DAIL IN COMMITTEE. - FINANCE BILL, 1925—REPORT.

Amendment 1.—In page 4, before Section 5, to insert a new section as follows:—"In paragraph (b) of sub-section (2) of Section 22 of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1915, the word ‘interest' shall be deemed to include ‘payment.'"—Mícheál O hIfearnáin.

I am prepared to accept the substance of this amendment, but as it is drafted it would have no effect, because the particular provision of the 1915 Finance Act to which it applies has been repealed and re-enacted in the Finance Act of 1918. To make the amendment effective, it would need to read:—

"In paragraph (b) of the proviso to sub-section (1) of Section 187 of the Income Tax Act, 1918, the word ‘interest' shall be deemed to include ‘payment.'"

If the Deputy were willing to accept that change, I would accept the amendment.

On behalf of Deputy Heffernan I accept the Minister's amendment. So long as it effects the purpose we had in view, that is all that is required.

Amendment, as amended, put and agreed to.
SECTION 15.

On behalf of Deputy Duggan, I move Amendment 2:—

In page 8, Section 15 (2), line 2, after the word "made" to insert the words

"nor

(f) on ornamental feathers or artificial flowers imported for use in the making or trimming of personal clothing or wearing apparel and so imported separately from the clothing or apparel."

I would like to acknowledge the courtesy of the Minister for Finance in bringing in this amendment, the substance of which I asked for when the Bill was in Committee.

Are we to understand that the final judgment of the Government on this duty of wearing apparel is: "No flowers, by request?"

No. The fact is that we welcome artificial flowers.

Amendment put, and agreed to.

I move:—

In page 11, before Section 27, to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) In lieu of the present duties of excise in respect of cider and perry there shall as on and from the 1st day of July, 1925, be charged, levied, and paid on all cider and perry which is sold or kept for sale in Saorstát Eireann a duty of excise at the rate of two pence per gallon.

(2) Section 6 of the Finance (New Duties) Act, 1916, and any regulations made thereunder shall apply to the duties imposed by this section in like manner as they apply to the duty therein referred to as cider duty.

I desire to say that I suppose we must all be grateful for small mercies. "The quality of mercy is not strained," but I am afraid it is somewhat strained in this respect. When the Minister was willing to make a departure I think he might have gone the whole hog. I do not know what is the exact amount that this excise duty brings in, but perhaps the Minister would be able to inform us. They say that constant dropping wears a stone; I think this is about the fifth time I have had the opportunity of mentioning this matter in the House, and though perhaps I may not have thoroughly penetrated the stone-wall resistance of the Minister for Finance, it is something to know that I have made a slight hole therein. I would like to know what the Minister considers to be the necessity for this duty at all. The duty is an excise duty; I think I am right in saying that this is the only country in the world where there is an excise duty upon cider at present. The duty was put on originally as a war measure for the sake of raising revenue in Great Britain; and, of course, at that time it applied to Ireland. It has since been abolished in Great Britain, and I would ask the Minister, in view of the fact that the amount of money raised is so small, and that having accepted the principle by reducing the duty somewhat, he should now go the whole hog and abolish it altogether. If possible, perhaps the Minister would be kind enough to inform the House of the amount of revenue that is derived from this duty.

I am advised to say that it is impossible to go the whole hog on cider. However, that is an aside. Really, none of these table waters or drinks are free from excise duty in this country, that is, not merely are the ordinary alcoholic liquors, like beer and spirits, charged but also mineral waters, and a product called herb beer. I have agreed to reduce the excise duty on cider to the lowest existing duty, that is the duty on herb beer. I do not see how we could exempt this particular drink from duty, while all other similar drinks are charged. The amount of the duty would not, I think, be more than a couple of hundred pounds.

Could the Minister say what is the amount of the duty received from all these articles?

It is very considerable. For instance in the case of mineral waters, it amounts to £30,000 or £40,000.

Of course I quite recognise the difficulty of the Minister in going the whole hog on cider but still, in view of the fact that cider is in quite a different category from mineral waters like soda water, which are not made from agricultural products or do not give rise to employment beyond their actual manufacture, I do think a differentiation might be made. However, I do not intend to press my case now, but perhaps this time next year we may be able to get rid of the two pence.

Is the Minister prepared to differentiate to this extent, in the interests of agriculture, that cider produced from apples should be free from Excise duty, that is, when it is made from apples and not from chemicals?

Deputy D'Alton's question raises a new point that I am not able to answer.

Perhaps I might say with regard to the only cider factory in the Free State, that at Dungarvan, that over 700 tons of apples were used last year, all grown in the valley of the Suir, which is well known to my friend, Deputy D'Alton.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move:—

In page 11 Section 27 (1), line 27, after the words "exhibition of" to insert the words

"all or any of the following games or sports, that is to say:—

(a) games of handball,

(b) games of badminton,

(c) gymnastic displays not involving the use or participation of horses, dogs, or other animals, or the use of mechanically-propelled vehicles,

(d) boxing contests at or in connection with which no money is awarded or paid to any of the contestants whether as prizes, remuneration, or otherwise.

(e) any"

and to delete sub-section (2).

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move:—

In page 11 before Section 28 to insert a new section as follows:—

"Entertainments duty within the meaning of the Finance (New Duties) Act, 1916, shall not be charged or levied on payments for admission to any entertainment as respects which it is proved to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners that the entertainment consists solely of an exhibition held by any person of works of graphic art or of sculpture or of both such classes of works of his own execution and whether such exhibition is or is not held with a view to the sale of the works exhibited or otherwise for the personal profit of the person holding the exhibition."

I desire to make a similar acknowledgment of the courtesy of the Minister in regard to this amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I beg to move:—

In page 12, Section 34 (1), line 21, before the words "an excise" to insert the words "On and after the 1st day of January, 1926," and in line 23 to delete the word "financial" wherever it occurs in that line.

I think this carries out the promise given to me, and in order to be in the fashion I will also acknowledge it. I think that the Government has taken a step which is not only wise, but one that will be welcomed in the country as a whole.

Amendment put and agreed to.
The following amendments proposed were put and agreed to:—
In page 12, Section 34 (3), line 32, to delete the word "financial."
In page 12, Section 34, before sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—
"(2) Where any person before or after the passing of this Act but before the 1st day of January, 1926, pays duty under the enactments in that behalf in force at the passing of this Act in respect of a dog for the period of twelve months ending on the 31st day of March, 1926, and before the last-mentioned date pays the dog duty imposed by this section in respect of the same dog for the year 1926, such person shall, subject to compliance with such conditions as the Revenue Commissioners shall think fit to impose, be entitled to an allowance by way of deduction from the last-mentioned duty of an amount equal to one-fourth of the first-mentioned duty."
In page 12, Section 35 (1), line 44, to delete the word "financial."
In page 13, before Section 40 to insert a new section as follows:—
"(1) The excise duties imposed by this Act in respect of firearm certificates and licences for the sale of salmon and trout respectively shall be paid and collected by means of stamps denoting the amount of such duty impressed to such certificates and licences and the Stamp Duties Management Act, 1891, shall apply to such duties and stamps.
(2) It shall not be lawful to grant a firearm certificate or to issue a licence for the sale of salmon and trout in respect of which an excise duty is payable under this Act unless or until such certificate or licence has been duly stamped under this section in respect of such duty, and every person who grants a firearm certificate or issues a licence for the sale of salmon and trout in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to an excise penalty of five pounds.
(3) Section 58 of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, and the Third Schedule to that Act shall be construed and have effect as if the excise duty imposed by this Act in respect of firearm certificates were added to and included in the duties mentioned in the said Third Schedule of that Act."
In page 19, Third Schedule, in the fourth column to delete the words "1st April, 1925," and substitute the words "1st January, 1926," opposite the following Acts, viz.:—
Dogs Regulation (Ireland) Act, 1865.
Dogs (Ireland) Act, 1867.
Dogs Regulation (Ireland) Act, 1919.
Question—"That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration"—put, and agreed to.
Fifth Stage ordered for Friday, 26th.