PUBLIC BUSINESS. - FINANCE BILL, 1926—THIRD STAGE (RESUMED).

Section 18 put and agreed to.
SECTION 19, SUB-SECTION (1).
The fee of five shillings payable under sub-section (2) of Section 3 of the Motor Car Act, 1903, on the taking out of a licence to drive a motor car shall not be payable in respect of any such licence taken out on or after the 22nd day of April, 1926, and in lieu of such fee there shall be charged, levied, and paid on and by every person who, on or after the 22nd day of April, 1926, takes out under the said Section 3 a licence to drive a motor car an excise duty of ten shillings.

I move:

In sub-section (1), line 55, to delete the words "ten shillings" and to substitute the words "seven shillings and sixpence."

The Minister for Finance was very considerate when he accepted a suggestion from some Deputies and reduced the amount originally in the Financial Resolutions from twenty shillings to ten shillings. Still, I think the ten shillings is a rather large amount to charge the majority of drivers who are solely dependent upon that occupation as a means of livelihood. I admit that no qualifications whatever are required for any person taking out a motor-driver's licence. He simply writes to the secretary of the county council, gets a form back, fills it in, and returns it with the money. I put this amendment down not really as much for the purpose of having the amount reduced as to try to get something inserted in the Bill at a later stage making it necessary for drivers to have some qualifications, so that every Tom, Dick and Harry cannot get a licence, and that somebody should certify that a man is capable of handling a car before he gets a licence, particularly drivers of hackney motor cars, who have the lives of the citizens in their hands. A great many motor accidents have occurred, and if it would be possible to have something inserted in the Bill to prevent people obtaining licences unless they have practical experience of the driving and management of a motor, it would be a very good thing. It is a well-known fact that a man may be blind, deaf, dumb or lame, but if he applies for a licence it is forwarded to him, and the secretary of the county council has no power to refuse it. I would like to have something inserted in the Bill which would safeguard the lives of people against men who are not capable of driving cars, particularly men who have no experience, who may buy a car or obtain a driver's job on a Friday and take the car out on the following Sunday. If the Minister wants to look to the interests of the people generally he should see that the people who pay the ten shillings have some qualifications. Owing to the number of accidents due to unqualified drivers I think it is absolutely essential that something should be done to safeguard the public. There is also the fact that men who have learned to drive properly and who are solely dependent on driving should have some protection against people who are not dependent on it.

I sympathise with a great deal of what Deputy Lyons has said. I think it would be well worth the Minister's while to consider this question of the capacity of people to drive properly. It certainly has not been considered in the issuing of licences hitherto. On the widest roads we often see men and women driving by and managing their motors in a way that shows they know nothing about them, that they understand nothing about the management of them except to go at a headlong and dangerous pace. That is all they seem to think about. Even on the road which runs from Dublin to Naas and which is wide enough for anything, accidents have occurred constantly through abominable and indifferent driving. That shows that the drivers know nothing about the work. They are careless and reckless and there certainly should be some test of driving before any man or woman is allowed to drive. It should be seen that they have sufficient capacity before the licence is issued because in a great many cases these people are a positive danger not only to themselves but to everybody with whom they come in contact.

I would like to say that I do not think that the matters that have been raised arise properly on the Finance Bill. The Finance Bill is, broadly speaking, a Bill for the imposition of taxation and if the conditions under which people may be permitted to drive motor cars, are to be regulated by law it would be necessary that the Minister for Local Government and Public Health or the Minister for Justice should take the matter into consideration and devise regulations proper to meet the case. But the introduction of a code governing the driving and control of motor cars into a Finance Bill would not be proper. With regard to the amendment, to which I think Deputy Lyons scarcely referred, I would only say that originally we had proposed a licence duty of £1. In compliance with the wishes of many Deputies we agreed to reduce the amount to 10/-. I think it was felt in the House at the time that that was a fair compromise to meet the situation.

I recognise the point the Minister has made, that we cannot or ought not discuss the qualifications for driving under the section, but one has to take note of the fact that a change is being made in reference to the issue of licences. That is to say that hitherto a fee of 5/- has been charged for the taking out of a licence to drive a car but now an excise duty of 10/- is to be charged. If that excise duty were being argued for because conditions and tests were to be applied, one might understand the value of the argument for the change, but as it is I can see no reason whatever why any change in the fee should be made at all. The Minister, of course, says that originally he proposed a fee of £1. That was so utterly indefensible that he came down to 10/-. Deputy Lyons proposes to reduce it to 7/6 and I will support that, but whether it is carried or defeated I shall oppose the change from 5/- to anything higher than 5/-.

I think that the fee of 5/-, bearing in mind that it is merely a registration fee, is ample. I would like the Minister to give us some figures as to the actual cost of registration: whether the cost of issuing these licences and the cost involved in regard to registration is not made up by the 5/- fee. If he can say that it costs 5/- on the average per licence to pay the expenses of registration, then I will admit that he has a case. But in the absence of such a case I think the fee should be the minimum required to cover the actual expenses, and I believe that the 5/- does even more than that—that it does cover more than the cost of registration. Therefore, I think there is no case whatever for any increase in the fee for registration. As to altering the registration fee to an excise duty, we have not had any case made for that whatever. Quite apart from the question of the amount of the fee, there has been no case made for altering it to an excise duty. In those circumstances, I think the proposal is not justified and should be opposed. In the meantime, I will support the amendment of Deputy Lyons to reduce the registration fee by stages to the lowest possible figure. If we succeed in taking the first half-crown off, then we will try to get the other half-crown off.

The Minister has maintained that the Finance Bill is not the Bill under which regulations could be made as far as motor drivers are concerned. The section states that the fee of 10/- shall be payable on the taking out of a licence to drive a motor car on and after the 22nd April, 1926, and that this fee shall be payable by "every person." I want to call attention to the phrase "every person." This licence fee is to be payable by "every person." It does not matter whether he has any qualifications or not. It is to these words, "every person" that I take objection. The fee for a driver's licence is being increased by 100 per cent., from 5/- to 10/-. I think the people who make their livelihood from the occupation of motor-driving ought to be given some safeguard, and I think that "every person," whether he has qualifications or not should not be able to get a licence. I agree with Deputy Johnson that a fee of 5/- was quite sufficient. It probably more than covered the cost of registration. I wonder if the Minister is in a position to give us the total amount that he received in the year 1925-26 for motor licences at 5/-. I would also like to know from him if he is prepared to insert in this section a provision to prevent people, undesirables, from being able to take out licences? Take, for instance, a large trader in a small or a big town. He employs a shop-assistant. This man is shop-boy and yardman, and if his employer happens to get a motor van he is engaged two days later driving it about. There may be in that town a man who has served two years in learning the business of motor-driving. He may have a wife and family to support, and because "every person" can take out a licence he is not able to get work to support those depending on him. As long as that is allowed the lives of the citizens in that town are at the mercy of such people as this shop assistant. Without any qualifications whatever he is allowed to take out a motor-car and drive it about. I have known cases where men were out all night on the road and the man who had the licence to drive was not able to repair even a puncture. I understood when this duty became an excise duty, that something would be done providing that a person applying for a licence should have some qualifications. The Minister says that this is not a Bill for dealing with that. I would like to know whether at this stage he will give some guarantee that legislation will be introduced to deal with the matter?

That question does not arise now.

I am only speaking on the Minister's reply. If a section cannot be added to this Bill that would safeguard lives and property by seeing that the men who take out licences are capable of driving I think that the Minister should give a guarantee that something will be done. He has not done that, and I ask the House to support the amendment.

The Minister for Finance has truly said that this Bill is for the purpose of raising revenue. I suppose that is the real object in increasing the amount to be paid for permission to drive a motor car from 5/- to 10/-. I hope the Minister will not say that if he reduced the amount for the licence to 5/- he would have to tax food commodities. I think it is only due to the House that we should be informed as to how much revenue the Minister thinks he will derive from this increase, and if that is the reason why this registration fee has been changed into an excise duty how much would the Exchequer gain by it. It is perfectly true that it would be out of order to propose that this excise duty should be payable on certain conditions attached to the permit to drive. If the Minister, by raising the fee from 5/- to 10/- means to do so as a deterrent to people who are not sufficiently qualified to drive, I think that it might be done in another way, and if his object is, as presumably it is, to raise revenue, I think he might have informed the House how much he expects to raise.

I think I have already informed the House on that matter. The object in this particular case is to raise additional revenue for the road fund. The extra amount that will be obtained by increasing this particular duty from 5/- to 10/- will be between £13,000 and £15,000.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided. Tá, 22; Níl, 42.

  • Pádraig Baxter.
  • John Conlan.
  • Séamus Eabhróid.
  • David Hall.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Patrick McKenna.
  • Risteárd Mac Liam.
  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Ailfrid O Broin.
  • Criostóir O Broin.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Liam O Daimhín.
  • Tadhg O Donnabháin.
  • Eamon O Dubhghaill.
  • Mícheál O Dubhghaill.
  • Seán O Duinnín.
  • Donnchadh O Guaire.
  • Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Seán O Laidhin.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
  • William A. Redmond.

Níl

  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Thomas Bolger.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Próinsias Bulfin.
  • Séamus de Burca.
  • John J. Cole.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileain Bean Uí Dhrisceóil.
  • James Dwyer.
  • Michael Egan.
  • John Good.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Liam Mac Cosgair.
  • Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.
  • Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • James Sproule Myles.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Seán O Bruadair.
  • Parthalán O Conchubhair.
  • Conchubhar O Conghaile.
  • Máirtín O Conalláin.
  • Séamus O Dóláin.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
  • Eamon O Dúgáin.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Risteárd O Maolchatha.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Máirtín O Rodaigh.
  • Seán O Súilleabháin.
  • Caoimhghín O hUigín.
  • Seán Príomhdhall.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
  • Liam Thrift.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Lyons and Hall. Níl: Deputies Dolan and Sears.
Amendment declared lost.
Question put: "That Section 19 stand part of the Bill."
The Committee divided. Tá, 43; Níl, 20.

  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Thomas Bolger.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Próinsias Bulfin.
  • Séamus de Burca.
  • John J. Cole.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileain Bean Uí Dhrisceóil.
  • James Dwyer.
  • Michael Egan.
  • John Good.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Liam Mac Cosgair.
  • Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.
  • Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • James Sproule Myles.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Seán O Bruadair.
  • Parthalán O Conchubhair.
  • Conchubhar O Conghaile.
  • Máirtín O Conalláin.
  • Séamus O Dóláin.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
  • Eamon O Dúgáin.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Risteárd O Maolchatha.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Máirtín O Rodaigh.
  • Seán O Súilleabháin.
  • Mícheál O Tighearnaigh.
  • Caoimhghín O hUigín.
  • Seán Príomhdhall.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
  • Liam Thrift.

Níl

  • Pádraig Baxter.
  • John Conlan.
  • Séamus Eabhróid.
  • David Hall.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Risteárd Mac Liam.
  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Ailfrid O Broin.
  • Criostóir O Broin.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Liam O Daimhín.
  • Tadhg O Donnabháin.
  • Eamon O Dubhghaill.
  • Mícheál O Dubhghaill.
  • Seán O Duinnín.
  • Donnchadh O Guaire.
  • Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Seán O Laidhin.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
Tellers;—Tá: Deputies Dolan and Sears. Níl: Deputies Nagle and P. Hogan (Clare).
Motion declared carried.
Question—"That Sections 20 and 21 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
SECTION 22.
(1) There shall be charged, levied, and paid on and by every bookmaker who makes, lays, or otherwise enters into any bets on or after the 1st day of November, 1926, an excise duty (in this Act referred to as the duty on bets) of five per cent. of the amount of every bet entered into by him on or after the said 1st day of November, 1926.
(2) For the purpose of this section the amount of a bet shall be the sum of money which by the terms of the bet the bookmaker will be entitled to receive, retain, or take credit for if the event the subject of the bet is determined in his favour.
(3) Whenever it is proved to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners that a bet in respect of which the duty imposed by this section is chargeable has become void for any reason other than the mutual consent of the parties thereto or that the amount of a bet in respect of which the said duty is chargeable has not been and is not likely to be collected by the bookmaker, the Revenue Commissioners may, subject to such conditions as they may think fit to impose, either (as the case may require) repay the duty paid or remit the duty chargeable in respect of such bet.
(4) Every person who fails or neglects to pay any sum payable by and lawfully demanded from him in respect of the duty imposed by 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 hundred pounds.

The first amendment to this section is in the name of Deputy Lyons, to delete the section. It is a direct negative and can be taken on a vote against the section.

The next amendment is in my name, but before proposing it I would like to ask the Minister if any negotiations are pending, or are being considered, in connection with any alternative suggestion made by bookmakers for the payment of a higher licence duty in lieu of a tax on betting.

If the Minister is replying to that question perhaps he will also say whether any negotiations are in course of discussion, affecting this tax and the various taxes connected with betting, with the British Government, and whether any concessions that may be made to bookmakers here will depend whether concessions are made to bookmakers in Great Britain.

No negotiations are in progress, and no negotiations have taken place with the bookmakers with a view to substituting a higher licence duty for a tax on betting. I think I have said definitely from the beginning that while I was willing to listen to any representation, and hear the facts about turnover, if they were submitted to me, I was not prepared to depart from the principle of a tax on betting. In the last few days I have, for the first time, got a reasonable amount of information in regard to turnover and the business done on racecourses. The definite answer to what Deputy Shaw has asked is that I have not given anybody the idea that we would abandon the tax on betting for a higher licence duty on bookmakers. With regard to Deputy Johnson's question no negotiations have taken place with the British Government. No negotiations have taken place between this Government and the British Government with regard to betting duties or the various duties connected with betting, and concessions that may be made here will be made as a result of information and representations supplied by the people here and will not depend on what happens in Great Britain. When we were considering the imposition of the Betting Tax we had before us the evidence that was submitted to the Select Committee which sat on the other side, and we used the information collected by that Committee in considering the matter. No doubt the British Government used the same information that was embodied in the same Blue Book, but there has been absolutely no communication of any sort with the British Government in the matter.

I move:

"In sub-section (1) to insert after the word ‘bets,' line 30, the words ‘(with the exception hereinafter mentioned),' and to insert before sub-section (2) a new sub-section as follows:—

"Bets entered into on any racecourse in Saorstát Eireann in respect of any horse running thereat shall be exempted from duty prescribed by sub-section (1) of this section."

The amendment which I am proposing was put in by me after the Second Reading of the Finance Bill and was put in because it was apparent that the Minister was determined to insist on the principle of a 5 per cent. tax on all stakes invested. As I and the persons I speak for were aware that such tax would seriously injure a great industry I was reluctantly compelled to oppose the measure as introduced. In the interval certain conversations have taken place between the Minister, myself and Senator Parkinson, and the following alternative proposals have been submitted for the Minister's consideration. These are in connection with racecourse betting only:—(1) That at meetings where the totalisator or pari-mutuel is operated a five per cent. tax be charged—50 per cent. of the net receipts to be refunded to the race company for the purpose of increasing the stakes to be run for. (2) The proposed tax of five per cent. on all bets made with bookmakers on racecourses to be reduced to 2½ per cent. and half of the net revenue to be likewise refunded towards the increase of stakes.

With regard to the stipulation that half the money collected at racecourses must be given back for the improvement of stakes, that is a matter on which I cannot yield. I understand there are a certain limited number of persons who consider there should have been no question of compromise, and those are persons who obtain their living out of racing, and in the making of those remarks I do not allude to bookmakers generally, their alternative being to let the Government impose the five per cent. tax and then take steps to bring racing to an end. Those are not the persons whose interests I represent here. I represent the owners, trainers, breeders and the general public. The dissatisfied persons seem entirely to overlook the fact that it is the owners and breeders who provide them with their means of livelihood and that only for the owners there could be no racing. Those same owners and breeders have millions of pounds invested in the racing and breeding industry and they, I think it will be unanimously admitted, get the least out of it; they are the persons responsible for the money circulated which gives employment to countless thousands. Therefore, my claim for half the money extracted by the tax is legitimate. Increased stakes can then be given at the smaller meetings. Better class horses will be attracted to them and, thereby, larger attendances.

Before I conclude I wish to quote the announcement just made on behalf of the English Jockey Club on the subject, by Lord Lonsdale, who is a multi-millionaire and does not bet, so that his statement is, at least, unbiassed:

"The Stewards of the Jockey Club consider it is their duty to call your attention to the fact that, in their opinion, the provisions in their present form in the Finance Bill for creating the betting duty will have a very disastrous effect on racing, and, consequently, upon the breeding of the thoroughbred in this country.

In the opinion of the Stewards, the betting duty in its present form will injuriously affect the attendance on racecourses which would entail the amount that is received by the executive, thus entailing a reduction in the value of the prizes, with, as we have stated before, a disastrous effect upon the breeding of the thoroughbred.

That the business of the breeding of thoroughbreds is a very important one to this country, and a great asset will, we think, be admitted and for this reason anything that would be detrimental to it should, in our opinion, be avoided.

The Stewards feel that, as the body who control racing in this country, they would be failing in their duty, particularly to the executives of racecourses, to the owners and to the breeders of bloodstock, if they did not enter a serious protest against the tax in its present form."

I again regret that the acting stewards of the Irish Turf Club, as the custodians of the Irish racing interests, have, so far, made no public statement as to their opinions on this important subject.

The next matter I have to deal with is starting price betting. I am well aware that the same arguments cannot be put forward in connection with starting price betting as with betting at racecourses. My remarks, therefore, will be as to the effect of a 5 per cent. tax, as regards the revenue to be obtained and the effect of the opening of betting shops. The new legislation will have the effect of a substantial reduction in heavy betting, and a vast increase in small betting. Let there be no misunderstanding whatever about this. Legalised betting shops will be established all over the city and country and those betting shops will display price lists and every other device to attract persons to bet. Innumerable people who were not in the habit of betting before will be attracted and drop in to have their shilling or half-crown on. I predict that within 12 months you will have the people and the churches calling for the repealing of this Act. The imposition of a 5 per cent. tax on starting price betting will so much reduce the turn-over as to produce a much smaller revenue than a 2½ per cent. tax would bring in. And Mr. Churchill has now discovered his colossal mistake as to the probable yield, and is preparing to reduce substantially the original tax as mentioned in his Budget statement. Now, for instance, it will practically extinguish place betting, which would be about 40 per cent. of the amount of the sums invested, the reason being that backers receiving only one-fourth the odds to their money will invest only the money to win. And as heretofore the money invested for a place was an insurance for the sum invested to win, naturally the money invested to win will now be reduced.

I purpose giving a few figures and I am going to take as a basis £10 each way in order to show the effect of the tax in connection with place betting. Ten pounds each way invested on a horse starting at 6 to 4 on would yield, for a place, £1 13s. 4d. The tax on the possibility of winning £1 13s. 4d. would be 10/-. Ten pounds each way on a horse starting "evens" would yield a gross amount of £2 10s. 0d. for the place bet, and the tax on that possibility would be 10/-. Ten pounds each way at 6 to 4 against would yield £3 15s. 0d. and the tax would be 10/-, or a total of £1 for the win and place. Ten pounds each way at 2 to 1 would yield £5 for the place bet and the tax would be 10/-. There was a horse running in the Derby—Colorado—which started at 13 to 8 against, and I would like to know what amount of place money would be invested on him. I could give a hundred other examples but I think I have given sufficient to convince the Minister and Deputies that a 5 per cent. tax will cut the amount at least in two and, therefore, that a two and a half per cent. tax would bring in a larger sum than a five per cent. tax. I suggest to the Minister that if it is money he is after he should reduce the tax to two and a half per cent. and increase the licence duty on bookmakers substantially. By so doing, he will be reducing considerably the number of betting shops, he will have people of better financial status running them and he will prevent the public from being exploited by undesirable people coming from England and elsewhere. Those people for a £20 licence could start business and by laying liberal odds on big handicaps such as the Grand National, the Derby, the Cesarewitch or Cambridgeshire, could obtain a large sum of money from the public, and when the result was known and when the public who backed the winner came to draw their money, they would find it was a case of "also ran —the bookmaker." I am not asking for a decision on that matter to-night. I throw out the suggestion to the Minister that between now and the Report Stage he should consider the advisability of reducing the tax on starting-price betting. I formally propose the amendment standing in my name.

I hope the Minister will sympathetically consider the suggestion put forward by Deputy Shaw. Very few people know more about the subject than the Deputy who is both a breeder and owner of racehorses. This tax is a complete leap in the dark both here and in England. We do not know how it will result. Mr. Churchill has discovered that his estimate in one respect has been altogether wrong. I do not suppose that our Minister can be any more certain as to his estimate. Everybody hopes that revenue will be derived from this tax and revenue will be derived— probably more than is expected—if the right system be adopted. But if the wrong system is adopted, there will be no return. The county which I have the honour to represent is the chief racing, breeding and training centre. Everybody I have met there is in favour of controlling this matter, just as liquor traffic is controlled. I was going to quote the words of Frank Webber and say that almost from the Minister down to the Clerk of the Crown everybody indulges in betting but the Ministers might be offended at that. But from the greatest in the land down to the humble lady who sings "Mary Ann" on the racecourses, there is a certain amount of betting done.

The practice of betting has enormously increased. There is hardly a household in my county which has not a bet on every race that is run. It stands to reason, therefore, that betting should be under control. The question then is fined down to finding the right system. When I say "right system," I mean a system which will not interfere with the great industry of breeding and training which employs thousands of men. This five per cent. tax would have that effect. Deputy Shaw has made suggestions which I hope the Minister will consider. He has suggested a two and a half per cent. tax, half to go towards increasing the stakes. The stakes in this country are extremely small. In France they are never under £300. Here they go down to £50 and, perhaps, lower. It stands to reason that it is not out of the stakes that racing is supported. If it were not for betting, there would not be much racing except for the few rich people who could afford it. Our great industry of breeding depends altogether on racing, especially since motors are doing away with heavy traffic horses. We have to depend on the bloodstock and if it were not for racing what good would they be? Racing depends on the support the public give it and the public attend as a rule to bet. Some people may go in order to meet their friends or to be amongst the crowd but if the people who attend to bet were to remain away the attendance would be very seriously decreased and the contribution to the amusement tax would be considerably diminished.

The people in my county are all for a high tax on houses where betting is carried on in addition to the licence on bookmakers. Such a tax would drive out of existence the small houses that under the pretence of doing something else are used solely for betting. They pretend to carry on some other trifling business which means nothing; their real business is betting under no restrictions whatever and these would be done away with if the proper tax was put upon them. In England it is even worse. I lived near a big town in England for some time; streams of men came in there from adjoining railway works. In their way used to lie numbers of touts offering odds, and the amount of money lost, often by very questionable means, was simply enormous. Mr. Churchill has come to see that evil. I think here in this country if we had a heavy tax on licensed premises, and had them not under the rose but open, there would be much more coming to the revenue than at present. I hope that the Minister will take what Deputy Shaw has said into consideration. He has given the considered opinion of men engaged in racing in this country who know all about the business. They are anxious that these places should be under proper control. I hope the Minister will not adopt the attitude of the Medes and Persians, particularly as this is new. We do not know how it may work out, at least I do not see how the Minister can know more than anybody else. Those actually engaged in this industry say it will not last or thrive unless this tax of 5 per cent. is reduced. Some want it abolished but I think the industry might go on for some time if the tax was reduced to half and if half the amount fixed went back in increased stakes. I do hope that in this matter the Minister will adopt the motto,festina lente, and I think it will pay him to do it.

I hope that bodies interested in racing that have not yet approached the Minister on this subject will do so. The Turf Club has not done so. I am an honorary member of the Turf Club, in regard to my position as ranger of the Curragh. I have the privilege of attending certain meetings through the office I hold. I happen to know that there was a meeting, a considerable time ago, to consider this matter, but nothing came of it. I hope the Turf Club, as the premier racing body in Ireland, will give their opinion upon this question. If they do, the Minister will then have come to see that the suggestions put forward by Deputy Shaw ought to be considered sympathetically, not only for the good of the country but also with a view to bringing in a tax such as we all want to see realised.

Will the Minister for Finance say whether this betting tax, if insisted upon will apply in cases of bets made with regard to candidates at the general election or at by-elections?

Yes, if made with a bookmaker. As I said already I got two or three days ago for the first time certain figures from representatives of the bookmakers. It is fair to say that when the bookmakers did give figures they seemed to me to be figures that had been carefully and fairly prepared and that are as reliable as could be looked for. Certainly, now that they have submitted figures, I have no complaint to make of the information given me. I have at last got as good information direct from the representatives of a large number of bookmakers as I could expect. With the actual figures, supplied by certain bookmakers, were careful estimates in regard to other bookmakers and estimates in regard to races at various places for which we had not figures.

I have not been able to study the returns supplied to me as fully as I would wish but it does certainly appear from them that the turnover is bigger than we had estimated. I could see, at once, as a result of the study I have been able to give to these figures, that we could agree to reduce this tax on betting on the racecourses to 2½ per cent. It would follow from that that we could agree, if five per cent. was taken from the stakes of the totalisator, that half of the net profits on the working of the totalisator could go to the courses for the increase of stakes. So far I can go with Deputy Shaw. But I would like to consider the matter further before I would say that of the 2½ per cent. taken on the courses we could give half to the racing executives for the increase of stakes. It may be that we could do that and still have something like the revenue that we set out to look for. I am anxious, as I have said to the House, not to injure in any serious way the carrying on of races in this country. I have, now at any rate, got figures which enable a better study of the whole subject to be carried on than was possible heretofore. But for the fact that the bookmakers have realised that the tax was going on and that if they want any concessions they had got to meet us fairly, and put the facts forward to us that were within their knowledge, it would not have been possible to go on with this proposal on any basis better than careful guess work.

So far as starting price betting is concerned I am not so much impressed by the arguments that Deputy Shaw put forward and I have not got the information with regard to it that I now have with regard to betting on racecourses because, although I was supplied with estimates calculated in certain ways that seemed to be reasonably sound and though I was supplied with estimates that were helpful they were not estimates that necessarily carried conviction in the same way as the figures I had in regard to betting on racecourses.

Again there is definitely the fact that so far as starting price betting is concerned, it is of no benefit to racing here; if it were discouraged to some extent or to a considerable extent no damage would be done to anybody. I am not sure that making it a 2½ per cent. tax rather than a 5 per cent. tax would lead to any multiplication of betting houses or to any increase in the number of people betting.Prima facie I would say that the effect would be the opposite. I certainly have not yet heard any arguments that would carry much weight with me in favour of reducing the tax on people who do a starting price business to 2½ per cent., except one argument, that there is a certain administrative simplicity and administrative ease in having one rate. I see that. But that is not a convincing reason in its favour. In reply to the suggestions that Deputy Shaw put forward what I say is this, that I have now information that enables me to say without sacrificing the prospect of getting the revenue which I mentioned to the Dáil when first proposing the tax of something between £150,000 and £200,000—without sacrificing that prospect—I can agree to a reduction of tax on betting on race-courses to 2½ per cent. with the corollary that if the amount taken by the totalisator is 5 per cent. a proportion of that should go to the racecourse, because we would have to pay the racecourse executives on some basis for permission to run the totalisator. The further question of whether a portion of the proceeds of the betting duty proper collected on race-courses would be given for stakes is one that would require more consideration than I have yet been able to give it.

There is one suggestion I would like to put, while the Minister is thinking of possible alteration in the rate of tax upon starting price betting. He has fixed in his mind a certain figure which he would like to obtain from this tax. I would like him to bear in mind that if he fears now he will get more than he budgeted for, he might make a reduction in the tax on hackney-cars. If he wants to deprive himself of a certain revenue that he had originally anticipated he would have, he might consider seriously whether it would not be better to get it out of starting price betting and so remit it from the duty on the hackney motor cars.

That goes to the road fund.

It was my intention to support Deputy Shaw's amendment, but having heard the statement of the Minister I would like now to ascertain what Deputy Shaw's attitude is in the matter and whether he would press his amendment.

I would like to say before the Minister replies that I noticed that in putting forward the amendment Deputy Shaw mentioned that were it not for breeders and owners there would be no racing in the Saorstát at all. I say that were it not for the dupes who go to these race meetings and bet, we would not have any owners or breeders. From all points of view I wish to oppose in the strongest possible manner this proposed 5 per cent. betting tax, and I will support Deputy Shaw's amendment if he puts it to the Dáil—that is to delete the 5 per cent. tax.

That is not the effect of the amendment. The amendment deals with the betting on racecourses only.

There is no Deputy in this House who has not received resolutions from different sections of the community against this betting tax. I have here one particular resolution forwarded by the Newbridge Branch of the I.T.W.U., and I think it is worth the attention of every Deputy here.

Is it on official paper?

No. In one paragraph of this resolution they say that they have considered the matter from every point of view and they could come to no other conclusion than that the proposed tax on betting would, in a comparatively short time, bring horse-racing in the Saorstát to an end, and be the means of closing the establishments in which they are employed, and thus deprive them of their means of livelihood. This resolution is signed by M. Smith, Secretary of the I.T.W.U. in Newbridge. This is a resolution coming from the workers and appealing to the Deputies here to put an end once and for all to this proposed 5 per cent. tax on betting. I never was interested in horses, but on Saturday last I visited one of these betting saloons in Dublin and found over fifty people present, some putting on a shilling, some a sixpence each way, some 2/6, and I saw one gentleman putting on £20.

He was a gentleman!

This amendment deals with betting at race-courses, and only with betting at race-courses. The Deputy must confine himself to that. The general question will arise on the section.

I hold that a tax of 5 per cent. on betting at racecourses will prevent a lot of people from going to such places. The bookmaker has to pay a licence and the backer has to pay 5 per cent. I really think that if the Minister would accept the amendment put down by Deputy Shaw that would meet the situation. But I do not think that a full 5 per cent., with 2½ per cent. given to the State, would meet the situation. I appeal to the Deputies to give serious consideration to this amendment, and to consider the appeal of the workers that you have here. These men are making their living by racehorses, and they will be deprived of their means of livelihood if this tax is put into operation. I will certainly support any amendment to delete completely the 5 per cent. tax on racecourse betting, but I will agree to a 2½ per cent. tax, provided half of it goes to the racecourse and half to the State.

I think the Minister has been reasonable in this matter. He has not gone one bit too far. All the arguments I have heard about this matter affecting the breeders is, I think, pure nonsense. As far as my information goes, the great majority of breeders in Ireland are also owners of male stock, and they breed for their own benefit. Seldom have I noticed that a man who bred an animal and raced it for a considerable number of years, and who did not win some very important race, ever succeeded in disposing of that animal to any of the big people who are concerned with this industry. The interests of the breeders are not at all at stake. The people really affected by this matter are those who look forward to making a profit out of racing in this country, and who are directors of racecourse committees. They are the people who desire to get a monopoly of the wealth that accrues from racing. I congratulate the Minister upon the attitude he has taken.

The Deputy stated that breeders are owners of sires. That is not a fact in regard to racehorses. Practically all the large studs in the country are owned by persons who do not race the horses. They race them, perhaps, once or twice or three times in order to sell them; but as regards keeping them racing for years, that is not so. Any horse that shows form in Ireland can command practically whatever price is asked. I saw yesterday where a horse that was hawked round Dublin for £85 and could not be sold won the Ascot Stakes of £2,000. Speaking of yesterday again, another horse that was bought at the Horse Show sales won a large race in England. Any horse that shows form in Ireland can be disposed of almost at once. Breeders race horses a few times, and if they show any form they are sold.

Will the Deputy inform the Committee why many people who own race horses and run them in selling races in Ireland cannot get more than £50 for them after they win? Why are there so many failures to dispose of horses in Ireland?

Horses which win races and are sold for £50 are worth £50; very few people want them. I think the Minister has met me very fairly and reasonably in this matter. There is only one thing which we have not reached complete agreement on; that is with regard to the refund of 2½ per cent. tax from the money obtained at racecourses. The Minister, however, has promised to consider the matter further, and I am agreeable to repeat the amendment I have here on the Report Stage, when I hope he will be able to meet me. In the circumstances, I ask the leave of the Committee to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 26, by leave, withdrawn.

I would ask the Deputy to leave Amendment 27 over. I promised to meet the representatives of the coursing industry. I saw a couple of them for a few minutes. I got a paper from them. They have been in further consultation with the Revenue Commissioners.

I think not.

I believe that some of them were in consultation to-day. I hope to see them again. I have not been able to consider the representations they have made and can make, and I ask Deputy Shaw to let that particular amendment stand over.

I would appeal to Deputy Shaw to say what has to be said on this amendment. Some of the people concerned who saw the Minister's officials did not appear to be satisfied, from what I have heard. I do not think it is any harm to have this amendment proposed and seconded; then the House can decide whether it should be withdrawn. I do not think the amendment ought to be withdrawn at this stage without some further consideration. I would appeal to Deputy Shaw to propose it.

The suggestion is that it should be left over.

If the amendment is left over, and the Minister is able to make a more definite statement on the matter at a later stage, it will get precisely the same treatment. The position we are going to be in on this betting question is that on the Report Stage there will be certain amendments dealing with these betting sections and we will have to go into Committee on these new amendments.

I am perfectly satisfied, after what has to be said is said on this matter, to postpone the amendment until the Report Stage. A good deal has to be said and I think it would be better said in public when everybody can contradict or support it as the case may be. I think it is better, as in connection with the racing amendment, that everything should be plain and above board. If Deputy Shaw does not propose the amendment I claim the right to propose it.

If the Minister has no objection to a statement being made in connection with the amendment, I could make that statement and leave the amendment over for the Report Stage. There may be a certain amount of information in the statement that the Minister would find useful.

The Deputy has the right to make a statement if he pleases.

I do not like to if the Minister is desirous of having the amendment postponed.

The Committee may desire to be informed of this matter. It is not wholly a question between the Deputy and the Minister. Some of us require education and this is the process.

On a point of order, would it not be possible for both Deputy Shaw and Deputy Gorey to say what they like on the subject matter of this amendment on the whole section being put?

It would of course.

But that will lead us nowhere.

Deputy Shaw has the right to propose the amendment and make a statement if he so desires. Also, on the whole section, the question of coursing can be taken as Deputy Redmond suggests; that is quite feasible, too.

Amendment 27 is as follows:—

In sub-section (1) to insert after the word "bets," line 30, the words "(with the exception hereinafter mentioned)," and to insert before sub-section (2) a new sub-section as follows:—

"Bets entered into at any coursing meeting in Saorstát Eireann in respect of any greyhound competing thereat shall be exempted from the duty prescribed by sub-section (1) of this section."

In connection with the economic value of coursing I would like to say that anything that creates business and trade has an economic value, and the following statistics will prove the amount of money put in circulation from coursing:—250 coursing meetings mean an expenditure of at least from £200 to £300 at each meeting, circulating anything up to £150,000. £2,000 is spent on printing alone in connection with the stud book and papers. Preservation of game for the supply of hares gives employment. Almost every club employs a gamekeeper for this purpose. The majority of greyhound owners are very small farmers and labourers and they are all quite unable to bear further taxation. Since the setting up of the separate Irish Stud Book, and the creation of Irish lines of blood, a rapidly increasing market for Irish greyhounds has been created in England and America which bids fair in a short time considerably to augment our exports. Last year about 200 greyhounds were exported to the United States, value for at least £5,000. The dogs exported have been very successful and are proving a fine advertisement for Irish breeding. English purchases realised some thousands last year. Full particulars as to the prospects of this industry can be given. This industry is only in its infancy, a separate stud book from the English book being published for the first time three years ago. Coursing, therefore, needs encouragement and a tax would be disastrous.

The position of coursing is entirely different from racing. The average number of courses run in a day would be about 45, whereas only 6 races are run in a day. There are only two dogs in every course. So that a tax on coursing would withdraw the money in circulation in a very limited time. The amusement tax has already had a serious effect on coursing, and any further tax would be fatal. Coursing is the most popular and inexpensive form of winter sport we have in this country. It takes the place that hurling, football and athletics occupy in the summer months. In fact, it may be looked upon as the only relaxation which country people have in the way of a winter sport, and, if it so happens that any further burden or restriction is put upon it, considerable resentment will be aroused all over the Free State. The sport, as I have pointed out, is as old as history. It is, by every test that can be applied, a national sport and a national asset. It has strong claims to put forward as deserving special consideration rather than a continuance of the existing burdens and an imposition of new ones. Coursing is carried on entirely as a sport, and not one single club exists for the purpose of profit. As the Minister has said that he is prepared to consider this matter when some other Deputies have spoken, I am quite willing to withdraw the amendment and leave the matter in his hands.

I beg to support the amendment. Coursing can in no way be put on a par with racing. Racing may be said to be a business more or less. Race meetings are run more or less as a paying proposition. Coursing on the other hand is not a paying proposition. It is purely and simply a sport and, as Deputy Shaw has said, the only sport that the plain people of the country can indulge in at little expense—in fact the only sport that is available for them in the winter time. It is the poor man's sport. So acute is the position becoming in connection with coursing that a good many executives find it impossible to carry on and pay the amusements tax. As a matter of fact, a good many clubs are seriously contemplating either giving up coursing or refusing to pay the amusements tax. Deputy Davin, or perhaps the Minister for Justice could tell us the position of clubs in Maryborough and places like that where a good deal of money has been invested in connection with coursing and healthy amusement is provided for the people.

The economic position to-day is different from what it was in 1919, 1920, 1921, or 1922—the money is not in the country now. In the course of this year or next year, even without this betting tax, I think coursing clubs will find themselves in the position of having to come together and appeal to the Minister for Finance to exempt coursing meetings from the amusements tax. I do not believe it can be paid, apart altogether from this betting tax. As I have said, coursing and racing cannot be put on a par. When a racecourse is laid out it requires very little attention or upkeep. With coursing it is different; you have either to have your open club or your park and you have got to pay keepers to preserve the lands the whole year round. So intense is the love for this sport that some people undertake voluntarily to preserve the lands and even make enemies of their neighbours in doing so. They do that because they want to have some amusement in the country. The love of sport is bred in the people and neither taxes nor governments can drive it out of them. A good deal of money has been invested in greyhounds, although nothing like the amount invested in horses. The sales do not realise the amount of money that horse sales realise, but the sum involved amounts to some thousands of pounds in the year. That money coming to the people who bred the greyhounds means as much to them, and perhaps a lot more, as the thousands paid for some of our yearlings to those interested in racing. A poor man will invest in a brood bitch and sell the saplings either in London or in Dublin or by private treaty. I can show from the records of the sales in the stud books where litters realised £300, £400 and £500. That is a big thing for some of our poor people. For the last seven or eight years there have been regular transactions in connection with the sale of greyhounds between this country and England. American sportsmen are also turning their attention to this country. Deputy Shaw could possibly give the total number of dogs that have gone to America from here. This year more than half a dozen American sportsmen have come over here to see greyhounds run and have taken away numbers of them. I myself have sold six to one man.

Two hundred greyhounds at a cost of £5,000 were sent to America.

Will Deputy Gorey tell us what is his view as to the effect of the betting tax upon this?

I am coming to that. Betting at race meetings and at coursing meetings cannot be compared. At coursing meetings two dogs compete in each course. To win a sixteen-dog stake a dog has to win four courses; to win a thirty-two dog stake, five courses; and to win a cup at one of our big meetings, with 64 dogs entered, a dog would have to win six courses. On racecourses odds of seven to one, eight to one, or ten to one are often laid, but where you have two dogs running, and one of them is of any use, especially if it belongs to a certain owner, you are asked to lay three to one, four to one, and sometimes five to one on; three to one would be an average bet.

How does the Minister propose to enforce this betting tax in connection with coursing? How long would it take to get to the end of the small amount of money in circulation in coursing here? It is so small that the larger bookmaker does not go to coursing meetings. We have perhaps a dozen large bookmakers in Ireland, and not one of these, perhaps, attends coursing meetings. There is not enough money there for them—at least, they do not go. Perhaps some bookmakers would not think I am complimenting them by saying that none of the big men go to coursing meetings. I hope I am not insulting anybody who attends coursing meetings by what I am saying, but really there is very little money in it, and no big bookmakers, perhaps with one exception, attend. I am trying not to offend the Kerrymen in what I am saying, and they will understand what I am talking about. I tell the Minister that the imposition of this tax would do away with coursing altogether. If he does not intend to put an end to coursing altogether, he should withdraw the proposal. I think he will be asked very soon to exempt coursing meetings from the amusement tax.

How are our coursing clubs financed? By a small collection of a small gate at which 1/- or more is charged for admission, in addition to the amusement tax. I am not quite sure if that is right, but I think it is about the average charge made to those going into the coursing field. I cannot tell the exact amount charged by my own club. Clubs are kept going by the people of each district, for three or four miles around, sending in their subscriptions, preserving the land, and trying to keep game in the country. There is no profit made on the running of these clubs. There is a dead loss to those concerned, but they are satisfied to bear that loss, as it is the only amusement in the district. I think if the matter is fully considered it will be agreed that further taxation will result in killing the only sport there is in rural districts. The people there are not living in the vicinity of theatres and other amusements that people in the cities and towns have access to. Coursing is the only amusement they have, and in order to keep it going they are prepared to subscribe a little money to these clubs.

Take the coursing club with which I am connected. When a piece of land became available we raised money in the bank on the security of a half-dozen men and bought it out. The land consisted of two fields surrounded by fences, and beech trees were growing on it. A lot of labour was necessary to make it suitable for coursing purposes. The work involved did not cost one penny, as the farmers came and brought 50 or 60 men to clear the place. Not one of those who came and did that work was the owner of a greyhound, and very few of them ever make a bet. Having regard to all the other charges that coursing clubs have to meet, and remembering the small amount of money that is at their disposal, if a further tax is put on it will mean that there will be no coursing.

I have no hesitation in saying that anyone who stands up at a coursing meeting to make bets should be specially taxed. A tax to clear out a most despicable class of individual, an undesirable type, that attends coursing meetings, who gives unusual odds, pockets the money of his dupes, and who, before the flag is raised, makes for the gate, will be welcomed. The patrons of coursing in Ireland are not men of wealth nor men of leisure, despite what may be said about the patrons of English coursing. The people who support coursing in Ireland are those who by Statute were prevented in the past from keeping greyhounds. These days are gone, and farmers and some other people now keep greyhounds. Some people may say, perhaps, that it is a scandal to be feeding these dogs. I always heard it said that the man that could not be kind to a child or to a greyhound was no good. I also heard it said that both a dog and a child are very good judges of human nature. There is no means of supplementing the funds of Irish coursing clubs except from the pockets of the people who keep dogs and the little money taken at the gate.

It would surprise people who think that a fortune can be derived from coursing to know the actual facts. After dividing a sixteen dog stake the winner gets £10, but the owner had to pay an entry fee of 50/-. The man whose dog was knocked out on the first course never sees his 50/- again, but he is perfectly satisfied because he got a run for his money. As a rule, anyone who runs a dog has a bet on a course, but if a tax is going to be put on every bet—I do not want to issue a threat— I think the Minister had better realise what he is up against. It has been said that coursing is of no benefit to the community. I say that coursing must exist for the same reason that racing must exist. To prove the value of blood in horses you must have racing, and to prove the value of the blood line in greyhounds you must have coursing. It is a mistake to imagine that a good many people have not invested big sums in the breeding of greyhounds with a view to a foreign trade. That trade is not only beginning to come to this country, but is developing. The trade has come and the demand is there, more especially since the war when a good many of the English kennels were destroyed. Englishmen are over here buying dogs showing any promise, giving £300 and £400 for any decent dog, and these dogs are owned by small people in the country. It should also be remembered that the Government draws a considerable amount of money from dog licences, to which the greyhound contributes his portion. Perhaps the Minister will be doing considerable harm in some other direction, the direction I point out, if he insists on killing coursing, as I maintain his proposals will, in effect, do. It may be said that I am very much an interested party in this. Frankly, I am an interested party, but I, for one, before this tax was ever thought of, had almost made up my mind to sell whatever greyhounds I had and get out of coursing, because it is anything but a paying proposition. I will not state the wages I pay and what my coursing bill comes to in the year. During the war, when food was scarce, it would have been a crime to tell it. It would not be a crime now, as we have plenty of food, but there was a time when I took special care that it would not be known what I paid for the support of greyhounds. I ask the Minister, in all seriousness, not from the personal point of view at all, but from the point of view of facing hard facts, to make up his mind to abandon this proposition altogether. There is no other course. We do not want 2½ per cent. back for the benefit of the stakes. We will look after them ourselves if the Minister withdraws the whole proposition as far as coursing is concerned. That is the only alternative to this proposal that I can suggest.

When the Minister was speaking on the Second Reading of this Bill I asked him if he could give us an approximate estimate of the revenue that would be derived from this tax as applied to coursing. He then said that he was not in a position to give any figures, and I wonder has he made any efforts to obtain definite figures in the meantime. I support the plea put forward by Deputy Gorey. I think on Second Reading the Minister said that coursing was not of any economic importance so far as the State is concerned. I believe that if this tax is applied to coursing it will cause a considerable amount of administrative trouble to the Department of Finance, without securing any benefit worth talking of, for the labour of endeavouring to collect the few pounds that may be obtained if the Minister insists on the proposal in its original form. It is quite true that in the Leix-Offaly constituency a few coursing meetings are held during the year, but I suggest to the Minister that this is nothing more or less than an innocent form of amusement indulged in by the rural population on a few days in the year. I would venture, also, to suggest to him that the tax, if it could be recovered on the bets that are exchanged at a few cock fights, would far exceed what could be obtained from all the coursing matches in Ireland in a year. More money is exchanged on cock fights than on all the coursing matches held in the country during a year.

How do you know?

Will the Deputy tell us where the cock fights are held?

In the County Monaghan, as the Minister is well aware.

I never hear of them until afterwards.

There will not be a real cock fight there until August twelve months.

I guarantee that the Minister in the year following the imposition of this tax will not have the pleasure of recovering very much revenue from the cock-fighting business. I suppose that nobody could put the case better than Deputy Gorey. I will say this, from what I know of Deputy Gorey, that he, and the small number of people like him, have spent a considerable amount of money on and put a considerable amount of capital into this business. I say this to the credit of Deputy Gorey, although we disagree on some occasions and agree to differ on other occasions, that he pays a respectable wage to whatever men he has looking after his greyhounds, and they are the best greyhounds in Ireland. Deputy Gorey did make a mistake in saying that very few people who went to a coursing meeting actually engaged in betting.

I did not say that. I said that in my own club, where people did all this voluntary work, only a very small proportion of them bet, and that they attended very little coursing except their own club coursing.

The little experience I have—and it is certainly very little— of coursing meetings, has shown me that the type of people who attend them have not very much money, except for half-crown and shilling bets, and they indulge in that very seldom, in fact only on a few occasions during the year. The tax that would be recovered would be very little and would not be worth the trouble that the officials would be put to in collecting it. I have been to more race meetings than to coursing matches. There are many people who attend race meetings as well as coursing matches who never put on a bet.

And it will not die.

That was one weak part of the argument, I think, that Deputy Gorey put forward. Looking at it purely from the departmental point of view, I think that the Minister is making a mistake if he insists on passing this proposal in its original form. I think that it would go a good way towards killing coursing, that is, if the amount of money invested in the betting side of coursing is of any considerable size. There are very few people like Deputy Gorey who put money into the business, and I think they should be allowed to continue to support an industry that affords a form of innocent amusement to the rural population on a few occasions during the year. There are very few forms of amusement, innocent or otherwise, in rural Ireland to-day, and that is causing the rush of the rising generation into the towns. The Minister is a bit of a sport, I am sure, and I would advise him, in consultation with the Minister for Justice, to concentrate upon endeavouring to get revenue from the bets on cock fights, instead of foolishly pursuing the policy laid down in the Bill, and I appeal to him to accept the amendment.

We are debating an amendment the mover of which has announced his intention to withdraw it immediately. The Minister has said that he has not yet got sufficient information to enable him to make a statement on what concessions he might make in a particular direction.

I thought the Minister would give us some indication of the concessions.

I understood him to say that until his investigations with the interested parties had progressed further he could not make any statement as to how far he might go to meet a particular point of view. Will the Committee be satisfied to take it that a particular point of view has been put forward sufficiently and hear the Minister if the Minister has anything to say? Then the amendment can be withdrawn because, as I have said before, this matter is bound to come up again. Deputy Shaw will bring this amendment forward again in order to be safe in case the Minister does not put down any amendment, but whatever proposal the Minister will have to make, if he has any to make, will raise the whole question again. We are now within an hour of the adjournment, and we might continue this discussion to no purpose. I think it should be concluded now.

Would you allow me to say a word?

When are we to stop if Deputy Conlan says a word now?

I will stop very soon. I think it will be agreed that Deputy Gorey has made a very strong case for the exemption of coursing from this tax and I am sure it will have due weight with the Minister. I want to ask the Minister a question. I do not know whether he has ever heard of a form of amusement known as terrier coursing. I want to know if the tax is to be enforced at these meetings. I am aware that the promoters of these affairs have not the support, financial or otherwise, of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, but at the same time they carry them on and they are more or less popular. I can say this, that if the tax is enforced at some of these meetings one levy will be sufficient to snuff a meeting out.

I cannot see that I can usefully add anything to the discussion. I have attended to what Deputy Gorey and what Deputy Shaw said in regard to the matter and I will give careful attention to all the representations that may be put before me and the answers that I will be able to get to certain questions I put. If I am able to feel that a concession is desirable and necessary I will put down an amendment for the Report Stage, but I really have not, owing to the fact that the coursing people only got in touch with us a day or two ago, been able to give the thought to the matter that I would like before making an announcement.

Amendment by leave withdrawn.

Are we going to take amendment 28 now or wait for the new proposals generally on betting? The Minister's suggestion will have to be embodied in a Bill and then this question will arise in a rather different form.

I will withdraw the amendment but I take it that I will be allowed to move it later.

Yes, perhaps in a new form.

Amendment by leave withdrawn.

I beg to move:

In sub-section (1), lines 30 and 33, to delete the words "1st day, November, 1926," and substitute therefor the words "appointed day," and to add at the end of the section a new sub-section, as follows—

"For the purposes of this section the appointed day shall be such day not before the 1st day of November, 1926, as may be fixed by the Minister for Finance."

Strange as it may appear, the object of this amendment is to facilitate the Minister for Finance and not to tie his hands in regard to the actual date of the coming into operation of the present proposals. I am fortified in my object by the speech which the Minister himself has made. He stated earlier in the discussion that he has got a reasonable account from certain quarters of the amount of turnover which will be subject to this proposed tax. I think the words he used were that he had at last got the information and he went on further to say that he has not been able to study the returns as fully as he would wish. My proposal is not that the Minister should not bring in these proposals at the date he mentioned but that we should not pass this section now rendering it necessary for this proposed tax to come in at that date. If my amendment be accepted it will mean that the Minister shall have power still to put this proposal into operation on the 1st November but that he need not necessarily do so and that, if up to that time he has not sufficiently satisfied himself as to the returns that he will get, he may on any date after 1st November— or if he so desires drop the matter altogether—put these proposals into operation.

I think the Minister's own statement largely supports my view, and though he has up to this made certain concessions in regard to the amount of the tax which he proposed to impose, he has in no way yielded on the question of the basis upon which that tax is to be imposed. When this proposed percentage tax—I think that is what it is known as now—was proposed, the Minister did not seem to be very certain of his ground, but now he has informed the House that he is in a somewhat better position, though he would still like some further time to consider the returns that have been made to him. On the Second Reading I opposed his tax. I opposed it on most of the grounds that have since been offered to the House from other quarters. I opposed it, and I do still, on the ground of principle, namely, that there is no such thing as a percentage tax—certainly not a tax on turnover, as distinct from a tax upon profit—in operation in this country.

It is one thing to tax a person's profits; it is another thing to tax his turnover. The Minister has had representations made to him from many quarters—certainly they have appeared, at any rate, in the public Press —both from the trainers and employees, the race-going public, and even from, as the House was reminded to-night, the farmers. These various classes connected with what is known as racing generally, have all protested, not against the amount of the tax, but against a percentage tax at all. An alternative proposal has been put up to the Minister. It has been suggested to him that by means of an easy and cheap manner, he will be certain of receiving at least £80,000, and probably £100,000. I understand that the bookmakers have suggested to him—and I think these proposals were in his hands within the last few days—that at least 400 and probably 500 bookmakers in this country would be prepared to pay £200 per annum as a licence, and that licence would be easy of collection.

The administrative costs would be practically nothing and the Minister would be certain of receiving at least £80,000 or perhaps £100,000. I do not know whether the Minister is yet satisfied that he will receive from the 2½ per cent. or the original 5 per cent. the amount that he has budgeted for, but here is a proposal under which he is certain to receive a net sum that will cost nothing to collect and which he could be absolutely certain of for the coming year. I suggest, in view of the altered attitude of mind of the Minister himself in regard to the amount of the percentage he is going to charge, and in view of the fact that my amendment will not mean abandoning his own proposal in its entirety, that it should be accepted for the reason that it will give him time and opportunity to consult those interested. He does not seem to have had the fullest opportunity of doing that up to this, but this would enable him to do so between now and the 1st November, the date that he proposes to put this measure, if he so chooses, into operation. I do not think there is anything extravagant in my amendment, and I do not see how, in any way, it could injure the collection of this proposed tax. It is not a suggestion to delete the section or to remove the tax in any shape or form, though I think that by the 1st November the Minister would be prepared to concede to my proposal that the tax, as originally intended, would not be practicable, and that it would be better to drop it altogether. As we have heard from so many quarters, the tax will be a great danger, not only to the racing community, but to the great horse-breeding industry in the country. We have had speeches from those who are thoroughly acquainted with the ins and outs of this industry. What they have said is perfectly true, that horse-breeding, especially in the case of thoroughbreds, could not exist without racing; racing, almost of a certainty, could not exist without betting, and betting, probably, could never exist if this tax were insisted upon. It might interest the House if I were to give some figures showing the amount that would have to be paid by those engaged in bookmaking.

The Deputy is now speaking to the section rather than to his amendment.

I am speaking to show, if I can, why it would be advisable for the Minister to accept this amendment. I suggest that if he were to accept it, it would enable him, between now and the 1st November, to go into the various questions that are involved, and that he might not have to put this proposal into operation on that date.

I allowed the Deputy to go rather far on that line already. It is sufficient for the Deputy to give a demonstration of the fact that there are questions which the Minister could go into rather than to supply the Minister with arguments in favour of one side of such questions. The Deputy is now speaking to the section rather than to his amendment.

I bow to your ruling and will content myself by saying that the Minister himself has given me the greatest argument in favour of my amendment. The amendment in no way endangers the Minister's object or prevents his proposal in its entirety being brought into operation on the 1st November. It does not prevent him doing that, but merely gives him the option, when that date arrives, to put his proposal into operation, or not to do so. I would ask the Minister, therefore, would it not be better that he should be facilitated in this way: that his hands should not be tied, and that if between now and 1st November, he is able, as he said himself, to study the returns more fully, he would still be in a position to put this section, when the Bill passes finally through the House, into operation on that date. I think that is a proposal which can hardly be refused. It in no way interferes with the operation of the tax, and it leaves the Minister a free hand.

I hope the Minister will not be tempted by the generosity of Deputy Redmond to take advantage of the opening that is given by this amendment. The Deputy did, of course, show his hand too clearly in making a case against the section. I ask the Minister to bear in mind the possibility that if this amendment were carried there would be a raging, tearing propaganda through the country while the House was not sitting with the object, shall I say, of intimidating the Minister to override the decisions of the Oireachtas. The Deputy himself has confessed that his real purpose in this amendment is to make it possible for the Minister, if he became convinced after the Act had become law that it was not desirable to cause discomfort to the people affected, to postpone or abandon the proposition altogether. That, of course, is a mere method of destroying the powers of the House and of handing them over to the Government. I hope that the Minister will not, by any means, even think of acceding to this proposal.

I entirely agree with Deputy Johnson. I think it would be entirely improper for the House to leave the power of imposing or not imposing taxation in the hands of the Minister. I think the House itself must decide whether certain taxation proposals put before it shall be accepted or rejected. I do not think it should accept them and then leave it in the power of the Minister to make its decision inoperative. There are many things as regards which it may be proper the Minister should have the power to fix "an appointed day" so that a certain provision would come into operation, but I think that taxation is not one of the matters in which such a choice should be left to the Minister.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment 30:

In sub-section (4), line 49, to delete the words "and lawfully demanded from."

I propose this amendment because the words entered the draft in mistake. It is not proposed that normally a demand should be made on the bookmaker for the money. He would pay by means of stamped tickets or by means of records on stamped pads, or, where the Revenue Commissioners are satisfied that he was a man of proper standing he would be allowed to enter into a bond; but it is not proposed that normally there should be a demand on him.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Amendment 31 is out of order on more than one count. It is an appropriation section, and it is outside the scope of this Bill, and would in any event if introduced into the Bill require to be fortified under our procedure by a previous Money Resolution.

Question put: "That Section 22 as amended stand part of the Bill."

I take it we can now discuss the section?

Yes, but we have a matter on the adjournment at 10 o'clock. Notice has been given of a question to be raised on the adjournment. The President agreed, when getting general agreement by the House to sit until 10.30, that a matter which was to be discussed on the adjournment would be taken at 10 o'clock, instead of 10.30.

I do not understand. As a private member I understood the House was sitting until 10.30.

Do I understand that an agreement has been come to, and if so, by whom and with whom, that the House was to take up a question on the adjournment at 10 o'clock?

It was a general agreement by the House.

The Deputy is not being interfered with. He can go on to-morrow, or now until 10 o'clock. He is in no way prevented from proceeding.

Of course, if there is a general agreement by the House I submit to it, but it is the first opportunity I had of hearing it. With regard to this section as a whole, I desire it to be understood that I am opposed to the tax in its entirety, and I am opposed to it first because it is a new departure in taxation which has not, to my mind, been properly investigated. Of course, the fact that it is a new tax is not against it, but the fact that it was rushed into the House without any proper inquiry, as has been evidenced by the debates and the most recent speeches upon the subject, calls for a proper inquiry or investigation before it is imposed. A similar tax was proposed at Westminster almost at the same time, and though a report may have been made and issued in a Blue Book, which may have been studied both there and here, yet it does strike one as a singular coincidence that almost at one and the same moment the same tax is proposed in the two places. The tax as proposed at Westminster has already been modified, and the tax as proposed here is now about to be modified. Not only was the tax the same, but it was the same in principle, if not in detail. In regard to betting upon courses, the modifications also seem to have taken the same direction. It will be a tax upon various classes, if not on the whole of the community. As has been stated here, there are very few in this country who do not one way or another indulge in betting. I am not suggesting that betting of itself is a necessity. I am not suggesting that betting is not even in many cases a luxury—in some cases it certainly is not—but the fact remains that betting in itself promotes, assists, and encourages a great industry for which this country has long been famed.

Without betting it would be impossible, according to those who know best, to continue the horse-breeding industry, certainly the thoroughbred industry, and along with that you have all sorts and conditions of people who are dependent for their livelihood upon betting and upon horse racing. You have racecourses throughout the country. When the Minister spoke the other day of small meetings, and referred to them as places where only old stagers ran, and where nothing but crocks were to be seen, I wonder did he ever visit places like Clonmel, Thurles or elsewhere and see horses such as Jerry M. or Amberwave, or horses such as ran the other day at Thurles which were worth at least £8,000. The small race-meetings are the feeding ground for the larger race meetings, and very often they are the immediate feeding ground for export to England. Just as the Shannon which we talked so much about to-day would not be able to proceed towards the sea without the small rivers which supply it, it would be practically impossible to get the farmers in this country to breed horses suitable for racing either in Dublin or England if they had not the opportunity at their doors of running them at small race meetings. It is proposed to put this tax on all sorts of race meetings, and it is similarly proposed that there should be a totalisator. We have heard it said to-night that the Minister is willing to forego a certain amount of the percentage tax on the totalisator for the improvement of stakes. He is not yet certain whether he can forego the same percentage of the bets made with bookmakers. I confess I fail to see the difference, but it is certainly refreshing to know that the Minister has been sufficiently convinced that the whole of his proposals were not sound, and that there was a great deal in the representations which have been made to him up to the present.

The tax, as a whole, will certainly hit all sorts, kinds and classes of people, including trainers, breeders, bookmakers, caterers on the racecourse, and even shopkeepers, including people who supply dresses and clothes for people going to races throughout the country. Take, for instance, a racecourse like Tramore. In 1905, owing to a disease which, I think, is called epizootic lymphangitis—I do not suggest that the Minister is suffering from that now—the races had to be abandoned there during that year, and the town of Tramore lost more than it was able to gain for many years subsequently.

Progress ordered to be reported.

The Dáil went out of Committee.
Progress reported.
Committee to sit again on Friday, 18th June.