Intoxicating Liquor (Occasional Licences) Bill, 1932.—Second Stage.

I move: That the Bill be now read a Second Time. The object of this Bill is to allow reasonable facilities for the sale of intoxicating liquor to persons visiting the Industrial and Agricultural Fair outside Cork City that will open on 11th May and continue until the end of September or October. The normal method of providing these facilities is by way of the grant of an occasional licence such as is granted to race meetings, and that is in fact the general line upon which we are proceeding. There are, however, two restrictions on the normal occasional licences which would hardly be reasonable in connection with this particular occasion, and they are: That an occasional licence is granted for no longer than three consecutive days; also, that an occasional licence cannot be granted for Sundays. We propose to allow the occasional licence in connection with the Fair to be granted for a maximum period of three months, without prejudice to a fresh grant after that period. We also propose to allow the sale of intoxicating liquor on Sundays at such hours not earlier than one in the afternoon or later than nine in the evening as the Justice may prescribe and subject to such conditions as he may prescribe. On week-days, the ordinary law for occasional licences will operate; that is, the hours will be such as the Justice who deals with the matter shall prescribe. In effect, therefore, we are interfering with the ordinary law to the extent only of permitting a limited sale on Sundays.

I understand that the Fair grounds are outside the county borough of Cork but apparently within the licensing area of the county borough justice. I have thought it right, however, to say explicitly, for the removal of any doubt, that for licensing purposes the grounds shall be deemed to be within the county borough so as to give the county borough justice clear jurisdiction. That is practically all that it is necessary to say about the Bill. Perhaps I should add this for the benefit of any Deputies who may not be familiar with the licensing code, that occasional licences cannot be granted without giving forty-eight hours notice to the Civic Guard authorities. The Civic Guard authorities are entitled to be heard at the application and that rule will of course apply automatically to any licence that may be granted under this Bill, if it becomes an Act.

Would it not be better when this Fair is opening at a certain time and closing at a certain fixed date to issue a licence to cover the entire period and save the organising committee the cost of fresh application?

In reference to what Deputy MacMenamin has said I may say that it was with considerable reluctance that I sponsored this Bill at all. At one time I took the view that the ordinary law was quite sufficient to meet the needs of this Fair, and, that having regard to the magnitude of the Fair according to all the accounts I hear about it, the burden and expense of applying, even every third day, for an occasional licence, would not be out of proportion and would ensure a measure of supervision on the part of the police authorities that might be desirable. However, representations that were made to me satisfied me that there was perhaps little ground for some of the apprehensions which I first entertained in regard to the fair, and, eventually, I was persuaded to make the period of the licence as long as three months and I consider that is rather a long period. The expense of applying for a renewal of the licence is trivial. My feeling is that at least after three months the police authorities ought to have an opportunity of saying something about the manner in which the licence holder has conducted his bar and as to the supervision of his trade. I would submit to the House that the burden is not so great as to necessitate any amendment to the Bill. I think Deputy McMenamin is not really opposing the Bill and that the point he is making is rather a Committee point. I am dealing with it now in the only way it strikes me.

The only thing that struck me looking over the measure is that the reservation the Minister has in his mind could be met by a report from the Guards in the ordinary way upon the conduct of these licensed premises.

Do I understand the Minister is granting a licence for three months and so that people living within the area can get drink on Sundays there from one p.m. to nine p.m.?

From what I know of the mind of the people running this exhibition, they will be enthusiastically anxious to see that no abuse of any sort or kind or description takes place in relation to it. I am quite sure that they will be willing to meet the point raised by the Minister, that is to say, that after three months they will resubmit their application for a renewal of the licence. I know they are very anxious indeed that this precedent which is being made in relation to this matter, and due to their conduct and use of the powers given them, should not lead to a precedent which would be in any way evil, and I am quite sure they will co-operate in every way with the authorities.

I am not opposing this Bill, but I would like to know from the Minister if it is the intention to grant one licence only or to have numerous licences granted. I would point out that sub-section (e) enables the Guards to come before the court at any time and have the licence rescinded if there is any abuse of any kind.

Question "That the Bill be now read a Second Time"—put and agreed to.