Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 25 Jun 1925

Vol. 12 No. 14


It would, perhaps, be well if I informed the Dáil that I intend to ask Deputies to agree with all the amendments except amendments 2 and 14.

Amendment 1.—In Section 11 the words "any such casual vacancy shall be filled at or before the second meeting of the Board after such vacancy occurs," added at the end of sub-section (1).

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment. It provides that the vacancies will not continue too long and that a certain amount of time only shall be allowed to elapse before the vacancy is filled.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment 2.—In Section 16, before sub-section (3), page 8, a new sub-section inserted as follows:—
"No person not being a licensed fisherman may sell anywhere on the public street or highway any salmon grilse, or trout except as a licensed vendor from premises rated or from any public rated market, municipal or corporate as the case may be."

I move that the Committee disagree with amendment 2. The effect of this amendment would be to prevent, in the first instance, the brown trout fisherman from selling fish of his own catch. That was a point that was discussed here in the Dáil, and we amended the particular section in the Dáil so as to permit the brown trout fisherman to sell fish of his own catch. It would also prevent the hawker from plying his particular trade. In reference to those two particular points that I made in the Seanad, the Senator who put down this amendment said with regard to the brown trout business: "I had not thought of brown trout." And in connection with the point I made about the hawker, he said: "When he put down this amendment it never entered my head that it was calculated to deprive hawkers of their means of livelihood." In spite of those admissions by the Senator who put down the amendment, the Seanad passed the amendment.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment 3.—In Section 16, before sub-section (3) a new sub-section inserted as follows:—
"Any person who shall, after the expiration of two months from the commencement of this Part of this Act, buy any salmon or trout from any person whom he knows or has reason to believe to be selling the same in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding ten pounds."

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment. Amendment 3 really goes with amendment 6. It provides penalties for the purchase of salmon from persons whom the purchaser knows, or has reason to believe, have no licences to sell salmon. Amendment 6 provides that the licensed salmon dealer will display his licence so that the ordinary person will have every opportunity of knowing that the person is licensed.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendments 4 and 5.—In Section 20 (2) the word "give" deleted in line 57 and the words "send by registered post" substituted therefor.
In Section 20 (2) after the word "notice" in line 58 the words "in writing" inserted.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in these amendments. It was pointed out that the penalties were rather severe on these licensed dealers in salmon and trout and that therefore the notice of withdrawal of the licence should be given in writing, and be not merely verbal. This is the effect really of both amendments 4 and 5.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment 6.—Before Section 21 a new section inserted as follows:—
"(1) Every holder of a licence or renewal of a licence issued under this Act for the sale of salmon or trout shall cause such licence or renewal to be displayed prominently in the place or one of the places to which such licence or renewal relates during business hours, and where such licence or renewal relates to more than one place shall cause a copy of such licence or renewal to be so displayed in all such places other than the place in which such licence or renewal is so displayed.
"(2) Lists of persons holding such licences as aforesaid shall be published at such times and places and in such manner and form as the Minister shall from time to time direct."

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 6. I pointed out before, this is a corollary to amendment 3, providing that the licensed dealer shall display prominently in his place of business his licence to sell salmon and trout, and also providing for the putting up of lists of licensed dealers in a prominent place to be specified afterwards by the Minister, in agreement, probably, with the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment 7.—In Section 21, before sub-section (2), a new sub-section inserted as follows:—
"(2) The prescribed particulars referred to in the foregoing sub-section shall not include the price paid by the holder of the licence or renewal for any salmon or trout purchased, received or sold by him."

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 7. A point was raised in connection with Section 21 that in the examination of the invoices of these dealers some of the officials might take an unfair advantage of the dealer by getting to know his prices, and after some discussion I agreed to put in some provision on the Report Stage in the Seanad, which would exclude the prices paid by the holder of the licence or renewal.

Could not that cut two ways? It may be often very desirable, especially in the case of trout, that the dealer should be forced by law to disclose the prices he paid. As a general rule poached trout could be bought at the dealer's own price. I think you might accept that as a principle, that the prices paid for trout killed by net, explosives or anything else are the dealer's own prices. A number of these amendments are meant to safeguard the recognised licensed dealers at the expense of perhaps the less fortunate people engaged in the same trade. I rather think that this amendment ought not to be accepted. I do not think it will serve a very useful purpose. What could be wrong, if the officers of the Fishery Board are worthy of confidence at all, in disclosing the price the fish had been purchased at and the price that it is to be sold at? What hardship is inflicted on the dealer? As I say, it leaves a loophole and it serves no purposes that I can see. I would like to hear what reasons can be advanced in favour of it.

I am as keen as Deputy Gorey is on preventing any loopholes, but the point is that it may not be fair to a person in the ordinary course of his business to make him disclose the prices he is paying for his commodities. A man has a licence. He has to show from whom he has bought the stuff, and it can be very easily found when he has the name on the register whether the person from whom he has bought is a poacher or not. I think we are almost perfectly safeguarded from that point of view. I admit that there was a point in what was put up in the Seanad, that it was not fair to ask a particular merchant to disclose his prices. Of course, I hold that officials would not disclose the information. At any rate, it might not be fair to ask them to disclose the information to officials who might use it for the benefit of friends who are rivals in the trade.

I wish to point out that that is a very unlikely thing to take place. You contend that you have the right to demand from whom the dealer gets his fish. That is all right with regard to salmon, but I say it is not quite right with regard to trout. A series of names could be on the register with regard to trout, but nobody could tell whether the trout were taken by rod or not. Trout fishermen are not licensed, and you have no means of dealing with them. You are not safeguarded, and I say that this amendment, for all the good it will do to dealers, should not be accepted. It leaves a loophole that is not guarded against. I admit that there is sufficient care with regard to salmon licences. People who sell salmon can be traced, but the poacher with regard to trout cannot be traced, and I think the Minister knows that. A dealer could have the name of half a dozen people in a district on his books, but these people could say that they caught the trout with rods, when such might not have been the case at all. I say you have no protection, and the amendment ought not to be accepted. The price does not give you very much safeguard either.

I was just going to make that point—giving the prices would not in the least improve the position.

Would Deputy Gorey like a clause like this to be brought in in connection with farming? Would he like when a farmer sells oats that the price at which the oats were sold should be disclosed?

If there was any suspicion that the oats were stolen. Deputy Good talks about oats in the same connection as fish. All I have to say is that my sympathy is with Deputy Good's family.

I am only talking about the principle. I say that the principle propounded by Deputy Gorey is not a sound business principle. There are a great many aspects of this that I would like to consider, but I do not want to discuss them now.

This is quite a different principle.

It is quite the same.

This is a Bill introduced to preserve fish in the rivers and not to deal with trade. While it may be very necessary and very helpful to have a list given by the dealer of the people he bought fish from, of course the question of price could be arranged. When asked about the price of fish he could say he bought it at a certain price, which may be the price he actually paid for it, but the chances are that that would not be so. But, if an official of a public board can be charged with or suspected of giving away confidential information supplied in connection with a matter like this, I say there can be no confidence in any of your boards or departments. What could be said of this department could be said of others—the Department of Justice, the Department of Agriculture and other departments. It knocks the whole idea of confidence in the officials of public boards on the head. If Deputy Good objects to that we will argue out that question. Why exception should be taken to the officials of this department on the grounds of conveying information is a matter I cannot understand, and I cannot understand Deputy Good's point of view on it.

I am sorry for you.

It is a mutual sort of sorrow.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment 8.—In Section 22 the following words added at the end of sub-section (1): "and shall also have marked thereon or on a label affixed thereto the name and address of the consignor thereof."

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 8. I am sure that this will appeal to Deputy Gorey as another possible loophole closed.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment 9.—In Section 23 (1) after the word "instrument" in line 35 the words "poison or explosive" inserted.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 9. I might point out in passing that in Section 23 there still remain the words "Dublin Metropolitan Police." I think these were expunged on the Fourth Stage in the Dáil.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment 10.—In section 23 (1) (b), after sub-paragraph (i) in line 45, a new sub-paragraph inserted as follows:—
"any premises in which poison or explosive intended for the destruction of fish is believed to be kept."

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment 10.

The amendment is to insert in Section 23 (1) after the word "instrument" the words "poison or explosive," making it read "to stop and search any person conveying or believed to be conveying fish of any kind or any instrument, poison or explosive ..."

How will that fit in with this paragraph as a whole—"to stop and search any person conveying or believed to be conveying fish of any kind or any instrument, poison or explosive used or adapted for taking fish illegally"? If the explosive or poison is not used or adapted for the taking of fish illegally there is no offence. Is it right to say that poison and explosives are used for taking fish illegally?

I really could not say, but I imagine that the interpretation of the word "taking" would be "killing for the purpose of taking."

I only drew attention to the faultiness which this section will have if we agree to the insertion of this amendment. Could the Minister propose any variation so as to make it understandable and enforceable without hurting the section?

I submitted it to the draftsman and he was satisfied with that particular form of words.

I will let it go. I take it that the retention of these words, "the Dublin Metropolitan Police or," is merely a mistake.

It is a mistake.

And it will be deleted in the final printing of the Bill?

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment 11.—In Section 23 (1) (b) after sub-paragraph (i) in line 45 a new sub-paragraph inserted as follows:—
"any premises in which poison or explosive intended for the destruction of fish is believed to be kept."

I move: "That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment." It is really a corollary of amendment 9.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment 12.—In Section 26 before sub-section (3) a new sub-section inserted as follows:—
"(3) Whenever the Minister by an order made under this section alters the boundaries of or subdivides any fishery district or unites two or more fishery districts, or creates a new fishery district, the Minister may by the same order or by a subsequent order (which he is hereby authorised to make) direct that all or any specified part of the moneys and other assets which at the date of the order are in the hands of the Board of Conservators of any fishery district affected by the order shall, subject to the liabilities of such Board, be disposed of in such manner as the Minister thinks proper to direct and specify in such order, and when any such order is made the moneys and other assets to which it relates shall, subject to the said liabilities, be disposed of accordingly."

I move:—"That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment." Section 26 gives the Minister power to make certain orders to alter the boundaries in fishery districts, for the amalgamation of two or more fishery districts, the sub-division of fishery districts, and so on, and this new sub-section is put in to allow the Minister in the case of a sub-division of one large fishery district into two or more districts to make a proper and equitable distribution of the funds between the newly-formed districts.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment 13.—In Section 27 (1), after the word "making" in line 57, the words "revoking or varying" inserted.

I move:—"That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment." It has been pointed out to me that this will perhaps make it more easy to interpret.

Question put and agreed to.
In Section 27 (1), after the word "making" in line 63 the words "revoking or varying" inserted.

I move:—"That the Committee agree with the Seanad in this amendment," which is the same as the last.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment 14.—Before Section 34 a new section inserted as follows:—
"On and after the passing of this Act the following modification shall be made in the Bye-Law of the Conservators of No. 5 area in the Saorstát—which deals with drift net fishing (salmon)—
"(1) Fishermen who are licensed to fish with drift nets in No. 5 area may embark the same from any public strand, shore, pier, jetty, slip or stairs within that part of the No. 5 area which is east of an imaginary line extending in a northerly direction from Ram Point, Cork Harbour, and passing through the most easterly point of Spike Island and running still northward to Long's Dock situated on the south shore of the great island of Cork Harbour and carry to the fishing grounds and return from the same their nets, gear and catch in their licensed fishing boats."
"(2) Licensed drift net fishermen of No. 5 area who comply with the conditions of the foregoing sub-section may fish with drift nets within such part of the No. 5 area as is east of the imaginary line mentioned in the foregoing sub-section."

I move:—"That the Committee do not agree with the Seanad in this amendment." This is an amendment of a bye-law, or, really, of a couple of bye-laws, and it has strictly speaking, nothing at all to do with the Bill. As a matter of fact, I expected that it would have been ruled out of order in the Seanad. Section 27 provides machinery for the making and repealing of bye-laws. Bye-laws are made really to deal with local matters rather than with general matters, taking the country as a whole, and the procedure in the making of bye-laws is something like this:—Certain persons feel that they are aggrieved; they send a request to the Department for an inquiry, and a public inquiry is held in the locality, due notice of which is given in the local papers and by means of notices posted up at Gárda Síochána barracks and post offices. An inspector of the Department holds an inquiry, hears evidence pro and contra and makes a report to the Minister. The Minister reads the report, if necessary referring to the evidence, and decides whether or not the bye-law should be made.

I wish to correct a statement that I made in the other House, in fairness to the Senator who put down this amendment. I said there was an inquiry in 1902, but I should have said that it was in 1910. It was then proposed to substitute two or three new bye-laws for the existing bye-laws. The proposed new bye-laws were appealed against by, amongst others, the riparian owners on the Lee, a number of net fishermen in Cork, the Blackrock and Cork Workingmen's Salmon Anglers Club, the Cork Harbour Commissioners, the Macroom Rural and Urban districts, and subsequently the Admiralty. It went to the Privy Council on appeal and the bye-laws were rejected. I feel that if an injustice has been done or is being done by the existing bye-laws in Cork the way to deal with it is to hold a public inquiry and go through the ordinary procedure for changing bye-laws. As a matter of fact a considerable time ago I promised the Senator who put down this amendment that I would have an inquiry held there and that if a just case were put up to me I would modify the existing bye-laws or make new bye-laws to meet the situation. I think that would be a better procedure than the putting of this into a statute. After all, a case might arise later where it might be necessary to have another bye-law, and I do not really know what the position would be; it would be extremely awkward for me to make a bye-law if a provision of this kind were made by the Oireachtas. That is a matter regarding the general principle of the thing.

Apart from that of course the amendment as it stands would require a great deal of re-drafting. It refers to a bye-law of the conservators of No. 5 area. There is no such thing as a bye-law of conservators in this country; bye-laws are made by the central fisheries authority. In the second place there is no place defined by law as No. 5 area. At the end of paragraph 1 licensed fishing boats are referred to. There is no provision for licensing fishing boats; so that there are a great many defects in drafting, apart altogether from the general principle of the amendment. There are other defects also, but these are the glaring ones in the drafting which I did not advert to in the Seanad because I thought on the ordinary general principle that the Seanad could not agree to the amendment. It was asking a body to decide on purely local matters of which it could not possibly have sufficiently local information with which to make a decision.

I am sorry that the Minister has asked the Dáil to reject this amendment. Of course I quite see the Minister's point with regard to the holding of an inquiry as an ordinary principle, and it would probably carry some weight. But an inquiry has already been held, as the Minister pointed out, and it cost a considerable sum of money. The greater portion of the cost of course fell on the backs of the poor fishermen, who cannot possibly afford another similar inquiry. The cost, I understand, ran into hundreds of pounds, and senior counsel were engaged. The opposing parties mentioned by the Minister are far removed from this particular area. Some of the interested parties who opposed the fishermen's case, the fishermen who lived in the area in question and who made their living there, lived in Cork and outside Cork, certain sections who were interested in angling, perhaps for sport.

Draft net men.


The draft net men were, I think, the men from Blackrock that the Minister mentioned.

Cork and Blackrock.


They never fish in this area at all; their work is confined to Blackrock, which is, I suppose, at least eight miles from the area that we are discussing. They went further. When the case was going against them and when the inspectors of the Department of Fisheries had held this inquiry and reported, it was then that these people, the conservators, went out, one must assume, and pulled in all these parties who had no interest at all in the matter, and finally they had to approach the British Admiralty in order to defeat the ends of justice. The British Admiralty put up the case that drift nets would interfere with the periscopes of submarines entering the harbour. Until the European War I do not think we saw a submarine in the harbour half a dozen times in a dozen years, but it was on that point that they scored. The British Admiralty protested that these drift nets, which Deputies will realise are light in weight, would interfere with the periscopes. But we must not forget that much deeper and stronger nets, draft nets, mackerel nets, have been used continually day in and day out all along the coast.

This particular by-law is peculiar only to Cork Harbour. There are drift nets all round the coast and even in Youghal there are eighty-six drift nets working inside the harbour, and they are in every other harbour in the Saorstát. We merely ask that the by-laws be amended, and if the Minister gives us an assurance that even now, on the report of the inspectors who reported favourably on this case in 1910, he will amend or modify that by-law in favour of these particular men without putting them to any further expense, I will withdraw my objection, but I think we should get such an assurance.

I cannot give any such assurance. I have already promised to hold an inquiry. I do not see the necessity for any costs in connection with it, except the cost of witnesses coming to the inquiry. This is not the kind of inquiry where it is necessary to bring a good many counsel. It is a question of fact. If an inquiry is held, and these persons come along, make an ordinary plain case, and state the facts before the inspector, a note will be taken of them and a decision will be given accordingly. There is no British Admiralty now that Deputy Hennessy or the Senator who put down this amendment need worry about to defeat the ends of justice. The report of the inquiry will be brought before me. I have already promised that the inquiry shall take place as soon as I can make an inspector available, and I have no doubt, if the justice of the case merits it, that some provision such as is outlined in this amendment will be the outcome.

This is a case where local knowledge must have considerable weight. I am curious to understand why it should be necessary to legislate to give the powers defined in this new proposed section. If there is a by-law preventing fishermen, who are licensed to fish with drift nets in No. 5 area, from embarking the same from any public strands, shore, pier, jetty, slip or stairs, and preventing them from carrying their nets to the fishing ground and returning with them, then I think it is prima facie at all events, desirable that the by-law should be cancelled. It is desirable that these liberties should be granted to the fishermen. They are licensed to fish with drift nets, but apparently they are prevented from carrying their nets in their boats to and from certain places, and that is all due to the operations of a by-law. If it requires a section to be put into an enactment to ensure that this liberty will be allowed, then we ought not to oppose the Seanad in inserting this section, notwithstanding any faults of construction. If the Minister proposes to amend the phraseology for the purposes of construction, I am sure there would be little difficulty. If the by-law has been framed in such a way as to prevent the exercise of these liberties, then I think we will be justified in disagreeing with the Minister's motion, and agreeing with the section inserted in the Seanad.

Speaking in general terms, I think it is desirable to give certain consideration to the claims of the fishermen who are working for a living at the mouths of the rivers in preference—if there is to be a preference—to anglers who are angling for sport. I imagine that the genesis of this bye-law is that the conservators have been conserving anglers' rights, rather than fishing rights. If the local knowledge of Deputies supports the Seanad proposal, I am prepared to support them, if they divide the Dáil on the question.

I agree with the Minister's viewpoint, that the question of bye-laws should not be touched in the Bill. It is outside the province of the Bill. By-laws have always been dealt with by the boards of conservators and should not be dealt with in a Bill Representatives from a particular district, who are subject to local influences, cannot be said to take an impartial view of these matters. Individuals living within a certain area where the privileges are sought, could not be expected to have an open mind in the matter. Nobody could be more competent to come to a proper decision in the matter than the conservators of the area. Fishery laws cannot be made to serve the interests of one particular section. They must be made and framed to serve the interests of the whole district. It must be remembered that there are people who are absolutely dependent on fishing for a living above this particular point that is in dispute, and that they have equal rights with those who are living below them. I know nothing about the circumstances of this particular case, but I can quite easily visualise a position in which more people are earning their living from fishing above this particular point than below it.


It is reasonable to assume that some years ago we had more autocrats on the boards of conservators than we have now, and that they framed the bye-laws in their own interests, rather than in the interests of the ordinary fishermen. I contend that that is what has taken place in this particular case. The fishermen in this area, going out to sea, which is ten miles away from them, are not allowed to take the nets in their boats. They can row the boats out, but they must carry their nets overland, a distance of about fifteen miles, before they can reach the fishing ground. If they catch fish outside, they must send the fish and the nets back by land, and row their boats back empty. Why should that be? If the people of Youghal and the adjoining port are fishing in this particular area, there are no by-laws framed to prevent them doing so, but if they have to run from bad weather into the harbour of Cobh, they run the risk of forfeiting their boats, fish and nets owing to this by-law. Formerly there was an important fishing industry in that area, but this by-law has killed it. Numbers of men, with their families, have been deprived of their livelihood because of this by-law, framed in the interest of a particular section of the community. It is time that the Dáil took cognizance of that, and I ask the Minister to modify the by-law in the interest of those who fish for a livelihood.

The Dáil has taken cognizance of such circumstances as that in this Bill. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that what the Deputy said was correct, that these by-laws were framed by people who had no right to frame them. In this Bill we are remedying that. Under the Bill new by-laws are going to be framed by different bodies altogether, bodies which the Dáil has had a voice in the creation of. These new bodies will frame the future by-laws, so that we are not dealing with by-laws made in the past. We should let the new boards of conservators frame these by-laws. There is no use talking about the past.

It might be argued that this particular amendment is a negation of Section 27 of the Bill which gives the Minister power to make, revoke or alter by-laws. The aim of this amendment is to override that power. If the case put up by Deputy Hennessy is a good case, and if the facts he states are true, then I have no doubt what the result of the inquiry will be. If these facts can be proved before the inspector, I have no doubt the inquiry will go in favour of these men.


Why does the Minister seek a new inquiry?

Because I want to satisfy myself. I am not going to act on the report of a fifteen-year old inquiry.

Question put and declared carried.
Amendment 15: First Schedule.— The figure "£2" deleted in No. "4" and the figure "£3" substituted therefor.

I move:—"That the Committee agree with the Seanad in the said amendment." This amendment leaves the drift net licence in exactly the same position as at present.

I have to ask the Committee to reject this amendment. On two occasions, before the Bill went to the Seanad, this question was fully discussed in the Dáil, and on a division the Minister was worsted. The main ground on which, I think, the Dáil should not accept the amendment is that the Senators were absolutely unaware of what they were doing. They were talking of draft nets, of fixed nets and of weirs, but the question of drift nets was entirely misunderstood. Draft nets are the trouble in fishing. They are used at the mouths of rivers by the owners of the fisheries. Drift nets are used by the fishermen who fish on the high seas. To compare these, or to mix them up, one with the other, is to prejudice the unfortunate fishermen on whom this additional tax is being put. I happened to see in the Irish Times some days ago a letter from a conservator in Limerick who appears to have understood this question thoroughly. It is a tribute to the Minister and I hope he will accept it. The letter reads:—

"The new Fishery Bill is as welcome as the flowers in May, and, if properly enforced, should open a new and mightier page for the salmon industry of Ireland. There is one fatal mistake in it—and one only, as far as my opinion goes—and that is leaving the draft or seine net duty at £4. Certainly 60 per cent. of salmon are captured by draft nets, and a whole river can be, and often is, cleaned out of fish by these nets, which surround the fish and draw the whole lot ashore.

Fish must mesh in drift nets, and, in fact, they have a sporting chance in every kind of net or engine except alone the draft or seine nets, from which there is no chance of escape. Salmon are scarce all over the country after three years of lawlessness, when they were killed for twelve months in the year by every known means. They should get a chance now that law and order obtain once more. I doubt if any drift net (for which £4 licence duty is also proposed) has ever captured 100 salmon in a day. I have personally seen 386 fish taken by a draft net in a single haul of twenty minutes' actual fishing, and I have taken 426 salmon myself with one draft net from 6 a.m. until 10 a.m.—four hours actual fishing. I believe that as many as 1,700 fish have been taken by one draft net in one haul or draw in the Moy, at Ballina."

That letter was sent by Mr. George F. Hewson, of the Limerick Board of Conservators. I think that gentleman knows what he is talking about. I know that in the rivers in Donegal where these draft nets are used by the owners of fisheries, there is great destruction of salmon. Salmon are caught in great numbers by these draft nets at this particular time of the year, when salmon fishing is going on. The fish go up the rivers with the high tide and, finding the river low, they rush back with the ebbing tide again. A draft net is drawn across the mouth of the river, and outside that draft net the fish cannot go. They are caught in hundreds, and even in thousands. The drift net fishermen, the poor men for whom fishing means part of their income, have to fish five and ten miles from the mouth of the river. Probably not one of the fish get out of the river at all, These men have to pay a heavy licence duty and their catch is not at all comparable with what can be done by the men owning the draft nets. It is an abominable shame. The House before recognised that there was no legal right to enforce a licence on the deep sea fishermen, but acting in conformity with the Minister's wish, because we all support the purposes of the Bill, we agreed that any person handling salmon in any way should be registered in some direction, and we agreed that a £2 registration licence should be placed on the drift net salmon fishermen. That was a proposal that went to the Seanad, and the Seanad, without stating any grounds, and merely as a compromise out of a difficulty which they did not quite understand, imposed a licence of £3. I would ask the House to reject the amendment.

I would rather be inclined to say that this House passed the amendment not quite grasping what they were doing. Now, Deputy O'Doherty has attacked the draft net men as against the drift net men. He has endeavoured to allege that the persons who use draft nets are fishery owners. As a matter of fact, there are more ordinary working fishermen employed using draft nets by the owners of draft nets than there are employed in the matter of drift nets. With all respect to the conservator whom the Deputy has referred to, I would say, if I would not be accused of using a vulgarism, that he was talking through his hat when he mentioned that 60 per cent. of salmon are captured by draft nets. He had only experience as a member of the Limerick Board of Conservators. He is, I believe, actually a Kerryman.

That accounts for it.

He had only experience of a net of 130 yards. He had not the experience of the type of net Deputy O'Doherty would see in Tirconnail— a 1,500 yards net.

Not a draft net.

A drift net. He stated that 60 per cent. of the salmon caught in the Saorstát were caught by draft nets. He stated that where the drift net caught practically nothing, the draft net would catch practically anything. The nets of which he has had experience are only 130 yards; the nets on the Shannon are limited.

In what part of Tirconnail are the 1,500 yards nets used?

This is an attempt to reduce the existing licence duty on drift nets from £3 to £2. On the Committee Stage of this Bill the licence duty was reduced to £2. The Seanad is really bringing the matter back to the original position by suggesting £3. The object of the Bill, which Deputy O'Doherty affects to laud, is to provide funds for the conservation of fisheries. This has always been in the past, and we hope it will be in the future, the chief source from which the conservators derive their funds—the licence on fishing engines, whether they be rod, net, weir, or any other type utilised in the catching of fish. Instead of providing more funds for the boards of conservators, or even leaving the funds as they are, with a licence duty of £3 on the drift net, Deputy O'Doherty wants to reduce that amount to £2. I hope the Dáil will not accept Deputy O'Doherty's views and will, instead, accept the Seanad amendment.

I want to support Deputy O'Doherty's view, but for somewhat different reasons. I want to ask the Dáil to insist on retaining authority in respect to the imposition of duties or taxes upon the people, or any section of the people, under their own supervision. I am not alleging for a moment that the Seanad has gone outside the letter of its authority, but it has been insisted that the imposition of taxation should be retained in the hands of the Dáil. Now, the Dáil quite explicitly and quite clearly, by formal vote, decided that it was not prepared to impose upon fishermen of a particular kind a greater licence duty than £2. When the Dáil set that forth clearly and by formal resolution, after proper consideration and after division, then I submit to the Dáil that we should insist on retaining that authority in our hands and we should not encourage the Seanad to attempt to raise taxes or duties that are being imposed upon the people. The Dáil decided that £2 was enough. Now the Seanad comes along and says: "No, we disagree with you; we propose to increase the tax upon the people." I think we ought to resent that proposition and we ought to maintain our authority, if it is only as an indication to the Seanad that we are very jealous of our privileges in that respect and we are not going to encourage the Seanad to limit to any degree those privileges. It may be that this is a small matter to raise a high point of constitutional rights upon; but it is better it should be raised on a small point and I hope the House will insist on maintaining the rates of duties to be charged for licences as the Dáil decided. It should not allow its original decision to be deflected in this particular instance at any rate.

First of all, the Seanad has not increased, or does not purport to increase, taxation. The existing licence on drift nets is £3. The Seanad merely wants to allow that amount to stand.

In defiance of the decision of the Dáil?

As to the other point —that we should stiffen our necks and not allow ourselves to be overridden by the Seanad—let me say that the Seanad could retaliate by holding up every piece of legislation passed here. If the Seanad chose to do so, it could hold up all legislation for nine months. If every amendment coming from the Seanad is met in that type of spirit, and if every suggestion of ours in the Seanad is met in the same spirit, it will not tend towards the ease with which work should be carried on. I think Deputy Johnson's suggestion should not commend itself to the Dáil. It is a very bad suggestion.

Will the Minister just consider what he has said—"if every amendment from the Seanad is met in that spirit." This is amendment No. 15. The Dáil has conceded to the Minister's wishes in this matter in respect to thirteen of the Seanad proposals and, at the instance of the Minister himself, has refused to agree to one Seanad amendment, because the Seanad, in his view, took a certain line. Does he not think that is setting an example of defiance at the Seanad?

No, sir; I am using your own words.

I am directing the attention of the Dáil, not to every amendment, but to an amendment that proposes to overturn a decision of the Dáil in respect to the imposition of taxes. I am suggesting that every amendment which imposes taxation or raises taxation in opposition to the already declared decision of the Dáil should certainly cause us to stiffen our necks. We should certainly stiffen our necks in such a matter, not in connection with every amendment that comes from the Seanad.

The Deputy has mended his hand now. The Seanad is not attempting to raise taxation.

This is rather an extraordinary discussion that has taken place over this amendment. An amendment comes from the Seanad and is recommended for adoption by the Minister. As regards the actual amount, which is £2 against £3, there has been no discussion whatever on the merits. Deputy O'Doherty makes some comparison between drift nets and draft nets.

It is only a fifty per cent. increase, that is all!

Does Deputy Johnson raise a constitutional point as to the right of the Seanad to make any such amendment? My conception of the relationship between the two Houses is that if we send a Bill up to the Seanad we cannot analyse every detail of that Bill to ascertain if the decision of the Seanad is only to be taken on certain clauses of that Bill. We send the Bill up as a whole. If a Bill is declared to be a Money Bill, then, of course, the Seanad have no authority in the matter. But to lay down a regulation that because certain sums of money are incidentally mentioned in a Fisheries Bill sent up to the Seanad, the Seanad is to have no voice regarding that measure is, I think, stretching the relationship between the two Houses to an absurd point. I could not express any opinion on the merits as to whether £2 or £3 is the right sum. We originally specified £2. The Seanad, on further consideration, suggest £3. That comes down to us with a recommendation from the Minister that he thinks the Seanad is right in the figure. That is all the guidance we have got, and we have to make up our minds. To raise a constitutional point between the two Houses on a matter of this kind is to do what the Minister for Finance suggested in my case at one time—trailing our coats before one another.

Let it not be forgotten that the Dáil has already agreed to the fixing of a sum of £2 as a tax on these nets. While I do not want to deal with Deputy Johnson's point, at the same time it is the prerogative and privilege of this House to deal with matters concerning money and taxation. I do not think the Minister would bring too much pressure on the House to alter the decision already taken, after full consideration, especially in view of the fact that this taxation is going on fishermen who go out to sea—the men who use drift nets. It must be remembered that the fishing industry has passed through a very thin time during the past few years. To increase the initial charges upon the fishermen who have to go out to fish with drift nets, is to make it more difficult to get the fishing industry going properly again. At all events, the incidence of this taxation falls upon the poorer class of fisherman and I think this House would be doing an unjust and an unwise thing if it revoked the decision already come to and altered the taxation by fifty per cent. That amount does not seem large as regards the number of pounds, but the change represents 50 per cent. increase on the amount fixed by this House. I hope the Committee will not agree to the amendment.

With regard to the constitutional point raised by Deputy Johnson, I think he has stretched his doctrine rather too far. Let us recall the circumstances under which this figure of £2 was inserted in the Bill. It was not in the Bill originally. The original proposal of the Minister was £4.

That is the important point.

It is a very important point. The amendment was moved at a comparatively late hour in the evening. It was carried, if my recollection is right, by a very small majority, and it would not have been carried by any majority if Ministers had not seized the opportunity of the Fisheries Bill to take a night off. The majority was a very slender one and the division was taken rather late at night. Does Deputy Johnson contend that the Seanad has no right to appeal from—I shall not say from Philip drunk to Philip sober because that might be offensive to the dignity of the Dáil— but from our rather hasty judgment to our more mature judgment. Even on a Finance Bill the Seanad has the right to make recommendations. This Bill not being certified as a Money Bill, the Seanad was forced to send up its amendments in this form. They could not send them in the form of recommendations. I look upon these amendments as recommendations from the Seanad.

I am not denying the right of the Seanad to do this. I only want to declare that the Dáil should insist on maintaining its first decision, simply as an indication that it is determined to stand by its decisions in matters of finance.

Even though it is wrong.

The Dáil has not stood by its decision in the past in matters of finance. Last year, on the Finance Bill, the Seanad made a recommendation and the Dáil adopted that recommendation. So far as I remember, Deputy Johnson voted with the majority against the Government in adopting that recommendation. I am quite sure that we could not have carried it against the Government without the help of the Labour Party. I think it is setting constitutional doctrine on altogether too high a pinnacle to say that the Seanad should not have the right to suggest reconsideration of certain provisions of a Bill. In this case, they have suggested a compromise between the rate of £4 and £2, which was Deputy O'Doherty's amendment. I think that is well within their function, and I cannot see why it is assumed to be necessary to our prestige, or anything of that kind, to throw the amendment back in their teeth. If there are good arguments for the amendment let us weigh those arguments, but do not let it be put to us that we must simply, to prevent the Seanad interfering in matters of finance, refuse even to listen to their suggested amendment.

In listening to the debate, I learned for the first time that this licence was fixed by the Dáil at £2. I knew that the Bill contained a provision fixing this licence duty at £4, and right through that Bill, from top to bottom, the raising of duties obtained. An Advisory Committee put up recommendations for the provisions of this Bill. All sections had representation on that Committee. These drift and draft net fishermen had representation on it, and it was agreed by all those interested that this should be the scale. The scale was adopted in every instance except this one. I am wondering when this happened, because I have no recollection of being present when this arrangement was come to by the Dáil. It is not treating the people who are responsible for the Bill—the body of fishermen—fairly, to adopt this attitude of reducing the licence to £2. Under the old method, it was £3. It was agreed to raise all the other licences. It was also agreed to raise this licence from £3 to £4. Now, they are grumbling at having it fixed at £3. Deputy Johnson raised a constitutional point. He is trying to pit the Dáil against the Seanad, absolutely regardless of the ethics of the case or of what is right or wrong or sound or unsound. He is trying to pit our pride against the pride of the members of the Seanad and vice versa. That would be all very well if it would have any effect on the judgment of Deputies here. I would have stood for the £4. When I cannot stand for the £4, I certainly would stand for the £3. Some advantage must have been taken of the Dáil here. I would agree with Deputy Cooper that it must have been very late altogether when this division was taken. Perhaps that explains the decision.

Deputy Gorey must not assume that because he happened to be absent the Dáil came to a wrong decision.

I did not assume anything of the sort.


I happened to be absent, too. If I had been here I would have voted for the amendment, so that Deputy Gorey's vote and my vote would cancel each other. As regards the point made by Deputy Johnson, he does not dispute the right of the Seanad to put this amendment in, but he does suggest—and I agree with him thoroughly—that this is a type of decision that the Dáil, having come to once, should stand by. The Minister, in his Bill, put £4 forward as the proper tax to pay on this particular type of net. After full and careful consideration and after every Deputy had an opportunity of debating the matter, a division was taken and the Dáil deliberately declared that the tax should be £2. Nothing has taken place since, and no new arguments have been put forward, as far as I know—I read the debate that took place last time—to convince one that the figure should be changed. The Dáil took a decision on that occasion. Is there any reason why the Dáil should go back on that decision? Is it to go back on that decision simply because the Seanad fell in with the views of the Minister upon the matter?

They did not.


The Minister was defeated in his proposal in the Dáil and now he tries to get back on the Dáil by way of the Seanad.

That is a very unfair statement to make. I did not influence the decision of the Seanad in any way. There was an amendment down in the Seanad. This is not the amendment that was down. The Seanad came to a compromise on the amendment which was before it.


If the Minister thinks it is unfair to put it that way——

It is unfair to the Seanad.


I leave it at that. On the important point raised by Deputy Johnson, I think it should be declared as a principle that this House has the right to fix taxation and to fix the duty that should be paid by the people by way of taxes. Apart from that, I think the case made by Deputy O'Doherty on the merits now, and on a previous occasion, is a case that is worthy of support. The type of man engaged in this class of fishing, and the particular place in which he fishes, go to show that the decision come to by the Dáil was correct. They are of the very poorest type of fisherman and they come from the Gaeltacht, which it is the object of everybody to help economically. I think it would be a very unwise proceeding, on the part of the Dáil, to depart now from the decision which they came to on a previous occasion, especially as no new arguments have been brought forward except the argument of Deputy Cooper, that the Dáil on that occasion came to a decision which they should not have come to.


Apart from the high constitutional doctrines introduced into the debate, I think we, Deputies, can face the simple facts and deal with them. We are anxious to encourage the fishing industry or we are not. Do we advance that industry by inflicting undue hardships on the men engaged in it? We do not. In this particular case we have men going out five miles in the open sea with drift nets from 1,200 to 1,500 yards long. We know exactly what the 1,500 hundred yard drift net is in the open sea and the chances there are of catching fish in that net. Our own common sense will come to our aid in considering these matters. Take the chances of the man with the draft net at the mouth of a river. Deputy O'Doherty has pointed out to us, and any of us who ever went fishing can realise it, that he has all the chances on his side. He catches all the fish going out, because his net blocks the estuary, and even if he does pay a £4 licence he can pretty well afford it, whereas the men who go out in the deep sea, five, six or seven miles, are getting a very small percentage of fish and they should not be asked in equity or justice to pay the same licence as the man who has a net stretched across an estuary meeting fish as they go out.

Surely if we wish to encourage the fishermen around our coast to go in for deep sea fishing, as we have been trying to do; we are not going to do it by raising the cost of the licence by £1 or £2, as the case may be. We know perfectly well that for some years past the fishing industry is in a decaying condition and that the fishermen are not going out to sea for many reasons. Surely we ought not to give them an excuse for tying up their nets and boats by increasing the licence. These are simple facts that we ought to face and decide on. I am certainly not in favour of increasing the licence on these men.

The Deputy can relieve his mind. We are not increasing the licence. As has been said, at least half a dozen times, this is merely leaving it as it has been. Three pounds is the licence on a drift net and the proposition of the Seanad is that it remain the same.


How long is it £3?

For fifty years. And if it was equitable to inflict a £3 licence 50 years ago I would like to know what would be equitable to-day. At any rate the proposition before the Dáil is that we should leave things as they are as far as the licence is concerned. The Deputy tries to weave a web around the question that is before us. He brings in the question of encouraging or discouraging fishing. He talks about the open sea, as if in Cork as well as in Tirconaill these men fish in the open sea. For the information of the Dáil, they do not. The only place in Ireland where drift fishing for salmon takes place is in Tirconaill. That is why they are allowed to have a net of 1,500 yards. Most of the men affected by this amendment are men who do not go to the open sea at all. In all other parts, including the Shannon estuary, draft nets are used and because of the fact that they are used in these places they are limited to a much shorter area than they are at Tirconaill. I would like that Deputies would not get away from the idea behind the licence duties, that is fishery preservation. The salmon rod at the moment is taxed by this Bill to the extent of £2. The poor angler that many Deputies were speaking about has to pay £2, and £3 is the licence for a 1,500 yards drift net. Deputy O'Doherty says that a salmon rod kills as many salmon as a 1,500 yards drift net.

I never said that.

If I had the Official Report I could prove it. Deputy O'Doherty said that in Tirconaill a 1,500 yards drift net, nine miles out from the coast, did as little execution —I think that was the word he used— as a salmon rod in the upper waters.

You are slightly improving. From scientific information—I am sure the Minister's staff will be able to find it—it has been proved that the damage done in catching salmon by drift nets in the high seas corresponds to the damage done on the river by a salmon rod. That is a very different thing to what the Minister tried to impress the Dáil with.

I do not see it. At any rate, my scientific information does not bear out what Deputy O'Doherty says. I think this is a fair proposition, that at least when we increase the licences on all other fishing engines, as they have been increased in recent years—the salmon rod, the draft net, and so on— the licence on this particular engine should not be reduced. I repeat that the person who uses a drift net—the ordinary working fisherman—is no poorer than the man who uses a draft net. Except in Tirconaill they all fish in exactly the same type of place—in the estuary—as the draft net men.

I think it is only fair to the Minister that I should reply to some of his statements. He referred to this fishing in the estuaries. As a matter of fact he produced figures on the Second Reading showing that 95 per cent. of the salmon fishing was done in Tirconaill, where they all fished on the high seas. He has not told us that now. The few salmon caught in Kerry, Limerick, Clare and around there are only 5 per cent. of the fishing that is done in that particular industry. Five per cent. of the fishing is done inshore and at the estuaries.

I beg your pardon. I said about 95 per cent. of the catch, which is a different thing.

It amounts to the same thing. Ninety-five per cent. of the catch corresponds to 95 per cent. of the destruction of the salmon. I do not accuse the Minister in any way of having any personal feeling in this matter, but I could not help thinking, as I heard him both here and in the Seanad delivering himself against these drift net men, that he was playing the part of the devil's advocate. The Minister for Fisheries should display at least some paternal care for these people. What is the care he has shown for these drift net fishermen in the North-west of Ireland? He strained every point against them both here and in the Seanad.

Deputy Cooper referred to the interference with the salmon. I was present at that discussion. About twenty years ago, when I was listening to a religious discussion in Hyde Park, a man asked one of the orators, on the question of eternal punishment, was he likely to be condemned to the pit? The lecturer told him that he might escape on a clause called invincible ignorance. I never knew what precisely invincible ignorance was until listening to the Seanad the other day discussing the question of drift net fishing. There was not a single Senator—and I am not saying this in an offensive way—who spoke on the Bill—I am aware that there were two or three who understood the question, but they did not speak— who knew precisely what he was talking about in relation to drift nets. They were mixing drift nets with all kinds of nets, and the real position was not understood.

The Earl of Kerry, who spoke with some knowledge, said that these men fished in the estuaries. He was thinking of Dingle, which the Minister probably knows pretty well; but the fishing which I am appealing to the House for is the fishing that is done on the high seas off the West Coast of Donegal, where 95 per cent. of this fishing is done. To permit the Seanad, without knowledge and without any particular reason to change the deliberate view of this House in fixing a licence at £2 is a thing that I ask the Dáil not to do.

We have heard of the woes of these particular fishermen. As regards draft nets and drift nets, I do not know the difference between them, but I know the difference between a landing net and a drift net. The man who uses a single rod has got to pay £2. He agreed to change the old licence from £1 to £2 in order to find funds for a common object, namely, the preservation of fish. The whole of them agreed that it was necessary to increase this common fund. When Deputies talk about rod men being sportsmen, I say they are out for a living, and the returns will show that. It is a misstatement of the facts to say that they are sportsmen. They are poor people, just as poor as the people who go out in those boats that Deputy O'Doherty speaks of. He said that very seldom did he hear of more than 100 fish being killed in one haul.

We know how poor a fisherman could be who would take 100 fish in one haul. Deputy Johnson has a certain word to apply to anybody who would cut away from an agreement. When men sit down at a table and come to an agreement, and when they break away from that agreement, they are called rats and scabs. Evidently somebody on behalf of these men created a discussion here, and I am inclined to believe that it was with their authority somebody in their behalf took them away from the position they agreed to accept, that is, to increase the common fishery fund of this country. When it is right for other classes of fishermen voluntarily to agree that the licence duties should be increased 100 per cent., why is it suggested that this particular class of licence should be decreased 50 per cent.? I would like that that particular aspect of the case be considered. I think the whole principle of this reduction in this particular case is wrong. If there was an agreement—and the fishermen and their representatives afreed to a certain thing —it is not right for any of them to break away from it, and it is not right for any of the Deputies to scab on their behalf.

Will the Deputy give us some information about this agreement? Who represented the particular class of drift net fishermen?

He does not know the difference between drift nets and draft nets.

I do not know the difference between drift nets and draft nets. The Minister responsible for the summoning of the Conference could answer that question.

You are making the assertion.

I saw representatives there from the coasts of Louth, Dublin and Tirconaill.

I do not know.

Just one drift net fisherman in all that crowd.

It was not my business to take a census of the representatives there. The only thing that concerns me is that they were all represented there. They came to a certain decision, and that decision in regard to one of them has not been carried out; it has been broken away from, and in my opinion there is nothing to justify that.

I will not say that I know anything at all about the question of sea fishing, or even inland river fishing, but there is one aspect of this question that appeals to me to a certain extent. I expected that the Minister for Lands and Agriculture would have a word to say on this. Perhaps he will plead ignorance, like myself.


That appears to be the authority of everyone who has spoken up to the present.

Deputy Gorey or any other Deputy who argues for maintaining the licence at the former figure does so because the amount has been increased in the case of other fishermen. What one has to consider is that the conditions in the areas where these fishermen live, the conditions in the congested areas on the north-west coast of Tirconaill and the conditions of men who fish for salmon and trout in inland rivers are entirely different. We all know that the case of these men in the congested areas is terribly difficult. It was the problem that the Minister for Lands and Agriculture had before us a few days ago, the problem of what was to be done with the congests on our western seaboard. We cannot separate that from this problem; these are the people we are really discussing. If men are to pay a certain tax before they can go to sea to fish I think we have heard enough of the fishery conditions to understand that we cannot get men on these coasts to do so; they are not equipped, and because of that fact they are a drain on the finances of the State. Deputies from these counties have to plead for relief schemes to give employment to them. There is no question whatever that that is the situation, and it is not fair to make a comparison between the remnant of the Gaelic population, the people dwelling in the congested areas, and the people who can fish with rod and line on the Shannon or other rivers, partly for pleasure and partly for profit. I do not think it would be wise for this House to make that comparison and to put people living on the north-west coast of Tirconaill on the same plane as the men who fish the Inny, the Shannon, and other rivers, and that because the tax is raised for them the men in Tirconaill should pay a higher tax too. We ought to encourage these men to go to sea more. I do not think we will do that by compelling them to pay a tax they are not able to pay. I am in agreement with Deputy O'Doherty in saying that the Dáil would do the right and fair thing by giving these people every facility to go to sea, but it will not do that by compelling them to pay a tax that they are not able to pay.

I think that this is also another attempt to cloud the issue. The draft net men are just as worthy of consideration as the drift net men, and the draft net men have just as old a Gaelic civilisation as the drift net men to whom Deputy Baxter referred. As far as putting a tax on their going to sea is concerned, I repeat once more that it is not a tax; it is money for the preservation of the fisheries. If we take a shortsighted policy and do not preserve the fisheries or provide money for that purpose, these men will have nothing in four or five years' time for which to go out. If the fish are not preserved in the spawning beds, and if there is no money to pay for their preservation, these people will feel the effect in the open sea and in the estuaries just as much as in the rivers.

I consider it my duty to rise a third time on this question. If we are to carry out Deputy Baxter's suggestion and one section is to be let off practically scot free, why not scrap the Bill altogether and let the fisheries go to the devil, as the Minister and everyone else seem to suggest? Every one voluntarily entered into an agreement and every interest was taken into consideration. If it is suggested, for the sake of one particular interest, that that agreement must be scrapped, then I say scrap the lot. This is not playing the game, and if you think you will have the fishery laws enforced properly and fishery funds subscribed to, I say you are looking for failure. If it is not to be done honestly, and this is not doing it honestly, it is better not to do it at all and to scrap the whole Bill.

Deputy Gorey, of course, is attacking the Minister, because the Minister is asking us to approve of this breach of the alleged agreement. I do not know if Deputy Gorey is quite aware of what he is doing.

Perfectly. I will take the responsibility for it.

The proposal of the Minister is not that we should keep the agreement, but that we should break the agreement—

The next best thing to do.

Nothing of the sort.

—but to a smaller extent. Is it any less a breach because the amount proposed is £3 instead of £4?

It will cause less irritation.

The Deputy is attacking the Minister for his proposal and his attack has no more validity upon Deputy O'Doherty or upon any other Deputy supporting Deputy O'Doherty than upon the Minister himself; he is equally the culprit, so that we may allow them to cancel themselves. A suggestion was made that the decision of the Dáil was come to without anybody knowing anything about it, more or less as a slip-through arrangement when the Minister was not looking. But this is not the fact. There was about two and a half hours' discussion, and there was a larger vote on this issue than on very many more important issues. Twenty-two supported the decision, against sixteen who supported the Minister, and I think if Deputy Gorey and Deputy Cooper will look through the records, or just help their memories a little, they will find that a large number of very important decisions have been taken by smaller votes than that.

Certainly with smaller minorities.

Yes, smaller minorities. But is it the doctrine of the Deputy that a majority must not prevail unless it is an overwhelming majority? A majority of twenty-two against sixteen is not to have effect because it is not twenty-two against fifteen, or against fourteen, or thirteen, or twelve. This new doctrine of Deputy Cooper's is quite interesting.

It is not a doctrine. I was merely pointing out that there was a considerable balance of opinion in favour of the contention of the Seanad.

Undoubtedly. The Minister strongly advocated the matter by most eloquent arguments and the production of figures, which confounded him. I cannot remember the figures, but undoubtedly the figures which the Minister produced showed conclusively the iniquity of the proposal even to maintain the existing rate. Let me say here that the proposals of the original Bill, under the alleged agreement that Deputy Gorey speaks of, assumed the equities of the relative positions in the past of the classes of fishermen named in the Schedule. You are not justified in assuming that those rates of duties were equitable and just. As has been pointed out by the Minister, 95 per cent. of the fish caught, and therefore presumably of the income derived, from drift net fishing was by drift net men who fish in the open sea from the coast of Donegal, and we may take it, therefore, that we are only dealing in effect with drift net fishing in respect of Donegal. Deputy Baxter's contention in this matter is quite valid, even on the Minister's own showing. The drift net fishermen in the estuaries of other rivers are also of the same section of the population as the Donegal fishermen, the Gaeltacht; but at any rate the Minister says they only represent 5 per cent. of the drift net catch, and 95 per cent. are Donegal men. So that we are really considering a Donegal question, and I maintain that the duty of £2 for drift net fishing in the open sea, running the risks of bad weather, running the enormous risks that men fishing in the open sea in small boats have to run, is a tax on an industry such as none of the Deputies on the merchants' benches should support, and I hope that the House will stand by Deputy Doherty's proposition that the duty should not exceed £2, and that the Dáil's decision should be maintained by the Dáil.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 31; Níl, 23.

  • Earnán Altún.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Séamus de Búrca.
  • John Conlan.
  • Bryan R. Cooper.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileain Bean Uí
  • Dhrisceóil.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • John Good.
  • William Hewat.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Patrick Leonard.
  • Liam Mac Cosgair.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Seán O Bruadair.
  • Risteárd O Conaill.
  • Parthalán O Conchubhair.
  • Máirtín O Conalláin.
  • Séamus O Dóláin.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Donnchadh O Guaire.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Gaillimh).
  • Seán O Súilleabháin.
  • Mícheál O Tighearnaigh.
  • Caoimhghín O hUigín.
  • Liam Thrift.

Tellers:—Tá: Seán O Súilleabháin, Parthalán O Conchubhair. Níl: Tomás O Conaill, Eoghan O Dochartaigh.

    Question declared carried.

    Pádraig Baxter.Thomas Bolger.Seán Buitléir.David Hall.Thomas Hennessy.John Hennigan.Donnchadh Mac Con UladhTomás Mac Eoin.Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha.John T. Nolan.Michael K. Noonan.Mícheál O hAonghusa.

    Ailfrid O Broin.Tomás O Conaill.Aodh O Cúlacháin.Liam O Daimhín.Eoghan O Dochartaigh.Tadhg O Donnabháin.Seán O Duinnín.Aindriú O Láimhin.Máirtín O Rodaigh.Seán Príomhdhail.Nicholas Wall.