THE STATUTORY UNDERTAKINGS (CONTINUATION OF CHARGES) BILL, 1923.—FIRST STAGE.

I beg to ask leave of the Dáil to introduce this Bill, to have it printed, and read the first time. It is "a Bill to authorise certain Statutory Undertakings in Saorstát Eireann, to continue temporarily the increases authorised under recent Statutes in the Statutory Charges made by such undertakings respectively, and for other purposes connected therewith."

The Bill applies to Tramways, Harbours, Docks and Port undertakings, and also Canals and Inland Navigation. It was found, after the European War, that the maximum charges these undertakings were authorised to make were not sufficient to carry on, owing to the high cost of material and labour, and, accordingly, Acts were passed in the British Parliament that enabled the then British Ministry of Transport to authorise temporary increases in the charges then made. The Orders made at that time by the Ministry of Transport will expire on the 15th of this month, and, having regard to the present conditions, it is proposed by this Bill to enable them to carry on as at present. It may properly be described as a purely emergency measure to get over the next twelve months.

I beg to second the motion.

Question: "That leave be given to bring in the Bill."

Put and agreed to.

Order for Second Reading, Friday, February 9th.