In Committee on Finance. - Road Transport Bill, 1933—Committee Stage (Resumed).

When the House reported progress, the Minister, I think, indicated that, having listened to the discussion on the Government amendment, he was prepared to consider the advisability of doing away with these exempted areas altogether. He said that if any cogent reasons were put forward he would be much influenced and that if we could show that the advantage that would accrue to the railway company would effectively counterbalance the administrative difficulties, he would favourably consider the proposal.

The reasons I submit to the Minister are these:—He is at the cross-roads and he should make up his mind to do one thing or the other. There is a great deal to be said from the point of view of the consuming public whether the ordinary laws of economic competition should operate and, if needs be, wipe out the railway companies altogether and let whoever is able to carry goods at the lowest rates get the transport business into his hands. There is a great deal to be argued on that side. On the other hand, there is a great weight in the argument that the railways are a national asset and that on balance you have got to preserve them. The Minister is apparently satisfied that that is the right view. I ask him to pursue that conclusion wholeheartedly, to make up his mind to preserve the railways, and, if it is necessary to preserve them, to recommend that to the Dáil. The Minister admits that the traffic in the areas mentioned in the Schedule is of value. He admitted that himself. So he discharges me from the obligation of showing the special value that the traffic in these areas is to the railway company.

On the contrary, I mentioned that the traffic in these areas is of no value to the railway companies.

Yes, but the Minister went on to say another thing.

I am trying to follow the Minister as closely as I can. I got the impression that he stated categorically that this is a valuable business and that he proposes not to interfere with people who had built up this business within these areas, and wipe them out. But if the Minister wants me to go into an extensive discourse on the value of these areas, I am reluctant to do it, because I think the thing is perfectly manifest. After all, look at it this way—if this traffic was not valuable why is it discharged by private carriers at the present moment? Why have all these independent haulage contractors emerged if it was not a valuable business?

There is no proposal to confiscate the property of these men or to wipe them out. What is proposed is that they should be regulated just as the Minister proposes to regulate transport in other departments. I ask the Minister to throw back his mind to the time before the passenger traffic was regulated in city areas. The Minister remembers a number of pirate bus companies which made conditions on the road impossible. I submit to him now, first, from the point of view of the probability of chaos developing in the goods traffic business within these areas, and, secondly, from the point of view that this is a remunerative and valuable business which will greatly assist the railway companies in providing amenities for the less thickly populated areas in the country that they should be compelled by regulation. The Minister ought to make up his mind that there will be no exemptions from these regulations and that he will adhere to his policy of making unification of transport all over the country possible.

Hear, hear! Deputy Dillon is advancing.

I am not advancing at all in the direction that the Deputy has in mind. I want to have legislation passed through this House so as to make the continuance of the railways possible. I do not want the railways to be led into a morass and left to sink, and then after some years to have the Minister for Industry and Commerce sailing out and practically pulling them ashore and explaining to the whole country that this was inevitable. I want to give the railway companies fair play. I would go further in this than even Deputy McGilligan or Deputy Davin. Unless the Minister is prepared to do this, unless he is prepared to do away with these exempted areas, this legislation is going to fail. I did not hear the Minister make out any case for the exemption of these areas beyond saying that there were administrative difficulties.

If there are exemptions from the general policy of the Bill the obligation rests upon the Minister to give the reason for these exemptions and not upon the person who attacks it. I do not think the Minister has discharged that liability that rests upon him. The Minister says that administrative difficulties will make this impossible. If there are administrative difficulties they ought to be overcome. I believe in the opinion of the railway companies, in the opinion of Deputy Davin, who is a railway man, and Deputy McGilligan and most people who are interested in the matter of traffic in these areas, that the cream of the traffic is in these exempted areas. I think you have corroborative evidence in the fact that there are any number of companies turning up to get a share of that. They would not be looking for a share of that traffic if it was not valuable. It is clear that there is none of this haulage that the railway companies could not do when they take over the business as licence holders under this Bill. I put it to the Minister that if he really wants to make a success of this railway legislation he will do away with the exempted areas altogether and press forward steadily towards the ideal of the unification of transport in this country without nationalisation.

I want to support the ideas put forward by Deputy Dillon. The Minister has asked for evidence of some reasons of this. It is perfectly manifest if he wants to consider suggestions of wiping out the exempted areas, evidence can be given to him that that is necessary, apart from the fact that these exempted areas would be injurious to the railway companies if he wants to give effect to the title of the Bill to make further and better provision for the regulation and control of road traffic. The Bill, from its very title, should be made to operate through the entire country. And if it is to operate through the entire country it, obviously, ought to be necessary that it should operate at the source and head where there is congestion of both kinds of traffic. If control is at all necessary, it is in congested areas that it is necessary. I agree with Deputy Dillon that traffic in these areas is of considerable value. There is no question of inflicting hardship on any particular persons if they are asked to be subject to the control which this House will decide as being necessary control over the transport of the country in order to have it run under proper lines. If we are to have special exemptions we are simply catering for the type of carriers who are engaged in their own interests—that type of carrier who recognises no hours of work, people who in order to eke out a miserable existence work long hours in competition with firms who are keeping up a standard of wages and conditions of employment in an industry that is second only in this country to agriculture. I think the Minister is going to create administrative difficulties in creating these areas. If he does establish those ten miles radii then the free-lance people are entitled to operate inside the ten-mile area. Whose duty will it be to restrict them when they go from one area to another? When a man comes with his load backward or forward to the creamery who is going to pull him up if he insists on his ten-mile radius? I suggest it would be a difficult job. He can do twelve or fifteen miles just as readily. There you are creating at once an administrative difficulty in pursuance of a purpose which I believe is non-essential and only intended to defeat the best objects of this Bill. There is not very much room for further discussion on this point because the same point was made by all the speakers, that it is necessary to unify the services, and if they are to be properly unified, regularised and controlled it is necessary that that should be done over the entire Saorstát. There is no case whatever to be made for exemption in these areas suggested as there is no hardship to be inflicted upon anybody. They are all to get a fair crack of the whip by having this regularised control.

The Minister in one of his voluble moments asked us to put forward any solid argument as to the abolition of this proposal with regard to the exempted areas and then, of course, announced that he had not yet heard any solid argument. When he sets himself up as the test it is very hard to conceive the possibility of passing that. The Minister was referred to to-night by another speaker as being somewhat in the Demosthenic vein. Demosthenes had two periods in his life, one when he repaired to a certain beach and exercised with a pebble, when he was faltering and somewhat hesitant, and afterwards when he was very eloquent. The Minister has both moods. He has the faltering and hesitant one when not believing in what he says and he gets eloquent and has a burst on something that is generally irrelevant. From the tone in which he addressed himself to this I do not believe he sees any real force in this business about the exempted areas. One of the phrases he used in the course of his argument gives me sufficient foundation to urge against it, or in the alternative, amendment 21 standing in my name. In speaking of keeping the area ten miles instead of reducing it to five, the Minister used the phrase: "Anything less than a ten-mile radius is of no value to anyone." If there is any meaning in words, the deduction from that is that inside the ten miles there is value to somebody in this traffic. If there is not any value to anybody, why not leave it open to all and sundry, even those who ply outside? Why not add on this little bit? It would save the Minister the administrative difficulty of paying any attention to anybody inside the exempted area, because once even a licensed lorry crosses that charmed border-the new border-it is free from all conditions. There clearly is value in this. The fact that the railway company used every argument with him to make him reduce the fifteen-mile area in some places to a ten-mile area shows that they, at any rate, think that inside the larger area there is something of value.

I think the reconciliation of this conflict between Deputy Good and the Minister of what the railway directors either said or meant, is clear enough. They did prefer amendment 16 to what was in the Bill. I suggest, if he is going to use that, even as an argument to buttress his own statements with regard to the amendment, that before the Report Stage he should consult them again and find out precisely the answer to this: would they prefer amendment 16 or the complete abolition of the exempted areas? I am sure he will find they are in agreement with all the speakers other than himself and Deputy Moore on this subject. The Minister counters the argument used by Deputy Norton, and I think exaggerated by Deputy Norton, with regard to the chaos that there is going to be inside these areas. He says as to that, that it is not in regard to the traffic that originates in these areas that there is any railway problem.

Traffic that originates and terminates.

Traffic that originates and terminates. It may not be at the present moment, but is it not going to be a problem in the new circumstances? I think it is a problem at present. There is, however, going to be a new situation created by the Bill. As Sections 35 to 37 stand, the railway company, at any rate, can apply for the transfer of a licence; that is of an existing carrier who has obtained a licence to operate elsewhere. The assets are not stated to be transferable. What is the most obvious thing for a person who has an existing carrier's licence when the railway company makes an application and when the Minister accedes to it and transfers the licence? What is the most obvious thing to do with the lorries which are falling in outside these exempted areas? Surely they will be rushed into the exempted areas, sold for next to nothing, because they can operate there and they are going to be of some value to the people who can draw them in from outside. That may be met by later amendments. I have put one down to try to clarify the issue where they may be taken over and where, probably, it would pay the railway company to take over even badly depreciated assets rather than leave them to be used in the inside areas in the way I suggested. Surely a new situation will arise when certain people who have made their livelihood up to date on the roads find they are likely to be cut out under the operation of the Bill in future and they make tracks immediately for the nearest exempted area to try to get a bit of business there on traffic originating in and terminating in that area. I should say there is going to be a situation which may nearly merit Deputy Norton's description of chaos. I ruled out the description myself as an exaggeration at the moment, but it may not be so exaggerated as a term in the situation that will arise when the Bill is passed.

Let me take the argument the Minister has used that anything less than a ten-mile radius is of no value to anybody. Let me stand on the logical deduction from that, that this ten-mile radius business is of value to someone. Assuming it is of value, why not allow the other licensed people to avail themselves of it? Why not let them take it? If they do not want it they will not take it. Or alternatively, why not allow everybody inside the exempted areas to operate without a licence? It saves a lot of administrative difficulties. As far as the administration of the Act is concerned, it means that those in charge can completely and entirely close their eyes to anything that is happening in the exempted areas. Their attention is concentrated, and can be, therefore, used the better on the areas outside. I do not see why the only people who are to be prohibited from enjoying any part of this traffic are the people whose business you set out not merely to preserve but to enhance-the railway companies in the first instance, and the licensed existing carriers, doing their business in the interior of the country external to these areas, in the second instance. The Minister asked further, in continuation of a question asked previously, "is really the position at the moment due to the operations inside these areas?" I say it is in part. If that argument has any value we can easily reduce it to an absurdity by saying "Leave the fifteen miles as it was, in fact, make it twenty miles," because the further you move away from the dense traffic areas the less force there is in any argument that it is hampering the railways. Of course I see that myself. I do not believe that the Minister recognises that there is any force in these arguments he used. He said again, and I think there is an argument to be founded upon it, that he did not prophesy nationalisation as the next move in the railway situation. I think he did.

I do not think the Deputy is quoting me correctly.

I think the only reservation he put on the whole thing was, if any other measure is ever to be introduced it will be a nationalisation measure. He faneied himself as a prophet when he said that. In extension of that argument he said he had the belief that this Bill would do good to the main transport agency of the country. Will it do any less good if the exempted areas are cut out? Will it do more good if they are abolished? That is the test I put to him? The measure is designed to help the chief transport agency of the country. The Minister has the firm belief that it is going to help them and make them a really good transport agency. Will it hinder their becoming a really good transport agency if the exempted areas are cut out? Do you put any further burden on them by allowing them—not necessarily foreing them—to take transport inside those areas? If you simply allow them to operate there, and do not give anybody a preference against them in those areas, will that impede the Minister's desire to put the railway companies into a sound position? Deputy Moore spoke more or less on these points and I want to deal with a few of his arguments in a moment.

I will now turn to another aspect of this matter. There are amendments put down here to which the Minister alludes. Deputies Reidy, Bennett, Lynch and O'Sullivan have down amendments enlarging certain named areas, and Deputy Anthony spoke on that point. Examining the comments that have appeared in the newspapers, to which any of these amendments could be related, I find myself in some difficulty as to what are the reasons behind them. I think it is clear that there is either of two reasons impelling these amendments. One is the idea of preventing undue preference being given to one port as against another. Alternatively, the only reason I can see is the point to which Deputy Moore alluded-I do not know whether he takes a firm stand on it. He said he was not too sure that the community yet knew what was going to happen when this measure came into force, and that it would definitely deprive them of certain services to which they had grown accustomed. It is possible that the people, say, in Cork, are not thinking of undue preference against the port of Cork, but are thinking simply that they have no great belief in the Minister's measure or in the railway company as such, either under this measure or before it, and therefore, they want to have a big area around the City of Cork in which the existing road vehicles will be preserved because they will not be subject to any licensing conditions. If it is the second reason, I think that the House in the main is against it, because I think there has been agreement that, in the main, they want to put the railways into a better position, and they are prepared to impose certain hardships upon road vehicle owners and users rather than let the railways go down. Therefore, I am going to take it that the argument which is behind those amendments is the argument about the port preference. There I find myself in considerable difficulty. There is a section in this measure, Section 13, which is the best endeavour that has been made in this measure to deal with the question of port preference. Of course, the phraseology of it is peculiar:—

"No licensee under a merchandise licence, shall, in carrying on the business authorised by such licence, make or give any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage to or in favour of any particular person, trade, industry, district or port, nor subject any particular person, trade, industry, district or port to any undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage."

Then there is a provision that there may be an appeal to the Railway Tribunal. That is all right so far as it goes. I think if that phrase were brought to the attention of the Cork and Waterford people they would probably say that the Railway Tribunal may not operate that section properly, or that it may in fact be impossible to get them what they desire. We cannot answer that except by saying that we will do the best we can to give them an impartial tribunal.

There is another situation which has got to be met. In fact, I think, what Cork and Waterford want is not that they should be put on equality with other ports, and that undue preference against their port should be prohibited, but that they should be preserved in their present position, which, in my opinion, is one of preference. I think that is what they want. If they want that, Section 13 does not meet it. I do not know if the Minister has considered this particular question—which is one of the most difficult to meet in the whole matter—from that angle. The section undoubtedly does not meet that point. If it is true that Waterford at the moment has a particular preferential situation, Section 13 will immediately destroy that, because the whole object of Section 13 is to put all ports on an equal basis, relative to the surrounding areas.

If I may intervene, Waterford's fear is not that they will not get preference. Waterford's fear is that Waterford will be discriminated against in favour of other ports, by the railway company.

What would Deputy Goulding call discrimination? It will mean taking away anything Waterford now has?

Certainly.

Will Deputy Goulding go a bit further and say that Waterford at the moment has a certain preferential position in certain matters? I do not think he will, because it would give his case away. Waterford, whatever its position was and however it got it, had that position guaranteed and continued to it under the Railways Act of 1924, and I imagine the Minister set out to preserve the existing position. I do not think that, on examination, he will find that he has done so. To that extent, I have some sympathy with the amendments which would seek to enlarge the exempted area-if there is going to be one at all—around certain ports. I think that matter had better be dealt with by some better provision than Section 13. If that were done, I would be definitely and clearly in favour of either allowing all lorries inside exempted areas, of whatever size, to operate as unlicensed carriers —to operate as carriers who do not require a licence—or, alternatively, to wipe out the whole exempted area completely. If I were put to a choice I would rather have the exempted area completely wiped out.

Deputy Moore raised two points. Deputy Dillon answered him on one, except in regard to a subsidiary argument which was raised. Deputy Moore seemed to be arguing distinctly, as Deputy Dillon said, that if the exempted areas were abolished the railway company would be forced into the business of carrying foodstuffs around the Dublin area. Of course they would not be forced into it. The Minister made a remark on that. He tried to force Deputy Dillon into the dilemma that the railway company either wanted it or did not want it. Deputy Dillon's answer was: "Leave it to them to decide." The second answer I would give is that the railway company might not want to carry certain traffic in certain areas themselves, but they might at the same time desire that whatever company does do that should have to become licensed as a common carrier and should have to describe the goods for which it would become a common carrier. There would then be something in the neighbourhood of equality as between the two sets of vehicles. It is illogical and indefensible to allow one group of lorries to operate completely free from control, and make another group subject to conditions once they come inside a certain area. If the traffic is of any great value the railway company should be allowed to say whether they want it or not. If they do not want it let the hauler licensed for road hauling business outside the area, but possibly coming inside it, be given the second chance.

One has been trying, while the Deputies have been speaking, to picture in one's mind the position of carriers in these 12 new areas. Those are areas two of which are 30 miles in diameter-15 miles radius-and ten of which are 20 miles in diameter. The two areas of the 30 miles diameter would mean about 100 miles border, and the other two would mean about 60 miles border, or something over 60 miles.

We have had some experience, unfortunate experience, of what Border troubles are in this country. In face of that experience which we all deplore, we are going to set up twelve new areas with borders varying from 60 to 100 miles. Some of us who have experience of transport problems, carriage of goods, etc., will know what trouble will be involved in that particular quarter. An unlicensed carrier accepts goods that are to be taken six miles from the General Post Office. He can go in that particular area five miles and he is going to chance his arm for the other mile. The Minister's Department becomes aware of this. He calls upon the Minister for Justice to supply sufficient detectives to preserve these areas. What is that going to involve the State in? And after all this expense has been incurred, what advantage is going to accrue to the State? Now let us be practicable. The Minister is a man who considers these problems very carefully as a rule, but I am not so sure whether he has given all the attention to this Bill that would be desirable, but he considers these problems as a rule wonderfully well in view of the circumstances that are evidently attaching to his office. Has he visualised, or can he tell the House, what advantage business, or if you like, what advantage is the State, as a whole, going to derive from the limitations attached to these particular areas? I can see tremendous difficulties arising, but to be quite candid with the Minister, I can see practically no advantages on the other side, certainly none that would at all compensate for the difficulties, expense and other troubles involved. I would really press the Minister seriously to consider the advantages; I have no doubt there are some advantages, which I hope he will put before the House before the debate closes, for the setting up of these particular areas. I would like to know these advantages and to consider very carefully whether these advantages are going to outweigh the disadvantages that we all see from the setting up of what I may call these new border problems in connection with the transport of the country. I hope the Minister will give us that information. I think the House is entitled to it. The House, so far as it has expressed its views, may be taken as opposed to the Minister's proposals in the setting up of these areas and we would like to know before a division is called what advantages are to be derived from the setting up of these areas.

Before dealing with the merits of the proposals in the Bill and the amendments which are being suggested from different parts of the House, I think it is necessary once again to clear up certain misconceptions which evidently befog the minds of one or two Deputies who spoke. I asked that any sound argument that could be advanced for the abolition of exempted areas should be produced so that we could see it, and I said if in fact one solid argument for the abolition of these areas was advanced I was prepared to abolish them. That is my attitude. Deputy Good asked me what advantages are to be secured by the creation of these areas, and I say the advantages are few. I will go into the matter in more detail later but my position is this: I can see no disadvantages from their creation. I see that on the contrary the creation of these areas is not going to prejudice the position of the railway companies or put anybody in a disadvantageous position, but their existence is going to solve a number of administrative problems—it is going to make the administration of the Bill smoother. I do not think we are doing anybody harm, we are simplifying administration and we propose to do it. It is quite clear the positive advantages from the creation of the areas are not very large, and therefore, I am quite willing to abolish the areas if I am shown that any advantage is going to be created by their abolition, and, so far, I have not been shown that.

Deputy Davin spoke about the general policy of the unification of transport, but he did not propose any solid reason for the abolition of the exempted areas. He did not say the abolition of the exempted areas was going to benefit the railway companies, or was going to make it simpler to operate the policy embodied in these Bills, or was going to smooth the position towards the end that he has in mind in relation to transport in this country. I mean the attitude he took up was very largely based upon a quotation read from a speech delivered by me some two or three years ago. Apparently he accepts anything I say as gospel——

Not now.

Since when have I lost my infallibility?

Will the Minister say in what respect the exempted area proposals coincide with his so-called unification problem?

It does not coincide. Is Deputy Davin answered?

Now Deputy Dillon took a different line altogether. Deputy Dillon usually speaks with the air of delivering fundamental truths upon every subject to which he addresses himself. He said if these exempted areas are not abolished all this legislation is going to fail. That is utter nonsense. The Deputy did not attempt to develop that theory. The Deputy's argument was that the one thing necessary to preserve the railways of the country was that they should get the short-distance traffic that originates and ends within 15 miles of Dublin and Cork, or ten miles of any of the other towns mentioned in the Bill.

All I am going to say is this: The Minister has now misrepresented and twisted what I have said and he will probably continue to do so. I will not interrupt him again but I want to call the attention of the House to the fact that he is twisting what I have said and he is misrepresenting me.

I took down the Deputy's words. He said unless exempted areas are abolished this legislation is going to fail; that the traffic in these areas is the cream of the traffic and we are depriving the railway company of this traffic. I again repeat that is nonsense. The traffic in these areas is not the cream of the traffic. It is so far from being the cream of the traffic that the railway companies told me they are not interested. In these days nobody is likely to have certain merchandise carried by rail a distance of five or six miles. That is the Deputy's argument. The railways were built and maintained for the purposes of carrying out long distance haulage and it is long distance haulage that is important to them.

Are the railways going to do any railway haulage?

Of course the railways are going to do the long distance haulage. The suburban distribution is of no particular consequence to them.

What suburban distribution is there in Ballina or within fifteen miles of it?

What then is the sense in the Deputy's statement, that that is the cream of the traffic?

I am not going to be dragged into a crossfire with the Minister.

The Deputy said that was the cream of the traffic.

I am not going to wrangle with the Minister.

The Deputy said that was the cream of the traffic: that if the railway companies did not get the short distance traffic, then the whole purpose of this legislation was going to be defeated.

It is not suburban.

Is it seriously contended that the railway companies cannot survive unless they get this traffic which, to a considerable extent, they have not got now and which no legislation that we can devise will give them—traffic carted in motors and that previously was carted in horse vans?

Does the Minister mean to suggest that this traffic was taken 15 miles by horses and vans?

A good many years ago certain forms of merchandise traffic would, I agree, be carried by the railways over a distance of 15 miles. The Deputy seems to forget that 15 miles is the maximum.

If 15 miles is the radius then 30 miles is the diameter of the area.

And the centre is the principal post office of the town. We contemplate that traffic radiating from the centre, short distance traffic, is of no particular significance or importance to the railway companies. At the moment I just want to content myself with refuting Deputy Dillon's absurd statement: that that is the cream of the traffic without which the railways cannot survive. Anybody who knew anything about the railways would not make a statement of that kind.

Does the Minister want me to make another speech in Committee?

I would prefer the Deputy would make it now because I am certain he will make it some time. Deputy Keyes apparently had the same idea, although it was clear from what he said that he was confusing this short distance road traffic with the general road position. He said that if control was necessary at all it was necessary in these areas. That statement is obviously based on a complete misunderstanding of the position. It is not the advent of the motor car in these narrow confined areas which has caused any substantial loss to the railway companies, but it is the long distance haulage traffic that originated in those areas. It is the loss of that traffic to the railway companies which has produced the present position. It is in relation to that kind of transport that we are trying to establish the monopoly conditions that we contemplate. It is not necessary or essential to any scheme that there should be this rigid control of short distance traffic in the towns and the cities, but it is essential, in our opinion, that there should be unified and regulated control of the long distance traffic throughout the country.

Deputy McGilligan came down off his fence towards the end of his speech. From the beginning of the discussion on this amendment it was not quite clear whether the Deputy was going to plump for the abolition of the exempted areas or for his own amendment which is designed to ensure that there would be nobody controlled at all. If there are to be exempted areas, then the amendment in the names of Deputies Finian Lynch, O'Sullivan and Reidy, is designed to increase their size. Deputy McGilligan took the line that either course would satisfy him; either abolish the exempted areas or release everyone from control within the exempted areas. In two or three of his speeches he kept balancing on the fence, and then finally came down in favour of the abolition of the exempted areas. But even Deputy McGilligan, who should have a very intimate knowledge of this problem because of his personal concern with it for a number of years, obviously misunderstands the position. He certainly misunderstands the purposes of the Bill. He talked of the peculiar proposal, as he described it, of allowing everybody to operate in the transport business within the exempted areas except the railway companies and licensed carriers. Of course, that is not the position at all. The Bill does not purport to do that. The Bill permits railway companies and licensed carriers, if they so wish, to operate within the exempted areas, but if they do they will operate subject to the condition of their licences. They will operate as the carriers of the goods they profess to carry, and be subject to the other conditions that apply under the Bill.

From what I am going to say Deputies will see that we mean and desire to strengthen the position of the railway companies. If the Bill goes through in its present form we will have a number of persons licensed to carry goods in any part of the country and others unlicensed but confined in their operations to one or other of the exempted areas. Now if we abolish the exempted areas all those who are at present carrying merchandise for reward in these cities will apply for a licence. They will not apply for a licence merely to carry goods within the exempted area but for a licence to carry goods over a substantial part of the Saor-stát. They will become not merely local carriers but competitors of the railway companies in the traffic that is of real importance to the railway companies. The abolition of the exempted areas is going to have this effect, that it is going to increase considerably the number of road transport operators that the railway companies will have to acquire if they are to secure the monopoly position that we contemplate under the Bill. There are a number of carriers the bulk of whose business is confined in or about the cities and towns who will be content to confine themselves and their business to these areas.

But if they so desire to trade outside the area, are they not at liberty to seek a licence and to get it?

Yes, in which case if the railway companies want to acquire them and to reach the monopoly position that we contemplate under the Bill then they will have to buy these people out not merely in relation to that portion of their service which extends outside the area, but also in relation to that portion of it which is inside the area. The railway companies in order to get the long distance traffic will have to buy the short distance traffic and lay out more substantial sums.

I cannot see them laying out anything at the moment.

Why make it more difficult for them to do it?

The position is this, that when you reduce your radius to five miles——

I do not propose to do it.

Well, take it at 15 miles. There will be so many of these carriers wanting to go outside their areas that in order to carry on their business they will become registered. In order to be free carriers and to be able to tender for work outside their areas they will become registered carriers.

Examine that for a moment. There is an amendment down in the name of Deputy McGilligan the purpose of which is to exempt from all regulation all carriers within the exempted areas. When we reach that amendment I intend to oppose it. My reasons for doing so are because we definitely want to offer an inducement to carriers to confine themselves to exempted areas and not to seek long distance traffic. If we abolish the exempted areas, then there is no such inducement, and these carriers are going to become carriers not merely for the short distance traffic but for the long distance traffic as well. If the railway companies want to reach a monopoly position——

If the carrier wants to carry long distance traffic then he can get a licence.

Yes, but under the Bill he has got to say this to himself: "I can operate within the exempted areas not as a common carrier but with all the advantages that I have at present, not subject to any conditions imposed under the Bill, and not required to get a licence. My position is not any worse than it is at present. If I want to go outside this area, then I have got to become a common carrier, not merely outside but inside the area, subject to all the limitations imposed on a common carrier inside as well as outside the area." A substantial number of these people who find that the bulk of their business is confined to short distance distribution in or about the towns and the cities, are going to elect to confine themselves entirely to the exempted area, not to go outside it and not apply for a licence. Consequently, these would be withdrawn, as it were, from competition with the railway companies for the traffic the railway companies want. I want the Deputy to appreciate that position. We limit definitely on the long-distance routes the number of competitors with the railway companies and, consequently, the number of companies that will have to be acquired by the railway companies. If we abolish the exempted areas, we make every carrier in the country apply for a licence. If he applies for a licence, he is not going to confine himself to a particularly narrow stretch of country; he is going to apply for a licence for the whole of the country, or for a large part of it, and, consequently, set himself up as a competitor with the railway company, which will have to acquire him if the railway company is to get into the position which we desire it to get into. The same result would follow from the adoption of Deputy McGilligan's amendment to Section 6. It would induce every carrier in the country to apply for a licence and enter into competition with the railway company. The net result of that would be that the passage of the Bill would probably worsen rather than improve the position of the railway company immediately and, ultimately, increase considerably the cost of acquiring these competing services, which is a consideration causing considerable worry to Deputy Good and Deputy Dillon.

Because you are going to force purchase on them and you have left them no money with which to purchase.

And by voting in favour of the abolition of the exempted areas, the Deputy wants to increase the cost.

The result would be to increase the cost. I think I have proved that beyond controversy. I can assure Deputies that that is what we contemplate would happen if these exempted areas were abolished. It seems logical. I want to mention other considerations in favour of these exempted areas. We propose that shipping companies may operate road services. A shipping company is automatically entitled to a licence if operating an existing service. It may get a licence if it applies for it at any time. The towns mentioned in the Bill are towns from which there are regular shipping services. In respect of these towns, is there any special reason why we should give the exclusive right of carrying goods in or out of them to services operated by shipping companies? In regard to short distance traffic, might we not allow independent operators to carry on without control? That is another consideration which should be borne in mind.

Consider the problem which might arise in Dublin? Assume I am a carrier in or around Dublin; assume there are no exempted areas and that an application is made simultaneously by the Great Northern Railway Company, the Great Southern Railways Company and the Dublin United Tramways Company to acquire that particular service. To whom is that licence to be transferred, if it is to be transferred—to the G.N.R., the G.S.R. or the Dublin United Tramways Company? The scheme we contemplate in this Bill is the division of the country into three areas. We regard the City of Dublin as one area, in which the dominating transport organisation is the Dublin United Tramways Company. That company engages in the carriage of merchandise of certain kinds as well as in the carriage of passengers. Are we to contemplate a monopoly of merchandise carrying in the City of Dublin in the hands of the United Tramways Company or are we to allow one or other or both of the railway companies to come in as well and have a sort of three-cornered battle for the short distance traffic around Dublin? Is it not a simpler proposition to eliminate those areas altogether, knowing as we do that that traffic is of no special importance to the railway companies, that they do not particularly want it; that the exclusion of those areas from the scope of the Bill is not going to prejudice the position of any company or interfere with the effective carrying out of our policy, bearing in mind, at the same time, that by creating these exemption areas we solve a large number of administrative problems which have held up this Bill for a considerable time and were largely responsible for the fact that the previous Government failed to deal with the merchandise carrying problem altogether? For quite a number of years, the necessity for legislation to regulate the cartage of merchandise by road was obvious, but the administrative difficulties associated with it were so great that it was not attempted. An attempt is being made now. I admit that many of the devices contained in this Bill are rough and ready methods of dealing with what are very considerable administrative difficulties. One of these devices is the exempted areas. Not merely does the existence of these exempted areas solve some of these administrative problems but these areas in themselves constitute an essential part of the scheme, and their removal is going to prejudice the prospects of the success of the scheme and make it much more difficult for the railway companies to get into the position we want to put them into-a position in which they will be the sole companies engaged in the long distance transportation of goods and passengers. That is the aim of the Bill, and it is in order to achieve that aim that I urge that the provision should be allowed to remain as it stands.

Some question may be asked as to the nature of the administrative difficulties I have in mind. To enable this Bill to be properly administered, we have got to insert a provision of this kind: "Where a mechanically propelled vehicle is used for the carriage of merchandise not the property of the owner of such vehicle, such merchandise shall, until the contrary is proved, be deemed, for the purpose of this Act, to be carried for reward." On careful examination and consultation with the authorities who will be responsible for the administration of the Act, the insertion of some such provision became clearly necessary. I want Deputies to consider all the difficulties that would be associated with the administration of the Act, including a provision of that kind, in the City of Dublin, where, day to day, short-distance transportation is being undertaken under all sorts of conditions. Deputy Moore referred also to the circumstances associated with the ordinary supply of foodstuffs to the City of Dublin-the cartage of milk from farms and places adjacent to the city to supply the requirements of the city. Very frequently, one lorry might go out and collect the milk of two or three distributors. That would be impossible under this Bill as it stood unless that carrier had a licence to carry for reward. Consequently, a whole lot of people would be made common carriers and compelled to engage in that business who would not ordinarily think of doing it at all if allowed to carry on their present arrangements. The same applies to the bringing in of the products of market gardens—the different vegetables and other things supplied to the city from farms adjacent to it. Is it necessary that we should have the transportation of all those articles subject to control? That stuff would not come by rail. The railway companies are not interested in its transportation. Is it not much better to leave things as they are and to concentrate on what is our main problem— long-distance traffic. It is because we are anxious to take out of the Bill those areas in which all these administrative difficulties exist, leave them as they stand and deal with the problem we can deal with and it is essential we should deal with if we are to solve the railway problem, that we propose these exempted areas. I ask Deputies not lightly to decide to vote against these areas because, if they do, they may be creating a very substantial problem and they may make it impossible for legislation of this kind to be devised that will secure the position of the railway companies.

The Minister, in his reply, did not make certain points clear to me. When speaking of the carriers that existed, say, in Dublin under the 15-mile radius scheme, he seemed to think that if that area were reduced these carriers would immediately apply for licences to become existing carriers. Is that the position?

No. I say that there is no sense in reducing the area at all. It is a question of either maintaining the areas or abolishing them, and I say that if they are abolished the carriers must apply for licences or go out of business.

For licences to become common carriers?

I understood that the position as regards this Bill was that the competition was to be standardised at which it is to-day and that the position of the existing carriers in Dublin was that they could immediately apply for licences to go north, south, east or west-I suppose they would not go in one direction but they would go in the other three. I do not know how the Minister reconciles that statement with the provisions in this Bill. It seems to me that there is going to be created a position in the large cities in which, by the Minister's wish, these savage carriers are to be confined in a ringed fence into which the railway company could not enter in competition with them and that, in order that they should be kept from breaking out, they are to be given a fairly large compound. The Minister did not answer Deputy Good's point, because the person who wants to carry for 15 miles might conceivably find it very profitable to carry for 20 miles. He spoke of administrative difficulties in administering the Act in circumstances where every carrier was licensed, but he entirely failed to deal with the position that Deputy Good raised. He spoke about the difficulty of examining all the goods in the city, putting the onus of proof on the carrier at a five-mile radius, presumably. Under the existing state of affairs, the present situation is going to come about with a 15-mile radius and it seems to me that it will be harder to keep the ring at 15 miles than at 5 miles.

The Minister also referred to the almost insoluble difficulty in which he would be placed if he had to decide between simultaneous applications from the Great Southern Railway, the Great Northern Railway and the Dublin United Tramways Company for a transfer of a carrier's licence. He has mentioned the fact that this Bill is designed to rehabilitate the railways and I would, therefore, advise him not to waste much sympathy on the tramway company in the matter of allowing them to acquire a licence to distribute heavy goods. I do not think that the tramway company can be considered as being in the same position as either the Great Northern Railway or the Great Southern Railway.

The Deputy does not appreciate the fact that the tramway company will be an existing carrier and could not be refused.

Not for merchandise.

The amount of merchandise it carries is not worth talking about.

If you gave the tramway company the ton of Indian meal that Deputy Dillon is so fond of talking about and asked them to deliver it in Bray, they would make a frightful face at you, I think.

I think that would be the least they would do.

And bray themselves.

Or roar, possibly. So far as the question of giving a licence to either the Great Southern or the Great Northern companies is concerned, I do not think it would present an insoluble difficulty. One point on which I find myself very much in agreement with the Minister is that the railway would not think of delivering goods for a distance of five miles and I will make the Minister a present of this argument which, to my mind, seems to clinch the matter. Some time ago, in a certain city, there was an enlightened railway company——

They sent out an individual to ask certain merchants a certain number of questions. The individual said to the merchant: "My directors are appalled by the dearth of traffic over very small distances from this particular city. Do you mind telling me what rate you could pay for traffic to certain points?"—naming points on the line. After making a calculation, the merchant said: "I could not afford to pay you anything.""What do you mean by that?" said the representative, and the merchant said: "When I take the cost of delivery to your railway and the cost of delivery at the other end, it is cheaper to send it by road." I make a present of that argument to the Minister, because it proves conclusively his point as to the impossibility of delivery by rail over a small radius and I also make him a present of this argument that there are certain classes of goods that the railway cannot hope in the future to deliver.

What about Wallis's? Who owns Wallis's?

I said "railway."

Who owns Wallis's?

Is it a railway?

Certainly. They are owned by the railway.

That does not make them a railway. Deputy Davin, with his alert mind, has anticipated the point I was about to make. It drives you back to this conclusion, that the railway company must compete under road transport conditions for certain traffic inside their area. The most profitable, presumably, from their point of view, and one of the densest areas is Dublin. The Minister suggested that the five mile carriage was of no interest to the railway company and I would not be surprised if the railway company agreed with him on that, but there is this portion of the argument which he has not pursued to its logical conclusion-where is that to stop? If road transport is to be made an undertaking in which it is carried out to a 15 mile radius outside Dublin, and then the railway company have to try and obtain it for the rest of the journey, it is a hopeless proposition. I think that the Minister ought to envisage the position in which the railway company are going to compete strongly under road traffic conditions for the class of traffic that suits them. I cannot see them sending out road service vehicles to Rush and Lusk for various agricultural produce. However, as Deputy Dillon said, that is a question for the railway companies themselves. But, as far as the railway companies are concerned, they must in the future operate road transport vehicles in order to feed their railways and, to my mind, that is going to be the solution of most of their problems in the future.

Therefore, it seems to me an extraordinary position that there is to be an enormous area round all the principal towns for which you would require the service of a detective force prepared to stop vehicles on certain appointed days and to probe into where the goods came from and where the goods were going to, and all sorts of questions like that. To my mind, the Minister, when he speaks about the administrative difficulties of the licences, is going to complicate the question by handing his problem over to the Minister for Justice, namely, to the police force. I think the country has not much sympathy for that sort of a problem, and we would like to see a solution that would call for fewer licences and less supervision.

Might I say that I would like to agree with the Minister in his hope that the Dáil will not assent to any abolition of a proposal for exempted areas. I confess that I do not know quite where we stand in dealing with this matter. I have amendments down—at least I have one amendment down in connection with the Port of Tralee. I do not know whether this is the right time to discuss it or whether its discussion should be deferred to a later time but, at any rate, one can talk of it on the general question in the sense that it is an area where a road service has been carried on for a number of years to the port—where, in fact, as is proved by the report of the Port and Harbours Tribunal, apart altogether from what one might call the one-sided statements that might be made by the Harbour Commissioners, they say that the railway companies have not treated them fairly-that they have not treated either the Commissioners or the merchants or the exporters fairly. They have said, in their statement to the Department of Industry and Commerce, that there have been no "through fares" to English railway stations. That was investigated by the Port and Harbours Tribunal when they were down there and, in their report, they are certainly not satisfied that the railways have given a good reason for not having provided those through fares. If that is the case in a place like Tralee, presumably it is the case at other ports, and presumably that itself would make a prima facie case for having these exempted areas around ports. However, my particular function in this matter is to put forward the suggestion that was made by the Harbour Commissioners in Tralee, and that is to have the exempted area from Tralee radiating for 30 miles. I understand that in the new amendment it is a radius of ten miles that is put down. I do not know whether the person who put down the amendment was hoping that I would split the difference. I would be prepared to split the difference to a radius of 20 miles for Tralee. I think that there is a case for Tralee as against the case that might be made for other ports, and at least I should like the Minister to look into the case from that point of view. At any rate, the Minister may take it that I am entirely against the suggestion, as put forward by Deputy McGilligan, that these exempted areas should be wiped out altogether. I am entirely opposed to that, and we will take what is in the Bill or in the amendment as perhaps the best we can get; but at any rate I do not want the exempted areas out.

I take it that the Minister is not going to make this a Party question. If he is going to make it a Party question there is no use talking about it.

I am not anxious to have it a Party question, but if there is to be a decision of the Dáil on the question I want it to be a considered decision. I have been in Opposition for over five years, and from experience I know that the tendency of a member of the Opposition is to oppose what the Government proposes and to work himself up into a passion merely because it is the Government which proposes a particular matter. I do not want that to happen in this case, because I think that the considerations involved are very important and particularly that the abolition of the areas would increase the difficulties very materially.

I think the Minister will agree with me that, many virtues as Deputy Dockrell has, we cannot conceive of him working himself up into a frantic passion. The Deputy addressed the Minister through the Chair, and the country through the Minister, with astonishing moderation and with, I must say, most convincing arguments. I propose to follow on some of the points which the Deputy made. Deputy Good was the first one to raise the point of the real administrative difficulty that will arise in connection with this Bill. The Minister has made two principal objections to our proposal for the elimination of these areas—first, that it would create administrative difficulties; and second, that it would serve as an inducement to persons, who had intended to operate within the 15 miles radius, to go outside. The Minister said that it would put a very onerous duty on the Guards to have to ascertain what each lorry in the City of Dublin was about. Surely, the Minister will agree that, as a matter of fact, if a man is going to be in the haulage business he will be in it. He will go around publicly in that business. We need not anticipate that at three o'clock in the morning a lorry will steal out for a bag of meal and crawl across the city by lanes and backways to avoid the vigilant Guards. These people will be in the haulage business or they will not be in the haulage business and the Guards will have no serious difficulty in ascertaining whether a person is in the haulage business in an authorised way or is not. The Guards will find it quite easy to detect persons attempting to haul goods without having licences.

If there is a 15 mile limit an additional police force will be required. Take the case of a man who is invited to take a load 16 miles. Can you imagine for a moment that in places like Ballina, Sligo or Westport you will not have people taking the chance of running beyond the distance, particularly if they are told that just at the 15 mile border, if they go a mile further down the road there is a load waiting for the return journey. If the law is to be enforced I submit that the administrative difficulties will be enormous if the section dealing with exempted areas operates. Not alone in Dublin but in Cork and in rural areas like Sligo, Ballina and Westport the greatest possible difficulties will arise. The Minister's next point was that we have a large number of persons who were hitherto content to engage in short-distance haulage work, and that they would be induced to go outside that——

——if they were obliged to be licensed. If not called upon to take out a licence for their own restricted district they will not go outside it. Surely that argument will not hold water. If a man is equipped for short-distance haulage work around the city, and goes to the Department of Industry and Commerce for a licence for longer distances, he must constitute himself a long-distance carrier on scheduled routes. Otherwise he will not get a licence.

There is no question of routes at all.

He must act as a common carrier. Surely the Minister must realise that men in the short-distance haulage business, calculating on such hauls, will not have the necessary equipment to hold themselves out as common carriers. Unless they are going to launch fully into the business they will not go into it.

That is precisely my point. You will force them into it if you abolish the exempted areas. They will have to apply for licences, or go out of business.

Will they apply for licences in their own areas?

In the long run they are capable of being acquired by the railway company.

The Minister's point is that if you do away with the areas you are inducing people to go into the haulage business who otherwise would not do so. I put it to him that the want of equipment will keep them within their own areas. The next point is that the railway company will have to acquire them. I agree with him and I agree with Deputy Dockrell that the time is coming when the railway company must abandon the idea of carrying many classes of merchandise in railway waggons. There is a certain class of traffic now which is pre-eminently suited to road transport, and presumably it is the intention of the railway company to go into and to develop that business. What we want is to unify control and to get efficient transport. It is as easy for the railway company as for others to undertake short hauls. If a man says that he wants to get stuff and that it must go by road the railway company will carry it by road. The aim is to unify control. I submit that traffic within a 15 miles radius, if it is worth anything to the railway people, is worth something to the haulage people. There is no reason whatever, when monopoly is being secured to the railway company by this Bill, why this traffic should not be as valuable an asset to the railways as to the haulage companies. When it becomes a valuable asset it will help to have carried, at the lowest possible rates, the uneconomic haulage that has to be undertaken.

The Minister alleged that Deputy McGilligan said that the Minister intended to permit everyone to carry within the scheduled areas, except the railway company. Deputy McGilligan said nothing of the kind. What the Deputy said was that the Bill was going to allow everyone to carry within those areas, without any liability. The Bill was going to make the railway company common carriers and to place them under a material disadvantage in these areas. How can it be lawful or commonsense to do that in a Bill of this character? The Minister placed special emphasis on the long-distance traffic and said that the loss in that traffic was killing the railway company. Consider Sligo and Ballina and do not concentrate always on the Dublin end. There are more scheduled areas in the Bill than in Dublin. Let the Minister go to the railway directors and ask them if the Collooney business was worth anything. There are probably places about Westport where short-distance traffic would be most valuable. There are certainly many districts about Ballina where that traffic would be most valuable to the railways. Take Drogheda, Dundalk and a number of other ports, particularly in the rural areas, where the traffic is going to be most valuable to the railways.

I listened with the closest attention to the Minister's points about administrative difficulties. I am convinced that the administrative difficulties which will arise under this amendment are far greater than the practical difficulties which will arise under the proposals we make. He will find in practice that there will be no difficulty in identifying persons in the haulage business once the Bill is in operation. It seems to me that the last matter was weighing more heavily with him than the Minister cared to admit. I refer to the difficulties that he foresaw if compulsory acquisition arose, and if he was called upon to decide between the claims of the railway company, the tramways company and the Great Northern Railway. His real difficulty, it seemed to me, was that he had given some kind of undertaking to the tramways company that they were going to get the City of Dublin. I am not suggesting that the Minister did so for any corrupt purpose or that he was out for Dr. Lombard Murphy. Surely it is nonsense, as Deputy Dockrell said, to suggest that the tramways company is not going to become a competitor. The tramways company would not take the portion that the railway company are taking and is not equipped to take it. They do not want it and I am perfectly certain the Minister will find no serious difficulty in that direction.

On the other hand I think he has it now from all sides of the House that there is a genuine and sincere feeling that if the Bill is to be a success this traffic should be reserved to the railway company. He has always the remedy that if he finds that we were mistaken, and that he was right, he can correct the mistake by an amending Bill. After all from the Labour Benches, from these benches, from Deputy Good, Deputy Thrift and from almost everybody, with the distinguished exception of Deputy Finian Lynch, whose heart bleeds for Tralee, he has that desire that he should take the opposite view and give a trial to the universal application of the regulations. Surely with that consensus of opinion against him, it is worth giving it a trial and if it is proven administratively impossible, then I am perfectly certain the House will put no difficulty in his way in bringing forward an amending Bill to remove that administrative difficulty.

I fear that Deputy Dillon, in his anxiety for the welfare of the railway company, is apt to forget altogether the farming community. If there is anything I would be in favour of in this Bill, it would be an extension of the areas. One must realise that around cities and in particular areas, there is a large amount of traffic that in the ordinary course used to be carried by farmers' horses and carts and which, since the motorists took over the roads making it impossible for this traffic to be carried as it was formerly, has to be carried by motor lorry. Cattle have to be taken to the local market, and those cattle have to be taken largely by motor lorries. It is impossible to drive cattle on the roads around Cork City at present. Oats and all kinds of grain, potatoes and other vegetables have to be taken in the same way. You will never get the railway company to cater for that kind of traffic and it is no use pretending that they will. I was very amused to hear Deputy Dockrell talk about the enlightened railway company that sent its messengers round the town to merchants. I know an enlightened railway company, in my part of the country, who run a special train every morning to catch the train to Dublin. They take the painful pleasure of taking farmers and labourers out of bed three-quarters of an hour earlier than is necessary in order that that train might wait three-quarters of an hour at Cork. By doing that they lost 35/- a day at one station alone. These are the rather amusing things that some of us have experienced on that line owing to what the enlightened railway company has done. It is useless to be looking for traffic that you know very well you will not get. All I have to hope for is that the Minister will protect us from Messrs. Wallis and the railway company as far as haulage is concerned because we had a rather bitter experience of both of them.

I remember a few years ago when these motorist roads were first laid down, and when we had definitely to choose between sending our grain by motor lorry or by railway, having to cart our grain to the station, seven miles from the city, to send down a man to pack it in the waggon, to send it up to Cork, and to have another man there to haul it to the merchants. When you had finished with the railway company you had not much left out of the cheque, and then you had to pay for the haulage by the man in Cork. When we turned to the tender mercies of Messrs. Wallis we were little better off. In the end we got some enlightened people to hire a couple of motor lorries and cater for the traffic. I am glad that Deputy Dockrell realises that you must get out of the idea that you are going to have the railway company hauling merchandise for a few miles while the haulage at both ends of the railway has to be done by road. There is undoubtedly around the cities and around practically every town a large amount of traffic for which the railway company would never cater, and which I for one would not like to see in the hands of one individual who would extract three-fourths of the price of the produce for haulage alone. We have got to face that problem.

What is the commodity that takes three-fourths of its value in freight?

I should like to see, under Deputy Davin's rule, what employee of the railway company would come up to my house at four o'clock in the morning to take a cow.

Would the Deputy justify the statement he has made that three-fourths of the value of a commodity goes on the railway rates?

Certainly I will justify it.

What is the commodity?

The distance from Cobh Junction to Cork City is seven miles, and the last time I sent oats—and I had to send it in waggon lots—it cost 7/6 per ton for the seven miles.

What was the value of the oats. I will take your own figure?

I can assure the Deputy that by the time you pay 7/6 per ton and three or four shillings for delivering it in the city, there is very little left.

Was it more than 7/6?

Let the Deputy consider that at present you will get a local lorry owner to go into the yard after the threshing and take it to Cork city and deliver it at 4/- a ton. He can consider the difference in what way he likes. I wonder which of those "unified controls" is going to go out for a load of cabbage and what will be the charge for remaining in the yard while the cabbage is being loaded and for delivering it round the city afterwards? Those are the things we have to consider. The only change I desire in the Bill is that the area would be extended a little. For instance, Cobh would be 17 miles from Cork. There is a large traffic carried on in that area in potatoes, grain and other produce which is brought up to Cork City. The railway company will never cater for that traffic and there is no use pretending it will. I see very sound reasons for the extension of the limit of the exempted areas to 20 miles at least. These are problems which have to be considered in connection with cities and large towns. In my opinion, the Minister is justified in making these exempted areas. My only objection is that these exempted areas are not large enough.

The Minister exposed another peculiar aspect of his alleged pro-railway viewpoint in the course of his last speech when he said that the railways were needed for long-distance traffic and it was his intention, through the proposals contained in the Bill, to endeavour to retain the long-distance traffic for the railways. What long distance traffic has the Minister in mind? Undoubtedly it is the traffic with which the road carriers cannot deal. He is going to present the railways with something for nothing when he presents them with a continuance of the low-rated traffic with which no alternative carrying company can deal. I presume he will also present them with the cattle traffic from the principal fairs. He knows it would be impossible for any road transport service to carry, from any fair in the South or West of Ireland, to Dublin or elsewhere, the equivalent of three special train loads of cattle. If the railways are going to be allowed, through the generosity of the Minister and his supporters, to retain the low-rated, bad-paying long-distance traffic, he must remember they can only continue to carry it so long as they are allowed to compete for other classes of traffic on fair lines with their road competitors. The rates for cattle and other heavy traffic over long or short distances must depend on the revenue which will be derived from other traffic.

Has Deputy Corry any objection to putting the railways on the same basis as the road carrying companies? Has he any objection to fair competition? If the Deputy, the Minister and the whole Fianna Fáil Party believe in fair competition, why do they stand for preferential treatment by exempting certain carriers from the regulations and conditions imposed on their competitors? Deputy Corry knows perfectly well that so long as road carriers operate within the area defined in the amendment they will not be obliged to submit their rates and the classification of their traffic to the Railway Tribunal. Does the Deputy know that it will be possible for a licensed carrier in Dublin to take cattle from the city market, land them 15 miles away on the Dublin-Meath border and allow the farmer who owns them to drive them a few miles to wherever they are going? Does he realise that that farmer can, without being held up by the Guards, chance going the other mile or two and so avoid any penalty being imposed? Can that be described as fair competition?

The Minister repeatedly makes the suggestion that the traffic within the suggested radius laid down in amendment 16 is useless to the railway companies. Is he prepared to take the risk of repeating that, having the knowledge that the railway shareholders actually purchased John Wallis and Company and retained them on the road in order to recover for the railway company some of the traffic they lost through unfair competition? If the traffic defined in the amendment is useless to the railways, surely the shareholders would not have purchased this company for the purpose of getting back their lost traffic? If the Deputy is not prepared to stand over what the directors have been doing in the case of the Great Southern Railways he might, at least, use his influence at a Party meeting in order to make the Minister carry out the promise he made some time ago to the effect that he would wipe out the Board altogether. If he adopts that attitude he will get the support of this Party.

A lot of the things said by the Minister in support of this milk and water measure suggest a clear case for the removal of the board of management. He should go the whole hog and replace the present system of management by a Board such as he indicated a year ago he would set up. At Inchicore he would not take the risk of telling his listeners there that he was standing for the present system of management. If he did that, I believe his majority would have been considerably lower at the general election. Deputy Corry should say as little as he can about the existing Board of Directors so long as he is prepared, in approving of a Bill of this kind, to maintain that system of management.

The Minister indicates that it is the policy to let the traffic that comes within the radius defined in this Bill continue to be carried by road service companies. Does he realise that that possibly means the closing down of all railway stations, so far as goods services are concerned, within the areas defined in the Bill? You cannot have it both ways. The minister cannot say he stands for a monopoly for the railway company when, at the same time, he presents the road service companies with a preference not enjoyed by the railways.

Are those stations closed down now?

Is it the desire of the Minister to close down, for goods carrying purposes, every station within 15 miles of Dublin?

Are they closed down?

They are not.

This Bill does not change the position.

The Minister says it is his intention to retain the traffic within a particular radius for public service vehicles under licence and leave the railways with the low-rated long-distance traffic which he knows he cannot take from them so long as their lines can be operated.

I thought the Deputy knew something about the transport problem.

I do not profess to be an expert, but I know that one would require to be a genius to understand what is behind the Minister's mind in relation to this Bill. It is only by getting the Minister to make repeated speeches, and by repeated questioning, that one can secure any information from him. Every time he make a speech in support of a section of the Bill he goes further away from the policy he so often enunciated here and elsewhere as being the transport policy of the Fianna Fáil Party. Perhaps in his spare time, if he has any, he will read the speeches he made in 1929, 1930, 1931, and 1932 and compare them with some of the speeches he made on the Second Reading of this measure and this evening. Perhaps Deputy Corry, one of his faithful followers, who believes in standing for the full 100 per cent. Fianna Fáil policy, will make an investigation in order to see where the Minister is travelling, where he intends to land himself and his Party, and ultimately the country. Perhaps other members of the Party will examine the situation and see where all these things are leading.

This Minister has spoken frequently on this measure. He says, in effect, "Here is my Bill; tell me what is wrong with it; give me any one argument that will prove to my satisfaction that the exempted areas proposal should be abolished." But, of course, no matter what one says or suggests or what kind of argument one puts up to the Minister he still says, as he has said to-night, that he has heard no argument that would justify him in accepting this amendment. I asked him if he still stood for the policy of unification. If he does stand for the policy of unification I want to point out that that policy presupposes the licensing of those who desire to apply for a licence. It presupposes regulation and control over every person plying for profit-making purposes in the transport industry. It presupposes licensing for control and restriction. Surely that is part of the Minister's policy and that ought to be some justification to advance to the Minister in support of the abolition of this sub-section from the Bill.

I read already and I do not want to pain the Minister by repeating it, a speech in which he stated that the policy of the Fianna Fáil Party, in so far as control of the public transport services within the municipalities was concerned, was municipal control of all public vehicles plying for hire within the municipality. Why does he go outside the municipality to justify this limit? If he ever hopes to put that policy into operation surely he would not go beyond the limit of fixing a reasonable radius from the central post office in the four principal cities and make it much easier for himself if he ever believed in municipal control of public service to bring that policy into operation by a stroke of the pen on some future date. If the Minister believes in the municipal ownership of the public services then he will wipe out this amendment and make it his policy to put at a later date municipal control into operation.

The Minister has made a number of speeches in connection with this question of the creation of exempted areas. But in all the speeches which the Minister made he left me at all events unconvinced that there was any reason whatever for the creation of these twelve exempted areas and for permitting uncontrolled lorry service to continue in these areas. The Minister says: "if you can prove to me that there is a strong case against the exempted areas, I am willing to cut out these exempted areas altogether." But it was perfectly clear from the Minister's attitude and his three speeches linked up that he was not open to any conviction with regard to these exempted areas. The Minister has made no case for these exempted areas. Then he said: "prove to me that it is wrong." The Minister might have told the House the reason for the creation of these areas. He spent a good deal of time trying to justify them but if he convinced himself and his Party, it left the rest of the House unconvinced as to the reason and necessity for the creation of these separate areas.

The speeches made by the Minister on transport are always interesting during transport discussion. Not later than February of last year, speaking at a big railway centre in Athlone, the Minister is reported as saying:-

The preservation of the railways was necessary and if Fianna Fáil got into power they would see at least that the railways got sufficient traffic that would make the revenue cover expenses. To get that traffic some control would have to be exercised over road transport services. It is necessary that the present wasteful expenditure should be stopped and Fianna Fáil propose to stop it by having control under public ownership of the service. If the present conditions were to continue undoubtedly it was almost certain that the railway service would have to close down.

This speech was delivered on the 8th February, 1932. A revised version of it is the Minister's speech to-night that Fianna Fáil proposes to stop wasteful competition only in the thinly populated areas. In the other areas where the population is more crowded, and the traffic creamiest, Fianna Fáil proposes to allow these conditions to continue, which, on the 8th February last year would, according to the Minister, almost certainly mean that the railways would have to close down. There was no suggestion in that speech that the country was going to have twelve 15 mile circles, no suggestion that this was to be a milk and water Transport Bill. No. It was to be a Bill of robust—almost red— transport policy as enshrined in the speech in Athlone last year. But when the policy is to be translated into fact, and to take the form of a Bill, the redness departs and the robustness also departs and we get a Bill of this kind which does not square with the speeches of the Minister during that election.

I listened to the Minister's third speech where he supported Deputy Moore when he said it was necessary to have these exempted areas because what was to happen the food supplies of Dublin if there was control in the Dublin areas? Apparently we can only get food supplies into Dublin when there is no control. The one guarantee of getting food supplies into Dublin is that we have chaos and a complete absence of control. The Minister proposes to support Deputy Moore in that utterly fallacious contention. The Minister said that it was proposed to get certain foodstuffs into Dublin. He instanced milk as one of the supplies which he is to get from within 15 miles of Dublin. The only way to get it is to let us have no control over transport services, and then we can get all the milk we want. Suppose the food supplies can only be got, say, within 16 miles from the central post office in Dublin. Then, apparently, according to the reasoning of the Minister and the reasoning of Deputy Moore, Dublin is going to do without that portion of its food supplies which is outside the 15 mile radius.

The Minister will say that is not correct. But that is what he said. Everybody knows that whether the foodstuffs are to be got within 15 miles of Dublin or 100 miles of Dublin it ought to be possible to get the foodstuffs no matter what the distance is. The Minister was particularly careful to pick out Dublin. Would he apply the same philosophy to Ballina? The Minister says in this Bill that, apparently, the same state of affairs is necessary in Ballina. It is necessary to have exempted an area of ten miles from Ballina in order that the people of Ballina can get foodstuffs. Ballina must have complete freedom from control and regulation in order to get its foodstuffs. I wonder is that the position in relation to Ballina? What is to happen to the people ten miles from Kilkenny? Are they to get no foodstuffs at all? If Kilkenny can get its foodstuffs and it is necessary to have control and regulation in Kilkenny and within ten miles of Kilkenny, surely it is equally necessary in the public interest that we should have some control and regulation so far as Kilkenny is concerned. The Minister made an unconvincing speech for exempting areas. He convinced nobody except himself, and his few admirers on his own benches, outside Deputy Moore. I am slow to believe that Deputy Corry, when he sees the full import of this, will be so enthusiastic in support of the Minister's statement. Then the Minister made the other astounding statement, that it was mainly the long distance traffic which helps the railways. I wonder did that transpire at the meeting with the directors when they accepted this ten and 15 mile radius?

It was not accepted.

It was alleged to be. I imagine if the Minister has any consultation, not with directors, but with some people who know in detail the economics of road and rail transport, he will find his statement very far from representing the facts of the position so far as railway transport is concerned. The Minister said he wanted to create exempted areas to induce people to remain in these areas and not to get a licence for outside areas in order to compete for the haulage of long-distance traffic against the railways. In other words, the Minister believes that it is desirable to curb the long-distance road carrier. When we were endeavouring on Section 2 to restrict the number of long-distance road carriers, the Minister showed no disposition on that section to curb their activities.

On Section 2, the Minister was prepared to give a licence to everybody whether they travelled long or short distances. Even if they only had a licence for three months, even if they only ran a lorry on the road for a day or half a day, the Minister was prepared to give them a licence then, even though once they got the licence they could compete with the railway companies. He was quite generous to these competitors of the railways in order to get his way on Section 2. In view of his sympathy with these people on Section 2 one finds it difficult to understand his new-found sympathy with the railways on Section 5.

It seems to me that the Minister is simply driven to any extreme to make a case for his exempted areas. The exempted areas have got into the Bill, how we need not now question, and the Minister is making a case for these exempted areas against what I believe to be his own better judgment. There is no case for the creation of these exempted areas. The Minister knows well that there is no case for the creation of these areas. If transport is going to be regulated ten miles from Kilkenny City, it ought to be regulated in places as large as Kilkenny and in places smaller than Kilkenny. The Minister has taken no pains to explain the inequality in a matter of that kind.

Then the last hare that the Minister set going in the debate was to pretend that this was an issue as to whether the railway companies wanted short-distance traffic or long-distance traffic. Everybody knows that the railways want all the traffic they can get, whether long-distance or short-distance. That is not the issue involved in this case. The issue in this case is not a question of whether the railways want short-distance or long-distance traffic. The issue is why road transport companies, or persons with road transport licences, should be allowed to ply under control and regulation in one area and without control and regulation in another area, although these areas are similar in every respect. The Minister has not answered or explained that point. When replying, I hope the Minister will explain why it is necessary to have control and regulation ten miles from Kilkenny City and no control and regulation ten miles from Westport or Ballina.

I only rise to take part in this debate in so far as the Minister is open to conviction and is prepared to meet the arguments of the House, and to support a considerable amount of the arguments already put forward. In my opinion, this Bill is useless unless we take steps to divert all the traffic possible to the railways. There is no use in having a patched-up job and making the railways only somewhat better than they are. Let us go the whole hog and throw the entire traffic on to the railways, if the railways are fit to bear it. Are they fit to carry all the traffic? Apparently they are. There is no question that they cannot take all the traffic. That being so, why make exempted areas and why exempt the areas in particular where there is traffic that would be revenue-producing to the railways? Deputies Davin and Norton emphasised that fact, and played with the Minister in so far as he was condescending enough to give long-distance traffic to the railways. We know that long-distance traffic is neither here nor there. There is only one organisation that can take long-distance traffic, and that is the railways. We know, however, that the railways cannot pay with long-distance and heavy traffic alone. The carrying of cattle and other heavy goods for long distances does not pay. The railways will not pay if they are confined to that traffic. They have to get the other traffic, small parcels and other traffic which pays better.

Deputy Corry, having departed, apparently, considerably from his usual patriotism, twitted the railways about sending lorries to his yard for oats and cabbage. I have heard Deputy Corry repeatedly state how many acres of potatoes and oats he cultivates and I suppose there are a number of horses and carts in his yard. When, therefore, a lorry arrives for a load of cabbage the horses and the men who drive them are standing idle. If I were Deputy Corry, the stuff would be sent on the horses and carts into Cork, because the horses are reared in Ireland, the corn which feeds them is grown here, and the carts are also made here. The lorry which comes into his yard is made in America and the petrol also comes from America. Why would Deputy Corry not use his own transport instead of going to the railways in this case?

I see no case for exempting these areas. The Bill would be futile in my opinion if that were done, if we are to put the railways on their feet, and that is what is looked for by the railway stockholders and the public generally. The welfare of the agricultural community is involved in this. The railways must be maintained, and if they are to be maintained they must pay their way. If they cannot pay their way they cannot exist. Everybody admits that they must exist. Why not say to them: "Here is your job; you are the carriers of the country; you have machinery for doing it; go and do all the carrying work of the country." Impose whatever conditions you like on them, strict conditions, if you like, on the manner in which they will do it; and insist that they should do it and are made do it. But do not say to them that they must carry cattle from Cork to Dublin and from Sligo to Dublin, but not from Mullingar to Dublin; that they must not carry other valuable stuff through the city. Do not cut off what is really the paying end of it and give them the rubbish that does not pay. This Bill will be useless unless it is a pro-railway Bill, and, as I say, I am against the exempted areas.

I would suggest, A Leas-Chinn Comhairle, that the better procedure would be to take amendment No. 11 as agreed—we are all agreed upon it—then deal with No. 12, and if it is opposed we can dispose of it; then take Nos. 13, 14 and 15 which will not take any time, and the division on this question upon amendment No. 16, which is, in fact, the one we have been discussing for the past three or four hours.

If the arrangement is agreed to by the House, I fall in with that suggestion.

Suppose that procedure is adopted it becomes impossible to get a division on any smaller number of miles than that named in the section. The only thing would be to introduce a fresh amendment in the Report Stage.

Amendment No. 11 agreed.
Amendment No. 12 not moved.
Section 2, as amended, agreed.
SECTION 3.
(1) The Minister may, after consultation with the Minister for Justice, by order appoint a day to be the appointed day for the purposes of this Act.
(2) In this Act the expression "the appointed day" means the day appointed by the Minister by order under this section.

I move amendment No. 13:-

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

Where a mechanically propelled vehicle is used for the carriage of merchandise not the property of the owner of such vehicle, such merchandise shall, until the contrary is proved, be deemed for the purposes of this Act to be carried for reward.

I explained the purport of this amendment during the discussion on amendment No. 11. It is a necessary provision to facilitate the enforcement of the Bill.

Amendment No. 13 agreed.

If amendment No. 14 is moved I am prepared to accept it.

I move amendment No. 14, which stands in the name of Deputy McGilligan:-

In sub-section (1), line 42, after the words "appoint a day" to insert the words "not less than three months after the passing of this Act."

Amendment 14 agreed.
Section 3, as amended, agreed.
Section 4 agreed.
SECTION 5.
(1) All expenses incurred by the Minister or the Gárda Síochána in carrying this Act into execution shall, to such extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.
(2) All fees received by the Minister or a Chief Superintendent of the Gárda Síochána under this Act shall be paid into or disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer in such manner as the Minister for Finance may direct.

I move amendment 15:-

In sub-section (2), to delete all words from the word "paid" in line 59 to the end of the sub-section and to substitute the words "collected and accounted for in such manner as shall be prescribed by the Minister with the sanction of the Minister for Finance."

This amendment does not change the purport of the section at all.

Amendment No. 15 agreed.
Section 5, as amended, agreed.
SECTION 6.

I move amendment No. 16.

Before Section 6 and in Part II to insert a new section as follows:-

(1) Each of the following areas shall for the purposes of this Part of this Act be an exempted area, that is to say:-

(a) the area included within a circle having a radius of 15 miles and its centre at the principal post office in the City of Dublin;

(b) the area included within a circle having a radius of 15 miles and its centre at the principal post office in the City of Dublin;

(c) the area included within a circle having a radius of ten miles and its centre at the principal post office in the City of Limerick;

(d) the area included within a circle having a radius of ten miles and its centre at the principal post office in the City of Waterford;

(e) the area included within a circle having a radius of ten miles and its centre at the principal post office in the town of Ballina;

(f) the area included within a circle having a radius of ten miles and its centre at the principal post office in the town of Drogheda;

(g) the area (except so much thereof as is situate in Northern Ireland) included within a circle having a radius of ten miles and its centre at the principal post office in the town of Dundalk;

(h) the area included within a circle having a radius of ten miles and its centre at the principal post office in the town of Galway;

(i) the area included within a circle having a radius of ten miles and its centre at the principal post office in the town of Sligo;

(j) the area included within a circle having a redius of ten miles and its centre at the principal post office in the town of Tralee;

(k) the area included within a circle having a radius of ten miles and its centre at the principal post office in the town of Westport;

(l) the area included within a circle having a radius of 15 miles miles and its centre at the principal post office in the town of Wexford.

(2) For the purposes of this part of this Act a certificate purporting to be signed and issued by an officer of the Ordnance Survey and to certify the distance measured in a straight line upon a horizontal plane between the principal post office in any specified city or town and any specified place shall be conclusive evidence (without proof of the signature of such officer or that he was such officer) of such distance.

(3) For the purposes of this section the principal post office in any city or town shall be the post office which on the appointed day is the principal or only post office in such city or town.

This amendment is the one which in fact we have been discussing, and I do not propose to restart the discussion. I think there has not been any point made by any speaker which would, in my opinion, constitute a convincing reason why those exempted areas should be abolished. I am quite satisfied that the abolition of the exempted areas would impede rather than facilitate the railway companies in getting into the position which we want to put them in. It would confer upon them no special advantage, but would in fact increase the difficulty of acquiring effective control over road transport. I explained why I thought that would be the result of the abolition of the exempted areas, and I do not think it is necessary to reopen the argument.

Would it be possible to leave this whole question over to the Report Stage, and take the view of the railway company and the interested parties in the meantime? There seems to be some doubt as to what their view is.

Quite genuinely, this is my position: I have gone into this matter; I am satisfied that in the interests of the railway company, and mainly for the purpose of giving effect to the policy enshrined in the Bill, those provisions are essential. I said to myself always that there may be some argument which did not occur to me and which may outweigh all the considerations that did occur to me. If this were the case, I would be prepared to give way in the face of such an argument, but I have not heard it yet. I think to a large extent the opposition to the proposals of the Bill is due to a misunderstanding of what is intended by those exempted areas. I am prepared—if this section appears in the Bill—at any time up to the Report Stage, or later, to consider any representations made upon that matter, and to endeavour genuinely to get as near as we can to what is the truth in connection with it. I am fully convinced at the present time that the abolition of the exempted areas would in fact prove a curse to the railway companies, and would prevent and certainly delay acquisition by those companies of the effective control over road transport which we want to acquire for them. It is for that reason I am putting to the Dáil that the exempted areas should be retained.

As I have said before, if the contrary is demonstrated and convincing reasons are advanced—that is not egotism on my part, because I have to be convinced if I am to take responsibility for the proposals before the Dáil—I am prepared to give way, because it is not a question of principle; it is a question of machinery, and I am convinced that the most effective machinery that could be devised to give speedy effect to the proposals of the Bill must include those exempted areas. If it can be shown that more effective machinery can be devised which involves the abolition of the exempted areas I am prepared to agree with it.

I do not want to reopen the discussion, but I would like the Minister to consider some further points. Assuming for the moment that exempted areas are a necessity, I do not think the Minister has put up any reasons or suggestions whatever as to why he has fixed on certain limitations of those areas—why he has taken 15 for Dublin and ten for another place. The railway companies are satisfied—and, it seems to me, justly satisfied—that the areas named are too large. I admit the force of the Minister's statements and arguments as to the difficulty of administration, but I want the Minister to consider very carefully whether it would not be possible to get some such boundary as that named by him, namely, the boundary of the city or municipality, which would meet the situation much better. I am speaking merely on the assumption that some exempted area is necessary. I am satisfied that the best solution is not an exempted area at all, but, leaving that argument aside for the moment, we have to consider what the size of those areas ought to be. The bigger you make them the more you limit the utility of this Bill from the railway companies' point of view. I hope the Minister will give further consideration, before we reach the Report Stage, to the reasons for choosing some particular size in each particular case.

Let me say that I am quite prepared to consider any representations with regard to the size of the areas, and the inclusion of particular towns as centres of areas. That is only a matter of machinery, and any case made for the exclusion or inclusion of particular towns, or the reduction of the area in relation to particular towns, would be carefully considered.

I would like a reassurance from the Minister on one point. I want to ask him is there any danger, immediate or remote, that the seven and a half preferential which is provided for in a very old Act of Parliament, and of which the City of Cork Steampacket Company gets the advantage, will be discontinued in the future. I want to say that, to a very large extent, my opposition to this proposed amendment in relation to the exempted areas was based on the fear that, at some time or another in the near or remote future, this preferential might be removed. I may say also that that fear is shared by many persons in Cork. Because of that fear, I intend to divide the House, unless the Minister can reassure me that, if and when the railway companies get absolute control, there will be no fear that that differential will be removed.

That has nothing to do with this Bill.

We have two amendments to amendment No. 16. Before we get any decision on amendment No. 16 clearly we must get a decision on Nos. 17 and 18, which are amendments to No. 16.

If I might suggest as a better procedure that the amendment to No. 16 would not be moved at this Stage and on the next Stage we would consider, in relation to Section 6, the areas of different towns.

Is the Minister going to withdraw his amendment also?

Oh, no. I am suggesting that if amendment No. 16 is inserted in the Bill at this Stage, on the Report Stage we could consider the various matters that would arise in relation to each district——

There are two amendments, Nos. 17 and 18, and before we can get a decision on the main amendment, No. 16, we clearly must get a decision on No. 17, and No. 18 if they are moved.

Can amendments 17 and 18 be moved if amendment No. 16 is not carried?

If No. 16 is carried obviously Nos. 17 and 18 cannot be moved.

But No. 16 is not carried. It does not matter whether Nos. 17 and 18 are moved or not.

If we vote now to put Section 6 in the Bill as it stands, we then can move to amend it.

I would suggest that the whole further discussion of this matter might be left over until the Report Stage. If the Minister could see his way to yield to that suggestion I think it would get us out of the difficulty. Deputy Alton made that suggestion, and if I might say one word in support of that suggestion it would be this: I am sure one of the reasons which prompts the Minister to adhere so strongly to this amendment of his, is the belief that he has the support of the railway companies behind him. He has made that statement several times to-night and I would like to give him an opportunity of consulting with the railway companies to ensure whether he has their support to his amendment, or would their support rather go in the direction of eliminating these areas entirely. Now, if the Minister could see his way to leave the matter as it stands at the moment and not discuss this question of the areas further until we get to the Report Stage, it would enable him to consult with these other interests and come forward with their views before him. Then we could see the exact position.

I am quite prepared to consider and discuss the matter at any time, but I think amendment No 16 must be disposed of now. If it is agreed that amendment No. 16 be inserted in the Bill, I am quite prepared to consider either complete elimination or modification of the areas in respect of particular towns or the elimination of particular towns from the section.

Why not bring in a section governing the amendment on the Report Stage, incorporating what- ever the Minister ascertains is the accepted view between this and the Report Stage and not thrust this into the Bill now?

This must go in now. So far as the Government is concerned it is their accepted view at the moment.

I do not think the Minister is offering very much. We are to accept his proposal and if we can convince him on Report Stage we have the promise to put down an amendment on the Order Paper.

Before we get a decision on No. 16 can we get any decision on Nos. 17 and 18?

Why would not the Minister withdraw it then?

I am not prepared to do that.

What about No. 16?

I must get a decision on Nos. 17 and 18 before I can put amendment No. 16.

If we ask the Minister to withdraw No. 16 for the present would he be at liberty to reintroduce it on Report Stage?

I would not be prepared to do it—definitely not. I would not be prepared to take a mere statement from the railway company or either of the railway companies that they prefer to have no exempted areas, because on occasions we find the railway companies were not quite clear in what direction their best interests lay.

The railway companies are quite clear on this occasion that the Minister is not clear.

My position is I did not regard this as a question of principle, but if it can be shown that for the purpose of giving effect to the policy behind the Bill, a better machinery be advised, we are prepared to accept it.

A Deputy

It is going to wreck the whole Bill.

Quite the contrary.

Amendments Nos. 17 and 18 not moved.
Amendment 16 put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 70; Níl, 52.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Daly, Denis.
  • Davitt, Robert Emmet.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doherty, Hugh.
  • Doherty, Joseph.
  • Donnelly, Eamon.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Flinn, Hugo. V.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Golding, John.
  • Hales, Thomas.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Keely, Séamus P.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Kissane, Eamonn.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Briain, Donnchadha.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Kelly, Seán Thomas.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C. (Dr.).

Níl

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Broderick, William Joseph.
  • Broderick, Seán.
  • Burke, James Michael.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Davin, William.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Finlay, John.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Keating, John.
  • Kent, William Rice.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Minch, Sydney B.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Connor, Batt.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Reilly, John Joseph.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearoid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Rogers, Patrick James.
  • Thrift, William Edward.
Tellers—Tá: Deputies Moore and James Kelly; Níl: Deputies Corish and Dillon.
Amendment declared carried.

I move amendment 19:

To delete sub-section (1) and to substitute the following sub-section:—

(1) On and after the appointed day it shall not be lawful for any person in the course of a road transport business carried on by him to carry merchandise in any area in Saorstát Eireann unless—

(a) such person is the holder of a licence (in this Act referred to as a merchandise licence) granted under this Part of this Act authorising him to carry on merchandise road transport business in that area and such business is carried on under and in accordance with such licence, or

(b) such area is an exempted area and merchandise is carried by such person in the course of such merchandise road transport business only in such area or such area and other exempted areas.

This amendment is really consequential on the last one. It effects a change in the wording of Section 6.

It has nothing to do with it.

The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that the licence referred to will generally apply save in respect of the carrying of merchandise in an exempted area.

That is a new point. It is not consequential.

It arises out of the point that we have been discussing, and out of the criticisms of the exempted area provisions which were voiced on the Second Reading Stage. I then said I would bring in this amendment.

Amendment 21, of course, is in direct opposition to this. As we have discussed this already I do not want to speak on it at any great length. All I want to say is that amendment 19 wants to have the new situation thus: that the only person who, in the future, will operate without a licence at all and, therefore, without the conditions which are imposed upon a licensed holder: that is to say, being a common carrier, subject to classification as to merchandise, and to maximum rates as well as to the possibility of acquisition under the compulsory section, is the carrier operating within the exempted area. The person who keeps entirely within the new exempted areas is entirely outside the scope of all these restrictions. Taking it that the House has decided that that should be so, I want to have the addition made that the licensed carrier, who is subject to conditions, once he goes inside the exempted area should be a free agent like the rest. I do not see why he should be prohibited from taking the traffic which the other people are getting or why he should be put in an unfavourable position in relation to them. It may be a small amount of traffic. Apparently, they think it is valuable and when they come inside the exempted area they should be allowed to take whatever traffic they like, even though they have not held themselves out as being common carriers for certain classes of goods. I do not see why they should be prohibited from doing that. If they are going to take traffic away from anybody, it will be from the people for whom the House says it has no regard —the unlicensed carriers.

The Deputy was not here when I was dealing with this point on the other amendments. The same considerations apply in this case. The Bill, as it will stand with No. 19 amendment inserted in it, will provide a very definite inducement to a carrier who operates mainly in or around one of the towns or cities mentioned in the Bill not to apply for a licence, but to confine his activity entirely within one of the exempted areas. That is what we are aiming at. If that carrier wants to enter into competition with the railway companies in respect of the long-distance traffic, then he subjects himself knowingly to certain definite limitations, one being that he is a common carrier in respect of the goods he proposes to carry both inside and outside the exempted area. He also subjects himself to the limitation on his business which the Act imposes. The whole aim of that is to ensure that the number of carriers who will, in fact, apply for licences to engage in the transportation of merchandise by road outside the exempted areas will be kept down to the minimum, so that the cost and difficulty to the railway companies of acquiring them will be reduced. In other words, we provide an inducement to the carrier whose main business is in or around a city doing short-distance carrying to confine himself to that class of work and not to go outside at all. If we were to accept Deputy McGilligan's suggestion, instead of reducing, we would be, in fact, increasing the number of carriers engaged in long-distance traffic. At least, the Act would tend to operate in that direction and that is undesirable in our opinion. If we did as the Deputy suggests, there is no reason whatever why an existing carrier should not apply for a licence to carry outside the exempted area, even though he wanted to do the bulk of his business inside the exempted area. We prefer to see the Act operating in the opposite way.

I am not convinced. There are two arguments put forward. One is the peculiar one, that the aim and object of the Minister is to induce as many people as possible not to become licensed carriers. The objective of the Bill is the contrary—to bring as many people as possible under control.

No—all those who propose to engage in the transportation of merchandise outside the exempted areas. The fewer they are the better.

That is to say, from the point of view of the railway company which wants to acquire a monopoly by purchase, the more you put outside their grip, as long as you confine them to a particular limit of space, the better. I do not think that that argument, thus baldly stated, will appeal to many people who have the interests of the railway company at heart. The Minister argues, on my amendment, that the inducement would be to the carrier mainly operating in an exempted area to apply for a licence. Why?

There is no reason why he should not.

There is no reason why he should. If he keeps inside his exempted area, even though he is to be in competition with licensed carriers, he is free from certain things. He cannot be acquired. He cannot have maximum rates fixed. He is free to pick and choose his traffic. There are tremendous arguments against applying.

But if the amendment is carried, the acquisition of a licence would not subject him to these conditions within the exempted area.

I agree, but if you have two sets of people with conflicting interests within the exempted area, why should the bias not be in favour of the people whom we want to keep in the business? The bias should be in favour of the folk who are carrying on the real business of transport in the country.

Under the Deputy's proposal, a person with a licence could be acquired and, having been acquired, start a new service entirely within the exempted area. There is nothing to stop him.

That is one of the terrible difficulties in the Bill. There is the obvious fact or that it will be up to everybody whose licence is acquired, but whose lorries and other assets are not acquired, to throw these lorries immediately into an exempted area and start a business there. The owner can sell them. There will always be somebody willing to take them at scrap value and run them about the streets, when they have not to take out a licence, when there is no classification of merchandise in their case, no rates fixed, no possibility of being taken over and when they are not subject to the obligations of common carriers. My amendment does not seek to make these people take out a licence. Let them operate inside their restricted areas virtually free from control. But when you have people who have been for some reason or other induced to subject themselves to all the conditions of carriership I have spoken of— the possibility of being taken over, and restrictions with regard to merchandise, fares or rates—once these people come inside the exempted areas and are going to be in competition with the folk freed from licensing conditions, they should be free there. This does not give these other carriers any inducement to go outside. They are protected from the possibility of acquisition so long as they remain inside. But why take that bit of traffic away from the others and put it into these people's hands on preferential terms? You are assisting this indiscriminate competition—the competition we are all setting our faces against at the moment—by allowing these people to operate to the disadvantage of the licensed carriers inside these exempted areas. I think that the amendment is sound.

I shall put the amendment.

Is the Minister not going to reply?

We are moving on parallel lines. It appears to me that I have said all I can say on the matter. Deputy McGilligan is examining this question from a point of view completely opposite to the point of view from which I am examining it. He is examining it from the point of view of the licensed carrier. My concern is —the Bill was drafted to achieve this purpose—that there should be a substantial inducement to existing carriers not to apply for licences but to confine themselves to their carrying activities within the exempted areas. The present Bill operates in that direction and should tend to reduce the number of persons who will get licences and who, consequently, might have to be acquired by the railway company if it wants to get into the monopoly position. Deputy McGilligan's amendment would operate in the contrary direction because everybody would have the same advantages in respect of the exempted areas and, presumably, everybody would apply for licences outside that area and there is no reason why they should not.

Why should they?

Why should they not?

Because they will not be acquired so long as they keep inside.

They can only be acquired in respect of that portion of their service which is outside the area. If the Deputy's amendment were carried, they could not be acquired in respect of the portion inside.

Do you give different licences for outside and inside?

No, because, if acquired, they can start again and, consequently, the only part that can be acquired is the part outside—"acquired" in the sense that once bought it cannot be replaced. On the other hand, if the Bill stands as it is, the railway companies could "acquire" and "acquire" in respect of services both inside and outside. New services in the exempted areas can never go outside. The restrictions imposed on other services, both inside and outside, will operate as an inducement to existing carriers to confine their activities to the exempted areas and thus reduce the number of licensed carriers and facilitate the operation of the general policy of the Bill.

From what the Minister has just said, may I ask if it is not likely that the way it would work out is that the carrier would take out his licence for the outside area in order to get acquired. When he is acquired, he would then confine his business to the inside area.

But the Deputy will see that, by taking out a licence, he is applying to himself a number of definite restrictions.

Certainly, but he is going to be acquired.

He can be acquired. He is subject to the chance of it, anyway.

It is a good thing to work on the railway company—to take out a licence in order to get himself bought out by the company.

Deputy McGilligan's amendment is much more likely to operate in that direction.

Because every existing carrier will undoubtedly apply for a licence under these circumstances in the hope of being acquired.

Even a carrier who has no intention of going outside will apply for a licence. There is no reason why he should not so apply except the small amount of the licence fee.

The Minister means the man who wants to be acquired?

Yes, certainly.

I think the Minister is wrong. If he is going to be subject to restrictions in the restricted area, he may seek to be bought out in order that he may reopen free. If he is not going to be subject to restrictions in the exempted areas, he will not be at all so likely to lose the little bit of profit he is making in the outside area.

The opposite operates. He has only a chance of being acquired but, while waiting for it, he is in a definite position of disadvantage relative to those who do not apply.

He will gain freedom from restriction within the exempted area by getting bought out because, afterwards, he can start in that area alone.

Will the Minister say whether, when this Bill becomes law, the position will be that the railway company operating road vehicles through the country will be subject to maximum rates right from the centre of Dublin, for instance, assuming that they are operating from Dublin? Will they be subject to maximum rates to Leixlip, which would be the boundary under the 15 miles limit, whereas the private carrier, the carrier operating within the 15 miles radius, will not be subject to any restriction?

Yes, that will be the position. Of course, the provision as regards maximum rates will be completely ineffective for a considerable time. There is no question of maximum rates at the moment. It is a question of price cutting all along the line and any maximum rate likely to operate will be purely notional for a long time, but after a period, when the railway company has, in fact, secured, as we anticipate they will secure, a complete monopoly over the whole country outside the exempted areas, of the transport position, the maximum rates will become effective.

Outside the area?

Yes, outside the area.

I see some difficulty in the proposal of the Minister. My view is quite different from his with regard to these carriers. He does not seem to think that any of the carriers in a restricted area will want to go outside, while my view is that the major portion of them will trade outside, that is, they will trade outside and inside in order to get trade. A considerable volume of the trade will be immediately over the border and they will have to get their licences in order to compete for that trade. That being so, let us visualise the position. Say that 25 per cent. of their trade is outside of the border and 75 per cent. inside the restricted area. They apply to be purchased by the railway company. What is the railway company going to purchase? Suppose a fellow has two or three lorries. Do you want the railway company to take 25 per cent. of the lorries?

The compensation payable is in respect of the pecuniary loss to which the licensee is put by the transfer of the licence.

There is no transfer of lorry?

And, consequently, in so far as he will only be prevented from operating outside, he will only be at a loss in respect of that portion of his service which is outside.

How are you to divide them?

With the aid of a reference committee.

I suggest that it is not fair to press the Minister seeing that he is going to appoint the arbitrator himself.

No, I propose the contrary.

I am not making any charges against the politics of the arbitrator, but I want to know where is the arbitrator going to be found who is to solve this problem.

By the aid of a reference committee consisting of the Chief Justice, the President of the High Court and an officer of the Department of Industry and Commerce.

I suppose we will have to leave this as it stands, but I am not at all convinced. I do not see the equity of this new situation. Let me leave out maximum fares and I agree with the Minister that, so far as they are concerned, they are going to be merely notional and I say that the classification of merchandise, which really comes into this Bill simply on account of maximum fares, might also be scrapped for a year or two. There are, however, two other things there. There is the whole matter that is set out in Section 12, whatever it means. It says:

Every licensee under a merchandise licence shall in relation to all the merchandise specified in such licence and in the area stated in such licence be a common carrier.

The one set of people become common carriers for whatever they hold themselves out to be carriers of. The others do not. They can take goods one day and refuse another class of goods that the common carrier has to take, and the only way that the gentleman operating outside the exempted areas can meet them is by becoming a common carrier for the articles that all his rivals carry. That is a hardship, I think. Once he comes inside, if there are any little bits of odds and ends of traffic, he should be allowed to pick them up inside the exempted area. He will not be allowed to do so under this. Deputy Moore has put the question and has got a precise answer.

Similarly with regard to the possibility of being acquired. The one man is subject to that possibility while the other man is not. He operates there and, as I said before, I think you are going to drive an enormous number of vehicles into these exempted areas from people who have found their licences taken from them and who get compensation for the pecuniary loss suffered. These people may have a few lorries left on their hands and they will bundle them off to the various exempted areas, where they will either operate them free from all conditions or else get friends to operate them for the purpose of making a sale. However, the Minister has just aroused one thought in my mind. He talks about the maximum conditions. I wonder has he adverted to a recent development in transport of a most interesting and far-reaching kind. If recent events prove to be accurate with regard to transport in the country, it will mean this with regard to these vehicles, that if a carrier, being a common carrier, carries at anything less than that charge, he can contract himself out of all the conditions ordinarily applicable to a common carrier and all goods will be carried at the owner's risk. The fact that you establish maximum fares is the foundation for that in the goods carrying business hereafter. So that, it is not right to say that it is merely a notional carriage that will be conducted hereafter. It is not quite clear yet that this will be fully established, but if that tendency grows it means that once a common carrier does this he can, because he charges something less than the maximum charge, contract out of all responsibility for the goods carried and that will be the general effect hereafter.

May I ask Deputy McGilligan whether he has in mind that under his amendment offences against the Act could only be checked outside the exempted areas. If people who are licensed carriers are to be at liberty, once they get inside the 15 miles radius in Dublin, if they are to be subject to no restrictions, will not that debar any attempt to administer the Act inside the area so far as offences outside are concerned? I will give an example. If there is a lorry coming from Galway, say, and somewhere this side of Leixlip it picks up a box of eggs, if there is an attempt made inside the area to check whether or not there is a licence, obviously it could not be done. The only place that adherence to the licence could be checked is outside the 15 miles radius. I wonder what has Deputy McGilligan to say on that? Would he have it that there would be no such thing as checking the licence or checking obedience to the licence if the lorry has come within the 15 miles radius?

I have already suggested to the Minister that the administrative difficulties will be lessened if he has not to focus his attention at all upon the exempted area, and that it would be easier if he allows anybody, once inside the exempted area, to operate without condition. There is no administrative difficulty there.

Yes, there is. It means that within the 15 miles radius no attempt could be made to charge a man with an infringement of his licence. The offence may be committed outside the radius and if the Guards outside the radius do not check it, then it must go on. Obviously the Guards within the radius would have no means of checking it.

It is like smuggling. Once you are across the Border you are all right. Amendment No. 19 agreed to.

Amendments 20, 21 and 22 not moved.
Section 6, as amended, agreed to.
Section 7 agreed to.
SECTION 8.
(2) When the applicant for a merchandise licence is an existing carrier, his application shall, in addition to the matters required by the immediately preceding sub-section to be stated therein, state—
(a) the merchandise road transport business in respect of which the applicant claims to be an existing carrier;
(b) the number of mechanically propelled vehicles being lorries or tractors, and so classified in such application which, at any specified date (in this Act referred to as the critical date) between the 1st day of July, 1932, and the 8th day of February, 1933, selected by the applicant complied with the following conditions (in this Act referred to as the qualifying conditions) that is to say, were—
(i) duly licensed under Section 13 of the Finance Act, 1920, as amended by subsequent enactments;
(ii) in use or available for the purpose of such merchandise road transport business; and
(c) particulars (including the unladen weight) of each of such mechanically propelled vehicles.
(4) Every person who applies for a merchandise licence shall, when required by the Minister so to do, furnish to the Minister all such information as the Minister may require for the consideration of such application.
Amendment 23 not moved.

I move amendment 24:

In sub-section (2), page 5, line 51, to insert before the word "shall" the words "if made before the appointed day."

This is a drafting amendment.

Why is there no necessity for this after the appointed day?

The information refers solely to existing carriers and consequently the information must be required before the appointed day.

Of course, this will arise on a later amendment and we can discuss it later.

Amendment 24 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 25.

In sub-section (2) (b), page 5, line 59, to delete the words "1st day of July" and substitute the words "9th day of February".

This is something in the nature of harking back to the amendment that was discussed at such great length earlier to-night, but there is some little difference in it. The scheme is that the existing carrier applies for a licence and, in addition to giving certain specified particulars, he is asked to state the number of mechanically propelled vehicles which, on any specified date between certain named dates selected by the applicant, comply with certain conditions. I want to enlarge those dates and to give a full period of a year.

One of these conditions, as it stands, is that the vehicles were duly licensed under a particular section of the Finance Act as amended by subsequent enactments. I, at any rate, see the likelihood of a peculiar situation arising of a person having an ordinary transport business for the carriage of merchandise, but having it confined mainly to, say, a quarter of the year, or six months of the year, but not the six months here mentioned, and having vehicles which possibly might not have been licensed for a particular quarter, but that his whole fleet of vehicles would never be represented by the vehicles which he had licensed at any time unless you give him the full run of the year. You are covering all the normal periods that way. You have suggested, therefore, that the number of vehicles under which the unladen weight, particulars and conditions, will afterwards apply should be the number of vehicles which he had at any specified time on the road within an operative period of 12 months. I have an amendment down later on to remove this condition about licensing, because I do not regard that as a fair test. As to the appeal from that test of licensing, whether it remains or not, if you limit a person to a period you are not giving that person what the appeal set out to give him, namely, the right to describe the maximum number of vehicles which he had on the road at a particular period and to get the unladen weight of these registered as the unladen weight on which he would operate in future. There is a special application here.

I do not see that what the Deputy suggests is practicable, in view of the fact that the dates in sub-section (2) have not been changed. It is clear that if the qualifying period is between the 1st July, 1932, and the 8th February, 1933, the vehicles used by the applicant during that period must be taken into consideration when fixing the extent of his business. I do not know if the Deputy is pressing the amendment at this stage, or linking it up definitely with an amendment to delete paragraph 1 of sub-section (2).

They are somewhat joined.

If discussed together they will serve equally well. My point of view is that we must apply this test in relation to each application; were the vehicles, said to have been used in connection with the road transport business, actually licensed under the Finance Act, 1920, as amended by subsequent enactments? There is no other test practicable. The applicant may have in his garage broken-down cars capable of being used, and if any other period were brought into operation in the giving of licences it might permit of considerable extension of the business, the replacing of cars with new cars, as an applicant is permited to do, or representing his business as being of greater extent than it actually was for the purpose of raising the acquisition price. I do not think any hardship is liable to be caused to anyone by having the extent to which that person was involved in road transport business determined by the actual number of lorries licensed and used in connection with the business during the eight months' period. It is a fair test as it is, and is one that can be easily applied. It should commend itself to the Dáil. If it can be shown that it is unfair or that any anomaly will arise in consequence of it, it can be reconsidered. That has not been shown and I doubt very much if it can be.

One anomaly that may arise might be in the case where on the 9th April of the present year there were a number of lorries on order, or ready for delivery or not completed. They were intended for the carrying trade and I think there should be some provision to deal with cases like that.

That is a very useful point for the second amendment I have put in. I do not think this amendment is necessarily blocked or logically hindered by what we have passed in the definition of "existing carrier." You might say that you define an existing carrier as one who carried on between the 1st July, 1932, and the 8th February, 1933. It might not be the most logical to say that the number of vehicles specified was the greatest number used at any time in the year dating back from the 8th February, 1933. It seems that the presumption is entirely in favour of the full year. Let a man take what he has been using at any time, or even by making some amendment in the phrase, "any time," let it be "usually" in the course of the period, not limited to any period. Let it be that the vehicles must have been in operation by him for the purposes of his business.

The second point which arises is that the test for the licence is an entirely different thing. You are going to allow an applicant to elevate a number for the purpose of a numerical test. The Minister limits him further by saying that whatever vehicles he has had at any time, even within a limited period, must comply with the qualifying condition. I read that as within the envelope of the time limitation, and that the phrase "duly licensed" will mean "duly licensed" within that period.

Take the case that Deputy Moore gave. It was one that did not occur to me, where a man has vehicles on order, but which are not delivered, or, if delivered, he does not see himself getting full value out of them and reserves the taking out of licences to the beginning of the next quarter in April. He has certainly bought the vehicles for the purpose of his business. Why should he not be allowed to count them in? They do not comply with the Minister's qualifying test. When a man has a fleet of lorries and puts them aside—a certain number for repairs and for overhaul— maybe because he sees a slackness in a certain season, although they may be wanted for peak periods—saying "I will not licence a number of them. I will save the licence payments." If it happens in one period that he has not complied with the necessary conditions they are not "duly licensed." Whatever is to be said about the enlargement of the time, there is a great deal to be said for cutting out as a qualifying condition that they were duly licensed under a particular section of the Finance Act. I suggest that the qualifying condition should be that they were in use or were available for the purposes of such road merchandise transport business, and the interpretation of the business would be left to the proper authorities.

As regards the difficulty mentioned by Deputy Moore, I do not see how that could be avoided, no matter what date we take. If a lorry or chassis was in process of being imported to be added to a fleet, that lorry need not be rendered useless. I have only to repeat that if a lorry is not licensed, and not in use in respect of road transport business, it cannot be taken into account in any test for the purpose of measuring the extent of the business. As the Bill stands a lorry not licensed for any one of the three consecutive quarters of the year, and not used during the whole period for the purpose of the business must be deemed not to have been required in the road transport business during the period and should be definitely left out of account in measuring the extent of the business of the applicant for a licence. On the other hand, to abolish the test of the licence would open up the way to all sorts of trickery, to bring in every character of chassis left in the applicant's yard which he had no intention of using, but which he might mention in his application in order to get an increase in the standard lorry weight which he might licence, for the purpose of replacing with new ones if it was the intention to extend the business or to raise the acquisition price. The licence test is a fair test. In certain cases it may operate less favourably than some other test might. On the face of it it is fair and reasonable and should be maintained unless a much fairer and more reasonable test is shown.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 26 not moved.

Amendment 27 brings us to a big problem.

Perhaps the Deputy will move to report progress now.

I move to report progress.

Progress Reported: The Committee to sit again to-morrow.