Money Resolution. - Agricultural Produce (Eggs) Bill, 1930—Third Stage.

The Dáil went into Committee.
Sections 1 to 3 inclusive ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 4.
(1) An inspector, inspecting under section 4 of the Principal Act any eggs or any package in any place, may, in addition to or in lieu of all or any of the things which he is authorised by that section to do, do all or any of the following things, that is to say:—
(a) examine any eggs found by him in a package opened in such place by him under the said section, and
(b) detain in such place, for so long as may be reasonably necessary for the purpose of such examination, the package so opened and all or any other packages (if any) included therewith in the same consignment, and
(c) seize and return, carriage forward, to the consignor all packages so detained (except such samples or package as may have been taken or removed therefrom by such inspector under the said section) where it appears to such inspector on such examination that there has been a contravention or an attempted contravention of the Principal Act as amended by this Act or of this Act or of any regulation made under those Acts or either of them in relation to such consignment, and that such contravention or attempted contravention extends, where such consignment consists of not more than twenty packages, to one or more or all of such packages or, where such consignment consists of more than twenty packages, to not less than five per cent. of the packages comprised in such consignment.
(2) Section 4 of the Principal Act shall be construed and have effect as if—
(a) the words "the whole or" were inserted after the word "forming" in paragraph (c) of sub-section (2) thereof; and
(b) the words "or delay" were inserted in sub-section (6) thereof after the word "damage" wherever that word occurs in that sub-section.
(3) The expression "this section" wherever it occurs in section 4 of the Principal Act shall mean the said section 4 as amended by this present section and for that purpose every provision of this present section shall be deemed to be an amendment of the said section 4.

On behalf of Deputy Haslett I move:

To add at the end of sub-section (1) (b) the following—

"Provided that where an examination takes place after eggs have left the registered premises for export or in transit therefor, the inspector may detain for so loag as may be reasonably necessary for the purpose of such examination one package in twenty, or five per cent. of the packages comprising such consignment, and allow the remainder to go forward,"

and to delete paragraph (c).

I believe the Minister knows the point to which the amendment refers and perhaps he would be prepared to say something about it.

Mr. Hogan

I discussed this amendment with Deputy Haslett. As the amendment is drafted, it would add nothing to the Bill, but I gathered from Deputy Haslett that he had another purpose in view, a purpose other than that which the amendment would effect and which is, in fact, effected already by the Bill. I think that there will be a Committee Stage on this Bill again on Report, as there always is on every Agricultural Bill introduced here, so perhaps the matter might be left over until then.

Amendment by leave withdrawn.

I move:—

In sub-section (2) (b) to insert before the word "delay" the word "reasonable."

Mr. Hogan

I am accepting this amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 4, as amended, and Section 5 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 6.
Without prejudice to any other reason for refusal which may arise under the Principal Act or this Act, each of the following shall be a good reason for the refusal by the Minister of an application for the registration of premises in the register of exporters or in the register of preservers, that is to say—
(a) that such premises were previously so registered and such registration was cancelled by the Minister under the Principal Act or this Act, or
(b) that the person applying for such registration was previously the registered proprietor of other premises so registered and, while he was such registered owner, the registration of such other premises was cancelled by the Minister under the Principal Act or this Act.

I move:

"To delete paragraph (a)."

It is quite reasonable, it appears to me, that the Minister should have power under the rules to refuse a licence to a man whose name had been removed previously from the register, but I do not see why that should apply also to premises. If premises have been disqualified and have afterwards been remodelled, I think the Minister should be asked to register them. He has powers under other sections of the Bill which would enable him to refuse to register such premises if they were not fit to be registered.

Mr. Hogan

The object of the section is to give the Minister power to refuse to license a licensee whose registration had been previously cancelled. It appears to me that that principle is agreed to.

Mr. Hogan

But if we confine ourselves to sub-section (b) the position will be somewhat extraordinary. If we deleted (a) and retained (b) the position would be that we could refuse the licensee in respect of other premises but not in respect of the premises in which the offence occurred and for which the licence was withdrawn. This is really a matter of drafting. I have no other purpose to effect except the purpose I have mentioned, and it is well that we should have such power. This is the drafting way of doing it. However, as we both seem to be on the same thing, the matter can come up on Report. I take it that it is agreed that the Minister should have power to refuse a licence to a person whose licence had been previously withdrawn.

I agree.

Mr. Hogan

The amendment would not exactly effect that. If (a) were deleted and (b) retained all sorts of complications would arise. Clause (b) states that the person applying for such registration "was previously the registered owner of other premises." Supposing he was the registered proprietor of other premises in respect of which the licence was withdrawn, all sorts of complications might arise. However, I will have the section examined before Report and see if there is a shorter way of doing it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move:—In paragraph 3, line 61, to delete the words "The Principal Act or"

Mr. Hogan

I do not see the point of that amendment.

The point of it is this: if a man had committed an offence under the Principal Act he can now be dealt with more or less without notice. If the words "The Principal Act" were removed you would be giving notice by this Bill if ho does anything wrong.

Mr. Hogan

There are a number of offences dealt with under the Princi- pal Act. If any one of them is committed the licence may be withdrawn. That has been agreed on. This does not deal with offences at all except in a limited way. If the amendment were accepted, it would mean that we could not make use of the powers under the section. We could not use them for the purpose of dealing with offences which are committed under the Principal Act and which, of course, are numerous.

I see that point, but would it not be better to put in some provision to make it apply retrospectively?

Mr. Hogan

I suggest the Deputy should consider the amendment between this and the Report Stage and I will see if it is possible to deal with it in any other way.

I agree that it does not effect what I had in mind.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 6 and 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 8.
Whenever the registered proprietor of any premises registered under the Principal Act or under that Act as amended by this Act is adjudicated a bankrupt, the Minister may, without giving to any person notice of his intention so to do, cancel the registration of such premises.

I move:

In line 3 to delete the word "without" and substitute the word "on," and in line 4 to delete the word "any" and substitute the word "such."

This deals only with a small point. I think it might be unfair to cancel the registration of premises even in cases of bankruptcy without at least giving notice to the person. I want to amend Section 8 so that in case of a bankruptcy registration cannot be cancelled without giving notice.

Mr. Hogan

I would agree with that but it would have to be provided that the notice would be given by complying with certain conditions. For instance, a person might be away and service could then be effected by leaving it at certain premises. That could be provided for in a new draft.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 8 put and agreed to.
Question—"That Section 9 stand part of the Bill"—put.

There is one point in this section which strikes me. There is a penalty of imprisonment provided by this section, but as far as I can see no provision has been made for appeals. I did not feel competent to bring in any amendment to cover that point but I would like the Minister to consider it before the Report Stage to see what could be done.

With regard to the question of imprisonment, I wonder has the Minister given full consideration to the introduction of this serious penalty? I agree that the offences are serious, but it seems a rather drastic thing that a man could get three months' imprisonment and there is no safeguard against his receiving such a sentence even though the offence has been committed by somebody in his employment. Although he would be legally responsible he would not be directly responsible.

Mr. Hogan

This penalty would be inflicted, of course, at the discretion of the court. It is highly improbable that imprisonment would be inflicted for a first offence. In any event the sentence can only be imposed by a judge who has heard all the circumstances. In a matter of that sort, you are entirely in the hands of the judge. I think the offences committed under this Act should leave the offender open to a term of imprisonment because money fines are very unsatisfactory in ways. You can force a small exporter to observe the law by fining him. A big fine is a consideration for him. In the case of a man operating in a big way it might pay him to break the law in a flagrant fashion. It is possible it might pay him very well and that he could make very big money out of it by consistently doing so. He might be in the position that he could afford to lose whatever might be imposed in the way of fines. That sort of thing is common enough. During the Great War, for instance, it paid certain people to meet any fines that might be imposed for breaches of the tillage regulations. They were well able to meet any fines that might be imposed. In a great many cases that is done and people publicly and openly break the law, having weighed up whether they could make sufficient money by breaking the law to cover, and more than cover, any fines that would be imposed. That sort of thing could easily happen in the case of a big exporter, but it could not happen in the case of a small exporter.

If you are to put both the large and the small exporter on a level, if you are to have a uniform deterrent, there must be the ultimate possibility of sending a person to jail. That discretion would be exercised by the judge, not by me. The judge would hear all the circumstances of the case. That is already provided for under Section 4 of the Principal Act of 1924. No case of the sort has yet occurred although the Act has been in operation for six years. If there were any abuses under the Act, undoubtedly they would have come to the ears of Deputies and would be raised in the Dáil, but no case has occurred and there is no suggestion that there has been any abuse. I do not think Deputies need be unduly afraid of the powers given to the Courts under that section.

May I suggest to the Minister that in making a regulation about marking he should alter the present system and get a much smaller mark? The mark prescribed at the moment when used on eggs exposed in windows in Northern Ireland or across the water is a very big, untidy-looking mark. I suggest the Minister should see that the mark is made smaller and that it will be on the one line without so much trimming.

Mr. Hogan

I agree with the idea of a smaller mark. That is a matter that is constantly under consideration by the officers who deal with that particular section, both here and in London, and they are in consultation with the trade. Of course you have to test the public in this matter. As a consumer, my own view is that the smaller and the neater the mark on the egg the better.

Sections 9 and 10 agreed to.
SECTION 11.
(2) In addition to the powers conferred on an inspector by sub-section (2) of section 17 of the Principal Act, an inspector shall be entitled at all reasonable times to enter any premises registered in the register of preservers or in respect of which an application for registration in such register has been made and do all or any of the following things, that is to say:—
(a) search for and inspect eggs on such premises;
(b) require the registered proprietor or any person employed by such registered proprietor on such premises to furnish such inspector with such information as to the name and address of any person which such inspector may deem necessary for the purposes of the administration of the Principal Act and this Act.

I beg to move amendment 6:—

In sub-section (2), line 10, to delete the word "and" and insert after the word "inspect" the words "and take samples of".

I notice in the Principal Act under Section 17 that when an inspector enters the premises of a licensed exporter he can take samples. I think this section does not give him the same power with regard to premises used for preserving. I wonder did the Minister overlook that point?

Mr. Hogan

This Act must be read with the Principal Act. Section 4 (2) of the Principal Act says:—

Any inspector may inspect any eggs or any package found in any place upon or to which he is entitled under this section to enter or have access or upon or in any public place, and may open any such package which he reasonably believes or suspects to contain eggs, and may take and remove without payment...

We have the powers already under the Principal Act.

I thought that section of the Principal Act applied only to exporters?

Mr. Hogan

No. The Principal Act says:—

Any inspector shall be entitled at all reasonable times to enter upon and have free access to the interior of ... any premises in which eggs are sold or are exposed, kept or stored for sale...

If it were confined to exporters the Deputy's amendment would be quite all right.

I was under the impression that it applied to exporters only.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 11 agreed to.

Amendment 7. in the name of Deputy Haslett, introduces new matter into this Bill and I do not think it can be moved.

I really did not want to introduce new matter, but it was the only way I had by which I could draw attention to paragraph (b). I think it is rather drastic on the exporter and I was anxious for some opportunity to make a suggestion to the effect that we should spread the liability. Section 12, paragraph (b), reads:—

... being a person engaged in the egg trade, buys or has in his possession on premises on which he carries on such trade any eggs which are externally dirty or which are unfit for human consumption.

Taken in conjunction with the preceding paragraph, it would seem that a hardship comes in. It might so happen that on a market day the collectors or shopkeepers would bring in a load of eggs. The exporter would not have time to turn the eggs or examine them. The inspector might come in during the period between the arrival of the eggs and of their examination and grading, and if he found anything wrong a prosecution might ensue. The eggs at that time would not, of course, be tested, and it would be rather unfair to the exporter. My idea was to spread the liability and make the people who brought the eggs responsible to some extent. It would encourage them to deliver only good and fresh eggs. Such a course would help to improve the system under which we have too many trading and the producer is paying for all without any reason.

Mr. Hogan

The Principal Act and this measure aim at licensing exporters. They do not attempt to control anybody else. Before eggs are exported they are handled by one, two or three persons. Often they are bought by travelling vans and sold to somebody else, and then finally there is the exporter. The aim of the Deputy's amendment is to license everybody as well as the exporter. We feel that would be impossible. You can administer an Act like this by confining your licensing system within as narrow limits as possible. The way to do that is to examine and control the trade at one point. It must be at a point at which all the eggs pass. We want to control the eggs as they are exported. They have to be handled at one stage or another by exporters. We control them. The suggestion is that we ought to control the other people who handle the eggs. There are good grounds for that suggestion. If eggs are bad it is not often the fault of the exporter but rather the fault of the farmer who holds them too long, or it may be the fault of the person to whom the farmer sells them and who holds them too long or treats them improperly. In 50 per cent. or less of the cases it may be the fault of the exporter.

It is possible to license the exporter, but is it possible to control the other persons—the middlemen? That is the practical question. It is possible to put penalties in the measure which would severely affect the middlemen. You might very well suggest that Civic Guards should look after them and they should deal severely with middlemen who bought eggs which they should not buy. The Civic Guards could possibly bring such men before the courts. That is all very well, but in that way you could not hope to influence or control even one per cent. of the middlemen. If they are to be licensed and controlled, as the exporters' operations are, we would need at least double the staff we have doing this sort of work for the Department of Agriculture; in fact, we would need more than double the staff. It is easy enough to deal with a limited number of exporters whose premises are in towns and big centres. Their premises are getting bigger because individual exporters are handling bigger quantities. The small men are going out of business, and that is all to the good. But for every one exporter you will have two or three middlemen, and if you attempt to control them effectively you must have twice or three times the present staff, and then there is the point that there is as good a reason for control in other commodities as in eggs. No one could contemplate the task of employing a huge staff to control these men. It would add tremendously to the present expenses, and I doubt if in the end the control would be effective. The only way is to exercise control at the one point, and that is where the eggs leave the country.

We can control it in the bottle neck. We could control it there very drastically. It is for the exporter to see that he does not buy eggs that are in any way doubtful. If he does he suffers. If he cannot buy eggs which are suitable, it is not worth his while to buy eggs that are unsuitable. In that way the man from whom he buys will lose. In that way the control can be brought down to the producer of the eggs. I admit it is putting a responsibility that is rather serious for a man like the exporter, but as a practical matter there is no other way out of it. Even controlling the exporter is rather drastic. It is not done in other countries. This is a very drastic matter. It is an innovation and an experiment. When it was first introduced people were very doubtful as to whether a body like a Government Department could interfere in business to the extent that is authorised under this Act without dislocating business. I do not think we have dislocated business by this Act. But if you interfere more and if you attempt to apply your control to anything more than the big exporters, whose premises are accessible, and who can be easily controlled, you will find it very hard to work it. If you go back to the middlemen and to the farmers you will dislocate the trade and you will double and quadruple the expenses of working the Act. I am certain that this suggestion to license persons who actually buy and collect eggs is impossible, in any event or with any expenditure, but I am certain it is impossible unless you contemplate employing twice as many officials as at present. The principle is outside the Act and for that reason I would ask the Deputy not to press his amendment.

It is out of order.

Could the Minister see his way to put in some loophole in sub-section (1) of this section? Under the section as it is drafted you do not give the exporter even one minute from the time the eggs are brought into his store. The sub-section reads:

is or is not made subject to the condition that the eggs shall pass a particular test.

An inspector with common sense ought to understand the exporter's position in the matter. I suggested this amendment for the purpose of making the matter more definite in favour of the exporters.

Mr. Hogan

What exactly does the Deputy want under that heading?

Perhaps I have not made myself perfectly clear. Take the case of an exporter and suppose a collector or shopkeeper comes in to his premises with a load of eggs. The exporter buys them but it is a busy day. It is, we will say, market day. He cannot examine the eggs there and then and the eggs must remain over for one, two or three hours before he has time to turn them. If the inspector comes along in that interval and finds the eggs there and finds that they are not eggs that would pass the test, then the exporter is bound to suffer.

Mr. Hogan

The simple thing in that case is to look at the matter from the point of view of the common sense of the inspector. If an inspector sets out to administer this Act in a wrong-headed way, of course he can get trouble, but he could not continue to administer the Act in a wrong-headed way for any length of time. Take the Principal Act. I never had a single complaint from a Deputy as to the administration of the Principal Act. I had a number of communications from Deputies asking that certain dealers whose licences were withdrawn should have them restored, or, alternatively, that in the case of exporters whose licences were threatened that they should not be touched. I had many applications asking to have matters reconsidered. But since 1924 I never had a complaint from a Deputy to the effect that an inspector had unfairly used his powers. I am certain that such a case has never been raised in the Dáil.

Of course, there are exporters who think that they have been treated more harshly than others. But no exporter has ever made a complaint as to the administration of the Act by inspectors —no exporter has ever been able to make a good enough case to raise either with me personally or in the Dáil. I do not think that this Act could be harshly administered by any inspector for any length of time. It has not been done in the past, for otherwise there would have been a number of complaints. With one or two possible exceptions, I do not remember where it was stated that an inspector acted harshly or with a wrong motive. There may be one or two such cases but there certainly are not more.

I never heard of a case sufficiently substantiated to induce a Deputy to bring it to the Dáil. That is the clearest guarantee that the amending Act will be administered properly. That is the best guarantee that the exporter could have. If it is a fact that you must take drastic powers to deal with the exporter and if it is a fact that this is rather hard on the exporter, in view of the fact that the real offender may be somebody else, then, of course, unless the Act is properly and understandingly administered, hardships will be inflicted. In any case, what guarantee have we that it will be properly administered? You have the guarantee that under the Principal Act there have been no complaints. If you set out to use rather drastic powers in a high-handed way the Dáil is always there to ventilate any grievances. As long as you have a body like the Dáil sitting regularly with the right accorded to every Deputy to bring forward any complaint, then there is no great danger that injustice will be done.

Of course, I understand the Minister's point of view. I am with him in his object, but the section might be amended so as to read: "or had in his possession on the premises, for a time sufficient to enable him to make adequate examination of the eggs." In that case, I think there would be some protection there for the exporter. You would give him reasonable time to examine the consignment of eggs. We have not had this particular piece of legislation passed before. The Minister might recollect that the inspector would be doing his duty in carrying out the Act and still be unfair to the exporter.

Mr. Hogan

What is the use of putting in the words "reasonable time to test the eggs"? An inspector comes in and finds the eggs and the exporter says that he had not had time to examine them. Then the question arises what time should he have. In any case, in nine out of ten times the examination takes place when the eggs are brought into the premises and before he buys. There is a cursory examination.

Of course, the eggs bought in dozens by the exporter are examined. I am not making a case for these but I am speaking of the eggs bought from the collectors or from the shopkeepers. It would be impossible in these cases.

Mr. Hogan

He has, at any rate, a general look at them.

The Deputy's new amendment would be in order, but the amendment on the Paper could not be moved. Perhaps he would like to put forward on the Report Stage another amendment with some such wording as he now suggests.

Very well.

Section 12 agreed to.
SECTION 13.

I would like to know is there any danger under this section that a person who is applying for a licence to have his premises registered and wanted to make alterations would be held up for an unduly long period before the Minister would send an inspector down to approve of the suggested alterations. Is there any provision for seeing that the Department would not hold a person up too long?

Mr. Hogan

There is nothing in the Act.

Would the Minister say what is the usual practice; would it take very long?

Mr. Hogan

No, they are always dealt with at once. There has been no delay. It is a question for us again of what is the use of putting "a reasonable time" in the Act. It is merely a chance for the lawyers to fight over what is a reasonable time.

You would not object to that.

Mr. Hogan

At present, but later on I may not. I would rather have the discretion myself at present. If, unfortunately, public life loses me it is a different matter.

Would you think that would be a misfortune?

Mr. Hogan

I would.

We are getting outside the scope of the Bill.

Sections 13 to 22, inclusive, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

SECTION 23.

I would like to say a word on Section 23, sub-section (1). It appears that it would be a great hardship on people who sell eggs at the market to comply with this section. As the Minister has already explained, the inspector is supposed to have a little piece of common-sense, but if you get an inspector without much common-sense and reason, who is going to act according to the Act, you will make it impossible to sell eggs, if they have to keep them free from wet, damp, dirt or contamination of any sort.

Mr. Hogan

In most markets they need not get wet.

I would like to see the Minister trying to keep a basket of eggs dry on a wet day.

Mr. Hogan

You do not stand out in the wet. You wait until the shower is over and then stand out. It is in the market place that a lot of harm is done often by pure carelessness.

Section 23 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

SECTION 24.

(2) A member of the Gárda Síochána may inspect any eggs offered or exposed for sale in any place upon which he is entitled under the foregoing sub-section to enter or in any public place and may take and remove without payment reasonable samples of any eggs which are offered or exposed for sale in any such place and are externally dirty.

I move:

In sub-section (2), line 56, to delete the words "take and remove without payment" and substitute the words "pay for and take."

I do not think it is fair that an inspector or a member of the Gárda Síochána or anyone else should be allowed to take a sample of eggs from a person without payment. I do not know what the present law is, but I always understood that, for instance, in taking a sample of milk the inspector must pay for the milk the same as any other customer. This applies to the Food and Drugs Acts anyway. I do not know why members of the Civic Guard should be allowed to go and take samples of eggs without paying for them.

Mr. Hogan

The inspector has the same power.

I am not objecting to the Civic Guards alone but to the inspectors and the Civic Guards.

Mr. Hogan

In the Produce Act these are the only persons who can control the home trade. Supposing they have to pay for the eggs. After all if the eggs are dirty an offence has been committed. They cannot take the eggs unless an offence has been committed. If the eggs are dirty or contaminated and offered for sale they can take the eggs without paying for them. If they had to pay for them the Civic Guard would have to bargain with the shopkeeper for the eggs. Two or three times the price would be asked, and he would make the Guard pay. It would make the Act impossible. If the police are to have power to take dirty or contaminated eggs they can take them without paying, otherwise you would have to have an arbitrator between the people concerned.

I do not think that arises.

Mr. Hogan

Why?

Take milk. If an inspector asks for a sample he has to pay the usual price. If a man goes into a shop and sees eggs, the eggs are marked at a certain price. He must tender that price before he gets them.

Mr. Hogan

Eggs are not usually marked at a price. Remember he cannot take eggs unless they are dirty or contaminated.

I do not want to divide the House on dirty eggs.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 24 agreed to.
SECTION 25.
(2) Every regulation made by the Minister under this Act shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made, and if a resolution is passed by either House of the Oircachtas within the next twenty-one days on which that House has sat annulling such regulation such regulation shall be annulled accordingly, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under such regulation.

I move:

In sub-section (2) to delete all words from and including the word "resolution," line 12, down to and including the words "such regulation" where they first occur in line 14 and substitute the words:—

"notice of motion for a resolution annulling such regulation is given in either House within the next twenty-one days on which that House has sat after such regulation is laid before it and such resolution is passed."

I think you, a Chinn Comhairle, are more concerned with this than the Minister and that you will give us some advice. If regulations were laid on the Table and we have a list of motions on the Order Paper, and we have a motion disagreeing with the order, we may not reach it in twenty-one days. I want to know what would be the position in that case?

That matter was considered by the Committee of Procedure and Privileges, and the Committee recommended to the House that should any case such as the Deputy speaks of occur under this Act or under other Acts the motion put down by a private Deputy annulling the order should get preference in private members' time. In that way it would appear that in practically every case it would be considered within the twenty-one days. Apart altogether from that, it appears that in this particular kind of an Act if a Minister made a regulation and a Deputy in the position of Deputy Ryan put down a motion, it would be very difficult to resist a request for that motion to be taken, either in public time or private members' time.

The case I have in mind was a case raised here by Deputy Hogan, of Clare, but he could not get the motion taken. It was not under an Act of this kind, but an Act under which regulations were to be laid on the Table of the House.

The case of Deputy Hogan arose before the Committee of Procedure and Privileges had considered the matter and made a recommendation. There has been no case since the Committee did so.

If this is a sort of motion that could not be resisted, why not make it clear that it comes on automatically?

Mr. Hogan

The amendment does not make it clear. I do not think it could possibly be resisted.

I am only suggesting that if it is a motion that obviously is so desirable that it could not be resisted, then the right to bring it in in Government time ought to be conceded.

Mr. Hogan

Not in the Eggs Act, surely?

In some form.

The amendment was put down so that if a motion was actually handed in by a private Deputy within twenty-one days, even though it was at the end of the Order Paper, it would still be taken.

Mr. Hogan

It may not be reached for six or seven months. Here the case has never arisen. Supposing a notice was put in. That notice had to be passed or beaten within twenty-one days. I am absolutely certain that the House would agree to take it before twenty-one days. I cannot imagine any circumstances in which it would be refused. On the other hand, it is very unsatisfactory to have a notice of motion of this sort on the Order Paper for, say, six months, and to have the Department of Agriculture operating under the particular section affected during all that time.

I think the view expressed by the Minister was that taken by the Committee, that practice would show that public time would be given. If practice showed that there was any difficulty about that, then it would be possible to bring in a Standing Order to deal with it. I think it was the view of the Committee that that might be tried.

I cannot give Deputy Ryan any assistance by telling him how it worked, because, since the Committee of Procedure and Privileges made the recommendation, there has been no instance. For this particular type of Bill the motion is bound to be discussed. I think if a difficulty arises it will not be on the Agricultural Produce (Eggs) Bill.

The only thing is, even if the procedure were to be as the Ceann Comhairle has explained, there is nothing in this amendment to interfere with that procedure. I do not think any case has been made against the amendment being accepted. There has been a case made that it is not necessary.

Mr. Hogan

There is a notice of motion down. Under the former procedure that would have to be dealt with and definitely decided one way or the other within twenty-one sitting days, or about two months. Under this procedure, neither the Department of Agriculture nor the trade would know exactly how they stood for six, seven or eight months. That is unsatisfactory.

If the Minister wished he could take it on the following day. It need not be left for six months.

Mr. Hogan

That is so, but supposing the mover did not move it. This procedure has worked well. There has been no case of hardship, and it is agreed by the Committee of Procedure and Privileges that if there were any difficulty they would bring in a Standing Order. If there was a limit of days there is no doubt it would be passed under this particular procedure. If the mover of such a motion was not so far facilitated as to get in his motion within the twenty-one days, it would be for the Committee of Procedure and Privileges then. That is their opinion, and it has worked all right. Why change it until there is some good reason for it?

I am quite willing to give the plan recommended by the Committee of Procedure and Privileges a trial, and withdraw this amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 25 to 28 and title ordered to stand part of the Bill.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Bill reported with one amendment.
Report Stage ordered for Thursday next.