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

SECTION 22.

I move amendment 72:—

After sub-section (2) (a) (i) to insert two new sub-paragraphs as follows:—

"(ii) if such licensee was a partnership firm and such transfer of ownership shall be due to a dissolution of partnership firm the Minister shall in any case where there is no dispute as to the right of the surviving or continuing partners or partner to carry on such business transfer such licence to them or him: provided that in any case where one or more of the former partners shall on such dissolution have by the agreement of the parties or by testamentary disposition the right to continue to carry on a portion of such business separately from his or their late partner or partners, the Minister shall for licensing purposes under this Act divide such business between the partners intending to carry on in such manner as he shall think just and shall grant a transfer of the merchandise licence relating to such business separately as to portion of such business to one or more of such partners and as to the remainder thereof to the other or others of them; and in any case where there is a dispute as to the right of the surviving or continuing partners or partner to carry on such business or as to the persons or person entitled upon such dissolution to the ownership of such business, it shall be lawful for the Minister for licensing purposes under this Act either finally or provisionally and without prejudice to the rights of the parties as he shall think fit to determine such dispute in any manner that he shall think just and to grant a transfer of such licence as to the whole or separately as to several portions of such business accordingly;

(iii) if such transfer of ownership shall be due to the amalgamation of two or more businesses or to the conversion of a business into a limited company or to the reconstruction of a company holding a merchandise licence, the Minister shall on the application of the owners of the business transfer such licence to them."

It does not seem clear that the Minister has the power under the Bill as it stands which this amendment seeks to give him. The case with which the amendment deals is that of a partnership of, say, two or three brothers. The partnership is breaking up and the desire is to divide the service as between the different members of the partnership. Paragraph (iii) provides for the transfer in the case of a joining up of a certain number of businesses. It is not clear whether there is power in the Bill adequately to deal with this case.

Under the Bill as it stands, sub-paragraph (1) of lettered paragraph (a) sub-section (2) there is power to transfer a licence in the case of a person becoming entitled to a business under a will or intestacy. In fact, the licence must be transferred in these cases. In so far as the dissolution of a partnership is due to the death of one of the partners, the case is covered. On the other point embodied in this amendment, the amalgamation of businesses, it is definitely not the policy to allow it. It is definitely contrary to the whole policy of the Bill to allow amalgamation of road traffic businesses to take place other than with the railway company. The intention is that those who get licences for road transport services will continue to operate these services. They may pass into the hands of members of the same family, or by will or intestacy, but after that, under the process now, where there is to be new ownership, it must be a railway company; that is the policy of the Bill. In so far as this amendment is in accord with the policy of the Bill, then it is embodied in the section as it stands. The other part of the amendment is designed to do something that the Bill is designed to prevent.

So far as sub-section (2) is concerned, I agree the Minister has the necessary powers but, so far as sub-section (3) is concerned, the Minister does not contemplate areas outside the reserved areas where companies exist already, and where the railway companies will not wish to take them over. If there are areas where the railway companies will not wish to take over, then, the absence of such a provision from sub-section (3) would prevent the amalgamation say of two small companies run in an uneconomic way, and therefore not giving as good a service as if they became one amalgamated company. However, everything hangs on whether the Minister thinks there is any such area in the country.

Ordinarily we would not be very agreeable to sanction two existing companies amalgamating their businesses. Of course there is power under the Bill to transfer a licence but it is permissive power. In paragraph (2) of Section 8 there is power to transfer the obligation of a person if he wishes, that is to transfer the licence from one person to another. The policy behind the Bill is to ensure that any transfer of ownership that takes place will be into the hands of the railway companies.

Such areas must provide for the protection of their services until the railway company is in a position to take them over?

No. There is another section that deals with that. Any person may apply for a licence to operate a service where such service is required, and if the railway company declines to operate he may get a licence and may be permitted to operate it.

So persons desiring to amalgamate services can amalgamate them?

On that ground.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 73:—

In sub-section (2) (b), line 25, to delete the words "or a shipping company."

The principle of this amendment was already agreed to in amendment 5.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment 74 not moved.

I move amendment 75:—

In sub-section (2) (b) (i), lines 28-29, to delete the words "or a shipping company."

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 76:—

At the end of sub-section (5), page 10, to add the words "and the husband or wife of any person so related."

The sub-section says:—

(5) For the purpose of this section each of the following persons and no other person shall be the relative of a licensee, that is to say, the husband of such licensee, the wife of such licensee, and any person related by blood to such licensee in the first, second, or third degree.

The amendment seeks to add the words "and the husband or wife of any person so related."

I hardly think the amendment necessary but if the Deputy will leave it over for a later stage I shall look into it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 22, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 23.
Whenever the licensee under a merchandise licence dies, the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say:—
(a) the merchandise road transport business to which such licence relates may be carried on under such licence until the happening of whichever of the following events first happens, that is to say—the grant of probate of the will or letters of administration of the personal estate of such licensee, or the expiration of such licence, or the expiration of one month from the death of such licensee;
(b) the said merchandise road transport business may, while such licence is in force, be carried on by the personal representative of such licensee until the expiration of three months from the death of such licensee or the expiration of such licence, whichever first happens;
(c) the personal representative of such licensee may apply to the Minister for a renewal or transfer (as the circumstances may require) of such licence to himself and upon such application being made the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say:—
(i) if such application is for a renewal, the Minister may refuse such application but only on a ground or grounds upon which he would be authorised by this Act to refuse the application if such licensee had survived and had himself made the application,
(ii) if such application is for a transfer, the Minister shall grant such application.

I move amendment 77:—

In line 45, page 10, after the word "licence" to insert the words "being the sole owner of a merchandise road transport business."

The object of the amendment is to make the words of the section more clear. The section evidently refers to businesses owned by individual persons.

That is so to some extent because a company does not die. The amendment is hardly necessary, and, in any event, it is a drafting point.

What about partnership?

My advice to persons interested in road transport business, other than the individual, is to form a company. That arises out of the experience of the Road Transport Act of 1932. We took the initiative to form people into companies.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 78:—

In paragraph (a), page 10, line 53, to delete the words "one month" and substitute the words "twelve months."

The object of this amendment is to change the term of one month in Section 23 and to substitute the words "twelve months". The idea in that section is that where the owner dies his licence would lapse inside the shortest of certain periods, one of them being a month. The courts might not be sitting, and even if they were sitting, to take out the necessary letters of administration would take usually more than a month. You would be pinned down to that, or else the licence would cease to operate.

I agree one month seems short, but it is the period provided under the Act of 1932. I would be agreeable to make it three months, but I think 12 months would be too long.

I agree 12 months would be too long, but even if it was three months, and a case arises in the vacation period the position is almost exactly the same. If a person dies a day or two before the courts rise for vacation there would be no chance to get administration inside three months.

Does the vacation period count in such circumstances?

One month is entirely too short; so is three. I suggest six months is safer.

I agree. I shall make this change on Report.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The same applies to amendment 79.

Amendment 79 not moved.

I move amendment 80:—

To add at the end of the section, two new sub-sections as follows:—

(2) The Minister may in any case of doubt or difficulty provisionally treat as personal representative of a licensee for the purpose of this section any person whom he may select and may make a provisional grant to such person without prejudice to the rights of the parties.

(3) The Minister may whenever he thinks it just so to do, extend any time or times specified in this section at his discretion.

This is intended to give the Minister power in case of difficulty. It very often happens in cases of death that there are serious difficulties in the matter of carrying on and finding definite personal representatives. If there was serious difficulty in the matter in the carrying on of the business, the interruption of which might have serious effects upon that business, apart altogether from the dislocation in employment, it might be desirable that the Minister should have power to get over the difficulties arising out of the death of the owner.

If we extend by an amendment on the Report Stage the periods in letter paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 23, this other difficulty will hardly arise.

In considering the extension of the period the Minister might perhaps take counsel as to whether he might not want a little emergency power as well.

We will look into that when considering the periods under that section.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 23 put and agreed to.
SECTION 24.
(3) Every fee payable under this section shall be collected and accounted for in such manner as shall be prescribed by the Minister with the sanction of the Minister for Finance.

I move amendment 81, which is consequential:—

To delete sub-section (3).

I take it no fees have been considered so far, that the Minister cannot give us any information on the point of the fees. Will they be laid down by the Minister or by the Minister for Finance?

They are to be prescribed by regulations made by the Minister after consultation with the Minister for Finance.

What opportunity will there be of discussing the fees at a later date?

It will be possible for the Dáil to raise the question of the amount of the fees when the regulations are published, and if any Deputy so desires to move for the cancellation of the regulations. It is intended that the fees shall merely cover the cost of administration. It is not intended to make any profit out of them. As in the case of the Road Transport Act, 1932, we shall fix fees which will pay for the printing and the administrative cost of issuing the licences.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 24, as amended, agreed to.
Section 25 agreed to.
SECTION 26.
(2) Every application under this section shall be in the prescribed form and shall contain a description of the vehicle in respect of which the plate is sought and shall be accompanied by the registration book in relation to such vehicle.
(3) Upon receipt of an application duly made under this section and upon payment of a fee of such amount as the Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance and after consultation with the Minister for Justice, may from time to time appoint, the Chief Superintendent of the Gárda Síochána to whom the application is made shall, if he is satisfied that the vehicle in respect of which the vehicle plate is sought is duly licensed under Section 13 of the Finance Act, 1920, as amended by subsequent enactments, and subject to the provisions of the next following section issue a vehicle plate to the applicant in respect of such vehicle.
(4) Every vehicle plate issued under this section shall be made of metal and be of the prescribed pattern and bear the prescribed marks thereon.

I move amendment 82:—

Before Section 26 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) The Minister shall cause to be established and kept a register of all merchandise licences granted under this Part of this Act, and such register shall be in such form and contain such particulars as the Minister shall direct.

(2) The said register shall at all reasonable times be open to inspection by any person on payment of such fee not exceeding one shilling as shall from time to time be fixed by the Minister.

(3) Any person shall be entitled to obtain from the Minister a copy of any entry in the said register on payment thereof of such fee, not exceeding sixpence for every folio or part of a folio of seventy-two words contained in such copy, as shall from time to time be fixed by the Minister.

(4) Every fee payable under this section shall be collected and accounted for in such manner as shall be prescribed by the Minister with the sanction of the Minister for Finance.

This is to provide for keeping a register of licences. It was suggested that it should be open to anybody to come to the Department and inspect the register, and I agree. There is no such provision in the Road Transport Act, 1932, but we have in fact always given information to anybody who is entitled to get it and desired it. This section regularises that procedure in reference to this Bill.

I do not know that amendment 82 meets amendment 83 in the names of Deputy Thrift, Deputy Good, Deputy Dockrell and Deputy Alton.

What do the sponsors say?

I should like to put something before them. The Minister was to exercise a certain discretion with regard to the tabling of regulations or conditions attaching to the various licences. He said that he was introducing an amendment which would deal with all that. Sub-section (1) of this amendment says: "The Minister shall cause to be established and kept a register of all merchandise licences granted under this Part of this Act, and such register shall be in such form and contain such particulars as the Minister shall direct." Amendment 83 asks that the Minister shall keep a public register of all the merchandise licences issued by him and of conditions applicable thereto. One of the matters of the greatest importance, from the point of view of information that we are looking for in connection with these licences, is what are the conditions attaching to them. Under the Minister's amendment the Minister can keep a register that would satisfy the statutory requirements without making available in any way the detailed conditions attaching to the particular licences. The amendment can be made in actual administration to do what the Minister was suggesting to-day that he would do and what amendment 83 asks. But in the amendment as it stands, information that we have been asking for to-day and which we have been promised might not be given.

It is definitely intended that the conditions attaching to a licence shall appear in the register, because that is obviously information which anybody should have for the purpose of applying for the acquisition of a licence, or anything of that kind. But it is clear also that information may be available which would be of a rather confidential nature relating to the extent of somebody's business and which should not be available for anyone to discover. That is why the precautionary term is put in, in order to ensure that the information which will be available for inspection will be such information as can be and should be made public to interested parties.

Will the Minister accept the amendment in this way: "Such register shall be in such a form and contain such particulars as the Minister shall direct, including the conditions applicable thereto?"

I suggest that the Deputy should submit that amendment for the Report Stage.

Does the Minister take the view that the register would automatically, not alone give the name and route, or such area as the licence covered, but also any conditions?

Undoubtedly. That is definitely my view. Assuming that some company, entitled under the Act, proposed to acquire a licence, then obviously it should have information as to the conditions attaching to the licence, because it would affect its value. Any information of that kind should be made available and should be contained in the register.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendment 83 not moved.

I move amendment 84:—

To delete sub-sections (2), (3) and (4) and substitute the following sub-sections:—

(2) Upon receipt of an application under the immediately preceding sub-section, the Chief Superintendent of the Gárda Síochána to whom such application is made shall, subject to the provisions of this and the next following section, issue a vehicle plate to the applicant in respect of such vehicle.

(3) Where a vehicle plate issued to the licensee under a merchandise licence in respect of a particular mechanically propelled vehicle has been lost, destroyed, or broken or has become so defaced by wear or injury that all or any of the marks required by this section to be borne thereon are obliterated or illegible, the licensee under such licence may apply at the vehicle plate issuing station, at which such vehicle plate was issued, to the Chief Superintendent of the Gárda Síochána within whose functional area such station is situate for the issue of a new vehicle plate in respect of such vehicle, and thereupon the said Chief Superintendent, if he is satisfied that such first mentioned vehicle plate has been lost, destroyed, broken or so defaced and upon delivery to him of such vehicle plate (if not lost or destroyed), shall, subject to the provisions of this section, issue to the applicant a new vehicle plate bearing marks similar to those borne by such first mentioned vehicle plate.

(4) Every application under this section for a vehicle plate in respect of a particular mechanically-propelled vehicle shall be in the prescribed form and shall be accompanied by the registration book which relates to such vehicle.

(5) A Chief Superintendent shall not issue a vehicle plate in respect of any mechanically-propelled vehicle unless he is satisfied that such vehicle is duly licensed under Section 13 of the Finance Act, 1920, as amended by subsequent enactments.

(6) There shall be paid on every application for a vehicle plate under this section to the Chief Superintendent of the Gárda Síochána to whom such application is made a fee of such amount as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Minister with the consent of the Minister for Finance and after consultation with the Minister for Justice, and the payment of such fee (which shall be retained whether the application is or is not granted) shall be a condition precedent to the consideration of such application.

(7) Every vehicle plate issued under this section shall be made of metal and be of the prescribed pattern and bear the prescribed marks thereon.

This is an alteration which does not really affect the principle of the Bill. It is designed simply to simplify the administration from the point of view of the Gárda Síochána. It was they, in fact, who suggested the insertion of this section. It effects a change, but the change is of no consequence.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 26, as amended, put and agreed to.
SECTION 27.
(1) Where an application for the issue of a vehicle plate in respect of a lorry is made by the licensee (other than an authorised (merchandise carrying) company or a shipping company) under a merchandise (existing carrier's) licence, such plate shall not be issued—
(a) if there is no standard lorry weight for such licensee, or
(b) in case there is a standard lorry weight for such licensee, if—
(i) the unladen weight of such lorry exceeds such standard lorry weight, or
(ii) the result of such issue, if made, would be that the combined unladen weights of the lorries in respect of which vehicle plates are on issue to such licensee would exceed such standard lorry weight.
(2) Where an application for the issue of a vehicle plate in respect of a tractor is made by the licensee (other that an authorised (merchandise carrying) company or a shipping company) under a merchandise (existing carrier's) licence, such plate shall not be issued—
(a) if there is no standard tractor weight for such licensee, or
(b) in case there is a standard tractor weight for such licensee, if—
(i) the unladen weight of such tractor exceeds such standard tractor weight, or
(ii) the result of such issue, if made, would be that the combined unladen weights of the tractors in respect of which vehicle plates are on issue to such licensee would exceed such standard tractor weight...
The following amendment was agreed to:
85. In sub-section (1), lines 20 and 21, and in sub-section (2), lines 34 and 35, to delete in those lines the words "or a shipping company."— (Mr. Lemass).

Is it the intention to make the name plate distinctive from the ordinary registration plate?

There is no information at the moment, I suppose, as to what form it will take?

I could not say what form it will take, but it must be a plate which will easily distinguish a lorry as being a licensed one.

That is from the ordinary registration one?

There will be a distinction between a private person carrying his own goods and a licensed lorry?

Section 27, as amended, put and agreed to.
SECTION 28.

I move amendments 86 and 87, which are consequential on amendment 84.

Before Section 28 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) Where—

(a) a vehicle in respect of which a vehicle plate has been issued has been sold or ceases to be duly licensed under Section 13 of the Finance Act, 1920, as amended by subsequent enactments, or

(b) the owner of a vehicle in respect of which a vehicle plate has been issued ceases to be lawfully entitled to carry on a merchandise road transport business,

the owner of such vehicle shall within three days after such sale or cesser deliver such vehicle plate to a member of the Gárda Síochána at the vehicle plate issuing station at which such vehicle plate was issued.

(2) If any person fails or neglects to comply with this section such person shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding two pounds and a further fine not exceeding five shillings for every day during which such offence is continued.

Before Section 28 to insert a new section as follows:—

If any vehicle plate issued in respect of a particular mechanically propelled vehicle is affixed to any other mechanically propelled vehicle, the owner of such first mentioned mechanically propelled vehicle and also the owner of such other mechanically propelled vehicle (if he is not the same person as the owner of such first mentioned mechanically propelled vehicle) shall each be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding ten pounds.

Is the Minister satisfied that he is not doing a risky thing in inserting amendment 87? A man may have two vehicles, for instance, and be a licensee for a transport service. We all know that motor vehicles are likely to give trouble very often and unexpectedly they go out of order. Would it be such a serious thing if a plate in respect of one vehicle could be used on another? Suppose a man had a spare vehicle which was not licensed at the time, would there be any great harm done to the community, or any great offence committed, if he used the plate for that spare vehicle?

No, provided everybody knows he is doing it and, particularly, those responsible for the administration of the Act. In fact, a man is entitled to replace one vehicle by another of the same unladen weight for the purpose of a service, but obviously, if we had not some such section as this in, that plate might be used by a person who is not licensed at all, and who might evade the Act by the fact that he had secured this plate.

Amendments put and agreed to.
Section put and agreed to.
SECTION 29.
Amendment 88 not moved.
Question proposed: "That the section stand part of the Bill."

The Minister knows that in connection with a similar section in the Road Traffic Bill the Minister for Local Government and Public Health undertook to introduce an amendment which would make it possible to provide for the employment of a civilian, a skilled person, in addition to a member of the Gárda Síochána, who would have the necessary qualifications. I wonder would he, in consultation with the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, see to what extent the amendment moved by me to the Road Traffic Bill is being met by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health and make such alterations on the Report Stage of this Bill as will fit in with that amendment?

This section deals with an entirely different matter. Under the Road Traffic Bill inspection is carried out to ascertain the state of repair and the suitability of the vehicle and that is a matter that required expert knowledge. The only question that arises here is whether in fact the law is being broken and it is not necessary to have anyone except a member of the Gárda Síochána engaged on this work. The question that arises here is whether in fact the law is being broken, and powers are given to members of the Gárda to enable them to carry out their duties in that respect. There is no question here of the suitability of the vehicle or anything of that kind which would require skilled knowledge. There is no similarity between the two cases at all.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 30.
(1) On and after the appointed day it shall not be lawful for any person to enter into an agreement for the performance for payment of any service incidental to a merchandise road transport business with any other person unless such other person is a licensee under a merchandise licence or such service is to be performed exclusively within an exempted area.
(2) If any person acts in contravention of this section such person shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding ten pounds.
The following amendment appeared on the Order Paper:
In sub-section (1), lines 29, 30 and 31, to delete the words "performance for payment of any service incidental to" and substitute the words "carriage of merchandise by".—(Deputy McGilligan).

I am prepared to accept this amendment on the Report Stage.

Amendment not moved.

I move amendment No. 90:

At the end of sub-section (1) to add the words "or where a case of sudden emergency arises or it is not reasonably practicable to obtain the services of such a licensee."

Is the Minister prepared to accept this amendment?

Otherwise it seems to me that an instance may arise where a person who is licensed may find himself at Balrothery involved in a breakdown and, no matter what his difficulties may be, he cannot call for the assistance of some person from the exempted area of either Dublin or Drogheda to come to his assistance in that emergency, and to take his goods and deliver them.

It is quite clear that if we accepted the amendment it would open wide the door to evasions of the Act and that every case where an unlicensed person was found to be carrying goods for reward would be found to be an emergency. I do not think it is possible to accept the amendment for that reason. It is possible to conceive cases in which a difficulty might be caused by the absence of such a provision, but these cases would be relatively few, far fewer than the number of cases of evasion which would arise if the amendment were accepted.

The Minister does admit that the absence of a provision like this will give rise now and then to serious difficulties in cases of emergency.

I think the Deputy can be satisfied that the law is administered with discretion and that if, in fact, a serious emergency had to be met it would be unlikely that a prosecution would follow.

There are two reasons why cases of this sort should be covered in the Bill. The Minister will have remembered that in the Road Traffic Act in England a proviso was introduced whereby a person who was compulsorily insured under that Act might not take in tow any vehicle and the result was that where a man's car broke down, if a passer-by came to his assistance in that grave emergency, and brought him into the nearest town or garage he was prosecuted and fined because there was no provision in the Act to cover such emergencies. The second reason for the amendment is this. Suppose there is an emergency of the kind envisaged by the proposer of the amendment and there is a technical breach of the law. You are throwing on the local sergeant of the Civic Guard the onus of making up his mind whether there was in fact a grave emergency or not, otherwise there must be a prosecution. It is true that the Bench might discharge a defendant under the Probation of Offenders Act or something of that kind or impose a nominal fine, but what is the use of doing that? It is an unpleasant experience to be brought into a police court even for a technical offence. A great many decent citizens do not like to have to go there.

There is nothing in the section which prevents one man doing a friendly turn for another. There is only an offence when merchandise is carried for reward. If a person is in the position of having to deliver merchandise urgently and gets somebody else who is not a licensed carrier to deliver it for him for reward, that is an offence. The only emergency that could be envisaged in connection with this amendment would be an earthquake or a war. In ordinary cases the law would be definitely broken if an unlicensed carrier agreed to take goods for reward.

Under the law as it stands nothing can excuse a man going to his neighbour and saying, "The licensed carrier has not turned up, these are perishable goods which must be delivered at once. I will give you £1 to take them." That would be a case of vital urgency but nothing can excuse that. The amendment proposes that a discretion should be given here to meet that emergency. Does the Minister seriously think that that discretion would disrupt the administration of the Act?

I think so.

Might I ask the Minister to take this aspect of the matter into account, that there is no compulsion on the Great Southern Railway Company, once they have got a monopoly, to send a lorry to a farmer who requires to have either live stock or produce forwarded in an emergency? He may go to the nearest depot asking that a vehicle be sent to his farm or premises but there is nothing in the Bill to compel the Great Southern Railway Company to send that vehicle. It is, I suggest, a serious thing to put a farmer in this position, a farmer who wants to send cattle or lambs or something of that kind to a fair. His neighbour may have a lorry but he dare not hire his lorry for that purpose. The Great Southern Railway Company may say that they are not prepared to carry that traffic or they may already have given him a quotation which will baulk him. I would remind the Minister that in his own lifetime there were a few foot and mouth disease scares. Usually, the moment a scare is mentioned, people who have live stock will rush them to the nearest market town. In such cases it would be open to the monopolist company to say: "We have no vehicle available for that purpose," and to refuse to send a vehicle. That is an extraordinary situation and, one that is calculated seriously to interfere with the natural economy of the country.

Suppose somebody is taken ill in a suburb of Dublin— Howth, for example—and a doctor is called up and he announces that the person who is ill has acute pneumonia and must have oxygen forthwith. One must send some kind of conveyance to Dublin in order to carry out cylinders of oxygen. You cannot bring them out under your arm, and you cannot very well get a licensed carrier at 2 o'clock in the morning. In the circumstances, one may have to ask the local grocer to send in his lorry to Dublin in order to bring out the oxygen. Under this proposal the grocer is placed in the position that he cannot permit his lorry to run, as it would be a breach of the law. No doubt he could run in the lorry and refuse to accept money for so doing, but a great many people would be reluctant to ask a man to drive fifteen or twenty miles without some compensation. They would be only too anxious to pay expenses. Admittedly, such an occurrence would be very rare, but if this provision goes the court would have a very definite interpretation.

If the case ever did come to a court the justice would act with a complete knowledge of the facts and decide accordingly. In my opinion it would be very unwise to insert a provision which might be pleaded in quite a number of different kinds of cases, probably with no justification, as a reason for evading the Act. With regard to the point raised by Deputy Moore, it is a condition which will impose on the monopolist company as well as every licensee that they must provide the facilities that are required.

Regular facilities but not exceptional facilities.

In relation to merchandise it means the sending of the necessary vehicles to carry merchandise that has to be carried, not regularly but as the merchandise offers. If the company fail to do that, then that company is guilty of a breach of its licence.

As the thing stands at present, does the Minister agree that if a merchandise carrying vehicle breaks down at Balrothery the people concerned can get a car to come from Balbriggan to tow them in on the Good Samaritan principle, but they cannot get that person to tow them in for payment?

I am not offering any opinion as to whether towing is carrying merchandise for reward.

If the merchandise is still on the lorry that is being brought in as a sort of trailer, I imagine it is. But if it were a question of having to remove the merchandise off the lorry, leaving the damaged lorry on the roadside until there would be an opportunity of taking it away, the Good Samaritan principle cannot operate. If they go into Balbriggan and bring out a lorry and shift the merchandise from the damaged vehicle, they must waste their time at the court explaining the matter if a Civic Guard happens to see what was going on.

Unless they ask somebody who is licensed to carry merchandise for reward to perform the service. The purpose of this proposal is to confine the trade to the person licensed.

The words are not "carrying merchandise for reward." It says here that "it is not lawful to contract for payment for any service..."

That is changed.

Amendment 90, by leave, withdrawn.

I expect the Minister agreed to amendment 91:

In sub-section (2), line 34, after the word "person" to insert the word "knowingly".

No. That involves a very difficult legal point. To insert the word "knowingly" would make it almost impossible to prove the charge.

Even St. Peter would not ask for the powers contained in sub-section (2).

But St. Peter is not our Minister for Industry and Commerce.

Ignorance of the law could not be regarded as an excuse.

Amendment 91, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 30 agreed to.
SECTION 31.

A very pretty point arises on Section 31. It is one of those admirable pieces of legislation by reference which are thrust into Bills in the fervent hope that they will pass unnoticed.

So far as I am aware, that section repeals a section of the Public Road Act which gives county councils a right to sue corporations or individuals for excessive user of the road. Is that correct?

Quite, for damage to roads.

The Act specifies excessive user. Under this section, a man can put a tractor, or any other heavy vehicle he proposes using as a licensed carrier of goods on a road and, though he may completely wreck the road, the local authority has no remedy against him. Take a county like Donegal. Throughout the west of Donegal, which is a gigantic county, a very large part of which is very poor and the rateable valuation of which is very low, the roads are not very formidable constructions. The people living in these areas are people who usually use a donkey cart or small horse cart, and for that type of traffic the roads are admirable. To maintain roads suitable for heavy motor traffic in the West of Donegal would put an absolutely intolerable burden on the ratepayers of the county. A haulage contractor can use these roads for lorries of almost any weight. If the vehicles are very heavily laden the roads will completely collapse under the strain and the obligation devolves on the county council to restore the roads out of the rates.

Why not?

If Deputy Davin were a Donegal farmer living on seven acres of land with a poor law valuation of 35/- and were obliged to earn part of his living in Scotland as a migratory labourer and part of his living trying to catch fish which are being stolen from him because of the laxity of the Department of Lands and Fisheries, while his wife was trying to knit and his children to do odd jobs on the land in order to scratch a living out of the holding, he might not ask the question "Why not?" The answer is that you cannot take blood from a turnip, nor can you draw water from a stone. The people cannot pay any higher rates in those areas. They have a right to depend upon the Act of Parliament which gives the local authority power to insist that nobody can use the roads to the detriment of the ratepayers. The remedy available to the local authority is very rarely resorted to and wherever it is resorted to it is fairly and justly resorted to for the protection of the poor people.

I do not see why these traction companies should not be made liable for excessive users. They are not made liable for ordinary user, but under the Act I have referred to, if they put wholly unsuitable vehicles on the road they can be made liable by the local authority. I think it is very wrong to withdraw that remedy from the hands of local authorities.

A section of the Public Roads (Ireland) Act, 1911, entitles the local authority to take proceedings against a person responsible for the amount of damage caused by the placing of excessive weights on the roads and damaging the road thereby or damaging it by extraordinary traffic. The matter came to a head some time ago when a couple of county councils took proceedings against an omnibus company. In pursuance of that, a section to this effect was inserted in the Road Transport Act of 1932. The position is that the Minister for Local Government and Public Health has power under the Road Traffic Act to make an order closing any road against traffic which is unsuitable for that road. I submit to the Deputy that it would be unfair to penalise a road carrying company for using a road where no order had been made by the Minister against its use. That is what is behind the section. If the road is unsuitable it should be closed to traffic. In that case the licensee would not be able to use the road. He should not be liable for damage if the road has not been closed to traffic.

Has the Minister for Local Government power to say: "Over this particular road you can use a 30 cwt. lorry," or must they say to the haulage contractor: "You can use that road or you may not use it"? Does his permission extend to allowing the haulage contractor to take any lorry he likes over it, or can he restrict the haulage contractor to a certain capacity of lorry?

He does not restrict one haulage contractor. He makes an order closing the road to a particular weight of vehicle.

He can close the road against any particular weight of lorry —he can close the road, say, to a two-ton lorry.

Then I withdraw my objection.

How can the farmer get lorries into a by-road to take cattle?

The Minister takes no action except on the advice of the local authority?

Yes, that is so.

Suppose the Minister prohibits the road except to a 30 cwt. lorry and the haulage contractor commits a breach of that order and breaks down the road, has the county council authority under this Bill to take action?

That is a matter which arises entirely out of the Road Traffic Bill, and I am not in a position to give the Deputy an answer at the moment. If the haulage contractor is convicted under that Act he is liable to lose his licence under this Bill.

Perhaps the Minister would look into that question and consult the Minister for Local Government and Public Health with a view to providing a remedy for the local authority in the event of a breach of the law being committed?

The Road Traffic Bill will be again before the Dáil. The Deputy can then raise it.

And the moment I raise it the Minister for Local Government and Public Health will refer me to the Minister for Industry and Commerce. The Minister is by this section taking away the existing remedy of the local authority. All I want now is to have the Minister say: "I will restore the statutory remedy of the local authority against the person who breaks the law, against a person who takes a lorry on a road in contravention of the Road Traffic Act." Will the Minister undertake to say that the Minister for Local Government or himself will amend their respective Bills so as to give this remedy to the local authority?

It is interesting to know that the Road Traffic Bill makes provision in Section 156 for the closing of particular roads to vehicles. That section says:

(1) The Minister may, after holding a public inquiry, by order prohibit, subject to such exceptions or conditions as to occasional use or otherwise as may be specified in such order, the driving of vehicles or any specified class or classes of vehicles on any specified road in respect of which it appears to him in consequence of such inquiry to be proved that the driving of vehicles or such class or classes of vehicles on such road would endanger such vehicles or the persons therein or other traffic or that such road is for any other reason unsuitable for use by vehicles or such class or classes of vehicles.

The only thing that can be done where a person acts in contravention of such an order is that he is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of £20, but there was no question of repairing the damage.

The Minister, I take it, has undertaken to do that under this Bill.

I am not undertaking to do another man's job.

Donegal is a county that is very much interested in the saving of turf. It is the only county I know where the saving of turf is done by motor vehicles.

My constituents will not bother about that end of it.

The poorer people in Donegal will not be much obliged to Deputy Dillon if he stops the use of vehicles for the saving of their turf, if it means that their fuel for the winter cannot be got home.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 92:—

Before Section 32 but in Part II of the Bill to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) Any person aggrieved by the Minister's refusal of a merchandise licence, or of a renewal or transfer of such a licence, or by the revocation or suspension of such a licence, or by any condition attached to such a licence, whether on the original grant thereof, or on the renewal thereof, or otherwise, may appeal from the Minister to the High Court.

(2) Provisions shall be made by Rules of Court for regulating appeals.

(3) The Minister shall be entitled to appear and be heard on any appeal under this section.

(4) An appeal under this section shall be to a single Judge of the High Court to be nominated by the Chief Justice for the purpose, and the decision of the High Court on an appeal under this section shall be final.

This amendment seeks to provide that the Minister will not have the complete powers of life and death over everybody engaged in the road transport business. It seeks that there will be power by which, if anybody is prejudiced by the Minister in the granting of a licence or in the renewal of a licence or by the revocation or suspension of such licence, he will have an appeal from the Minister to the courts.

I repeat that the Minister for Industry and Commerce, whoever he may be from time to time, advised by his Department, is much more competent to determine a question of this kind than any court. It seems to me that the insertion of such a section as this would make the administration difficult. Deputy McGilligan emphasised that the terms of the 1932 Act gave the Minister absolute discretion to grant or refuse a licence. I do not think that the administration of that Act would be feasible if any other terms had been inserted. It seems to me that we must make up our minds that certain discretion must be allowed to the Minister. Otherwise administration would be held up and made difficult.

I wonder would the Minister go on and tell us what Deputy McGilligan said on the Second Reading of the Bill in 1932.

Not this Bill.

No, but speaking when the Bus Bill was going through, Deputy McGilligan said that the widest possible discretion should be given——

No; he said that on the Second Reading of this Bill.

I should like if the Minister would tell us what he himself said on the occasion of that Bill.

The Chair would not allow it.

There is a Bill which refers to transport and another which refers to traffic. For convenience, I refer to one of them as the Bus Bill and I refer to this one as the Lorry Bill. The Minister pointed out that Deputy McGilligan was eloquent in saying that complete discretion must be reserved to the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I am now asking the Minister what did he say when he was in opposition? If he will tell us what he said it would be very illuminating to the House now and would help us to make up our minds.

It would be out of order.

Surely it would not.

Perhaps it is as well for the Minister that it is.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments 93 and 94 not moved.

I move amendment 95:—

In sub-section (1) (a), page 13, to delete all words after the word "carrier," line 48, to and including the word "company" where it secondly occurs in line 51.

The object of this amendment is to make it possible for all those who receive merchandise licences whether a merchandise carrying company, a shipping company, or an existing carrier, to be brought under the same effective control as is proposed in the Bill, namely, the Railway Tribunal. Under Section 1 (a) and (b) it is proposed, apparently, to make provision for the continuance of the present management of the railway carrying companies—in other words, Messrs. John Wallis and Company— owned by the shareholders of the Great Southern Railways, to be carried on as at present.

There are, roughly speaking, 8,000 lorries, either owned by merchandise carrying companies, by shipping companies or by existing carriers, but under the Bill only about 2,000 of them will be brought under the Railway Tribunal. That means, that out of the 8,000 only 2,000 would be obliged to submit rates and classifications to the Railway Tribunal. The others being free of control would be able to carry on until such time as the railway or shipping companies or other merchandise carrying companies would be enabled to buy them out. Deputies know quite well that some of the existing carriers are by no means owner drivers. I know many persons who own from ten to forty lorries. In this case Deputy Moore need not be concerned about the poor fellow who carts turf on a by-road in Donegal, or about the man who will have to take cattle down some by-road in Blessington. We believe that under the terms of the Bill 6,000 out of the 8,000 lorries engaged in the carrying business will be free of the Railway Tribunal. I am sure Deputy Moore knows quite well people coming under the definition of existing carriers who are engaged in no other business. With his knowledge of the transport business, can the Deputy give any justifiable reason why these people should be exempted from the control of the Railway Tribunal? Why should they get liberty to operate freely while competitors in the same business are placed under the obligation of submitting rates and merchandise classifications under the Railway Tribunal? I hope the Minister will accept the amendment so that there will be uniformity in the services owned by the shareholders of the Great Southern Railways and that they will be brought under central management. This section is worded in such a way as to safeguard a continuation of the present unbusinesslike methods, apparently for the purpose of allowing Messrs. Wallis to carry on— although owned by the Great Southern Railways—as a competing concern against that company, and to do more damage than has been done up to the present. Can the Minister give any reason why 6,000 out of the 8,000 lorries should not be put right away under the control of the Railway Tribunal, or why they should get this freedom until some merchandise carrying company buys them?

Let us get quite clearly what the Deputy wants. I gather that the Deputy's objection to the carrying companies is that they are carrying merchandise at freights that he considers too low, freights that are uneconomic, as a result of which they were able to get traffic which otherwise would go to the railways. Is that the Deputy's case?

The Minister admitted that.

Liberty is given by the section as drafted, which will enable them to charge more than the maximum charges. Has the Deputy any objection to that?

They are free from the control of the Railway Tribunal.

They are free to charge as high as they like.

And as low as they like.

They are free to do that whether the amendment is carried or not. The Deputy's amendment would make for maximum charges, not minimum charges. This part of the Bill merely prescribes maximum charges. It does not prescribe standard charges.

The obligation is to submit a classification.

That is the point.

There may be some point in that.

Classification with a view to fixing maximum charges.

The sole reason why the classification must be fixed is to have maximum charges. Whether it is intended or not, the effect of the amendment would be that a company would not be allowed to charge more than the charges fixed by the Railway Tribunal for the various carrying companies. I submit that that is not necessary. Apart from that, great difficulty would arise if we had to enforce maximum charges on all the companies. I think no useful purpose would be served by proposing this arrangement. It would involve a tremendous amount of work on the Railway Tribunal and serve no purpose. No difficulty arises out of excessive charging for merchandise. The sole difficulty arises because the charges are so low that transport is sold at a loss, or at a cost that is uneconomic. We propose to deal with that by bringing that under a definite form of control. There is no problem of excessive charging.

Not now.

There will be only when a monopoly position has been reached.

When you propose, as you do propose, to close some of the lines on the Southern Railways, and to give road monopoly.

I agree that there will be a possibility of excessive charges arising as soon as a monopoly position is reached. That is why this section has been inserted, to have the charges that will be applied by the company occupying that monopoly position, subject to control. That is why maximum charges are prescribed. That would be necessary in these circumstances to ensure that excessive charges will not be in operation. The Deputy's amendment is probably moved from a slight misunderstanding. We cannot possibly enforce minimum charges. I propose to stop that in another way by eliminating by purchase those causing the damage. We cannot do it in any other way.

Is not the object of Deputy Davin's amendment to bring every licensed carrier under Section 32?

It does not stop at the charges. The section also provides for classification, and the Minister will remember that like the difficulty there was about "millable wheat," which ended by everyone saying that they could not define "millable wheat," when the Minister was asked to define "class" for the purposes of the licensee, he could not. We are passing a statute regulating road traffic, one provision of which is that carriers must declare what class of merchandise they are going to carry, but no one knows what the word "class" means. If licensees are brought under Section 32 they are obliged to adopt the railway classification which can be unsatisfactory, or, at least, unnecessary. In any case they are obliged to submit some concrete classification to the Railway Tribunal, which the Railway Tribunal will control, examine, and delineate. I should like to hear the Minister's view on the desirability of doing that, or, alternatively, I should like to hear the Minister's view as to how he is going to delineate the classes of merchandise, and the items which are to be included in those classes, which licensees will be under statutory obligation to carry as common carriers under Section 12.

The policy, as far as one can follow it—and it is very difficult to follow it, because the more you hear the Minister speak the more he gets away from what he said on more important occasions—is that at any time, whether it be six months, twelve months or two years, after the passing of this Bill, all those who come under the definition of an existing carrier, not now controlled by companies, will, as a result of orders made by the Minister some time within that period I have mentioned, be bought up by a company. My case is why leave them free from the control of the Railway Tribunal during the intervening period? One has to keep in mind the possibility of a number of railway branch lines being closed down by order of the Minister. He was very emphatic on that when speaking on the Second Reading of another measure. Does he not see any danger, from the point of view of maximum charges, of the necessity for the elimination of those words, so as to control people who may get a road monopoly in the area where railway branch lines are closed down?

This section covers the people who get a road monopoly.

Can the Minister give any real reason why, during the period between the date of the passing of this Bill and the purchase by a merchandise carrying company of the 6,000 lorries, those 6,000 lorries should be allowed to freely operate without having to submit any merchandise classification to the Tribunal?

Will the Minister also speak about classes of merchandise when he is on his feet?

I am afraid I cannot follow the Deputy's difficulty on that point at all. A classification will be prepared by the Railway Tribunal for the companies to which this section applies, and the maximum charges will be regulated by that classification. The classification of goods which the licensed carrier holds himself out to carry——

That is a classification which neither you nor anybody else in the House can define.

I do not feel that there will be any difficulty. We will get a classification.

Here you have one ready to your hand if you bring them under this. You have the machinery to delineate it.

Not necessarily. The Railway Tribunal may say that the maximum charge for milled stuff shall be so much. A person may have a licence to carry flour——

Sub-section (3).

——and not to carry maize or maizemeal. It is a different type of classification.

Which gives them power to fix a classification in any way they like.

That is for the purpose of the maximum charge. If it was not intended to impose maximum charges upon the company concerned in this section there would be no necessity for this classification. This classification arises out of the maximum charges.

Would it not be a very handy way for the Minister to shake off his shoulders the necessity for going into this question of classification with the licensee? The licensees have to state to the Minister what they are to carry as common carriers. The present difficulty is if they want to be common carriers of hardware the Minister has to go down the whole list of everything he can think of to see if they are common carriers of them. If he sends them to the Railway Tribunal, the Railway Tribunal can ask "Are you going to carry classes 1 to 8 of the railway classification?"

The obligation to prepare a classification under the other Part of the Act does not rest on me; it rests on the applicant; and the classification contemplated in this section is an entirely different type of classification to what will arise in other cases. Consequently, I submit that the Deputy is out of order.

And the Minister will not follow the bad example?

Hear, hear!

On the point made by Deputy Davin, the only liberty which has been given to licensed carriers not covered by the section is the liberty to charge high rates for the carriage of merchandise. Ordinarily, that will never arise. That is not our problem. Our problem arises because of the fact that they are not charging enough, and that consequently the whole transport position has become disorganised. Circumstances may arise in the future where the danger of excessive charges would exist, but those circumstances could only arise when what is tantamount to a monopoly position has been created. In so far as it may arise, it is completely covered by this section, as only companies who will then be operating will be subject to the maximum charges. If a branch line is closed down under the Railway Bill the railway company must provide, before the order can be made, the road service to replace the railway services, and the railway company in relation to those road services will be subject to the maximum charges that will be set out by the Railway Tribunal. I think we have safeguarded the public against the possibility of maximum charges, and it is not necessary to do as the Deputy suggests—to apply to other licensees maximum charges which will never be charged. The problem would be solved if we could get everybody in the carrying business to charge the maximum charges which the Railway Tribunal fixes.

Will the Minister explain why he puts in "indirectly," and also how soon the railway company will enjoy the position of having a monopoly? In other words, how long will it take before the 6,000 lorries will be bought out?

I want to ask if Deputy Davin is sure of his statistics. Where does he get the 6,000 figure? I think the 6,000 vehicles he refers to are 6,000 vehicles owned by people who will probably not apply for any licence —private individuals, such as shopkeepers, who use the lorries for their own purposes.

And the 2,000 are those in the hands of private carriers.

The number is 8,000 altogether. Does the Deputy seriously consider that, out of the 8,000 lorries in the country, 6,000 are carrying merchandise for reward?

Six thousand will be covered by the condition as to existing carriers.

Not one-third of them.

I would like to hear Deputy who is a recognised authority, give a figure himself. I am prepared to accept his figure if he will give one. However, it is not important. Can the Minister explain why he has put in the word "indirectly"?

To cover every contingency that may arise after the passing of this Act.

"... owned ... indirectly by Railway Company?"

Owned in the sense that Wallis's are owned by the Railway Company. I merely give that as an example, because that position may change. If the railway company have in fact an interest in a road service then that road service becomes subject to maximum charges.

I want to ask the Minister, as a supporter of a policy of unification, does he still hold that services owned by the same body of shareholders should not be under the same management?

Might I get some further information on this point? As I understand the position of the road services under the Railway Tribunal, they have to give certain information to the Tribunal in order that the Tribunal may fix maximum charges. That is a competing service with the railways. There is no doubt about that. The only jurisdiction exercised by the Tribunal is to fix maximum charges—"they cannot charge more than so-and-so, but can go as low as they like." Those road users are in competition with the railways. What are the obligations of the railway companies with regard to the Railway Tribunal? As I understand it, the Railway Tribunal fixes rates below which the railway companies cannot go. Here you are putting them into competition with road users. You are only fixing a maximum rate for road users, and they may go as low as they like below the railway charges.

The road users covered by this section are the railways.

The Minister quite admits that there are areas where road competition exists. I want to get an opinion from the Minister on this question that I am raising, whether on this or on some other section. When the Minister pointed out to Deputy Davin that the only jurisdiction exercised by the Railway Tribunal over road traffic was to fix maximum charges, it immediately occurred to me that this was unfair to those in competition with them.

The maximum charges will be fixed for road services owned by the railway companies. If the railway companies wish to compete with themselves in the manner that the Deputy suggests, of course that is another problem. Apart from the shipping companies, which are a different consideration, the only services covered by this section are those owned directly or indirectly by the railway companies themselves.

The issue is not quite so simple as that. The Railway Tribunal fixes a standard rate, and at that rate the railway is a common carrier. If the railway company goes to the Railway Tribunal for a standard rate on a certain article and the Tribunal fixes a rate, then the railway companies must carry that article subject to the regulations at the company's risk, but they can get anywhere within 40 per cent. of the rate at owner's risk.

The standard rate for the railway is fixed for the purpose of producing standard revenue. That is the sole purpose behind it; that it be a rate, having regard to the volume of traffic likely to be carried, which will yield a standard revenue. The railway companies are given a certain discretion in charging rates in so far as they can go 40 per cent. below the standard rate to get traffic against competitors.

I want to make out that the standard rate is a fictitious rate which is very rarely availed of. The railway companies have a discretion to go 40 per cent. below that for competitive purposes. The railway company is a licensed carrier and not an authorised undertaker under this measure and can drop down to any level it likes without any reference to the Railway Tribunal, whereas if the amendment were carried a licensed carrier would be placed in exactly the same position as an authorised undertaker.

If Deputy Davin's amendment were carried a licensed carrier under this Bill would be placed in the same position as an authorised undertaker vis-á-vis the Railway Tribunal. That is the object of the amendment.

What are the advantages?

The only advantage I see in it is the classification advantage which the Minister turns down. I am of opinion that if you leave the 40 per cent. margin that will leave just as much scope for cutting as could ever be availed of.

There is no proposal in this to apply the 40 per cent.

The Minister has laid it down that the railway company is entitled to go down 40 per cent. without reference to the Railway Tribunal. A licensed carrier in this Bill as distinct from an authorised undertaker can quote any rate.

So can the railway company.

By permission of the Railway Tribunal?

The Deputy is mixing up the railway companies' rail service with the road services. The standard charges apply only in relation to the rail services. So far as the road services are concerned, they can charge anything they like, but not more than the maximum rate.

The Minister in resisting this amendment is, I think, trying to cover in the same form of words the same formula. The state of things which he expects probably will be very different from the present. In the future, what he hopes is that the railway company will be running a railway service and a road service and that they will not be competing with the present carriers. The Minister has argued that the amendment is not necessary, but he has not said a single word against it. It has this advantage that it immediately puts under exactly the same conditions the road service carriers and the other big carrying companies.

That would impose no hardship on the other carrying companies.

They would both be in competition and be carrying subject to precisely the same restrictions.

A restriction in respect of maximum charges.

The Minister says that the amendment is unnecessary. Some of us take the view that there are other things involved in it, and that it may be of distinct advantage. I think it is of importance that both should be subject to the same classification.

This section will not become operative until the existing carriers have ceased to exist. The maximum charges will only become a reality when the railway company has achieved a monopoly position, either over the whole of the Saorstát or in any part of it. So long as there are existing carriers outside the railway companies, there is no danger of excessive charges arising, and, consequently, no necessity for fixing maximum charges.

But surely that is just missing the point. The section would become immediately operative if Deputy Davin's amendment is accepted.

Does Deputy Davin mean that they are only going to charge maximum charges? If we could find some means of having minimum charges, then we would be up against realities.

Does the Minister say that this amendment would raise serious difficulties?

If the amendment were passed it would impose a lot of useless and unnecessary work on the Railway Tribunal and would achieve no other purpose.

I can assure the Minister that the railway companies do not think it would be useless or unnecessary work.

May we take it that so far as the railway companies are concerned, it would be a help to them if there should be maximum charges?

The inference is perfectly clear. The Minister should read sub-section (1). That sub-section says "the licensee under such licence shall, within three months after such grant or transfer or after such business becomes owned or controlled directly or indirectly by an authorised (merchandise carrying) company or a shipping company (as the case may be) submit to the Railway Tribunal a proposal for the classification of the merchandise specified in such licence for the purposes of the application to such merchandise of rates of charges under this Part of this Act." That means that he has got to submit classifications.

For the purpose of fixing rates. That is the only purpose.

The Minister is galloping along instead of waiting to hear. If he will turn to sub-section (3) he will find that "the Railway Tribunal shall have power to divide any classification determined by them into a number of classes." The object of that is to tie the licensee down to the terms of this award. Is not that so?

It is to enable maximum charges to be fixed.

Under Section 12 they are common carriers—these people whom Deputy Davin's amendment will bring in—and immediately you will have them compelled to hold themselves out as common carriers mentioned in the classification. It is true that the purpose of the section is to classify them for the purpose of charging maximum rates, but has it not got the second purpose as well? Are the railway companies not common carriers?

The licence would fix that.

To my mind the important thing, as far as classification goes, is that the commercial community in the country outside the restricted areas would know as clearly as possible what the carriers that are left there for the moment can be expected to carry for them.

Exactly.

That is fixed under a section which we discussed last week.

That is what I want to come at. There is provision, where licences are given, for the licences to specify the classes of goods that the people with these licences shall carry. If the Minister, in his slapdash classification done under Sections 8 and 9, is doing that for the purpose of being explicit for the information of the trading community, then I do not see any reason at all for worrying the Railway Tribunal to turn in and deal with the classification of the merchandise that shall be carried. In fact, I can imagine that the Railway Tribunal, working along the lines already indicated, probably would give a less satisfactory classification than the Minister would give, bearing in mind that he is dealing specifically with road services, so that if the commercial community are being given a definition of the class of merchandise in the licences, then, I agree with the Minister that there is no point at all in worrying the Railway Tribunal and in having the carriers, who are going to be left for, apparently, a short period working along their present lines, to come before the Railway Tribunal and work out as between themselves and the Railway Tribunal a classification which they can, more easily and more satisfactorily, work out between themselves and the Minister. If that is the trouble, I do not think there is any case for Deputy Davin's amendment.

I suggest that this word "classification" is leading to a lot of misunderstanding. In the licences it is not so much classification as description. It is, so to speak, "John Murphy is hereby authorised to carry potatoes, vegetables, milk and so on, in the district of Meath and Louth." That is all that amounts to. In the other case, if this amendment is carried and the private carrier has got to be subjected to maximum rates, the classification means that he will have to divide, with the assistance of the Railway Tribunal, his licence, that is, the goods mentioned in his licence, into various classes—potatoes in one class, milk in another class, vegetables in another class, and so on, for the purpose of fixing maximum rates for each of these. What on earth is the idea of making a private carrier, whose existence will not be more than six or twelve months, go to all that trouble, and why go to the expense of getting the Railway Tribunal to examine these classes and fix these maximum rates for the different classes of goods when there is no likelihood that the private carrier would be charging these rates, and when there is no proposal before the Dáil that he should charge any rate? The proposal is that he should be at liberty to charge anything he likes subject to a maximum charge. The whole of this Bill has arisen through private carriers charging too low a price for the carriage of their goods, but here we are bothering about minimum rates for fear they would charge too little.

Deputy Moore is a very able Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister and the Deputy is not half so innocent as he pretends to be in these debates in this House. Both the Minister and Deputy Moore, for the purpose of good argument, are endeavouring to persuade Deputies that the railway company will get a monopoly under the terms of this measure. I do not think that is likely to happen. They appear to think the railway company will have complete control over the 5,000 or 6,000 lorries for twelve months after this Bill passes. Where would they get the money to buy all these buses and who will buy them? We must link up with the Minister's speeches on this amendment the statement he has made already that he has positive evidence in his possession that a good case can be made for the closing down of certain branch lines of the railways and that deputations need not be brought to him nor representations made to him about it. Let us suppose that that applies to the branch lines in Co. Kerry and in Co. Clare. The Minister knows that there are operating in both of these counties at the present time people who will come under the definition of private carriers and who would have a monopoly. Would the Minister contradict that?

Branch lines may close down because persons in those areas are charging such low rates that people will not use the branch line.

Is it not possible that an existing carrier now operating with twenty or thirty or forty lorries in Co. Kerry or Co. Clare, who is not now obliged, if this Bill passes, to submit the rates, can have a monopoly at some time?

If the Deputy will read the Bill he will find that a branch line cannot be closed down unless the railway company puts on an alternative service.

I read the Bill and I put a different interpretation on it to that of the Minister.

The Deputy admits he does not understand the position.

It is difficult to understand the Minister when he is trying to put forward arguments in favour of this kind of policy, and endeavouring, at the same time, to forget what he recently pledged himself to. I contend it is possible for existing carriers to get a monopoly if branch lines close down.

It is physically impossible. Branch lines cannot close unless the railway companies provide transport for the traffic formerly carried on by the railways.

Formerly carried on the roads. I would like to connect that with the other statement made. The Minister talks of railway transport both on rail and road and that connected with the words "directly or indirectly." He makes provision for having road service indirectly controlled by the company. He provides for a road service to-day against the railway service competing against the railway but owned by the same shareholders. I contend it is possible for an existing carrier to get a monopoly in a part of the country where railway branch lines are almost certain to be closed down, and in that way they will escape being brought under the jurisdiction of the Railway Tribunal. The Minister will not make his case by pure bluff the same as the other night.

The Minister persists in saying that this only applies to maximum charges. He says that, with regard to this section, as if the amendment were rejected. Take the section as it stands and let him put that away in a corner of his mind and start afresh. If this amendment were accepted would he still say that?

If the amendment were accepted it would be necessary to prepare a scale of maximum charges to apply to every scale.

There is more than that. Let him read Section 33. Suppose the amendment was accepted the licensee would have to submit his schedule of charges.

Maximum charges.

And they would be subject to objection and the whole thing would have to be revised by the Railway Tribunal. That is a totally different proposition from what the Minister would have it appear. It is not maximum charges there at all; it is charges that the licensee can make for his goods. Supposing his own amendment is accepted, it would put the road companies in clear competition with the railway companies, and their charges would have to be submitted to the Railway Tribunal.

The charges fixed by the Railway Tribunal here would be maximum charges.

Does that appear in Section 33?

No, it appears in Section 39.

For the first time?

There will be maximum charges.

Does the Minister still stand for the word "indirectly"?

Yes. The Deputy must realise that here and there through the country a local carrier is engaged in local distribution services. They will have to be covered. The section in that form will have to appear even if what the Deputy desires in connection with the railways and John Wallis and the I.O.C. were effected. It is there to cover these things.

Does the Minister know to what extent the railway companies employ carriers other than Wallis?

There are a number of cases at the moment.

I gathered from what the Minister said that the schedule of charges under Section 33 is the schedule of charges referred to in Section 39 and that they are one and the same.

Quite the same.

Why then different names, one called maximum?

Section 39 is the one that declares that a scale of charges in Section 33 shall be maximum, and it will be illegal to charge more. It is the operative section of the Bill.

And the Minister is satisfied that no circumstances can arise under any portion of this measure that would justify the existing carrier to submit his scale of charges.

Quite satisfied.

You think the company is going to gobble all these up?

If they do not there will be no necessity.

I think the Minister is assuming the role of a prophet when he says there will be no occasion for enforcing maximum charges for private carriers. It depends entirely upon the action of the company. Will they go out and capture all the traffic on the roads, and side roads, and become real monopolists? If one carrier should decide that the traffic is for his advantage and the Minister licenses one of the big carriers for a certain area there would be a certain risk. The private carriers themselves would be in the position of being monopolists and there would be a case for submitting maximum charges. I do not believe, however, that the thing is serious enough. It depends upon the Great Southern Railway and their powers when this Bill becomes an Act. I do not think it would be worth while to go into such points and make provision for such emergency until there is to some extent a real emergency.

Deputy Moore has mentioned about licensing a carrier coming into competition with the railway.

No, a carrier that will not be in competition. Let me explain. I can imagine certain districts—take Roundwood and places like that, hilly districts—that do not offer much attraction to the Great Southern Railway. The company may well decide to leave places like that alone for a year or two. They are not there already and they may say "we will not go there for a year or two until we have everywhere else developed." During that time one or two private carriers may get a licence for the district. They would be in the position of monopolists as long as the Great Southern does not appear, and the same case would exist for fixing maximum rates for them as for the Great Southern Company whenever they have a monopoly. At the same time I do not think the prospect is important enough to justify making a change.

At any rate the circumstances in these districts remain the same as at the moment.

With great respect, no. The shopkeeper competed with the carrier.

The Minister has definitely stated these are not standard charges to be fixed.

There is no standard charge. The 40 per cent. drop does not apply at all; that is explicit.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

That governs amendment 96 also.

With regard to amendment 97 I think it was put down under a misunderstanding. I do not think shipping companies should be dealt with in this particular part of the Bill. Circumstances may arise where maximum charges would be necessary in their case and I think they should be allowed to remain.

In view of the Minister's amendment we are not moving amendment 97.

Amendments 97, 98 and 99 not moved.

On the section, might I ask the Minister whether he contemplates that the rates will be fixed generally; that he will be able to fix rates for the by-roads and side-roads and so on, or whether the rates will only apply to main roads; or whether they will only be for point-to-point districts? I rather think that he does not contemplate it will be possible to fix rates for particular villages, for instance, off the main road, where the road to these villages might be a very difficult one. I am sure he does not contemplate fixing rates to particular villages.

That would be a matter for the Railway Tribunal, and I should imagine that they would fix them on the basis of so much per ton per mile.

Irrespective of the road?

I should think so, but it is a matter for a Tribunal.

I should like some information on the section. Road transport at present is in competition with railway transport; the two run in many cases parallel. As I understand the position, in future, when that road transport becomes licensed, the competition will continue. The road transport will be subject to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal as far as maximum prices are concerned. The railways which are in competition with the road transport will not alone have maximum prices fixed by the Tribunal, but minimum prices fixed. Where are the conditions uniform? In other words, it seems to me that there is no equality of treatment as between the two methods of transport.

They are both the railway company.

They are not the railway company.

You did not say that the other night when asked to vote on an amendment on that issue.

Can you say that they are the railway company now? The Minister has ideas with regard to this measure that within a limited period these road services, which are in competition with the railways at present, will become railway property. I am not at all satisfied that that is going to happen in the near future. I see monetary and other difficulties in the way, and I do not see any assistance given to the railway companies to meet these difficulties. At all events, they exist and they will continue to exist for some time after the Bill becomes law. Where is the equity in the treatment allotted to the two? The Minister will see that the railway company are tied hand and foot by the prices which are fixed by the Tribunal. Road transport, on the other hand, is only fixed as regards maximum charges. It can go as low as it likes and take all the traffic it likes from the railway company. Where is that inequality of treatment which exists at present met under the Bill?

By these things: (1) in so far as road transport is operated by independent operators, the railway company are in a position to acquire them compulsorily; (2) in so far as it is operated by the railway company, if they choose to cut their own throat, I do not see how we can stop them. That is apparently what the Deputy contemplates they will do; that they will start a war between their right hand and their left hand in order to serve some purpose which it is not possible to see. The conditions cannot possibly arise. If the railway company are anxious to stop the cut-throat competition going on now they can do it under the Bill, (1) by acquiring independent companies that are doing it; (2) as a consequence of the acquisition, by revising the rates which they themselves are charging on the road transport.

I want some enlightenment also in extension of what Deputy Good has been talking about. For the sake of argument, take the case of Roundwood which Deputy Moore mentioned. There is no railway to Roundwood. If there were, the railway would be subject to the maximum charges on the railway. In so far as they choose to operate a railway-owned road motor service to that place, they can charge whatever they like for merchandise to that place. Is that the position?

Subject to the maximum charges.

Subject to the maximum charges. The existing carrier will be controlled by the maximum charges.

No control at all.

He can charge what he likes up or down. Deputy Moore has raised a point which, to my mind, is fairly important. If the existing carrier is free to charge what he likes, I take it it will really be to the districts surrounding Roundwood. He is not tied to any classification of goods, as understood by the railway classification. In other words, there is only a classification of goods under his licence, but not a classification as regards rates, since he is not controlled by any prices. Is that the position?

When I drew attention to the fact some time ago, the Minister said that he would only close down a railway branch line after he had been satisfied that he could compel the railway company to provide an equally suitable alternative method of transport. Is that so?

We can discuss that on Section 8 of the Railways Bill.

It has some bearing on the ability of the railway company to provide an alternative system of transport, or to leave it to somebody else who will not, if that is not done, be subject to the conditions provided for in this section. Can he contemplate the possibility of the closing down of a branch line where you have a large number of big market towns, and forcing the railway company, after having done so, to provide a road service which would take the equivalent by road of three special trains on a fair day? Supposing the railway company will not agree to provide an alternative service?

You will not be wanting trains.

I am connecting this with the positive statement made by the Minister that he is satisfied that at least seven branch lines can be closed down.

If the Deputy will read Section 8 (2) of the Railways Bill between this and the time when that Bill will be considered, he will be able to talk better about it.

Reading the Bill is one thing, but connecting it with the Minister's interpretation of the Bill, and the way he proposes to administer it, is a different matter. That is the fear I have of the collapse of this measure—the dictatorial powers given to a man who is going to interpret a measure on lines different from those on which an ordinary Deputy will interpret it.

Section 32 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

I think amendments 100 and 101 are governed by the decision on amendment No. 95.

I do not think any useful purpose would be served by moving amendments 100 to 109 as they have been already fully discussed.

Amendments 100 and 101 not moved.
Section 33 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Amendments 102 and 103 not moved.
Section 34 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Amendment 104 not moved.
Section 35 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Amendment 105 not moved.
Section 36 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Amendment 106 not moved.
Section 37 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Amendment 107 not moved.
Section 38 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 39.
Sub-section (2). If the licensee under a merchandise licence for whom a schedule of charges is in force, charges for any service rendered a charge in excess of the charges appearing in or fixed by such schedule, such licensee shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding ten pounds.
Amendments 108 and 109 not moved.

I move amendment No. 110:—

In sub-section (2), page 16, line 1, to insert after the word "rendered" the words "in respect of which charges appear in or are fixed by such schedule."

This is really a drafting amendment. It is intended to make clear that the services are services in respect of which charges are fixed by the schedule.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 39, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 40.

I move amendment No. 111:—

Before Section 40 but in Part III of the Bill to insert a new section as follows:—

"This Part of this Act shall not apply to an existing carrier whose merchandise road transport business is not owned nor controlled directly or indirectly by an authorised (merchandise carrying) company or a shipping company, but nothing in this section contained shall prevent a representative body of existing carriers from exercising the rights of a representative body of traders under this Part of this Act.

I am not clear whether this amendment is necessary, but it proposes to state explicitly in the new section what is, I think, implied in Section 32. That is as far as the first part of the amendment goes. The second part is to retain the position unprejudiced of such persons in respect of any applications they might make to the Railway Tribunal.

The first part of the amendment is unnecessary, and as regards the second part I am prepared to introduce an amendment on Report Stage to deal with it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That Section 40 stand part of the Bill."

Section 40, as I read it, has no meaning at all. What does Section 40 provide?

It merely brings into this part of the Act the relevant sections of the Railways Act, referring to the Railway Tribunal.

In bringing in the Railway Tribunal of course it extends its jurisdiction to motor transport?

How far does motor transport contribute to the cost of the Railway Tribunal? Seeing that certain functions are being added to the Railway Tribunal, how far will motor transport contribute to the maintenance of the Tribunal?

Any increase in cost imposed on the Railway Tribunal is covered by the fixation of fees under Section 41. Sub-section (2) states "there shall be charged by the Railway Tribunal and paid in respect of proceedings before them under this Act and in respect of acts done by them or any of their officers in the execution of their respective powers and duties of this Act such fees as shall be fixed by orders made by the Minister on the recommendation of the Railway Tribunal and with the sanction of the Minister for Finance." These fees shall cover the additional cost imposed on the Railway Tribunal by this Bill.

What will be the constitution of the Railway Tribunal in the future? The Minister will recollect that it formerly consisted of three members. Now it has been reduced to one.

There is a discretion in that matter. It can be increased to three again if the business offering would seem to necessitate such a course.

Does the Minister anticipate such an increase?

I would not like to express an opinion on that matter until we get some indication of the nature of the burdens likely to be imposed on the Tribunal. It is possible that the membership should be increased to three, although I would personally prefer, if we could find it possible, to continue with only one.

Sections 40 and 41 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

SECTION 42.

No appeal shall lie from any decision of the Railway Tribunal under this Act.

I move amendment No. 112:—

At the end of the section, line 5, after the word "Act" to add the words—

"on a question of fact or any question regarding the locus standi of any person appearing or claiming to be heard before them.

(2) Subject to the immediately preceding sub-section, an appeal shall lie from every decision of the Railway Tribunal under this Act to the Supreme Court, but no such appeal shall be brought except in conformity with rules of court of the Supreme Court.

(3) On the hearing of an appeal from the Railway Tribunal under the section the Supreme Court may draw all such inferences as are not inconsistent with the facts expressly found by the Railway Tribunal, and are necessary for determining the questions raised on the appeal, and shall have all such powers for that purpose as if the appeal were an appeal from a judgment of the High Court, and may make any order which the Railway Tribunal could have made, and also any such further or other order as may be just, and the costs of and incidental to an appeal shall be in the discretion of the Supreme Court, but neither the Railway Tribunal nor any member or officer thereof shall be liable to any costs by reason or in respect of any appeal."

This amendment provides for an appeal from the Railway Tribunal on questions of law as is provided for under the Railways Act of 1924.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendments 113 and 114 not moved.
Section 42, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 43.
(1) Where under this Act an application to the Railway Tribunal may be made by a representative body of traders or by a body of persons representative of trade or a locality, the application may be made by any of the following authorities or bodies:—
(a) any harbour board, or the council of any county or borough or district; or
(b) any chamber of commerce or association representative of shipping, agriculture, traders, or freighters which may obtain a certificate from the Minister that it is a proper body to make such an application.

I move amendment No. 115:—

At the end of Section 1 (b) to add a new paragraph as follows:—

"(c) any trades union whose members are engaged in a transport undertaking."

This section makes provision under certain circumstances for the appearance before the Railway Tribunal of certain representative bodies of traders. I do not see any disadvantage in asking the Minister to make provision for the appearance in certain circumstances, if so desired, of representatives of a trade union organisation.

When I saw the amendment I was not quite clear what purpose it was intended to serve. If there is a case for it the Deputy has not made it. I do not see where a trade union, as such, could come in in the matter. There might be an objection on various grounds to admitting to audience of the Railway Tribunal trade unions whose headquarters are outside the Saorstát. That would constitute a difficulty. In any event, I cannot see clearly what function trade unions would have before a Railway Tribunal when considering questions that would arise under this section. If, in fact, it is shown that they have a definite function. I am prepared to consider the matter subject to the consideration of the special point to which I referred. Perhaps the Deputy would think it over and see what case can be made on that ground. He can then have a word with me about it.

What case can the Minister advance for making provision for appearance before the Railway Tribunal of the several bodies referred to specifically in the section?

Those are all people who have a definite interest in the rates of charges fixed; in so far as they are responsible, they have to pay the charges and might be prejudiced by the fixation of the charges. A harbour board might allege that the interests of a particular harbour were being prejudiced by the fact that the rates of charges in operation in respect of services feeding that harbour were higher than the rates of services feeding another harbour. They all appear to me to have a very definite interest in the charges to be levied for the various classes of merchandise to be carried. I have no desire for restrictions in this matter. I want to give the right of audience to everybody who can show that he has a definite interest in the rates of charges. I do not see where the trade unions referred to in the amendment come in in that connection. If that is shown, I shall consider the matter, but it has not been shown yet. I should like the Deputy to consider the matter in relation to the difficulties that would arise if such an amendment were accepted.

The Minister has raised an obstacle to the amendment. I am not sure that it is an insuperable obstacle. He has said that he doubts whether it would be possible for representatives of a trade union with headquarters outside the Saorstát to appear before the tribunal.

I said there would be difficulty about it.

The workmen could appear but not the union.

It has no locus standi.

Deputy Davin's amendment seeks to give it a locus standi.

What locus standi can the union have before this court? The workmen may have a locus standi but the union, as such, has not.

I shall leave the matter over until Report Stage and shall consult the Minister.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 43 agreed to.
SECTION 44.
(1) This Part of this Act applies to every merchandise (existing carrier's) licence, other than a merchandise (existing carrier's) licence held by an authorised (merchandise carrying) company or a shipping company or by a person whose merchandise road transport business is owned or controlled directly or indirectly by an authorised (merchandise carrying) company or a shipping company.
(2) This Part of this Act applies to every annual passenger licence, other than an annual passenger licence held by an authorised (passenger carrying) company; or by a person whose passenger road service is owned or controlled directly or indirectly by an authorised (passenger carrying) company.

On behalf of Deputy McGilligan, I move amendment 116:—

Before Section 44 and in Part V of the Bill to insert a new section in the following words: "This Part of this Act shall not come into force until twelve months after the appointed day."

The persons who are being dealt with under this Part of the Act are persons who may be acquired compulsorily under the new circumstances that will obtain under the Bill. They are up against the conditions imposed in connection with their licences. They are up against their commitments in regard to the volume of motor transport they possess, the offices they hold and the staff they maintain. If they are compulsorily acquired, the idea of the amendment is to give them breathing space before the compulsory transfer comes into operation so that they will know their position.

I do not think that the amendment can be accepted. It is quite possible that there will be no compulsory acquisition at all, though I do not say that that is likely. But I rather expect that, in the majority of cases, any acquisition that takes place will be by means of private negotiation and agreement. If one case was determined by the arbitrator, some indication of what lines the arbitrator would go on would be given. The amendment would involve useless delay in bringing this part of the Act into operation.

If the position will be as the Minister wishes, that as far as possible acquisition of this particular kind would be by agreement rather than compulsorily, it might be desirable that a period should be allowed to elapse so that there would be a tendency on the part of people concerned to come to agreement rather than go through the whole machinery of compulsory acquisition. It might have a rather beneficial effect on the general situation if some acquisitions took place by agreement before compulsory acquisition started to operate.

Under sub-section (3) of Section 45, cannot any existing licensee get himself compulsorily acquired?

Is that not under this part of the Act?

It is not under any part of the Act.

Cannot an existing licensee make application to the Minister to get an order transferring him to the railway company?

Is not that under Section 45 (3)? Where does the Minister expect the railway company to get the money?

I submit that that does not arise on this amendment.

With reference to the 12 months in the amendment, there are two or three companies who are existing licence holders under this Act who are at present on the verge of bankruptcy and who have succeeded in getting their bankruptcy proceedings postponed because they informed the presiding judge that the promised land was within sight—"Give them an adjournment for three weeks and the Minister for Industry and Commerce will provide milk and honey under the Road Transport Act"—and the bankruptcy proceedings are stayed and what I would suggest to the Minister is that, until he has made up his mind as to how this part of the Bill is going to be financed, he ought not to put it into operation. It is raising false hopes.

I am raising no hopes whatever. I think that the number of cases in which the licence will be transferred compulsorily on the application of the licensee will be very few indeed.

I think there are three candidates already clamouring for the passage of this Bill and trembling lest the Seanad should prove refractory, and I think there is a great deal to be said for postponing the operation of this part of the Bill.

Might I suggest to the Minister that if he does not like the amendment in its present mandatory form it might be amended in such a way as to give him power in certain circumstances to postpone the operation of this particular clause?

That would not be necessary.

The Minister says that certain things will not be necessary——

The Deputy will understand that there is discretion in the Minister at any time as to the use of the compulsory powers in this part of the Bill.

I do not know how far the monetary position of the railways will enter into the calculations of the Minister. If one could probe his mind on that particular aspect of this problem, it would probably give one some information, but I foresee the difficulty of a number of these companies being forced on the railway company. That is the object of the Bill. The Minister has broadcast that particular aspect of it and dwelt at considerable length on the advantages that would accrue to the railway company, but I think that he, like some others, is beginning to get doubtful as to the advantages of this Bill to the railways, and the further I go with the Bill the more sceptical I become. I should like the Minister, at this stage, to give us some information on this point. I am quite satisfied that, as a result of the provisions of the Railway Bill—we cannot discuss many of these provisions at this stage although the Leas-Cheann Comhairle has given us a considerable amount of latitude—will make it exceedingly difficult for the railway company to get new capital in the future. We will probably hear a good deal of that aspect of the question when we come to discuss the Railway Bill but, at this particular stage, it is sufficient for my purpose to say that it will be difficult for the railway company to get new capital in the future.

This Bill throws obligations on them of acquiring these other competing services in order to get the advantages which this Bill is supposed to give them. Where are they are going to get the money? That is my difficulty and I think it is desirable, at all events, that they should be given breathing time to enable them to consider the financial obligations. I suggest to the Minister that if he does not accept this amendment in its present form the principle of it is desirable and that he should determine the period within which this compulsory clause will become operative. If he cannot see his way to make a definite statement on that subject at the moment, it is one of sufficient importance for him to consider and to bring it up again on Report Stage.

The Deputy's open mind has been closed in the Mansion House.

That is not the only difficulty that arises out of the Mansion House, I think. The Deputy who has just spoken has had difficulties in the same place before now.

Lest Deputy Dillon's remarks should create a wrong impression, I want to say that a number of the road transport people who are affected by this Bill, so far from clamouring for it to come into effect, are clamouring "Is there any possible way of stopping the Bill?"

Amendment 116 withdrawn.
Amendment 117 not moved.

I move amendment 117 (a):

To delete sub-section (2).

In this part of the Bill, the Minister turns aside from the merchandise carrying aspect of road transport to the passenger services and makes Part V extend to the compulsory transfer of certain passenger licences. The amendment is designed to remove the passenger services from the sphere of compulsory transfer and I move it to hear from the Minister what the case is for the compulsory transfer of passenger licences.

The Road Transport Act, 1932, was, as the Deputy is aware, designed to enable each of the principal railway companies in their areas, and the Dublin United Tramway Company in the City, to acquire a dominant position in the passenger carrying business. That was the main scheme of that Act and the policy behind it as explained by Deputy McGilligan when introducing it as Minister for Industry and Commerce. To a considerable extent, that policy has been borne out and the end aimed at has been achieved but not entirely. It has been achieved almost entirely in the areas of the Great Southern Railways Company, but it has not been achieved to anything like the same extent in the area of the other railway companies. So far as the City of Dublin is concerned, it has not been achieved at all and no progress to that end has, in fact, been made. It is intended, therefore, to take power to speed up development in those areas if such speeding up is considered necessary. We are anxious that the position contemplated by the Road Transport Act, in relation to passenger traffic, and this Act, in relation to merchandise should be produced as speedily as possible in view of existing circumstances and it is, therefore, necessary to take this power. It would only be utilised in exceptional circumstances because I think that in relation to most of these services, there should be no difficulty in arriving at agreements as to terms of amalgamation or terms of acquisition.

The existence of this power, however, will act as a spur in the cases where delay has occured in achieving the policy of the Road Transport Act, 1932. I think it is necessary that it should do so. I see little advantage in enabling the railway company to buy out passenger services in its area if, in fact, it cannot get agreement to do so, no matter what price is offered, or in enabling the railway company to get effective control of the merchandise traffic and leaving the passenger traffic outside its control. Similarly, in the City of Dublin.

As I explained in the course of the Second Reading discussion, the effect of the Road Transport Act of 1932 in the City of Dublin has merely been to eliminate pirating and also to reduce the number of licensees and the number of new entrants into the passenger carrying business, but it has not, in fact, improved the position in so far as the total number of separately owned services operating has been only very slightly diminished and, on a number of routes, competition, and all the evils associated with competition, still exists. I had, during last year, tentative discussions with interested parties as to the position in the City of Dublin, but I was unable to get very far in the matter of the determination of a policy for an improvement of the position here. If the Bill goes through as drafted we will have some more power to ensure that those people interested in the position in the city will definitely determine a policy and make plans designed to ensure that within a reasonable time the position here will be improved and that the evils against which the 1932 Act was directed will be eliminated. I would be very slow to use the powers given here in relation to the city position, but I think they should exist to be used in the event of the position which I found existing last year continuing to operate in the future.

Amendment 117 (a), by leave, withdrawn.

That covers quite a number of amendments, including amendments 120, 122, 127, 135, 136 and 149. However, when we come to these amendments, reference can be made to their position as affected by amendment 117.

I move amendment 118:—

In sub-section (2), page 17, to delete in line 47 the word "annual," and to delete in line 48 the words "an annual" and substitute the word "a."

This is purely a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 44, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 45.
(2) Any authorised (passenger carrying) company may send an application to the Minister requesting him to make an order transferring a particular annual passenger licence to which this Part of this Act applies to such company.
(4) The licensee under an annual passenger licence to which this Part of this Act applies may send an application to the Minister requesting him to make an order under this Part of this Act transferring such licence to a specified authorised (passenger carrying) company.
(6) Whenever an application is sent to the Minister under this section the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say:—
(a) the Minister shall publish in the "Iris Oifigiúil" notice of such application;
(b) Any person may within one month after such publication make representations to the Minister in relation to such application.
(8) Every fee payable under this section shall be collected and accounted for in such manner as shall be prescribed by the Minister with the sanction of the Minister of Finance.

I beg to move, on behalf of Deputy McGilligan, amendment 119:—

Before sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

An application for an order transferring a particular merchandise (existing carrier's) licence shall indicate to what extent the applicant desires to have transferred to him in addition to the licence:—

(a) the vehicles and parts thereof used by the existing carrier for the purpose of such existing carrier's business, and

(b) the garages and garage or other accommodation used in connection with such existing carrier's business and any interest in such garages and other accommodation.

The section provides for the transfer of a licence. Sections 48 and 49 provide for compensation in respect of injury suffered as a result of the compulsory transfer of a licence. If this amendment is accepted, an amendment on similar lines will need to be introduced to deal with the passenger side. This part of the Bill proposes that there may be compulsory acquisition by an authorised merchandise carrying company of another company in a certain set of circumstances. That company probably has been operating for some time and it possesses a certain amount of storage accommodation, certain offices and certain transport vehicles. In the case of passenger services, perhaps it may have a certain number of well-established garages as well as buses and offices. It strikes one as being reasonable that, when a company makes application for the purpose of compulsorily taking over another company, it should in the application indicate for the information of the arbitrator what exactly it proposes to take over in the way of plant and equipment belonging to the other company.

The Bill provides that the licence only will be transferred and compensation will be assessed on the basis of the pecuniary loss sustained by the transferor. If the railway company acquires certain vehicles, garages and other equipment of the licensee, then the compensation will cover their value. If, on the other hand, the transfer of the licence does not involve the transfer of equipment, and if the vehicles are of no value to the licensee, then the pecuniary loss sustained by him will be increased to that extent and the compensation paid will recoup him for any loss in that respect. The idea is to leave all these matters to the arbitrator. Deliberately we have left out the question of property because it would complicate the matter considerably. It would involve questions of ownership, mortgages, charges on property and other questions which it would be difficult for a Minister to deal with. We think that the arbitrator can deal with all these matters in a satisfactory way when calculating the pecuniary loss which the person who transfers sustains arising out of the transfer of the licence.

Is it no part of the Minister's scheme to arrange that as well as compulsory acquisition of a licence there may be compulsory acquisition of part of the company's plant? My point is that there may be powers compulsorily to acquire certain parts of the plant, whether it be offices or garages or vehicles.

The licence only can be compulsorily acquired. In addition to the licence, the acquiring company may desire to get a garage, in which case the payment to the transferor will include this loss as distinct from the pecuniary loss sustained by him following on the transfer of the licence. If the acquiring party does not desire to take the vehicles or the garage it is quite possible they may be left on the hands of the ex-licensee and be of no value to him, in which case they would have to be taken into account in assessing the pecuniary loss. It seems to be the simplest method, where agreement cannot be reached, to leave all these questions to be investigated and decided by the arbitrator. It would not be advisable to lay down in relation to the property any definite rule that might have to be followed.

Surely the Minister will realise that the licensee cannot know too soon what scheme is intended by the party who are desirous of acquiring his licence. This amendment does not propose to impose any penalties or to make anything compulsory. It merely leaves the licensee in the position that at the earliest possible moment, when he gets notice that someone wants to acquire his licence, there will be an indication given him of the intentions with regard to the rest of his plant and premises. Surely he is entitled to know the intentions at the earliest possible moment.

The Deputy may take it that no order for compulsory acquisition will be made until the method of private negotiation has been tried and found impracticable. If a railway company come for an order to acquire a licence, they would be told that they must endeavour to effect a purchase by private negotiation first. All those matters would then be considered between the two parties. In the event of no agreement being found possible, and public interest necessitating it, a Ministerial order for compulsory acquisition or sale would be made. The licensee will not be taken by surprise. He will have probably very long discussions with the other party before any question of an order will arise.

In the negotiations contemplated by the Minister and to which he has just now referred, are we to take it that the Minister himself would not take any part in these negotiations?

The answer is no—— quite definitely no.

Amendment 119, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 120:—
To delete sub-section (2).
Amendment not moved.
Amendment 121:—
In sub-section (2), page 18, line 16, to delete the word "annual."— (Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála.)
Agreed to.
Amendment 122:—
To delete sub-section (4)—(Deputy McGilligan.)
Amendment not moved.
Amendment 123:—
In sub-section (4), page 18, line 23, to delete the words "an annual" and to substitute the word "a".— (Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála.)
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment 124:—
In sub-section (6) (b), line 34, to delete the words "one month" and substitute the words "fourteen days."—(Deputies Thrift, Good, Alton, Dockrell.)

I am agreeing to this amendment. I sent in one similar to it myself but it must have got lost.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment 125:—
To delete sub-section (8).

I move this amendment. It is consequential on amendment 115.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 45 agreed to.
SECTION 46.
The following amendment stood in the name of Deputy McGilligan:—
126. Before Section 46 to insert a new section as follows:—
(1) No order shall be made by the Minister upon any application under this part of this Act without the consent in writing of the holder of the licence to which such application is directed (in this section called the licensee) until the matter of such application shall have been investigated by a committee of inquiry under this section nor unless the application shall be justified—
(a) where such application is for an order transferring a licence, by evidence that the business carried on under such licence has during the six months immediately preceding the date of such application been conducted in a manner so inefficient or with so defective an organisation or so inadequate an equipment as to be prejudicial to the public interest, or
(b) where such application is for an order reducing classes of merchandise or the area of operation specified in a licence, by evidence that the business carried on under such licence has with respect to any class of merchandise which the applicant seeks to have eliminated from such licence or within any area which the applicant seeks to have excluded from such licence (as the case may be) been conducted in a manner so inefficient or with so defective an organisation or so inadequate an equipment as to be prejudicial to the public interest.
(2) A committee of inquiry under this section shall consist of three persons, of whom one shall be the chairman of such committee appointed by the Minister, another shall represent existing carriers where a merchandise (existing carrier's) licence is concerned or the holders of annual passenger licences where an annual passenger licence is concerned, and the third shall represent the authorised (merchandise carrying) and authorised (passenger carrying) companies.
(3) The Minister shall constitute a panel of twelve existing carriers and a panel of twelve holders of annual passenger licences and a panel of twelve representatives of authorised (merchandise carrying) and authorised (passenger carrying) companies, and shall, whenever occasion requires, select from such panels respectively a person to sit upon a committee of inquiry as representative of existing carriers or of holders of annual passenger licences and a person to sit upon such committee as representative of such authorised companies.
(4) A committee of inquiry under this section shall have power to administer oaths, enforce the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents, take evidence orally and by affidavit, hear solicitor or counsel, adjourn from time to time, conduct any part of its investigationin camera where the interests of justice so require or where the interests of a licensee may be injured by publicity, and to award costs and expenses; and the Minister shall make regulations under this Act to secure the effective exercise of all such powers and to regulate the procedure to be followed by every such committee.
(5) Every such committee shall make its report and recommendations in writing to the Minister and shall at the same time supply him with the minute of the material evidence upon which such report and recommendations are based.
(6) The Minister before determining whether or not to make an order upon any application under this part of this Act shall take into consideration the report and recommendations and minute of evidence of the committee of inquiry (if any) charged with the investigation of the matter of such application.
(7) Every order made by the Minister under this part of this Act shall forthwith be published in theIris Oifigiúil, and shall at the same time be communicated by the Minister to the parties immediately concerned.
(8) Whenever such an order shall be made by the Minister, he shall cause a copy or print of the report and recommendations and minute of evidence of any committee of inquiry which shall have investigated the matter of the application to which the order relates to be supplied on demand to the parties immediately concerned at such price as he shall consider reasonable.
(9) No such order shall become effective until the expiration of 21 days from the publication of the same in theIris Oifigiúil, or, in case there shall be an appeal from such order, until such order shall have been affirmed by the High Court.
(10) Any person aggrieved by any such order may within 14 days from the publication of the same in theIris Oifigiúil appeal from the Minister to the High Court.
(11) The Minister may, in any case where new facts shall be brought to his notice, revoke or vary any order made by him under this part of this Act, and he shall publish in theIris Oifigiúil and communicate to the parties immediately concerned every such new order in the same manner as the original order.
(12) An appeal to the High Court shall lie from any such new order by any person thereby aggrieved in the same manner as an appeal lies from an original order.
(13) Provision shall be made by Rules of Court for regulating appeals to the High Court and those rules shall provide for notice of every appeal to be given to the Minister.
(14) The Minister shall be entitled to appear and be heard on any appeal under this section.
(15) An appeal under this section shall be to a single Judge of the High Court to be nominated by the Chief Justice for the purpose.
(16) The decision of the High Court on an appeal under this section shall be final.
(17) In case the High Court shall affirm an order of the Minister but shall make any variation in the terms thereof, the Minister shall make a new order in lieu of his original order to give effect to such variation.
(18) The High Court shall have full discretionary power as to the cost and expenses of and incidental to every appeal and may award costs and expenses to or against the Minister as well as or in lieu of awarding costs and expenses to or against any party to the appeal.

While not sympathising very much with this amendment, I beg to move it for the purpose of asking the Minister what exactly his attitude is in this matter. The amendment proposes that no licence can be compulsorily acquired from any particular licensee until the licensee agrees or until it is shown at a Committee of Inquiry that his business had been carried on in such a defective and bad way as not to give the service that could reasonably be expected from him under the licence. Is it the Minister's intention to permit compulsory acquisition of services that are being conducted in a highly efficient manner?

This amendment cuts right across the policy of the Bill.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 127—To delete sub-section (2) (Deputy McGilligan)—not moved.
Amendment 128:—
In sub-section (2), page 19, line 4, to delete the words "an annual" and substitute the word "a."—(Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála).

This is consequential on amendment 118.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment 129:—
In sub-section (3), page 19, line 11, to delete the words "one month" and substitute the words "fourteen days"—(Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála.)

It was suggested that the period indicated there was too long and that a shorter period would not be unfair so as to permit the acquisition being speeded up. I think the suggestion is reasonable and I move the amendment accordingly.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment 130:—
To delete sub-section (4).—(Deputy McGilligan).

That is consequential.

Amendment not moved.
Section 46 agreed to.
SECTION 47.
(1) Whenever the Minister makes a transfer order transferring a merchandise (existing carrier's) licence to an authorised (merchandise carrying) company or a transfer order transferring an annual passenger licence to an authorised (passenger carrying) company, the licence transferred by such order shall as on the date specified in such order be transferred to such authorised (merchandise carrying) company or authorised (passenger carrying) company (as the case may be).
Amendment 131 and 132 not moved.
Amendment 133:—
In sub-section (1), page 19, line 21, to delete the words "an annual" and substitute the word "a."—(Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála).

This is consequential on 118.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendments 134 and 135 not moved.

I should like to know what is the meaning of inserting the word "expense" in the phrase "pecuniary loss and expense."

It is intended to cover the expenses of the arbitration proceedings; in other words, that the licensee should get a net sum which will cover his pecuniary loss plus the expenses of negotiations and the arbitration proceedings.

I hope it will not be interpreted as part of the compensation—that the pecuniary loss will be one aspect of it and the expenses another in regard to giving him the cost of his plant and his concern. It seems a rather unfortunate thing taking out pecuniary loss instead of saying "expenses of arbitration".

Both should be covered. It should be wide enough to cover what is intended, namely, that the licensee should be recouped for whatever loss and expenses he incurs in consequence of the transfer of his licence. He might incur expenses in relation to the disposal of the assets.

Then it should be set forth separately as expense.

Section 47 agreed to.
SECTION 48.
Whenever a transfer order is made in relation to a merchandise (existing carrier's) licence or an annual passenger licence or a reduction order is made in relation to a merchandise (existing carrier's) licence, compensation shall be payable to the person who was the licensee under such licence immediately preceding the making of such order by, in the case of a transfer order, the person to whom such licence is by virtue of such transfer order transferred or, in the case of a reduction order, by the person upon whose application such reduction order was made, and the measure of such compensation shall be the pecuniary loss and expense (if any) which such first mentioned person sustains or incurs or will sustain or incur by reason of such order and which is the direct consequence of such order.
Amendment 136 not moved.
Amendment 137:—
In page 19, line 38, to delete the words "an annual" and substitute the word "a."—(Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála.)

This is consequential on 117 (a).

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment 138:—
In line 40, before the word "compensation" to insert the word "full."—(Deputy McGilligan.)

I beg to move this amendment. I take it that various matters may be involved in the question. Compensation has been mentioned already, as to the position the licensee finds himself in when his licence is taken away from him, and he may be left with transport.

I am not clear about the word. The section says "compensation shall be payable to the person who was the licensee under such licence immediately preceding the making of such order." I do not see that the word "full compensation" alters the meaning of the section in any case. The section says compensation shall be paid and how that compensation is to be determined.

At the same time, while it is stated that the measure of compensation will be so and so, that does not mean that the full measure is going to be paid.

That is a matter entirely for the arbitrator. He determines what compensation will recoup the licensee for the pecuniary loss or expenses incurred, and that amount, when fixed, will be payable. His job is to determine what that amount is.

Amendments 139 and 140 not moved.

I move amendment 141:—

In line 48, after the word "incurs" to delete the word "or" and substitute the word "and."

Perhaps the Minister will look into this.

I will look into the matter. I think this was consequential.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 142:—

In line 49, to delete the word "direct" and substitute the words "direct, natural or probable."

The section says "pecuniary loss... which is the direct consequence of such order." Again, we are dealing with an action which may have very many ramifications. The Minister is simply providing for the taking away of a licence and when it is taken away people may be left with very considerable equipment and may also have commitments. They may have entered into contracts regarding lands, buildings or even the equipment they have. The words proposed to be added seem to be a desirable extension of the word "consequence."

I should like to look into the matter, because I am not at all sure that we are not widening the meaning of the section by the introduction of the word "probable." I see what the Deputy is aiming at and I will look into the matter. I will put down an amendment after considering the point.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 143:—

To add at the end of the section the words "but shall not include compensation in respect of vehicles or other assets of the company or persons whose licence is to be transferred or the scope of which is to be reduced."

This amendment seems to be the same in principle as No. 119.

The same in principle.

Is this covered by the other amendment? I did not hear the Minister's view.

It is covered.

Is the principle involved in this section the same as that involved in amendment 119?

Where there is a transfer of licence there is compensation payable following the transfer. If, in addition to the licence, the actual equipment, vehicles, or garages are transferred then the amount payable to the licensee will include the value of the assets transferred. On the other hand, if they are not transferred the arbitrator would have to take into account the difficulties the licensee would have in disposing of them; whether he could dispose of them. In some cases he might not be able to dispose of them except for scrap, in which case the pecuniary loss would be increased accordingly, and the compensation payable increased.

There is the further question. Is the company bound to take over the assets?

Supposing the question arises, who will determine it? Will it come before the arbitrator?

Yes. A company applies for the transfer of the licence only and it is transferred on Ministerial order. If, in addition, there is a proposal to transfer assets that is another matter and it increases the amount payable. If it is not proposed to take over the assets that factor has to be taken into account by the arbitrator, in so far as the licensee may or may not be able to dispose of them. These are circumstances the arbitrator will have to take into account in fixing the payment. There is no definite obligation on the railway company to take over the assets if they do not want them.

Is that quite clear in the Bill?

Quite clear.

If Deputy Good is under the impression that his wishes are being met in the Bill, I would like to say, in the interest of my amendment, that I hope they are not being met. I take it that I am right in saying that the Bill does not meet Deputy Good's amendment and does not intend to meet it.

I think it might be said in effect that the vehicles and the other assets are being transferred. What good is a lorry to a man after he is deprived of his licence? A lorry would be more useful to the Great Southern Railways Company, no matter how valueless it was, than to a man who could not get a licence to use it. In effect such assets are being transferred to the company.

The vehicles might not be the class that the company wants.

The Great Southern Railways might not wish to take them over. If they were not taken over, and were left with the licensee, the arbitrator will have to take into account whether they could be sold. If he decides that the owner would not be able to sell them, because no one but the railway company will be operating lorries, then the compensation will have to be increased accordingly. If he decides that the owner will be able to dispose of the lorries he will take that into account.

The point I am anxious to clear up is to secure that the Bill provides that the jurisdiction of the arbitrator shall cover that problem.

And that he will be able to cover it?

Yes, certainly, and fix the compensation.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 144:—

To add at the end of the section the words "after taking into account such assets used in connection with such existing carrier's business as are not transferred."

The object of the amendment is to make more explicit the point we are dealing with.

I think the section is clear. It is for the licensee whose business is transferred to make a case before the arbitrator, and to show what loss he thinks he has been put to as a result of the transfer. Obviously he will bring into the account that he has equipment, and that he will have difficulty in disposing of it. If he establishes that the arbitrator will take it into account when fixing compensation.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On the section, I want to raise a point as to what is covered by the term "pecuniary loss." It is capable of a very wide interpretation. I wonder if the Minister is satisfied that it cannot be carried a great deal further than he intends. Take a case where a carrier has sunk a lot of money in a business which is not doing well. Could this term be stressed to cover any capital loss incurred?

I hardly think so. It is a pecuniary loss consequent on the transfer of the licence only.

The man may say that he is compelled to take it, and that he had a good chance of recovering his capital, if allowed to run. How is he restricted? This is opening a wide door.

It may help the Minister if I tell him about a representation made to me. A man claimed that he has a premises the lease of which he bought by a loan from a bank, which has yet to be paid back. He said that if he is deprived of his carrying licence the lease of the premises will certainly be unsaleable, and he will be at all that loss. He wants to know if I can tell him whether or not he is likely to get compensation for that. I do not want the Minister to say, because he could only give an opinion, but I quote it as an example of the difficulties likely to arise under the section.

Would a question arise here as to the definition of pecuniary loss? It does appear to me to be an exceptionally wide and elastic term. which it is very desirable to have defined.

The definition would offer as much difficulty as the term. It will be for the arbitrator to interpret it.

The best of terms may not meet the particular object in view, and I would suggest that even while a term may in itself be the best we could find there should be a definition as to what it means. That is wherein my difficulty lies. It certainly is admittedly a very elastic term. It may have a very wide meaning—a much wider meaning than the Minister intended it should have.

I am not responsible for it. It is the term which was produced, by the persons most competent to advise us, to give effect to what we had in mind.

Yes, but I think responsibility rests on the Minister to see that those terms do not carry him and those for whom we are legislating much further than was intended. For that reason I suggest that a definition of the word might be included.

Perhaps the Deputy could find a definition.

I think I will leave that to the Minister.

Section 48, as amended, agreed to.
SECTIONS 49 AND 50.
The amount of compensation payable to a licensee under the immediately preceding section shall, in default of agreement between such licensee and the person liable under this Part of this Act to pay such compensation, be determined and fixed by an arbitrator appointed by the Minister under this Part of this Act and the decision of such arbitrator shall be final and conclusive.
Whenever the Minister makes an order under this Part of this Act in relation to a merchandise (existing carrier's) licence or a passenger licence, the Minister shall by the same order appoint a fit and proper person (in this Part of this Act referred to as an arbitrator) to fix, in default of agreement between the licensee under such licence and the person liable under this Part of this Act to pay compensation to such licensee in respect of such order, the amount of such compensation.
The following amendments stood on the Order Paper:—
SECTION 49.
In page 19 to delete lines 54, 55 and 56 and substitute the words "any court of competent jurisdiction in accordance with the Rules of such Court."—(Deputies Thrift, Good, Dockrell and Alton).
In page 19, line 54 to delete the words "by the Minister."—(Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála.)
In line 54 to delete the word "Minister" and substitute the words "Chief Justice."—(Deputy Norton.)
At the end of the section to add the words "Provided that the arbitrator shall have power in any case of doubt or difficulty to state his award in the form of a special case for the opinion of the High Court, which may make such order as shall seem just."—(Deputy McGilligan.)
SECTION 50.
In page 19, line 59, to delete the words "or a passenger licence."—(Deputy McGilligan.)
To delete all words from the word "by" in line 59 on page 19 to the end of the section and to substitute the following words—"unless the licensee under such licence and the person liable under this Part of this Act to pay compensation to such licensee in respect of such order agree upon the amount of such compensation, request the Reference Committee to appoint a fit and proper person (in this Part of this Act referred to as an arbitrator) to fix the amount of such compensation and the Reference Committee shall comply with such request."—(Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála.)
To insert at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—
(2) In this section the expression "the Reference Committee" means a committee consisting of the Chief Justice, the President of the High Court and an officer of the Minister to be appointed by the Minister.— (Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála).

My proposition is that the arbitrator shall be appointed by reference to a committee following the scheme of the Shannon Acts. I think there has been a case made for taking the appointment of the arbitrator out of the hands of the Minister. I am instructed that all parties interested were strongly of that opinion, so I bowed my head to the storm. The proposal is that the arbitrator be appointed by a committee consisting of the Chief Justice, the President of the High Court, and an officer of the Department of Industry and Commerce. I think we can trust that committee to select an arbitrator who will be impartial.

The members of this Party are definitely of the opinion that there should be no interference in connection with the appointment of a person of this kind, by the political head of the Ministry responsible for administering an Act of this kind, particularly the sections concerned of an Act of this kind. The Minister has been copying in many other aspects of this measure—and very wisely in some cases—the procedure laid down by his predecessor in previous measures passed in the House during the lifetime of the late Government. I would suggest to him that he might agree to leave the appointment solely to the Chief Justice, who naturally would know who was likely to be the ablest and best qualified lawyer.

He need not necessarily be a lawyer.

I quite agree that he may not be, and that he need not be, but I think it is desirable that he should be a lawyer.

We have enough lawyers.

I found that the wording of amendment 151 was generally acceptable to the interested parties.

Amendment 145, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 146—in page 19, line 54, to delete the words "by the Minister"—(Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála)—agreed to.
Amendment 147, by leave, withdrawn.

In amendment 148 I make the suggestion to the Minister that it might be desirable, in view of the fact that the arbitrator may come upon many legal points which he may not himself wish to determine, that he should have power to refer cases to the High Court.

I have had this amendment very thoroughly examined, and none of those whose attention was directed to it could visualise any circumstances in which questions of law were likely to arise. Consequently the amendment is not necessary.

Amendment 148, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed—"That Section 49, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

On the section, has the Minister any real hope that, when these carrying companies are compulsorily acquired and all this compensation is paid, many of them will be paying schemes, by the time the charges accruing from capital are taken account of?

That, of course, is a matter for the arbitrator and the purchasing party.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment 149 not moved.
Amendments 150 and 151 agreed to.
To delete all words from the word "by" in line 59 on page 19 to the end of the section and to substitute the following words—"unless the licensee under such licence and the person liable under this Part of this Act to pay compensation to such licensee in respect of such order agree upon the amount of such compensation, request the Reference Committee to appoint a fit and proper person (in this Part of this Act referred to as an arbitrator) to fix the amount of such compensation and the Reference Committee shall comply with such request."—(Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála.)
151. To insert at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—
(2) In this section the expression "the Reference Committee" means a committee consisting of the Chief Justice, the President of the High Court and an officer of the Minister to be appointed by the Minister.— (Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála.)
Agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 50, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

On the section, I should like to ask the Minister, with reference to his amendment 150, whether he would consider further amending that amendment with a view to securing that the person appointed would be a person with experience in dealing with commercial accounts.

The intention was to leave it to the discretion of the committee and not give them any direction at all, but I will look into the matter.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 51.
Where an arbitrator awards compensation under this Part of this Act, the arbitrator shall also award to the person entitled to such compensation, in addition to such compensation, such sum as he thinks reasonable to cover the expenses of such person in relation to the award, and such sum shall be payable by the person liable under this Part of this Act to pay such compensation.
The following amendment stood in the name of Deputy McGilligan:
152. In line 6, to delete the word "the" and to insert before the word "expenses" the words "by way of complete indemnity the costs as between solicitor and client and".

In section 48 we have the words "pecuniary loss and expense". This section here deals with awarding expenses to the licensee who has been awarded compensation. I think the Minister would be wise to look over the matter—before the Report Stage—with regard to the tacking on of the word "expense" to the words "pecuniary loss" in Section 48, and to leave expenses to be covered by Section 51 as they are covered here.

Could we get agreement to insert the Government amendments at this stage and leave the other amendments to the Report Stage?

Amendment 152, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 51 to 54 agreed to.
SECTION 55.
(1) This Part of this Act applies to every merchandise (existing carrier's) licence, other than a merchandise (existing carrier's) licence held by an authorised (merchandise carrying) company or a shipping company or by a person whose merchandise road transport business is owned or controlled directly or indirectly by an authorised (merchandise carrying) company or a shipping company.
(2) This Part of this Act applies to every annual passenger licence, other than an annual passenger licence held by an authorised (passenger carrying) company or by a person whose passenger road service is owned or controlled directly or indirectly by an authorised (passenger carrying) company.
Amendment 153 not moved.
The following amendment stood on the Order Paper:—
154. In sub-section (2), page 20, to delete in line 48 the word "annual", and to delete in line 49 the words "an annual" and substitute the word "a."—(Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála).
Amendment agreed to.
Section 55, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 56.
In this Part of this Act— the expression "transferred" means—
(b) in relation to an annual passenger licence to which this Part of this Act applies, transferred under Section 18 of the Act of 1932 or under Part V of this Act:
The following amendment stood on the Order Paper:—
Amendment agreed to.
Section 56, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 57.
Where—
(1) a merchandise (existing carrier's) licence to which this Part of this Act applies is transferred to an authorised (merchandise carrying) company, or
(2) an annual passenger licence to which this Part of this Act applies is transferred to an authorised (passenger carrying) company, or
(3) a reduction order is made in respect of a merchandise (existing carrier's) licence to which this Part of this Act applies,
the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say:—
(a) compensation shall be payable by the company to which such licence is transferred or upon whose application such reduction order is made (as the case may be) to every person who complies with the following conditions, that is to say:—
(i) was on the critical date employed whole-time by the licensee under such licence in the operation of the vehicles used for the purposes of the business authorised by such licence to be carried on and was so employed continuously for a period of five years ending on the day preceding the critical date, and
(ii) was, within six months after the critical date, dismissed (otherwise than for inefficiency or misconduct) by such licensee, and
(iii) either, does not accept employment with the said company or, if accepting such employment, is dismissed (otherwise than for inefficiency or misconduct) by the said company within two years from the date on which such employment commenced;
(b) the compensation payable to such person shall be a gratuity calculated on the basis of one-twelfth of the amount of his annual remuneration for every completed year before the critical date during which he was continuously employed whole-time by such licensee in the operation of the vehicles used for the purposes of the business authorised by such licence to be carried on;
(c) the annual remuneration of such person shall be taken to be the total remuneration and emoluments paid by such licensee to such person during the calendar year next preceding the critical date;
(d) for the purpose of this section employment shall be deemed to be continuous notwithstanding any break in such employment due solely to illness or labour disputes.
The following amendments stood on the Order Paper:—
156. In page 21, line 20, to delete the words "an annual" and substitute the word "a."—(Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála.)
157. To add at the end of paragraph (a) (i) line 38 the words "during such five years was ordinarily resident in Saorstát Eireann, and."—(Deputy McGilligan.)
158. In paragraph (a) (iii), page 21, lines 42 and 43, to delete the words "either, does not accept employment with the said company" and to substitute the words "less is not offered employment with the said company or, being offered such employment, either refuses on reasonable grounds to accept such employment."—(Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála).
Amendment 156 agreed to.

Amendment 157 is withdrawn, but I would ask the Minister favourably to consider that matter on the Report Stage.

Amendment 158 agreed to.
Section 57, as amended, agreed to.
Amendment 159 not moved.

I think the Minister if he looks into that matter will see that there is some necessity for consideration.

Sections 58 and 59 agreed to.
SECTION 60.
(1) The definition of the expression "passenger road service" contained in Section 2 of the Act of 1932 is hereby amended by the insertion therein of the words "or otherwise" after the words "specified route", and the said Act shall be construed and have effect with due regard to the modification of the meaning of the said expression effected by the said amendment.
(2) A service of one or more mechanically - propelled vehicles. which would but for this sub-section be a passenger road service within the meaning of the Act of 1932 shall not be a passenger road service for the purposes of that Act where both the following conditions are complied with, that is to say:—
(a) each of such vehicles is engaged in carrying mails, within the meaning of the Act of 1932, under contract with the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, and
(b) each of such vehicles is constructed and equipped to seat not more than five persons, exclusive of the driver.
The following amendment stood on the Order Paper:—
160. In sub-section (2), page 22, to delete paragraph (b) and to substitute the following paragraph—
(b) each of such vehicles has a seating capacity for not more than five persons (excluding the driver). —(Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála.)
Amendment 160 agreed to.
Section 60, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 61 to 63 agreed to.
Amendments 161 and 162 not moved.
Section 64 agreed to.
Amendments 163 and 164 not moved.
Sections 65 to 68 inclusive agreed to.
Title agreed to.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Bill reported with amendments.

I wonder could we get agreement to take the Report Stage on Thursday evening or Friday morning if the amendments are circulated in time? I am anxious to get this Bill through this week if possible, because the Dáil will be adjourning for a couple of weeks, and the Bill would be under consideration in the Seanad before the Dáil meets again. I do not, however, want to press the matter, despite the obvious case for getting those Bills through as speedily as possible in the situation that exists. What I suggest is that if we could get the amendments circulated in time, and Deputies— having seen the amendments—are agreeable, we might take the Report Stage on Thursday evening or Friday morning.

We are anxious to facilitate the Minister in the speedy passage of this measure. I can assure the Minister that when we considered the question of putting down amendments originally, we put down the least possible number in order to help him. We discovered subsequently that it was desirable to move other amendments, which we had not put down on this stage of the Bill. I would ask the Minister to take that matter into consideration.

If the Deputy could have the amendments circulated to-morrow I would then have to consider myself whether I would not require more time. My position is that I do not want to press that the Report Stage be taken this week unless there is more or less general agreement to it. It is possible that in another House some amendments might be considered.

I was going to suggest that if the Minister would be perhaps a little more pliable in another House we might consider the advisability of postponing them.

I take it if the Report Stage is being taken on Thursday you will give us facilities for making amendments?

What work will be taken to-morrow?

The Railways Bill will be the first business. I do not think it is intended to take those motions relating to certain international agreements until Thursday. The Railways Bill will be the main business to-morrow.

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 o'clock on Wednesday, 5th April, 1933.