin end of the wedge, can increase this levy more and more. This is an intrusion on the livelihood of people for whom we are passing money under other heads in this House to aid their survival. Nothing makes their survival more difficult. This Bill creates a precedent in the charging of a levy on these exportable goods, and on that principle alone I would oppose it.
Mr. S.T. Ruane: I take it the Government considers the establishment of this Salmon Conservation Fund as necessary for the encouragement and preservation of what should be a very important industry and what should bring in an amount of capital into the State. Senator O'Reilly referred to the incidence of poaching. I confess that I have some kind of sympathy for poachers. Many stretches of our salmon and trout rivers are under the control of vested interests— people who are not racy of the soil, who have inherited these rights from an alien Government. If it were possible to put the preservation of our rivers under popular control I believe that a large amount of the poaching and illegal fishing would be avoided. I am told that the co-operation at present between the Garda and the water bailiffs is not what it used to be before we secured our independence. I hope that at some future time some Minister will take the courage in his hands and try to get rid of these vested interests. By putting these rivers and this industry under popular control he would create a feeling of pride on the part of young people in the development of this industry and that would prevent a great deal of the illegal fishing going on now.
Mr. O'Dwyer: I would like to support the Bill, from what the Parliamentary Secretary has said about it. I understand this levy on exports is for the purpose of providing money for the boards of conservators, to enable them to protect the salmon fishing. I know very little about fishing, but I understand this Bill is very necessary as the  poaching has developed to such an extent that it may destroy the industry. It will require to be put down if the industry is to be preserved. For that reason we should be quite satisfied to impose the levy, seeing that it is for the purpose the Minister has stated. I always heard that this salmon industry was capable of very great development. Very many years ago before the Shannon scheme was started there was very good fishing there, but I understand that the Shannon scheme had a drastic effect on fisheries in the Shannon. I suggest that as this industry is capable of great development, for which there is a good and enduring market and a profit to the producer, every possible step should be taken to develop it to its fullest extent. It might be better to set up a Government company such as has been established for other things, in order to undertake the export of salmon. Though I make that suggestion I am not sure if it would be the right thing to do. The industry should be developed to its fullest extent for the general good of the country.
Micheál Óg Mac Pháidin: Táim ar aon intinn leis an Seanadóir Ó Domhnaill ar an Bhille seo. Níor chóir go mbéadh cáin mar seo ar bhradáin a gheibh iascairí bochta na Gaeltachta ar chóstaí an Iarthair. Bhédh sé éagórach cáin a chur ar na bradáin seo. Ba chóir go mbéadh fhios ag an Rúnaí Parlaiminte é féin an caoi atá na h-iascairí seo, atá, ag saothrú greim a mbéil go cruaidh ar bhárr na fairrige. Ba chóir go mbeadh siad saor ó cháin mar seo.
Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha: Tá suim agamsa sa cheist seo agus aontuím leis an mBille atá os ár gcomhair. Is trua liom ná téann an Bille níos sia maidir leis an tionscal, ós tionscal é, agus rud éigin a dhéanamh fé únaeracht na n-iascarachtaí atá i bpáirteanna den tír theas agus thiar agus i lár baill, ach is dóca gur bshin gnó do lá éigin eile.
Sí an cheist atá sa Bhille seo ná go bhfuil airgid ag teastáil chun forbairt a dhéanamh agus chun cosaint a dhéanamh ar an tionscal agus caithfear an tairgead sin a sholáthar chun ná  raghadh an tionscal i léig ar fad. Mar sin, molaimse an Bille agus molaim glacadh leis. Mar adúirt mé ar dtús, tá súil agam go dtiocfaidh an lá nuair a chuirfidh an Rialtas deire leis an únaeracht nea-chóir atá anois ann agus go ndéanfar rud éigin, fé mar deineadh leis an talamh, leis na hiascarachtaí atá ar fud na tíre i lámhaibh daoine Gallda, daoine gur cuma leo an tír seo bheith thíos nó thuas.
Mr. Bartley: I think I should deal with the point of principle which has been raised by Senator P.F. O'Reilly and Senator O'Donnell. Senator P.F. O'Reilly has made a comparison between a levy on exported salmon and a levy on cattle. I think that such a comparison will not bear examination at all. When one considers the very large sums of public money which are provided so that farmers can rear their stock to the best possible advantage, can have the best breeds, can have made available to them knowledge as to the best kinds of feeding, and when the country is dotted all over with stations which provide scientific aids and helps to the farmer and when there is an army of officials helping the farmer in respect of every detail of agricultural produce, so that his losses will be reduced to a minimum and his produce will be of the best marketable kind on foreign markets and then considers that none of that work is necessary in relation to fish, that Almighty God Himself has done in relation to fish what the State and taxation are trying to do for the farmer, I think one will realise that the comparison is demolished straightway and that this cannot at all be established as a matter of principle.
The activity in relation to the protection of salmon comparable with what I have indicated in the agricultural field is exactly what we are now doing. The fish are there—nature provides them—and all we want to see is that nature gets a fair run. If nature gets a fair run, the commercial fisherman and the sporting fisherman will be able to get the fullest possible sport and profit from the industry and that  condition of affairs will continue if we can reduce to the minimum the unfair methods—the unnatural methods, I might call them—which alone limit the profits which the netsmen in the estuary and the rodsmen on the river can get from the lordly salmon. Therefore, I think there is no comparison at all between a levy on agricultural produce and a levy on fish, because nature takes a hand in the matter which it does not take in the same way at all in relation to agricultural produce.
Senator O'Donnell asked me if I had consultations with the people who would be best able to advise on this matter. I should like to tell him that, a year ago, I attended the annual meeting of the National Salmon Anglers' Federation in Clonmel, and, while no formal decision was made while I was present, both I and the Civil Service head of the Fisheries Branch, who accompanied me, came away with the impression that not alone did the Salmon Anglers' Federation support this but they were enthusiastic about it—even the part which imposes an excise duty of 10/- on themselves.
Mr. Bartley: With regard to the advice I got in favour of this, let me continue and say that I have had the same sort of advice also from boards of conservators and from smaller groups than the National Salmon Anglers' Federation around the country.
With regard to the netsmen, I might, perhaps, throw light on the matter for Senator O'Donnell best by telling him that, in the Cork area, the netsmen, some years ago, submitted themselves voluntarily to a levy of 6d. per lb. for this very purpose. They appreciate, and nobody appreciates more realistically than the netsmen, the necessity for better and more constant protection of the narrow waters in which the great damage is done. Anywhere I have gone amongst estuarine fishermen, they have all insisted on this one point: that the salmon they go out to catch have a pretty good chance of escaping their nets.  They usually fish in estuaries which are fairly wide and the salmon gets a fair run, so to speak; but they have always pointed out to me that when the salmon escape their nets and get into narrow waters in the remote stretches of the rivers, the salmon have no chance, and they have always insisted that better protection should be provided in these more dangerous waters, as they describe them. That, I am certain, will be accepted by all Senators as being the truth of the position.
The question, therefore, that seems to me to be resolved is the source from which this money is to come. We have only two sources from which it can come and we did not toss up a coin to choose which of them we would adopt. We examined each of them thoroughly and exhaustively and on the result of that examination we decided this was the better method, the other being that the general taxpayer should foot the bill. If we are again to apply principle to the question I do not think I would have any fixed or firm opinion that it should not be done by way of putting a levy on the general taxpayer who never handles a rod, who has never seen a salmon net and who, as Senator O'Donnell indicated, has never tasted a bit of salmon in his life because it is too deal and beyond his reach.
As I say, I would not have any objection to doing that on principle. I think at the same time that if one applies a sense of fair play and equity to the matter there was not any choice but to decide that the people who followed fishing as a sport should really pay the piper in the matter.
There are 7,000 people who get the whole or part of their livelihood from salmon fishing either as netsmen or as employees of boards, et cetera. Last year there were, I think, in round figures, 6,000 licences. All these people are not Irishmen but I take it that nobody has an objection to foreigners coming here and paying their licence and fishing wherever they can get salmon fishing here. Here is a total of 13,000 people who are intimately interested in salmon fishing.
 I think it is true to say that all the people who take out rod licences are not now angling for salmon purely for sport. We know that some of our rodmen—it gratified me to hear it, in any event—were making a very considerable sideline from their salmon rod licences. It is not, I think, an exaggerated statement to say that many of them would earn an income of £100 per year from legitimate salmon angling.
We have, of course, statistics available to us of the amount of salmon captured by the various methods. By statute it is mandatory to supply statistics of all salmon and white trout taken. On the basis of these statistics, it has been worked out that the average rod catch, taking the country as a whole—I am not breaking it up into its various fishery districts— is from four to six salmon per year. The value of that catch is estimated to be between £10 and £13. That is an average. If you take some districts you will find that the average varies. Take the district of Ballina. The average there would be about £20 per rod. The extra 10/- which the rodman has now to pay should be examined, I think, in the light of the value of the average rod catch.
Back in 1925, when 20/- was more valuable than it is now and when the salmon rod licence was £1, the licence was increased to £2. I suggest that an increase of 100 per cent. in 1925 was a much taller order for the salmon angler than is 25 per cent. of £2 in 1954.
We do not propose to add anything to the endorsement licence of 10/- as provided for in the 1925 Act, but the increased duty would apply to the short-term licences which are made available by some boards after 1st July for visiting anglers.
Matters with which this Bill does not deal have been referred to, and while I have no objection to giving as much information as is available to me, I am sure Senators will realise that information will not readily be available in regard to matters on which I have not been briefed. On the question of ownership referred to by Senator An  Seabhac and Senator Ruane, I would say that the 1939 Act provided for the acquisition of the estuarine fisheries.
The emergence of the war situation prevented that particular part of the 1939 Act from being implemented. It is so framed that a considerably long period of observation will have to be undertaken before, in fact, acquisition of any such fisheries could be completed. I feel that because of the long delay which has already taken place it is undesirable that we should proceed to implement that part of the 1939 Act as it stands and that some more expeditious method of securing the acquisition would have to be worked out. I can tell the Seanad that a suitable amendment of the 1939 Act for that purpose is being given attention at the present time.
The Fisheries Branch is one that does not take a prominent place among the Departments of State, but I want to tell the Seanad that I discovered the amount of work which the Fisheries Branch does bears no relation at all to the smallness of the number of its staff. The amount of routine work which is placed upon them has prevented them from giving the attention to this very important matter of ownership which it should be given. When I discovered that position, I made suitable representations. I have succeeded in securing for Fisheries Branch some extra help which will be applied very effectively for the purpose to which the Senators referred.
I was asked by Senator O'Reilly what efforts we were making to check poaching. All I can say is that this Bill is the answer to his question. We want more money for this purpose. I do not want to be taken as promising that we will eliminate poaching entirely. I think Senators knows as well as I do that that is impossible. If we reduce it to manageable dimensions, we will secure that the stocks in our rivers will be adequate for the future operations of both the sportsman and the netsman.
Ba mhaith liom tagairt a dhéanamh don chaint a rinne an Seanadóir MacPháidín. Arís ba mhaith liom a rá leis nach raibh agam ach an dá  rogha. Theastódh uaim an teacht isteach do mhéadú fá dhó mar tá fhíos ag Seanadóirí íocann lucht na n-eangach £4 ar cheadúnas sar a mbéarfaidh siad ar bhradán ar bith. Leis an méid chéanna airgid a fháil chaithfinn luach an cheadunais sin a mhéadú fá dhó i riocht is go mbeadh ar an iascaire £8 a íoc in ionad £4. Is dócha go bhfuil fhios ag Seanadóirí, mar tá fhios agam féin, fá iascairí an iarthair, gur minic a chaitheann an t-iascaire an t-airgead sin d'fháil ar iasacht agus gur minic nach mbíonn rath ag an iascaireacht. Bíonn difríocht ins gach inbhear. B'fhéidir go mbeadh rath aír in inbhear amháin agus i gceann eile nach mbeadh rath ar bith léi. Mar sin, bheadh a £8 caite sa pholl ag an iascaire bocht sin. Chaitheann sé an £4 a íoc ar aon chaoi.
Sa chás seo nílmíd ach ag iarraidh air go n-íochfadh sé do réir mar a shaothrós sé agus dá mhéid a shaothrós sé sea is mó a íochfadh sé. Ceapaim go bhfuil sin an-chothrom ar fad. Is féidir le duine £10 a íoc do réir a chéile bhféidir nuair nach bhféadfadh sé £1 amháin a leagadh síos. Bhí sé sin ar intinn agam nuair a bhíomar ag ceapadh amach an bealach ab fhearr chun an t-airgead a fháil.
Táim ag ceapadh gur thug mé freagra i mBéarla ar an Seanadóir, An Seabhac, fé únaereacht agus ní dóigh liom gur gá é a rá i nGaeilg leis. Pé scéal é, ba mhaith liom a innsint dó gur rud an-tábhachtach linne an cheist sin agus go bhfuil an oiread deifre orainn le deireadh a chur leis an sean réim agus tá air féin. Is mian liom a chur in iúl dó, áfach, go raibh fadhbanna agus deacrachtaí le fuascailt sa scéal agus táimid ag iarraidh réiteach a fháil ar na fadhbanna sin.
I do not know whether I have answered all the points that were made and if there is any question of special importance which any Senator thinks I have not dealt with adequately I will be only too pleased to answer further questions.
Mr. Bartley: I know that on the last occasion I was foolhardy enough to suggest I might get the Bill in all its stages and, having been warned on that occasion, I am loath to ask such a facility again. However, as was pointed out in the Dáil yesterday, Opposition Deputies did not see any reason for delaying it any further and they gave me all stages. If the Seanad has any objection to that I will be quite prepared to wait until next week.
Mr. O'Donnell: I think it would be very advisable to leave the Committee Stage over because the information I have on net fishing is quite the opposite to that of the Parliamentary Secretary. I am entirely in agreement with what he wants to do; it is the way he is doing it I am in disagreement with.
Mr. Bartley: I shall try to give the full information I have at my disposal. I did not suggest that nets fishermen or even rodsmen are enamoured of the taking of more money from them. What I do suggest is that the netsman who is now asked to pay the additional money which we want from him according as he earns it would choose that method rather than being asked to pay £8 down, as compared with the £4 which he now pays, before he can cast a net or before he can catch a salmon. Senators, particularly from the West of Ireland, know that pretty often the netsman has to borrow the £4 to pay for the licence and if he has a bad year he cannot make very much on it. I had to bear that consideration very much in mind in deciding as to which method would be adopted and it seems to me that £8 would be rather much to ask a netsman to pay at the beginning or a incur as a debt, running the risk as he always must that he might not earn £8 worth of fish. I thought that even if he had to pay the greater sum over the season——
Mr. Hearne: I would suggest the Seanad should give the Parliamentary Secretary all stages. This is a Money Bill which cannot be effectively amended as Senator O'Donnell has indicated. Because of the element of urgency that is in it and because the Opposition in the Dáil though fit to give all stages, I suggest that, while we would like to maintain the independence of the Seanad, no useful purpose would be served by doing next Thursday what we can do to-day.
Mr. O'Donnell: Might I again appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary, before he gets this Bill, that he might consider the adoption of some other method of doing the work he wants to do? I quite agree with Senator Hearne that there is no use in holding up the Bill, because it is quite obvious I am in a minority of one in this matter. However, I am still thinking of the fishermen and of the workers in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht. Despite the arguments of the Parliamentary Secretary, I believe there are other sections of the community who could carry this burden better than the net fishermen. There are many other Bills passed through this House in connection with which the money comes out of the Central Fund. If you take old age pensions, which is in itself a sort of subsidy to live, that is a levy, as it were, upon the general public.
Would the Parliamentary Secretary not consider some other method of securing the moneys which he desires, and which I think are desirable, for the purpose which he has in mind? I do not like the principle of a levy on exports. It is creating a precedent which may have very peculiar repercussions on our whole trade position.  I cannot see any justificable reason under normal conditions why a levy of this nature should be imposed upon any particular section of the community. We, in this House, are not so much a constituency-minded assembly and we should take every opportunity to look at matters broadly. This is a matter of national prestige, and we should not easily pass over and accept such words as “levy” because it seems desirable in certain circumstances. I would again appeal that the Parliamentary Secretary would try and discover some other means of doing the work he wants to do—and which we all approve of. We object to the levy. It should come out of the Central Fund, and I oppose the section for that reason.
Mr. Hearne: Senator O'Donnell has often entertained this House by woolly thinking, but I have seldom heard him as woolly as he has been just now. To compare this with the old age pensions allocation is something that does not demand even a sensible answer. To suggest that what he calls “a levy on export” is wrong in principle is entirely foolish.
This Bill purports to preserve and extend the rights and benefits that salmon fishermen have at present and that we hope they will have in the future. One of the greatest proofs of the efficacy of what Senator O'Donnell calls “a levy on exports” in a particular industry is the voluntary levy that the Harris tweed manufacturers themselves impose. It ranges from 3d. to 6d. per yard on Harris tweeds. That is put into a fund similar to the fund which it is proposed to set up here. That fund is used for the purpose of advertising all over the world the merits of Harris tweeds. As a result of the intensive advertising campaign, particularly in America, Harris tweeds enjoy a market of which we would be very glad to enjoy even 10 per cent. If Senator O'Donnell deplores that, then he should take an active part in ensuring that a voluntary organisation of tweed manufacturers in Donegal will be prevented from following on the lines of the Harris tweed manufacturers.
Mr. O'Donnell: What Senator Hearne has to say about the Harris tweeds has no relation to the point which I raised. Senator Hearne is talking about a voluntary fund. That is the main and fundamental difference between us. On the Second Reading this afternoon I asked the Parliamentary Secretary about the attitude of the deep-sea fishermen in this connection. In the course of his reply, the Parliamentary Secretary said that they were friendly towards it and that the single-rod angler was friendly towards it. However, at a later stage he said that nobody wanted to pay money out of their own pockets. I have no objection if Senator Hearne and the Parliamentary Secretary say that this is voluntary and that it was asked for by the deep-sea fishermen and the single-rod anglers to protect them. I understand that it is not voluntary and my point therefore is that this is a levy which is imposed by a Government on an exported article.
Senator Hearne mentioned Harris tweeds. I suggest there is no analogy whatsoever there. This levy is imposed by a Government on a group of people who, as far as my information is concerned, have not agreed to it, and for that reason I object to the section. I think it should be possible to devise a better method of raising the same money than by affecting the lives of people who live on the fringe of the Gaeltacht. I realise that the Parliamentary Secretary is as sincere as I am about the protection of the Gaeltacht. We passed the Undeveloped Areas Bill in an effort to help the Gaeltacht areas. We are constantly hearing that the Fíor-Ghaeltacht is dying. This Bill will affect the lives of the people there much more so than any other Bill which has come before this House, and we should be careful that we do not do anything which will have an ill effect on the livelihood of our people.
Mr. Bartley: Earlier this afternoon, Senator O'Donnell told us that salmon is beyond the reach of the vast bulk of the people here at home. Judging from the very large volume of our exports, I am inclined to think, in any  event, that the English market eats more Irish salmon than the Irish consumer does. I believe the reason which Senator O'Donnell adduced for that state of affairs is probably the correct one, that is, the price factor. The demand for Irish salmon is so keen in England that they are likely to continue to get the bulk of it for a very considerable time to come, because our salmon compares with the best on the English market.
I think it is true to say that the considerably large number of licensed exporters whom we have in the country are very keen to get the largest possible quantity of Irish-caught salmon for export. These two factors lead me to the conclusion—I do not want to be positive about it—that it is the English importer who will pay this 2d., not the Irish fisherman or even the Irish exporter. The commodity we are now dealing with fetched 1/6 to 2/-per lb. for a very long number of years until war inflation years set in. It is now 7/2 per lb. When you consider that the income from licence duties has been static over a period of more than 20 years, in spite of the fact that the commercial value has gone up three and fourfold, I cannot see how any justifiable case can be made for not asking the people who are making these increased profits and much enlarged incomes from the same activities and the same initial cost for a meagre 2d. out of the 7/2 per lb. I can see no case for not asking that a small portion of these very much increased incomes from salmon should be given up by the people who are getting these profits, either from the rod or the net, rather than burden the general taxpayer who, Senator O'Donnell says, cannot afford to eat a bit of salmon. I think all the equity is on my side, and that none is on Senator O'Donnell's side. Let Senator O'Donnell ask the average man in the street, who, he says, sees salmon only in the shop window, if he is prepared to pay taxation so that those profits will go into other people's pockets. If he asks that question, he will get his answer. I think my method is essentially fair. If I were to put it to any group of Irish citizens for a decision on it, I am quite  satisfied they would support what I am doing as being essentially the equitable thing.
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