Public Business. - Betting Bill, 1930—Committee Stage (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following amendment:—
(4) In sub-section (2), line 51, to delete the words "an excise penalty" and substitute the words "a penalty."

Deputy Flinn was speaking when the debate on this amendment closed. I feel that in putting the case for this amendment before the House our hands are greatly hampered by the extraordinary attitude which the Minister for Finance took in relation to the question I put to him to-day, because that question goes to the whole root of the matter. If Deputies will remember, the Minister in opposing the amendment devoted his whole attention to the question of what he called penaltiesin terrorem and altogether disregarded the issue which was definitely raised from these benches, namely, that the collection of the fines imposed under this Act should be entrusted to the Department of Justice in the ordinary way. I may say that excise penalties originated in the extraordinary circumstances which prevailed at the end of the 18th century. At that time you had an extensive smuggling trade in wines and laces with France, and those who, very often, were the instigators of the business were themselves the magistrates before whom the offenders would eventually be brought. The courts to which smugglers were summoned were often held in a harness room and even in the cellar, which the wines were intended to replenish, of a country squire. Naturally, in these circumstances the person engaged in running wine for the replenishment of his own table would take a lenient view of the offender when brought before him. These excise penalties were definitely fixed by the legislature in order to ensure that a conviction would be recorded and that an opportunity would afterwards be given to the ordinary officers of the law to apprehend the smuggler and imprison him.

Circumstances to-day have alto gether changed. Transport and communications have improved and a person cannot be brought now before a court held in a drawing-room in an obscure part of the country and allowed virtually to go free, particularly for offences against the revenue. Therefore, because circumstances have changed we say that there is no reason whatever why the extraordinary measures which then had to be adopted should be retained at present. These penalties were originally designed to prevent corruption, but in actual fact, if the information which has been conveyed to us is correct, they have now become a source of corruption.

I have already told the Deputy, first that there was no corruption, and secondly, that the matters which were the subject of disciplinary punishment had no connection with the question of penalties good, bad, or indifferent. No names have been mentioned, but nevertheless the Deputy in a sense is making a charge against individuals who can be identified—charges for which there is no foundation whatever.

If I have to make those charges and to repeat what I am going to say in this House it is merely because of the attitude the Minister for Finance took up. If the Minister will put the true facts of this matter, and all the facts, before the House, possibly my speech may be different, but if he refuses to give the House the information which we think it should have before it in order to determine this question, then I must repeat in this House what is commonly said outside. If what I say is inaccurate I regret it very much. If I do repeat an inaccuracy I want to make it clear that it is merely because of the extraordinary attitude taken up here to-day by the Minister for Finance. He has the option to put the true facts before the House in regard to this matter. I am simply repeating here what common, public rumour says in regard to these officials of the Inland Revenue. Before I proceed, does the Minister wish to speak?

The option is with the Deputy. I leave it to his own sense of fitness.

Very well. In the discharge of the duty which I feel has been thrust upon us I must make the House aware of what is commonly repeated in the City of Dublin in regard to certain officials. I regret it should be so, but in the absence of the exact truth I have got to use what I believe is an approximation. Two officers of the Revenue Commissioners were, some time ago, connected with the administration of the Betting Act of 1926. For some reason or other we know that the conduct of these officers was the subject of a departmental investigation, and that whatever they were charged with must have been a serious matter because the penalty which, I believe, was inflicted upon one of them had serious monetary consequences for him. He lost, I understand, in salary and bonus something like £200 per annum and has been debarred from further promotion.

What were the offences? The Minister himself has admitted that, in the course of their duty, certain officers of the revenue are obliged to have betting transactions with bookmakers. It is said that these officers had betting transactions with bookmakers, not upon the public account, but upon their own private account, and that the returns made in the ordinary way by the bookmakers disclosed that these officers were in receipt of much more generous odds than the odds offered to the ordinary public. I do not know whether I should ask the Minister if that is true or not, or whether he is prepared to contradict me and say that it is not true. The fact that we do know is that these two officials were very heavily involved, and that apparently no effort was made by the bookmakers to get them to fulfil their obligations in regard to these transactions. That is the information which has been conveyed to me. I think it is serious. I am repeating it with every reserve. I am only repeating it because I feel that, in view of what has transpired already within the short period during which this Act has been in operation, there is a public duty upon me and upon the members of this Party to secure that henceforward the collection of monetary penalties from bookmakers will be dealt with in the ordinary way by the Department of Justice and not by the Department of the Revenue Commissioners.

The Minister has stated that he must have a maximum penalty. I have not yet had from him the information that I asked for on the last day, as to the exact amount of the penalties collected from bookmakers by the Inland Revenue Department where the fines were in sums of £500 and in smaller amounts. My information is that the amount accepted by the Inland Revenue Department has been very much less than the fine which the court was compelled by statute to impose; that not only were the amounts very much less, but that there were very serious differences in the amounts which the Inland Revenue Department accepted in discharge of the penalties imposed.

The Minister pleaded here for a maximum penalty. I want the House for a moment to leave that question aside and to consider whether the system of collection that at present prevails is to continue, because what happens is that though the penalty is imposed in open court the remission takes place in a star chamber. Take a case of a wealthy influential bookmaker. He is dealing in large sums, with perhaps a turnover of £50,000 or £100,000 a year, and he breaks the law. He goes, this man who is extremely affluent, to deal in private, in one room and without any witnesses, with an official of the State who is charged with the collection of a fine from him. Who can say what takes place between these two people? Who can say what is the consideration which is sometimes offered, and which we know has been offered, in order to secure a remission of the penalties which have been imposed by the court?

If the Deputy knows of any consideration having been offered, then he should give the information. No such information has ever reached me.

We are to a certain extent in the same difficulty as the Minister for Finance himself. He knows very well that though they had, shall we say, a suspicion almost amounting to a certainty, nevertheless they could not get any person to give direct testimony of what had happened. He knows that as well as I do.

I would like to know from the Deputy if he has any information whatever in support of the charges he makes.

I have asked the Minister to answer me and say whether the facts I have recited, the statements I have made are true —I do not know that one could call them facts, because they are only hearsay and common rumour, but we have examined them and believe there is some ground for them—that betting sheets furnished by the bookmaker did not disclose that certain officials of the Inland Revenue were in receipt of longer odds than the odds that were being offered to the public. Will the Minister also say was not that the reason why this investigation, which he has admitted took place, was held by his Department? I am prepared to sit down and give the Minister an opportunity of replying.

I told the Deputy already that I was not going to go into that—that in no way whatever did a question of the remission of penalties arise, and that no evidence at all reached us that would suggest that what the Deputy alleges now—that is, that inducements were offered for a remission of the penalties—took place.

Does the Minister say that there is no foundation for the statement made by Deputy MacEntee that these officials were, in fact, indebted to bookmakers, and that in fact they did get longer odds in certain betting transactions than the odds that were offered to the public, and whether that came before the inquiry?

I told the Deputy already that I was not going to deal with the subject matter of the inquiry further than I had done in my answer.

Will the Minister deny it?

I refuse to deal with it.

Am I to take it that the Minister is not denying it?

The Deputy is to take nothing of the sort. I am dealing only with what arises out of the question of penalties. I am not dealing with the matter further.

The only relevant question is the question of penalties.

What we are dealing with here is a matter that touches the administration of the Act in some of its most vital particulars. If we can, shall we say, show that there is a strong suspicion that officials of the Inland Revenue Department have received concessions or privileges from the bookmakers over whom they are supposed to exercise supervision, can we not use that as an argument against permitting the excise penalties to continue, the excise penalty which carries with it this Star Chamber remission?

If there were a relevancy between the two matters.

There is a relevancy, surely.

I think that the Deputy should show that relevancy. The Deputy should show some relevancy between his charge against the two officials and the nature of an excise penalty.

It has been admitted that these particular officials had been charged in a particular way with the administration of the Act.

The administration of the Act does not entirely concern remission or imposition of penalties.

To a certain extent yes, because it is only when breaches of these provisions of the Act, which is administered by the Revenue Commissioners, have been made that the question of excise penalty arises. It is what is used—the excise penalty or the big stick, as Deputy Little says —to compel people to keep the law. The big stick may remain, but if the arms of the officials who wield it are tied by their transactions with the bookmakers I suppose the big stick will remain on the shelf or at least be whittled down. Now, I say that in the short time this Act has been in operation the things which have happened, not happened, mind you, to subordinate officials but to responsible officials in the Department, and the facts which, I am sure, are within common knowledge as to the conditions which used to prevail before 1926 in relation to the administration of the Betting Laws, should make us very chary about continuing a system which is, at any rate, likely to be easily and seriously abused. I said I did not want this point of the excise penalty mixed up with the question of the maximum penalty. I would suggest that the House should take a separate decision with regard to amendment 4. If the word "excise" is deleted from the section then the penalty would become one enforceable in the ordinary way by the Department of Justice.

If there are good grounds for making any remission with regard to these penalties those grounds can be stated in open court. The magistrate or judge sitting on the bench can determine in the full light of public opinion whether any mercy or remission is warranted, and if the remission is made I suppose public opinion would be satisfied. If, on the other hand, the maximum penalty is imposed public opinion will also be satisfied that the maximum penalty will be collected and that the law will be enforced with equal justice between them. Supposing that that is the issue we have at stake, we want, as I said before, to try and get every transaction under this Betting Act carried out, as betting is now done, in the full light of public opinion, so that the public themselves may form their own conclusions as to whether these penalties are warranted and as to whether the abuses which take place under the Act are such as to make it virtually impossible to regulate betting. Then they can come to a decision one way or another as to whether the present position of regularising betting is to continue.

I would like to draw the Minister's attention to the fact that apart from our having discussed the principle which runs through the Bill we must also pay attention to the particular clauses where the words "Excise penalty" occur. Whatever case the Minister may have later on in other clauses I would like to point out to him that in clause 2 you are not dealing with a matter which comes so much under the purview of the excise department as under the ordinary police. That is the clause prohibiting the non-licensed bookie from doing any business, and the detection of that particular crime is largely in the hands of the ordinary police. It is far more a matter of public order, and has less to do with the technical side of the collection of excise revenue, and it is an added reason in this case, whatever view the Minister holds with reference to excise penalties under other clauses, why he should allow the word "excise" to be deleted in this clause.

I want to refer again to the points raised by Deputy MacEntee, and I want to present back to the Minister the suggestion he makes that we are anxious on this side of the House to pillory or further punish officials who have been punished departmentally. We are not concerned with those officials at all—in fact, I feel very sorry for them—but we have to use this particular case to enforce the arguments and to show the reasons why we want to try and insist on all cases being tried through the District Justices. The Minister will not deny the assertions made or will not give us the information concerning the cases themselves. At the same time the Minister will not give us the information wanted to be able to form an opinion for ourselves as to whether the statements made to us from people outside the House are based on truth or are as near truth as possible. The Minister will not give us the particulars of the fines imposed on bookmakers from early after the administration of the Act. He will not give us particulars which I requested when last speaking on this particular amendment. As far as I can judge, and as far as my information goes from men in the bookmaking business, they are quite prepared to face the open court on whatever charge may be brought before them, but they are not prepared to stand over people who are fraudulently committing offences, and they are just as anxious as the Minister that those particular persons should be dealt with by the forces of the law. They agree that there is great injustice done to men who commit technical offences and are treated on the same basis as the Revenue Commissioners treat those who are fraudulent. It is all very well for the Revenue Commissioners if they bring certain cases that tend to fraud to the court, but they cannot deny that they themselves have on several occasions imposed a penalty on particular bookmakers who submit to a certain fine imposed on them.

Deputy MacEntee has given details of what is current abroad. The Minister has got to deny that all these suggestions are false and that the disciplinary action against these officials had nothing whatever to do with their intercourse with bookmakers in the administration of the Betting Act. I want to say, as far as I can understand and as far as I know on fairly good authority, these officials, prior to this, had records second to none in the Revenue Commissioners' Department. They were excellent and efficient officials, and their punishment now was a result of the position they were put in in administering that particular Act. Unless the Minister gives us the particulars of the cases of either of those particular officials, or unless the Minister can definitely deny that the circumstances had no connection at all with the offences they committed, I think he will either have to meet us on this or show us where we are wrong. The Minister answered the question put to him to-day by Deputy MacEntee, but he did not give us any new information. The only information that we have is information got from outside sources. The Minister stated that he wanted evidence from us. The Minister will not deny that in dealing with a particular bookmaker whom they had sent for, they pressed him very hard to give information against these particular revenue officials. I wonder would the Minister deny that his Department sent for a particular bookmaker and tried very hard to get him, as he said himself, "to squeal"? He refused to give that information, and he complained that his subsequent treatment was because he had refused to give the information that the Revenue Commissioners wanted. If that is not true, then, of course, the information I have been given is wrong; but I am inclined to believe, and, in fact, have good proof of it, that the information is true. If that is so, then the revenue officials themselves were looking for the information, or proof of the information, which is at our disposal now, namely, that these officials, in administering the Act in the way in which the Minister for Finance still wants it administered, were put in a position that might arouse a feeling that there was some attempt to corrupt the officials, and that the officials themselves had taken part in transactions which they were not allowed to do by the laws which governed their employment.

I have been listening with interest to the discussion on this matter. I might say at the outset that I know nothing whatsoever of these matters which form the main subject-matter of the two speeches we have heard to-day. I do not intend to deal with this matter from that point of view. I would like to be clear on this point: Before any penalty can be inflicted I take it that the bookmakers must be tried in open court and that the question at issue here is the right of the Revenue Commissioners to make certain remissions of the penalties inflicted.

To make a remission in secret and to conceal the grounds upon which the remission is made.

Mr. O'Connell

To make a remission, in any case. This practice of putting on this class of penalty for these offences is an old one, and it applies to a good many other matters relating to the collection of taxes as well as this one. I think Deputy Little suggested that it was for the police to prosecute in these cases. The same argument might be applied to other taxes, such as the entertainment tax. I do not think that that would be a proper matter for the police. In any case, what have we revenue collectors for except for the collection of taxes?

May I point out that this particular clause deals with the penalties which the person who has no licence would incur for betting at a street corner? It is a thing which would come under the notice of the police, though, of course, we are dealing with the general principle.

Mr. O'Connell

It is very likely that a circus man would not get tax tickets printed. As I say, it is the duty of the Revenue Commissioners and their servants to collect it. Deputy Briscoe has said that these men have stated that they are not afraid to face anything that may be brought against them in open court. How are the remissions to be made? Suppose the matter is handed over to the Department of Justice, how is it to be met by the Department of Justice, For instance, a sentence of imprisonment may be inflicted on a man for an offence that has nothing to do with revenue offences. The man is sent to jail; representations are made to the officials of the Department of Justice, and, in certain circumstances, they have the right to make a reduction in the sentence, to release the man or to inflict a smaller penalty on him, but that is not done in open court. I think it is a matter that could not be done in open court.

I think Deputy O'Connell has misunderstood either Deputy MacEntee or myself. There is no suggestion that the mitigation of penalties shall take place in open court. The complaint is that the District Justice has no power but to inflict the minimum penalty, and even if on the merits of the case a man may appear to him to have committed only a technical offence he has no power to inflict the minimum penalty. The Revenue Commissioners themselves may deal privately with the matter.

Mr. O'Connell

If I understand the thing properly, the minimum penalty is fixed in the Act.

He can reduce it by one-fourth.

Mr. O'Connell

Then it becomes the minimum penalty. He must inflict the minimum penalty. I do not see anything wrong with the principle of having a minimum penalty in any Act. As a matter of fact, it is found in a great many cases that if a man is convicted of a definite offence a definite minimum penalty must be inflicted on him. That is quite a common thing in our Acts of Parliament.

I am coming to the question of remission. It is not done in open court. If the thing is referred to the Department of Justice, how is the Department of Justice to get the information on which it is going to act in giving a decision as to whether or not the penalty ought to be remitted? It seems to me that they will be forced back again to the position that is being complained of here, that they will have to go to the Revenue Commissioners and inquire generally as to what particular type of character the man who is applying for a remission is. Is it the kind of case that ought to get favourable consideration from us? Is this the man's first offence? That is the sort of thing that is done where anyone makes a recommendation to the Department of Justice to have a reduction of a penalty inflicted in open court for an ordinary offence. It strikes me that where there is a question of remission the Revenue Commissioners cannot be kept out of it and that their considerations must be taken into account.

I cannot see what advantage there is in bringing the Department of Justice into it. I am not speaking of open court, but of what is being done in the Department of Justice and in the Department of the Revenue Commissioners which is intimately connected with it, and generally knows the sort of thing that is going on. I think that the question of remission would be more fairly and justly decided by the Department that has the greater knowledge of the particular kind of offence than the Department that has to get its information in the long run from the Revenue Commissioners. That is the way I view it, and I cannot see that there is any point in the objection that has been made. I stand, of course, for the infliction of the penalty by the court. That is a principle that all are agreed on. But as to the rights to remit, I do not see that any great point has been made in what has been suggested by the other side, as to whether the minimum penalty is to be great or not; that is a totally different question.

Does the Deputy hold that the proper person to exercise a power of judgment in this case should be the Revenue Commissioners? That is the issue.

Mr. O'Connell

You suggest that it should be the Department of Justice.

The words of Article 64 of the Constitution are: "The judicial power of the Irish Free State shall be exercised and justice administered in the public courts established by the Oireachtas by judges appointed in manner hereinafter provided."

Mr. O'Connell

May I ask Deputy Little whether he would allow any power to rest with the Minister for Justice? It is not the judge who reduces the penalty which is inflicted by the court.

There is always the prerogative of mercy, which is not in any way analogous to the power of the Revenue Commissioners. The prerogative of mercy is there and must be there. It is embodied in the State. It is obvious that under the ordinary functions of the law the judge is the person who gives judgment and decides the penalty. If there is any remission of that it is abnormal, and a complete exception to the ordinary course and current of law, whereas in the other case the power of judgment is in the Revenue Commissioners, and it is normal and the current of law that they should be the deciding voice in what the penalty is to be. The function of a judge in the matter is purely that of a recommendation of mercy which may be accepted or rejected by the Commissioners. If Deputy O'Connell wants to leave that power in the hands of the Revenue Commissioners he should, in some way or another, explicitly amend the Constitution, as otherwise you are simply making new ground for doubts and litigation in future.

In so far as there may be danger of corruption, that danger will not arise in connection with the mitigation of penalties. It will arise in connection with detection and proof in court. The bookmaker who wants to corrupt anybody will try and carry out the corruption before the conviction has been recorded against him in court, and he will not wait until afterwards. As a matter of fact, so far as the bookmaker is concerned, in the ordinary way, the damage is done when he has been convicted, because there are grounds for the refusal of his licence when he applies for it afterwards. So that all this talk about the great danger of corruption of the public service because of the penalties being remitted by the Commissioners is without any foundation whatever and can only be based on views that have not sufficient regard to the facts.

I have already stated the case. There must be stinging penalties in revenue cases. The minimum penalties must be made rather high. They must have a terrorising effect, because you have not the same public opinion and you have not the same working of the individual conscience in regard to revenue offences that you have in regard to ordinary offences. Therefore, you must contemplate that on many occasions there will be a need for a remission of penalties. Somebody must remit, as Deputy O'Connell stated—either the Department of Justice or the Revenue Commissioners. One does not hear of these charges in connection with smuggling. For instance, exactly the same thing exists in regard to smuggling. There is a minimum penalty and then sometimes there is a remission, if a case is made for it. It is done by the same machinery. This only arises because a great many more bookmakers are inclined to break the law than you find in any other profession—and that is due to the fact that they were carrying on illegally before the Betting Act was passed—and because they carry on an enormous amount of propaganda.

We are all ready to admit that there is considerable difficulty in this case to secure, on the one hand, that those who try to evade their legal obligations with regard to paying taxes and so on will not find it easy to escape, and, on the other hand, to do justice to the individual and to prevent corruption. I do not agree with the Minister that there are not great opportunities for corruption in the case of mitigation of penalties. It is obvious that if a very heavy penalty is imposed the person who hopes to get off a large fine will have a direct incentive to corrupt the person who may be sent to negotiate privately with him. I think the Minister has not made his case.

There is nobody sent personally to negotiate with him. He undoubtedly makes representations to some person, but the whole matter is put on record on paper and goes up through several stages.

The initial stages, anyhow, as far as we can see, are those of direct personal negotiation.

Not necessarily—very often a solicitor.

It seems to me, anyhow, that you ought to change the procedure in that respect, and there is either of two courses open to us, so far as I can see. One is that the ordinary judicial procedure should obtain and the case be brought before an open court and liberty given to the judge, having heard all the evidence and all the circumstances, to impose the penalty that he thinks proper in the case. It is obvious that there must have been fairly good reasons for departing from that, as that departure has actually been made and it is not the custom. The next thing is to set up a special tribunal to deal with the mitigation of penalties, not necessarily a public court but somebody sitting in a judicial capacity who will hear all the evidence that is capable of being put forward by the Revenue Commissioners on the one hand and whatever evidence the person fined can put forward.

I do not know how far the present procedure actually approximates to that latter idea. Is there, in fact, some sort of tribunal that sits on these cases and considers, as a judicial tribunal should consider, what the amount of the remission should be, if any? It seems to me, at any rate, that the present system is particularly bad. There are opportunities of favouritism; there is danger of corruption and a number of other dangers that anybody can see. In any case, it is not right that the individual citizen should be left at the mercy of the Executive in a case like this. The functions of the judiciary, as I understand them, are to stand between the Executive on the one hand, who administer the law, and the individual citizen and protect him within the law against any unfair power that might be assumed by the Executive. Apart altogether from the dangers of corruption, you have not these safeguards here at all. Consequently, my opinion is that either you will have to go back definitely to the open court and leave it to the judge, having heard all the evidence that can be put forward by the Revenue Commissioners, to impose the penalty and sacrifice whatever there may be by having this high penalty, which is to be the minimum, or you will have to set up some independent tribunal to hear these cases of remission in private, and to decide in a judicial manner upon them. Perhaps the Minister would give us an indication of the present procedure.

An attempt is made to deal with them in as judicial a manner as possible. I have occasionally seen certain files in connection with them. Some person is deputed to examine the case and to make a submission, and either all the Revenue Commissioners or at least two of them sit and read the appeal and the case put in by the person; read any evidence that is available to them; read the submission that is made by the person who has more particularly considered it, and they come to a decision on that. Two or three things have to be taken into account: (1) You have to take into account the previous record and all that is known about the particular person—whether he is a hardened offender; whether he is a person whom they are always having difficulties with; whether he is a person who in fact has broken the law on many occasions but has not been caught. That will be one aspect. The other aspect is really the question of ability to pay. A penalty that might be very light on one particular person who is a wealthy bookmaker might be very heavy on a poor bookmaker, and there has to be an attempt made to meet the circumstances of a man who is poor. I have seen cases dealt with in the Department of Justice, as I once operated there for a short period during the illness of a Minister. Very much the same procedure is followed there, except that, instead of having two Commissioners, they have the Minister and the Secretary of the Department finally considering all the documents that may be brought up in connection with the matter. I assert that no abuses have occurred in connection with this matter, that the same procedure is being followed in connection with customs and many other things, and that this is all due to the extremely good propaganda carried on by a number of people who feel sore at being subjected to any penalties.

The existing Commissioners are the chief executive officers in charge of the collection of revenue. There are none of these set aside—independent, so to speak, of the Executive side—and sitting as Judicial Commissioners. The same Commissioners who are charged with the collection of the revenue are the people who will sit and decide on any question of remission. Is not that so? However well they may do it, is it not perfectly obvious that the protection ordinarily given to the citizen is not provided for here?

The protection ordinarily given to the citizen is given by the courts. If the citizen does not break the law he would not come before the Commissioners at all. He must have broken the law and must have been convicted before he comes before the Commissioners. I repeat, in spite of what Deputy Briscoe has said, that there was no such thing as bringing anybody forward for a technical offence unless so many technical offences have been committed as give very good ground for believing that the technical offence is a part of some sort of a regular campaign.

Will not the Minister admit that there is this difference between that system and the ordinary administration of the law in open court: that the judge is at liberty to impose ordinarily a generally suitable penalty for the offence having taken all the facts into account? In regard to the Department of Justice there would be relatively, I am sure, very few cases of remissions, whereas it is an every-day fact, and part of the general procedure of the Revenue Commissioners. I may be wrong about that, but it seems to me in the one case every one knows there are likely to be offences occurring which will lead to penalties being imposed that in fact the offender cannot pay, and that it is more or less part of the every-day procedure of the Revenue Commissioners that they deal with remissions. The occasional case that goes to the Department of Justice is not to be compared with that. Probably the existing machinery is good enough for the remissions of the ordinary course, but it is not good enough for the case of every-day affairs of the Revenue Commissioners. Whatever attitude the Minister may take up, upon this particular section I would suggest that he should carefully consider the possibility of having in addition to the ordinary Revenue Commissioners some sort of a court established of Commissioners to deal with the judicial side, meaning by that the question of the possibility of remission.

I want to contradict the Minister for Finance on one definite statement he has made. If he examined the circumstances I do not believe he would have made it. The Minister said first of all that every case was brought into court and that it is only after the court has inflicted the penalty that the question of mitigation starts. I say that is not true. The Commissioners have themselves imposed penalties when the defendant was never brought before the court.

There was a well-known case brought to the court, and for certain reasons the Commissioners compounded and obtained very substantial penalties of £9,000, but in that case they compounded on legal advice.

I am not talking of that case. I know of my own knowledge there have been cases where the Revenue Commissioners imposed penalties without bringing the defendants to court.

That is because the person himself chooses, as it is within his option. If he does not like to go to court, and have a conviction, there is power to compound with him.

I am glad to have that admission, because the Minister said there was no mitigation until after the defendant was brought to court.

The question of mitigation only arises when there has been a penalty.

Penalties have been imposed upon people not brought to court, and mitigations have subsequently followed.

The Minister will find I am correct. The Minister has on several occasions in this debate given the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners as to the bookmaking fraternity. He speaks of them as men likely to be engaged in defrauding the Revenue Commissioners because, prior to this Act, they were engaged in an illegal business and, therefore, they are always going to be practising illegality. I say that is one reason, if there was no other, why these men should be given a chance in a court of justice, for the judge or justice, having heard the facts of the case, to inflict a penalty and not to have it inflicted by a prejudiced body of Commissioners who believe that they are men engaged in illegality and who are out to defraud the Revenue.

I want to draw attention to the fact that the whole method of finding out evidence against these people is based on a principle that we all hoped had long since been disregarded, namely, the principle of felon-setting. He described how a man disguised as a corner-boy hangs round betting shops and gets into the good graces of betting men, and if they make a bet with him without putting it on the book he turns on them. The Minister should know in his own experience that in pre-truce days it was the bookmakers we went to to help us out of serious difficulties. They put their hand in their pockets and we did not ask them where they got the money, and he should not turn upon these men now and call them a bunch of rogues and thieves.

I did not say that at all.

The Minister called them rogues. The Minister is prejudiced against these men, and his Department is prejudiced against them, and it is nothing short of felon-setting to get his men to get friendly with these men and to go round the premises of these men, as they have done. It is like a man going to a publican for years and then getting the publican to give him one drink after hours and immediately reporting him to the authorities. It is the same means that are employed to get the bookmaker into trouble. The Minister has not given the House the true fact of how the Commissioners' men act with regard to these men. It is absurd to have minimum penalties of £125 when a man is likely to be fined on ten different counts, and when the justice knows that a man has not so many pence.

The Minister will not deny this: that in many cases men have submitted to certain penalties on agreement on the understanding that they would not be sued for other penalties, and these were wiped out. I am not out to aid the men who want to defraud the Revenue, but to see that the man who is entitled to justice should have it. Take a man at Fairyhouse Races, where there are big crowds and hundreds of people betting with him. He may make one or two slips, but because they occur twice the Commissioners say they are calculated offences. That man may have two thousand bets, and he may have made a slip in two cases, and I am not asking the House that this man should be let off, but I suggest that he should be given an opportunity of coming before a judge or justice to answer his case. Let the Revenue Commissioners come forward and state their facts. Let the defendant put his case and let the justice inflict his penalty. If he thinks it is below the penalty of £125 he should have the power to do so. In that way you would avoid all these appeals for mitigation of penalties. The Minister has not answered the main question. He did not give the particulars he cited the other day. Nor has he disputed the fact that what was very nearly corruption arises out of the very thing we are objecting to.

I have not any sympathy with the bookmakers. It is a long time since I made a bet, and I have not any personal contact with any of them. What we are concerned with is that we think the present procedure, apart from the Department of Finance and the general administration of the law, is very undesirable. Deputy O'Connell said that the Revenue Commissioners cannot be kept out of this. We agree. But we think that the Revenue Commissioners ought to come into it in open court. They have either to make a case for or against the remission of the penalties in open court before a justice. But if that would not meet with Deputy O'Connell's views, and if we were to consider the proposition he put before us to the effect that the Department of Justice was to be the remitting authority, it would certainly be better than the present situation, because we think that at least the Department of Justice, before it made any remission, would consult the Revenue Commissioners, and the Revenue Commissioners would have to take the responsibility of recommending the remission to another Department, or otherwise oppose that remission. They would probably have to give grounds upon which they would base their attitude. That is a safeguard which does not exist at the moment. There would be the certain safeguard that before any remission would be made two Departments would have to be involved. As the debate develops I can see that amendments 5 and 6 are really complements to amendment 4, and, though I did think otherwise, I can hardly think now that they could be discussed separately.

We say that in actual fact the minimum penalty for which the Minister is pleading in this House is really only a theoretical penalty and that it is very seldom imposed; even the mitigated penalty is very seldom made effective. We say that in the majority of cases a remission is made. In actual fact, the final adjudicating authority in this matter which determines the gravity of the offences of which a person has been convicated is not the judge who funds a person guilty, but the Revenue Commissioners, admittedly upon grounds which they themselves could not have produced and which could not have been accepted by the judge in open court. The House heard the Minister recount the extraordinary procedure which takes place. The Minister said that certain negotiations are entered into by the person involved or by his solicitor; that a remission is made, and that at least two of the Revenue Commissioners sit in private and these two ask the opinion of a third officer—very often the officer whose duty involves him in betting transactions with these people——

Can the Minister tell me what are the duties of the principal clerk of the Revenue Commissioners in relation to the Betting Act?

I decline to answer.

We have to make our case in the dark. Whatever reason seals the mouth of the Minister for Finance he will neither give us the truth nor the untruth in this matter.

The Deputy should be able to see that betting transactions are carried out by the outdoor staff.

And the indoor staff have no personal contact with the bookmakers?

I have not said that.

The Minister has not said that. We, however, are contending that they have, and their contact is so intimate that we submit it is unsafe that the question of the remission of penalties should depend upon the word of an officer who may himself be involved with the very bookmaker whose case is the subject of consideration. That is a danger we are striving to overcome. I was discussing the procedure for the mitigation of penalties. Is not that procedure one that could be better carried out in the light of day? Would it not afford additional protection both to the people engaged in betting, the general public, the bookmakers and the Revenue Commissioners? Would it not be much better if this thing were threshed out in the open court, if the judge fixes the penalty and if the mitigation of that penalty is left to the Department of Justice?

The Minister says that one of the reasons for the retention of this is that very often the question of remission depends upon whether the Revenue Commissioners think a person is guilty of other offences. The final factor in determining the real penalty in this matter, the amount which the Revenue Commissioners are ultimately going to accept in discharge of the offence, is determined entirely by the suspicions of the Revenue Commissioners—by that and nothing more. That is one of the reasons which the Minister adduces to this House for continuing this procedure, and men will be punished not upon evidence but upon suspicion.

I think we have said enough in this matter to convince the House that the whole of this procedure is dangerous and some further consideration should be given to it. The excise penalty originated in circumstances which do not exist to-day. The Minister tried to establish an analogy between the position of the officers administering the Betting Act and the Customs officers who have to deal with smuggling. The position is altogether different. The officers administering the Betting Act come daily in contact with the bookmakers, some in the discharge of their duties and others, many of them, come into contact with the bookmakers simply because they happen to be of a sporting frame of mind and they may indulge in betting. The bookmaker is in a position to offer very substantial advantages to officers of the Revenue Department, advantages which a person smuggling a watch over the Border is not in a position, and would not dare, to offer. It is because these dangers lurk in the Bill that we are anxious to see that everything will be carried out in the light of day, in the open court, and will have to stand the verdict of public opinion. I think the matter is very serious, and before our amendment is rejected those who are inclined to vote against it should very seriously consider the alternative, a continuance of the present position.

Question—"That the words `an excise penalty' stand"—put.

The Committee divided: Tá, 72; Níl, 38.

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Broderick, Henry.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Clancy, Patrick.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Colohan, Hugh.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Dwyer, James.
  • Egan, Barry M.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Kelly, Patrick Michael.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Leonard, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • MacEóin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas J.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • White, John.
  • White, Vincent Joseph.
  • Wolfe, George.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Níl

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • French, Seán.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Duggan and P. S. Doyle; Níl, Deputies Boland and Allen.
Question declared carried.

Does the Deputy accept that decision as covering the other two amendments?

The Minister said that in the case of one of them he was prepared to consider the matter.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the Chair.

As I told Deputy Wolfe, I intend to introduce a Bill dealing with Excise penalties for the purpose of bringing the law into relationship with the English law by limiting the time. That, however, does not arise at the moment.

The Minister indicated that he might possibly waive the question of Excise penalties in relation to one section.

I think that there are one or two sections in the Bill where I might waive the question of the penalty, but not on this particular section.

No, not on this one. If the Minister indicated the sections we need not move amendments. He might possibly do so when we come to the question again.

Amendments 5 and 6 not moved.
Question—"That Section 2 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
SECTION 3.

I move:

Before Section 3 to insert a new section as follows:—

"In all places, other than a registered premises, e.g., racecourses, sports field or anywhere where bookmaking is permitted, it shall not be lawful for any person to accept or solicit wagers except he be the holder of a bookmaker's licence in his own behalf."

I do not think that the Minister will take the same objection to this amendment as to the previous one. Perhaps he would indicate whether he accepts it.

That point, I think, is covered already in Section 26 (2) of the Bill.

Is the Minister satisfied that that point is covered, and that the object of the amendment, if not put in the Bill, will be carried out, namely, that nobody other than a bookmaker carrying a bookmaker's licence on his own behalf will be allowed to act in outside places?

Very well, if the Minister is satisfied on that point, I withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question—"That Section 3 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.

Amendments Nos.8, 9 and 10 depend on the next amendment, No. 7.

SECTION 4 (1).

Any person (other than a body corporate or an unincorporated body of persons) who is ordinarily resident in Saorstát Eireann and desires to obtain a bookmaker's licence may, after publishing the notice hereinafter mentioned, apply in accordance with this section to the superintendent of the Gárda Síochána for the district in which he has or proposes to have an office registered under this Act or, if he has not and does not propose to have any such office, to the superintendent of the Gárda Síochána for the district in which he ordinarily resides for a certificate (in this Act referred to as a certificate of personal fitness) that he is a fit and proper person to hold a bookmaker's licence.

I move the following amendment:—

In sub-section (1), lines 19 and 22, to delete the words "superintendent of the Gárda Síochána," and substitute the words "District Justice" in each line.

This section deals with the certificate of the fitness of the person who is about to make application for a licence. The principle involved is really the same as that which was involved in the other amendment. If you examine the nature of the work of the superintendent of the Guards in this direction you will see that he has really to act as a judge. The Bill is quite explicit on the point, because when we come to sub-section (4) we see that the superintendent is to act in his discretion and shall decide the matter in his discretion. Those words are unusual, but whoever is the person to grant the certificate of fitness he must exercise an unusual amount of discretion, because, if you turn to the grounds upon which a certificate of fitness may be refused in a further section, you will find that one of them is "general character and known habits." That is a very vague and rather unsatisfactory limitation, but there does not seem to be any other way of dealing with it than to leave it to the discretion of someone acting in a judicial capacity. Another ground is "financial circumstances," but there again the exercise of a considerable amount of discretion is required, because it does not mean merely that a man may have a bank balance or not be bankrupt, but rather that he is in good credit. That is a matter that should be decided by some authority who constitutionally should have powers to act as a judge. Another ground of objection to the granting of a certificate is that the applicant has been carrying on business in a disorderly way or has caused loitering. That is a matter which a judge can decide. I would remind the Minister that this is very much on all fours with the case of the Master of the Court, which caused a great deal of difficulty to the Dáil owing to a decision of the courts, to the effect that the Master could not act, as previously, in a judicial capacity. Apart from the argument bearing on the constitutional point, it is also objectionable that a superintendent of the Guards should be a person to decide the question of fitness, because he is the person who has to carry out and administer the law in regard to the applicant afterwards from year to year when making his application. It places the police in a position in which they can bully people and in which they may be open to acting in an irregular manner.

Anyone who imagines that the law relating to bookmakers has been carried out in a perfectly regular manner in the past is not aware of the facts because, before this law was passed, it was known that the police winked at the practice of bookmaking. It was well known that superintendents of the police arranged amongst themselves as to how many raids they would have and how many fines they would secure. The particular bookmakers who were going to be raided were told beforehand about it, and the raid was carried out in a most polite manner. On some occasions when the magistrate imposed a fine much heavier than that which was usually imposed as a matter of practice, no one was more discomfited and amazed than the superintendents of the old police. In another case where an over zealous policeman managed to get the warrants before the superintendent, the usual practice was upset because one of the superintendents had more penalties imposed in his district than the superintendents in other districts. It is more or less inevitable that a practice of that kind arises from time to time in dealing with bookmakers. It is wrong, in my opinion, that the police, while administering the law, should be put in the position of acting as judges in regard to persons applying for a certificate of fitness of character.

Deputy Little is rather prone to raise far-fetched constitutional points. It seems to me that if the amendment is carried it will give a little extra work to the solicitor profession, but I do not see what other good it will do. What will happen is that instead of making application to a police superintendent the applicant will apply to the District Justice, and, if he is refused a certificate, he will then appeal to the Circuit Judge. It seems to me that the present machinery imposes no undue burden, and it gives no opportunity to the police of bullying. Everyone knows that the District Justice will not be afraid, if he thinks that a superintendent has done wrong. to reverse him and to grant a certificate if he thinks that the superintendent has refused the certificate on unsatisfactory grounds. I think that the real objection to the amendment is that it throws an unnecessary expense on a certain section of the public. I do not see any reason why they should have that expense thrown on them unless there are really good grounds for it. I do not regard the Deputy's far-fetched constitutional points as counting for anything.

Does the Minister think that these applications will be so numerous as to warrant extravagant expense on the community? Surely there will not be one thousand applications on any day.

Is the Minister going to use that as an argument against the amendment? Surely he can give us some figures as to how many applications would probably be made in a year. I do not suppose that it would go over hundreds. If the Minister has any further reason for objecting to the amendment I would like to hear more about it.

I would not like to accept the suggestion of Deputy Little that everybody in the service of the State who acts in a judicial way, except a judge, is really violating the Constitution. That would appear to be the conclusion to be drawn from Deputy Little's argument, but it would make administration impossible. Every executive officer and every higher administrative officer in the Service acts in a judicial capacity in one form or another every day. Lawyers may attach a special meaning which the ordinary man does not attach to the word "judicial" or to the exercising of judicial functions in ordinary administration. Surely Deputy Little knows that the higher officers in the various Departments must exercise these functions every day in making decisions as to what should be done in this, that and the other case. I think if you were to follow that argument to its logical conclusion you would have to take a great many other powers out of the hands of the superintendent of the Guards. Is the superintendent of the Guards who makes up his mind to oppose, say, the granting of a licence to a club or to an ordinary publican acting in a judicial capacity, or if he makes up his mind that he will not oppose it, is he acting in a judicial capacity?

I take it that if there is a question of the granting of a licence to a club or to an ordinary publican to be decided the police will decide whether or not they will oppose the application. In doing that the superintendent of the police for that particular purpose is acting in a judicial capacity. The same argument applies in the case of a gun licence. A man will apply for a gun licence and the superintendent may say: "This is not a proper person to have a gun licence." Of course, he has another remedy if he has a right to carry a gun, just the same as the bookmaker has in this case, but we would be going very far indeed if we accepted the suggestion of Deputy Little that all officers exercising a judicial capacity should be judges and only judges. I think it would make administration impossible if that were so.

I would like to point out that there is a considerable volume of opinion in favour of the amendment and that a considerable number of witnesses who appeared before the Joint Committee on the Betting Act were in favour of the procedure outlined in the amendment. It is not an extraordinary procedure at all. The same procedure is adopted in relation to publicans' licences and also in the case of licences for dance halls. My impression is that even the bookmakers themselves are not opposed to the procedure contemplated by Deputy Little's amendment. I have not heard anything justifying the new procedure first established under the Act of 1926, which I do not think is giving satisfaction to the bookmakers or to a number of the general public. Why should the procedure be different in this case from that which appertains to liquor licences and dance hall licences? That is the case which the Minister has to meet. That is, can he justify the departure which was made in the 1926 Act from the procedure then in force in relation to similar things? I do not know that there is the same feeling in regard to this amendment as we had in regard to the excise penalties, but there is too much of the Star Chamber procedure altogether. It would be much better that they should be held in open court, because, first of all, it would attract more public attention from the point of view of preserving the character of the applicant. It would be much better that bookmakers' associations themselves might have an opportunity of stating in open court the objections which they might possibly have to an applicant getting a licence and that others who might know something about a man's personal character might have an opportunity of appearing there. It is an extraordinary thing, one of the things which struck me in the evidence heard by the Joint Committee on the Betting Act, that while responsible people were quite prepared to go into open court and state generally their objections to an applicant getting a licence, they very much disliked the idea of writing a letter which would possibly be a privileged or confidential communication to a superintendent of the Civic Guards making these objections. They felt it carried with it the suggestion that they were acting as informers. The Minister says "No," but I was on the Committee, and every witness, that is, those who might be taken as representing general public opinion, was strongly of opinion that it would be much better if these applications were made before the District Justice, and if he had discretion to grant or refuse licences, rather than the superintendent of the Gárda Síochána.

There is no parallel to the certificate of personal fitness and the present machinery seems to me to be quite satisfactory. I do not pay any great attention to the statement that people would come into open court and would not lodge objections with the superintendent. Persons who have experience of the work of administration do not find that there are people who will rush into open court in that way. The amendment would simply throw business on the District Court when there is no need for it, business which is not of a character for the District Court. It would also throw business on the Circuit Court which should not go there. It is a minor type of business and I really do not see any reason why the superintendent of the Civic Guards should not have this power. I do not see why the procedure should be changed unless there is some good reason for it.

The way in which an unfair influence is brought to bear by having this power in the hands of the superintendent of the Gárda is this: A man makes an application for a licence and the superintendent refuses. He then goes to the District Court and gets the superintendent's refusal reversed and starts to conduct his business. An unfair discrimination is made against that man afterwards in the carrying out of the law. He may be raided. We have had examples of people being raided for certain offences while other people guilty of the same offences were not interfered with. It prejudices that particular applicant in the eyes of the superintendent that he has succeeded in reversing the superintendent's refusal on going to the District Justice. The object of the amendment is to make the law analogous to that in the case of applications for liquor licences or dancing licences. That is, it is made a matter of judicial decision. In answer to Deputy O'Connell, I would like to point out that the making of a decision is not necessarily a judicial decision. If a superintendent decides to oppose an application for a liquor or dancing licence in court the fate of that application will be decided by a Justice after he has heard all sides of the case. He has authority to make a final decision between the parties. That is very different from the decisions made by an officer when he is making up his mind to take a particular line of action. In this case the District Justice hears all the evidence and he comes to a judicial decision as between the parties. I do not want to do anything that is not done in principle already under the liquor or dancing laws.

I think that Deputy Little's fears as to the position in which a superintendent of the Gárda Síochána would be placed in connection with these matters are unfounded, because if the amendment were carried, presumably in the ordinary way some person must be in the position of opposing the application of a person who is unsuitable to obtain either a certificate of personal fitness or a certificate of suitability of premises as the case may be. The person who, in the ordinary course, would be placed in the position of having to oppose an application if, in the first instance, it was brought before a Justice of the District Court, would be the superintendent of the Gárda Síochána, so that if we say that the application were brought before the Justice and he refused to uphold the opposition offered by the superintendent, and that an appeal were brought to the Circuit Court from the decision of the District Justice, the very same results would flow as, the Deputy fears, flow from the present procedure. The present procedure, so far as I have had experience of it, works extremely well. In any case, where a superintendent of the Gárda Síochána saw fit to refuse a certificate of personal fitness the person aggrieved had the right to go before a Justice of the District Court. His doing so did not really bring an end to his remedies in the matter, because if the Justice saw fit, and if any question of law is involved, he has the power, a power which has been resorted to in the past, to state a case for the decision of the High Court on a question of law and fact.

Question put: That the words proposed to be deleted stand part of the Bill.
The Committee divided; Tá, 69; Níl, 38.

  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Broderick, Henry.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Clancy, Patrick.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Colohan, Hugh.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Dwyer, James.
  • Egan, Barry M.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
  • Everett, James.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Kelly, Patrick Michael.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • MacEóin, Seán.
  • MacFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • White, John.
  • Wolfe, George.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Níl

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • French, Seán.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle; Níl, Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Motion declared carried.
Section 4 agreed to.
SECTION 5.
(1) Any person (other than a body corporate or an unincorporated body of persons) who is ordinarily resident outside Saorstát Eireann and desires to obtain a bookmaker's licence may, after publishing the notice hereinafter mentioned, apply in the prescribed manner and form to the Minister for Justice for a certificate (included in the references in this Act to a certificate of personal fitness) that he is a fit and proper person to hold a bookmaker's licence.

I move:—

In sub-section (1), line 48, after the word "resident" to insert the words "in Ireland but."

This amendment enables a certificate of personal fitness to be issued to a person who is resident outside Saorstát Eireann. The amendment is to this effect, that the certificate might be issued to a person who is outside Saorstát Eireann but who is a resident in Ireland. In other words, I think it would meet the Minister's real object, which is to provide for certain cases of persons living in the Six Counties who come in from time to time and act as bookmakers at race meetings. It does not deal with premises, but with persons who go on the course. I think it would cover all the cases that the Minister wants to deal with, and, at the same time, prevent the objectionable practice arising of bookmakers coming from across the water to get licences to go on racecourses in Ireland. I would like to know if the Minister is willing to accept our amendment.

There is not a great deal in it. In the past a certain number of English bookmakers of good standing came over, and I have been led to understand that their exclusion was a definite loss to the ring, as it is called here. Moreover, there is this position, that Irish bookmakers can and do bet in Great Britain. I do not think, if we pass Deputy Little's amendment, that they would be excluded, or that any steps would be taken to exclude them. Nevertheless, I cannot see any objection to allowing reputable English bookmakers come in here under present circumstances, and consequently I think it would be better to let the section stand. It is true that we are mostly aiming at admitting certain Northern Ireland bookmakers. I do not see any good reason for confining it to them.

I would like to know from Deputy Little, who is so keen on constitutional matters, whether he has adverted to the fact that it is inadvisable, to say the least, to set out in a Bill that the Six Counties are not part of Saorstát Eireann.

I have not set that out.

Mr. O'Connell

It will be set out if your amendment is carried. There are people who hold that Saorstát Eireann is not Ireland.

Does the Deputy contend that the Six Counties are inside the jurisdiction of Saorstát Eireann?

Mr. O'Connell

No.

If he does I am quite satisfied. Until that time comes we have, unfortunately, to make a distinction.

Is the Minister satisfied that the section as it stands will permit the coming in of a desirable type of bookmaker, if there is such a thing, in the Minister's view? Will it also permit an undesirable type to come in?

It will not permit the undesirable type.

How will it keep them out?

They will not get licences.

How will the application be made?

We will see to that.

I would like to point out that this is a new clause. It was not in the old Act. Under the old Act they were all excluded. We are doing no one a great injury.

That was owing to inadvertence. There was no intention to exclude them. An amendment was carried in the Seanad, and the proposer did not intend to exclude them. It was carried against my wishes. The Bill contained a provision that no one intended it should contain.

The present position is that for four years they have been excluded, and no great damage or injury has been done by continuing to exclude them. I do not see why we should legislate for people who are not resident in, or who have not a domicile of any sort in this country. It is rather against national principles.

Would the Minister tell the House how many people not resident in Ireland would be affected if Deputy Little's amendment were carried? I prefer the old name of Ireland, and the old Irish race, to the new nationality of Saorstát Eireann which Deputy O'Connell proposes to erect.

A very small number. I could not say how many.

Bookmakers come in here, make a book and get away without paying those who bet with them It has occurred in many cases. Quite recently we have had cases of that.

I do not believe it happened recently. If it did he came in as an unlicensed bookmaker.

He will come in as a licensed one now.

I do not think so.

What do the Gárda Síochána know about foreigners? How would they make an investigation?

If they do not know anything and cannot learn anything, they cannot certify that he is fit.

Perhaps if I do not move the amendment now the Minister may consider the matter and give me an opportunity on the Report Stage.

I would not like the Deputy to think that I would come to his point of view. However, I do not think the matter is very important, but still, as I say, a certain number of good bookmakers do come in from the other side.

Good, kind bookmakers.

No; but shall we say financially strong, bookmakers who could pay up when they were due to pay? There does not seem any reason why they should be excluded. As a matter of fact, Saorstát bookmakers are allowed to go and do go to racecourses in England, and there is no attempt to exclude them. The whole exclusion was a mere accident and not contemplated by anyone before.

I would prefer to withdraw the amendment now with power later on to move it on the Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 12:—

In sub-section (1), line 51, to delete the words "Minister for Justice" and substitute the words "District Justice for the Dublin Metropolitan District," and in sub-section (3), line 62, to delete the words "the Minister for Justice may in his absolute" and substitute the words "the District Justice for the Dublin Metropolitan District may in his."

Now that the Minister has taken up the attitude he has about No. 11 I think it is all the more reason why the question of deciding the character of this person should be done publicly and by a judge, because it should not be in the hands of a Minister. If some extremely influential person comes to the Minister for this licence, or this certificate, he is always open to the charge of political influence, and it is a very serious matter to leave in the hands of the Minister. It is really a matter which should be decided by some authority publicly and in a judicial capacity as to whether this person coming into Saorstát Eireann should be entitled to such a certificate. It is really more serious than the last amendment, and I will move it. I think the Minister should consider carefully the accepting of it and allowing this matter to be decided by the District Justice of the Dublin Metropolitan District rather than by the Minister.

I think this is a kind of case most unsuitable to be dealt with by the District Justice of the Dublin Metropolitan District. Of course a man might not have any intention of carrying on any business in the Dublin metropolitan district. I cannot see any reason then in dealing with a foreigner who is being given a privilege subject to his complying with certain conditions. It is really more satisfactory to have that dealt with administratively than by some form of judicial procedure. I can imagine cases where it might be difficult to have any idea in advance of what line the courts might take. The court might take the line if something could not be proved against a man that he ought to get it. To be dealt with administratively only people of high standing would be admitted. If you left it to the court you might either have the Justice taking the view that he would demand certain proofs which would be impossible to give, or he might admit everybody. Everything would depend on his particular view of the matter.

I think because we cannot really control these in the precise way we can control people resident here that the matter should be dealt with by the Department of Justice along certain lines which, when the matter comes to be worked out, can be explained to the Dáil if necessary, or embodied in some sort of document, but I think it should be possible to keep the things tighter by dealing with them administratively.

I fail to see the Minister's point of view in this matter, because, first of all, there may be a considerable number of bookmakers with whom these people would be competing for business who may object to their getting a certificate. They may possibly, on publication of the notice provided for under sub-section (2), give notice to the Minister that they object to the application being granted, and nevertheless they are not able to substantiate that objection before any tribunal. If the Minister overrides their objection they are not able to carry the matter further. The final decision rests with him, and he makes that decision in secret. That is, I think, a very objectionable feature. After all, a number of people may apply for these licences which may be granted to them. They are all resident outside this country. I am speaking entirely impersonally in the matter. We may know nothing about them. They may be objectionable people to whom attention would be directed if they had to make application in open court.

They have to give notice.

We know the manner in which these notices are published, and very few people advert to them. I wonder how many people read the notices which a bookmaker publishes when he is applying for a licence. Fewer people even would take notice than in these cases of people who are living in their own locality and with whom they were acquainted. I think the procedure should not be purely administrative, but that application should be made in the court and that an opportunity should be afforded to people who might object to come into open court and prove their objection and have the case decided there once for all. After all, once these licences are granted they are to remain valid until they are removed for some offence under the Act. Therefore, since the number of applications necessarily are going to be small, since they are only to be made once, it would not cause an undue burden on the court to sit and hear applications of this kind and adjudicate upon them.

The Minister does not even specify in the section that the applicant must be a licensed holder in his own country.

There might be no licence there.

We are not going to have any bookmakers from Russia. It is more than likely that the bulk of these people will be from across Channel or from the Six Counties, and nowhere else. They certainly have got to have licences in these places.

I think there are no licences in the Six Counties.

There are certainly licences in England. Even if the Minister stipulated that the man from across Channel must be already a licensed holder or that if he comes from a country where betting is licensed he must be a licensed holder, there would be something to be said for it. As Deputy MacEntee pointed out, these licences will hold good for twelve months unless the holder commits an offence that will deprive him of his licence. He can only be refused the renewal if he does not pay his debts. He may go a whole year without paying his debts, and the only remedy people have is that at the end of twelve months he will not get a renewal.

His licence may be revoked by order of the court.

His licence cannot be revoked for non-payment of bets. On the application for a renewal his licence can be refused if it can be proved that he has not paid his bets, but he is going to be allowed to hold his licence for twelve months, and the public have no remedy, not even in open court.

That is a matter, of course, that applies to any applicant. If it were thought necessary on further consideration to put in any special provisions relating to outside bookmakers that could be done. I am prepared to look into that.

Would the Minister allow this amendment to stand over?

I am against the amendment.

If the Minister would put in some further provision it might meet the purpose of the amendment.

Not on that point.

How does Deputy Little propose to deal with the man who comes into Cork or Galway?

If any man comes from across Channel it would be obvious that he would make his application in Dublin first. It is the most central position, and he would have greater information here about things of that sort.

I should like to have one point cleared up. There is a difference between a certificate of personal fitness and a licence. When a certificate of personal fitness is granted the applicant has not to renew it every year.

He has to apply again.

I was not quite sure about that. I thought that once his certificate was granted he got his licence from the Revenue Commissioners every year until they had grounds for refusing a licence.

It may be possible that such a person would be allowed to carry on his betting here on certified returns. How will the Minister be able to deal with him if he commits an offence and goes abroad? The Revenue Commissioners cannot look him up if he is across Channel. In the interests of getting the most desirable class of bookmaker there should be proper and rigid control; at least we should have some assurance that the man is a bookmaker by profession on the other side. That should be stipulated in the Bill. Secondly, there should be some special regulations dealing with him, because he might defraud the public and also the Revenue Commissioners.

I am afraid we are travelling from the amendment.

The whole thing is brought up when you are bringing in licensed holders who are non-residents of the Saorstát. The whole Bill deals with penalties for various offences. None of these offences can be dealt with when a person is non-resident here unless you catch him when he is here.

That is the way to do it.

Mr. O'Connell

This point does not arise on the amendment.

No. I am just pointing out to the Deputy that he has been getting away from the amendment.

Mr. O'Connell

It certainly arises on this section. Deputy Little proposes one way of dealing with these foreign bookmakers which makes it more difficult for them in his opinion.

It might make it more easy for them.

Mr. O'Connell

In his opinion. I would suggest that the Minister ought to look into the matter to see that the regulations with regard to the foreign bookmakers would be very much more stringent than in the case of people at home, because if they do commit an offence undoubtedly it would be more difficult to get at them.

I agree with that. I agree that there is matter for consideration there, as to what regulations should be put in for the protection of the public and for the more speedy ending of his career as a bookmaker here.

I understand that foreign bookmakers have already been effectively dealt with without any legislation. I have been told that for a rather long time after the war foreign bookmakers were reaping a rich harvest, but that by some accident they received a lot of bad money. They paid out this bad money, and since then foreign bookmakers are as rare as the dodo.

I do not think it is clear in the Act that the licence has to be renewed at the end of the year.

The licence expires, and the bookmaker has to present a new certificate to get a licence.

Then it is by implication. It must be in some Finance Act.

That is the way it operates.

Mr. O'Connell

Must he get a new certificate?

It is merely by implication. I think that is unsatisfactory.

I will look into that, too.

Question put: That the words proposed to be deleted stand.
The Committee divided: Tá, 73; Níl, 37.

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Broderick, Henry.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Clancy, Patrick.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Colohan, Hugh.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Craig, Sir James.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Dwyer, James.
  • Egan, Barry M.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Henry Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Kelly, Patrick Michael.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • MacEóin, Seán.
  • MacFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan. John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick,
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • White, John.
  • White, Vincent Joseph.
  • Wolfe, George.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Níl

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • French, Seán.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent. William R.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle; Níl, Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Question declared carried.
Section ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 6.
A superintendent of the Gárda Síochána may refuse an application for a certificate of personal fitness on any one or more of the following grounds and on no other ground whatsoever, that is to say:—
(a) that at the time of the application for the certificate arrears of any duty for the time being payable on or in respect of bets are due and owing by the applicant;
(b) that the applicant had been previously convicted of a crime or of an offence under this Act or under the Betting Act, 1926, or of an offence in relation to the duty on bets or has since the commencement of the Betting Act, 1926, been convicted of an offence under any Act relating to gaming or gaming houses;
(c) that a bookmaker's licence held by the applicant under this Act or the Betting Act, 1926, was revoked;
(d) that a previous refusal by a superintendent of the Gárda Síochána to give a certificate of personal fitness under this Act or under the Betting Act, 1926, had been confirmed on appeal to the District Court;
(e) that the applicant is by reason of his general character or his known habits not a fit person to hold a bookmaker's licence;
(f) that the financial circumstances of the applicant are not such as to render him a fit person to hold a bookmaker's licence;
(g) in the case of an applicant who had previously held a bookmaker's licence under this Act or the Betting Act, 1926, that he had without reasonable cause failed or refused to pay sums payable to persons who had won bets made with him;
(h) that the applicant had ordinarily resided in Saorstát Eireann for less than twelve months before making the application;
(i) that, in the case of an applicant who previously held a bookmaker's licence under this Act or the Betting Act, 1926, the business of bookmaking had been conducted by him in a disorderly manner or in such a manner as to cause or encourage persons to congregate and oiter in or outside the premises where such business was conducted;
(j) that the applicant is acting as agent for a person whose application would be refused on one or other of the grounds set out in paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) of this section.

I move:—

In line 13, at the end of paragraph (b), to add the words "or been convicted of an offence under the Street Betting Act, 1906, or in relation to the advertisement of betting whether under the Betting Act, 1874, or the Betting and Loans (Infants) Act, 1892; or the Ready Money Football Betting Act, 1920."

I am anxious, by means of this amendment, to learn from the Minister what is the policy of the Bill with regard to advertisements. Certain sections of the Bill prevent a bookmaker from advertising on his premises or putting out anything which would be an attraction, or anything, I suppose, which would constitute an advertisement. It is very difficult, however, to know what is the policy of the Bill, because at the end the Bill repeals the Ready Money Football Betting Act, which is purely an advertising Act—an Act preventing the making of bets through advertisements or coupons. That Act has been ignored for some time. There has been a considerable amount of duty paid and recognised as payable upon transactions of this sort carried out upon coupons. There have been recognised abuses of the law in the past, and the law in this matter has been administered in a partial manner. Some people have been raided because they have a particular political point of view, while others were not interfered with. I should like to know the Minister's attitude generally with regard to allowing any sort of advertisement under the Bill, or whether the Bill deals with it in any way.

I would have no objection on the Report Stage to put in a slight modification of this amendment, providing that where there was more than one conviction under the Ready Money Football Betting Act that should be ground for objection. The reason I would like it altered in that way is because after the Betting Act was passed many bookmakers genuinely believed that all kinds of betting on football was legalised, and, in fact, so did certain people in official circles. It was only after the point had been raised that it was ascertained definitely that this particular Act was still in operation and that it was not legalised. The question of whether that Act should be retained in operation can be decided later on on this Bill. Meantime, if the principle of this amendment were to be adopted it should be adopted with some modification. I would be quite willing to put that in on the Report Stage, with the modification I suggest.

What about the Act of 1874, which is to be read as one with the Act of 1853? A good deal of the Act of 1853 is gone because, of course, the houses are now licensed. At the same time, the Act of 1874 prevents advertisements, and yet you do see occasionally bookmakers' advertisements.

I shall look into that, as I had not examined it.

With that assurance, I withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move:

To add to paragraph (e), line 22, the words—"and in the case of an application for a bookmaker's licence by a person, who has not previously held a licence, that such applicant has not furnished as a reference either the names of two house owners or that a recognised Bookmakers' Association has not vouched on his behalf."

I should like to know if the Minister has given any thought to what is underlying this amendment. I am anxious to be assured that where a man who has never held a licence before applies he cannot be judged on the basis underlying the whole of this Bill. I should like the Minister to consider that aspect of the question.

Of course, a person must first have the signature of two Peace Commissioners. Therefore there is no reason to add two householders to that. Then, as far as recognised bookmakers' associations are concerned, I do not know yet whether we wish to give any sort of statutory or official status to the bookmakers' associations. Generally I think this amendment is unnecessary, because at present a person must have the certificates of two Peace Commissioners.

My purpose was to make sure that if a person of some respectability applied he would not be turned down. If the Minister is satisfied with two Peace Commissioners that would meet the point. I am not anxious to press the point about the associations, except to say that now that betting has been legalised the bookmakers' associations are interested in seeing that the members will conform to the regulations and they would have some knowledge as to the fitness of applicants. While it may not be advisable from one point of view to recognise the associations as statutory bodies, the Minister might consider giving them some say in the matter of an application for a licence.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
[An Ceann Comhairle resumed the Chair.]

I move:—

In paragraph (i), line 38, before the word "cause" to insert the word "permit."

The object is to tighten up the clause a little so as to throw the onus of proof on the bookmaker that he has not permitted persons to congregate or loiter in or outside his premises.

The difficulty is that it would be very hard if we put in the word "permit" with reference to loitering outside the premises, because the bookmaker really would not have any power to prevent loitering outside. If he caused or encouraged persons to loiter outside, that is provided for in the section.

I see that difficulty, but would the Minister consider if the section was so worded as to permit to loiter in the premises or to cause to loiter in or outside the premises.

I shall look into that.

I take it the Minister is not against the principle?

Then it is a question of wording.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move:—

At the end of paragraph (j), line 44, to add the words "or for a person with no licence."

I think this fills a gap which requires to be filled up here. It really is to add at the end of sub-clause (j) if the applicant is acting as agent for a person whose application would be refused on several grounds set out in paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d), and to add as a further ground "or for a person with no licence."

Of course I believe under Section (e) that would be covered. If a person acted for a non-licensed bookmaker he would be objected to on the ground of (e), and that would be amply covered. Sub-section (j) is to cover a different class of case, where a person would not get a licence himself and puts up a dummy to get a licence but where he would be the real proprietor and perhaps nominally a clerk.

A man might get in for a year or two as a man of straw acting for somebody else outside unless you put in acting for a person without any licence.

I will see if there has been any case before, and whether it has been dealt with efficiently under sub-section (e).

I think the Commissioners will have knowledge of bookmakers refused on the proper ground, a renewal of their licences then proceeding to get an unknown person to apply for a bookmaker's licence whom they would finance.

It is the object of sub-section (j) to prevent such persons getting a licence.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move:

To add at the end of the section a new paragraph as follows: "that the applicant is the holder of a pawn office licence or a moneylender's licence."

Is the Minister accepting this amendment?

I think it would be quite unfair to penalise a citizen, and that because he is of another business he must be prevented from becoming a licensed bookmaker. We have a number of people in one business carrying on another business. I do not think that such a penalty should be put upon a decent citizen simply because he is in another form of business. If the Dáil accepts that principle it will have eventually to cover a great deal more ground and to rope in a number of other people who have licences and who at the same time carry on other business in a proper manner. I do not think the Minister should accept that amendment.

Deputy Little has not spoken on this, and I do not know what his views are, but what appealed to me was this: If you have licensed moneylenders also carrying on betting business it might occur that they would encourage persons to go into debt for the purpose of betting, and you might have people going a good deal further in the way of getting themselves into financial difficulties than they would if they were not dealing with people in a double business. If there was any great objection by the House to it I would not stand over it.

I think there is a very strong case as the Minister has put it. You come across a case where money has been lent particularly for the purposes of betting. It is the worst type of moneylending. This applies to the other cases also.

I submit that Section 6 would cover that particular type of person. We have a number of people carrying on business as pawnbrokers at the moment and these are licensed bookmakers. They are quite reputable people.

I do not know whether there is anybody, but there is always something to be said for exempting people who are existing licence holders. If the existing licence holders were people against whom there was nothing I would not see any objection to allowing them to continue to be eligible for the present. I do not see any objection to meeting the Deputy in that way.

I will accept the Minister's alteration of the amendment.

On the Report Stage I will bring in an amendment to meet this.

Amendment 18, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 6, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 7.
(4) Every bookmaker's licence shall be in the prescribed form and shall state the name of the person to whom it is issued and shall have affixed thereto by adhesion the photograph of such person required by this section to be sent by him with the application for such licence, and shall operate and be expressed to authorise such person to act and carry on business as a bookmaker during the period commencing on the date specified therein (which shall be the date specified in that behalf in the application for such licence) and ending at midnight on the next following 30th day of November, but subject and without prejudice to all restrictions and prohibitions for the time being imposed by law in respect of the places in which the business of bookmaking may be carried on.

I move amendment 19:—

In sub-section (4), line 64, after the word "name" to insert the words "and place of residence."

This is simply in reference to the issue of a bookmaker's licence to include as well as name, place of residence.

There is no objection. That is already provided for in the regulations made under the Act.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 7, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 8.

I move:

To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:

"The Revenue Commissioners shall forward a copy of such relevant portions of the register to the Clerk of the proper District Court within a reasonable time from the commencement of this Act, and shall from time to time forward a copy of all entries and alterations in such Register to the said District Clerk."

This is to secure that the District Court Clerk would have the register in the court for reference whenever a case would come before the District Court.

I had an idea that it arose out of certain other amendments that were rejected by the House.

No, because if the other amendments had been carried, the District Court records would then show everything as to the people who would have got certificates. This is a case where the matter is in the hands of the Superintendent of the Gárda and where it is necessary for the Gárda to have in their possession a copy of the register proper to the area.

Perhaps I misunderstood the purpose of the amendment. I would like to look at that again to see if there is a necessity for it. No representations have been made to me that there was a necessity for it.

I will leave it over for consideration.

Mr. Sheehy (West Cork):

It would be a great relief to Deputy Little if he lived down in Skibbereen. If he lived along with me in Skibbereen he would have no such thing as a betting shop at all. He would be relieved of a great deal of annoyance.

Quite right. I wish I did.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 8 and 9 agreed to.
SECTION 10.
(1) Any person desiring to register or renew the registration of any premises of which he is the proprietor in the register or bookmaking offices may, after publishing the notice hereinafter mentioned, apply in accordance with this section to the superintendent of the Gárda Síochána for the district in which such premises are situate for a certificate (in this Act referred to as a certificate of suitability of premises) that such premises are suitable for registration in the register of bookmaking offices.
(4) A superintendent of the Gárda Síochána to whom an application for a certificate of suitability of premises is duly made under this section shall, if he is satisfied that the applicant is either a licensed bookmaker or the holder of a certificate of personal fitness issued after or not more than seven days before the date of the application, do one or other as he in his discretion shall think proper of the following things within fourteen days after the receipt by him of such application, that is to say, either give to the applicant a certificate in the prescribed form that the premises the subject of the application are suitable for registration in the register of bookmaking offices or on any one or more of the grounds hereinafter authorised refuse to give such certificate.

I move amendment 21:—

In sub-section (1), lines 37-38, to delete the words "superintendent of the Gárda Síochána" and substitute the words "District Justice."

This is similar in principle to amendment 7.

It is similar, but it applies to the suitability of the premises, and the arguments which I offered before hold good now. The Minister seems to be adamant on the question, and it appears that we will have to leave what a distinguished member on the other side of the House has called "a barbarous antiquity" to continue. I am moving the amendment.

This procedure does not give the person who objects to the issuing of the certificate a right to appeal against the decision of the Gárda. I think it is just as important that he should have the right to appeal as that the applicant should.

I think this whole matter of the premises will have to be further considered. One of the things we were most anxious to do was to prevent the position arising where value would attach to the premises by reason of having a betting licence attached to them. If you want to deal with a house having a licence for the sale of liquor one knows how difficult it is to get a conviction for an offence, because it is said that you are destroying property. When we first brought in the licensing of betting houses we did not know whether this would be allowed permanently. We thought we might have to abolish licences. We do not want property to rise in connection with betting licences, and I want nothing to be done now which would seem to equate the premises licensed for betting with premises licensed for the sale of liquor, or to do anything that would give an idea that there was a property in bookmakers' licences. One of the ways in which we could keep down the number of shops is to have some increase on a graduated scale of tax. There are districts in which there are too many betting houses. That would be the better way to keep down the number. I would not like to deal with the problem of keeping down the number by treating it in the same way as ordinary licensed premises.

The Bill in another part meets this difficulty, because it extinguishes licences of bookmakers when anything happens to the person. When a person parts with the premises the licence is extinguished and any other person who comes along must get a fresh licence, so that in that way the value attaches not to the premises but to the person.

Yes. I want to maintain that as well as I can.

What about the question of allowing an objector to appeal?

There, again, I would not like the position as to property to arise in one district where there are normal numbers and in another district where they are abnormally few. I am inclined to think that this matter will have to be dealt with along the line of some graduated house tax.

Amendment 21 put and declared lost.
Amendment 22 not moved.
Section 10 agreed to.
SECTION 11.
(e) that the premises communicate internally with other premises;
(f) that the premises had previously been registered in the register of bookmaking offices kept under this Act or under the Betting Act, 1926, and had been removed from that register pursuant to an order of the court;
(i) if the premises are or had been previously registered in the register of bookmaking offices kept under this Act, or under the Betting Act, 1926, that at some time while the applicant was the registered proprietor thereof the business of bookmaking had been conducted therein in a disorderly manner or in such manner as to cause or encourage persons to congregate and loiter in or outside the premises;
(1) when the application is in respect of the premises which did not before the 28th day of July, 1926, form part of premises licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquor, that the applicant is the holder of a licence for the sale of intoxicating liquor.

I move amendment 23:

At the end of paragraph (e), line 16, to add the words "or with any residence."

I would like to know whether the Minister thinks this is necessary or not. We want to prevent the premises connecting internally. What is meant is that the shop should be structurally separate from the residence to prevent the younger members of the family from having to pass through the shop in order to go to the residence part. That would be an easy thing to do, and it would prevent people escaping in the event of a raid on the premises. It would be better that the betting premises would be entirely self-contained and that it would not be possible for people to abscond by the back door with papers which the police may be looking for.

If the Deputy would leave that over to the Report Stage I would look into the matter.

Amendment 23, by leave, withdrawn.

I beg to move amendment 24:—

Before paragraph (f) to insert a new paragraph as follows:

"that the annual rateable value where the premises are situated within the Dublin Metropolitan District is less than £15, or where the premises are situated elsewhere than within the Dublin Metropolitan District is less than £5."

This amendment goes with the section relating to the annual valuation. This supplies the machinery for getting the shop valued separately from the rest of the premises. Its real aim is to try to prevent sheds and undesirable places in an unsanitary condition in slum areas—premises which are of no valuation—from being used for the purpose of betting shops. It would be to the detriment of the health of people going there, and this amendment will help to raise the status of the business as far as it is possible to do so. I have fixed on a valuation of £15 because I find on looking up valuations in different streets— I do not mean the main traffic streets or other places where the valuation is high—that £15 would be about the average valuation. I rather think that £5 is high for a country town, and perhaps £3 would be sufficient there. I suggest that this would have a very good effect and would ensure that the premises would be in a good condition and that the business would be carried on in a reputable manner. I think that would be the result if some such standard of valuation as I suggest were fixed.

I would not see very much objection to this proposal if we could find a suitable level. I would not be prepared to say that the level the Deputy suggests is right. The whole thing is being tightened up. I do not know whether this is necessary, but it is one of the matters which I am looking into. I would not be prepared to accept the amendment. I would rather if the Deputy left it over.

Perhaps Deputy Little would be prepared to go a little further. The Deputy knows as well as I do that it was the declared opinion of the majority of those on the Betting Committee that it was a desirable thing to make it as difficult as possible for a certain class of the population to spend money on betting that they could ill afford. I suggest that Deputy Little should go the whole hog and raise the valuation in each case. We are all agreed that a large amount of money is spent in betting that should not be so spent, and it is spent by a class of person who can least afford it. If Deputy Little is sincere in this matter he should go the whole hog when he is discussing it with the Minister.

There are other sections which serve the purpose the Deputy has in mind. There are other sections in the Bill which deal with the desirability of premises. I do not think that one could deal with the matter in the way the Deputy suggests. It must be remembered that there are numbers of respectable persons, quite honest people, carrying on this business. They are not well enough off to take premises which would have a valuation of, say, £50, although I admit that that would be an exclusive figure. To raise the valuation would throw the whole business into the hands of one or two extremely rich persons, and I do not think that is the object of the Deputy on the Labour Benches.

The Deputy is aware that there are many of these premises in slum areas, and he must know that all this business is dangerous and bad for the country.

Quite so, but is it not clear that portion of this Bill relates to a residential area, a place where workers reside? Unfortunately, a great many of the workers reside in the slums.

It would appear that the Deputy is therefore anxious to afford facilities for betting.

I will refer Deputy Anthony to paragraph (c) of Section 11. If he reads the Bill he will see that one of the grounds for refusing a licence because of unsuitability of premises is that the premises are situated where large numbers of persons congregate, or that they are situated in a residental area. I take that to mean a slum; otherwise I was going to move an amendment somewhat on the lines of Deputy Anthony's remarks. I do not take a residential area to mean a place like Merrion Square; I rather think it means the place where the poor people or the workers reside. The place where they reside, to my mind, is the residential area set out in the Bill.

I think Deputy Anthony's point is met by the terms of Deputy Little's amendment. I do not know of any slum area where, in the case of a shop and dwelling-house, the shop alone would be valued at £15. I think it is essential, in order to set up a premises for betting, that it should be on a main thoroughfare.

Is the Minister going to give this amendment his consideration?

Is it the intention of the Minister to remove the sheds at the back of residential or slum districts? He stated he had no knowledge of these premises. It is very difficult to fix a definite valuation figure, because you might get a place in a slum area which would have a valuation of £15. There may be cases where you might have to increase the valuation from £15 to £20.

I would not like to make the valuation too high.

We will have an opportunity of discussing this matter at a later date?

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 25:—

In paragraph (i), line 40, before the word "cause" to insert the words "permit to loiter in."

I will also put that in.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment 26:—

To delete paragraph (1) and substitute the following paragraph: "that the applicant is the holder of a liquor licence, a pawn office licence or a moneylender's licence."

The Committee made a recommendation that those who already held a licence might be allowed to remain.

Does the Minister accept amendment 26?

No; but it could be made subject to the same variation as the previous amendment.

The trouble one experiences in connection with this Bill and the amendments is that unless one goes back and reads the report of the Commission it is impossible to get the proper meaning of sections of the Bill. That applies particularly to paragraph (1). If you read that without referring to the report of the Commission it is extremely difficult to understand it. There is ground for objection in the case of a person who holds a licence and who carries on a bookmakers' business as well.

The Committee recommended that those who had already a bookmaker's licence might be allowed to continue, but that new publicans should not be allowed to acquire premises licensed for betting. It is the same point that Deputy Hennessey raised in connection with pawnbrokers' and moneylenders' licences.

Is not the Minister doing a thing he does not like to do— creating a monopoly value in these premises? I think the Minister ought to reconsider this matter.

I am prepared to do so.

Then the amendment is not being pressed now?

I take it the Minister is more or less in agreement with it?

With placing a pawn office licence or a moneylender's licence on the same terms as are already contained in paragraph (1)— I go that far.

Would the Minister devise some means of differentiating between the premises? I quite see his point in regard to a person who holds a licence already, but the Minister might see Deputy Little's point in regard to a publican or pawnbroker whose premises are adjacent to those in which he conducts his ordinary business.

I see that point.

The practice, I understood, was that a good deal of betting used to be carried on long ago from the publichouse.

The one point that remains to be considered is in regard to a publican, say, in the country, who has spent a good deal of money on reconstruction to cut off the betting premises from his ordinary premises. We would have to see whether we should knock him out and allow that money to be wasted.

He would be making enough money out of his other business.

He will not admit that.

Am I to take it that I am defeated on the amendment?

No; I was going to treat the amendment as if it were not moved. Is the Minister going to consider it?

There are two points concerned. I am considering one point favourably and I will look into the other point. I do not want Deputy Little to take it that I am going to agree with him, though I may do so.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move:—

To add at the end of the section a new paragraph as follows:—

That the premises are not fronting on a public thoroughfare and are not structurally separated from any other premises.

This amendment, if carried, would deal with very small streets which might be in slum areas. If the premises were in such small streets they would not be suitable as premises to be licensed. The same would apply to premises in a cul-de-sac.

I agree that premises must be structurally separated, but whether we should insist on them being in a public thoroughfare is a matter about which I am not so sure. For instance, premises in a slum street might be fronting on a public thoroughfare. I do not know that much would be effected by this. People have complained that betting offices were on public streets and were temptations to people to bet. There may be something in that. I have seen notices at the end of a lane indicating that there are betting offices at the far end. I do not know if they are proper offices, or if it would be better in the interests of the public to force them to come out and put up notices in the street.

Surely the Minister knows that there is a greater attraction to go into a speak-easy than into a publichouse?

These are not speakeasies.

It is a pity that the Minister did not go down the lane and examine the premises.

I did not. Perhaps it could be arranged that we would have some provision about the sort of premises. I would suggest that the Deputy think over this amendment. If we inserted a provision about the premises being of a specified valuation and being structurally separated, I do not know that we could insist on their being in a public thoroughfare.

Very well, I will leave it an open question and withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question—"That Section 11, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Sections 12, 13 and 14 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 15.
(2) Whenever the registered proprietor of any registered premises is convicted of an offence under any section of this Act in relation to such premises and the court by or before whom such proprietor is so convicted is of opinion that, having regard to the nature and character of the offence and the circumstances in which it was committed, it is not expedient that such premises should continue to be registered in the register of bookmaking offices, such court may, when imposing sentence and with or without revoking the bookmaker's licence held by such proprietor, direct that such premises be removed from the register of bookmaking offices.

I move:—

In sub-section (2), line 37, after the word "such" where it first occurs, to insert the words "or any other."

I accept the amendment.

Question—"That Section 15, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Question—"That Sections 16 and 17 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.

In regard to Section 17 and in reference to the term "joint proprietors," I notice that there is a definition which makes a man a joint proprietor. If there are several people who are joint proprietors they become under the definition clause the proprietor. I just refer to the matter, as it is one of drafting.

I will look into the point.

There are some amendments in my name to Sections 17 and 18, and I would like to know whether the Minister will bring in an amendment on the Report Stage to deal with the matter.

Yes. I intend to do so.

Then we may take these amendments as not being moved.

Question—"That Section 18 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
SECTION 19.

I move:—

To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

"The registered proprietor shall not allow newspapers containing lists of horses nor other lists of horses to be displayed in such premises."

I was not quite clear whether Section 19 actually dealt with newspapers containing lists of horses, because higher up in the Bill there is a prohibition regarding any lists or statements, but it seemed to me that it was not sufficiently complete, so I put down this amendment as a further precaution in order to make sure that the proprietor shall not allow newspapers containing a list of horses or other lists to be displayed inside his premises.

Under the other section nothing can be displayed inside which can be seen from the street, and if there is a newspaper inside it can be seen only by a person who has gone inside the premises for the purpose of betting. I have not much experience in the matter, but I can conceive a person making a mistake if he has not a newspaper in front of him. When I go to vote in a proportional representation election, for instance, I would probably be in great difficulty if I had not the party list in my pocket.

The person coming in to bet must have his party list with him. One of the causes of loitering is the display of newspapers which those inside consult before making their bets. It is only when they go in and see the newspapers that they make up their minds as to what horses they will back. I think that the bookmaking community would welcome this amendment, as it makes it easier for them to keep their premises clear of loiterers. It is clear that the intention of the Bill was not to prevent these lists or newspapers being in the shop.

If the Deputy feels that it would not create a hardship among the betting community I will accept the amendment.

I think that the intention of the Committee was to prevent either newspapers or cards of any description containing the names of horses being displayed in a window. It would not be fair to handicap a backer by depriving him of getting information, such of it as there is in the newspapers, once he goes inside the shop.

He could buy the newspaper outside.

I do not think that the amendment should be accepted. If it would prevent a growing evil it would be all right, but it would not do so. It would deprive the wretch who is so unfortunate as to frequent these places from having the best available information. I hope the Minister will not accept the amendment.

I have to take Deputy Anthony as having more knowledge of the betting community than Deputy Little. It is really a matter of any abuses that are to be rectified, and I am afraid that people might bring newspapers and hand them from one to another. We then might have some difficulties in administration.

If they bring in newspapers and hand them about it will not cause loitering. It is these newspapers hanging in the shops which cause loitering.

I will get the opinion of some people interested before the Report Stage.

Very well.

It does not always happen as Deputy Anthony states. If the Minister wants to get the behaviour in these premises that he desires he will not allow these newspapers to be exhibited. The ordinary man entering a betting shop buys one paper, but he would not be satisfied with one paper in the betting shop. These bookmakers have been forced to pin up in their places a whole series of newspapers. A man perhaps sees a poster of a newspaper stating "we gave seven winners yesterday." He immediately wants to see what are the seven selections for to-day. If you want to do away with loitering on the premises bookmakers will not object to removing these newspapers off the notice board. They give the selections of the various tipsters. Deputy Anthony is quite right in talking about a poor wretch looking at his paper, but at the same time some bookmakers have made a regular practice of hanging up all the racing papers—the "Racing Chronicle," and the racing news of the "Irish Independent" and "Irish Times." People look at these papers and they tempt them to bet.

I propose to get the views of the police and perhaps of certain representative bookmakers, and find out what is the opinion generally.

My reading of Deputy Little's amendment is that it does not prohibit a man reading his own newspaper. It merely prohibits the displaying of them in betting shops.

I wonder is the Deputy really considering the Dublin metropolitan area or has he country districts in mind at all? I understand that there are a number of betting shops in country districts. People in the country are much more occupied than in the city, and they do not spend a considerable amount of time in reading newspapers. They may occasionally desire to put on a bet, and surely when they go into the office of the bookmaker they are entitled to ask: "Have you a newspaper until I look up the runners?" If we accept this amendment we are inflicting a hardship on people living outside the Dublin metropolitan area.

The whole matter is being left over for the present.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 19 to 21, inclusive, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 22.
(1) No licensed bookmaker shall make a bet or engage in a betting transaction with a person under the age of eighteen years whether such person is acting on his own behalf or as agent for another person.
(2) No registered proprietor of registered premises shall permit any person under the age of eighteen years (other than persons ordinarily resident on such premises and officers of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs entering such premises in the course of their duty as such officers) to enter or be on such premises.
(3) Every person who does any act (whether of commission or omission) which is a contravention of this section shall be guilty or an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds.
(4) Where a person is charged with having committed an offence under this section it shall be a good defence to such charge to prove that the person so charged believed and had reasonable cause for believing that the person in respect of whom such offence is alleged to have been committed was of or over the age of eighteen years.

I move:

In sub-section (1), line 2, to delete the word "eighteen" and substitute the word "twenty-one."

This amendment has for its object the raising of the age from 18 to 21 on the ground that it is an internationally recognised age. In Monte Carlo the age fixed is 21 and not 18. As one anxious to prevent young people going into betting shops, I hope this amendment will be accepted. It does not prohibit them from actually betting, because somebody else can place a bet for them, but it does keep them away from the atmosphere of these betting shops.

I am always afraid of raising the age too high and of making the law difficult to enforce, because generally it does not carry the support of everybody concerned. I think we ought to carry it as far as it can be done. There have been varying opinions as to the age. Certain witnesses were willing to allow betting up from sixteen because that is the age in the Children Act, but I think the age of 18 is as high as we would have real support for. It is as high an age as we would have the full support of public opinion for the enforcement of. It is always bad to go too far in these matters, because everybody tries to take an easy view of the thing if you make the law too extreme.

There is a difference of opinion in regard to this amendment in all sections of the House. Personally I agree with the Minister that the age of 18 is as high as would be practicable. I do not think we could carry public opinion any further on the matter. Deputy Little feels very strongly on this question.

Had the Minister accepted this amendment I would have opposed it and put it to a division, because I think the age of 18 is high enough.

The police have a certain duty in regard to this matter, and their view is that the age of 18 is high enough. I think it is the best that can be done.

It is very difficult to fix an age at which you can enforce the law, but still I am inclined to think that as between the ages of 18 and 21 it is just as easy to enforce it up to 21 as it is up to 18. After all, that is the age at which people get the vote. Generally speaking, there is supposed to be a legal distinction after a person has reached the age of twenty-one which was not there before.

The Deputy is aware that in the British Racecourse Betting Act the age is seventeen. I think we would be going higher than is usual with this sort of age restriction if we went up to 21.

Does this also apply to racecourses?

Betting has, unfortunately, increased so much in the city that I think we ought to do something to make it a little harder for young people. Many cases have come to my knowledge in which young people about the ages of eighteen and twenty-one have been indulging in betting. We have seen many cases reported in which young people have been charged with stealing and embezzlement. The explanation given in almost all cases was that these young people had taken to betting.

If you are going to impose a penalty upon a bookmaker for having betting transactions with a person aged nineteen or twenty, a person who has misinformed him as to his or her age, then I think that is unfair. If you are to put an additional restriction of that kind upon the bookmaker I think you are going to keep him sitting up all night thinking out how he is going to carry on his business. This Bill proposes that it is the person who takes the bet and not the one who makes it will be made liable. I think you are putting too much responsibility on the shoulders of the bookmaker. How is the bookmaker to judge whether a person is eighteen or not? In regard to more serious matters the law only gives protection up to the age of eighteen. I cannot see why, in regard to the minor offence of betting— if it can be called an offence at all— the age should be put up to twenty-one. Even if the age is fixed at eighteen, that is not going to keep people who want to bet from betting. They can get some other people to put on the bets for them. I am afraid you are not going to reform the morals of people by a regulation of this sort. I think the age of eighteen is sufficiently high.

I have a great deal of sympathy with the view expressed by Deputy Alton. I also think that the point of view put forward by Deputy Briscoe is well worth considering. I am of opinion that the age of eighteen should be allowed to stand. When we inquired into this matter we found that even schoolboys at the age of fourteen were betting. We all know the demoralising effect all this must have on young people. We found that schoolboys gathered their pennies and their twopences together in order that they could gamble. We also found that a number of persons in or about the age of eighteen were engaged in bookmakers' offices where bets were put on. In many cases they were engaged in the collection of bets, and we felt it would be wrong to inflict an injustice on that particular class of the community. This is a matter that should be considered by Deputies without regard to Party affiliations. It is a great evil—a canker that is eating into the heart of the whole community. In my opinion it is a thousand times worse than ever the drink evil was, and that it has done a tremendous lot to demoralise the whole country. I am not a pious person, but I feel strongly on this, and I agree that this is a great evil. Of course the popular thing would be to be on the side of the angels, but I have the habit usually of not being found on that side.

I feel that the Minister should not be pressed to alter the age from eighteen to twenty-one. The age suggested in the Bill meets, I think, the views of those who acted on the Committee to consider this matter. They had the advantage of examining a great number of witnesses such as bookmakers and their clerks, and representatives of all the Churches. When the age of eighteen was suggested I do not think there was one dissentient. I suggest to Deputy Little that he should withdraw his amendment and leave the age at eighteen.

In reply to Deputy Briscoe, my sympathy is altogether with the young people. I have no sympathy with the bookmaker obliged to sit up all night, as the Deputy said. In my opinion we have made betting too easy already. I think it is better that it should have been legalised than have it carried on as it was before, but at the same time I do not think we should make it too easy for people. You cannot walk along the streets to-day without seeing how betting is encouraged. It is spreading amongst every class and every age.

If a young man is allowed to decide for himself at the age of sixteen as to whether he will fight for his country or not, if a young man can be hanged at the age of sixteen, and if the law does not give protection in the case of certain offences beyond the age of eighteen, I think we would be making a laughing-stock of ourselves by making it an offence for a bookmaker to accept a bet from a person under twenty-one.

What weighed with me in the matter is the fact that boys, when they come to 21, are earning a little money. It is more a town problem than a country problem. At that age boys have more money and more freedom. Their habits are unformed between 18 and 21. They get in with people who are interested in betting and go to these shops. There is nothing in public life to tell them that that is a thing they should avoid. If they are addicted to betting they can get some one else to do it for them. Nothing is going to prevent them doing so, but we should establish a standard and make a beginning in the interests of those who are learning to use their freedom, so that they might be kept from developing the habit of betting. I think there is nothing so important as the training of youth and character, especially at a formative age.

I think the age of 18 should stand. That is as far as we ought to go in this Bill. I was wondering if we are not imposing a great hardship on bookmakers by asking them to decide whether a person is 18 years of age or otherwise. We are throwing the onus on the bookmakers, who will have to decide in each case. Deputies can realise how difficult it is to say whether a person is 18 years of age or not.

Particularly a lady.

And some of the men nowadays. I would like to suggest that the Minister should bring in an amendment on the Report Stage prohibiting a bookmaker from accepting bets from persons 18 years of age or over, who are in receipt of public assistance, unemployment insurance, or help from charitable organisations like the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. It is appalling at present to see people who are unemployed——

Is not that a new point and very far from the amendment?

It is a suggestion.

This is a matter upon which everyone is going to have a personal opinion. I do not think the arguments in favour of one age or another will carry very much conviction with our opponents. For practical reasons I feel that 18 is about as high a limit as you could have. What struck me most in Deputy Little's speech was the fact that whether the age was 18 or 21, those who want to bet will be able to do so by getting someone else to act as messenger. In view of that I do not see that there is much of a case for fixing the age limit below 18. I suppose that 18 marks a fairly definite stage in a boy's career. Most boys are thrown on the world at that age and they have to make their way in life. Even though they are not nominally regarded as fully-fledged men, nevertheless, as far as maintenance is concerned, they have then to fight their own battles. I do not think there is much to be gained by hedging them around with a great many restrictions which would meet with the support of public opinion, and which is the only thing that counts. I do not know whether public opinion would enable the age to be made 21, or whether in every-day life it would be practicable to enforce that age. In view of that I think 18 is as high as we can go.

I would like to point out that a great many of the workers in factories and restaurants are between 18 and 21 years of age. If the age is raised the Bill would be setting up a new type of individual, a kind of commission agent, to collect the bets for the bookmaker while the bookmaker himself would be free. As it is I think you will have that state of affairs arising, where an outsider will act as agent and will collect the bets while the bookmaker will be free from committing an offence.

As Deputy Briscoe says, I think there is a real danger that we would set up a new kind of subterranean organisation.

[An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the Chair.]

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments 44, 45 and 46 not moved.

Might I revert to Section 21 and draw the Minister's attention to the fact that the minimum bet suggested is 1/-? I do not know whether the Minister would make that 1/- win or 1/- each way? I know that there is a great deal of objection on the part of bookmakers to 6d. bets. A shilling might mean two 6d. bets.

I will consider that.

As the Minister is improving legislation I think he might improve the grammar. There is no such word as "lesser."

It is a good old legal word.

A legal monstrosity.

Section 22 agreed to.
Amendments 47, 48, 49, 50 and 51 not moved.
Section 23 agreed to.
Amendments 52 and 53 not moved.
Section 24 agreed to.
SECTION 25.
(1) Any officer of customs and excise or any member of the Gárda Síochána may enter any registered premises at any time during which such premises are or are suspected by such officer or member of being open for the transaction of any business, and may there make such searches and investigations as such officer or member shall think proper and may ask of any person found in such premises such questions in relation to the said premises and the business carried on therein as such officer or member shall think proper.
(2) Any officer of customs and excise or any member of the Gárda Síochána may at any time enter any premises (not being registered premises) in which the business of bookmaking is being carried on, or in which such officer or member of the Gárda Síochána suspects that such business is being carried on, and may there make such searches and investigations as such officer or member shall think proper and may demand of any person found in such premises his name and address and may ask of any such person such questions in relation to such premises and the business carried on therein as such officer or member shall think proper.
(3) Every person who shall do any of the following things, that is to say:—
(a) obstruct or impede any officer of customs and excise or any member of the Gárda Síochána in the exercise of any of the powers conferred on such officer or member by this section, or
(b) fail or refuse to answer to the best of his knowledge and ability any question asked of him by any such officer or member in exercise of a power in that behalf conferred by this section, or
(c) give an answer to any such question which is to his knowledge false or misleading, or
(d) when his name or his address is demanded of him by any such officer or member in exercise of a power in that behalf conferred by this section fail or refuse to give his name, or fail or refuse to give his address, or give a name or an address which is false or misleading,
shall be guilty of an offence under this section, and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to an excise penalty of twenty pounds.
(4) Any member of the Gárda Síochána may arrest without warrant any person who does in his presence any act (whether of commission or omission) the doing of which is declared by this section to be an offence under this section.

I move:—

At the end of sub-section (2) to insert the words "For the purposes of this sub-section any member of the Gárda Síochána or any officer of the customs and excise must obtain a warrant in the prescribed form signed by the District Justice."

This amendment deals with the power of entry and investigation. Under the former law the police had always to get a warrant to raid premises. Under the present law they do not require a warrant to raid premises which are licensed premises. It is undesirable that the police should be given power to raid premises other than licensed premises without a warrant of some sort.

It does not mean publicity for a policeman to get a warrant. It only means that he applies in the District Court, gets his warrant as a matter of course, and then goes and raids the premises. In almost all other kinds of legislation of a semi-political nature a warrant is required, and I think in this case it is very undesirable that police should have the power of raiding premises which may have nothing whatever to do with betting business without a warrant.

It would make the detection of offences almost impossible. There might be cases down the country where it would take a day before people would find a District Justice and get a warrant, and the evidence would be gone. There is no sort of offence in which it is more difficult to get a conviction than betting offences, where it concerns the altering of documents or the preparing of faked documents and destroying the originals, and it must be possible to raid as soon as suspicion is aroused. It is even more necessary than in other cases.

Is the Minister addressing himself to sub-section (2)? I presume the offence that section is designed to guard against is a continued practice of making a book on unregistered premises. It is only in relation to premises which are not registered that the warrant is requested. In that case, there would be time for the officer to get the warrant from the District Justice. It would only be a warrant to raid the premises where he suspected betting was carried on. Normally that would mean that it was carried on over a period of time.

There is very great difficulty. The stuff may not be on the premises, and it is moved to and fro. There are extraordinary difficulties in connection with these. For the moment I thought the amendment was referring to licensed premises. There is the likelihood with the restrictions put on licensed premises that there will be more unlicensed bookmakers' premises than there have been. Up to the present, when there was less difficulty in getting licences and less restriction on the premises there was not the temptation that might be anticipated to carry on unlicensed betting, but I believe there is likely to be more danger in the future, and unless you have speedy action you might have much of the old difficulties of the past.

Is the Minister prepared to say that for other offences against the excise laws that the excise officers or the Gárda have the same power, for instance, as in the case of shebeening, and that they would have the right to go in? Is the Minister in a position to answer that question?

I am not so sure of that.

If they have not the right under the existing law would it not be unfair and unwise to make it specially for these cases?

The powers under the sub-section are very general and virtually give the Gárda or revenue officers power to enter any premises merely on the plea that they believe they are being used for the purpose of carrying on the business of bookmaking. It gives such wide powers of entry that I do not think the House should assent to it.

We had the powers of entry before, and I do not know that any abuse has arisen in connection with them. Shebeening is very easy to detect as compared with bookmaking offences. It is far more difficult to hide a quantity of stuff. In the other class of cases often detection has to be made by special officers, and there are all sorts of difficulties. In many of these cases nothing can be done by a local officer, and there are all sorts of difficulties connected with any delay. You would not have any delay in Dublin, because you could find a District Justice easily. But in a country place it might be a different matter, and there must be prompt action. While I do not promise to agree with the Deputy, I am prepared to examine the point again with reference to our experience during the past few years. I have grounds for thinking that there is greater danger of having unregistered bookmaking in the future than there has been in the past, and that will increase every time we tighten up the law with regard to registered premises.

First of all, in districts where District Justices are not easily available or where it is not easy to get a warrant, it is just as likely that the number of people engaged in betting would be very limited and that there would be very little attraction for a bookmaker to carry on.

Take a big country town.

In practically every big country town you have a licensed bookmaker. The principle involved is too serious to be bartered away for the benefit of the Revenue Commissioners and I feel that we will have to press this amendment. The Minister also stated that as compared with shebeening, on the one hand, and bookmaking, on the other, the greater evil was that of the bookmaker. I contend that if the House were to decide it that they would come to the conclusion that the effects of shebeening are a far greater evil than those of the man making a book illicitly. The Minister admits that in the metropolitan area he does not have that excuse. I think he should be inclined to sacrifice the little outlying districts in the interests of maintaining a big principle. Anybody's house could be entered or examined on the grounds that it was suspected that the person was using it as a bookmaker. A person might ring a bookmaker on the 'phone and put on a bet. Somebody might overhear the conversation, and the Gárda would have the right to enter because of it.

I was glad to hear the Minister say that he was prepared to examine this particular section before the next stage of the Bill. I do not think the House ought to give such wide powers either to the Revenue Commissioners or the Gárda Síochána as are proposed under this Bill. It is quite possible that any Deputy in the House, even the Minister himself, might be in the company of a bookmaker and probably that evening find the Revenue Commissioners raiding his house. I do not think the Revenue Commissioners have sufficient evidence to warrant a provision of this nature. If there has been such abuse of this Act as to warrant it, I would be prepared to accept it, but I would be very much surprised to hear it. There may be one or two abuses, but that is no reason why we should penalise the community. These are extraordinary powers, and I would like the Minister to examine them before the Report Stage, and provide that either the Revenue Commissioners or the Gárda Síochána, on entering a private house, would be provided with a warrant.

Having heard the Minister, I do not think these powers are necessary at all. As he has indicated, for the detection of certain offences under the Act it will be necessary, in the case of the smaller towns, to bring down a special officer. Did I understand the Minister to say that?

You may have to do that.

Could he not come armed with a warrant?

He could not apply for a warrant until he has something to swear before the justice. When he gets something to swear before the justice he has to lose a day or two.

Even in connection with that, I do not think that the Minister has succeeded in making a case. He has admitted that the difficulty of procuring a warrant is confined almost entirely to towns other than boroughs and county boroughs, but in those towns there will be one or two licensed bookmakers, and, therefore, the opportunities for carrying on a business as unlicensed bookmaker with profit will be decidedly limited. I suggest that they could be further limited if the Minister would inflict a penalty on people found on those houses. So far as I see, there is nothing in this section that makes it an offence to be found on premises conducting the business of an unlicensed bookmaker. If it were made an offence there would be no inducement for any person whatsoever to enter the premises of an unlicensed bookmaker for the purpose of making a bet. Therefore, there would be no inducement to any person to set up the business of an unlicensed bookmaker, and there would be no necessity for the powers which the Minister seeks in this sub-section. I cannot see what would call for the prompt action which the Minister considers is justified, and the only justification for these extraordinary powers. In view of that, I think that the Minister ought seriously to consider whether he cannot withdraw his sub-section or insert the safeguard that we ask, that the Revenue Commissioners can only enter a premises under the warrant of a District Justice.

I am prepared to consider the section, to see if there are any safeguards that could be introduced if they are necessary. I think there has been no suggestion of any abuse at all. I have not heard the slightest suggestion of one, and I do not think there is any likelihood of an abuse. But, leaving that aside for the moment, I am prepared to consider whether there are any restrictions or safeguards that we could introduce that would enable detections to be made and that would prevent the bare possibility of unjustified raids, and at the same time not make the detection in cases very difficult.

The Deputy said that there would be no carrying on of unlicensed bookmaking in a country town where there are one or two licensed bookmakers. You may have somebody whose licence becomes disqualified and who does not readily turn to anything else. He has not to pay any personal licence or any licence in respect of these premises, and he does not pay the 5 per cent. on the bets made with him. Such a person may be able, in certain cases, to offer terms that would induce a certain number of people to bet with him. Apart altogether from the mere personal support he may get from old clients if he were still able to serve them, there is a very definite danger, and, as I say, a danger that increases with every tightening up of the procedure, that you will have people carrying on as unlicensed bookmakers. The detection of these is extremely difficult, and it is not a good thing to put any unnecessary difficulty in the way of enabling evidence to be got against them if they are carrying on this business. It is for that reason that I do not want delays. Perhaps we can find something that will provide some safeguard against the mere possibility of abuse, and at the same time not occasion these delays. I am willing to look at the whole thing with that object in view.

In view of the Minister's undertaking to reconsider the matter, I am willing to withdraw the amendment for the time being, with the power of reintroducing it on the Report Stage. I would remind the Minister that it is a very important principle that people should not be in a position to be raided without some authority in the form of a warrant. It is a principle that people have always been very careful about, and the whole law has been very careful to see that they are protected in that respect. A warrant must be issued before the police can enter the private house of any individual. As it stands at present, this drives the coach-and-four through that principle.

Then, again, in any ordinary district in Ireland a policeman or excise man can easily get in touch with the District Justice with a motor car within an hour. Certainly it would not take him more than two or three hours to get his warrant in any part of Ireland that I know of. This thing is not going to happen in the wilds of Donegal or Connemara, but in the ordinary districts, where it is likely that you will have the type of case that the Minister has mentioned. It is ten to one that the District Justice will be at hand within half an hour with a motor car.

Are not Peace Commissioners empowered to sign warrants?

I would not like to bring them into it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments 55, 56 and 57 not moved.
Question—"That Section 25 stand"—put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 26 stand."

In connection with this section, how about the persons who are being employed in these establishments at the date of the passing of this Act? Is this going to apply to them? You may have at the present moment people employed as bookmakers' assistants who are under the age of 18. What is the position going to be in relation to these?

They would go, but I think there is a case for exempting them.

Does the Minister not think that it would be wise to consider, on the Report Stage, that anybody who is in the position of a manager of a premises should have a licence? A person may have multiple shops. The person who is actually in control of the shop is not the proprietor. Does not the Minister think that he ought to have a licence?

We considered that carefully and we came to the conclusion that it was better not, that it would be easier to enforce the law by having the responsibility rest on the owner of premises, and leave him to get the right persons.

Have not representations been made to the Minister that where a man has more than one premises he has no remedy against the manager who does an act for which he may probably lose his licence? Is the Minister not prepared to make that person liable for the offence as well as the bookmaker? Representations have been made to the Commissioners that in some cases where a penalty was imposed on bookmakers for a fraud on the Commissioners the fraud was actually committed by an employee, who himself benefited by it. The bookmaker was made responsible unless he proceeded to swear an information against the employee. The Minister may not have heard about that, but representations have been made to the Commissioners. Will the Minister, therefore, not consider the imposition of penalties on the persons who are the managers of these branches?

What we want to avoid is a person being able to employ people who would act as scapegoats for him. That is why we want to keep the responsibility on the proprietor. I do not know whether it would be right to carry out the suggestion of Deputy Briscoe, that is to say, without relieving the proprietor of responsibility to make the employee also responsible. The difficulty is that it might tend to lighten the responsibility of the proprietor and, as I say, enable him to escape conviction, and have the employee convicted, and used as a scapegoat.

The Minister might introduce an amendment providing that where an office is managed by a manager, in the event of an offence being committed not only will the proprietor have a penalty imposed upon him but also the manager. The bookmakers are anxious to get protection against the lackadaisical methods of some employees. In the way I suggested you would not be releasing the proprietor from the full penalty, but, at the same time, you would be lessening the opportunities for the employees.

I shall think of that, but I could not give the Deputy any indication now.

Section ordered to stand part of the Bill.

SECTION 27.

In connection with this section, I suppose the same proviso in relation to persons employed at the date of the passing of the Act will apply?

Yes, we will have to look at it.

Section ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Section 28 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

SECTION 29.

(1) Every person who stands or loiters outside or near any registered premises after he has been requested by a member of the Gárda Síochána to move on shall (whether such standing or loitering is or is not an obstruction to traffic) be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds, or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding two months.

I move:

In sub-section (1), after the word "loiters," line 3, to insert the words "inside or."

Perhaps the Minister will consider this amendment.

I would be rather inclined to be against this, because the proprietor's business is to put them out and not allow them to loiter inside. If they fail to go out, he could call in the police. We think it would be better to leave the responsibility as regards the inside of the premises entirely on the proprietor. If we were to adopt the amendment, it would seem to be at least partly the duty of the police to prevent people loitering inside, and we might have the old difficulty of the proprietor getting sympathy for the view that it was the duty of the police.

My point of view in regard to this was that it was to make it an offence for a person to loiter inside—not merely an offence after he had been requested to leave by the police, but to make it in itself an offence to loiter.

That is, if he was requested by the proprietor to leave?

Whether he was requested to go out or not. One of the difficulties that bookmakers will have will be the fact that some bookmakers will be stricter than others.

I will look into that point. I am prepared to consider it.

The danger is that the Minister's corner-boys will be affected.

They do not loiter.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 30.
Every person who by falsely representing himself to be of or over the age of eighteen years either induces a licensed bookmaker to make a bet or enter into a betting transaction with him or induces the registered proprietor of registered premises to permit him to enter or remain in such premises shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding five pounds.

I move:

To add at the end of the section, line 19, the words "Any person causing or inducing any person under the age of twenty-one years to commit an offence under this section shall be liable to the same penalty."

The age there should be 18 years.

This is making it an offence to induce a person to commit an offence. Take an employee in a certain business who is under 18 and whose employer tells him to go and make a bet. He goes to the bookmaker's office and makes the bet. The fact that he is under 18 may not be detected, or, even if it has been detected and the bookmaker is punished, surely some blame ought to attach to the person who induced the boy to make the bet?

The suggestion that was put to me was that the amendment would lead to abuses. People would send youngsters to a betting office and promise to accept the responsibility if the youngsters were accused and tell them that they would get off in that event. The point of view put up was that this would lead to people being able to say: "I will be the person who will suffer; go and do it."

I think you will have to consider the greater coercion that might be exerted by an employer rather than by an employee. It is well known that in certain businesses boys are often sent out to make bets, if not actually by the employer by a foreman or some superior, and I think some penalty ought to attach to them.

I do not really see any objection to it, subject to making the age 18.

Probably it would be better to withdraw the amendment and bring it up in its new form on the Report Stage.

It would be better to accept it now and change the age from 21 to 18.

I think the draftsman would insist upon redrafting it. Make it a new sub-section.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 31.
(2) Every person who makes or enters into or attempts to make or enter into a bet in contravention of this section or who employs, commissions, or instructs any person to make or enter into a bet in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to an excise penalty of one hundred pounds.

I move:

To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

"Nothing in the foregoing sub-sections of this section shall affect the right of a bookmaker to accept wagers in his registered office from persons outside Saorstát Eireann."

I do not think the Minister will refuse this amendment because it will bring him in more duty. I do not think he intended that a bookmaker should be prohibited from accepting cross-Channel bets.

I do not know if it is necessary, but if it should prove to be necessary I have no objection to putting in words to cover this point.

I have been informed that legally a bookmaker would be committing a technical breach of the regulations if this were not inserted. One of the bookmakers' associations, at whose request I move the amendment, have got legal opinion that that is the position.

Very good, I shall put in a section.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Section 32 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 33.
(1) The Minister for Justice may by order make regulations prescribing any matter or thing relating to the District Court, members of the Gárda Síochána, or the Minister for Justice which is in this Act referred to as prescribed or to be prescribed.
(2) The Minister for Finance may by order make regulations prescribing any matter or thing which is in this Act referred to as prescribed or to be prescribed and is not authorised by this Act to be prescribed by regulations made by the Minister for Justice.

I beg to move:—

To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:

"All such regulations shall be laid upon the Table of each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made, for a period of twenty-one days on which such House has sat and if no notice of motion referring to such regulations is tabled in either House within the said period such regulations shall become operative."

The object of this amendment is simply to prevent what certainly happened on one occasion in reference to orders laid upon the Table of the House. If orders are laid upon the Table of the House they are open to be dealt with within twenty-one sitting days. That is the usual time; and if a motion is tabled in that time unless it is discussed under the present Standing Orders, it goes by the board. If there are several other motions before it in Private Members' time and it is not reached then the order comes into operation and the motion ceases to have effect. So in order to prevent that occurring I drafted this particular form to deal with regulations laid upon the Table.

Of course, the Deputy must see this would be quite unworkable. It might lead to regulations which are urgently necessary not coming into operation for a lengthy period.

As a matter of fact, there was one motion put down by a Deputy which was not reached. I do not know whether that was not his own fault. I am quite certain if any Deputy who put down a motion and wanted it discussed asked for time he would get time in this House. In fact, I think I heard in some discussion the Ceann Comhairle say that, whatever the Standing Orders might say, if a Deputy wanted a motion discussed he would be bound to give him time for it.

I am glad that Deputy Hogan (Clare) has come into the House, as it was he that had a grievance in connection with this matter. He put down a motion for the discussion of certain prescribed rules, and owing to the way in which the order of time worked out he never got an opportunity of moving it. I think some decision was come to afterwards by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges. Perhaps the Leas-Cheann Comhairle could tell us something about this.

I understand this matter was discussed some time ago by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges and that they came to an agreement which was satisfactory to all parties.

It was not entered as a Standing Order.

I think the Deputy may take it that it will be looked upon as a Standing Order.

I shall not press the matter further then.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 33 agreed to.
Sections 34, 35 and 36 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SCHEDULE—(ENACTMENTS REPEALED).

I move:

To delete the words and figures:

“10 & 11 Geo. V, c. 52.

Ready Money Football Betting Act, 1920.

The whole Act.”

I think it is a mistake to repeal the Ready Money Football Betting Act. It is purely an advertisement Act, and I do not know whether it is the policy of the Government to allow this football betting to go on by advertising and the circulation of coupons. The Minister already mentioned that he was going to reconsider a certain section where the Ready Money Football Betting Act is mentioned. I suggest he should also take into consideration now that that Act does not deal directly with the ready money football betting, but with advertisements and circulars issued which make them illegal. Perhaps the Minister would accept the amendment.

I do not profess to be very familiar with this system of coupon betting, but as far as I can gather it is rather illogical. You can bet on a football match, cash or credit, in a bookmaker's office, and the only thing prohibited is this particular system of betting on the result of a certain number of matches on a coupon. If a person writes out his own coupon and hands it in, it is all right. It is only illegal if he takes a printed coupon and makes his bet on that. The present position is illogical. It does not prevent betting on football. It creates an exception from the general principle that betting is really legal. I was approached very soon after the Betting Act was passed on this question, and suggestions were made that it should be amended. I promised to consider that when amending legislation was before the House, but no suggestion is made that any harm would be done by repealing this Act, which really creates rather an anomalous position.

I have the Act here, and it says: "any person in the United Kingdom who writes, prints, publishes or circulates any advertisement, circular or coupon." I suggest that that Act should be amended but not entirely repealed.

As far as I know, it has been operative only, shall we say, to hinder this particular form of betting.

Does the Minister not recognise that it opens up the gates to other kinds of advertisements as well as for bets on football matches?

If there is any avenue not closed by this Bill I am prepared to look at it, but I know that the object was not to have this big anomaly which exists in regard to one form of betting. I am prepared to look at it on Report Stage and see if there is any possibility of abuses arising.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question—"That the schedule be the schedule of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill, as amended, ordered to be reported.
Dáil went out of Committee.
Bill reported.

With regard to the Fourth Stage, I propose it to be taken this day fortnight.

When will the revised Bill be circulated?

Soon. I am delaying it for a short time, because there are a number of points that I promised to look into myself.

Will the Minister give us the Bill at least a week before the Fourth Stage?

It can always be further postponed if necessary. I have no wish to rush it.

Fourth Stage ordered to be taken on 11th March, 1931.