Financial Motions. - Road Traffic Bill, 1931—Second Stage (resumed).

Question again proposed: That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

This Bill is called the Road Traffic Bill. It might be more accurately described as being a Public Safety Bill, and, as such, it is likely to be the only Public Safety Bill introduced by this Government that Deputies on this side will welcome. In fact it is a Public Safety Bill, much more urgently needed than any of the others for which the Government has been responsible. We hear a lot about the effects of civil disturbance, and so on, but I do not think we ever had a war or civil war in this country which has produced the same number of casualties per year that the ill-regulation of traffic has been responsible for. As I pointed out last night, we have had for the last few years in the Twenty-six Counties an average of four killed and 70 injured per week in motor accidents. These figures indicate the extreme necessity for the bringing in of a Road Traffic Bill in order to bring traffic under control in some way so as to reduce the danger to life and limb on the road.

It is, in fact, the size of these figures which leaves the Minister open to such criticism for having delayed so long and so unduly the introduction of this measure. I said last night that as the Bill is designed to make the roads safer for users than heretofore and to reduce the number of accidents, it has one outstanding defect, and that is that it ignores the pedestrian. That fact becomes of particular significance when we study statistics relating to accidents which are available to us. These statistics show that in the great majority of cases accidents arise out of the negligence of pedestrians and not out of the negligence of motorists. The figures for 1929 show that in respect of fatal accidents ten occurred as a result of collisions of one kind or another; four occurred through persons falling from vehicles; sixteen through pedestrians crossing the road not at road-crossings; three occurred through people boarding or alighting from vehicles in motion; three from persons walking on the roadway; eleven from persons suddenly rushing off the footpath on to the roadway, and two from persons playing games on the street.

Our experience as to the cause of accidents is similar to that in England and I think in most other countries. In England very valuable data were compiled for the British Commission on Road Traffic by the National Safety First Association from information voluntarily supplied by a number of coroners. From that information it was shown that 43 per cent. of the fatal accidents were attributable to the negligence of pedestrians and only 39 per cent. to causes presumably under the control of motorists; 7 per cent. were due to defective vehicles, and 11 per cent. were due to the state of the road, weather conditions, fire, or similar causes.

If our main purpose is not merely to facilitate the enforcement of the licensing regulations and matters of that kind but to make the roads safer for the people to use whether as pedestrians or motorists, then this Bill falls very far short of our requirements. It is, of course, possible that the Ministry are contemplating action of a supplementary nature designed to diminish accidents. But we should be quite clear in our minds in any case that this Bill is not sufficient.

I think that one of the most fruitful causes of accidents and particularly accidents to young people is the absence of adequate playing grounds in our cities. I am satisfied that no matter what Traffic Bills are introduced here, so long as the children of the poor have to play on the streets, accidents will continue to occur. We would do much more to reduce the danger to these young children by providing them with proper playing grounds than by introducing one hundred Bills of this nature. Similarly the provision of footpaths on the country roads would also reduce the number of accidents considerably.

I think that in this Bill steps should be taken to suppress what the Americans call jay-walking. I think that we have in Dublin a higher percentage of jay-walkers per head of the population than most cities in Europe. If we make it a criminal offence for a motorist to drive his car negligently to his own danger, we should also take action to prevent pedestrians walking on the roadway to their own danger.

There is a need for a Public Safety First Campaign for the purpose of instructing pedestrians as to the dangers arising out of the careless use of the roadway. There should be imposed upon everybody who is using the roads the obligation of providing for his own safety and we should see that he has means of doing so.

The provisions of the Bill itself have been dealt with in considerable detail by Deputy O'Kelly. He has indicated that although we approve of the general purport of the measure, we will try to amend it in a number of important points. The part of the Bill which deals with driving licences provides the police with increased facilities for enforcing licensing regulations. That is all to the good. An innovation in this regard is the declaration of fitness which persons applying for a licence will have to make, or the necessity to secure a medical certificate in order to obtain a licence. It is my view that that particular regulation will be of very little value. It has been said that at present a blind man can get a licence to drive a car. While that is undoubtedly true it is also true that very few blind men do get a licence. I am personally satisfied that there are many more accidents caused by persons driving cars who are mentally unfit to do so than by persons driving cars who are physically unfit.

The remedy for that would appear to be an actual driving test. There are, however, as the Minister and other speakers indicated, very strong objections to that. We should not, however, give ourselves the impression that the new regulation which this Bill is going to make will be of very considerable benefit. Although it is not likely to do any harm and will only create a little more trouble to persons desiring to obtain a licence, the benefits are likely to be small.

Another section of the Bill deals with speed limits. It is proposed to retain maximum speed limits for all classes of cars except light motor cars, in which case the speed limit is abolished, although there is a provision designed to set 30 miles per hour as the standard speed. A strong case has been made in this and other countries against speed limits of all kinds on the ground that they obtrude a criterion of illegality which is not the best one. It has been, I think, established that excessive speed in itself is seldom the cause of accidents. The other argument has been that it is very difficult to make maximum speed limits effective without very costly police supervision. In the case of the ordinary light motor car it is my personal experience that under ordinary circumstances 30 miles per hour cannot possibly be described as dangerous driving. On the majority of the new trunk roads in the country, on which traffic is not excessive and on which there are few pedestrians, a speed of 35 or 40 miles, or even 45 miles per hour, is seldom dangerous. There are circumstances, as Deputy Kelly said, when a speed of 20 or 25 miles per hour might be highly dangerous, and I think that we should direct those responsible for the enforcing of traffic regulations to devote their attention not to the speed as such at which a car is travelling, but to the speed in all the circumstances. It is therefore advisable in my opinion that this provision concerning the 30 miles per hour for light motor cars should be deleted from the Bill. I do not think it will be any advantage. It will merely mean that a motorist who is travelling, say 35 miles per hour under circumstances which appear to make it quite safe for him to do so, should he become involved in an accident, may be charged with and convicted for negligent driving even though he was not driving negligently.

There remains, however, the case for speed limits in respect of other classes of vehicles. At first sight, it does seem strange that we should abolish the speed limit for the ordinary private car and retain it for the commercial vehicle, which is generally driven by a person much more experienced and skilful than the private car driver. However, in respect of omnibuses and heavy commercial cars, there are other considerations which make a speed limit desirable, but they are considerations which do not properly apply under this Bill. The first is the fact that one of these heavy omnibuses or lorries travelling at a fast rate over a modern road very quickly pounds it into pot-holes and waves, and makes it dangerous and uncomfortable for other traffic. There is also the fact that the majority of our roads are not very wide, and that 22 or 26 seater omnibuses travelling along one of these roads at 40 miles per hour become a very potent source of fear to anybody else trying to use the roads. They create a vibration which affects houses bordering on the roads, and generally speaking, there is a case for restricting their speed, apart altogether from whatever additional safety may be secured by doing so. On that account, we do not propose to suggest that any of these speed limits should be abolished, but it seems to me on a personal view, that the maximum speed of 25 miles per hour for omnibuses is somewhat too low, and that it might be slightly increased without in any way making the roads more dangerous than the Minister intends.

A further section in the Bill deals with the question of compulsory insurance. It can be said almost straight away that that particular part of the Bill has nothing to do with safety on the roads. Its passage in fact might have the opposite effect by making persons less concerned with the consequences of an accident to themselves. I think that the percentage of motorists who are not insured is probably very small. I would be glad if the Minister could give us an estimate of that position. Of course, the fact that there is any motorist driving an uninsured car upon the roads which may become involved in an accident, makes this section of the Bill desirable, because it is generally the person who cannot afford to pay the insurance premium who, when he becomes involved in an accident, is unable to compensate the person he injures.

Deputy O'Kelly has made a suggestion, which I very strongly support, that if the State intends to make insurance compulsory it should itself provide facilities for insurance. I think a State scheme of motor insurance could without difficulty be operated in conjunction with the licensing regulations and might prove profitable for the Road Fund. There is a problem to be dealt with there in any case. At the present time insurance companies have what is called a "knock for knock" system. If two motorists become involved in a collision both of whom are insured the insurance companies do not waste money fighting out in court who is responsible for the collision but each company settles the claim of its own client. Because of that system the actual responsibility of a motorist for an accident in which he may have been involved is not examined and it has happened that a perfectly innocent victim of a series of accidents has been denied insurance. What is to be the position of that individual under this Bill? The decision as to whether or not he is going to get an insurance policy is going to rest with privately-owned insurance companies and apparently the effect of this Bill will be to set up these insurance companies as censors of the road.

I suggest that it is not in accordance with public policy that the insurance companies should be given the power of deciding who shall or who shall not be permitted to drive a motor car. If the insurance companies feel themselves compelled to take on everybody who applies for insurance under this Bill, whether he is a good risk or a bad risk, there is a possibility that there will be a rise of rates all round. In any case, we think it undesirable that compulsory insurance should be made law without some control over the rates charged for insurance. If this Bill goes through as it is framed, it is possible, whether it is likely or not, that insurance companies might combine to raise the rates which would have to be paid by anybody who desired to drive a car.

A suggestion was made in some quarters that if the State was not prepared to go the length of initiating a State insurance scheme covering motors, that they should, at least, provide for such persons as are not likely to be taken by the ordinary companies. The big argument against that is that if that were done every bad risk would be left for the State and almost impossible premiums would have to be charged in order to cover these risks. It is proposed that drivers of public service vehicles must procure certificates of competency from the Civic Guard authorities. My personal view is that that regulation is unnecessary. I am completely unable to visualise the kind of test that the Civic Guard authorities are likely to apply. Either that test will be too severe, to the extent that it will be unjust, or too general to the extent that it will be useless. There is the danger to which Deputy O'Kelly referred, that a uniform test may not apply all over the country. The authorities in one area may apply a more drastic test than in another with consequent unfairness. I think justice demands, however, that persons who are at present engaged and who have been for a period of, say, six months, driving public service vehicles for hire, and who have not become involved in an accident, should be exempted from the obligation to procure this certificate of competency. I think there are very few people who attempt to drive buses who are not fitted to do so, and I do not think the Minister can give us an account of any accidents which have occurred because of incompetency as distinct from carelessness or recklessness on the part of omnibus drivers.

Public service vehicles under this Bill are to be licensed by the Civic Guard Commissioner with an appeal against refusal of a licence to the District Court. There is not in the Bill, and the Minister has not given us any indication of the principles upon which the Commissioner will act. Will he refuse a licence on any other ground than unsuitability of the vehicle or the applicant? Is it intended to use the powers of the Commissioner under the Bill for the purpose of reducing the number of vehicles on the road, or reducing the number of companies operating vehicles? The system adopted in the British Act is, in my opinion, preferable. They establish three Commissioners in each traffic area, the chairman being nominated directly by the Minister, one member from a panel prepared by the county councils, and another from a panel prepared by the borough councils. These Commissioners hear applications in public, and the representatives of the public are entitled to attend the sittings for the purpose of giving evidence concerning the services available on a particular route, and the necessity of or otherwise of increasing these services. It seems to me that it would be preferable that a similar system should be established here, and that we should have a licensing authority meeting in public and operating a general policy in this regard.

With regard to the remaining parts of the Bill, 8, 9 and 10, I have not much to say at this stage. Points will, however, arise in Committee. I would like to draw attention to the protest which has been made by Cork Borough Council concerning the excessive powers which are being given to the Civic Guard of making bye-laws for the regulation of traffic in the city. The power to make these bye-laws formerly rested in these councils, but they are being taken from them and given to the Commissioner of the Civic Guard. The councils are not, apparently, even to be consulted in the matter, and certainly have no power to make their wishes effective against the decision of the Civic Guard authorities. It seems to me that throughout this Bill there is an excessive tendency to leave matters to be fixed by regulation. Some of these matters could have been dealt with in the Bill itself, and submitted to the House for approval. I realise the necessity for keeping this Bill in a form which will permit of its adaptation to changing circumstances, but in my view the tendency to leave things to be done by regulation has been carried to too great an extent.

One curious omission from the Bill is that there is no provision relating to pillion riding. I think it is generally recognised that pillion riding on motor bicycles is a very fruitful source of accidents. The British Act made it illegal to carry more than one person as a passenger on a motor bicycle, and provided that that passenger should ride astride. Recently, I was motoring back from Donegal and I was not travelling at 30 miles an hour when I was passed on the road by a motor bicycle carrying three people. The roads were wet and the night stormy. I followed that bicycle for a considerable number of miles and I may say that every few minutes I expected to see all three people spilled on the road. How they avoided an accident at the rate they were going with such a load on that machine I do not know. Consequently, I think it should be made illegal to use a motor-bicycle in that way, or to carry more than one passenger, apart from the driver.

I would like also to endorse the suggestion made by Deputy O'Kelly in respect to the system of fines adopted here. A feeling is growing generally throughout the world that maximum fines are undesirable as class legislation. There is no doubt whatever that a fine of £10 might be a mere trifle to one man and a very serious thing for another. Under this Bill persons guilty of the same offence may be fined the same amount irrespective of what it means to them individually. Whereas on the face of it they receive the same punishment, in actual fact one person may be much more severely punished than another. In certain of the Scandinavian countries they have in operation a system of what they call "Day Fines." A person guilty of an offence is not charged the fixed amount, but so many days income, that income being calculated in accordance with fixed administrative rules. I think we might usefully consider the adoption of such a system here. It is quite obvious that a man with £3 a week who is fined £50 is much more severely punished than a man with £1,000 who is also fined £50. Some attempt should be made to adjust the scale of fines so as not to make it easier for the wealthy man who commits an offence than the one who is not so well off.

The Minister has taken power to make general regulations concerning the use of the road by motors. I think there is an obvious need for a very definite code for the guidance of motor users so that standardised instructions will take the place of the loosely defined and disregarded conventions that are now practised. The Minister has also power by regulation to prescribe the equipment that will be carried on cars, particularly on public service vehicles. There is one point on which I am very keen in this connection; it is that buses operating in the city should be equipped first of all with a stop light at the rere or some other sign which will indicate to any one travelling behind when they are going to stop. These buses are supposed to pull in to the footpath when they are about to slow down, but very frequently they pull up in the middle of the street, with the result that quite a number of accidents occur. It is impossible for the driver of the bus to indicate when he is going to stop. Similarly, with regard to large buses. The method at present in use of a driver putting out three or four fingers to indicate that he is going to turn around a corner is altogether unsuitable.

In Berlin, and in other continental cities, buses and, in fact, all cars are required to be equipped with mechanically signalling arms of sufficient size, particularly on the left side, that make it possible for anyone coming behind to know at once when it is the intention of the driver of the bus or of the car to turn. I think it would be desirable if a regulation of that kind were enforced here. These, of course, are all matters that can be far better discussed in Committee than on this stage of the Bill. I have expressed the general pleasure felt by members of all Parties at the form of the Bill and the manner in which it is worded and framed. If we succeed in getting it amended in respect to the matters that I have referred to, its passing, I believe, will be a very great benefit to the country and to those who use the roads in any way. The members who acted upon the Committee, those who gave evidence before it as well as those who assisted in the preparation of the Bill, are to be congratulated on their work. The only regret I have is that the evidence of their work was not brought before the House earlier.

I desire to join with the other Deputies who have spoken in congratulating the Minister on the introduction of this Bill. My main purpose in getting up is to object to the section that puts an obligation on farmers to carry a light at night when driving cattle along the roads. I have had as much experience, I think, as any member of the House as a motorist, and except on one occasion I have never heard of an accident resulting from a motorist driving into a bunch of cattle on the road. In that case the man concerned was drunk. No experienced motorist would do that. There is no danger I think of accidents resulting from that cause. A good deal, of course, turns on the point that was dealt with in the opening part of his speech by Deputy O'Kelly. He pointed out that it would be rather difficult to define what would be a safe speed limit. One man may drive carefully at sixty miles an hour while another man may be driving dangerously at twenty miles an hour. The Deputy expressed that point of view and I agree with him. It would be impossible to set down a speed limit which would make everyone a careful driver. I do not think there is any need to set down a speed limit in the Bill. If all motor drivers were as careful as, I think it will be agreed, most drivers are, there certainly would be no danger of any motorist driving into a drove of cattle or a flock of sheep. I cannot conceive any careful driver in charge of a modern car, equipped with the most up-to-date system of lighting, driving slap-bang into a drove of cattle on the road. The section, in my opinion, is not only unnecessary but it is almost an insult to the farmers of the country.

I, like many farmer Deputies, have had experience of driving cattle on the roads. I ask Deputies to consider what the position of a man would be under this section. He would have to carry a lamp for perhaps fifteen or twenty miles in his hands. In the course of the journey some of the cattle might rush into a gap. He would then have to lay down the lamp, run after the cattle and get them back to the road again. The other cattle in the bunch might have gone on a distance of three or four hundred yards in the meantime. When he returned to pick up his lamp he might find that the wind had blown out the light or that something else had happened to it. A man would also have a difficulty in carrying a lamp on a rainy or a stormy night. As a rule it is candles that are put in the lamps used by farmers. Farmers are not millionaires and cannot afford to provide themselves with electric lights. If, in the case of a man driving cattle along the road at night, the candle is blown out by the wind, what is his position going to be if a Guard comes along?

A difficulty may also arise in the case of farmers driving cattle in the evening from a home farm to an outlying farm two or three miles away. The farmer sets out shortly before sundown and expects to get to his destination before darkness sets in. If he fails to do that and a Guard meets him, is he to be prosecuted for not having a lamp? The same thing may occur in the case of a farmer taking cattle to a fair in the early hours of the morning. Although the light at the time may be good enough for the farmer's purpose he may be on the road at an hour when, according to this Bill, he is required to have a lamp. He may find himself stopped by a Guard and asked why he has not his lamp. The Guards, generally speaking, display great commonsense in the discharge of their duties, but an officious officer may interfere in a case like that with the result that 15, 20 or 40 farmers taking cattle to a fair in the early morning under such circumstances, may find themselves summoned in the next district court for failing to carry lights.

I believe that this section in the Bill is quite unnecessary. As I have already stated, I cannot conceive any motorist in charge of a car with up-to-date lighting equipment driving into a drove of cattle on the public road. It might be possible that coming around a bend a motorist could not see a drove of cattle on the road. That also might happen if the man in charge of the cattle had a lamp. If a motorist drives recklessly round a corner and runs into a bunch of cattle, he does not deserve protection from anybody. To most farmers this section will prove a very obnoxious one, and if the Minister himself does not bring in an amendment to delete it, I will have to put in one myself. I cannot see any possibility of danger, and I do not think the section is required. There may be danger in parts of the city where there is great congestion of cattle, but even there protection is afforded by the city lighting. Even in regard to the cities I do not think the section is required, and I am of opinion that the Minister should agree to its deletion.

I think this is a very good Bill, but rather marred by being too thorough. There is too much law; it gives far too much power to the Gárda, and contains too many provisions for Regulations—all of which are reserved from the Bill—they will only come later by instalments—and there is too great a tendency towards the principle of dual responsibility making two different parties responsible for the same offence. I am sure, for instance, with regard to the excessive amount of law, that anybody reading sub-section (2) of section 131, would agree that it looks a singular matter to be made the subject of legislation. I hardly think that the question there dealt with is much helped by making a law around it or that any necessity would ever arise for such a law. Similarly with regard to section 157, I could understand that section being in the Act that was passed during last week, but surely it is hardly necessary as part of the civil law, that "any member of the Gárda Síóchána may demand of any person in charge of a pedal bicycle or a pedal tricycle his name and address, and if any such person fails or refuses to give on such demand his name and address or give the name and address which such member reasonably believes to be false or misleading, such member may take such bicycle or tricycle as the case may be, by force if necessary, and retain it until such time as he is satisfied as to the identity of such person." Surely it is driving the law to extremes when any member of the House, cycling from here to Naas, for instance, can be challenged five, seven or a dozen times by a Guard and if the latter has any reason to doubt the name and address of such person, he can at once seize his bicycle and retain it. I do not think there can be any excuse for such a law as that. It is tyranny for one thing, and it cannot possibly be necessary. Then there is that precious phrase "reasonably believes." Both in that Section and Section 159 "reasonably believes" on the part of the Gárdai gives great opportunity for abuse, as everybody will I think admit.

Take another instance of what seems unnecessary law, the two Sections which govern the finances of the Bill. First of all, all expenses incurred in connection with the Roads Act, to such an extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, may be defrayed out of the Road Fund and for that purpose moneys out of the Road Fund are to be paid into the Exchequer. Then in sub-section (3) of the same Section, where the Minister for Finance likes to do so, he can defray the expenses directly out of the Road Fund. Is there any need for such a provision as that? Would not the first sub-section be quite sufficient in all the circumstances, that the money would be paid out of the Road Fund into the Exchequer and there dealt with according as it was required. It must be remembered that the Road Fund does not come under the Public Accounts Committee and if the Minister for Finance decides that a lot of the expenses incurred under the Roads Act of 1920 or under this Act, shall be defrayed direct out of the Road Fund, to that extent the Dáil is robbed of its supervision over the expenditure of such moneys.

The enormous powers given to the Gardai is I think well illustrated in Section 86. There it is proposed to enact that any member of the Gardai at any time or in any place, can inspect and examine any public service vehicle, and for that purpose do all or any of the following things: he may enter into any place in which such a vehicle is; if such vehicle is in motion he may require such vehicle to stop; he may require the driver of such vehicle to drive such vehicle forthwith to a convenient place indicated by such member for such inspection and examination; he may require persons in such vehicles to leave it, and then, after he has done all these things, he may decide to prohibit the use of such vehicle for carrying passengers for reward until repairs have been executed. He may prohibit such vehicle from being moved under its own power until repairs indicated by him have been executed and he may require the owner or driver to submit such vehicle to a further and more detailed inspection. All of that, mind you, is not merely given to the Gardai. It is given to every individual Garda. Any individual Garda, in the case of a public service vehicle, is entitled to do all the things which I have read out. Surely the Minister will admit that the ordinary Garda is hardly competent to exercise such functions as these. Would the ordinary Garda at Rathcoole, Blessington, Balbriggan, or elsewhere, be expected to be able to judge whether a public service vehicle was in a proper condition to continue its journey or whether it was dangerous to allow it to carry passengers or not? Is there not great room there for interference with the owners of public service vehicles, such interference as would cause much trouble, annoyance and expense? I hardly think there is need for such extreme powers as those. I do not know if anybody could believe there is such a need.

I notice with regard to the regulations that are mentioned in Section 13 that the Minister himself is empowered to make regulations regarding the construction of mechanically propelled vehicles, the equipment, fittings, instruments and so on. These regulations can be made and put into force. They come before the Oireachtas on the first occasion it meets thereafter, but months may elapse before that may happen. The Minister takes no power to amend or to revoke regulations he himself makes. The Minister will admit that it has happened before that Government Departments have made serious mistakes and since mistakes can occur, here is a position being created where if a mistake is made, no matter what the effect of the mistake may be, no matter what danger or confusion or annoyance it may cause either to the public or people owning mechanically propelled vehicles, there will be no power to amend or withdraw it in any way. I suggest to the Minister that it would have been worth while—I think Deputy Lemass has already suggested it—that in that case at all events, seeing that those regulations will be as important, he should attach the first schedule of these regulations to the Bill and have them discussed in connection with the Bill. Seeing that they are to come before the Dáil as soon as possible after publication, I think, considering the length of time the Bill has been in preparation, it would have been a very useful thing to have these regulations attached to the Bill so that the Dáil could see them and give its opinion as to whether they were reasonable or not.

On the question of compulsory insurance, does the Minister propose to continue the existing law with regard to accidents which are covered by insurance? So far as I know, the existing law is that if a person is killed in a motor accident, unless negligent driving can be proved, the insurance company is not liable. If a car skids, runs on to the footpath and a person is killed on the footpath, there are no damages recoverable in respect of the death of that person. That seems to be a very unfortunate state of affairs and I would like to know if the Minister considers that it is right and just that it should continue. The number of persons so affected would be large enough to justify special consideration of the question.

Similarly, it is rather a sorry thing for the Dáil that though they may protect property where the accident is due to neglgent driving they cannot give that protection when the accident occurs without the driver of the vehicle being in any way culpable. For instance, a man who has his cow killed through the skidding of a car cannot recover anything. If there were negligence, he would be able to recover. The situation of the man who has his animal killed is governed by something that is beyond his control.

I should like the Minister to tell us what the reasons are which induced the Government to decide in favour of compulsory insurance against damage to property as well as compulsory insurance against damage to life. If my information is correct, that means a difference of about thirty-three and one-third per cent. in the premiums. As insurance against damage to property is not compulsory in Great Britain, the reasons which induced our Government to enforce it would be interesting to hear. In most cases, the property of town and city people is insured already. Seeing that the provision will involve such a very big increase in the premiums, it is open to argument whether the probable benefit to property owners will compensate for that difference.

Section 51 mixes up, in my opinion, two things that are not quite related to each other. It would be rather a pity where a case for negligent driving is being tried that at the same time the case for damages should also be under consideration. An amendment is before the Minister, I understand, from another source on that question, and I shall not dwell upon it at the moment. I hope the Minister will explain what is meant by clause (d) of sub-section (4) of Section 51, dealing with "excluded persons.""Excluded persons" are persons who cannot get damages under this section. These persons include, in the case of a public service vehicle and in relation only to injury to property, "any person who on the said occasion was being carried in or upon or was entering or getting on to or alighting from such vehicle." I wonder what the meaning of that is? Take the case of a farmer who is passenger in a bus. His cattle happen to be on the road and one of them is killed by the bus.

It is only intended to exclude property carried by the persons who are being carried in a public service vehicle.

It seems to me that the clause, as it stands, relates to any property covered by insurance.

That is a Committee point.

It is not intended that insurance in respect of property in so far as public vehicles are concerned will include insurance of property carried by persons travelling in those vehicles.

In that case it will be very much a Committee point. If the Minister reads the clause carefully he will see that that is not the meaning that would be ordinarily taken out of the section as it stands at present.

This Bill has one unfortunate feature. If it goes through as it stands, a number of young men will lose their employment. The Bill prevents licences being given to drivers of public vehicles who are under 21 years of age. Quite a number of drivers of such vehicles at the present time are under 21 and are very competent. It would be a rather heartless thing if, where no offence has been proved against these young fellows, they were to be told to clear out of their employment until they were 21. I hope the Minister will agree to amend that provision when the Bill is in Committee. On the other question of dual responsibility, it seems to me a very foolish thing to make two different parties responsible for the same offence. For instance, Section 18 (2) makes the motor-owner responsible for the driver if the latter fails to renew his licence. There is no need whatever for that. The driver of any vehicle is a responsible person, and it is utterly unnecessary to make another person responsible for his failure or negligence. I submit there is no need whatever for it, and it will only cause worry and unnecessary trouble. With regard to the proposals relating to taxis, the proposal which makes it an offence to cause or to induce or direct the driver of a taxi to exceed the speed limit is going to lead to a frantic lot of cross-swearing, a lot of perjury, and a lot of annoyance to people who are perhaps strangers to the city. Not everyone can read speedometers; and to make an offence of such a harmless remark as " I hope you will be able to get to the railway station in time" or "to reach the hotel before 12 o'clock," on the part of a person who hires a taxi, is making the law ridiculous. The driver of a taxi ought to be as responsible as any other person in the community. To take part of the responsibility off him, and to suggest to him that if he is brought up the way out is to accuse the person who hired him of inducing him to exceed the speed limit is not a useful thing in law.

That will not save the driver.

He will surely expect it to save him, if he is able to say that he was influenced by the fact that the person in the taxi urged him and said it was a life and death matter that he should get to the hotel or railway station. That must surely appeal to the driver as a way to get out of the difficulty he finds himself in.

If a person commits an offence or crime it is no excuse for him to say "I was induced to do it."

It inevitably will affect the judge. It may not be an excuse in the eyes of the law theoretically, but surely the Minister will admit it will affect the person administering the law. It is accepted that one of the duties of a judge is to examine all the circumstances of a case and impose sentence in accordance with what those circumstances seem to demand. If he hears that the driver was urged to commit an offence, and that he was trying to do a good turn to another person, I think the Minister will admit that the judge in that case would be inclined to be lenient.

There is one section to the operation of which we will all look forward with great interest. Under Section 3 the Minister is to make regulations for the control and conduct of passengers in public vehicles. That will give our Puritan Minister a wonderful opportunity, and we will be all agog until the regulations are issued.

There is no doubt that this Bill will be received with acclamation all over the country. It has been waited for for a long time by those who use mechanically-drawn vehicles and also by pedestrians, who have a certain claim for the protection of their life and property. The Bill should be improved and made as perfect as is possible. To that end the best brains of the House, on all sides, are apparently being devoted. There are one or two things that I should like to mention. I think all drivers should be examined. I agree there is difficulty about it, but I think it is one of the most important matters in connection with the whole thing that the competency of drivers should be established, and that can be done only by examination. It is necessary under the Bill in the case of bus-drivers, but apparently it is not thought necessary in the case of private drivers. But it is among private drivers that the very worst instances of bad driving are to be found. One may come upon persons among private drivers who are hopelessly incompetent and who should not have a licence at all. The efficiency of everybody and the competency of everybody to drive a motor car should be determined, because it is not so much the speed as the manner in which a car is driven that makes the danger. Deputy Seán T. O'Kelly, I think, remarked that a car might be driven by one person at 45 miles an hour with perfect safety, while another person driving it only 20 miles an hour might prove a positive nuisance to the community. I think it is a very important matter that the competency and physical fitness of a person to manage a car should be clearly established before he is allowed to drive to the danger of the public and himself.

I am very glad to see that a matter that I brought forward once or twice, namely, that it should be compulsory on those who use push-bicycles to have a rear light is dealt with. In Dublin and the country districts these people constitute a very real danger to pedestrians even more so than motor cars. You are looking out sometimes for a motor-cyclist or a car when suddenly a push-bicycles comes forward and is in to you before you know where you are. That constitutes a very real danger. On the road between this and Naas I have seen push-bicycles without a light, long after lighting up time, and in may cases, no rere light at all. There is little or no expense in providing these rere lights. You can get one in one of Woolworth's establishments for 3d. which will show sufficient light at the back. There is no expense in regard to it and it is a very real danger not to have one of these lights. I am glad to see that matter is provided for in the Bill. Deputy Lemass mentioned the great danger there is in the way buses are pulled up suddenly in the streets. That is a danger of which I think everybody who has to use the streets at night is conscious. It is a very real danger. Many times I have seen accidents of this class averted by an absolute miracle. These buses are suddenly pulled up without any warning although there are many cars behind them.

I think that the age limit for licensing drivers should be raised. Fourteen years is altogether too young. At that age a boy is only just out of school and not fit to drive. I think that is a matter which should be given serious consideration. There is another matter which Deputy Sir James Craig spoke to me about, and that is that some regulation should be made to prevent the raucous noises made at night by motors both in the City and in country towns. These noises are quite unnecessary and are most detrimental to people who are sick or in a bad state of health.

Anybody who has had the misfortune to be in a nursing home in Dublin or in any big town will know that at night the unnecessary noises that are caused by motorists passing all night by these houses is a great nuisance. Deputy Sir James Craig will no doubt put that matter more clearly than I can, because he has vast experience of it. I think it is quite plain that the matter should be regulated, and that it cries out very urgently for something to be done about it.

I think that covers most of the matters that I feel concerned with. I do think this is a great attempt to make motor travelling in both cities and in the country safe for us, and that when this is improved, and the Bill is passed through its different stages we shall have cause to congratulate ourselves for having put forward such a measure.

I think it is unnecessary to waste a great deal of time in discussing the second reading because the principles involved in the Bill have been accepted on all sides already. It is during the Committee Stage that a good deal will have to be said in regard to the changes to be made. As Deputy Wolfe has stated I was afraid I would not get here in time, as I was lecturing, and I asked him to mention the matter of noises. I want to ask the Minister whether any power is taken in the Bill to deal with the excessive or unnecessary noises that arise through the use of mechanically propelled vehicles. The immoderate use of raucous horns on ordinary vehicles and the want of silencers on motor bicycles create a disturbance about which I have heard complaint after complaint. If those people are using the ordinary arteries of traffic it is almost impossible for people who are sleeping in the region of these areas to get any sleep after 11 o'clock at night. Only yesterday a complaint was made to me that the street which runs from Merrion Square through Fitzwilliam Street and Fitzwilliam Square to Leeson Street, a long stretch, is nearly every night used as a racing track by motor cyclists, and that it is almost impossible to get sleep in that locality when those cyclists come out on it. It is a very serious matter if people are unable to get sleep, and these things should be looked to. There is no consideration whatever for people who sleep in the front of houses when those vehicles are out at night. I sleep in the front in Merrion Square, a main artery of traffic, and I know what it means, fortunately I am so used to it that I get sleep. It is hard, but after a few hours you get your sleep, and when one is asleep one is often aroused.

I want to know whether attention has been drawn to the fact that it is necessary that silencers should be used for motor bikes because in the majority of cases they seem to ignore the law. If there is a law it certainly has not taken effect. It is a most extraordinary thing that cyclists are allowed to use bicycles without an efficient silencer. The second point is that the excessive speed at which motor cyclists go through ordinary traffic is the cause of a great many disasters. I do not think that anyone will deny that motor cyclists go at far too great a speed in the ordinary traffic to prevent accidents occurring.

The other thing I object to most strenuously is that the pedal cyclist, when there is a hold-up of traffic, comes in on the right and on the left and catches hold of your car. In short, when the traffic is held up, people on pedal cycles are allowed to do what they like. There should be an end put to that.

I come now to a matter that appears to have been dealt with. I am sorry I did not hear the discussion, but the regulations and the by-laws must be very clearly defined with regard to buses. I do not think there is anything more disgraceful in the whole traffic system than the fact that three buses are allowed to start at the same hour for similar destinations, and during the time these three buses are proceeding to their destination they are passing and repassing one another at various points without any consideration for the rest of the traffic. That must be stopped. There must be a time-table whereby three buses cannot start for the same place at the same hour.

The next point which apparently Deputy Lemass mentioned, is that many of the buses stop without any warning quite suddenly, not on the side of the street but actually on the tram-tracks. Only yesterday a bus stopped absolutely suddenly without any warning in front of me, and it was by the merest chance I was able to get my brakes on to prevent my car running into it. That must be put an end to also. These men must do something in order to help the traffic. With regard to the Bill itself, there will be a great deal of discussion on the Committee Stage. There is one sub-section that I hope will go, namely, sub-section (3) of Section 46. Section 46 deals with the prohibition of dangerous driving. Then there is this foolish sub-section put in: "Proof that a person charged with an offence under this section was, at the time at which such offence is alleged to have been committed, driving a mechanically propelled vehicle at a speed exceeding thirty miles an hour shall be prima facie evidence of the commission of such offence."

Who is going to prove that he was driving over thirty miles an hour? Is it the onlooker? No onlooker can tell. Is it the man himself? He is not likely to prove that he was driving over 30 miles an hour. In other words, it would be very much better to go into the open and say that the law will compel a man to keep within thirty miles an hour than to have a foolish thing like this put down. How proof can be obtained that a man was driving over thirty miles an hour I do not know. I would not be in a position as an onlooker to say that any vehicle was going over thirty miles an hour. Most of us know that fifteen miles an hour would be very much more dangerous driving in congested traffic than thirty or forty miles an hour on the open road. I am all for careful driving at all times. I am particularly for slow and careful driving when you come into traffic, but on the open road I have enough of the sporting spirit within me to say that we should not be tied down to even thirty miles. I was brought on one occasion to the Kingstown Police Courts to answer a charge of having driven at 26? miles an hour on the Stillorgan road. What happened? I was not told a solitary thing about it. I did not know where it had happened; I did not know that there was a trap laid for me. I remembered going down the road and that there was no traffic on it. The police, who had nothing else to do, brought me down to Kingstown to answer that charge. I hope there will be no more of that sort of thing. That was the only time that I had been in the clutches of the law. On one occasion, when I told a policeman that I never had an accident, that I was a careful driver, he asked: "How do I know that you are speaking the truth?" I said: "Do you think I would tell a lie?"

We are all glad to see this Bill. We want to see certain changes effected in the control of traffic, and this Bill is a tremendous advance on what has been done in the past.

The first criticism of the Bill which I make is one that I do not imagine will have any effect on the Bill, but it may affect the mind of the Minister in the administration of the Act afterwards. This Bill is a codifying act; it is gathering together all the law previously in existence, reinforcing most of it, adding to it, and changing it to some extent. In doing so the Minister has changed the wording of the old law. It is always advisable in codifying law to stick as far as possible to the former wording, because it is the law the people have been accustomed to. It is the law that lawyers know and that policemen have learned to use in framing charges and matters of that kind. It is necessary to have it as simple as possible, because the mind of the policeman is not very highly trained, and it will take a very considerable time to get them accustomed to the new forms of what is really the old law. Therefore, it would have been far better to have stuck to the wording of the old law as far as possible whenever it was adopted, rather than to have done what they did. I hope the Ministers will keep that in mind and that their attention will be given to training these people who are concerned with it to accustom themselves to the law as it has been redrafted.

Another matter which interests me considerably is giving power to the judge to fix the damages after the jury has made a decision as to who is liable. That, I think, is a very bad departure from an important principle. The function of a jury, as has often been pointed out from these benches, is not merely to give a technical decision on a matter. They may sometimes be defective in a thing like that. It arises from the nature of a thing that laymen might make mistakes of that sort, but it is the lesser of two evils. It is very much more important that public opinion should get this way of expressing itself in saying what is the general justice in the matter. The complaint in a great many cases is that juries are too severe in imposing damages. The reason why juries are severe is because they, as part of the general public, feel that it is too much to be having seventy casualties per week arising out of the traffic, as it is at present, and so in that way the juror gets an opportunity of asserting what is a right judgment from the point of view of the public. Now the tendency of the Government is to centralise—to give over powers which properly belong to the public to individuals. In this Bill power is being taken out of the hands of the juries and handed to the judges. I think that is a very unhealthy change and a breach of principle which is very valuable from the public point of view.

The only other matters to which I wish to refer are details. The Minister will have to introduce somewhere or other a definition of locomotive because at present by a process of elimination a flying machine in certain circumstances will be included. I understand there are some important bodies that feel it would be necessary to put in a definition of a locomotive. One source of security has been found in English motor traffic of which there is no mention in this Bill. Perhaps the Minister will have it in the other Bill that he is going to bring in soon, that is the use of the white line at corners of the road. It has been found by experience that this is more valuable than taking off corners and breaking down walls. As long as motor vehicles keep to their own side of the white line turning corners very few accidents will occur. On all dangerous corners the white line should be used. It is not expensive and in some cases it is used with great advantage even in this country.

I agree with Deputy Sir James Craig about the silencer. In a great many countries there are very severe laws and regulations dealing with noise as a nuisance in the public streets. The law should be vigorously applied in the case of the cities and towns where there must be people suffering severely from this nuisance.

On the point of speed, I am rather inclined to think that speed does count in the question of negligent driving because according as a person increases his speed he is putting his machine to a much greater test of efficiency. I must say I do think that 30 miles an hour is a reasonable limit because the real danger does not begin until you reach about 35 or 38 miles an hour. In the case of ordinary cars which have been suffering from a certain amount of wear and tear I am inclined to think that when going at 38 miles you cannot be quite certain about your brakes unless you are very careful in seeing to them beforehand. Certainly over 45 miles an hour becomes a danger from the point of view of the tyres. A curious thing is that in most of the very bad accidents that occur it is very competent drivers that are involved. The learner is not a very great menace on the road. He may be a bit of a nuisance when you want to pass him out. If we were to be logical what we should do in applying a test is to prevent the really competent drivers from driving because it is in their case most of the accidents occur. The fact of the matter is I believe that speed does enter into the situation, even where it is not a question of the cities or public thoroughfares. We have not got roads like they have in Italy where there are roads exclusively used for motor traffic with no cross-roads. Some sort of a limit is required. I agree with Deputy Sir James Craig that the present arrangement in the Bill is perfectly futile.

Like other speakers, I am glad that this measure has been introduced. Like other Deputies, too, I feel that in some parts it will require amendment. I will deal with one or two sections in the hope that the Minister will see his way to tighten a nut or screw here and there and so make the Bill as nearly fool-proof as possible.

Section 20 deals with an application for a driving licence, but it does not indicate how the assurance in regard to physical fitness is to be arrived at. The applicant for a driver's licence signs an ordinary form: "I hereby declare that to the best of my knowledge I am not suffering from any disease or physical or mental disability which would be likely to cause the driving of a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place by me to be a source of danger to the public." What I am rather anxious to include in the Bill is the granting of a certificate of fitness, physical and otherwise, on the same lines as in the case of the ordinary railway guard or locomotive engineer. They have to undergo certain tests at stated periods, physical tests, eyesight tests, and so on, to prove their fitness to act as locomotive drivers or guards on railways. I fail to see why a test of a similar character should not be applied to a man who wants to drive a motor car, either privately owned or plying for hire.

In Section 21 the granting of driving licences is referred to and we find here, just as in the previous section, that the age of 14 years is mentioned. With Deputy Wolfe and other Deputies I feel that 14 years should be changed to 18 or 19 years. I do not think it is right to give a driving licence to a young lad of fourteen, especially in view of the congested state of traffic in cities and towns in the State. There is no reference to a proper medical test here either: there is simply a declaration that a man is physically fit and capable of driving a motor car.

Section 28 sets out a special disqualification order. A Gárda Síochána Superintendent is empowered to disqualify. I suggest that a Superintendent or any Gárda Síochána officer is not an authority competent to decide whether a man is physically fit. That is a job for the medical profession. Sight and physical tests and general health tests are purely matters in the domain of the medical officer, and should not be left to an officer of the Gárda Síochána.

Section 31 provides for the endorsement of driving licences. Here we have a number of offences set out which would justify the endorsement of a driving licence. I do not see reference to any penalty that should be imposed on the driver of a motor car or mechanically propelled vehicle who knocks down a pedestrian and, when called upon to halt by witnesses to the accident, refuses to do so and drives away. I think there should be some deterrent and I suggest there should be some section inserted which would provide very drastic punishment for the cowardly ruffian who knocks down a pedestrian, drives away and is not brought within the domain of the law at any time for the offence. I have in mind an accident which occurred in Cork City within the last three or four weeks. A woman was knocked down by a motor car driven at a rate, I am informed, of 35 to 40 miles an hour. Having knocked down this woman, who, I understand, is in danger of death, the motorist escaped over the North Gate Bridge and he has not been heard of since; as far as the police authorities are concerned, they could not trace him. He drove over the bridge at a terrific rate. There should be some section in the Bill enabling the authorities, when a scoundrel of the class I have referred to is run to earth, to mete out very drastic punishment apart altogether from whatever the civil law might do. Such a person ought to be deprived of his driving licence for all time.

I am in thorough agreement with the principles outlined in the Bill. I hope it will be amended here and there so as to improve its sections. I feel sure that the Minister will agree that in a Bill of this character which, of course, must have taken a great deal of time to draft, it will be necessary for him to respond to any commonsense suggestions that will be made by Deputies who have experience of conditions in the country. One individual has not been mentioned in this Bill except in a haphazard way. I refer to the ordinary pedestrian. There is no suggestion for empowering, as they have done in other countries, the local authorities to erect stations in a public street such as O'Connell Street, in Dublin, or Patrick Street in Cork, where pedestrians might stand until such time as the policeman on duty would give the signal for traffic to pass. These things are very necessary and they would be a natural corollary to a Bill of this character. I trust the Minister will give favourable consideration to my suggestions. He should, if possible, make it compulsory on local authorities to have safety stations erected in busy thoroughfares.

There are one or two points of importance to which I would like to refer. Deputy Anthony dealt with special disqualification orders and he mentioned that power is placed in the hands of a Superintendent to decide the grounds upon which a person should be disqualified. That particular section gives rather extraordinary powers to an individual, in this instance a Gárda Síochána officer. I notice there is a right of appeal from his decision. There might be, for instance, a cranky Superintendent or a man with peculiar ideas, and he might object on grounds that would be utterly absurd. I agree that certain tests should be imposed. I might perhaps have personal reasons for objecting to a too stringent, eyesight test. A Superintendent might insist on a certain eyesight test that many of us who have driven without accident for years would be unable to pass. I think some definite regulations should be laid down with respect to the qualifications required for an eyesight test.

Sub-section (3) of Section 46, which has been referred to by Deputy Sir James Craig, is absurd. That sub-section sets out that proof that a person charged with an offence under the section was at the time of the offence driving at a speed exceeding 30 miles an hour shall beprima facie evidence of the commission of such offence. Who is to know that he is driving at over thirty miles an hour? The driver is the only man who can look at the speedometer and at the time of the accident he would scarcely be looking at it. He certainly would take a very broad view of the speed at which he was travelling. People looking at an accident are very often incapable of estimating the speed. I think that the sub-section is absurd. The majority of accidents of this type occur as a result of other parties entering the main road from a side road. The person entering from a side road has a very great responsibility; a greater onus is thrown on him. Very often cars will enter from a side road on to the main road at considerable speed, and it is generally in such cases accidents occur. A big share of responsibility should be placed upon the person driving on to the main road from a side road. Emphasis should be made not so much upon the driver on the main road as upon the driver emerging from the side road.

The carrying of rear lights by persons who drive cattle on the roads at night-time is a very necessary regulation. I know there will be a certain amount of hardship thrown upon farmers and those who have to go out driving cattle in the dark along our roadways, but for their own sakes it is advisable that they should carry some warning light, and I consider this a salutary regulation. Apart from being a safeguard for the drivers of the cattle, it is also a safeguard for the drivers of motor vehicles, and it is in every way a good provision. I know it will be said that it will cause a lot of trouble to farmers, who will have to keep their lamps lighting and in good condition, and I know farmer Deputies will object; but I think, in the interests of everybody concerned, the provision in the Bill is a wise one.

I understand the adjournment was to be moved in order to give Deputies an opportunity of expressing their opposition to the suggestion that the House should not meet next week. If the proposal is not moved until 2 o'clock there will not be much opportunity of getting a vote, and there will be no chance of a debate.

With regard to this Bill, I understand it was agreed that the Second Reading would be concluded to-day. If it is to be concluded before 2 o'clock the Minister would require at least one quarter of an hour in which to reply to points raised.

Mr. O'Connell

Do I understand that it is the intention of the Government to move the adjournment of the House until Wednesday week?

Yes. The President indicated that this morning.

Mr. O'Connell

I was hoping there would be an opportunity of discussing this proposal.

Is it intended to finish the Second Reading of this Bill before 2 o'clock?

It was arranged that the Second Reading of this Bill would be completed to-day, and that it would not be necessary to sit late in order to complete it.

Is it still intended to complete the Second Reading of the Bill to-day?

I think it ought to be completed. Much of the discussion that has taken place had reference to Committee points. There are some matters, however, upon which I would like to say a few words.

Before the Minister proceeds to justify the case for the Bill I would like to know if an opportunity will be given to members of the House to indicate whether they are satisfied that there is a good case for the adjournment of the House over next week. It has been customary on former occasions of this kind, when an indication of opposition was given to an adjournment, to give those opposed to such an adjournment an opportunity to state their case. I want a ruling as to whether the Minister should be allowed to take up the remainder of the time. If he is, will there be an opportunity given after 2 o'clock to Deputies who wish to speak on the adjournment motion?

That is not a matter for me to rule upon.

Will the Minister for Local Government now indicate if an opportunity will be given after 2 o'clock to discuss this matter, if he is allowed to take up the time between now and 2 o'clock?

The President intimated that he proposed at the conclusion of business to-day to adjourn until Wednesday week. He said he wished to conclude the Second Reading of this Bill to-day. I suggested we should sit late in order to complete this Bill. The Ceann Comhairle said he did not think that would be necessary, and Deputy O'Kelly agreed that it would not be necessary to sit late in order to complete it. I understand there was a tacit agreement that the Second Reading would be completed. No motion to sit late has been submitted arising out of the more or less tacit understanding that we would finish the Second Reading of the Traffic Bill. I did not hear a request on the part of anyone that any particular length of time should be given to permit a discussion taking place on the adjournment motion.

It was understood, I think, that there would be some opportunity of taking the feeling of the House on the matter. That is the usual procedure.

We have only until 2 o'clock, and if any Deputy desires to make a statement on the Adjournment Motion I will make this suggestion. As far as the Traffic Bill is concerned, much of the discussion dealt with Committee points. There are certain things I would have liked to say, given time, but in order to help Deputies I will refrain from making any statement now. There may be on the part of Deputies a considerable amount of trouble in framing amendments to this measure. The important thing, from my point of view and from the point of view of the House in connection with the Traffic Bill, is that the Committee Stage shall be taken at the earliest possible moment so that as much consideration as possible can be given to the large number of amendments that have been submitted by various organisations connected with the motor industry.

[An Ceann Comhairle resumed the Chair.]

I contemplate a very early Committee Stage; that is to say, to have the Committee Stage on next Wednesday week in order to get the first run over it as early as possible with a view to recommitting the Bill again on Report. I think it would be much more satisfactory if we had the Committee Stage on Wednesday week. Then there would be a fortnight intervening between the time when the Bill was brought in and the Report. If it were recommitted on Report, the House will probably agree that that is a satisfactory way of dealing with it. In that way a lot of unnecessary discussion would be avoided and time would be saved.

I would be prepared to accept the closing of this discussion now without any further debate on the Second Reading, and I would be prepared to move the adjournment of the House in order that such Deputies as wish to do so can say a word as to whether we should adjourn or not over next week. That will give them an opportunity. If the House is agreeable to that, I propose that the Second Reading be taken now without further discussion.

Question agreed to.

Committee Stage fixed for Wednesday, 4th November, 1931.