Financial Motions. - In Committee on Finance. Financial Resolution No. 1—Customs.

I move:—

(1) That there shall be charged, levied, and paid a customs duty at the rate of two shillings per hundredweight on grass seed of all descriptions imported into Saorstát Eireann on or after the 28th day of September, 1933.

(2) That whenever the Minister for Finance, after consultation with the Minister for Agriculture, so thinks proper the Revenue Commissioners may by licence authorise any particular person, subject to compliance with such conditions as they may think fit to impose, to import without payment of the duty mentioned in this resolution any goods chargeable with such duty either, as the Revenue Commissioners shall think proper, without limit as to time or quantity or either of them, or within a specified time or in a specified quantity.

(3) That if any person does any act (whether of commission or omission) which is a contravention of a condition imposed by the Revenue Commissioners under this resolution, he shall be guilty of an offence under the Customs Acts and shall for each such offence incur a penalty of fifty pounds and all goods liable to duty in respect of which such act was done shall be forfeited.

(4) It is hereby declared that it is expedient in the public interest that this resolution shall have statutory effect under the provisions of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1927 (No. 7 of 1927).

Is there any assurance from the Minister for Agriculture that adequate supplies of grass seed of the various kinds required will be available in this country?

That is one of the reasons why the licensing provision is put in. From last year there would be a shortage of 20,000 cwts. but it is estimated that the shortage would not be as wide this year. There is a licence by which we can admit free of duty unclean seeds which can be cleaned here.

Has the Minister examined this matter from the point of view of wild white clover?

Dr. Ryan

No, none of the clover is included.

Does the general revenue term "grass seeds" mean perennial grass seeds? Does it cover grass seed including legumes which is a technical term for clover? It is very necessary to know what the revenue term "grass seed" includes. I do not think that such a resolution should be passed until the Minister informs us as to what the tariff is to apply.

Dr. Ryan

Clover seeds would not be included because although the Revenue Commissioners are not accustomed to agriculture they would know the difference between clover and grass seed. That would not apply to distinguishing between Italian rye grass and perennial rye grass. It will be possible to admit these by licence. The tariff is only intended to apply to rye grass. The others can come under this resolution if necessary by being admitted on licence free of duty.

The resolution is only intended to apply to Italian and perennial rye grass?

What happens in the case of a mixture of seeds?

Dr. Ryan

In all such cases if a substance is included that is tariffed the whole lot will be tariffed.

As I take it steps can be taken at a later stage to introduce specific amendments?

Dr. Ryan

Of course, on the Report Stage of these resolutions and on the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.