In Committee on Finance. - Finance Bill, 1932—Committee Stage (Resumed).

Debate resumed on amendment 208 (a).

The Minister said yesterday that he was prepared to accept amendment 208a.

It may have been accepted in principle, but that is not quite the same thing.

The amendment is taken from the Minister's own words as applied to another Reference number. I do not press for anything more than the acceptance of the principle. I think, however, that it will be found that the Minister has actually accepted the words as they stand. However, I am prepared to hold it up until the Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Second Schedule, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Third Schedule ordered to stand part of the Bill.
FOURTH SCHEDULE.

I move amendment 209:—

Before the Fourth Schedule to insert a new Schedule as follows:—

Fourth Schedule.

Rates of Duty on Certain Mechanically Propelled Vehicles.

Mechanically propelled vehicles (other than trams) being hackney carriages as defined in Section 4 of the Customs and Inland Revenue Act, 1888, and having—

seating capacity for more than 6 but not more than 14 persons

£46

13

4

seating capacity for more than 14 but not more than 20 persons

£66

13

4

seating capacity for more than 20 but not more than 26 persons

£86

13

4

seating capacity for more than 26 but not more than 32 persons

£106

13

4

seating capacity for 33 or more persons

£3 6 8 for every such person.

For the purpose of this Schedule the seating capacity of a vehicle does not include the seat or space occupied by the driver of the vehicle.

This is designed to give effect to, and must be taken in conjunction with, amendment 65, which is to insert a new section before Section 26 as follows:—

(1) The excise duties chargeable under Section 13 of the Finance Act, 1920, on the mechanically propelled vehicles mentioned in the Fourth Schedule to this Act shall, as on and from the 1st day of July, 1932, be charged, levied, and paid at the rates specified in the said Fourth Schedule in lieu of the rates specified in the Fifth Schedule to the Finance Act, 1929 (No. 32 of 1929).

The purpose of this section is briefly to give effect to the statement in the Budget speech that we proposed in view of the very special difficulties in which small bus owners, in particular, found themselves, to reduce the existing seating tax of £5 per head per seat in buses and chars-a-banc.

It is great to see at least one election pledge being kept.

A good deal of the transport costs of this country for the last two years have been uneconomic and an inquiry here in Dublin with one of the most important transport companies in the country illustrated that fact a few years ago. It is common knowledge that the railroad companies have been in difficult circumstances, particularly for the last two or three years. Obviously for some particular reason other agencies came in, in competition with the railways, and the resultant effect is that neither the railways nor their competitors are now pursuing what, in commercial parlance, would be called an economic business proposition. The railways are suffering in loss of revenue, largely attributable to the competition that they have from other sources. The ex-Minister for Industry and Commerce pointed out in this House that transport was being provided at uneconomic prices. That is common knowledge. In order to equate the cost, in respect of the upkeep of the railways, some two or three years ago, the tax on seating accommodation in the buses was raised to about £5. It is now proposed to reduce it. Is that to be a solution of the transport problem, which is an extreme one? The railways companies are in exceedingly great difficulty. The £100 ordinary stock of the railway companies is at present selling for £7 or £8 and it was as low as £5 and that is to some extent due to this competition. Now it was not the railways that started the competition. The competition was started by other bodies, and taking the major investment, if we are looking after the investment of our people, this proposition does not appear, on the face of it, to be a solution of either the minor or the major problem.

The amount saved, to what is called the small bus companies, is negligible and the competition goes in favour of the extent of whatever saving there is to the bus companies in this case. If there was any indication as to the consideration of any new policy in respect of transport along with this proposal there would be some reason for it. While it is mentioned that it is intended to help the small bus companies the fact is that it helps all bus companies; they all participate and get the advantage of this particular concession. If, as I say, there was any indication that we were to consider transport policy as such, if there was any indication that in the income tax proposal of the Minister relief would be offered to the unfortunate people who hold ordinary stock in the Great Southern Railway, then, I say some attempt would be made to equate the railways as a transport agency. No one is going to vote against this, but it is a bad method of solving the problem, if there is a problem to be solved. It is pure and simple political bribery and the Minister knows it.

Why not vote against it?

I agree with some of the viewpoints put forward by Deputy Cosgrave, that in many respects, the mentality indicated in this amendment is a mentality that, I think, may have dangerous repercussions so far as the railway industry is concerned. The proposal in this section is to give a certain kind of relief to small buses, ostensibly, but in effect all buses secure the remission of the seating tax as set out in the section. Probably the amount of relief is not very considerable. At the same time this proposal seems to me to savour of a desire to bolster up an uneconomic transport system. The proposal in the section is to help the small bus companies which, of course, as everybody with any experience of the small companies must know, means helping bus companies that pay scandalously low rates of wages, and compel their employees to work scandalously long hours. I suppose an attempt will be made to excuse that state of affairs. But if the Minister makes independent enquiries, on his own, he will find that many of these small bus companies are paying rates of wages, and enforcing conditions of labour, that would be a reflection upon any decent Christian society. Is this the kind of bus company that is to be assisted under this section? and that the State are so much concerned about? Is this an indication that the State is going to assist them in face of the fact that the railway companies, whatever be their disability, are paying rates of wages negotiated between themselves and the railwaymen's Union? As I said, the amount of relief is not considerable but the mentality behind it is much more serious. The railway industry is a vital industry so far as this country is concerned. You may blame the railway directors and the shortsightedness of their policy. But one fact remains that £25,000,000 of our money is invested in the railway industry; that 17,000 men have devoted lives to the railway service and I earnestly hope that the proposal in this Bill is not an indication on the part of the State of buttressing up an uneconomic transport system but rather that the Minister will give some assurance in his reply to the effect that he will do something to regulate the tangle into which the transport system has been allowed to degenerate and that we will have some definite indication from the Minister that this is not the first step along the road to accelerate further economic disintegration of the railway industry. I hope the Minister will give that assurance and the further assurance that this is not a pro-bus proposal or an anti-railway proposal.

This is a question that, in my opinion, deserves the serious consideration of every Deputy in this House. There are two aspects of the situation to be taken into account— the position of the railway company on one hand and the position of the bus companies on the other. It must be known to everybody who takes a serious interest in these two situations that there is a very great difference as to what the responsibility of each is. We must keep in mind that the railway companies are the payers of very substantial rates; they contribute in a very substantial way. The bus companies, on the other hand, come in to use the road, but at what time do they come in to use the road? They come in at a time when £2,000,000 had been borrowed and expended on the construction of roads in this country. Then, and only then, did they appear on the scene. If you compare that with the condition of a railway company what do you find? If a railway company wants to construct a railroad they have, first of all, to seek legislation, then to acquire the necessary land to construct the railroad, and when they have that done they have, out of their own expenditure, to construct the railroad. When that road is constructed they have to provide rolling stock, and they have to maintain the road and the rolling stock at their own expense. They are at the same time contributing substantially to the rates. I am afraid the Minister for Finance has overlooked the fact that he is now proposing that bus companies can utilise roads constructed at the expense of the public, and, at the same time, overlooks the fact that the railway companies are paying rates for the maintenance of these roads. Is that an equitable way of holding the scales between the two systems?

As Deputy Norton very pertinently pointed out, there are many people seriously involved because their capital is invested in the railway companies. How much capital is invested in the bus companies? Notwithstanding these facts the Minister for Finance, without hesitation and without a blush, proposes to reduce the tax on buses that are a very grave danger to the travelling public. The accommodation they provide is very poor. People who travel on buses do so at their own risk. While people who travel on the railways do so at their own risk, the risk is infinitely less than travelling by buses having regard to the manner in which they go along the roads. In my opinion these are serious questions that have not been sufficiently considered by the Minister. Doubtless buses afford a certain amount of accommodation to the public, but, if they do, is that sufficient to justify the Minister for Finance in throwing on the shoulders of the ratepayers the responsibility of taking over the railway companies? As a public man with some experience in matters of this kind I think it must inevitably come to that. If the railway companies cease to be able to operate I wonder on whom the responsibility for doing so will fall. Will it be the responsibility of the State or the responsibility of the ratepayers if we are to safeguard the railways?

I am not as well acquainted with the wages paid by omnibus companies as Deputy Norton, and I am not in a position to criticise what considerations they deserve from this House. I am quite satisfied that Deputy Norton has not committed himself to the statement he made without full investigation, and satisfying himself that there is no comparison between the position of bus companies and railway companies. That is another reason why an important matter like this should receive consideration by the Minister for Finance in the responsible position he occupies. I am not going to allege because I have not the knowledge to justify me doing so but rumour has it —be it well-founded or ill-founded— that there are some political considerations underlying this matter. If such is the case, I say it is disgraceful that in a matter demanding that public administration be fairly, fearlessly, honestly and conscientiously discharged for the benefit and for the credit of the general public that point of view should be overlooked. I certainly say that if such considerations were permitted to enter into the administration of affairs by the Minister for Finance it is something that would bring discredit to that office for all time.

I find that the figure per seat that I mentioned for the biggest transport company outside the rail roads, and which was the subject of an inquiry some time ago, is £6 11s 11d. according to the charges to be met on rates paid on land—that is the tramway lines — wayleaves, maintenance, renewal of roads, and licence duty on the vehicles. That figure was before the mind of the last administration when fixing £5 per seat. It is obvious there was something to go on in connection with that figure. The company I mentioned started work some fifty years ago. A great deal of criticism was passed some years ago by members of the Party opposite, in which I think the Parliamentary Secretary to the President was rather loud, about the renewal of the lease by a local authority. The price fixed was £5 per seat. The liability undertaken by this transport company was undertaken fifty years ago and, in the inquiry which took place, they urged that they were prejudiced by reason of the enormous cost placed upon them. It is now proposed to reduce the seating tax to £3 6s. 8d. The big transport organisation that I mentioned did not produce the competition which resulted in both of them being in difficulties a couple of years ago. The question is, how this tax is. going to operate.

I have not the philosophic doubt given expression to by Deputy Norton. I have no doubt whatever in relation to the position as disclosed by the balance sheets of the railway systems in this country. We are all aware of the very precarious position in which, unfortunately, the Irish railways arc to-day, and I was one of those who cherished the hope that this Government might produce something in the way of a Bill to co-ordinate the transport systems. If the amendment is passed I feel that anything we may do will simply buttress up a very rotten system of transport, and give further encouragement to cut-throat competition between the two branches of transport. We are all aware of the fact that the Great Southern Railways have economised very drastically. The employees have suffered very considerable reductions in wages and conditions, and no further economies can be practised unless the employees are to work for nothing. I propose to divide the House on the very point stressed by Deputy Norton as a protest against the low wages and the bad conditions suggested by the Deputy. I have no doubt whatsoever about this matter, and I propose to divide the House on it. We are aware that the railway system maintains a very expensive permanent way. We are also aware that certain. moneys accrue to the Road Fund because of transport on the roads, but there can be no comparison whatever between the two systems either in the way of comfort in travelling or so far as the element of danger is concerned. The element of danger is very low on the railway system, whereas it is very high in connection with road transport. I feel, therefore, that it is rather dangerous to encourage the further development of road transport, because between the number of privately-owned cars, commercial vehicles and bus companies, the life of the ordinary pedestrian will become a regular nightmare.

I was expecting that, during this session, the Government might produce a Bill to co-ordinate our services and to reduce, instead of to increase, traffic on the roads. For that reason I am opposing this amendment, and I propose to divide the House on it so as to ascertain where we stand. I have given certain undertakings to my constituents and I have never gone behind them. I have attended meetings of railway shareholders, although not a shareholder myself—perhaps I may be considered lucky in that respect—and I have listened to what was said at these meetings. I heard the pitiful wail of the shareholders, but I was still more responsive to the petitions of the railway workers. The railway workers impressed upon me the absolute necessity of preventing, so far as I could do so by my vote, the further development of road traffic. I am not going to discuss any connection that may exist between the railway company and some of the bus companies or whether there is such a connection or not. I intend to oppose this amendment because I believe it will simply bring about further chaos and confusion in the transport system of the country. Instead of tackling this matter at its roots and producing a plan that would give us a co-ordinated transport service, the Government is tinkering with the problem and that does not appeal to me.

I rise to support the protest made by Deputy Anthony. It would be useless to discuss the general question of transport on this amendment. I support Deputy Anthony's protest on the grounds he himself has placed before the House. I support this protest on the ground of the wages paid the employees of these small bus companies and, secondly, on the ground of the competition offered by these small bus companies to organised systems of transport, which issue time tables, and have to keep to those time tables. Notwithstanding that the larger companies work to time tables, this amendment is designed to give relief to the smaller bus companies as, against their competitors. Deputy Norton registers a philosophic protest against the wages paid by the smaller companies. I am going to register a practical protest by voting against the relief proposal. It is common knowledge that cases figure in the police courts regarding these small bus companies and their employees. For example, there was a case recently in the courts in which two boys employed by one of these small bus companies had been summarily dismissed because they would not accept some small reduction in wages. The boys had not been paid wages in lieu of notice. In other words, they did not receive the treatment which the most menial servant would be entitled to—notice of a week or a month or wages in lieu of notice. As a protest against the manner in which they were treated, these boys went off and stole the bus. I need not say I have no sympathy with that.

Is the Deputy stating these things from evidence on oath or is he relying on his imagination?

Let us consider the position of these small bus companies as against organised services which issue a time table. The company which issues a time table has to run its buses at specified hours. These small bus companies which are getting relief under this proposal do not run their buses regularly. They lie by or, perhaps I should say, lie in wait, until the busy hours, when they slip out and compete against the other buses. In that way they save wear and tear during the periods when business is slack. Nevertheless, they are getting special relief as against their competitors who ply at all times. Again, the driver-conductor on these small buses gets a wage of about £2 per week. The driver serving the larger companies which issue time tables receives about £3 8s. 0d. per week and the conductor about £2 12s. 0d. Thus, the bigger buses pay in wages about £6 per week as against £2 paid by the smaller buses which are getting the relief under this proposal. What justification is there for that? If relief is to be given to anybody, should not the Minister see that it is given to those companies which are providing good service and paying good wages? I support the protest made by Deputy Anthony, and if lie pushes the matter to a division, I will vote with him.

I support Deputy Anthony's protest. The relative positions of the railway company, the tramway company, the large bus companies and the small bus companies will have to be discussed at some other time at considerable length, and, therefore, I do not wish to enter into a discussion of that question now. However, there is one point peculiarly relevant to this problem which has not been mentioned here to-day. That is the seating accommodation in these smaller buses. I do not know whether the Minister is prepared to give a definition of a seat. I do not regard myself as a superman in the way of size. There are many Deputies here who are much bigger than I am. I must say, however, that in some of these smaller buses it is a positive torture for two people who are not small to sit together. I suggest that that is one of the questions that ought to be settled by the Ministers. One company ought not to be allowed to get away with two-thirds of a seat while another company has to provide a full seat. It would be a definite offence for anybody in trade to sell three-quarters of a 1b. of any commodity and label it 1 1b. I suggest that it is really the same offence to supply three-quarters or two-thirds of a seat and label it a seat, because that is what it comes to. In the interests of the travelling public who have to use these smaller buses, I suggest that that is a matter the Minister should look into and I should like to get an assurance from him that he will look into it. It is a very vital question, when giving an extra remission of taxation, that that extra remission should go to people who supply portion of a seat while their competitors are compelled to supply a whole seat.

This particular Resolution is being used now for purely political purposes. It is perfectly well known that we have stood all the time for a proper co-ordination of the transport services in the country.

How in the name of goodness could this be it? Surely when the Deputy asked that question he had his tongue in his cheek. The thing is absolutely absurd. Some of the speeches made to-day by the Opposition would come naturally from the members of the Opposition to the late Government six months ago.

They would come naturally at that time. This is now ourdamnosa hereditas from the Government preceding this. The last Government created a situation here where one of the worst things that could be done was done, namely, the efforts of the citizens of this country were used to develop a cut-throat policy between the railway companies and the bus companies during a period of seven years. The deliberate intention in the minds of the then Government was that they were going to allow a few interests, very small interests, to grow up. When a whole lot of decent Irishmen were trying to build up something for themselves, instead of trying to prevent waste the Government allowed the cut-throat policy to-develop and we are now coming in for the remnants of that policy. This has been done in order to prevent from being ruined economically men of enterprise who had to work under great difficulties, but perhaps against whom a great deal could be said in the way of criticism as to wages and conditions of work and so on, men who were fighting with their backs against the wall. This policy was allowed by the late Government to develop during seven years. For the time being and until we have produced other schemes of transport it is necessary in order that more economic waste might be prevented to assist these men to keep in existence by reducing their overhead charges. That is what this amounts to. It is a temporary palliative and no one would suggest that it represents the serious intentions of the Government or the Government's attitude on wages, or on the transport question, or on the railway problem. We have had very severe criticism made of the late Government's policy as regards the railways. The only thing I can admire about the late Government, the present Opposition, is their extraordinary neck in getting up here and saying what they are saying now when one considers that during their whole period in office they never did anything to help the possible re-organisation of the railway companies and they never did anything that would put the railways on their feet. We on these benches appreciate the railway position because we know it is the great transport service of the country, and we have to stand up for the railways. This is a purely temporary measure. It is absurd to say that it is a political measure.

It is a political measure in the sense that we are trying to do everything we can for the country. It is in that sense that we are trying to do the best we can for everybody. It is an attempt to prevent economic waste and to protect those people who had sufficient courage and initiative to start this enterprise of private buses in order to help the public. There has been continual conflict between the various services, but I have no doubt that in a very short time the Government will be able to deal with this problem, though it is absurd to think that the Government can deal with everything at once. People cannot say that we are not making an effort to carry out our programme. The Opposition are making a great mistake if they think that the people of the country have not as much sense as they have. The people of the country are beginning to see through the Opposition. I met a man the other day who was a supporter of the late Government, and speaking to me he said, "Why doesn't the Opposition allow the Government to blow its nose?" He said the attitude of the Opposition is absolutely unreasonable.

That is the best yet.

The ordinary common-sense people of the country realise that. They realise that we are working as hard as we can on the job. On the whole, I think that no one expected the cute move by Deputy Anthony, who is trying to create a political situation out of this.

Not at all. I might be permitted to use a pocket-handkerchief, too.

Yes, but the Deputy cannot use it with a permit. The people realise the position and they realise that where fair criticism has been made, such as that made by Deputy Norton, the Leader of the Labour Party, the criticism is good criticism and helpful, but where the criticism is used for purely Party purposes by Deputy Anthony then that is the sort of thing that destroys discussion in this House.

That is a gem.

It creates a poisonous atmosphere because there is no freedom of thought; because if anybody gets up here and tries to express his thoughts freely——

A "Little" goes a long way.

Persons like Deputy Anthony are only trying to see how their expressions of abuse can be used to suit Party advantages.

I will not delay the House very long, but in opening my few remarks I have to condemn the actions of the late Government in one respect, and that is that they were too lenient when they imposed the tax on buses. They were too lenient in not putting on more than £5 on each bus seat. I know what buses cost the ratepayers. I know what the buses on the roads are, and I know what it costs each county council in Ireland to keep the roads in repair for buses. I think the Minister for Finance knows that too. He has all the figures in his office. We know that through the activities of the buses, and especially if they are helped a little more as they are being helped now, it is going to be the finishing stroke on the railways.

Deputy Little spoke about the small bus owner who bought his bus and who was working with his back to the wall. Are the backs of 17,000 railway workers to the wall? Does the Deputy consider their position at all? Do we not see these railway employees losing employment day after day and week after week? Not a week passes but one reads of some small branch line that has become so uneconomic that it has to be closed down. One can travel on any railway except probably the railway from Dublin to Kildare or the railway from Dublin on the direct line to Cork, and you will find so few travelling by train that a bus could take them. Now the railway company must have on that train, in order to comply with the restrictions of the Board of Trade, at least half a dozen men. All these restrictions are against the railway companies. The buses can go out any time day or night just as they like, and if they do not turn up at all the public has no means of redress against them. We see a line of railway and a bus running along the side of it. We see in the courts every day, especially here in Dublin, cases where the bus drivers had to be brought up for practically racing each other in order to get traffic. I certainly do say that that is not a benefit to the community.

I advise the Minister for Finance to look in other directions. He should put a higher rate per seat on buses and give some chance to the railways which employ such a large number of hands. He should make every effort to prevent men being thrown on the unemployed list. Comparatively few would be unemployed by reason of the small number of buses that would go off the roads. I hope some of them will go off. The railways have been severely hit. Anybody travelling round to-day can observe many painters and others who formerly earned a decent livelihood when engaged on the railways walking around idle. Going through the country to-day one can observe the almost derelict stations. The painting cannot be renewed because the companies cannot afford to buy paint. In the same way the rolling stock has of necessity to be neglected. Everything is going from bad to worse and unless the Government give some assistance there is a very poor prospect facing the railways. The Government can lend a helping hand by putting the railways in a position to meet their competitors. The most effective protest I can make is to vote against this amendment.

I rise as an almost fanatical supporter of the railways and, consequently, an opponent of the buses. I was delighted to gather from the remarks of Deputy Dockrell that some of those who have the bad taste to support the buses in preference to railways have suffered torture by so doing and I hope they will go on suffering torture so long as they indulge in that preference. As regards Deputy Little's remarks, he represents this as not being the final treatment of the transport problem. We all thoroughly realise that, but it does to some extent prejudice the final treatment of the transport problem. It seems to be considered that if you call people ordinary, decent, Irish citizens you make out a complete case for showering favours on them. We must all try to be ordinary, decent, Irish citizens. The question is whether the activities of any particular set of ordinary, decent, Irish citizens deserve special encouragement from the State or not. I submit that we ought to stick fast to the principle of saving our tottering railways.

It might shorten the debate if I remind the House what it is we are supposed to be talking about. The proposal in the new section is an entirely temporary provision. It is not intended to produce any solution of the transport difficulty. It is designed, pending the coming into force of the Transport Act of 1932, to keep in employment 1,000 people who would have been driven out of employment, not in consequence of the policy of the present Government, but by reason of the extraordinary taxation imposed last year mainly upon buses operating in urban areas. When this £5 seating tax was originally imposed there was no tax on petrol. Within twelve months two successive imposts of 4d. a gallon on petrol were put on. No undertaking owned by a private individual carrying on, often with limited capital, but all the time providing employment, all the time providing services which the community hitherto had not enjoyed, particularly in the cities, could possibly have carried on for long after that additional burden had been imposed. So serious was the position that on 1st April last a number of these concerns were unable to pay the seating tax. I would like to emphasise they were concerns mainly operating in the City of Dublin and they were not in competition with the Railways Company.

But with the Tramways Company?

Are not the Tramways Company getting the benefit of this concession too? Has the Deputy received any representation from the Tramways Company asking, him to oppose this?

Have either the Railways Company or the Tramways Company made any representation or protest against this concession?

Neither the Railways Company nor the Tramways Company have made any such protest. All those who have been vocal about the pitiful plight of the Railways Company, if they vote against this, will be voting to deprive the Railways Company of a temporary concession. I am not so certain that, taking all the facts into consideration, the Railways Company are entitled to the concession. I am not going to put 1,000 men on the streets merely because somebody is going to get possibly a little more than he would have been entitled to. That is the position with which we are faced and the purpose of this new section is to enable existing undertakings to continue in operation until the Transport Act of 1932, which was passed through the Dáil by the late Government, will come into operation. Until it does come into operation, an opportunity to survive should be given to every one of the existing undertakings which have carried on against heavy competition, which have opened up new routes, which have built up a new industry in this City of Dublin and given employment to people who would otherwise be walking the streets, which have provided for the workers of Dublin amenities in regard to lunch hours and their meals generally, in regard to their transport to and from business, which those workers would never have enjoyed but for the small man who had the initiative, the enterprise and the energy to go into the highways and the by-ways and run transport services through the slums of Dublin when the wealthy corporation to which Deputy Cosgrave referred never ventured to do anything and never would venture to do anything.

Mr. Brodrick

Will there be any consideration given to the residents in the country?

I can give some Deputies neither intelligence nor manners.

The Minister cannot spare any.

The point I am making is that these small men who did render a public service, who did risk their all in the ventures which they undertook, should be given an opportunity to survive until the Transport Act comes into operation. They will not be able to operate unless they are granted a licence under that Act, unless they are in a position to prove to the Minister that they will maintain a continuously satisfactory service, unless they are in a position to prove to the Minister that the accommodation which they offer to the passengers will be adequate; that a seat, if I might try to answer Deputy Dockrell's definition of what a seat in a bus is, will no longer continue to be a seat where one bends one's knees to relieve one from torture; that they will provide ample accommodation for passengers and a continued service; that that practice which some concerns have pursued of placing buses on the roads at the most profitable hour—and remember in that regard that the Tramways Company and every other transport undertaking during the rush hour does put extra vehicles on the road or on the lines——

What I said was that they maintain a time-table. That is the statement I made and I adhere to it.

The Deputy is a lawyer, and if the Deputy was familiar with the laws of the State he would know that one of the provisions of the Transport Act is to ensure that they will work to a time-table and maintain it. All we are doing is to allow existing undertakings to remain in operation until the Transport Act comes into force, when everything will be co-ordinated within the limits of that Act, as a preliminary to the wider transport measure which the Minister for Industry and Commerce will bring before the Dáil in due course. We are asking the House to do that, not because we are prejudiced in favour of bus transport as against railway transport but because we are mainly concerned with the fact that 1,000 men in employment, whether at adequate or inadequate wages, are in present circumstances better for the State and better for the community than 1,000 men unemployed and on home relief.

In regard to the question of the rate of wages paid by some concerns, I am not justifying or defending them in any way. I condemn them as strongly as anybody else, and I want to make it clear that this temporary concession here is given on one condition, that if it ever becomes necessary to renew it, it will only be renewed in respect of those who, in regard to wages and conditions of employment, put their house in order, and they are getting that done.

The Minister neglected to tell the House that this Bill, which gives this particular concession to what he calls the smaller bus companies of a seating tax of £3 6s. 8d., imposes a seating tax of £6 11s. 11d. on the company he has mentioned, the Tramways Company. Further, in Section 36 (1) (b) of this Finance Bill the Tramways Company is brought in in respect of corporation profits tax, which it was not liable for last year, and that at a rate of 7½ per cent.

The Company has not made any representation against it.

That is not the question. The question is that you cannot stand over it.

The Deputy ought to try and let the debate end, because the Deputy said it was a wholly unsatisfactory way of dealing with the problem, that it was a piece of political bribery, and yet the Deputy admitted that he had not the moral courage to do what was right in the matter, if what he believed was true. He does not believe it was true——

We will show the Minister whether we have the moral courage or not.

—because Deputy Anthony called the Deputy's bluff.

I will call the Minister's bluff now.

What is this concession calculated to cost?

About £23,000.

Does the Minister admit what Deputy Norton said, that the hours and wages and conditions of these companies are scandalous?

Is not that one of the things included in the Transport Act passed last year? Is it not the case that an investigation with regard to these things is going on at present with regard to every bus transport company in the country; that a day has been fixed this month when that Act is to come into force; and that a Department of State has been inquiring fully into every aspect of it?

The reason I raised the question is that a few weeks ago the question was mentioned of a report from the Dublin Trade Union Council and it was specifically stated in the House by the Labour leader that the hours of work in these small bus companies are scandalous and that the wages paid are scandalous. Does the Minister agree with that?

The statement of Deputy McMenamin that £2 is the general wage paid by the small companies is all bunkum, because, as a matter of fact, I have had to get employment for a number of people and they were never paid as low a wage as £2.

Deputy Davin stated it was as low as 15/-.

I wish the public health authorities could see some of these buses which are operating at present. They are a disgrace to the City of Dublin.

I must say that my sympathy in this matter is with the Opposition, because I do not really see why this concession is being made. I can quite understand the Minister's case that it is necessary to preserve a large number of people from unemployment. I am not, however, altogether satisfied that the Minister's case is sound. I understand the point of view from which he has approached the question. I am rather surprised that the Opposition has concentrated its eyes so emphatically upon Dublin. If I might say so, there is more than one curse on this House—Deputy Little referred to one—and that is that all Parties here, except the Independents, seem to begin and end in Dublin. There are, astonishingly enough, 25 counties which do not comprise the Free State. I should like to draw attention to the fact that the rural population of this country have very little affection for the buses. They have placed, so far as I know, and I think Deputy Davis will agree, a very great additional burden upon the ratepayers of the country who are maintaining the permanent way of the bus companies. It is only fair to remember in this connection that we are the ratepayers maintaining the permanent way of the buses, while the railway company is maintaining its own permanent way and paying rates for permission to maintain it. That the Government should intervene at this juncture and make a concession to this kind of people, who come to them and make a poor mouth, out of the public revenue is I think a hardship. The railway company, as I say, is actually paying for the privilege of maintaining a permanent way. These gentlemen have no permanent way to maintain and yet they come to the Government and make a poor mouth and ask for a concession which will cost the State £25,000. When we asked the Government yesterday to make a concession in respect of athletics, which affected every section of the community, the Minister got up and touched my heart with the vehemence with which he said that passionately as he desired to do it he could not spare the money, that it would cost £25,000. That is out-door athletics. To-day he blandly announces that he is going to dish out £25,000 to a number of entrepreneurs whose activities, to say the least, he is not prepared to endorse without qualification. The way they conduct their business is not above suspicion. The rate of wages they pay is not satisfactory. The hours of work which they have instituted are not only unjust to the employees, but, I submit, are a menace to the public. A man who is driving a bus or railway engine for more than what has been agreed by experts to be a safe period is a menace to himself, a menace to his passengers, and a menace to every one who crosses his path. As we know, the longer these men work the faster they seem to go, and we all know to our cost, those of us who have any connection with Dublin hospitals, that people are being carried in there in really terrifying numbers as a result of bus accidents. That is the second phase of the indictment.

There are other aspects of the bus case which might be violently attacked, but I am not concerned with attacking these small people, particularly in view of what the Minister says as to his intention to review the whole question and to deal with it under the powers given by the new Transport Act, which is to come into operation in a short time, but I would ask the Minister why is he going to give £25,000 in this direction when the Promised Land is in sight for these small people? They have only to hang on for another couple of months and the whole matter will be finally disposed of and, whatever rights they have, protected. Why does he hand out £25,000 to them, when the same sum of money would have protected athletics for the next twelve months and avoided the imposition of a tax which he and his whole Party admit is a most undesirable tax and one, the imposition of which they have to contemplate. If these people have any case at all they ought to have been able to hang on for another couple of months when the Minister would deal with the problem fully and adequately when the new powers under the Transport Act became available. I cannot divorce from my mind the possibility that these men brought very heavy political pressure to bear and said "We will raise such a wind, if we do not get the concessions, that will make it very hard for the Government."

I could not vote for this remission in the light of the Minister's Budget. He has asked everybody in the State to make substantial sacrifices and sacrifices that I was prepared to endorse, in the very pressing and urgent circumstances in which he found himself, but, having called for this sacrifice from every section of the community, and having refused a concession in respect of athletics which would cost no more than £25,000, I do not think the Minister should ask us to support him in giving £25,000 to these bus proprietors.

Does the Deputy realise that the financial year began some months ago, and that it is not a matter of two months to these companies but of several months? Is he prepared to accept the responsibility of throwing 1,000 people out of employment? The question of athletics does not throw anybody out of employment and the amount of amusement that goes on will not be affected.

Might I say that a big undertaker in this country came to the Minister with a very similar statement "If you go on with a certain thing a number of people will be put out of employment?" The Minister very properly said "I am not going to be held up by any manufacturer in this country in respect of the Finance Bill." If a bus entrepreneur came in and told the Minister that, unless he amends the Finance Bill, he would throw a thousand men on the road, he was in duty bound to show him the door and to tell him that if he made a good case on the ethics of the matter, he would consider it, but that he was not going to be held up by threats of that kind. The threats of these bus proprietors will probably hold as much water as those of the other people and, when their bluff is called, there probably will not be 1,000 men thrown on the road at all.

The Minister made great play with the suggestion that if a certain thing was not carried, it would lead to the dismissal of 1,000 men. Deputy Little has also mentioned it. Would the Minister inform the House where he got that figure or is the Minister seriously suggesting to the House that if this proposal is not carried, it is going to lead to the dismissal of 1,000 men? I would like to know, if the Minister seriously believes that, how he arrived at that figure? I would like the Minister to keep in mind this fact, that within the last couple of years over 4,000 men have been dismissed from the railways in the Free State.

Might I remind the Minister that, in the case of land-owners, he threatened to confiscate the property of any who dared to dismiss anybody on account of taxation? Why, then, should he not confiscate the buses?

Might I ask that a responsible Deputy in the House should not repeat here a falsehood, a deliberate distortion of a remark made by me, which appeared in the Press. I did not say "confiscate" and if the Deputy knew the basis of the Land Acts in this country, he would know that it is not a basis of confiscation but a basis of purchase.

It has nothing to do with this, anyhow.

I withdraw any statement that misrepresents the Minister. I only read the word "confiscation" in the Press. I was not here and, if it was a misrepresentation, I withdraw.

I accept the Deputy's withdrawal, but in order that he will know what value to place on Press reports in future, I would like him to consult the Official Reports and see what I did say.

Were they doctored?

I do not follow the reprehensible practice of the ex-President in that regard.

The ex-President has never doctored any report, and he does not read his speeches. We will raise the question on Tuesday about that particular remark.

It was a remark of mine that drew the Minister's statement. The Minister, I think, said that there were certain landlords who were allowed to remain in possession of their large estates on the understanding that they gave employment, and he—I think I am not wronging him— said that if such men got rid of any of their employees, he would see that the concession they had as regards their land was reconsidered.

Under the Land Acts.

I think I am not wronging the Minister in saying that the House generally interpreted that statement to mean that he would take the land from such landlords under the Land Acts if you like. He did not use the word "confiscation," but the threat was there.

In case there might be any misapprehension in the mind of the House as to what will happen to these bus owners, and what action the Government will take in regard to the maintenance of routes and the enforcement of a reasonable wage and proper working conditions, I would like to draw the attention of Deputies to Section 12 of the Road Transport Act which will come into operation very shortly. I think any impartially minded Deputies, if there are any in the Opposition, when they have heard the powers which the Minister will have in relation to the granting of licences, will agree with me that many of the objections which have been urged here against giving these men a chance to continue to give employment under proper conditions will be overcome. The first condition which the Minister for Industry and Commerce may attach will be (a) the terminal points and the route of the passenger road service to which the licence relates; (b) the frequency of such service, including variations of such frequency on different days or at different periods of each day; (c) the daily duration of such service, so that they will not, as one Deputy said, be able to come out at all hours of the night, unless the needs of the public so require it; and even the railways run at night; (d) the minimum number of vehicles to be kept available for the operation of such service; (e) the type of vehicle to be used on such service; so that, to meet Deputy Dockrell's point, the public will get what they are paying for, a comfortable seat; (f) the maintenance of a particular standard of fitness, cleanliness and appearance of the vehicles used on such service; so that Deputy Minch's point will be met; (g) appointing or restricting the distinctive marks and numbers on or the colours of the vehicles used; (h) the publication of the time-tables of and charges on such service and the display of such time-tables and charges in the vehicles used on such service; so that Deputy McMenamin's objection, on the ground that these bus undertakings do not run to any fixed schedule, will be met.

What about the wages?

"The rates of wages and hours of duty of employees and agreements or arrangements in reference thereto in the working of the passenger road service to which a licence relates." Under the Transport Act every existing abuse—and I am not denying that there have been abuses—will be remedied before a licence is granted and the only thing we are asking—again I repeat it— is that a thousand men be kept in employment and be not thrown out on the roads and that undertakings be not destroyed. Remember there are bus undertakings which do pay higher wages than are paid elsewhere, not possibly as high wages as the railway companies are paying, but there are bus companies operating in urban areas which pay wages higher than the general standard in other employments to possibly the same class of men. The point we are making is that although there are undoubtedly a few unsatisfactory undertakings the whole industry should not be wiped out before the Minister for Industry and Commerce has a chance to put the industry on a proper basis in regard to services, in regard to schedules and in regard to wages and conditions of employment.

I think that the Executive Council were very ill-advised to surrender to all this clamour from the bus companies. After all, if it was only a short period before the provisions of the Transport Act came into operation, I cannot yet reconcile myself to believe that 1,000 people were likely to lose their employment in the meantime. I think that is the kind of statement that might be made to support any kind of clamour, and I think the Executive Council were very ill-advised to yield to the clamour, which is a clamour to subsidise, to some extent, the bus company that pays a scandalously low rate of wages. We made clear to the Minister the views of the Labour Party on this matter. On the Budget statement it was made perfectly clear to him by Deputy Davin that our viewpoint on the matter is this: that this concession will not of itself give any very considerable subsidy perhaps to private bus companies. The Tramways Company will participate, the Railway Company will participate, and many other bus companies will participate for a relatively limited period under the scope of the Bill. As I said in my previous speech, the serious part of the whole business is the mentality behind it. We have reason to fear that this may be the prelude to an attempt to bolster up a scandalously ill-equipped and bad-conditioned bus industry. I am not applying that description to all the bus services, but I am most certainly applying it to many of the bus services which operate from this city and which the Minister, if he makes inquiries, will know perfectly well are carried on only by sweating the employees engaged in the operation of that industry. The serious part of the whole business is not so much the amount of money involved as the mentality behind the policy. The Minister said that it is only a temporary measure designed to keep the industry in being until another Act begins to operate to regulate that industry. I would have much preferred if the Minister had allowed these companies to carry on as they were until such time as the Act came into operation. I do not believe that these other consequences of 1,000 men being disemployed would have materialised at all. There is a provision in the Transport Act to ensure that rates of wages and conditions of labour must be one of the factors referred to in the examination of the application of a bus company to continue a road service. Is the Minister prepared to assure the House that so far as that section of the Act is concerned he will not allow bus companies which pay a very low rate of wages to continue to work road services?

I am not the Minister responsible for working the Act, but so far as I can give that assurance I have no hesitation in giving it on behalf of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I am sure the Minister for Industry and Commerce, from any conversations which I had with him, would have no hesitation in giving that undertaking.

Will you give this relief in taxation? That is the vital point.

So far as the clamour from the bus owners is concerned, there has been a clamour for the past five years from the shareholders of the railway companies in connection with the very bad position in which the railways find themselves. I am perfectly aware of the fact that this concession in regard to the buses will be applied to buses owned by the railway companies and to that extent it is a little concession to the railways as well, but on the broad question of railways versus bus traffic it is a well-known fact that this country in its present economic condition cannot maintain two transport systems and that inevitably one must go down. In that case it would be only natural to assume that the transport system most beneficial to the country's needs should be preserved. I think it is generally agreed that the railway system is the system best suited to the needs of this country. There is another factor in connection with this business and that is that the managers of all the railway companies in the Free State have declared in no uncertain voice that it is only a matter of time if the present condition of affairs continues until the railways are absolutely closed. If that is the case it will mean that from 17,000 to 20,000 men will find themselves unemployed. It will also mean that various centres throughout the State in which the weekly wages bill of the railways is very large—notably the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford and north of the Boyne, Dundalk in my own constituency—will find themselves in a very serious economic position should the railways close down.

I have in my own way studied the whole question for the past three or four years. I know there are factors other than bus competition which are materially affecting the railways. That is a matter that can be discussed when the forthcoming Traffic Bill is introduced. I do say however that no time should be lost by the Minister and his Government in introducing legislation that will settle once and for all this very important matter of transport. It has already been stated by various speakers that this country is not in a position to maintain two transport systems. Anybody reading the papers can see that the fairs that have been held lately all over the country have been very bad and that the prices prevailing are very much below those that prevailed twelve months ago. In general the position of the country, economically, industrially and in every other way is becoming worse. I do not mean to suggest for a moment that that state of affairs can be attributed to the present Government but cognisance should be taken of that fact in dealing with this problem. I do suggest to the Minister that it was not fair to make this concession to the buses in view of the fact that the railways have suffered so much during the past twelve months. If he was going to do anything it should have been in the interests of the railways. I hope and trust that it is the intention of the Government now to do something that will safeguard the railways and safeguard the interests of those people who, when money was needed for the purpose, invested money in the extension of the railway system of the country.

Since the Minister gave this concession to these small bus owners to improve their position in any shape or form, the condition of the buses has got steadily worse, instead of any attempt being made to enhance their appearance even externally, much less internally. I agree that they serve a very useful purpose, but, at the same time, the amount of steeplechasing that is going on around this city and the dangerous way in which these buses are being driven is in striking comparison with the larger buses controlled by the Tramways or even the trams themselves—there is simply no comparison at all. As a matter of fact, I think that some of the saints in heaven must be wondering what has come over their position on this earth judging by the names that some of these buses have been given and the way they chase around. I sincerely hope that when this new Bill does come in there will be some consideration given to the appearance and size of these buses and not have them as at present an eyesore around the city.

I would like to point out, with regard to something that Deputy Minch said about the steeplechasing around the city or country, that I do not think the bus owners ought to be held entirely responsible for that. After all, there are other people besides the owners to enforce the traffic laws. Possibly there may be difficulties there due to the fact that the last administration brought in a Traffic Bill and were not able to pass it through the Dáil. They were not able to make the proper and necessary regulations for traffic. Naturally, bus drivers are like ordinary motor car drivers—or perhaps I should say careless motor car drivers—if they see a chance of getting ahead of another fellow they will take the chance and as the law stands at present there is nobody to stop them. We had certain proposals in view with regard to this at that time and I understand that as soon as the Minister for Local Government and Public Health comes back from Ottawa a measure will be introduced embodying a few of the amendments which we felt on the last occasion might have been introduced when we were in a position to introduce them. I am sure it will get an easy passage and we need not be subject to steeplechasing.

Well, I hope the names are changed at any rate. I was very nearly killed by St. Joachim.

Question put: "That the new Schedule be there inserted."
The Committee divided: Tá, 68; Níl, 58.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Clery, Mícheál.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Curran, Patrick Joseph.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Flinn, Hugo V.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Gormley, Francis.
  • Gorry, Patrick Joseph.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Kissane, Eamonn.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Kelly, Seán Thomas.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas J.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • Powell, Thomas P.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C. (Dr.).

Níl

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brasier, Brooke.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Craig, Sir James.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Gorey, Denis John.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Hayes, Michael.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Kiersey, John.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • Broderick, William Jos.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • McDonogh, Fred.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Minch, Sydney B.
  • Mongan, Joseph. W.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Connor, Batt.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Reilly, John Joseph.
  • O'Shaughnessy, John Joseph.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Mrs. Mary.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Thrift, William Edward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies G. Boland and Allen; Níl: Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle.
Question declared carried.
Amendments 210 and 211 not moved.

I move amendment 212:—

To delete "No. 35 of 1926" where it first occurs and all references in columns 2, 3 and 4 thereto.

The main object of this amendment is to exempt coursing from the entertainment tax. I urge it rather from the business end than the sports end, though, of course the sporting end should not be overlooked. Coursing is an open air sport, and there is as much reason for exempting persons looking on at a coursing match as those at a football match. The business end of greyhound rearing in this country has become of considerable importance since the advent of greyhound racing. It is the small coursing clubs in the country that feed the racing tracks, and the racing tracks give very considerable employment apart altogether from the value that has accrued in the breeding of greyhounds.

The only "livestock" for which there is sale is the greyhound. I have resolutions from various clubs in my county urging the removal of this tax, and I, therefore, move this amendment. I do so from very full conviction, because I know there are big interests in Kerry involved in the breeding and sale of greyhounds. I have not the figures, but I presume the Minister can get them as to the value of our export in greyhounds per annum. It must be quite a considerable amount. I have known dogs from Tralee sold for 200 guineas.

Mr. Lynch

Not many, but I have known dozens sold at figures of 20, 30, 40 and 50 guineas. It is quite a big business, especially in the belt of the northern county from Tralee on towards Listowel. I might mention that there is also the question of manufacturing these tracks, for which a person in the Free State has the patent. He has installed them in Tralee, Galway, Bundoran and other places. I do not know that there is very much labour involved in the making of the tracks, but I urge the amendment from the point of view of the breeding of greyhounds. Greyhound coursing clubs encourage the breeding of these dogs.

I ask the Minister seriously to consider the remission of this tax. The majority of coursing meetings are not paying propositions, and have to be helped by private subscriptions, by whist drives and dances. Whatever may be said in favour of the tax on mechanical greyhound coursing does not apply to coursing meetings, upon which there will be a very big burden if the tax is put on.

Like Deputy Kennedy, I am not speaking on behalf of track racing, for which I have no brief, and about which I know nothing. I have only seen track racing once or twice. I am speaking in the interests of coursing clubs. I would like to know from the Minister what amount he proposes to get from a tax on coursing meetings, and for what period the calculation was made. There was a vast difference between the number of people who attended coursing meetings last season and three years ago. One-third of the number that attended three years ago did not attend last winter. I am speaking with considerable experience of three or four counties, and especially on behalf of a county that has considerably supported coursing meetings. I think it will be acknowledged that Kilkenny contributes the largest crowds to coursing meetings. Book-makers who attend these meetings— and they are the best authority in that regard—will agree with that statement. In that county last year, and in Tipperary one-third of the coursing clubs lost money on the coursing season, and some of them will probably go out of existence. At any rate, almost a third of them would have disappeared. This tax practically means the abolition of coursing. If the Minister looked at the prices realised at the dog sales in Dublin this week he would know that the trade in greyhounds is almost as great as the trade in bloodstock and almost as remunerative, dogs bringing up to £200—not an uncommon price. Even £400 was paid for a greyhound the other day. That means a great deal to small farmers because it is the small farmers and people of that class who benefit from the breeding of greyhounds.

A concession was made to horse racing and to the Gaelic Athletic Association. I suppose we will be met on this amendment with the argument that the Minister put up previously, that if he remitted the tax the Forestry Vote or some other Vote would have to suffer. Is the money to be raised at the expense of people who support coursing while no expense is to be placed on people who support horse racing? Can the Minister tell me what he expects to derive from the tax, and on what year the calculation was based? That information will enable the discussion to be carried on with the facts available. I can tell the Minister that at the end of the year coursing clubs will be reduced by fifty per cent. Deputies who live in the south and the midlands, especially those representing Tipperary, Kilkenny and Limerick, could corroborate every word I am saying if they would only tell what they know of the local situation. Deputy Gibbons will be able to speak about the clubs in Freshford and Tullaroan. The same applies to clubs in Kerry and Cork. The Minister ought to do what is fair in this matter, having regard to the amount involved, and putting aside the fact that the amendment comes from this side of the House. The object is to preserve a national industry which is worth a considerable amount of money to the country, and from which poor people who need the money will benefit most. If a case can be made for the exemption of horse racing unquestionably a case can be made for coursing. The only consideration should not be political expediency. It should not be a question if Deputy Norton is to be elected for Kildare or not. It should be a question of fair play, and appreciation of what is decent and honest, as against discrimination.

I appeal to the Minister to accept the amendment. I speak not only from the point of view of coursing meetings, but also from the point of view of racing people because I think the two things are linked up. We should not forget that coursing meetings are very largely the poor man's sport. Most of those who attend coursing meetings cannot afford to attend race meetings, and they have no desire to do so. It would be very unfair to give a concession to horse-racing on race courses at the expense of coursing meetings, or those who attend coursing meetings. I can speak on this question with a certain amount of knowledge. The headquarters of the coursing association is in my constituency and gives good employment to a fairly large number of hands. The racing track in Clonmel has been of great benefit to that town, a town that has been hit harder during the past ten years than any other town in Ireland. Since the race track was installed, it has brought a good deal of business to that town. It has been a great benefit and has given a considerable amount of employment. I should like to hear the Minister's case for this imposition and I should like to hear the figures for which Deputy Lynch asked him. I am satisfied from the position in my own county that there is a fairly substantial and valuable export trade in greyhounds. The price of £200 or £300 for a greyhound is not altogether as uncommon as the Minister seems to think it is. But I am not thinking of the prices from £200 to £500. I am thinking of the small farmers and labourers who are able to get prices of £10, £20 or £50 for fairly good greyhounds. You cannot divorce greyhound coursing from the racing tracks. The racing tracks are the inducement for the more general breeding of good greyhounds. They make for the production of a better dog. They bring out the points of the dog and render him valuable. I should like if the Minister would take these few words into consideration and, if possible, give us some idea of the value of the export trade in greyhounds.

I am very interested in the attitude of the Minister in this regard. I have been approached by a number of coursing clubs in my county in connection with this tax and I should like the Minister to reconsider it or, at all events, assure us that at some later stage he will give the matter reconsideration. I take a different view of this matter from some of the Deputies who have spoken. My impression is that coursing is of very little use to people who sell greyhounds and gain by the selling of them. Coursing, as I know it, is only a sport —a very expensive sport to those who engage in it. In my county, it is usually a sport for people who can afford to expend money on it. It is the track racing that makes whatever market there is for greyhounds. Since greyhound track racing—Deputy Gorey will appreciate this—came into prominence, the value of our export trade in greyhounds has increased. Were it not for that, greyhound breeding as a profitable proposition would not be worth while.

I think it would be of greater value to breeders of greyhounds if the tax on track racing were removed. If you had to differentiate between one and the other, relief of the tax on track racing would be of greater benefit to breeders of greyhounds than would relief of the tax in respect of coursing meetings. I admit that they both go hand in hand. I should like the Minister to reconsider his attitude. I do not think there should be differentiation made. I would not like to see the tax taken off coursing meetings and left on track racing. I think that would effect more injury in one way than the benefit which would be gained in another way.

Coursing meetings have never been run as profitable propositions. Whether this tax is imposed or not, I am afraid they will not be run as profitable propositions. They have collections and subscriptions and other means of raising money for coursing meetings, and you must have a very high entrance fee for people who run their dogs at these meetings. No matter which way the tax goes, I think coursing meetings will continue to be non-paying propositions so far as the organisers are concerned. However, the most valuable thing for breeders of greyhounds would be the removal of the tax on track racing. That is really what brings out the value of the dog, and it is because of that our export trade in greyhounds has increased to the extent it has. I see the danger that if we urge the Minister sufficiently strongly to withdraw this tax, the Opposition and ourselves will be responsible for bringing Mr. Thomas to realise that this is another export of the Irish farmer which he can bring under his new Bill. If Mr. Thomas realises that the greyhound export trade is of greater value to Kerry than the cattle export trade, he will probably remove the cattle export trade from his measure and tax greyhounds instead.

I should not be so anxious to press this matter if horse racing were not exempted. Greyhound racing affects the poor man more intimately. I am not at all convinced that the tax on horse racing was removed, as Deputy Gorey suggested, so that we may have Deputy Norton in Kildare next time. To my mind, Deputy Gorey is more affected. My idea is that whether this tax is imposed or not, Deputy Gorey will not be elected next time.

You said that before.

I ask the Minister to consider this matter thoroughly and to give us an assurance that he will see if there is any possibility of exempting coursing and track racing, particularly track racing.

I should like to add my voice to the unanimous chorus of appeal to the Minister to exempt this sport from tax. The number of letters I have received from coursing clubs of my constituency of East Cork indicates how important this tax is regarded by people interested in coursing. I have been assured that the tax will practically kill coursing. I am very much impressed by the fact that there have been a number of appeals from the Minister's own Party. That shows how unanimous the House is in making this request to the Minister. I should like to appeal particularly on behalf of the poorer men who get comparatively small prices for their greyhounds. To the poor man, a price of £20, £30 or £40 is a very big one. This industry, which is a very important one to the country, will be seriously injured if the Minister insists on imposing this tax. A very small amount will probably be got in revenue and it will materially injure one of the sports which also serves as an amusement in the country districts. Coursing takes place in my district and I can assure Deputies that very great interest is taken in a remote country district like that in what I may describe as a national sport. If the Minister persists in adopting a hidebound attitude in respect of the imposition of this tax, he will not receive the number of compliments which were shied at him last night. In fact, I think the compliments wilt take a different form. I respectfully ask him not to impose this tax upon a sport which is, undoubtedly, deserving of our assistance.

I also ask the Minister to reconsider this matter. Certain representations have been made to me-by coursing clubs. I agree with what Deputy Cleary has said that, in considering this matter, it is very difficult to divorce the position of the coursing club from the position of the racing track. There is at present a considerable export trade in greyhounds. Irish greyhounds have, apparently, won a place of merit on the track and on the coursing fields in England, so that there is anxiety on the part of interested persons in England to acquire Irish greyhounds. I do not know if the Minister is aware that coursing and track racing fit in completely in this country, quite contrary to the position in England.

The general controlling body of both track racing and coursing here is the Standing Committee of the Irish Coursing Club. From the 1st October until the end of February you have the ordinary coursing meetings, whether park or open coursing, in the country, and at the end of that time, say by the beginning of March, you have your track season starting, and it continues until September. If this tax on open coursing or park coursing meetings is continued it would make such a call on the voluntary subscriptions through the various clubs that these clubs will have to close down. There is such heavy expense attached to the preservation of land and, where land is not preserved, to the buying of hares that these clubs have to depend to some extent on the gate money, and only a very small charge for admission must be made if people are to be induced to come to these meetings. The people who attend these meetings are people who are unable to pay very high charges, so that if this tax be imposed it will simply mean that the clubs will have to bear the tax because they will not be able to get it from the public. It is absolutely necessary, I think, for the purpose of knowing how their greyhounds stand with regard to track coursing that the owners of greyhounds should have an opportunity of coursing their dogs during the winter so as to try them out against other dogs. I do ask the Minister to consider this question and to give it his most sympathetic consideration. This tax will most seriously interfere with both coursing and track racing and the amount of the tax which will be produced from it will not be very large. A concession has been made in the matter of the entertainments tax on horse-racing and that is an advantage to horse-breeding, because these races give the owners an opportunity of having their horses show their merits. In the same way coursing meetings will be helping the owners of track dogs. If the track racing ceases I am afraid that in future the pairing in this House will be a great deal more difficult.

Contrary to the views of other Deputies who have spoken I am in favour of the imposition of this tax. I have been actively associated with coursing for several years and I think it is only fair to support this tax for at least one year. In that view I am supported by resolutions sent to me by two of the leading coursing clubs in the South of Ireland. These are the Cork City Club and Ballindangan Coursing Club. These clubs are admitted by the Irish Coursing Club to be the most active coursing clubs at present in Ireland. Their view is that they do not consider that the clubs are really capable of bearing the imposition, but they believe that it is only right that coursing clubs should make some sacrifice in the national interest at the present time. Therefore, on this ground, they ask me to support the imposition of this tax by all the means in my power.

I feel that I cannot exactly agree with Deputy Murphy on that point and I would request the Minister to give consideration to the tax upon coursing because as far as I know these coursing meetings are not organised for the purpose of making a profit for anybody. As a general rule they make a loss and I do not believe they could stand up against this tax at all. I am not so satisfied on the other question of greyhound track racing. These are generally run by companies and run definitely for profit. I would appeal to the Minister to give all the consideration possible to open coursing. I have no case to make for track racing and I do not know much about it. I am not one of those referred to by Deputy Finlay. I take an interest in open coursing and I have had numerous letters and resolutions urging that this tax be not imposed. Consequently I would ask the Minister to reconsider it.

So far as the question of open coursing is concerned I have to say that if the amendment is withdrawn I will put in an amendment on the Report Stage which will exempt open coursing.

Which is open coursing?

Open coursing or park coursing. But I want it to be clear that I am not considering any exemption of track racing because the figures I have do not justify it.

I want to compliment the Minister on not being influenced by the representations made by Deputy Murphy. I know from Cork that the two clubs the Deputy mentioned deliberately set out to smash all the other clubs in Cork.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 213 agreed to.

Amendment 214 has been accepted already. Amendment 65 has been disposed of already.

SECTION 27.

(1) The duty imposed by Section 11 of the Finance Act, 1928 (No. 11 of 1928), as amended by subsequent enactments shall be charged, levied, and paid on the following articles at the rate of an amount equal to fifteen per cent. of the value of the article in lieu of the rate mentioned in the said Section 11, that is to say:—

On every motor car chassis which is imported for sale by a trader in motor cars on or after the 6th day of May, 1932, and before the 7th day of August, 1932, and is so imported as part of a complete motor car which is, in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners, at importation a new motor car constructed, designed, and intended for the carriage of persons otherwise than for reward.

(2) The provisions of Section 8 of the Finance Act, 1919, shall apply to the duty chargeable under the foregoing sub-section of this section with the substitution of the expression "Saorstát Eireann" for the expression "Great Britain and Ireland" and as though the articles mentioned in that sub-section were included in the Second Schedule to that Act in the list of goods to which two-thirds of the full rate is made applicable as a preferential rate.

(3) The duty imposed by Section 11 of the Finance Act, 1928 (No. 11 of 1928), as amended by subsequent enactments shall not be charged or levied on any of the following articles imported into Saorstát Eireann on or after the 6th day of May, 1932, that is to say:—

Component parts and accessories of motor car bodies which, in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners, do not constitute at importation an assembly or partial assembly of such parts or accessories.

(4) Whenever the Revenue Commissioners are satisfied in respect of a motor car which is being imported into Saorstát Eireann on or after the 6th day of May, 1932, and is in their opinion constructed and designed for the carriage of persons, that—

(a) the importer of such motor car resides or intends to reside permanently in Saorstát Eireann, and

(b) such motor car had been previously used (otherwise than for the carriage of persons for reward) by the importer or by his family or household, and

(c) such motor car is being imported for the use (otherwise than for the carriage of persons for reward) in Saorstát Eireann by the importer or by his family or household,

the Revenue Commissioners may, subject to compliance with such conditions as they may think fit to impose, permit such motor car to be imported without payment of the duty imposed by Section 11 of the Finance Act, 1928 (No. 11 of 1928), as amended by subsequent enactments, or that duty as varied under the Customs Duties (Provisional Imposition) Act, 1931 (No. 38 of 1931), or by any Act passed or to be passed in the financial year beginning on the 1st day of April, 1932.

(5) Any duty which has been paid before the passing of this Act and is, by virtue of this section, not chargeable shall be repaid.

I move:—

Before Section 27 to insert a new section as follows:—

Whenever the Minister for Finance, after consultation with the Minister for Industry and Commerce, is satisfied that any component parts of boots, shoes, slippers, goloshes, sandals, or clogs are required to be imported into Saorstát Eireann by any person before the 1st day of July, 1933, for use in the manufacture in Saorstát Eireann of boots, shoes, slippers, goloshes, sandals, or clogs (as the case may be), the Revenue Commissioners may by licence authorise such person, subject to compliance with such conditions as the Revenue Commissioners may think fit to impose, to import before the said date such component parts (either as the Revenue Commissioners shall think proper, without limit or subject to restrictions as to quantity, class, or otherwise) without payment of the duty chargeable under Section 19 of the Finance Act, 1924 (No. 27 of 1924), or that duty as varied under the Customs Duties (Provisional Imposition) Act, 1931 (No. 38 of 1931), or any duty which has been or shall be imposed in lieu of that duty by any Act passed or to be passed in the financial year beginning on the 1st day of April, 1932.

This gives further exemption to people who propose to set up factories to make boots and shoes that have not hitherto been made here. This is a temporary measure.

New section agreed to.

Amendment 67:—

In sub-section (1), line 27, to delete the words and figures "before the 7th day of August, 1932, and".— (Earnán de Blaghd.)

I cannot accept amendment 67 to make permanent concessions which should be only temporary.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 68:—
In sub-section (4) (a), page 20, line 54, to delete the words "resides or" and substitute the words "either has within six months before the importation thereof begun to reside in Saorstát Eireann or bona fide intends to begin so to reside within six months after such importation and, in either case, bonafide".—(Aire Airgid.)

I am making concessions here. This is temporary and it is to some extent a drafting amendment. The original sub-section was loosely drawn.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 27. as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 28.
The following provision shall have effect in relation to the duties to which this section applies, that is to say . ...
(b) whenever the Minister for Industry and Commerce is satisfied that any woven tissue made wholly or partly of wool or worsted is required to be imported into Saorstát Eireann by a manufacturer of hats and caps for use in the manufacture in Saorstát Eireann of hats and caps or either of them, the said Minister may issue to such manufacturer a licence to import, subject to such conditions and restrictions as the said Minister shall think fit to specify in such licence, woven tissue made wholly or partly of wool or worsted or any particular class or classes of such woven tissue, either without limit as to time or quantity or with such limitations as to time and quantity or either of them as the said Minister shall think fit to specify in such licence, and whenever any such licence is so issued the Revenue Commissioners may, subject to compliance with such conditions as they shall think fit to prescribe, admit without payment of any of the said duties all woven tissue imported under and in accordance with such licence;

I move amendment 69:—

In sub-section (1) (b), page 21, line 18, after the word "whenever" to insert the words "the Minister for Finance after consultation with," and to delete all from the word "said" in line 23 to the word "licence" in line 26 and substitute the words "Revenue Commissioners may authorise by licence such manufacturer, subject to compliance with such conditions as they may think fit to specify in such licence, to import without payment of the said duties," and to delete all from the word "said" in line 31 to the end of the sub-section and substitute the words "Revenue Commissioners shall think fit to specify in such licence."

Amendment agreed to.
Section 28, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 29 and 30 agreed to.
SECTION 31.
Whenever the Revenue Commissioners are satisfied that any article or goods chargeable with a duty of customs are imported for the purpose of undergoing in Saorstát Eireann a process of manufacture and being subsequently exported or for the purpose of being incorporated in Saorstát Eireann with other articles or goods as a part or ingredient of a manufactured product which is intended to be exported, the Revenue Commissioners may, subject to compliance with such conditions as they may think fit to impose, permit such article or goods (as the case may be) to be imported without payment of duty.

I move amendment 70.

Before Section 31 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) The Revenue Commissioners shall establish and maintain in such form as they shall think proper, a register (in this section referred to as the Register) to be known as the Register of Shipbuilding Yards and shall enter therein all such matters as they are required by this section so to enter.

(2) Whenever any premises are used for the purpose of carrying on therein the business of building, repairing, or refitting ships, the person carrying on such business in such premises may apply to the Revenue Commissioners to register such premises in the Register, and the Revenue Commissioners, on being satisfied that such premises are used for the said purpose and on payment by such person of such fee (if any) as shall be prescribed by the Minister for Finance, shall register such premises in the Register accordingly.

(3) Whenever the Revenue Commissioners are satisfied that any premises registered in the Register have ceased to be used for the purpose of carrying on therein the business of building, repairing, or refitting ships, they may remove such premises from the Register.

(4) Whenever any goods chargeable with a duty of customs imposed by this Act or any other Act (whether passed before or after this Act) are imported into Saorstát Eireann consigned direct to premises registered in the Register and the Revenue Commissioners are satisfied that such goods are so imported for use in the building, repairing, or refitting ships carried on in such premises, the Revenue Commissioners may, subject to compliance with such conditions as they may think fit to impose, permit such goods to be imported without payment of duty.

(5) Whenever any goods are brought from any place in Saorstát Eireann into premises registered in the Register and the Revenue Commissioners are satisfied that such goods are brought into such promises for use in the business of building, repairing, or refitting ships carried on therein, the Revenue Commissioners may, subject to compliance with such conditions as they may think fit to impose, treat such goods for the purpose of the provisions of the Customs Acts relating to drawback as if they had been exported from Saorstát Eireann.

(6) Without prejudice to the generality of the powers of imposing conditions conferred on the Revenue Commissioners by this section, any conditions so imposed may be directed to securing that the goods to which they apply are in fact used in a business of building, repairing, or refitting ships carried on in premises registered in the Register."

This is to insert a new section to deal with the question where difficulty might arise in connection with the shipbuilding industry owing to the fact that materials would have to be imported.

New section agreed to.

Section 31, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 32.
If any brewer of beer for sale shows, to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners, in relation to all the beer chargeable with duty brewed by him in the year beginning on the 1st day of July, 1932, or in the year beginning on any subsequent 1st day of July, that at least eighty per cent of the cereals used in the brewing of such beer were malted or roasted in Saorstát Eireann, such brewer shall be entitled to receive a rebate at the rate of live shillings per standard barrel on the first five thousand standard barrels of such beer brewed by him in such year.

I move amendment 71:—

Before Section 32 to insert a new section as follows:—

The provisions of Sections 12 and 13 of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1915, as amended by subsequent enactments shall be deemed always to have applied to the duty imposed by sub-section (2) of Section 10 of the Finance Act, 1931 (No. 31 of 1931), as fully as they applied to the new import duties continued by sub-section (1) of the said Section 10.

This is to clear up a doubt which has arisen as to whether new import duties were properly applicable when the films tax was imposed last year. A doubt has arisen since. It is merely to confirm what was done last year.

It appears that glucose and certain sugar compositions are used in the tanning industry and it is to ensure that these materials which are essential to the industry will be imported free of duty notwithstanding the sugar duty.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 32 agreed to.

I move amendment 73:—

Before Section 33 to insert a new section as follows:—

Where the Revenue Commissioners are satisfied, in respect of any article chargeable with a duty of customs imposed by this Act or any other Act (whether passed before or after this Act), that—

(a) the importer of such article either has within six months before the importation thereof begun to reside in Saorstát Eireann or bona fide intends to begin so to reside within six months after such importation and, in either case, bona fide intends to reside permanently in Saorstát Eireann, and

(b) such article had been previously used by the importer or his family or household or had been previously used (otherwise than as stock-in-trade or as manufactured or partly manufactured stock for sale or as a material, ingredient or component part for the manufacture of such stock) by the importer for the purpose of his trade or business, and

(c) such article is being imported into Saorstát Eireann for the use of the importer or his family or household or for use (otherwise than as aforesaid) by the importer for the purpose of his trade or business, the Revenue Commissioners may, subject to compliance with such conditions as they may think fit to impose, permit such article to be imported without payment of duty.

It is a concession that has always been given in the case of usual household effects. It had not been extended to motor cars.

New section agreed to.

I beg to move amendment 74:—

Before Section 33 to insert a new section as follows:—

Section 10 of the Finance Act, 1901, as amended by Section 7 of the Finance Act, 1902, shall apply to a contract to make any article, erect any structure, or execute any work and supply all or any of the materials required to form or be incorporated in such article, structure, or work, and, for the purposes of such application, references in the said Section 10 to delivery of goods shall be construed as including the formation or incorporation of materials into or in such article, structure, or work.

This amendment is introduced in response to a number of representations which were made in the House during the debate on the Report Stage of the Resolutions. The object is to cover a contractor who was engaged under contract to erect a building, the price for which had been agreed on. The contractor might find himself liable for an increase in the cost of materials because of a tariff on building materials imposed at a date subsequent to the fixing of the contract price but prior to the completion of the building. It has been held that the conditions of Section 10 of the Finance Act, 1901, as amended by Section 7 of the Finance Act, 1902, do not cover the case of that contractor as apart from the case of a vendor.

With reference to the amendment introduced by the Minister, I have a case in mind and I think it concerns a branch of the Minister's Department. It is a case where the actual contractor for work, under the terms of his contract, sub-contracts for the erection of steel work on the site; that is, with the concurrence of the building employer. In that case it is perfectly obvious from the amendment introduced here by the Minister that the sub-contractor could charge the contractor an increased price based on the amount of duties which he, the sub-contractor, had to pay when bringing the steel work into the country for the purpose of erection. When the Minister applies Section 10 of the Finance Act of 1901 in this way it would appear to me that the contractor could not pass on the increased duty which he would have to pay the sub-contractor; he could not pass it on to the building employer.

I would like to point out the difficulty as I see it. Section 10 of the Finance Act, 1901, deals with one transaction; that is, the sale of certain goods and the delivery of certain goods. I will just put the case again as I see it. You have, first of all, the building employer. Then you have the contractor under contract with that person. Under the terms of the contract the contractor is entitled to let out to a sub-contractor the doing of certain work for the due completion of the building. The sub-contractor has to supply steel, to erect certain steel work on the site of the building. Under Section 10 of the Finance Act. 1901, as applied here, the sub-contractor is the vendor or seller of goods to the contractor. The sub-contractor can undoubtedly, over the contract price which the contractor has agreed to give him, charge by way of addition the duty which he, the sub-contractor, had to pay when importing these goods. The position as a result of the application of Section 10 of the Finance Act, 1901 is this: The sub-contractor can undoubtedly recover from the contractor the duty which he has paid on these goods, but there the transaction is finished and the contractor cannot pass it on to the building employer.

Because he has not paid the duty.

A case was brought to my notice and I will mention it. It deals with the erection of a substantial building in Galway under contract from the Board of Works. In the particular instance I speak of a firm within the country is the general contractor, but the sub-contractors are outside the country. Undoubtedly the sub-contractors can pass on to the contractor the amount of duty which they have had to pay. But under the conditions of Section 10 the contractor could not pass on to the building employer, in this case the Board of Works, the amount of extra duty he would be obliged to pay to the sub-contractors. Will the Minister consider between this and the Report Stage—I think it would be capable of a very easy amendment—dealing with a case such as I have set out? The information at my disposal would go to show that this method of sub-contracting is quite common in a number of big building transactions. Sub-contracting is permitted under the actual contract for a building. The amendment that I ask the Minister to include would not be dealing with this individual case, but with building contractors in general.

I think there may be something in the case which Deputy Finlay has raised which may be very difficult to get over. I cannot at the moment conceive any form of words which would cover that particular difficulty. I will have to examine the matter carefully and, if we can do anything to meet the point mentioned by the Deputy, I will bring in an amendment on the Report Stage.

Is that in relation to amendment 74?

Deputy Good is not here, and I was going to move amendment 75 which is in his name. As, however, the Minister is apparently anxious to meet the case that has been submitted, I am prepared to withdraw amendment 75.

I think amendment 74 covers amendment 75.

I take it that amendment 74 will require some alteration.

Under Section 10 of the Finance Act of 1901 and the Finance Act of 1902 the duty was actually paid by the person who passed it on. In the case of a vendor, when he purchased the article he paid the duty. When he sold the article he passed on to the purchaser the duty he had paid. Deputy Finlay's point is that the sub-contractor, having paid the duty, is entitled to recoup himself from the contractor who had not paid the duty directly in the first instance.

That is right.

That is a very common occurrence in the case of big buildings.

Amendment 74 agreed to.
Amendment 75 not moved.
Sections 33 and 34 agreed to.
SECTION 35.

The following amendment appears in Deputy Good's name:

Before Section 35, but in Part II of the Bill, to insert the following new section:—

In cases of urgency where it is very essential that machine or other parts should be delivered at the earliest moment, the Revenue Commissioners are hereby authorised to issue "permits" whereby customs delays may be avoided and delivery expedited.

I would like to know from the Minister what he thinks of this amendment. Undoubtedly, there are cases where these machine parts are required in a hurry.

I think it is quite impossible for us to accept amendment 76. The Revenue Commissioners are bearing a good deal of unjustifiable odium in this matter.

And so are the public.

The House may not be aware that when protective duties were imposed by the late Government the same sort of complaint as to delay on the part of the staff of the Customs and Excise in clearing goods was made. It was a very widespread complaint and it was given a good deal of publicity in the Press. As a result of that a Committee to inquire into these delays was set up by the late Government. In only one case, and that a very slight case, was there any evidence to show that the delays which took place were due to any laxity on the part of the Revenue Commissioners. I am satisfied that the same thing applies at the present moment. If there are delays they are due possibly to the fact that numbers of people who are clearing goods are not familiar with the requirements and the ordinary procedure adopted in clearing dutiable goods. Possibly it is their first experience of clearing such goods.

The position under the Customs law is this: that the unshipping, landing, and bringing to a proper place of examination dutiable goods, putting them into scales where necessary, opening, unpacking, repacking, and other operations, must be performed either by the importer or his agent. It is no part of the duty of the officers of Customs and Excise to do any of these things. The necessary Customs entry must be prepared and presented to the Revenue officer by the importer or his agent and the relative goods must then be produced to the officer for examination. A great deal of delay has arisen owing to the fact that these formalities have not been complied with. Shipping companies, in many instances, owing to the fact, I believe, that their staffs have been insufficient, have failed to do these things, and when they have failed to do these things they have said that they could not get the goods through the Customs, leading the person aggrieved to believe that the responsibility lay on the Customs officers, not on the clearing agent and shipping companies and not possibly, in many instances, on the owners of the goods themselves.

A good many cases were brought to my notice in which it was alleged that the Customs authorities had been responsible for holding up goods at the Customs. I have had very careful inquiries made into them. I shall give a case in point. A consignment of baskets for fruit imported on 3rd June was presented for free entry on Monday, 6th June. The officer examined the goods and found them to be dutiable and informed the shipping company that clearance could have been obtained by that date, or any time afterwards, by the passing of a duty entry and the payment of duty. The duty, I understand, was actually paid by the consignee to the shipping company about the middle of the week, so that within seven days after 3rd June there was absolutely no excuse for any further delay in clearing the goods. It was not, however, until three or four days afterwards, until the following Saturday, that a clerk was sent to the Customs House to pass the duty entry. In the meantime, it had been decided to exempt baskets of this description and the Commissioners' instructions notifying this exemption were received by the staff on that Saturday morning. The clerk of the shipping company was, therefore, informed that the goods could be delivered on the original free entry. Notwithstanding that, the goods were not delivered on that date and were not cleared until the following Tuesday—part of them were cleared on the following Tuesday and the remainder the following Wednesday.

That is on the general question. It is machine parts we are dealing with.

We have only fifteen minutes to conclude.

There are a number of other instances into which I have made personal inquiry and I am perfectly satisfied that wherever the formalities are complied with and the duty is paid no delay takes place in clearing the goods. If the shipping companies and the clearing agents do not employ sufficient staff, that is not the fault or responsibility of the Government. I cannot accept the amendment.

I am withdrawing the amendment, but at the same time I should like to point out to the Minister that he has opened a question very much wider than this amendment seemed to call for. I should have liked to have time to reply to the Minister and I could furnish him with a lot of cases of delay. I am not making any charge against the Customs officers, who I think are doing their best.

If the Deputy will give me any information in his possession with regard to delay I shall be only too glad to have it and to enquire into the matter.

Frightful delay has occurred. I do not suggest that it is on the part of the Customs officials. It is partly due to the fact that a lot of goods were dutiable at one time and then not dutiable, andvice versa.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 35 put and agreed to.
SECTION 36.

I move amendment 77:—

Before Section 36 to insert a new section as follows:—

Corporation profits tax shall not be chargeable on profit arising in an accounting period commencing after the 30th day of June, 1931.

This is to alter the date. When this tax was originally imposed it went back to the previous December. We are going back a year now, which is certainly unreasonable. Accounts have been closed, dividends paid, and they have really to pay out of the succeeding year's profits a previous year's taxation. It certainly will operate inequitably.

I cannot accept the amendment. The loss of revenue would be considerable. In any event, I do not know whether the Deputy is aware that the implications of the amendment would be shortly this: that we would have to discontinue to charge the corporation profits tax in respect of the current period ending on 29th June, 1932.

"Corporation profits tax shall not be chargeable on profit arising in an accounting period commencing after the 30th day of June, 1931."

Will the Minister agree to put down 31st December, 1931? That settles the point.

No. The date was arrived at after a great deal of consideration and fixed in view of the fact that we had to get money, and I cannot spare the money.

Corporation profits tax started about 1919, the tax being imposed in 1920. This goes back a year beyond the original intention of the framers of it in the first instance. It goes back a year beyond the original time. Furthermore, it deals with a period in respect of which profits have been paid and discharged. The Minister cannot continue that.

We can argue it on the Report Stage.

It is not defensible.

It is perfectly defensible.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments 78 to 91, inclusive, not moved.
Section 36 put and agreed to.
Amendments 92 to 100 inclusive not moved.
Sections 37, 38 and 39 put and agreed to.
SECTION 40.
All taxes and duties imposed or continued by this Act are hereby placed under the care and management of the Revenue Commissioners.

I move amendment 101:

In page 27, line 3, before the word "imposed" to insert in brackets the words "(except the excise duties on mechanically propelled vehicles)".

This is merely a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 40, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 41.
The several enactments specified in the Fourth Schedule to this Act are hereby repealed to the extent mentioned in the third column of the said Schedule and as on and from the respective dates specified in the fourth column of the said Schedule.

I move amendment 102:

In page 27, line 6, to delete the word "fourth" and substitute the word "fifth."

Amendment agreed to.

I propose to divide on Section 41. If the House wishes, we can pass Section 42 and the Title and divide on Section 41.

Will we have time to do that?

I think we have already divided on many of the things in the Fourth Schedule.

No, you caught me out on the last one.

I was absent when you got through. If Section 42 and the Title are put you can then divide on Section 41 and finish it.

SECTION 42.

(1) This Act may be cited as the Finance Act, 1932.

(2) Part I of this Act shall be construed together with the Income Tax Acts, and Part II of this Act, so far as it relates to duties of customs, shall be construed together with the Customs Acts, and so far as it relates to duties of excise, shall be construed together with the British Statutes and Acts of the Oireachtas which relate to the duties of excise and the management of those duties.

(3) Part I of this Act shall, save as is otherwise expressly provided, be deemed to come into force on and shall take effect as on and from the 6th day of April, 1932.

Section 42 agreed to.
Title agreed to.

On Section 41, there are various repeals in the Schedule in connection with this. There is one outstanding case, No. 35 of 1926, where it is proposed to alter the whole complexion of the concession which was first made in England, and, subsequently here, in connection with excess profits duty. In 1925 or 1926 an arrangement was made between the British Government and the commercial community in regard to liability for and easement in respect of excess profits duty. The commercial community waived their right to get back tax, and the Government at that time introduced an amendment providing for easements except in cases of fraud or wilful neglect. That was done under the Act of 1926 and I do not propose to weary the House now with the statement the Minister made outside the House and reported in February, 1932. He said that this going back into the collection of income tax was un-Christian, indefensible and inequitable. The case in respect of excess profits duty rested since 1926 under this Act, on circumstances in which there would be fraud or wilful neglect. Now they have been amended. The Minister has taken that out and has given to the Revenue Commissioners the right to go into every and any case, in respect of which a charge would lie, over these periods, and they can go back on these cases of 1914 which were closed, and the position will be, as soon as this Act passes, with these amendments, that, while the commercial community is open to investigation, in respect of charges for excess profits duty, there is no opportunity of getting back money which has been paid and which the State has entered into possession of and which a person was over-charged.

The Minister, in his opening speech on the Budget, mentioned that he proposed to give certain facilities to people who would own up—I think those were his words, in short—and they were to get a concession of three-quarters of the amount. There is no mention of three-quarters of the amount in this Bill, from one end to another, and the position is that there is no business in this State, which was liable for excess profits duty since 1914, but may be investigated now, and, while some of them made provision for excess profits duties, in various balance sheets over a few years, that has now passed out. A wise company would probably put in, for instance, perhaps, a sum of money now, and if they do, they practically invite the attention of the Revenue Commissioners. I would like to say, in connection with the Revenue Commissioners, that while people may take to themselves the right to criticise them, if the law, as it stands, empowers them to make this investigation, they are almost bound to do it. That is exactly the position here, with regard to this, so I oppose the section.

Is the Minister aware that one of the principal reasons in putting a closing down period on excess profits duty was that the law with regard to excess profits duty is this: Suppose A.B., being the owner of a business premises was liable for excess profits duty and he did not pay it, and, subsequently, sold that business to a bona-fide purchaser, under the law regarding excess profits duty, that bonafide purchaser can be made liable for the excess profits duty which was payable, but which was not paid by his immediate predecessor in business. If the Minister opens again the door to assessments for excess profits duty, a general door, without any limitations as to fraud or wilful neglect, as has been pointed out by Deputy Cosgrave, the law is such that the Revenue Commissioners in this country can turn to anyone who has purchased a business since 1920 up to, in fact, the year 1932, which business may have been liable for excess profits duty which was not paid, and can raise an assessment for excess profits duty on that purchaser —I do not care whether he is a purchaser by descent or a purchaser for value—and make him pay what his predecessor in the business should have paid fourteen or fifteen years ago.

And there is, at least, one case on record in which that occurred.

All this has been raised as a smoke screen to conceal the very substantial concession the Government is making——

Where is it?

—with regard to the fact that the maximum amount of duty that will be claimed for full disclosure is 75 per cent.

Where is that?

If the Deputy will turn to Section 37 he will see that there is a general power given to the Revenue Commissioners to make a concession and the terms of the concession will be published in the newspapers and printed on forms which will be sent to those who desire to take advantage of it.

Question put: "That Section 41, as amended, stand."
The Committee divided: Tá, 68; Níl, 49.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Alien, Denis.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Clery, Micheál.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Gormley, Francis.
  • Gorry, Patrick Joseph.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Kissane, Eamonn.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Curran, Patrick Joseph.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Flinn, Hugo V.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Morrissey, Daniels.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas J.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • Powell, Thomas P.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C. (Dr.).

Níl

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brasier, Brooke.
  • Broderick, William Jos.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Gorey, Denis John.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Hayes, Michael.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Kiersey, John.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • McDonogh, Fred.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Minch, Sydney B.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • O'Connor, Batt.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Reilly, John Joseph.
  • O'Shaughnessy, John Joseph.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Thrift, William Edward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies G. Boland and Allen; Níl: Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle.
Question declared carried.
Bill reported with amendments.
Report Stage ordered for Wednesday, 13th July.

When does the Minister intend to circulate the amendment with regard to the tobacco duty which he promised?

It is in the hands of the draftsman, as a matter of fact, and will probably be in the hands of Deputies on Monday morning

That will not give time for amendments to be put in. Amendments will then have to be accepted in the House.

The point is that the Bill has to go to the Seanad on Friday night.

What is the reason for not taking the Bill on Tuesday?

Simply because a number of other amendments have to go in on Report Stage and they would not be ready.

Can we not take portion of the Bill and the amendments which would be ready and dispose of that part of the Bill? It is quite possible that we will have time to spare on Tuesday.

We are standing by the agreement as to Wednesday, but I am now informed that it will be possible to circulate the tobacco duty amendment to-night, and we can take amendments in the House to that amendment, if necessary.

The Dáil adjourned at 2.10 p.m. until Tuesday, 12th July, at 3 p.m.