I move that this Bill be now read a Second Time. Under the Fisheries Act of 1925 there was a provision enabling boards of conservators to collect a rate from the owners of fisheries, and, in turn, if the loss of such a rate amounted to more than 1d. in the £ on a particular local authority, the excess of the rate of 1d. in the £ was made good to the local authority by means of an Exchequer grant. That provision only extends up to September, 1935. The money that was derived in that way was spent by the conservators in protecting the fisheries. It is necessary, of course, that that protection should be carried on, and that the conservators should have funds to do their business until the comprehensive Bill that I have mentioned is introduced. In this case, I am asking for an extension of the period for two years so as to give time for the preparation of the necessary legislation and to have it made operative.
Committee on Finance. - Fisheries Bill, 1935—Second Stage.
I regret that I was not present for the Minister's statement on the previous Bill in which, apparently, he referred to the comprehensive measure in contemplation for dealing with the inland fisheries. When I saw this Bill I wondered why only a two years' prolongation of the period during which the rates on valued fisheries are to be paid to boards of conservators instead of local authorities is being asked for. As Deputies realise, this was a provision which for the first time put boards of conservators in funds. One can say that it was only from that date that the fisheries were, for the first time, effectively protected, at least in the areas where there were numbers of those valued fisheries, where the valuations were very high, and where for the first time many boards of conservators were able to employ a better type of bailiff, and more bailiffs.
It was my fault, of course, that I was not present to hear the Minister's statement on the previous Bill. Even if the Minister had in mind an earlier introduction of the comprehensive Bill he mentioned, I see no reason why he should not make assurance doubly sure and give himself a longer time within which to play with the present arrangement. I think the minimum extension of the period should be for five years. Perhaps the Minister does not think that it will be his job to deal with the matter after two years. That may be, and if that is the explanation, well one can feel rather pleased about it. However this Bill does make provision for keeping Section 13 of the Act of 1935 operative. As a matter of fact, I asked the question several times when it was proposed to bring in a measure such as this so as to ensure that Section 13 of the 1925 Act would not expire.
I agree with Deputy Lynch that the period under this Bill should be extended to 1940. We all agree that protection must be afforded to the fisheries, and that protection cannot be given unless the money is there. The only way to get sufficient money to protect the fisheries is by having the power to strike a rate. The Minister told us that the report of the Fisheries Commission had been received by the Government. Would the Minister say when it is intended to circulate that report amongst Deputies?
Deputy Lynch is quite right in saying that he did remind me of the necessity of introducing this Bill. Therefore, I take it he agrees with the extension proposed? Deputy McMenamin thinks that the period should be extended to 1940. I do not think that is necessary. We are allowing 12 months for the consideration, by the Government, of the report of the Inland Fisheries Commission. During that period the Government will have time to consider the heads of new legislation that may be decided upon, and to get the Bill drafted. There will be a further year to enable the Government to get the Bill through the Oireachtas. We are allowing two years from next September for doing all that, and I think that is quite sufficient. I may say that the report of the Commission is with the printers at the present time and that it will be circulated as soon as possible.
Is it intended to introduce legislation on the lines of the Commission's report?
I did not say that at all.
Let us hope not.