PRIVATE BUSINESS. - RAILWAYS (ROAD MOTOR SERVICES) BILL, 1927—COMMITTEE.

Section 1 agreed to.
SECTION 2.

I move amendment 1:—

At the end of. the section to add the following proviso:—

Provided that nothing in this Act shall empower a railway company to provide, own, maintain, or run motor services in the City of Dublin and the Counties of Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare, which would directly or indirectly compete with the existing or future services of the tramways or omnibuses of the Dublin . United Tramways Company.

This is rather a wide amendment, but it is the principle which I really desire to submit for consideration. The attitude of the Minister is, of course, all important. The Tramways Company exercise powers which they derive from Acts of Parliament and Acts of the Oireachtas. A Bill was quite recently before the House to enable the Company to run omnibuses. The Tramways Company was exactly in the same position as the railway companies were in prior to the War. During, the War, there were special enactments passed dealing with the railways. Since the amalgamation, the number of railways in the Free State has been reduced to two. The present Bill proposes to give power to the railway companies to run buses, which, up to a certain point, was previously considered tn be outside the scope of their operations. Under the ordinary conditions, railway companies desiring to run omnibuses would, in the usual course, have had to do what the Tramways Company did. They would have had to promote Private Bill legislation and to go before a Joint Committee. It would have been open to all and sundry to appear before the Committee and make their case. If that were the condition of affairs, other statutory bodies like the Tramways Company would have had an opportunity to go before the Committee and put forward safe-guarding propositions for consideration. This proteetion might take the form of embodying a clause in the Bill. I raise this matter in a more general way. I do not anticipate that the relationship between the railways and the tramways will reach such a point that they will cut one another's throats in respect of motor omnibus traffic.

In this Bill, the Minister is taking powers to himself as well as conferring powers on the railway companies. I tbok the liberty to say, in the first instance, that the conditions under which the Minister is seeking power for the railway companies to run omnibuses are distinctly onerous. I also said that the running of buses by the railways should have some relation to the traffic on the railways. I submit to the Minister that the services to be mapped out by the railway companies should be the subject of inquiry at which the people affected would have an opportunity of raising objection.

The Minister could consider those objections before granting certain routes to the companies under this Bill. I should be glad if the Minister would consider the necessity for this amendment and regarding the Bill in the light of exceptional legislation, indicate his acceptance of the amendment.

Deputy Hewat must be under the impression that other Deputies in this House have very short memories. He must think that they have forgotten many speeches he has made here protesting against the introduction and passage of certain measures calculated to create monopolies and destroy competition. Here we have in cold language a clear and definite claim, without apology, for the creation of a monopoly in the interests of the Dublin United Tramways Company.

I do not think so.

There is no getting away from that. To me, Deputy Hewat's attitude is not quite intelligible in view of his recent speeches with regard to the Electricity (Supply) Bill. Deputy Hewat referred to the powers obtained by the Dublin United Tramways Company as the result of the passage of a certain measure through this House. I do not think he would go so far as to claim that any powers given were calculated to hand over complete control of omnibus services to the Dublin United Tramways Company. The Dublin United Tramways Company as a result of these powers, instituted a bus service in and around Dublin. A number of buses were run from O'Connell Bridge to various parts of the city and county, on the north side. When they commenced to run these buses they fixed fares which I presume, in their opinion, were calculated to bring in a decent return and which, at the same time, would not be regarded as excessive. What has happened recently? As the result of growing competition on the north side of the city by the institution of privately-owned bus services, the Tramways Company have reduced their fares by twenty-five per cent. in some cases and even by fifty per cent. in others. Where they have not agreed to an actual reduction in fare, they have extended the mileage for the old fare. Does Deputy Hewat deny this? If not, for what purpose have the fares been reduced? Were the original fares excessive? Is that the inference that is to be drawn from the recent reductions of twenty-five per cent. and fifty per cent.? I think I can fairly reasonably assume that the real reason for the reduction of these fares is to cut out the cut-throat competition with which the Dublin United Tramways Company's bus services is faced on the north side of the city. While they have agreed to these reductions on the north side, there has been no reduction whatever in the bus fares on the south side. There was, of course, no necessity for a reduction, because there are no competitive services on that side of the city. I do not think that a monopoly in the hands of the Dublin United Tramways Company is any worse, from the point of view of the passenger or the travelling public, than it would be if given to a railway company. But there is here a definite. claim by Deputy Hewat, who has protested against the creation of monopolies, for a monopoly on behalf of a certain company. I was anxious to hear some better case made for this amendment than was put forward by Deputy Hewat. I should like to hear from the Deputy the reasons for the recent reduction in bus fares on the north side of the city.

It would be very interesting to hear why the Company have gone out of their way to reduce fares which, in the first instance, had been put into operation after fair and careful consideration. The Dublin United Tramways Company will still retain far greater powers and privileges in regard to running bus services than the railway company will have under the section of the Bill as drafted here. If the railway company get powers and if the routes are approved in areas where the Dublin United Tramways Company is already operating the railway company will be subject to maximum fares, whereas the Tramways Company will not be under any restriction whatever in regard to bus services. Therefore, the Tramways Company will have privileges not enjoyed by the railway company if and when the railway company take advantage of the powers conferred on them by the Bill.

Might I correct the Deputy as he goes along? The Bill that was before the House did specify a restriction of fares.

Maximum or minimum?

Maximum.

Then there must be something radically wrong when the Tramways Company fixed charges within the maximum and then reduced them by 25 and 50 per cent. I think the best thing the Deputy could do would be to withdraw the amendment for the reasons he has given to this House in regard to other measures.

I think the remarks made by Deputy Davin should really be taken in conjunction with the amendment in Deputy Baxter's name. I think Deputy Davin should have carried his arguments a little further, and if he had done so he would have seen that his point of view is not very far away from the point of view lying behind Deputy Hewat's remarks, because the public interest is involved in this matter in other ways besides the fare charged. Many things have to be, or should be, considered before leave is given for the running of a motor bus service along any particular route. There is the question as to what extent motor-services are already running there and as to whether that particular route can really carry further motor services without real detriment to the public interest. There is this question as to whether there is a demand for the motor service, as to whether the public need it or not, and as to whether it is likely to do good or not. I think there is some point in Deputy Hewat's suggestion that the railway company should be subject to restrictions similar to those imposed on other public bodies who have got this leave, that is to say, that leave should be given only after an inquiry is held by the Minister and the Minister has satisfied himself on these questions.

It is necessary that as Deputy Thrift has taken Deputy Davin back a little bit I should take Deputy Thrift himself back a little bit. Whatever Deputy Thrift said as properly applicable to the demand made by the railway companies now for the running of a motor bus service, should have applied also to the running of the Dublin United Tramways Company's bus service—that before the Dublin United Tramways got leave to run buses at all there should have been a public inquiry as to whether the road could stand up to the extra buses they would put on them.

May I point out that the Bill did not give leave to the Company to run buses over any particular route until the Minister was satisfied that the route would take these buses, and they had to have an inquiry to satisfy him.

I do not know what was the intention of the Act, but I know that I had the Act interpreted recently when I wanted to enforce it against the Dublin United Tramways Company on a particular occasion, and I was told that the interpretation really meant this: that the Tramways Company had been given leave to run buses in certain counties—the city and county of Dublin and the counties of Wicklow and Kildare—and all the Minister for Local Government can do if the company wants to run buses between two points, A and B, is to say "I prefer you should not go that way but that you should go some other way." That is the beginning and the end of the Minister's powers in that regard.

Has he power to insist on that?

He has power to insist on certain matters relating to dangerous corners and the safety of life and a few points like those, but there is entirely ruled out from his consideration this fact that Deputy Baxter is driving at in another amendment—is there a service good enough already there?

Is that the legal interpretation of the Act?

It is. When I first looked at this amendment I regarded it as a jocose amendment, coming as it does from Deputy Hewat, who is an apostle of competition, and who recently, on the Second Reading of this Bill, said he was against the Railways Act because it took away competition, which everybody knows was not there. He was so anxious for competition that he was prepared to reject a measure because it took away competition that did not exist. He now comes along with a proviso not exactly giving a monopoly to the Dublin United Tramways Company with regard to buses, but certainly saying that if there is going to be any running of such services it is to be confined to bus owners of the individual type and the Dublin United Tramways Company —that is, that the Company and these bus owners are to share the monopoly. The one thing to be provided is that the railway company shall not go in.

If you take the terms of the Preamble under which the Dublin United Tramways Company were granted leave to run bus services yon will find that there are three "whereas" clauses. The third clause is as follows: "Whereas, owing to the increased demand for passenger transport in the city and county of Dublin and the counties of Wicklow and Kildare, it is in the public interest that such company be empowered to provide, maintain and run omnibuses." I wonder is Deputy Hewat insisting now, that there will be no further demand for passenger transport in these counties, but that if there is any further demand the railway company shall not have power to come in and look for it? The Deputy has also spoken of Private Bill legislation, and the trouble and expense which the Tramways Company had to go to in order to achieve the powers they got under their Private Bill. Of course they had to proceed by Private Bill legislation, because they were going for the benefit of a particular company. If they had gone for all tramway services. that could have been done by way of Government legislation, or if we had been moving in the Dáil to grant individual powers to one railway company this would have been a Private Bill or a Bill to which Private Bill procedure would have been applicable.

The Deputy is now seeking by this wide amendment to give the Dublin Tramways Company powers which they did not look for in their own Bill, powers to prevent other people entering upon road services, powers which they did not ask for, presumably, because they believed that they Would not get them. Now, by a public Bill they want to get these powers which they did not look for, powers to be given to an individual company and not to all tramway companies that might hereafter get power to run buses. It seems to me that this is an amendment that no one could tolerate. The Tramways Company got leave to run buses because bus competition was doing the tramways harm. Now the railway company are looking for the same powers which the Tramways Company sought on the same ground, namely, that bus competition is doing the railways harm.

How a Deputy who stood for the principle that the Tramways Company should be given power to run buses because buses were causing the Tramways Company to lose, can stand for opposing a similar application on behalf of the railway companies I cannot understand, particularly when it is realised that the Tramways Company are first, by virtue of their tramway powers, and secondly and more considerably, by their increased powers in regard to buses, entering into competition with railways. I take the case of Howth, Dalkey, and Malahide, where the buses enter into serious competition with the railway companies, and no one can argue that the railway companies had not in these areas a very good service.

In regard to Deputy Baxter's proposal, if it had been previously in operation in regard to the tram services, or if the Minister for Local Govemment had been able to take into consideration, not only: ordinary road matters, but the services already there, the tramway bus service would never have been allowed to run to Malahide. Deputy Davin spoke of the lowering of bus fares on the north side of Dublin.

Is there any power in the Tramways Company's Bill that would prevent the Company, from again raising the fares which are now reduced to the original rate, or must they get the sanction of the Minister?

No, as long as they Keep within the maximum charges they can lower them to beat competition, and raise them a week after, that competition has disappeared.

That does not apply to the railways?

No. I certainly saw on the south side of the city recently particulars of services instituted by the Tramways Company. It was not so much a matter of fares, but in every particular it was undoubtedly the sort of service which, if Deputy Baxter had his way, and if his amendment were carried, would never have been allowed to be put on. These are things that may have to be considered later on in a general transport measure. Deputy Hewat stated that restrictions were being put on the railways in this Bill which he believed would be unworkable. His proposal, however, is to make these restrictions more onerous and, possibly, more unworkable. The Bill is distinctly workable, and the effect of the amendment would mean a tremendous restriction on the railway companies, one that would take away a great deal from the value of the Bill.

I must recognise, and I hope the Dáil will recognise, that when I put down this amendment I exhibited a great deal of moral courage in putting myself up as a cockshot for both the Minister and Deputy Davin. I would like to say that so far as I am concerned, and so far as the Tramways Company are concerned, we are always open to receive the criticism of Deputy Davin or anybody else. I would like to explore a little the real principle that underlies this matter. It was my object in putting down the amendment to consider the effect of Private Bill legislation in this House, as we have had it. Up to the present, I think, Private Bill legislation, not through any fault of machinery and, certainly, not through any fault of the working of the Committees, has been a little bit unfortunate. Relatively few Bills have come before the Private Bill Committee.

The first of them was, I think, the Liffey Bill, a very contentious measure. After its inception, and after a lot of money was spent on the three Private Bills that were put forward, the State came in and introduced a Bill which was really a continuation of the Liffey exploration. The whole procedure finally proved abortive. I am not wishing to criticise that in any way. The Tramways Company promoted two Bills, one a Motor Bus Bill and the other a Bill which is still before the House, namely, that in connection with the Lucan extension. My only feeling about this is that the statutory authorities under Private Bill legislation should have a defined and distinct qualification. I contend that the railway companies and the Tramways Company are on the same footing so far as their constitution is concerned, and when we talk about public legislation we must recognise that there are more railways than one. Prior to the introduction of this class of Government measure the ordinary procedure would have been by Private Bill legislation. That is to say, individual companies, where they required the necessary authority to enable them to perform certain services, would have had to come and proceed by way of Private Bill legislation.

The Minister explained, and rightly explained, that this is a general Act, but it is a general Act which avoids the necessity for an individual company getting a private statutory Act and having it examined before a committee. I think I should apologise for bringing this amendment before the Dáil, not necessarily as regards the substance of it, but it might very easily be said that it is not within the purview of a Deputy of this House to raise a matter in which he is personally interested. There is no disguise as far as this is concerned, but I do say that it is not in connection with my position as a director of the Tramways Company, but in my position as a Deputy, that I have tried to clear up this point. It is in the best interests that general public legislation should supplement what was ordinarily Private Bill legislation? Of course, one must recognise that State legislation overrides everything else. I would not like it to be generally thought that public Acts, unless it was absolutely necessary to do so, would override private Acts. The Minister has taken the opportunity of saying certain things about the Tramways Company. As far as I am concerned, I rake what the Minister has said, and Deputy Davin's criticism, without any comment, unless they want me to comment on what they have said, because it is not for me to stand up here as a representative of the Tramways Company to justify their acts or otherwise. I am quite open, if it is the wish of the House, to answer any criticism. As far as any action of the Tramways Company is concerned I am quite willing to do so, but I do not think I would be justified in entering into a discussion on that matter, and taking up the position of a defendant and other Deputies taking up the position of accusers.

The Deputy is quite right.

The Minister has emphasised his view that the Tramways Company have no justification for asking for the passing of the amendment and consequently I withdraw it. The matter was urged on the grounds of ascertaining whether the Act did allow the statutory authority, that is, the railway company, to enter into competition with a body having no say in the matter, in a direction which, according to ordinary legislation, they would not be entitled to.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

This point regarding Private Bill legislation was raised by Deputy Cooper when the Second Stage of this Bill was taken, and it was ruled that this wan a public Bill. Deputy Hewat, of course, is not questioning that particular ruling. I take it that he is quite clear about that?

Quite clear.

This amendment has given me considerable food for thought. It is an endeavour to amend here, in a public Bill which deals with the railways of the country generally, and as a measure of public policy the Act of a private company, viz., the Dublin United Tramways Company Act which enables the Tramways Company to run omnibuses. In other words, it is Deputy Hewat himself, by way of his amendment, who is seeking to do the thing to which he takes exception. I was in doubt as to whether the amendment should be put from the Chair at all. If the Deputy bad asked me for a suggestion I would have suggested that he should delete the words "The Dublin United Tramways Company." and insert words such as "Any company enjoying statutory powers," which would have made it general and put the amendment in line with the Bill. There is nothing in this Bill which in any way appears to interfere with the private rights guaranteed by statute to the Dublin United Tramways Company and had there been any such interference, a variation in the procedure adopted in connection with this Bill would have been rendered necessary. Under their private Act the Company enjoy no rights and are not protected in any way against competition.

I think the amendment was hastily drawn and submitted, and in that way I do not stand by the wording of it.

I want to make it quite clear for the benefit of the people who might be promoting Private Bills that there is nothing in the procedure that has been adopted that is exceptional, or that might interfere with persons who have already succeeded in having Private Bills passed, or who might be thinking of introducing Private Bills.

Question—"That Section 2 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
SECTION 3.
(1) No railway company shall run a road motor service on any route which is not for the time being approved of by the Minister under, this section.
(2) A railway company proposing to run a road motor service shall submit to the Minister particulars of the route on which such company proposes to run such service and particulars of the nature of the service so proposed to be run and the Minister may, if after consultation with the Minister for Local Government and Public Health he thinks proper so to do, approve of such route either with or without modification.
(3) If at any time it appears to the Minister that a route approved of by him under this section ought in the public interest to be reconsidered, the Minister shall, after such (if any) inquiry as he thinks fit to make, reconsider such route and on such reconsideration the Minister may, if and as he thinks proper, either withdraw his approval of such route or after consultation with the Minister for Local Government and Public if Health make such modifications in such route as he thinks proper.

There are three amendments in the name of Deputy Davin—2, 3 and 4. I suggest to the Deputy that we would get a better discussion on amendment 4, which contains the kernel of his proposal. Amendments 2 and 8 are merely consequential. We will, therefore, take amendment 2(a) by Deputy Baxter on the Order Paper.

I move:—

Before sub-section (3) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

Before approving of any route whatsoever on which a motor service exists at the date of the passing of this Act the Minister shall take into consideration the efficiency of and facilities afforded by the existing service, the amount of traffic conveyed and the area to be served by the proposed route.

I may say that Deputy Thrift made reference to my amendment, and, to a certain extent, attempted to connect it with Deputy Hewat's.

As a word of explanation. I was careful not to do that. I hope I was also careful to say that I was speaking of the wording of Deputy Hewat's amendment rather than on the substance of his amendment.

Deputy Hewat would like to prevent any service that would directly or indirectly compete with existing services.

I do not think that, in passing the Second Stage of this Bill, we took up the attitude that there was to be any such thing as competition over a route where there was an existing service. What we have to aim at is to cultivate healthy competition. If the Minister has taken what may be called rather extraordinary powers under this Bill in the matter of restricting railway companies as to what they may or may not do, I suppose that is due to the fact that individuals and companies adopt methods and pursue policies which, while they may be in their own interests, are in conflict with the interests of the State. When I raised this matter on the Second Reading I considered that as regards the motor services we have at present in a few areas of the country that we must have an extension of them all over the-country in a short time, and not that we should exclude the railway companies or anybody else prepared to engage in this service. It is right that we should recognise that a service should be put on a route when necessary in the interests of the citizens. The Minister is being given power to decide whether or not the railway companies shall open up new routes or go on given routes and the reason for that is that we have a feeling that it is necessary to decide whether or not it is good that the railway companies in the interests of the State should put on buses and go on a particular route.

If we are going to create under this Bill extra services on existing routes then we ought to be satisfied that there is a necessity for them, that they are essential in the interests of the people living in these areas and that there is sufficient traffic to justify these services. When I say in this amendment that the Minister, before approving of a route, shall take into consideration the efficiency and facilities afforded by the existing services, I feel that he must examine the services given at present.

That examination will undoubtedly take the form of discovering whether or not the people in a particular area are being well served, whether or not there are complaints or causes for complaint, and if the traffic conveyed is of such a volume as to justify another service being put on that route. If that provision be not made it is possible the railway companies would go into competition with the few individuals who have put buses on certain routes and who are giving a satisfactory service, at a reasonable figure, to the community. Because of the fact that these bus services, to some extent at least, come into competition with the railway companies, there must be the very natural desire that the railway companies would do what they can to remove them as competitors. They will undoubtedly do all they can to get back to the position that existed before bus services were brought into existence; a position to enable them to monopolise all the traffic that is going. From the point of view of the development of bus services throughout the country, that undoubtedly would be a very serious matter. From the point of view of the work that the citizen has to do in the State it would be uneconomic, because some of those routes could not support two bus services. In fact, they can only maintain one economically. We would be simply putting men who have put their capital into these bus services, and who have shown considerable enterprise by so doing, into a very difficult position. We would be reducing the value of and, in some cases destroying, their capital, became we know that the owners, of some of the bus services in existence at the moment could not go into competition with a railway company or a big combine, particularly if the railway companies were prepared to go out and spend money to put their competitors out of existence. Of course, a point against that is that if the railway companies fix a fare they must adhere to it. I feel that what I aim at will be achieved by the acceptance of this amendment. I hope that the amendment will have the support of Deputy Good and Deputy Hewat, because the putting of it into operation would serve their purpose even in Dublin city and county. If the conditions that prevail do not demand it there is no reason whatever why an additional motor service should be put on. Both men and money would be better employed in the development of some other line of business, a line of business that would be economical from the point of view of the investment of capital and the service that men would give. If this traffic is to develop, as it will, then above all things we should be careful to see that money is not going to, be spent foolishly and that we are not going to open up services not likely to be useful. The matter must be handled in such a way as to justify individuals or even companies in spending money to open up these services.

Above all, we must keep in view that the services given will be good and satisfactory from the point of view of the citizens of the State. Where any service is doing good to the citizens at the present time I think the Minister could make careful inquiries before he decides that over such routes another service be put on.

I do not seek and I have no ambition to glorify the actions of the railway company in regard to the matters complained of by Deputy Baxter. I think, however, that the acceptance of the amendment would not achieve the object which the Deputy seeks to attain. The amendment, in my opinion, is more like a clause that might be inserted in a general transport Bill regulating the whole system of road, rail and canal transport rather than one that should be inserted in a Bill of this type. If passed, and if, the necessary discretion be given to the Minister and used by him, the only thing that it can attain—this, of course, would be meeting the intentions of Deputy Baxter— would be to prevent the railway companies from instituting bus services on roads or routes where there are already sufficient transport facilities. But is Deputy Baxter not aware that under existing conditions there is nothing to prevent, in the case of routes at present served with a sufficient supply of transport facilities, other private bus services from coming along and, so to speak, cutting the throat of the service already in existence? How does Deputy Baxter propose to stop that kind of thing? His speech is only another indication of the necessity for the Government giving careful consideration to the regulation of transport as a whole, and preparing legislation which will aim at a service being given by all the different forms of transport in their own proper way to the community as a whole. They will have to define the relation of the railway to the roads and canals without in any way giving the railway powers that would injure the community. I am sure Deputy Baxter is aware that in certain areas even in the City and County of Dublin there are already transport facilities of a cut-throat nature, and there is nothing whatsoever in any Act of this House or any power the Minister has to prevent transport facilities being doubled or trebled in that area. I would like him to refer me to the clause of any particular Act which prevents any private bus company being formed and putting services on roads already supplied with transport facilities.

His amendment will only prevent the railway company from doing what anybody else can do. Deputy Baxter refers to the amount of capital invested in bus services throughout the country. I wonder does he put a greater value on capital invested by Irishmen in Irish concerns than on capital invested in bus services which eventually finds its way out of the country. All the motor buses in this country, including the parts which keep them in motion, are imported. In many cases a certain amount of the money subscribed for those bus services is foreign capital. I am not sure to what extent that exists but we must balance one against the other. Whatever preference has got to be given it should be given to Irishmen who invest in an Irish concern. I believe, unless some carefully considered legislation is introduced in the near future, this cut-throat competition will go on in such a way that in the end drastic action will have to be taken, which will have a greater destructive effect on the capital invested than if that action were taken at present. Some stop will have to be put to that cut-throat; competition, and some authority will have to be set up under legislation to be introduced in future which will give powers to that body to make regulations.

On the general question of transport facilities, rates and everything else, I do not want to glorify the position of the railway company, and I would not stand for many of the things they have done. I know there are many things which, if the Company had done them, would have saved them from the position in which they are to-day, but I do not want to see railway companies driven out of action in this country, and thousands of men thrown out of work in order that preference might be given to people who establish private bus services, and place on the roads here buses made in other countries under conditions not as good as workmen have in the railways in this country. Railways here give employment to about 28,000 men.

One of the remarks Deputy Davin used about this is a remark I shall have to use about pretty nearly every amendment in the paper, that is, that they are amendments more appropriate to a general transport measure than one which is simply aiming at removing, from a particular type of company, a disability which is on it at the moment, and which it is thought should not be on it. There are quite a number of these amendments which seek to impose restrictions upon the railway companies entering on the road that are not on any of their competitors. If sought to be imposed on everybody together they would have to be considered on their merits, but I submit they are out of place in a measure of this sort. Deputy Davin's other remark, the soundest remark in opposition to Deputy Baxter's amendment, is that Deputy Baxter can only preclude the railway company from opening upon a road which Deputy Baxter says cannot bear a service in addition to those already there, but the Deputy's. amendment will not prevent, as Deputy Davin pointed out, some three or more bus companies starting three or four more additional services. If the Deputy's amendment was to have some sort of regulation on all and sundry routes, even that amendment could not be moved, because the Bill is not before us, and it would be out of order in this Bill. I submit it is unfair to put restrictions on a railway company. I myself seek to put restrictions on a railway company seeking to run bus services and some people consider those restrictions will make the whole Bill unworkable, and that they will be so onerous that, as one Deputy phrased it, the gift given to the railway companies will prove dangerous to them and not an advantage.

The matter Deputy Baxter spoke of would arise for consideration and it would have to be considered, but not with his conclusion, because at least the final decision cannot be on the point raised by the Deputy—Can an area or route bear another service? One may see three services going on at a particular time, but competition will drive out some. If there are two operating at the moment and there is an additional one put on, unless there is some extension of traffic over that route the three will not last. Some one or other must go, and it is a matter of which can give the best public service. The railway has imposed on it the restrictions which this Bill seeks to impose on it—the maximum rate, the rate once fixed not to be raised without the approval of the Minister, and a service put on not to be withdrawn or discontinued or even minimised without approval. If the railway company under these restrictions can give the best service, I think it should be allowed to give it, no matter who was there before it. I do think, however, that the points the Deputy has put down in his amendment are points that will have to betaken into consideration. If, for instance, in considering them it appeared that the railway company was not likely to give a better service, and in fact could not stand the competition under the restrictions imposed on it, then approval would not be granted, because it is part of my duty to see that railway revenue is not prejudiced by the railway seeking to enter into competition which is injudicious and which it could not stand.

I have another objection to the amendment. I have been often warned by the parliamentary draftsman in regard to measures to be very careful about setting out a list of things that have to be considered, because there is a legal rule that the inclusion of certain things of a general nature is to be interpreted as the exclusion of everything else, and this might suffer that fate. I say that the things referred to by the Deputy are ones that would ordinarily tall for consideration with a variety of other things, and if the Deputy is only concerned to get these matters brought forward, I think this will meet him to a certain extent. I had an opportunity since the Second Reading of meeting the Motor Bus and Coach Owners' Association. We had a discussion in which a number of matters were thrashed out, and it seemed at one time as if we could have come to an agreement that would be satisfactory to all the interests. It simply has been found impossible to draft the rather larger type of amendment that at one time I desired, but they desired one thing, on which I was prepared to meet them, and it would meet Deputy Baxter to a certain extent. I am not now pretending to quote the section as it would finally appear, but I am prepared to insert something of this type: That where a route on which a railway company proposes to run a road motor service for the conveyance of passengers is, in the opinion of the Minister, substantially the same, in whole or in part, as a route on which a road motor service for the conveyance of passengers has been run by some other person, the Minister shall not approve of such route until he has given notice thereof to such other person and has considered the representations, if any, made by such other person.

That does not get the Deputy the full length. It gets him really the full length of his amendment as phrased, but it does not get him the full length of his intentions. It only gives security to this extent—that these would be the further points obviously that somebody else occupying the route would raise: the area to be served, traffic that is likely to be had for passengers and other services, and the existing service. It will get consideration for those items, because they will be raised by the interested parties—the opposition parties, the parties already there. As I say, it goes the full length of the amendment, as phrased, because the amendment as phrased does not preclude me, after taking into consideration these things, from approving the route. It only says that the Minister shall take into consideration various things. That other amendment which was prepared to bring in after meeting the Motor Bus and Coach Owners' Association would, I think, meet that particular point, that it will give security to this extent, that the other people previously occupying the route would naturally raise those points which the Deputy has in mind: service the sufficiency of it the area to be served, and whether there is likely to be extra traffic which another service would be necessary for.

I have one difficulty about that proposed amendment, which, of course, will appear in a regular form on the next stage, and that is that it is difficult to give notice to every other person that may be on the route. There with have to be some limitation on that —that one could not bind oneself to give notice to every hackney driver who ran over that particular area. There will have to be some limitation with regard to a company or a particular reasonable type of service. Of course I can see to that later. That will meet the Deputy to a certain extent. I do not know that it goes the whole length of his amendment, but it meets it, I think, to the only extent which is reasonable, because it gives the other people the right to make representations and be heard, and thereafter there is still leave to approve the route if it seems that the railway company could offer the public the best service, despite all the restrictions which the railway company are being put under.

I think the Minister's amendment would secure the real benefits of an inquiry.

The Minister has practically met what I wanted. I had no intention that it would be mandatory on the Minister to refuse the railway company, because I recognise that that would perhaps be giving a monopoly to an existing service. I say that because I believe that it would be possible for a railway company to come in on a route in competition with an existing service, and they would do it where the ordinary bus owner or even a limited company would not take the chance of going in. We have not very many of those services, taking the country as a whole. I know most about a service that has had pretty serious reactions on the traffic of the railway arid which has brought the first-class fares down from almost £2 to 15s.

A one-day fare.

A two-day fare, which means practically everything. I can understand a railway company being prepared to come in and spend money, and even lose money, over a certain route in the hope of putting out of existence an existing service, arid then perhaps giving a rather unsatisfactory service, or raising the fares again, after the traffic had to drift back to them when they had created the position that no other competitor would take the chance of putting a service on that route.

What is the position of a bus service if it beats the railway— can it revert to the original fare of the railway?

I can point out in reply to Deputy Davin that I have not proposed to restrict other individuals coming in on that route, but, as Deputy Davin knows well, individuals will not be prepared to come in and invest capital and lose money. I have no doubt whatever that it would pay the railway company to put some of the existing services out of existence. It would not pay the public. That is what I am trying to safeguard, and I am satisfied that no individual or half-dozen individuals, will invest capital in a bus service and lose money on the service in the hope of putting others down, because it would take a very considerable amount of capital, and they are not going to take the chance. They must make it pay. If they put one company out of existence, after some time somebody else may come on. It is a difficult thing tackling a railway company.

I should like to picture the position of the bus service that forces a section of a railway service out of existence. For instance, if a bus service with a good deal of capital behind it—perhaps foreign capital— comes along and fixes a fare which means that in the long run a certain passenger section of a railway has to close down, I want to know where are the powers in any measure now in existence that would prevent that bus service from reverting to charging the fares originally charged by the railway company.

Will not all this arise on the new amendment of the Minister?

I hope not.

I agree, I hope it will not, but there is no use in Deputies putting conundrums to one another.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed—"That Section 3 stand part of the Bill."

I suggest to the Minister that on the next stage he should consider the advisability of adding in sub-section (2), line 50, after the word "modification" the words "and either generally or temporarily for a period not exceeding twelve months." The object of that amendment is that where a railway company had a tentative service to Develop one of these new routes it should have an opportunity of doing that without being bound to the continuance of the service. If they failed to develop certain routes that they had a reasonable expectation of developing they should be allowed to withdraw the services.

I think it would be better to put that amendment down for the Report Stage, so that we may have an opportunity of seeing what could be done. It does suggest a definite change in the whole Bill as it stands at the moment. It is an amendment of which notice should be given in the ordinary way, so that Deputies would have an opportunity of considering it after it had been drafted. Of course, the House can decide what it likes; it is not a point that I can give any assistance on one way or another, but it breaks across the framework of the Bill as it stands, giving the railways certain powers and by certain restrictions imposed preventing them having a monopoly detrimental to the public. There is a loop-hole in the Deputy's amendment.

I know that.

It may be a proper loop-hole to leave, or it may be one that may have to be closed to some extent. I ask one thing: If there is to be jurisdiction as to whether a service should be considered a temporary or experimental one it should be thrown upon somebody else rather than upon the Minister for Industry and Commerce in consultation with the Minister for Local Government. It is not a jurisdiction that I should care to exercise. I think there will have to be some body rather more judicial in nature. It might be a matter for the Railway Tribunal to decide, only that I would prefer to keep the Railway Tribunal out of the matter. If the Deputy will put it down I will see what can be done.

Perhaps it would be better if I put it down as a new sub-section.

Yes, with some addition that will allow for somebody exercising jurisdiction as to whether or not the service proposed is experimental and temporary.

I will put it down for the Report Stage. The same principle would apply to Section 5 after the word "service" in line 61.

It is proposed in sub-section (2) of Sections that the Minister should consult with the Minister for Local Government before approving of a route. On the Second Reading I raised the question that the local authorities should be consulted, and I suggested that to the Minister. It is not obligatory on the Minister to accept the view of the local authorities. I suggest that he might, as an act of courtesy, consult the local authorities, who will be generally responsible for the maintenance of the roads. It may be that the mention of consultation with the Minister for Local Government and Public Health may mean, in reality, consultation with the local authorities, and if that is so it would be all right.

Behind all this there is the division of functions with regard to road matters as they will be hereafter if this Bill goes through; that is to say, where it is a matter of upkeep of roads, dangerous corners, safety of life long particular roads, that always has been, and will be, a matter for the Minister for Local Government. He has at his service the Roads Advisory Committee, and also the local authorities. I understand that, with the Dublin Tramways service, the practice has been to consult the Roads Advisory Committee or, more frequently, the local authority. Of course, it is laid down in the Tramways Company's Private Bill that there should be such consultation with the local interests, and a public inquiry, if deemed necessary. It is always thought that the Minister for Local Government would exercise his own discretion, but he would, presumably, if it seemed to him that there were a tremendous number of services loaded on to particular roads, consult the local authority. That in no way interferes with the present functions discharged by the Minister for Local Government. The only thing is that the Minister, for Local Government will not be consulted on the purely railway side. That will be for me. This is the way to get the combined view. In the end it will be for the Minister for Local Government to call the attention of the local authorities to the fact that additional services may come in, and that the roads may be torn up to such an extent that extra expenditure will be involved on the local authority. In that case it is for the local authorities to take the initiative and ask the Minister to close the roads to traffic of that particular type. That is the reason the Minister for Local Government was put in, so that he can get into consultation with the local authorities, and the local authorities may take the initiative and ask that a road or a series of roads be closed to traffic of a particular kind.

That is not the only point that has been raised. There were two points on Second Reading. Deputy Thrift raised the question of the reduction of a service which did not amount to a withdrawal of the service, or to a reduction in the frequency of the running. In reply I said I thought the Bill allowed, at least, for attention being paid to that. I am advised that is the case. Under sub-section (2) there will be submitted the service and the particulars of the nature of the service, and that can be approved with or without modifications. I am advised it would be possible to advert to and stop such an alteration in the frequency of the service as would amount to a breach of the conditions on which the service was first instituted. But, naturally, one would not take the same view of such a thing as, say, an alteration of the time of running to suit the railway time table, and so on. But a reduction bringing it to a point that would really amount to withdrawal of the service can be attended to as the Bill stands. There was a second point put by Deputy Magennis about bringing in the Roads Advisory Committee: I am not moving to insert anything at the moment because it is left here to the discretion of the Minister for Local Government as to whether he will consult. the Roads Advisory Committee or the local authority in the case of a service proposed to be allowed.

This Bill lays it down that railway companies should get the power to run buses. It strikes me that as far as the routes are concerned the ordinary development of a route generally arises from a request of the locality to have a service. If the railway company is to do useful work in that direction it is a difficult thing to ask them to put on a route and so far restrict them that they cannot exercise their judgment as to its continuance. If this is going to be of practical use to the railway companies they must have reasonable latitude.

That will be debated on Deputy Gorey's amendment.

It seems to me that the amendment to be brought in, on Report Stage, if it deals with that question, will probably be satisfactory. I only press that the new motor service must have a reasonable amount of discretion, and if a route is a failure it would be a very onerous thing to compel the railway company to continue a service which does not justify its existence. The other side of the question, so far as the railways are concerned, is the defensive side. If the railway company is to use its powers by using motors in defence of the railway traffic the question is, whether the House would not recognise that situation and give them a great deal more liberty than is contemplated in the Bill.

Under certain circumstances I think the point raised by Deputy Gorey is of some importance. I am not quite sure if he was thinking of what I had in mind. I imagine that it would be good policy on the part of the railway company, when this Bill becomes law to establish bus services in areas of the country where there is likely to be an influx of tourists, and where there is not at present a good service, for the accommodation of visitors. A good case could be made to the Minister, that it might be unjust to compel a railway company to run bus services all the year round, when there would be a necessity for such services only for six out of the twelve months. I think the wording that Deputy Gorey suggested would meet a case of that kind. If that were not accepted it would be a serious bar to the railway company using bus services.

I would like the railway company to establish bus services in parts where there are now no good transport services, to act as feeders to the railways. I put that point before the Minister, so that he may see the injustice that would be imposed on the railway company if it were compelled to carry on a bus service all the year when there would be only traffic for about six months.

This will arise later on the amendment that Deputy Gorey is bringing forward. I am not bringing it forward. On Deputy Davin's point I think it would be possible under this Bill for the railway company to propose a service for July, August and September every year, and the withdrawal of that service at the end of September would not be a withdrawal prevented by the withdrawal section. In other words, if there was a demand for a particular route which is shown, obviously, to be a summer months' route all that would be necessary, I think, would be for the railway company not to go in for a particular year and then stop. That would have to be prevented. If they said "We want to open that route for particular months" and made a case that it was obviously an almost entirely summer traffic route, I am not sure that that could not be considered.

I believe it could be considered but I wanted to get the view of the Minister as to whether he would insist on the continuance of the service when there would not be sufficient traffic to warrant it.

There would have to be an insistence to continue it for July, August and September every year but not beyond September. Let me point out that as that gives an opportunity for using the plea of summer traffic only in order to do out bus services that would be running the whole year round, it would have to be rather critically considered. That will arise again.

Section 3 put and agreed to.

I move:—

Before Section 4, to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) There shall be established for the purposes of this Act a committee (hereinafter called "the Committee") styled the Road Motor Services Advisory Committee consisting of nine members, all of whom shall be appointed by the Minister with a view, as regards three such members, to their being representatives of industrial and commercial interests, and as regards three other such members, to their being representatives of the interests of proprietors of road motor services other than railway companies, and as regards three other such members, to their being representatives of the interests of labour.

(2) Each member of the Committee shall be appointed for such term not exceeding three years from the date of his appointment as the Minister at the time of his appointment shall determine and shall then retire but shall be eligible for re-appointment.

On the Second Reading discussion I expressed the view, but I do not know if it was accepted by the Minister from the reply he gave, that application for the approval of services over certain routes could only get a casual consideration by the Minister, and that it would be in the interests of all concerned if the Minister had at his disposal some advisory body such as that referred to in the amendment. I am not standing hard and fast by the wording of the amendment, but I suggest it pending the setting up of some statutory authority under the Bill which, I hope, will be done by the present or some future Government. Under the terms of the Bill—at any rate for a temporary period—some such body would be useful. If the amendment docs not meet with the Minister's approval I hope he will say whether the setting up of some body of the type referred to will be considered, giving representation to industrial and commercial interests, representatives of the proprietors of road motor services and any application coming from the railway company, and from those interested in other services, so that they would be carefully considered and criticised before being forwarded to the Minister.

However desirable the amendment might be, does the Minister's remark on a previous occasion apply to this, that it really does not apply to the Bill? I think a discussion on this matter might be very enlightening and might help to show what could be done to assist in solving the traffic problem. I do not see how a committee such as is suggested could be set up under the scope of the Bill. I think Deputy Davin recognises that all sorts of traffic has to be dealt with, and that this Bill only deals with a particular service.

It is a question of order. Deputy Davin's amendments, even though discussed. may range rather farther than the real scope of the Bill. The proposal regarding the Committee, for the purpose of the Bill, should be inserted in Section 3 as well. You have to take all three amendments together.

I do not think Deputy Davin could do the cause he is trying to serve a greater dis-service than by trying to get in such an amendment.

What cause does the Deputy suggest I am serving?

The Deputy's view, I believe, is that there should be some body in controlling authority over the transport services in the State. I think that is something like that the Deputy had in mind. My feeling is that even if this Bill were the place for the amendment, which is a debateable question, it would be a hindrance to the setting up of a body that would operate to direct the transport services of the State and manage them in a more economical fashion than they are managed at present. I believe if the intention is to have a Board of Transport in existence it is better to leave things as they are, without any directing authority, until such conditions arise that it is obvious to everyone the problem has to be tackled and solved. I question very much the utility of the proposed Committee. While practically every interest is mentioned, there is no mention of the ratepayers, who will have to find a very big, proportion of the money that will have to be raised for the maintenance of the roads for these services.

My opinion is that if a transport measure is introduced it will certainly mean the repealing of this Bill. A body such as is suggested by me is only intended as a temporary body pending the introduction of a measure such as I have referred to, which will have to come.

That may have to come. Some regulation will have to come, but whether by a body of this sort or not, I do not know.

I suggested this as a temporary body.

Yes, but I cannot understand the Deputy's remark that a general Transport Bill will have to repeal this. It will not. It will simply impose general regulations with which the railway traffic will have to fit in, whether on road or on rail, just the same as any other traffic on road. But the Deputy has taken away a certain amount of the argument that I was going to use by telling me that ha was not confining himself to the wording of the amendment, and Deputy Hewat has also done the same; that is to say, that this railway jsection ought to be brought in on a general Transport Bill and not on this. Why should we have a committee to deal with a particular road service to be instituted by the railway company and not to deal with every other road service? If I reversed the position and talked about the setting up of a committee to deal with road services other than those run under the auspices of the railway company, and proposed a committee to consist of three representatives of the railway company, three representatives of railway labour, and three representatives of industrial and commercial interests, I wonder if the bus owners would think it a fair committee? Look at this proposed committee. It is to be a committee to consider road transport under the auspices of the railway company.

To consider the applitions forwarded to the Minister by the railway company for approved routes.

And they are to be referred to a body which would not have a single representative of the railways on it.

"Industrial and commercial interests."

Would the railways come in on that? Then, of course, on the other hand there are no representatives of agriculture as such and there are no representatives of the local authorities, the ratepayers.

I would agree to all that if the Minister likes.

The local authority, obviously, would have to be represented, or at least you should have some representative of the General Council of County Councils, or something of that nature. I do think that the main objection to his is that it is really not an amendment for this Bill at all; it is an amendment to deal with whatever general Transport Act there may afterwards be. Incidentally, too, it has to be remarked, relating it back to Section 3, that it would only have to do with the routes; it would have nothing to do with the charges, nothing to do with the withdrawal of a service, and nothing to do with the raising from the actual fare at which it started to some other, so that it would have very limited activities. I suggest that this is not a body you could set up at this time at all. If any body were to be set up I would have to proceed to argue as to the different parties to be represented. Obviously this could not stand as it is.

If the Minister thinks that it has not got that amount of consideration that a matter of this kind is entitled to, I would ask the leave of the House to withdraw the amendment.

Remember that I have said to Deputy Baxter to-day that I would insist that notification is given to people already on the route, and that these will obviously raise opposition to the railway company on such matters as the area to be served and the traffic. By having parties interested brought into it there would be a better opportunity of getting a proper decision.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 4 put and agreed to.
AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE took the Chair.
SECTION 5, SUB-SECTION (1).
A railway company which has commenced to run a road motor service under this Act shall not, so long as the running of such service either with or without modification is lawful under this Act, withdraw or discontinue such service without the permission of the Minister.

I have been requested by Deputy Cooper to move:—

In sub-section (1) to delete the word "Minister" and substitute the words "Railway Tribunal."

I think the idea in Deputy Cooper's mind was rather to ease conditions on the railway than to restrict them further and he thought that that might be secured by having a permanent body to be consulted with reference to permission for withdrawals rather than the Minister.

Is not this matter similar to that previously raised, of a Deputy moving an amendment on behalf of another Deputy?

Yes, but Deputy Thrift has been authorised by Deputy Cooper to move this amendment.

However unfortunate it may be, it is a fact that Ministers are changeable, and it might easily be that one Minister, holding certain views, might have granted permission, and he might be succeeded by a Labour Minister, who would be very loath indeed to grant permission for the discontinuance of the service for reasons quite other than those that affected the first Minister. I think there is something to be said for the idea of a permanent body to sanction discontinuance. I am not quite sure that this is very consistent, because an earlier section says that the Minister has to give leave, and I do not know if you could have one person giving leave for the service and a separate body sanctioning discontinuance.

That was really the point to which I was going to take exception, but I presume if Deputy Cooper were here he would answer me: "Put the Railway Tribunal in the approval section." Personally, I would be very glad were this burden shifted to somebody else, and I think any Minister would have the same feeling, but I would much prefer to get some committee such as Deputy Davin spoke of rather than the Railway Tribunal, because, at any rate in setting out to appoint that committee you could appoint it with a view to the work that lay before it, whereas the Railway Tribunal has already been instituted, and none of the members was picked with even the most indirect idea that he would be ever called upon to enter upon such a consideration as this. I do not think I will be regarded as being offensive to them if I say that I do not believe, considering the personnel, that they are the people who would want this particular jurisdiction thrust upon them. I do not think they would, and I do not think that they could carry it out competently with all their other duties. I am quite in favour of having, if one could get it, an authority that would be somewhat more permanent than the Minister is likely to be. It may be the best thing to hang on to at the moment, in default of anything better emerging. Of course if the Railway Tribunal is to be put in Section 5 it must necessarily be put in Section 3. I think there is no doubt that it would be consequential. I would like to urge strongly against the amendment, but of course I would not go so far by any means as to make this a matter of confidence. I would ask the Dáil to give the greatest possible consideration to the change suggested by this before it would make it, and to consider, if they do so whether the Railways Tribunal is, in the first place, the body likely to deal with this matter in the best way, and secondly, as the question of partiality and impartiality must come in, is it thought that the Tribunal will be less partial than the Minister is likely to be?

I do not think that the introduction of the Railway Tribunal into this matter would be likely to solve the question. I quite agree with the Minister that this would not be a suitable matter to bring before the Railway Tribunal for decision. I presume that what was at the back of Deputy Cooper's mind was that we seemed to be concentrating, in connection with all industrial arrangements, a veto and an overriding authority in the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

Now I think it is difficult to say or difficult to suggest who better could do it. On the other hand, there is a feeling that if there was a more independent source—not more independent in the sense that we consider that the Minister would not carry out his duties impartially—but a more detached authority, it would be better. I could not suggest anyone, but I think that is the underlying feeling in the amendment, and it has been the underlying feeling in amendments before the House on other Bills.

I think that is really what Deputy Cooper wanted to secure that there should be some more detached body. I really do not see myself how it is to be better secured at the present moment than by leaving it in the Minister's hands. I rather agree with the Minister that the Railway Tribunal would not be the more ideal.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question—"That Section 5 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Question—"That Sections 6. 7 and 8 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
SECTION 9.
A railway company which runs a road motor service under this Act may, by the exercise of all or any of its powers existing at the passing of this Act to raise money by borrowing or by the creation and issue of new stock as additional capital, from time to time raise such moneys as may be necessary for the purpose of providing vehicles, motors, garages, offices, machinery, plant, and equipment for the purposes of such service, and notwithstanding any enactment to the contrary the provision of such vehicles, motors, garages, offices, machinery, plant, or equipment shall be a purpose for which such company may raise money by the exercise of any such power as aforesaid.

I wish to propose amendment 6:—

To add a new sub-section as follows:—

"Vehicles and motors provided by a railway company under the foregoing sub-section shall, so far as it is practicable, be equipped with bodies manufactured in Saorstát Eireann."

This Bill is bound to give an impetus to many of the skilled trades that are at the moment in need of a fillip, provided it is made obligatory on the railway companies to manufacture their buses in their own workshops. I might instance the case of the Dublin United Tramways Company, who have given special consideration and shown much practical patriotism in this respect by having all their requirements manufactured here in their own workshops. Attention has already been directed to the large number of unemployed in the coachbuilding trade throughout the country, and notwithstanding the fact that the Dublin United Tramways Company alone have in their employment some 60 coachmakers, there is a considerable amount of unemployment still existing in that trade and in the allied trades. I consider that this is a very serious matter for the people who are earning money by this particular trade. I believe that what has been done by the Dublin Tramways Company can be done to better advantage by the railway company, who have better accommodation in the way of machinery, and who have an unlimited supply of skilled labour. The railway employees at present are working a four-day week, and that has been going on for the last two years. I think if something were done in this direction iii the sense of forcing the railways and such carrying companies to use home-manufactured buses it would provide employment for many now unemployed. These companies have certain obligations to the public for the money collected here. They have obligations to the public to spend the money here. There is no doubt they can get a good return for their money. It is not at all surprising to see that the coach-building staff employed by the railways reduced as they have been for the last twelve months, in view of the fact that unnecessary importations of this class of work is going on. I consider that the inclusion of this section in the Bill is of vital importance to labour, and I ask the Minister to consider its inclusion favourably.

I wish to support the amendment moved by Deputy Doyle. Questions have been asked in this House and the attention of the Minister has been drawn to the huge amount of money that is exported out of this country by the railway companies for railway rolling stock. The railway company has satisfied the Minister that it would involve a considerable loss on their part to make their rolling stock in Inchicore, because, they allege, of the increased wages demanded by Irish employees and paid to Irish employees compared with the wages paid to the men who make rolling stock at the other side. Now this cannot be suggested in the case of the omnibuses. If the tramways company have made their -omnibuses as cheaply in the tramway works at Inchicore as they could import them, I think the same should apply to the railway company, who have been given protection under this measure. The wording of the amendment leaves the matter to the discretion of the Minister and leaves it a question of an understanding being arrived at between himself and the company in connection with matters of this kind. I read in the paper the other day a statement to the effect that the railway companies had arranged for the importation of a certain number of omnibuses from some station in Staffordshire. I do not see why that should be arranged in advance, at least before the passage of this particular measure. I think a good case can be made for this, and by nobody better than Deputy Doyle, who knows more about the workshops in the railway works at Inchicore than anybody else. I hope the Minister will give the amendment sympathetic consideration in view of the fact that for a long time past the men have been on short time, and are at present working a four-day week.

I must confess that I cannot see any value at all in the amendment. I do not see how it can achieve the objects of Deputies Doyle or Davin. It is what you might term a pious resolution. How the Minister is going to make it operative I do not know. To my mind it is an item of no value. If Deputy P.S. Doyle wanted to make it of value, if he wanted to make it possible that the railway company would have to make an effort to have the bodies of their vehicles manufactured in this country, he could have inserted in the amendment something to the effect that before the vehicles could be used on an approved road evidence would have to be given to the Minister that, as far as it was practicable, the bodies were manufactured in the Saorstát. The Deputy wants to do something more than he has written down here, which in itself has no value whatever. I do not know how far it is possible for the railway company to do this. One would have thought that a tariff on the bodies coming in would be the best safeguard. That would insure what Deputy Doyle wants. If Deputy Doyle has not sufficient means in the tariff to achieve what he wants, he would want to do something more than has been done here.

Might I point out to Deputy Baxter that what I am asking in this amendment is that the railway company should be forced to do what other omnibus owners in the country we doing voluntarily. In that way work would be given in the country in the manufacture of buses used on the roads. If the Dublin Tramways Company can turn cut that class of work, surely the railway, company that has the accommodation and the machinery in fact to a better extent should be able to do it as well——

I hope Deputy Doyle recognises that the tramways company has been doing it for the last 20 or 30 years.

Mr. DOYLE

Yes, and they have been commended for so doing.

The amendment says "as far as is practicable." I would like to ask Deputy Doyle how far is it practicable and who is to decide whether it is practicable or impracticable? You want someone to decide whether it is practicable. In my opinion it is only a pious resolution of the kind that has been so common for the last 20 years to the effect that we should support Irish manufacture. There is no force in that amendment.

I am taking the amendment more from the point of view of its intention rather than its actual wording. As it is worded it could simply be treated so as to make it quite ineffective. Taking the amendment from the point of view of its intention, I have an objection to it if it is made absolutely compulsory or even if there is anything approaching compulsion on the railway company. My own objection is that you are putting it on to the railway company and not enforcing it on the private bus or lorry owners. Some consideration should be given if only to show what is meant and what is the desire. Although in a Bill of this sort one cannot impose a condition of this type on anybody other than the railway company, one can achieve the object in this way, and I suggest it as a method that at least can be considered. One can insert in Section 3, for instance, that one of the matters to be considered when giving approval as between a railway bus and another bus is whether there is going to be a guarantee that the railway bus is partly or wholly made in this country, and it then can be questioned where the other bus comes from. There can be some effect brought about, not merely on the railway buses, but on rival buses by inserting such a provision in some way in Section 3. If this suggestion is considered, I will see before the Report Stage what can be done in that regard. It could be made effective and it could be inserted in the Bill as a matter to be considered. It would have an effect, not merely on the railway buses but on the rival buses that compete with them and I suggest that would achieve what the Deputy wants, and a little more. The whole point is that one of the matters to be looked into is the question of where the railway bus or the other bus is manufactured.

I am quite satisfied.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 9 and 10 agreed to.

I desire to move amendment 7:—

Before Section 11 to insert a new section:—

"The running of a road motor service under this Act by a railway company shall not be deemed to be a change of administration of such a character as to debar an existing officer or servant of the railway company from being entitled to compensation under the Railways Acts, 1924-1926.

I expressed the fear on Second Reading that there was a possibility, under the powers given in this Bill, that the railway company would close down a branch of its line, a non-paying section, for the purpose of substituting a bus service in the same area. I took the view at the time that in that event railwaymen who would be disemployed or rendered redundant would not have any pension rights such as they now retain and such as would be given them if the railway line were closed down as the result of amalgamation. The Minister takes a different view, If he contends they retain their existing rights, and that people affected in that way would not have their rights interfered with, I do not see what objection he can have to the insertion of the amendment now.

I put two points to the Deputy on Second Reading. I said that I could not see how the Railways Act of 1924, and the addition to that Act made in 1926, were to be affected by this. Under the 1924 Act, as amended by the 1926 Act, provision was made for employees rendered redundant by reason of amalgamation. The Dáil decided that was a substantial point and that compensation should be given to people who were rendered redundant by reason of amalgamation. This Bill can have no effect on the matter of rendering redundant by reason of amalgamation. If people are going to be rendered redundant by the railways running road services, those same people could have been rendered redundant by reason of somebody else running a service that would compel the company to close the branch line.

resumed the Chair.

The principle decided on in the Dáil in the 1924 Act was compensation for redundancy caused by amalgamation. That is not affected by this Bill. There are no rights taken away. There is going to be no extra unemployment arising from amalgamation and, consequently, no reason for extra compensation arising from amalgamation. In so far as this is a different thing altogether from amalgamation, it has no reaction good, had or indifferent on the compensation question under the 1924 and 1926 Acts. There is the special point that the railway company may have to close a branch line. That is not a question of redundancy. The employees cannot have a case pleaded on the question of redundancy arising from amalgamation: all they can plead is unemployment, which might be caused by an ordinary private bus or lorry owner operating in an area in such a way that the railway company had to shut down a branch line.

That would be unlikely.

The railway company might itself put on a service. If that is to be the case, then the Deputy should move for compensation for railway employees thrown out of work by reason of a branch line being closed down on account of the railway company opening a bus service. That is a new principle from the principle in the 1924 Act regarding compensation. The Deputy is really trying to amend the 1924 Act by reason of this Bill, and to that extent I was wondering how far this amendment was in order. As it is drafted, the amendment would be ineffective. The only rights to compensation under the 1924 Act are rights of compensation owing to redundancy arising from amalgamation. This could not debar any right arising from amalgamation; neither can it add anything to the compensation under the 1924 Act.

I should not like to put this amendment without giving the matter consideration and hearing the arguments as to whether it can be made relevant to this particular Bill. I take it that it is being left over, so that the question of order can be discussed on Report Stage.

Yes—the question of order.

In view of what the Minister has said and his general attitude in the matter, I do not think that any good purpose could be served by leaving the matter for next stage.

If the Deputy wishes to get the question of compensation to railway employees thrown out of employment by reason of a railway company closing down a branch line and running an omnibus service instead, he can put that down and have it argued on Report Stage. But he does not deal with that in this amendment.

Cannot they learn to drive buses?

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 11, 12 and 13 agreed to.
Title proposed.

I should like to state that, on Section 7, we were trying to reach accommodation with the Motor Bus and Coach Owners' Association with regard to the railway company's contracting to have certain of these services carried on for them. So far, it has not been found possible to get an amendment drafted along lines that would have met the various ideas that were put forward, but I am not entirely despairing of such an amendment. I have failed to get it drafted up to the present. An enormous number of considerations have to be brought in to it but there is a possibility that on Report Stage there will be an amendment to Section 7 on the lines of imposing on the railway company the necessity of giving those who are already occupying a route the right to contract at approved rates.

Is that suggestion put up by the Bus Owners' Association?

I had a meeting with a certain association and we discussed the Bill fully in a very friendly way. It was felt that certain competition of a type that was not to be desired might be prevented if accommodation could be given, along these lines I had that matter under review and I was trying to get an agreement on it It has not been found possible to get that done yet, mainly because of the difficulty in getting the matter into the precise language a statute requires.

Title agreed to.
Bill ordered to be reported.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Bill reported.
Report Stage ordered for 20th April.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.20 p.m. until Thursday, 7th April at 3 p.m.