Application for Private Bill. - Road Transport Bill, 1933—Report Stage.

I move amendment 1:—

In page 5, line 10, Section 7 (1) (a), to delete the word "fifteen" and substitute the word "eight".

The inclusion of this section in the Bill is, as has been previously stated from these benches, the most objectionable feature of this whole measure, and the amendments that are now moved are moved with the sole object of bringing the principle contained in this section into line with the Minister's previous political pronouncements concerning the transport policy of the Fianna Fáil Government. I read for members of the House on Committee Stage a statement made here by the Minister in which he said that the transport policy of the Fianna Fáil Party at the time was unification under public ownership and, in so far as the Fianna Fáil Government had any policy, their policy was to put transport services in municipal areas under municipal control. The Minister, in my opinion. made no case whatever for exempting from the provisions of this Bill the areas where traffic is densest and greatest, and where regulation is most necessary.

It is a peculiar state of affairs that the Minister claims that the Bill is one for the regulation and control and, presumably, the unification at some time or another, by voluntary or compulsory methods, of the transport services of the State. If regulation and control are necessary anywhere, surely they are necessary in the areas where you have dense traffic like we have in the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford. Personally, I do not think that there is any case for bringing the other cities or towns named in this section within the ambit of the exempted areas. By reducing the exempted areas in Dublin and Cork from 15 miles to eight miles, you are, so far as I can see from a map of the cities concerned, limiting the operation of the exemption clause to the municipal boundaries—in some cases, probably outside, but as closely as they can possibly be brought, within the municipal area—and thereby making it possible for this or some other Minister who may come after him and who may have more courage to carry out the policy of the Fianna Fáil Government than, apparently, this Minister has, to bring the transport services in municipal areas under municipal control.

We are anxious that the Minister would accept this in order to bring the measure, in so far as it affects the working of this section, within the confines of his own policy, that is, in so far as policy pronouncements from the Minister and the Ministry are worth anything. There is no case whatever for bringing Ballina or Westport within the ambit of the exempted areas. I understand that the population of Westport is something in or about 3,400, whereas Kilkenny, which does not come within the range of the exempted areas, has a population of about 10,000. There is no sense or meaning of any kind in the policy aimed at in this particular section except to give full freedom to operate anywhere and under any conditions they like to certain privileged persons who may engage in transport services within the areas now laid down in the Bill. That should be limited as far as it is possible to limit it.

The Minister contended during the previous discussion on this section that it would be impossible to administer the measure without making provision for exemption in the cases of the cities and towns named. I think that the administrative difficulties that will be created by the inclusion of the exempted areas clause is going to make it impossible to administer the measure as a whole. I suggest that the amendment now moved in the name of Deputy Norton and myself would make it much easier, if accepted, to administer this section of the Bill and, also, would remove many of the administrative difficulties that the Minister spoke of in previous discussions.

On a point of procedure, may I ask whether we are now discussing amendments 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5?

I take it from Deputy Davin's presentation of the case that he was dealing with the five amendments.

Surely the Deputy did not mean to discuss the situation, and the circumstances, as they affected Dublin and Ballina in the same breath.

Would it be in order to discuss the principle or are we discussing the question of distance?

The principle was discussed on the Second Stage.

Are we in Committee?

No, we are not in Committee.

As the whole question of exempted areas arose and was debated at very great length on previous stages of the Bill it does not appear to me that any useful purpose can now be served by opening it up again. It is clear that Deputy Davin's position, in regard to this matter, is based upon a misunderstanding. He talks about those areas as being parts of the country where the traffic is densest, and criticised a Bill designed to regulate road transport which excluded from its scope those areas where the traffic is densest. As I endeavoured to explain before, the density of the traffic in those areas has nothing to do with the matter. The only traffic excluded from control is that which originates and terminates within any of those areas. All important traffic undoubtedly either originates or terminates in those areas but it is traffic that extends all over the whole country, and, so far as the railway company is concerned, the important traffic for them is long-distance traffic. I do not think, in these days, we should contemplate taking any action which would make the railways the ordinary means of carrying merchandise, for the very short distances included in any one of those exempted areas. I mentioned also the fact that the exclusion of those areas would have very beneficial effects in other ways. I pointed to the fact that there are a number of haulers and carriers in the principal towns and cities, particularly in Dublin and Cork, the bulk of whose business is entirely within the radius of 15 miles of the principal post office in these cities. If we abolish the exempted areas and require that everyone of those carriers should be licensed under the Bill then they will apply for licences not merely in respect of those areas, but of much wider areas, and, probably, in respect of the greater part of the country. Consequently they would be in competition with the railway company and would have to be acquired by the railway company if it desired to achieve a monopoly position.

While we maintain these exempted areas, and impose certain obligations with those licensed under the Bill that will apply both inside and outside the exempted areas, there is a strong inducement to others not to apply for a licence at all, but to confine themselves to the areas. And that will withdraw them entirely from competition with the railway, arouse no question of their acquisition, and not only make the administration of the Bill very much simpler, but also very much cheaper for the railway companies to carry out. It is preposterous to argue that the loss of the short-distance traffic will affect the railway company. If we abolished the exempted areas, and the railway companies sought to acquire control of that traffic, they would not carry it by rail, but would substitute a road service for the road services already existing. But in view of the diversity of the service now provided and the size of the road traffic, I think the prospect of trying to bring them under the rigid control we are imposing upon other parts of the country would be appalling, and would only inflict great hardships, involving new difficulties, and the railway company would be involved in expense that they could not face. That is why, in my opinion, the device to exempt the areas should be maintained in the Bill, and I would be greatly opposed to its deletion.

On the question of size, difference of opinion can exist, but, in the long run, any figure fixed must be an arbitrary figure. We have taken 15 miles round Dublin and Cork, and ten miles round other parts of the country. These figures have no relation to the importance of the ports within the areas. The people of Waterford and Limerick seem to suggest that the importance of their ports is being lowered by the fact that the exempted area in regard to them is smaller than that of Dublin and Cork. These sizes have relation to the size of the towns, and are intended to include residential areas and suburban districts from which the ordinary supplies of vegetables, milk and the like would be drawn. Within that area in each town we want to maintain absence from the form of control that this Bill imposes elsewhere.

The town of Ballina has been mentioned. Undoubtedly those who take the circumstances of Ballina for the purpose of criticising the Bill have taken the best example from their point of view. Ballina is one of the smaller towns, and the circumstances of Ballina cannot be compared with the circumstances of Dublin and Cork. At the same time we had to choose some standard by which to go, and we selected those towns from which there were regular steamer services. It seemed to us a fairly good standard to accept because such towns have a trade of a particular kind. Also it is desirable that the organisation of road transport, in regard to steamer services, should not be unduly interfered with. Of course it is true we may give any shipping company a right to run a road service, but the shipping companies may not wish to undertake that responsibility, and there is no reason why other traders should not fulfil for the shipping company the service which it might fulfil for itself within that restricted area. It is reasonable to assume that the railway company might operate a very definite policy in relation to goods for export or carried by a particular shipping company, and because of that it is desirable to have in relation to these port towns and large cities circumstances different to those in relation to other towns. The whole case for exempted areas is quite clear. It does not interfere with the effectiveness of the Bill as a means of regulating road transport. On the contrary, it makes it much simpler in its administration and in the achievement of the policy behind it. From the point of view of engaging in road transport the railway company does much better to have those exempted areas than not.

Upon what grounds does the Minister justify permission to allow certain carriers to operate within the exempted areas who have not paid proper wages and observed proper hours, while at the same time imposing obligations in regard to those matters upon the merchandise-carrying companies which will operate outside those areas?

I should like to see proper conditions observed everywhere.

In connection with this amendment and with particular reference to the position of Ballina, I should like to say that I am in thorough disagreement with it. In the first instance, when the Bill was originally introduced the radius was 15 miles as far as Ballina was concerned. That distance has now been reduced to ten miles. The position of Ballina is somewhat different from the position of other areas such as Dublin. Dublin has ample railway facilities. Ballina is a port with a regular shipping service, but from Ballina to Blacksod Bay is almost 50 miles and there is no railway there. There was a time when there were some shipping facilities. A boat was subsidised from Sligo to Belmullet. That subsidy was paid by the old Congested Districts Board and it obtained until the recent past. I think it obtained until the advent of the present Government.

The decision to stop it was arrived at by our predecessors.

Well, it came into effect since the advent of the present Government.

The decision was arrived at towards the end of 1931.

That may be quite true, but the services continued until some time after the present Government took office. The people in Ballina have been deprived of these services. Needless to say, a locality such as Ballina, cut away from all facilities and having no railway service, is entitled to some consideration. When you have a port like Ballina, with a considerable quantity of goods distributed from it, the people there ought to be entitled to some consideration—to some exceptional consideration. It is all very well for Deputy Davin and other Deputies to talk lightly about the position of Dublin and similar areas where they have every facility that a railway can afford to give. These areas have all these advantages, but when you come to view the position of a town like Ballina and to see how you are going to hamper the distribution of goods and to injure the people there, I think it will be admitted that they should be afforded reasonable opportunities and their activities should not be restricted in such a way as to limit them to ten miles.

I fail to understand the attitude of the Minister in this matter. I cannot see what operated in his mind when he changed from 15 to ten miles. What influenced him and what great advantage did he see that he was going to confer on some one particular area as compared with another, when for Ballina he has limited the freedom of action to ten miles instead of 15 as originally indicated in the Bill? That has been brought about by his own action, and for what reason I am at a great loss to understand. Deputy Davin of course is out for it. I do not blame him. He would restrict everything.

No. What I want is fair competition.

Fair competition! Well, fair competition in one particular locality might be very unfair competition in another locality. Fair competition in a situation such as you have here in Dublin, where you have railway facilities would not be fair competition in an area like Ballina where you have not these facilities. Will it be fair where you have a district cut away by 40 or 50 miles from a railway station? It might be fair for Dublin but would it be fair to Ballina where you are removed by 50 miles from the advantages of a railway service? I want fair competition also, but I want fair consideration to be given to the position of Ballina. I dare say it would not be the same in Westport, but I do not represent Westport. They have railway facilities in Westport from the harbour to any other place. Ballina, however, is a very important distribution area and you have very important considerations to take into account as far as Ballina is concerned. The one particular place to which I point is Belmullet and the barony of Erris. They were served by the boat, the "Tartar," formerly but now they have been deprived of that advantage. They are 40 miles away from a railway station. I ask that some consideration should be given to these people, isolated as they are. They are deserving of some consideration and I appeal to the Minister in such circumstances to take their isolation into account and, when they have not the railway and other facilities which other towns and places enjoy at the present time, that they should be given some advantage.

For the life of me I cannot understand what operated in the Minister's mind when he changed the exempted area in Ballina from 15 to ten miles. That is a thing that puzzles me and I should be very glad to have an explanation from the Minister. In my opinion it is most unjust to that locality and to the harbour of Ballina, which is brought to a standstill as a result. There were a large number of people there who enjoyed a big wage— a better wage even than Deputy Davin would consider reasonable to suggest. These people are now deprived of that as a result of the many things that have happened in the meantime, such as the stopping of the importation of flour and various other articles that were imported through the port of Ballina. That is now brought to a standstill. Some of these men have been paid as much as £1 6s. a day. I myself have paid that wage. They are idle now. What is going to happen to them now? Is everything going to be done that is best calculated to drive them out of employment? They are unemployed now, and I feel that their position demands the consideration of the Minister. I do not know that even Deputy Davin himself would feel justified in saying that it would be right to throw these people out of employment.

The Deputy misunderstands me altogether. All I want is that all those who are allowed to ply for public service as carriers should be licensed under the same conditions as apply to those who are allowed to operate within the exempted areas. That is what I am looking for, which, in effect, is fair competition.

The matter under consideration is five amendments in the name of Deputy Davin, proposing to cut down the radius of the exempted areas. I believe that Belmullet is more than ten miles from Ballina, and consequently the Deputy is out of order. It is a question of eight, or ten or 15 miles, the figures set out in these amendments, and nothing but that question should be discussed.

Is it absolutely out of order to point to some facts that are staring us in the face with regard to the treatment of one locality as compared with another? The conditions that obtain in certain localities will certainly not make this thing as objectionable as it will be in other localities, such as Belmullet. If the Chair rules against me, then I am sure Deputy Davin will thoroughly agree.

Not at all.

Deputy Davin seems to forget the fact that he is contributing towards bringing about more unemployment, and he is going to inflict on many sections of the people greater hardships. They are enduring very much to-day very reluctantly. The Minister has a big responsibility in this matter. It is a serious thing to throw a number of well-paid employees on the unemployed list, particularly in the locality I have in mind. I dare say the people of Belmullet will make an appeal in due course. The position now being created in the locality is very serious and I warn Deputy Davin that he is undertaking a very grave responsibility; he is trying to assist in throwing more people out of employment.

Not at all. Read the amendment.

I have read the amendment and I say that the object of it is very clear. It is calculated to make a bad position infinitely worse. It will tend to throw a great many employed people out of employment. I believe that as a result of this we will have the evil of throwing out of employment people who occupy well-paid positions. In that district, there are people who were earning as much as £5 per week and they are not now getting as much as £1 a week. If Deputy Davin is prepared to accept responsibility for creating a situation of that kind, I wish him luck. I ask the Minister to give special consideration to the situation to which I have referred.

I desire to support the amendment. I wonder if the Minister is at all impressed by the remarks of the Deputy who spoke just now. If he is sufficiently impressed he might be inclined to withdraw the measure altogether. That possibly would be the attitude he would feel inclined to adopt if he were deeply impressed by the terrible situation to which Deputy Davis has drawn attention. I do not believe that this measure will have the effect of throwing people out of employment. I believe it will have a beneficent effect on the transport industry and on the people engaged in that industry. I cannot understand the fears expressed by Deputy Davis. I was not impressed by the Minister's statement when he mentioned that the people inside the exempted areas would be brought into competition with the railway companies. In my opinion, all the carrying companies ought to be given a fair crack of the whip; they ought all to be brought into competition.

The Minister mentioned that the traffic in certain areas was not of sufficient importance. Does that mean that it will be allowed to be carried on in a chaotic fashion, everyone doing what he likes? If conditions of that sort are to be allowed you will have the railway companies and other carrying companies carrying through the exempted area and outside it; you will have people carrying on under disordered conditions and the existing chaos will be continued.

I may say that the messages from Limerick do not represent the opinions of the people of Limerick. They represent particular vested interests, such as the shipping interests. They are anxious to be allowed to continue to go long distances into the country hauling traffic for their ships at uneconomic rates, making it impossible for the railway companies to compete with them. They want to be allowed to continue hauling stuff at impossible rates and then taking it by sea passage, thus making it impossible for the railway companies or other transport companies to enter into competition. I cannot see that any hardship will be inflicted on any town in the Saorstát by the putting into operation of this measure. It is impossible, obviously, completely to wipe out all those exempted areas. I desire to support the amendment.

I am sorry to have to disagree with Deputy Davis. I do not think the Deputy has really examined the question fully in its application to the situation in Belmullet. Far from interfering with the amenities enjoyed by Belmullet, I think this Bill will improve them. On the Committee Stage I said that if these exempted areas were not done away with the Bill would be largely ineffective. We impressed the Minister so far on the Committee Stage with that point of view that, towards the end of the debate, he said that if cogent reasons were laid before him he would be prepared to consider doing away with the exempted areas. I do not know that any more cogent reasons could be laid before him than were submitted during the debate. If he studies the arguments advanced he must realise that an absolutely cast-iron case was made for the proposal.

All we are trying to do here is to secure that the railway company will not be operating under restrictions in any particular area while in competition with people who are operating under no restrictions at all. Our purpose is to put the railway company on its feet and get back its traffic. All sorts of limitations are placed on authorised undertakings, such as shipping companies and railway companies, and formidable liabilities are placed upon licensed carriers; but there are no responsibilities laid on the people inside the exempted areas. If you are legislating with the object of rescuing the railway companies, the first thing you should see to is that you are not going to leave anyone in competition who will have a distinct advantage over them. The railway company should be put on the same footing as its competitors, and it should be allowed to look for trade. Even if we abolish the exempted areas the railway company will be still at a disadvantage as compared with licensed undertakings, which need not have any schedule of rates. Deputy Keyes seems to forget that point when he says that if we abolish the exempted areas the shipping company in Limerick would not be able to compete with cut-throat rates. Under this Bill there is nothing to prevent a licensed carrier quoting any cut-throat rates he likes. A licensed carrier can quote as low as he likes. I think it is a great pity, if this body of legislation is to be given any chance at all, that we do not get rid of the exempted areas. The principal argument, and indeed, the only one, about these exempted areas was that a number of people who would seek licences and go into the general carrying business, would now confine themselves to the exempted areas. I submit that result would not follow at all. The man who had a certain equipment would not be allowed to increase it, and without increasing his equipment he could not go further afield; and without getting regulated he would not be able to go further afield. Any person who is in a position to go further afield before the appointed day will, under this Bill, apply for a licence, and will continue to go all over the country with that licence. So that in order to avoid what, in my opinion, is a non-existent danger, the Minister has left in large areas around the principal ports in the country absolutely free competition, competition which the railway companies are not equipped to meet, and which they will not be able to meet. With great folly, I should say extraordinary folly, the railway companies expressed the opinion to the Minister that the volume of traffic in these areas was not of any great intrinsic value.

What railway company made that statement?

The Great Southern Railways.

He denies it now.

The Minister said it was unfair; but the Great Southern Company, with extraordinary folly, went to the Minister and gave him figures which entitled him to say that the traffic within these exempted areas was not much. Somebody must have given the Minister information about these areas. In going to the Minister with that information they dug their own graves. While the monetary return may not be great the dislocation which it will cause them by having it snatched away from them is going to do them very great injury directly and indirectly, and mainly indirectly. I think the Minister is very much mistaken in not having introduced an amendment doing away with the exempted areas altogether. Why not give the scheme without the exempted areas a 12 months' trial, and then if he found a difficulty the Minister could come back here to the Dáil with legislation applying to have exempted areas? As it is, the Minister is going to make the condition of affairs such a danger that it will make the position of the railway companies very difficult, indeed, by depriving them of the advantages which this very faulty legislation would otherwise have conferred on them. In default of that I strongly urge the House to accept Deputy Davin's amendment to reduce these from 15 miles to eight and from ten miles to five. It would have been better if Deputy Davin had reduced them in regard to Dublin, Cork and Limerick to the municipal areas.

That is what I did. My amendment brings in Howth, Dun Laoghaire and the outlying areas.

That is better than nothing, and I think the Minister would be well advised to accept Deputy Davin's amendment on this occasion.

What has been pointed out by Deputy Dillon is my real objection, that it creates a monopoly. I realise the position of the railway companies, and I sympathise with the Minister in his attitude. But then there is the creation of the monopoly, and if you are going to inflict an injury on a very huge district such as that to which I refer it is a very serious thing. If you take the district around Ballina and Blacksod you will appreciate how great the injury may be. I think it will be a terrible hardship on such districts. It will destroy the position of ports like Ballina. We know what that would mean to a very large number of people in that locality.

Deputy Davin is quite right in his own way. These people in ports like Ballina and elsewhere would lose the very great advantage that they possess. There is the regular service between Ballina and Liverpool for the shipping of their cattle. That is not used for passenger traffic now because none of the people there are going to Liverpool but it is used for the shipping of live stock and farm produce. They would not have these facilities when a monopoly is created for the railway company. If the railway company had a little more consideration for the public not so long since they might have found themselves in a much better position than they are in to-day——

A Deputy must not speak twice except on the Committee Stage of a Bill.

With the general idea, as dealt with by Deputy Dillon, I agree. When we came up against this idea of exempted areas previously I felt that the making of exempted areas was hitting at the root of the problem that the Minister wanted to solve and hitting at one of the great transport companies that the Minister wished to set up. By this idea of exempted areas I think he completely interfered with the prospect of helping the companies. I still think, if there are to be exempted areas, that the big transport companies ought to be given a chance to take an opportunity inside the exempted areas and leave the rest of the country an exempted area. Every person except the Minister was able to size up what was the problem in the rest of the country. That problem is not realised at all in this Bill. A Bill is being passed and the members of the House do not realise what is to be its outcome. I can perceive now that Deputy Dillon's idea and mine were conceived with a very considerable amount of simplicity because the Minister has now told us very gently and obliquely that the reason for having the exempted areas at all was that if there were not exempted areas the policy of the railway company would be so directed that the ports in Ballina and Westport and those other places would be shut down; that the railway company would give such services around these ports as would operate against much traffic coming in through these ports. The suggestion was that the railway company would give such service as would hardly make it worth while for anybody to set up in competition against them. In fact the Minister fears that the railway policy would be applied in such a way as to shut down these ports.

How can they do it?

That is the reason the Minister has given us now for having exempted areas at all so far as I can understand. I think it is a new sidelight on the situation entirely.

He never mentioned it until now.

It was explained.

I gave quite a number of reasons, each one better than the other.

We are now dealing with this idea of exempted areas after that explanation from the Minister. Personally in so far as Deputy Davin is concerned while being entirely, in my simplicity, against the exempted areas, I feel, at any rate in regard to the City of Dublin, that there is not the danger of any railway policy there being directed as towards Ballina. Therefore, feeling that Dublin should be without an exempted area around it it would be the greatest possible folly to develop the Minister's idea. I fail to see at all if, while having an exempted area, you should have an exempted area around Dublin in such a way that the present service could not make delivery to Bray. I doubt if he could make a delivery to the point of Killiney if Deputy Davin's amendment were accepted.

The Greater Dublin area.

I do not see why Greater Dublin, which is regarded as a suitable area for the administration of local services, should be applied as a rule-stick to a motor car or a one-ton lorry.

There is no motor car in this case.

There is a one-ton lorry and there is a two-ton lorry in question. They are motor cars in the general acceptance of the term. I see no reason at all why an area conceived for a definite purpose should be regarded as the radius within which a vehicle on four or six wheels should effect deliveries of certain classes of merchandise. Despite the ideas which the Minister may have as regards railway policy, I see no case why the 15-mile exempted area of the City of Dublin should be replaced by an eight-mile one.

I shall put the question.

I think that amendments 1 and 2 might be voted on together.

I think that the decision on amendment 1 should rule amendments 2, 3, and 4, which also deal with the reduction of the radius.

Is Deputy Davin's idea that railway policy should make certain exceptions with regard to Dublin and Cork which might not be made, for instance, in respect of Limerick and Waterford?

The boundary of five miles for Limerick and Waterford would be the same as I endeavoured to aim at in regard to Dublin and Cork— and slightly outside it.

Why slightly outside it?

I do not want to be misrepresented. The aim of the amendment and the aim of this Party, in endeavouring to secure the removal of the exempted area clause, was to bring into the transport industry those who want to serve the people on a profit-making basis under fair conditions.

Does the Deputy contemplate that the delivery of merchandise will be made a municipal service in any area?

No. I mentioned municipal areas inasmuch as I was endeavouring to bring the limit I aimed at into line with the Minister's policy and pronouncements, that some time in the future transport in the municipalities would be put under municipal control.

Including merchandise?

That is the Minister's policy.

We did not know about that before.

That is a revelation.

On amendment 1, I shall put the question: "That the word proposed to be deleted stand."

Question put accordingly.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 76; Níl, 41.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Clery, Mícheál.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keely, Séamus P.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Daly, Denis.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doherty, Hugh.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hales, Thomas.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Kelly, Seán Thomas.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Redmond, Bridget Mary.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Wall, Nicholas.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C. (Dr.).

Níl

  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Séamus.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Broderick, William Joseph.
  • Burke, James Michael.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Craig, Sir James.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Daly, Patrick.
  • Davin, William.
  • Davitt, Robert Emmet.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Finlay, John.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Good, John.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Kent, William Rice.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Connor, Batt.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Rogers, Patrick James.
  • Thrift, William Edward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Traynor; Níl: Deputies Corish and Keyes.
Question declared carried.
The following amendments in the names of Deputies Norton and Davin were negatived:—
2. In page 5, line 13, Section 7 (1) (b), to delete the word "fifteen" and substitute the word "eight."
3. In page 5, line 15, Section 7 (1) (c), to delete the word "ten" and substitute the word "five."
4. In page 5, line 18, Section 7 (1) (d), to delete the word "ten" and substitute the word "five."

I move amendment 5:—

In page 5, Section 7 (1), to delete all from line 21 to line 45 inclusive.

Deputy Davis, presumably without having carefully read the Bill, and without having compared the previous amendments with this section of the Bill, endeavoured, but I am sure did not succeed, to persuade the House that my object was to help to secure a monopoly for the railway companies, and incidentally, as he said, to drive a large number of people out of employment. There was no such intention behind the previous amendment or any other amendment moved by any member of this Party. I want to say emphatically again, so that nobody can misunderstand me or misrepresent our attitude on this or any other amendment, that our attitude on this question is, that if this House by legislation is going to license or allow people to come into or remain in the transport industry, they should put the same restrictions and the same conditions upon every person allowed by law to operate in the industry. Why should a majority of this House allow one set of carriers to operate under this Bill and be obliged to pay certain rates of wages and to limit the number of hours worked by their employees, and within the exempted areas allow a larger number of people to operate without any of these conditions? Surely that is not fair competition within the industry? All I am looking for is, whether it applies to railways, roads, canals or the air, if you like, that if people are going to be compelled by legislation to do certain things in the interests of the public all those licensed should be compelled to carry out their work under the same restrictions and conditions. I want Deputy Davis very definitely to understand that. There is nothing more than that behind any of the amendments moved in connection with this particular section.

The Minister made great play during the Committee Stage, and to a certain extent in his speech on the previous amendment, with the impossibility of administering this measure unless there were certain areas exempted. I presume he has in mind the number of people possibly who would engage in this kind of operation inside the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford. I wonder how many people would be operating even at present in the areas mentioned in this section from line 21 to line 45? How many carriers are operating, for instance, at present from or in Dundalk, Ballina, Westport and the other small towns mentioned? Surely it would not be impossible to administer the measure if it were applied in full to the towns mentioned in this particular section of the amendment. I believe that the inclusion of the towns mentioned in this amendment makes it much more difficult to administer impartially this Bill than by bringing them within the ambit of the excepted area. I do not know whether it is local pressure by shipping companies or by people personally operating or what actually was the cause of compelling the Minister to include the towns mentioned in this amendment in this section of the Bill originally. At any rate, there is only one object in our minds, and that has been stated fairly and fully. Take the case of the City of Dublin. Under the Bill as it now stands you will have one set of carriers operating, perhaps in the near future, under the central control of the railway management, compelled to pay their employees certain union rates of wages and compelled to conform to certain working hours. Inside the very same area you will find ten times as many carriers operating without being obliged to work under any of those restrictions. You may, and probably will, have in the City of Dublin one set of carriers operating inside and outside, compelled to pay the drivers of their lorries perhaps £3 or £3 10/- a week, and working their men eight hours a day; while other people will be allowed to operate inside the exempted area, and pay their men any rates of wages which the men are willing to accept. The Minister's answer to that argument is that the trade union movement is weaker than he thought if that is going to be so.

Fortunately or unfortunately—I suppose fortunately from the point of view of some of the members of this House— the workers in the road transport service are not very well or very highly organised. With the present state of unemployment nobody knows better than the Minister that it would be impossible for a trade union, owing to the weakness of the existing organisation, to compel the people who will be allowed to operate inside the exempted area to pay the same rate of wages as he will compel the other companies to pay. He gave us his views regarding the question of hours and wages on the Committee Stage of this Bill, in so far as it affected those who will come within the operation of the Bill. The Minister in the previous section of the Bill talked—when he had less responsibility than he has now—about the municipalisation of the transport services within city areas. That has no bearing whatever upon this amendment. The Minister knows quite well what the object aimed at by the members of this Party is in bringing in this amendment. I leave it to the members of the House to say whether they believe in fair competition within the transport industry. If they do, let them take the only step which should be taken, and compel all those who are allowed to operate in any part of the country to comply with the same conditions, thereby insuring competition between those who are engaged in plying for profit-making purposes on the roads of this country.

I have nothing further to say. In my statement on amendment No. 1 I dealt with the whole question of exempted areas, and gave the reasons why they are considered necessary. The only misstatement of Deputy Davin which I want to correct at this stage is that relating to the restrictions which are imposed on the railway companies and others. Precisely the same restrictions are imposed upon everybody engaged in the business of carrying merchandise, except those who are engaged in the carriage of merchandise entirely within the exempted areas.

That is so.

But to represent the Bill as placing obligations and restrictions on the railway company that are not being placed upon its competitors is completely erroneous. The main competitors of the railway company are those who are engaged in the carrying of merchandise to and from the principal towns of the country, including the towns of the exempted areas. Their chief competition is not from those who are engaged in the carrying of goods for the short distances that are entirely within the exempted areas. The railway companies, therefore, in respect of the competitors that really matter, will be under no greater restrictions or subject to no other conditions than those imposed on their competitors.

The point Deputy Davis particularly raises in the light of the discussion that has taken place here shows what the difficulties are likely to be in the case of people in an area like Ballina or Westport. We are practically told by the Minister that except there is an exempted area around Ballina and Westport the shipping services of those ports may be injured by railway policy; therefore, we are given exempted areas around them. When we step outside those exempted areas to the north-west we find ourselves up in the Belmullet peninsula, and we find that the people there are to be served by licensees who are going to have within the first ten miles of their journey absolute unrestricted competition, and unrestricted competition in the most populated part of the country. The people in Belmullet, the people in Ballycastle, and the people up around Achill are certainly between the devil and the deep sea. Deputy Davis, with his closer knowledge of the area there, may consider that the people in that area will be better served by having a restricted area around Ballina. If we leave out any threat to the ports by the railway company I think they would be better served by having no exempted area around Ballina. I certainly would like to hear the Minister on the case for an exempted area around Ballina and Westport other than railway policy, because it seems to me that—except whatever is in his point with regard to railway policy and its effect on the port—to have restricted areas around Ballina and Westport is simply to inflict fairly considerable hardship on the country that lies immediately outside those exempted areas.

On the Committee Stage the Minister opposed the abolition of exempted areas on three grounds: (1) he said that the railway companies attached no importance to the revenue; (2) that the persons who would normally operate within those exempted areas would not go outside them if they were given freedom of action in the exempted areas; and (3) that it would add greatly to the administrative difficulties of the Act if there were no exempted areas. So far as the people going out are concerned, I have dealt with that before. A man is either equipped to go long distances through the country, or he is not. If the equipment of his carrying enterprise is for metropolitan and suburban traffic he is restricted to that equipment by the Bill. He cannot add to his equipment when he is getting his licence under the Bill as a licensed carrier, and so his equipment will keep him normally within his own area of operation. The man who claims a licence without going outside his rights, and without any compliment from the Minister, is going to get it, and to carry on business in exactly the same way as he always did, as a haulage contractor over long distances. He is not going to be driven out of his normal avocation within these areas. So far as the administrative difficulties are concerned, defining and protecting those areas, that seems to me to be absolutely insuperable without the creation of a vast number of officials.

Recruit more Guards.

We are not going into that question now. The Minister is very apt for efficiency, and he saddled the country with £60,000 or £70,000 a few months ago for the salaries of officials. If there was economy in the numbers of officials and not in salaries he would have an easier life. I do not see how he is going to administer the exempted areas and to keep the lorry owners within these areas without creating another host of officials who will be quartered on the country and paid out of its attenuated resources, whereas if there were no exempted areas no difficulty of that kind would arise.

Does the Deputy mean that no officials would be required other than the Gardaí?

The opportunity will have arrived if Fianna Fáil can quarter its supporters in the Guards when the Bill comes into operation, because the number of Guards will have to be increased very considerably if the administration of the exempted areas around these towns is to be effectively enforced. To-day the Minister had another astonishing reason for the exempted areas, as he believes that the railway company have some Machiavellian intention of destroying certain of the ports.

The Deputy is quoting me, I take it

I suggest that is the tenor of what the Minister said. Does he deny it?

The Deputy is always trying to report me as having said what he would like me to have said.

I understood the Minister to say that that was the railway policy——

I am not responsible for what the Deputy understands.

——that railway policy might easily be directed to diverting traffic from some ports to other ports.

His Department can stop that.

Unless these exempted areas were agreeable. That reason for the exempted areas was never mentioned on the Committee Stage. The Minister advanced one reason after another. I suggested that his worst reason was worth minus four, and that his best reason was worth nothing at all. He has been driven from pillar to post. Every argument he put up for the exempted areas was knocked down but he advanced and produced more. The last was the most futile of them, because the Minister has ample powers in the Bill. If the railway company attempted at any time to reduce services to any particular port the Minister has the right to interfere, saying that the service is inadequate, and that unless they were prepared to serve that port he would authorise someone else to do so. I believe that, no matter what the money value of the traffic passing within these areas. It might mean indirect injury to the railway company by the kind of competition they will have to face here. I believe it will be disastrous and will jeopardise the whole purport of the Bill.

I find it hard to believe that the railway company is not prepared to undertake the traffic in these exempted areas, and to give adequate services, because, as Deputy Mulcahy mentioned, we hope the railway company, in order to derive the advantages that this legislation is supposed to confer on them, will give adequate services, not only in places like Dublin, where it is easy to do so, but in places like Donegal, where it will be comparatively difficult. If the railway company is going to shirk, as the Minister suggested, the obligation to give adequate services within the exempted areas, and is indifferent whether they are exempted or not, it augurs ill for the remote areas where the transport problem will be more complicated. I do not believe that responsible railway men, if they examine the question fully, will consent to the proposition that these exempted areas should remain, and I am convinced that unless Deputy Davin's amendment is accepted, and the exempted areas done away with, this legislation will fail, and the whole structure we are hoping to build, of virtual monopoly with reasonable obligations on the railway company, will collapse as a result of the competition and of the chaos which must inevitably supervene, as far as the exempted areas are concerned.

Question put: "That the lines proposed to be deleted stand."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 71; Níl, 37.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Clery, Mícheál.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Daly, Denis.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doherty, Hugh.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hales, Thomas.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Keely, Séamus P.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Kissane, Eamonn.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Kelly, Seán Thomas.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Wall, Nicholas.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C. (Dr.).

Níl

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Séamus.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Burke, James Michael.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Daly, Patrick.
  • Davin, William.
  • Davitt, Robert Emmet.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Connor, Batt.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Finlay, John.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Good, John.
  • Kent, William Rice.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Rogers, Patrick James.
  • Thrift, William Edward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Traynor; Níl: Deputies Corish and Keyes.
Motion declared carried.

I move amendment 6:—

In page 7, Section 11 (4), to delete all words from and including the words "the Minister," line 41, to the end of sub-section and substitute the following words—"the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say:—

(a) if the Minister is satisfied that the existing merchandise road transport facilities in such area are inadequate, he shall request such authorised (merchandise carrying) company, as he may select, to provide within such time as he may fix adequate merchandise road transport facilities in such area;

(b) if the said authorised (merchandise carrying) company does not within the said time provide merchandise road transport facilities which are, in the opinion of the Minister, adequate for such area, the Minister may, if he considers it desirable in the public interest so to do, grant such licence to such person."

During the course of the discussion on the Committee Stage it was suggested by, I think, Deputy McGilligan that paragraph (b) of sub-section (4) should be amended by the insertion of the words "and undertakes" so that the paragraph would read: "(b) no authorised (merchandise carrying) company is willing to undertake and undertakes the supply of adequate merchandise road transport facilities in such area, and." This amendment is designed to give effect to that idea. It was not possible to do it with the economy of words the Deputy suggested, but the idea is precisely the same even though it involves the insertion of a two-paragraph amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment 7:—

In page 9 to delete Section 14, lines 3 to 5, and substitute the following new section:—

(1) It shall be an obligation on every licensee under a merchandise licence to whom merchandise of a class specified in such licence is offered for carriage between any two places within the area specified in such licence to accept such merchandise for carriage for a reasonable reward between such two places.

(2) If any licensee under a merchandise licence refuses to comply with the obligation imposed on him by this section, such licensee shall, unless he satisfies the court that such refusal was in the circumstances reasonable, be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds.

The exact application of the term "common carrier" to a person holding a merchandise licence is a matter of some doubt and in any event I think it is better that we should place a clear obligation on such persons in the manner in which the amendment proposes. Section 15 imposes certain obligations and conditions on the licensee, and this section, which it is proposed to substitute for Section 14 in the Bill, merely requires him to accept for carriage any merchandise of the kind he is licensed to carry between any two places in the area in which he is to carry on business. It makes the matter quite clear and side-steps certain difficulties and legal doubts that might have arisen as to the applicability of the term "common carrier" to a merchandise licensee.

The amendment may side-step certain difficulties that the Minister may have in mind but this brings us back to the question of what is a definition of the word "area" in Section 13 and what obligations a licensee takes on himself when he takes out a licence in respect of the carriage of different classes of merchandise in some area which is a rural area. The question arose here before as to whether farmers in rural and other areas were to have facilities and it was pointed out that farmers at the present moment were able to get transport as far as their houses even if the houses were some distance away from what were the normal traffic routes. This section raises the question of what are the routes in an area in respect of which the licensee will take upon himself responsibility for dealing with merchandise traffic. From the discussion that went on here before, I feel that there is considerable difficulty in regard to this question, and I would like to know if the Minister has given any consideration to that point.

When this matter was before the House in Committee I drew the attention of the Minister to the implications of using the expression "common carrier." I pointed out to him on that occasion that that not only placed an obligation upon the licensee to accept for carriage such goods as were offered to him and were mentioned in his classification but also made the carrier liable as an insurer of the goods. The Minister, with characteristic recklessness, proceeds to surmount that by drafting a new sub-section and abolishing the words "common carrier." Now, as a matter of fact, this whole doctrine of the common carrier has grown up through the operation of the common law, and is based on an enormous volume of judicial decisions by which the courts are now guided. I suggested, and I think on that occasion Deputy McGilligan supported me in suggesting, to the Minister that it might be more prudent to retain the term "common carrier" and to add some words that would not impose on such licensee any liability for such merchandise as he may accept for carriage. That would have done away with the owner's obligations of insurer which the term "common carrier" implied and at the same time it would have preserved the liability of this class of carrier to take as common carrier merchandise that was tendered to him and to take it in conformity with the well-established precedents that have been laid down by common law judges during the last 50 or 60 years.

Sub-section (1) of this amendment says:

It shall be an obligation on every licensee under a merchandise licence to whom merchandise of a class specified in such licence is offered for such carriage between any two places within the area specified by such licence to accept such merchandise for carriage for a reasonable reward between such two places.

It is frightfully difficult on taking up a sub-section of that kind and studying it, to be sure that it will not be interpreted in the law courts in some entirely unexpected way. Peculiar cases might arise with which that sub-section will not be adequate to deal at all, whereas if you preserved the term "common carrier", subject to the limitation with reference to the liability as insurer, you would have a guarantee that the common law, acting in the light experience has defined and circumscribed to meet varying circumstances that have arisen, from time to time as the transport trade has developed, would have an elastic degree of liability which the common law courts would keep up to date with the changing circumstances that might arise. Where, however, you have a statutory liability imposed in a specific way this elasticity vanishes and the courts are bound by the words of the statute.

At first glance I can see nothing in that sub-section which may give rise to trouble except perhaps this, that if a man is licensed to carry under this Act and says that he is prepared to carry potatoes—that is one of the items in the Schedule—what is to prevent me, living seven miles away from that carrier saying "I want to send potatoes to the next parish at the rates you quote, say, 1 cwt. of potatoes"? Does that section put upon the carrier an obligation to drive his lorry out seven miles to take 1 cwt. of potatoes, deliver it within his area and come back again? Is it the intention of the Minister to impose such a liability? The only ground on which the carrier can escape liability is "unless he satisfies the court that such refusal was, in the circumstances, reasonable." Surely that is deliberately shirking an issue with which we ought to deal. We have undertaken to define this carrier's duty by statute, but we are passing it over to the court to say whether his refusal to carry any specific consignment was reasonable or not. We do not seem to lay down here at all any definite obligation, but say that a man is entitled to refuse to go and collect anything less than a load which shall be a load representing the capacity of his lorry. That man will be discharged from the obligation of taking very small loads as a common carrier. I think before we accept this amendment, the Minister should tell us clearly what is the position of a licensed carrier who is asked to go a distance to take a very small load. Is he obliged to go for it, and will he render himself liable to penalties if he does not? If he asks, for his own protection, an exorbitant fee to carry it, does he render himself liable to any penalty under the Act?

Arising out of Deputy Mulcahy's question, the section, as amended, would impose on the licensee an obligation to carry goods by road in any part of the area where it would be legal to do so, subject to that overriding provision that he may reasonably refuse. He can avoid a penalty being inflicted on him if he satisfies the court that his refusal was a reasonable refusal in all the circumstances. Certain routes may be closed to vehicles of the particular kind he owns and operates or there may be other legal barriers and, of course, he is not required by this section to act in contravention of any other statute in that connection, but, as he is licensed to carry goods in a particular area, he must be available for the carriage of those goods between any two points in that area. That, I think, answers Deputy Dillon's second point, too. He must do it. That is the obligation he undertakes in return for the concession that is given to him. For the licence which gives him the right to carry on that business he is required to provide that facility in the area, bearing in mind that he himself fixes the area and also fixes the class of goods in respect of which the obligation rests on him.

He is, under Section 15, required not to give unreasonable preference to any person, and if he quotes one rate for one person in respect of a particular class of goods he must quote the same rate for carrying the same goods under the same circumstances to other persons. As regards the suggestion of the Deputy that we should retain the term "common carrier," but attempt to modify it or to modify its application, I cannot see any advantage in that. I mentioned on Committee Stage that one of the difficulties, if not the chief difficulty, that had arisen out of the insertion of that term in the Bill was the fact that it applied heretofore to persons carrying merchandise over defined routes. We are not proposing to license persons under this Bill in respect of routes. We are proposing to license them in respect of areas, and it is not at all sure that the term is applicable to such persons or that, if we retained the term, we would not have to attempt to define some system of licensing persons in respect of routes. In any event the main things we want to insist on are covered by Section 14, as it will be amended, and Section 15, and this obligation to carry the goods, and to carry them except there is reasonable cause for not doing so, and the obligation to give no undue preference as between one person and another, and, if we have provided for those things, I do not think there is any necessity to attempt to go outside unless a clear necessity for doing so is demonstrated.

Who will prosecute under this section or who will take the action?

The person aggrieved will be responsible.

That is the only person?

I know that we are not in Committee, but a point arises which the Minister has not noticed. This says "offer for carriage." The obligation of a common carrier was never placed on the railway companies in the extremest day except for merchandise delivered at their depot for carriage. It was never suggested that, if one offered a parcel to the railway company, the company should be compelled by law to go out and fetch it and dispatch it from their railhead. I am submitting that this sub-section places an obligation on the carrier not only to take the merchandise left in at his depot for dispatch, but if you say "I have a parcel," he is bound to come and fetch it.

The Deputy knows that this is the Report Stage.

I do, and I apologise for making the point.

That is quite correct. He can charge for the service of collecting.

The Minister talked of a refusal. Is a clear-cut refusal the only offence?

He can ask 15 guineas for going out for the parcel.

I refer the Deputy to Section 15.

Might we get this cleared up, although it is somewhat irregular? If a question of undue preference is not raised, am I to take it that the only thing that will entail a penalty under the new Section 14 is a refusal?

So that a person can offer to carry, but at a very exorbitant figure?

Amendment 7 agreed to.

I move amendment 8:—

In page 11, Section 24 (5), to delete in line 42 the word "and" and to add at the end of the sub-section the words "the husband of any person so related, and the wife of any person so related".

This is an amendment suggested by Deputy McGilligan on Committee to give the right to transfer a licence to a husband or wife of a person related to the third degree.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment 9:—

In page 11, line 52, Section 25 (a) to delete the words "one month" and substitute the words "three months".

This amendment was suggested, I think, by Deputy Mulcahy, for the purpose of extending the period in this case from one month to three months.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment 10:—

In page 11, line 57, Section 25 (b) to delete the word "three" and substitute the word "six".

This amendment relates to the same thing. It changes the corresponding period from three months to six.

Is three months the extreme limit that is going to be granted there?

Supposing it is the vacation period in the courts. It will not be possible to get these things done then.

I am informed that no difficulty could arise, and that the rules would permit of an administrator being appointed.

It might be permissible, but whether it would be practicable to make these appointments in three months time is very doubtful.

It is a legal point. I had it fully examined, and I am assured that the extension of the period made any difficulty of the kind contemplated by the Deputy impossible to arise.

Amendment 10 agreed to.

I move amendment 11:—

In page 12, to insert at the end of Section 28 (2) the words "with the sanction of the Minister for Finance".

This is a verbal amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment 12:—

In page 12 to insert at the end of Section 28 (3) the words "with the sanction of the Minister for Finance."

This is the same as Number 11.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment 13:—

In page 15, Section 35 (1), (a) to delete in lines 24, 25, and 26 the words "performance for payment of any service incidental to a merchandise road transport business with" and substitute the words "the carriage for reward of merchandise by", (b) to delete in line 27 the word "service" and substitute the word "merchandise", and (c) to delete in line 28 the word "performed" and substitute the word "carried".

This amendment makes clear that this section relates entirely to the carriage of merchandise for reward. There was some doubt under the wording of the section as it stood. It is a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment 14:—

In page 19, line 13, Section 48 (1), to delete the words "or freighters" and substitute the words "freighters or transport undertakers".

This amendment was also suggested on Committee Stage. It is designed to allow organisations representative of road carriers and other transport undertakers to appear before the Railway Tribunal.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment 15 not moved.

I move amendment 16:—

In page 23, line 38, Section 62 (a) (i) to insert after the words "critical date" the words "and was during such period ordinarily resident in Saorstát Eireann".

This amendment was suggested, I think, by Deputy McGilligan, and it is a provision which I think should be inserted. It proposes to confine the compensation provisions to persons ordinarily resident in Saorstát Eireann.

Amendment 16 agreed to.
Amendment 17 not moved.
Question—"That the Bill as amended be received for final consideration"— put and agreed to.

Has the Minister agreed that the Railway Bill be taken on Friday?

The consideration the Deputy speaks of does not arise here. We could dispose of this Bill on Friday and send it on its voyage to the Statute Book. If there is no objection I prefer it to be taken on Friday.

Further discussion will take place. There was an agreement in the Second Reading debate that the two Bills should be discussed together. I think it is proper to suggest that the same might apply in this particular instance and that they might be taken next Wednesday.

Very well, I shall put down the Final Stage for Wednesday.

Ordered: That the Final Stage be taken on Wednesday, May 3rd.