When is it proposed to take the Fourth and Fifth Stages?
Committee and Final Stages.
I propose to take them now, with the leave of the House.
I put a question to the Minister and would now ask him to reply to it.
I recollect the question. As regards the Deputy's point, it occurred to me that it was better to leave the Bill as flexible as possible. I have not seen this Fair. I do not know the extent of it or what area it covers, and I felt it would be better to leave it to the District Justice for Cork who will probably have seen this himself, or at all events have the assistance of the local Gárdaí, and then he will be able to judge as to whether one licence is to cover two bars or rooms which may be close together, or whether he may limit the licence to a particular bar in the fair and let the caterer apply for a fresh licence for the second bar in some other part of the fair if he thinks fit. I felt that that was the most practical way of dealing with the matter. I wonder if Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney has any criticism to offer on that or does Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney suggest that there should be one licence enabling the caterer to open bars anywhere he likes throughout the fair? I am afraid I would not be able to agree to that suggestion. It would render the Bill somewhat controversial.
Unless the District Justice has a full measure of control as regards the particular place in the fair where a bar may be opened I could not see my way to accept an amendment. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney referred to what I may call the power of revocation of these licences contained in paragraph (e) of Section 2. That sub-section was inserted by me after I had been induced to agree to the three months period because I was not prepared to introduce a Bill which would give a licence for a period of three months—a licence of this sort, without an overriding provision enabling it to be revoked. I feel that in addition to sub-section (e) of Section 2 it is desirable that the burden should be cast upon the applicant for a licence of renewing his application after a period of three months and leaving to the police the liberty to object to and resist that new application if they think fit to do so.
I think the Minister slightly mistook my meaning. The reason I asked if it was the intention to grant one licence was this—I wanted to know whether there would be one reputable caterer for the whole fair and I assume there will. If there is one caterer being appointed I do not see any reasonable possibility of this Bill being abused.
The difficulty I foresee in granting the licence as distinct from licences like this is that this area is substantially one area, some huge park. If a licence is granted for section A of the fair and another licence is granted for section B, which is annother department of the fair, then you would have this position: Suppose the manager of the licence for section B commits an offence against the licensing laws his licence is withdrawn. I think the Minister will agree that the licence covers all the premises within the curtilage of the premises licensed —that is to say it must cover it. It is the duty of the Gárda and the Excise authorities to see and insist that all places within the curtilage are licensed. Are there to be a series of licences within this curtilage? And if the manager of a licence violates the licensing laws and his licence is suspended for what part of the bazaar or fair is it to be suspended? I think it would be better if a general licence were issued. The Minister will agree that it is the law that the excise people and the police authorities must see that the entire place is under licence. It is only for the protection of the organisers of the Fair that I am speaking because we are all anxious it should be made a national success.
I think I can give a little information to the Minister. The Fair ground comprises about 70 or 80 acres of land. There is only one licensed contractor for the whole place. So far as I know there will I think be a club for the members and a licensed bar for the people attending the Fair. I assure you that everything will be done in a proper manner. The man who is taking the contract is a man on whom you can personally rely to see that everything is done in a proper way.
This Bill has been stampeded through the House. I think what the Minister's own instinct revealed to-day would have been the better thing to abide by. I am sorry this infernal Bill has been introduced. Here we are solemnly passing a Bill and setting up a bar to allow a lot of Cork visitors wet their whistles on Sundays. This is a grave matter. Every single sports meeting in the country will throw this Bill in the teeth of people who are trying to do away with drink at sports meetings up and down the country. I quite see that the Industrial Exhibition in Cork is a very special occasion. It probably will be given special facilities by the Justice. All that could have been done in that way. This Bill will become the Magna Charta of every promoter of sports meetings from Kinsale to Derry.
The last speaker referred to this as an infernal Bill. So far as I can see, it is the infernal speeches that are made about the Bill that are wrong. Some of the lawyers have had their set-to on the Bill, but any man of common sense who reads this Bill will see it simply asks that permission be granted for licensed premises to be opened at the Irish Agricultural and Industrial Fair to be held in Cork from 11th May to end of October. There is no analogy whatsoever between an ordinary sports meeting held on a Sunday and this Irish Agricultural and Industrial Fair. I am rather surprised at the limited intelligence of people who must have gone through some course of education trying to read into this Bill something objectionable and trying to confuse the minds of the Deputies. The Minister, in introducing this Bill, has explained at very great length what it meant. To the ordinary man of intelligence what the Bill meant was quite clear, but to the obscure intelligence of some of the lawyers it was not clear. That is what it boils down to, stripped of all legal phraseology and verbiage. It simply means that the Cork Industrial and Agricultural Fair promoters are asking that a licence for the sale of liquor within the ordinary legal limits be granted for their grounds. In other words, to be put on the same level as the ordinary publicans in Cork during the time of the Industrial and Agricultural Fair. They are asking no more and no less.
Deputy Anthony has covered most of the matters to which I intended to refer. It was more or less at my instigation that this Bill was rushed through. It is not a controversial Bill in any sense, and the main object of getting it passed is that the Committee are anxious to get ahead with the work and conclude all preliminary arrangements. The Industrial and Agricultural Fair in Cork will be an important function both from a national and from a local point of view. It will be of great assistance to Irish industries and agriculture, and on that account alone it is deserving of every facility on the part of members of this House. As regards the responsibility for this licence, as has been indicated, there will be one individual caterer. He will accept full responsibility. I understand that drink will be sold only at certain specified places and there will be no possibility of the licence being extended beyond those buildings.
With regard to the suggestion that this may be accepted as a precedent for Sunday facilities elsewhere, and that it is the Magna Charta for all Sunday sports promoters, I think it is up to the people interested in those other gatherings to look after themselves; those organising the function at Cork are capable of looking after their own business. This Bill does not intend to give increased facilities beyond those granted to any ordinary licensee on Sundays at the moment.
Question: "That the Bill do now pass"—agreed to.
Message ordered to be sent to the Seanad.