Slaughter of Cattle and Sheep (Amendment) Bill, 1935—Committee.

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

I move amendment No. 1:—

Before Section 4 to insert a new section as follows:—

There shall be established under this section a special fund to be known as "The Beef and Mutton Fund" under the control of the Minister and into which all fees payable under this Act and all fines for offences under this Act shall be paid, together with the Exchequer's contribution, to the cheap meat scheme. The Principal Act shall be amended accordingly.

My object in moving this amendment is to keep a check upon the revenue which comes in under this Bill so as to ascertain how much will be used for the administration of the Act and how much will be used for the general purposes of the Exchequer. I understand, a Chinn Comhairle, that you had some difficulty with the amendment——

The amendment is allowed.

I find difficulty with all those measures which attempt to help sections of the agricultural industry that are temporarily depressed. This is a further amending Bill to last year's Act, which seeks to achieve that object, but, in practice, it seems to me, a tax is being put upon this particular section of the farming industry, ostensibly to help that industry, but also to carry out other measures. The Government claim that they are doing a service to the cattle trade in this Bill and in the original Act. I do not think they are. Arguments here in this House, statements and denials of these statements, do not result in any really new light being shed upon the subject. I have put down this amendment so as to keep a check upon the operation of this Bill and the Principal Act, and to give the Minister a chance of making good his claim that he is helping the industry.

Registered proprietors have to pay fees of £1 per beast slaughtered, 5/- for each sheep and 3/- for each lamb. A young sheep is classified as a lamb, I understand, until it is sheared once. That brings in a very large revenue—I suppose anywhere from £300,000 to £500,000. That is coming out of a branch of the agricultural industry that is worse off now for artificial reasons than it would be normally, if those artificial reasons did not operate.

I take it that this Bill is intended to relieve this branch of the agricultural industry from the ill effects of these artificial reasons. It is not at all attempting, or pretending to attempt, what agricultural measures taken in other countries did attempt and are formulated for, namely to relieve agriculture during the present world depression. The measures taken here are intended to relieve agriculture during the special depression caused by the economic war. The way the Minister has intended to relieve that depression is to tax the slaughter of the animals I have enumerated, cattle, sheep and lambs, and show that home consumption in this country aggregated anywhere from £300,000 to £500,000 a year. He takes that out of the industry, and that is how he proposes to relieve it. On later sections I have amendments down, dealing with the revenue the Minister gets in here, and uses that revenue, not to help the industry, as he pretends, but to give free beef and cheap beef to poor people. I do not think it is fair that this revenue should be used for general revenue purposes; but I am not making a point of that. I have put down this amendment to help the Minister, and purely from an accountancy point of view.

If the Minister's argument is good, that this Bill, and the Principal Act, were conceived by him to help the cattle industry and for no other reason, and not to make money out of it, he cannot object to this amendment. If his claim is correct he should welcome this amendment. If a system of accountancy is carried out, taking note of fees received under this and the Principal Act, and fees for breaches of the Principal Act, he should welcome it. He would then have a book in his hand, with these accounts, and he could wave it at us, from time to time, and he could say that these levies were put on the cattle industry for no other purpose but to help the industry. This amendment gives him a chance of substantiating his claim. I do not believe his claim is correct, but I am prepared to face the position given by this amendment if embodied in the Bill. I hope the Minister will accept this amendment. If he does not, the only reason I can see for his refusal is that the Minister does not feel confident that his claim of helping the cattle industry is a sound claim.

Dr. Ryan

I do not know exactly what case Deputy Belton wants to make for this amendment. If it is only a matter of accountancy I do not see what he is to gain by it. He knows that all the receipts under the Cattle Bill, by way of levies and fees and all other receipts, must be published. And the Deputy knows he can go further— and he is not shy about going further— and can ask any questions he wishes here.

My questions must be rather awkward for the Minister.

Dr. Ryan

Not a bit. Of course all payments made out under the Bill must be published from time to time, and further information can be elicited by way of questions. What does the Deputy mean by not helping the industry? Does he mean that the free meat scheme does not help the cattle industry?

Not if the cattle industry has to pay for it.

Dr. Ryan

In my view this legislation was brought in to help the cattle industry. Deputy Belton will not deny that if 1,000 cattle additional was thrown upon the market the cattle industry would have been worse off. It was to take that addition off the market, and to supply it in free beef, rather than bury it as other countries have done, that we took it off the market in the way we have done. It was to afford an opportunity of providing free beef for the poor people that it was done.

At whose expense?

Dr. Ryan

That is a question that can be answered. At whose expense would Deputy Belton do these things? Surely not at his own expense. We are doing it at the expense of the country.

At the expense of the cattle industry and the country.

Dr. Ryan

No, at the expense of the country. What is the levy for? The levy is paid by the butcher.

And he is paid by the consumer.

Dr. Ryan

Yes, I agree.

And the farmer pays the butchers on his side.

Dr. Ryan

He sends his beast to the butcher. Deputy Mulcahy wants it both ways for fear he would find himself in the wrong.

And it works both ways.

I said the cattle industry is paying it.

Dr. Ryan

It is not paying it. I lost a considerable amount of time trying to get Deputy Belton to understand that, but I am afraid it is hopeless, and I will not waste any more time on it now. There are other expenses for taking old cows off the market for conversion into meat meal and also for canning meat. All these have to be paid for. They are not economic, from a business point of view. Leaving out bounties, under the Cattle Act alone our receipts will be about £200,000 short of expenditure. That is the position. I have the quarter's return and can get the average of the whole year.

At what time did the receipts fall short of expenditure by £200,000?

Dr. Ryan

That is an estimate for the year.

Was it prior to this Bill?

Dr. Ryan

No.

I understood the Minister to say that £200,000 was the contribution of the Minister for Finance to the principal beef scheme.

Dr. Ryan

No. For the year 1934-35 we had about six months amounting to £54,289, and an expenditure on free beef of £173,629. That was practically £120,000 the Minister for Finance was on the wrong side for that year.

For the whole year?

Dr. Ryan

It was a five months' operation.

That would be £240,000 for the year.

Dr. Ryan

There were two changes made. If we paid for the principal beef scheme and the State paid the lot, the Minister for Finance would have to contribute a larger amount—between £400,000 and £500,000.

Does the Minister include in that any sum in respect of last year's liabilities?

Dr. Ryan

There would be a slight carry-over, but there would be a carryover of receipts and levy duties also. What was paid and received might balance.

Would the Minister say how would the proportion be divided in the first four months and the other months. I presume for the first four months, the expenses to be charged upon the Exchequer would be heavy.

Dr. Ryan

Yes, it would certainly be heavy.

Could the Minister give us any figures in regard to that?

Dr. Ryan

I will try to have them for the Deputy on the Final Stage. Apart from the free beef, there are other items of expenditure under this Act. As regards the Roscrea principle, there may be cows going to other places besides Roscrea under that scheme.

That will cost between £125,000 and £150,000 a year, for a full year. The tinned meat is going to cost between £20,000 and £40,000 a year for a full year, and the administration of the Act will be a rather heavy item, too. The disposal of old cows is going to start at a definite time, and the disposal of cattle for tinned meat purposes will commence before the end of the calendar year. The Estimate is that the Minister for Finance will be asked to contribute £200,000 under the Act.

Unless my recollection is entirely at fault, the Minister told us the administrative costs would not be increased—that so far as this amending measure is concerned, it will not put on any other administrative costs.

Dr. Ryan

That is right.

The Minister's reply to my remarks only emphasises the point I made. This measure, as well as the Principal Act, is not touching at all upon the world depression in agriculture, but is only touching upon the artificial depression caused by the economic war. The principle of the Roscrea factory is necessitated in order to get rid of certain types of cattle in this country that, prior to the economic war, were got rid of in the ordinary course of trade and at better prices.

The matter before the House is an amendment the purpose of which is to secure that certain fees go, not direct as set out in the Bill, but through the Minister, to the Exchequer. I do not see what bearing that has on the economic war or on world depression.

The purpose of the amendment is to keep a check so that the pretence of the Minister and the Government will be seen in its true light. This amending Bill and the Principal Act were devised to help the cattle industry. My view of both measures is that they serve to put a new imposition on the cattle industry, and to have the accounting kept in the way suggested in the amendment would be a check upon those two points of view.

On a point of order. This penal tax of £6 falls unevenly on two different types of cattle, which is, I think, Deputy Belton's point. On the cattle that can bear it, it does not press so heavily as on the cattle which cannot be sold for the same price. To that extent I thought Deputy Belton was making the case that we ought to take those two sorts into consideration. The Minister's problem is to deal with surplus cattle. But even those cattle can afford to bear the £6 tax in some form. The cattle that will make their pilgrimage to Roscrea will be unable to bear it because they will not reach the price.

The Chair is still of opinion that the proposed diversion of fees which will still have to be paid under the Deputy's amendment does not bring in the economic war. It is a question of how the fees will be paid.

To this extent it does, that these cattle are unsaleable for export and therefore they go into this harbour of refuge in Roscrea. So far as they are concerned, Deputy Belton's case is that the loss borne by the owners of those cattle is greater than the losses of the owners of the cattle who, while heavily burdened, can still bear the £6 tax.

The principle of the tax was adopted on the Second Reading, but the Minister's case was that that tax was to help the cattle industry. The amendment I have put down is only a check on the Minister's actions. The Minister apparently is not likely to accept the amendment; he does not seem so disposed. He said that provision is made for a market for 1,000 surplus cattle a week. What the Minister set out to remedy was to compensate those people who have lost that market and the only way he proposes to compensate them is by taxing them. He does seem to agree with that line of argument. Why not accept this principle of accountancy and we will see by the end of the year whose point of view is right? He gave us figures showing what the free beef and the cheap beef cost. Those figures are of interest to the Exchequer; they are not of interest to the cattle trade. That is being taxed to provide, if not all, a considerable proportion of this money. A sum of £1 a head on each beast means £120,000 a year. With the 5/- on sheep, that runs into many thousands of pounds and that is to help the trade to get a market that has been interrupted by a certain event. The Minister went out to make good the losses caused by that certain event and the only way he has to do it is to put a tax on the remaining bit of the industry.

What right has the Minister to say that the little bit of the cattle trade that is left is going to give us cheap beef? How is he helping an industry that is already depressed through circumstances we cannot discuss? He comes along to remedy the loss caused by that depression and the only thing he does is to tax the little bit of trade that is left, to make a kind of show towards providing a market for 1,000 cattle a week. Who is to pay for it? The little bit of ordinary commercial trade that survives. Let us have this system and let us see how many thousands can be collected. I suggest that £300,000 or £400,000 will be collected in those fees. That does not go back to the industry in any shape or form. If there is a surplus caused by a certain event it is for the Minister to get money somewhere else to dispose of that surplus, not to tax the little bit of industry still engaged in connection with the trade in order to create an artificial outlet for our surplus cattle. I suggest the Minister should accept this amendment.

I think this is a useful and important amendment even if, when the money is accumulated into this particular fund, it is transferred bodily to the Exchequer. At the present time there is a very considerable amount of hidden taxation falling on the people. The Minister for Industry and Commerce was in Galway on the 22nd of this month and he laid down the axiom there that there was no way by which those engaged in agriculture could be secured better prices for their produce other than by charging higher prices to the consumers. The Minister raised the question as to whether it is the farmer or the consumer who is to pay for this scheme. It is very hard to say what the farmer has to pay on it. He cannot be losing very much under this scheme because if he were losing under this scheme it would be the last straw which would break him down. The Minister knows that the farmer has lost in the export trade alone £12,980,000, that is in the export of live stock and live-stock products. The Minister thinks little of that. He was going to make the farmer rich by growing cereals and sugar but if the farmer got the full benefit of all that he would only be paid £2,800,000 so that on the balance he would lose more than £10,000,000. In that way the farmer could not afford to lose any more and he probably is not losing very much under this. What interests me in the amendment is that it gives us machinery for gathering together small rivulets of taxation before they fall in and get lost in the ocean of taxation— the pool of taxation the Minister has imposed on the country. One of the ways in which our people are taxed is the hidden way, as in the price of meat. This fund will not indicate to us the amount of the taxation because it is complementary in some way to the taxation that is raised on the hidden price of meat. The more focal point we can get to direct the rivulets of taxation to before they fall into the Minister's ocean the better chance we have to appreciate taxation in the country and the better chance we have of making some sort of an estimate of the amount of taxation that is being raised in these hidden ways. I have not the slightest doubt that when a scheme like this operates not alone is the consumer hit but the farmer will be hit. My interest in the amendment is that it seems to me a useful type of amendment to insert when we consider the position of taxation in the hidden way in which it is falling on the people in respect of meat. I have no doubt but it was a very definite appreciation of the farmer's position that induced Deputy Belton to put down this amendment and I am quite satisfied that he is in a better position to appreciate the farmer's position in the matter than I am. But I can appreciate the consumer's position and the general principle involved in the whole scheme of hidden taxation. Even if this fund were not to be used for a specific purpose, if it were to be accumulated before being passed into the Treasury, the amendment would be a useful one.

Dr. Ryan

I find it very difficult to understand the Opposition in their ability to argue one way one day and the opposite way another day. When I brought in the Butter Bill I was accused of putting hidden taxation upon the people. I was told I was putting up the price of butter and it was not going into the Exchequer. Therefore, it was hidden taxation. It is in the same way the Deputies are now arguing. They will argue in a different way when it suits them. We are told at one time that it should go into the Exchequer, and other times we are told that it should not.

I do not think anybody said it should not go into the Exchequer. I would have put down the amendment the other way, but the Ceann Comhairle would rule it out because it was imposing taxation.

Dr. Ryan

The Leader of the Opposition, Deputy Cosgrave, has a great regard for the principles of State accountancy, and I think he will admit that one of his best principles is that all receipts should go into the Exchequer and that they should be accounted for in the ordinary way. That is what we are doing here. Why the exception should be sought now I cannot see, except that Deputy Mulcahy wants to join Deputy Belton in delaying this section. I would like to correct the one-sided statistics given by Deputy Mulcahy about the farmers losing £12,000,000.

I said £10,000,000.

Dr. Ryan

The position is that the farmers' exports are down £12,000,000, but his imports are down £8,000,000, and if you take £8,000,000 from £12,000,000, that leaves £4,000,000, which is a very different thing from the £12,000,000 the Deputy spoke about.

If the Minister takes up the Government statistics and confines himself to the export of animals and animal products on the one side, and if he will calculate what the farmer gets for cereals and beet, he will find that what I am saying is correct.

Dr. Ryan

The Deputy does not confine himself to one item when making a case. He gives the whole lot. That is what I am saying about the Deputy. He is very good at quoting one set of figures. Why not give the whole picture?

Is not the whole figure given in the statistics issued by the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Agriculture? The figures I have given are taken from their statistics. I have taken the figures from the official export figures of animals and live-stock products, etc. I have taken the imports and the exports. Does the Minister want to argue now that the full picture is not given?

Dr. Ryan

That is the full picture I have given.

I am giving the full picture and it is £10,000,000.

Dr. Ryan

The full picture is that we went down in exports £12,000,000 and in imports £8,000,000, and the difference is £4,000,000. At any rate, this amendment does not benefit the farmer in the least. All it does is that it enables Deputies Mulcahy and Belton to take up the time of the House in getting these items subtracted for themselves.

This measure was introduced last year to deal with the problem of surplus cattle. The problem is being approached in this way:—"We will tax the butchers by putting a levy on cattle and sheep and we will distribute beef and mutton to the amount at which we are taxing the butchers." That was the proposal. But at the present moment that is being changed. We are still taxing beef and mutton but we are not going to deliver the free beef from a given date. The objection we have to it is that while last year's measure does not impose taxation without opening the sluice gates, this one will impose taxation and make a profit. I take it that the Minister will agree with me in this that the incidence of cost for the first four months will actually exceed the incidence of cost for the second eight months.

Dr. Ryan

The figure for the first three months was £125,000 and for the next nine months £200,000.

Even on these figures there is a balance on paper in connection with this matter. Surely, in this one item there is a bigger proposition and a greater loss than on the butter question. There is a greater loss on the eattle. That is going to deal with only one section of it?

Dr. Ryan

Yes.

What objection is there to letting them see that in one fund? Mind you, the £200,000 is an estimate, and I find some difficulty in accepting that figure. I am sure that every effort has been made to get a correct estimate, but I find very great difficulty in accepting it. Seeing that the provision of cheap meat is going to result in a cost of £260,000, when for four months giving it out for nothing it cost only £173,000, the Minister will forgive me if I say that I approach those two sets of figures with considerable misapprehension. Everybody is agreed, in connection with general finance that all receipts should go into the Exchequer. Is this, properly speaking, an imposition which should be regarded as a receipt? The Minister knows that it is not. It is only to deal with a certain particular situation. As a matter of fact, there may be no business for the Roscrea factory in two years' time. There may be no reason for the working of this measure in 18 months or two years. I think even the Minister in his lucid moments has calculated that this war will not go on forever. People get tired, even of a war. At the finish of it, what necessity will arise for this? There will not be any. Surely, it is not proposed, as soon as the price of meat gets to what is called the world price, to still further make the consumers in this country pay £1 per head more than what is paid in the world market? Does the Minister see the point?

Dr. Ryan

But if we have not got an unrestricted market——

Is it not inevitable that we will have an unrestricted market?

Dr. Ryan

When?

The destruction of calves which has gone on for the last two years, and the disposal of the extra number of fat cattle by reason of the coal-cattle pact, ought to settle it next January.

Dr. Ryan

Possibly.

In that case, this is merely a temporary measure. If the Minister takes the other line, he has got to justify an ultimate imposition on beef of £1 per head here, which will not be borne by consumers in England. He surely does not stand for that, or is it time enough to deal with it when we arrive at that phase?

Dr. Ryan

I suppose it is.

Amendment put and declared lost.
Sections 4, 5, 6 and 7 put and agreed to.
SECTION 8.
(1) Every registered proprietor shall provide and maintain in good working order in every registered premises of which he is the registered proprietor such lawful machines, instruments, and other facilities for weighing meat as shall be suitable to such premises and sufficient for the volume of the business carried on in such premises.

Amendment No. 2 is out of order.

I move amendment No. 3:—

In sub-section (1) to delete lines 47 to 51 inclusive and substitute the words "a hook or cross bar capable of holding up the largest portion of meat stocked so as to facilitate weighing by means of a spring balance."

Section 8 provides for weighing facilities. I think it is very unreasonable to ask a trader to provide any weighing facilities except what he finds necessary to carry on his own business. If the Government, for some reason of their own—I am not questioning the reason; it may be a good one or it may not, but I assume it is a good one—wants a certain inspection of those premises, and that inspection involves weighing, I think it should be up to the inspector to bring facilities with him to carry out whatever weighing is required. I take it the inspection will be made to discover how many cattle or sheep or lambs were killed within a certain period, and to balance out the account a calculation has to be made of the meat on the premises. It is quite obvious that the inspector does not want as absolutely accurate a weight as a purchaser of meat would require. He merely wants an estimate. Any type of spring balance will be good enough to get that. If the registered proprietor puts up a bar—and I think it should be a condition of registering the premises that he should have such a bar—to which the inspector can attach his spring balance, or a hook to which the inspector can attach the spring balance, the inspector can do his job without interfering with the trader in doing so. What right is there to interfere with the trader in carrying on his trade as he has been carrying it on? If we want an inspection to see whether he is carrying it on properly, he should not be asked to pay for that inspection. It should be sufficient to have a bar or hook to which the inspector can attach a spring balance if he considers it necessary to weigh any side of meat that is in the shop. Let the inspector carry his spring balance about with him. I do not think any more is needed.

The idea in Section 8 is that certain weighing facilities are required for this purpose in the registered premises. I would suggest that what I am stipulating in the amendment would meet that sub-section (1). I put that suggestion to the Minister. If he agrees that that would meet his intention in the sub-section, I would be prepared to withdraw the amendment. Otherwise, I would not. The inspector can carry about with him a portable spring balance which will weigh 2 or 3 cwt., and surely the butcher cannot hang up a side of beef if he has not a bar strong enough to hold it. The inspector can attach the spring balance to that bar, and put on the side of beef. You do not want an absolutely perfect balance, because, I take it, only an estimate of the amount of meat is required. There may be a discrepancy of half the weight of a beast and it would not alter the statistics for which the inspector would be looking. I suggest that sub-section (1) of Section 8 would be met for all practical purposes in that way. I do not think the inspector will go in to weigh the meat unless there is a very big discrepancy in the returns. The spring bálance would meet the case just as well as any perfectly-balanced scales.

Dr. Ryan

I do not think Deputy Belton has exactly seen the point of this section. It is a section that it would only be necessary to operate in a very few cases, because the big majority of the butchers have a weighing scales and make no difficulty about weighing the meat when asked. As Deputy Belton says, we do not want to get to the nearest pound in these cases. We only want to verify whether three or four sheep or cattle might be there. So that within a quarter, at any rate, of the weight of a carcase will be exact enough for the inspector's purpose. It might not, perhaps, be exact enough in some cases, where he is examining books of sales, and at the same time examining the amount of free beef sold. The inspector might in some cases have to go rather minutely into the sales, but not as a rule.

When it comes down to that any scales the butcher has will do.

Dr. Ryan

In the great majority of cases, scales are provided and there is no difficulty, but in a few cases, where the butcher wants to evade in every way every question put to him, in the last resort he says: "I have no scales in the place; I cannot weigh it." It is obvious that it is no hardship to a butcher to have a scales. He should have them and did have them before this Act came into operation.

I suggest that it would be a big scales for weighing a big chunk of meat.

Dr. Ryan

Not necessarily.

Surely he cannot make the excuse that he has no scales to weigh a small quantity of meat?

Dr. Ryan

He might have a scales capable of weighing up to seven pounds. Up to this they had scales to weigh a larger quantity of meat, but they have disappeared as far as the inspectors are concerned. It is only to deal with these cases that the section will operate.

Would not a portable spring balance meet the case?

Dr. Ryan

I do not think it is worth while equipping all our inspectors with a portable spring balance. The cases will be very few that this section will refer to, and I think it would be an unnecessary expense. In any case it is a matter that could be considered and done under the regulations made under this section, if we thought well to do it. I promise the Deputy to look into it.

Could the Minister give any indication of the particular type of scales required, because there is a great amount of complaint about this matter? It appears to me that the suggestion made by Deputy Belton would be the proper one to adopt. I do not see that any inconvenience will be caused by it.

The Minister has undertaken to consider it.

Dr. Ryan

I do not think there will be any hardship imposed by this. I had a meeting with the representatives of the victuallers to-day, following their meeting yesterday, and they did not raise any complaint on this section. I do not think they overlooked it either. They did not raise any complaint as to this section, but I have amendments down to try to meet them on another section.

Will the Minister take occasion to define the exact meaning of sub-section (1) more clearly? The sub-section states:—

Such lawful machines, instruments, and other facilities for weighing meat as shall be suitable to such premises and sufficient for the volume of the business carried on in such premises.

That seems to be a very loose description. What would the Minister consider to be an adequate scales in an ordinary butcher's shop—a scales which would weigh 14 lbs.?

Dr. Ryan

If I were an inspector, for instance, and went to a butcher who was only killing six sheep in the week, I would say that a scales to weigh 14 lbs. would be sufficient, because he could easily dissect any carcase he might have into 14-lb. sections in a few minutes. On the other hand, if I went to a big butcher in Dublin, I might say that I would require a scales to weigh up to 2½ cwt., the weight of a carcase of beef, because the butcher might have several such carcases hanging up. We are not, however, having trouble from such men as that. Where a man is in a big way he has all these facilities provided. It is the man in the small way of business who is giving the trouble in these cases.

Would the Minister not consider that a butcher who had not such a scales as would be required in such a business, could be caught for obstructing the inspector?

Dr. Ryan

Not unless this section is put in.

The Minister says that he has no trouble with the larger butchers. Take the smaller ones, however. I have in mind some cases where several victuallers kill in the one slaughterhouse, as there is no public abattoir, and have the big scales for weighing the quarters there and only the smaller ones in their shops. It seems to me that Deputy Belton's suggestion would meet these cases.

Dr. Ryan

In the case mentioned by Deputy Haslett there would be no difficulty, because we would get the weight of the carcase from the slaughterhouse and we would not have to operate this section at all.

Take the case of the person who has a slaughterhouse of his own. What is the position there?

Dr. Ryan

That is the point. He must have either weighing facilities in the slaughterhouse or in the shop—not necessarily to weigh a whole carcase.

The whole carcase is the point.

Dr. Ryan

That is why the section is drafted in such a way that it can be applied to an individual. We do not want to prescribe that every butcher should have a large scales to weigh a carcase. It would be a hardship on the small man.

Is there any danger of the section being interpreted in that way by the inspector?

Dr. Ryan

No.

Will the Minister look into it?

Dr. Ryan

Certainly, in connection with the regulations.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 4 not moved.
Section put and agreed to.
Section 9 put and agreed to.
SECTION 10.
(1) The Minister may, if and whenever he so thinks fit, serve on any particular registered proprietor a notice (in this section referred to as a prohibitory notice) in writing in the prescribed form prohibiting such registered proprietor, on and after a day (not less than one week after the service of such notice on such registered proprietor) named in such notice, from purchasing or otherwise acquiring any cattle or sheep from any person except an officer of the Minister authorised in that behalf by the Minister and from purchasing or otherwise acquiring for the purposes of his business as such registered proprietor any meat from any person whatever.

Amendments Nos 5 and 6 are out of order and the Deputy has been so notified.

The following amendments appeared on the Order Paper:—

5a. In sub-section (1), line 46, to delete the words "one week" and substitute the words "fourteen days."—Aire Talmhaíochta.

5b. Before sub-section (2), in page 4, to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

(2) Whenever the Minister serves a prohibitory notice on a registered proprietor, the Minister shall consider any representations made within seven days after the service of such notice by such registered proprietor.—Aire Talmhaíochta.

Dr. Ryan

I had a meeting with the representatives of the victuallers to-day, following their meeting yesterday in Dublin, and these two amendments are introduced to meet their views. Section 10 was the section in the Bill about which they had the most fear, although the particular victuallers who met me were not afraid of it. In other words, it is evident that they recognise the fact that if they carry on their business in a straightforward way Section 10 will never apply to them. They thought, however, that the application of Section 10 to a person was so drastic that the person should at least get an opportunity to appeal against an Order made under it. The insertion of these amendments will mean that the person will have to get 14 days' notice; that he will get time to make representations to the Minister within seven days against the Order being put into operation.

I think Deputies will agree with the amendments. On the whole, perhaps it will give more peace of mind to the victuallers to have these amendments inserted and the section changed in that way. There appears to be a certain fear amongst them that an inspector might take an advantage of a particular victualler against whom he had some bad feeling and serve this notice on him. The victuallers who came to me, however, stated that in their own particular cases they were quite satisfied that the inspector they were dealing with would not do it. When you come to a particular case it is always found that the inspectors do not do these things. In fact, an inspector could not do such a thing because no inspector working under the Department could do it on his own initiative. A report would have to be sent to the head office, and no drastic action like that is ever taken, so far as interfering seriously in the man's business, under any Act of this kind without at least some higher officer investigating the matter before the action is taken. That is, we would not take action on the written report of one inspector alone without getting some corroboration from a higher officer. I therefore move these amendments.

Did they accept the draft of his amendment?

Dr. Ryan

These are the amendments they wanted.

Is my later amendment in order?

That is No. 7?

It is. The Deputy would have been informed by the Chair if the amendment were not in order.

Perhaps as they both deal with the same subject the Minister would not mind if we discuss them together.

Dr. Ryan

I do not mind.

They will have to be disposed of separately and in sequence.

It would be hard to discuss one without discussing the other. My amendment No. 7 reads:—

At end of the section to add a new sub-section as follows:—

The provisions of this section shall not apply to any registered proprietor unless he has been charged and convicted of an infringement of the Principal Act in regard to the purchase or acquisition of cattle and sheep.

The Minister has at least accepted the principle of that amendment. The Minister has admitted by his own amendment that there were certain objections to the section as it stood and that there was a grievance to be met. That grievance was that a person could be penalised on suspicion, a principle that I think should not be advanced in this House. We have under the meat scheme a set of inspectors. Admittedly I think most of them know their business. They are capable officers and are competent to work the Principal Act as it was meant to be worked. They surely are competent also to find out misdemeanants. It should be part of their job, if they have any suspicion against any particular trader, to verify that suspicion and to proceed against the trader. It is not my purpose to make a case for any person who wilfully infringes the Act but where there is an honest trader, a law-abiding citizen, a person who is prepared to abide by the legislation enacted here although he may suffer hardship under it, he should be protected. I think there should be no possibility of his ever being proceeded against on mere suspicion, of his being penalised on more suspicion. There should be no possibility of his being subjected to a penalty meant for people who wilfully violate the Act. That is what these penalties are meant for.

The Minister has power if a man wilfully infringes the original Act to do certain things. He has power if that man does not pay the minimum price to compel him to buy his cattle through an inspector. It may be necessary to have that penalty, but that penalty should not be used to penalise an honest trader. An inspector might have a suspicion, and according to the original section, he could proceed on that suspicion, to subject an honest trader to the penalty of having his cattle purchased through the inspector. The Minister has met that in this way. He says: "I will give the trader seven days to prove that the suspicion is wrong." That is not meeting the difficulty at all. It is not sufficient, if I am charged with an offence for which there is no evidence to convict me, to say to me: "I will give you seven days to produce evidence to show that you have not committed that offence," when in fact I have not. I do not think that the House should accept the principle that an honest trader should be subjected to the penalties meant for misdemeanants. That is what this section means, and the Minister's amendment only provides for giving the trader seven days to prove that he has not violated the Act. The Minister says: "I will give you seven days to prove that you have not infringed the Act. I am asking the inspector whether he has a suspicion that you have, and I will give you seven days to disprove that or you will be subjected to the penalties provided in the Act." What is the penalty? The penalty is that the said butcher shall be compelled to purchase his cattle through the inspector. The inspector possibly will not be as good a buyer as the man himself. When I say that, I do not mean that the man might not be willing to pay the stipulated price.

There are such things as good buyers, and it means a lot to the butcher that he should be allowed to make his own purchases. Many of them are competent buyers. Even when they pay 22/- per cwt., the stipulated price, there are many beasts which at that price may prove to be considerably dearer than other beasts at the same price. There is such a thing as killing value. as the Minister probably knows, and one beast may kill at a better weight than another. The butcher is the best judge of that, and when he is spending his money he likes to buy a beast that will return the greater portion of his live weight as beef or mutton. It is a big consideration to the butcher to be allowed freely to purchase his own beef. The inspector may not be a good judge and he may not be able to buy beef at the same price which would give the butcher the same return.

There is also the fact that if he is subjected to the penalty provided under Section 10 it would be tantamount to describing him to his neighbours as a man who had infringed the Act when, as a matter of fact, he might not have done so. I am not here to defend dishonest traders or any man who wilfully impedes the Act, but I think that we must protect people who were endeavouring legitimately and honestly to carry on their business, however much they may dislike the provisions of this Act. I do not think that the House should be asked to accept the principle that a man should be charged and penalised on suspicion. In my opinion the amendment which gives the man seven days to prove that he is not guilty of the offence does not meet the case at all. The Minister will either accept the amendment that I propose or we shall have to accept the section in the Bill with the Minister's amendments, which still leaves a stigma on an honest, industrious trader who may be charged on suspicion. That suspicion may be unfounded, but merely on that suspicion he can be penalised for an offence he never committed.

I did not catch what the Minister said when he was introducing these two amendments. I take it that he was interviewed by the trade and that they agreed to these amendments. I take it that when the trade interviewed the Minister they made a case and that the Minister was adamant and that he put up to the trade these amendments that he was going to introduce. The amendments meant nothing. They do not affect the principle of the section at all. The section as it stood gave a man a week to prove that the suspicion was wrong. The Minister had extended that to 15 days. I accept your ruling, a Chinn Comhairle, on the amendment I had in though I would have preferred it to Deputy Bennett's amendment. The amendments put in by the Minister are too innocent even for him. They mean nothing. I think it is a terrible principle to embody in legislation that if you have suspicion of a man you can take control of his business. Is it that the officers of the Minister are not doing their duty properly? Has he no remedy at his disposal? Has he not the courts? Surely the Minister does not want to get into the position of not recognising the courts, and taking the law into his own hands. That is what he is asking the House to empower him to do. He is asking for power not to recognise the ordinary courts of the land when he himself has failed, within certain defined law, to catch a person in a breach of the law under the Principal Act here and under this Bill. The Minister knows that a certain man is not carrying out the law but he is not able to catch it. Why not extend this principle in legislation? Why not extend it to publicans, and, in a case where the Guards have suspicion that a publican is committing a breach of the law, why not let the Guards come in and run the pub?

Dr. Ryan

That would be dangerous.

But the other is dangerous too.

It would be dangerous. If the Guards can catch a publican selling drink at one o'clock in the morning why cannot the Minister and his guards catch a butcher committing breaches of the law? It is not so easy to bring a bullock, or a sheep, into a premises as to sell a pint of porter. The publican who sells a pint of porter after hours can be caught. It is not a matter of suspicion. Nothing can be done until he is caught. He then goes into the court and he may prove he is innocent. The Guard has to prove the case against him, but even if he is caught he does not lose his licence; he is fined and his licence may be endorsed. Does the Minister need to have a suspicion in this case? Butchers may have been hostile; there may have been local rows, and politics can be brought into it. An inspector could be appointed—I am not now speaking of the present Administration; I am talking of any Administration—who is a good supporter of the Government. He knows the butcher has been against him and he will keep an eye upon him. The inspector may say: "I have strong suspicion of this man, but I cannot catch him." The inspector then takes over the control of the business. That is simply wild-west law. The amendments introduced by the Government here are quite obviously eye wash. The trade interviewed the Minister but he would not give them anything; he put up these amendments here, but they mean nothing.

Personally I would prefer to see before a man's business should be taken from him and from his management that those who were to run it knew the business. The trader has built up his own business. The inspector has built up no business, not even his own business. He is being given the management of a business, about which he knows nothing, within 12 months of his getting a job as inspector. He has got a job, and I do not care what his qualifications are, he has got a political job. The man who built up that business comes under the suspicion of this fellow who can walk in and run this man's job. It is a monstrous outrage on private enterprise and on people who built up their own business and who want to build up the business of the country. If it is not anarchy then it is the next thing to anarchy.

I submit Deputy Belton is wrong in describing this as wild west law. The existence of law presumes the existence of rights and duties. This section contemplates the existence of no rights and no duties in any member of the community except the bureaucracy that surrounds the Minister.

I accept the Deputy's interpretation.

Section 10 says:—

The Minister may, if and whenever he so thinks fit, serve on any particular registered proprietor a notice ... in writing in the prescribed form prohibiting such registered proprietor, on and after a day ... named in such notice, from purchasing or otherwise acquiring any cattle or sheep from any person except an officer of the Minister authorised on that behalf.

There is not obligation to satisfy this House or anybody that the butcher did anything wrong. The Minister could say: "I do not like the colour of the butcher's whiskers and until he cuts his whiskers off he must buy his meat through my inspector." Again he need only say: "I got out of bed this morning at the wrong side and so the first butcher I spotted I issued an order against him." There is no remedy. There is no use asking Fianna Fáil people to object to bureaucracy of that kind. They are people without any sense of liberty or dignity. It is folly to expect Deputies opposite to be anything else. They would not be members of the Fianna Fáil Party if they looked for sense and sanity in whatever President de Valera thinks they ought to do, or if they refuse to allow the Minister to have power to coerce them. Is he not the Fianna Fáil Minister for Agriculture? Is not President de Valera there to keep him right and to see that he does nothing wrong?

Hear, hear.

That is the way they live. They do not even think. They stopped thinking three years ago, if they ever did any thinking. It would be high treason for them to think, and if they did they would be drummed out of the Fianna Fáil Party.

Sure, I know it.

Dr. Ryan

This is the first time the Deputy admitted it.

The Minister here introduces some amendments which throw a flood of light on the mentality of Deputies on the other side. The penalty is prescribed by the Minister, and the alarmed butchers came and asked is there any means of finding a redress or alternatives. The Minister said he would put down amendments. Then they would be allowed to come to the Minister and say why they have been so treated. But the Minister will take up Section 10 and say it is an impertinence on their part. He will refer them to sub-section (1) of Section 10, which says that the Minister may, if and whenever he thinks fit, serve a notice prohibiting the butcher from purchasing or otherwise acquiring cattle or sheep from any person except an officer of the Minister; and he will say to them, if they do not like it, they can lump it. What remedy has the butcher? None, whatever. What the Minister wants is a free hand, though I do not think that the Minister himself has sufficient personality to want that. Their Party are encouraged by every piece of legislation introduced to clamour for more and more power. That is their position. They do not want the citizens to have any rights as against them in the courts of the country. They are succeeding gradually in inserting into every piece of legislation that comes before the House a section giving the Minister power to make any regulations he wants to amend legislation, to suspend legislation or to alter it in any way by regulation. The result is that the Oireachtas is slowly handing over to the Civil Service the entire function of legislating. I have made that protest, not once, but a dozen times, and the general trend of legislation seems to be that that is the best thing to do.

I do not blame the members of the Fianna Fáil Party. Candidly, I do not think they are fit for their jobs; I do not think they are competent to occupy their places here as legislators. They do not understand legislation. They pass the buck on to somebody else. They themselves are not competent to do the work they are supposed to do. Perhaps, under existing circumstances, it might be safer to hand over the country to the Civil Service. If I had to choose between the Civil Service and that collection on the opposite benches, I would choose the Civil Service every time. On broad general principles, however, it is a bad system, injurious to the prestige of the House, injurious to the liberties of the people. It is an insult to the House to offer the amendment which the Minister puts forward as a remedy for the evils contained in the section. If he does not mean to turn the courts of the country into a farce, he ought to accept Deputy Bennett's amendment, which provides that he cannot issue a notice under Section 10 unless and until the person to whom the notice is to be directed has been convicted of some offence against the principal Act in respect of the purchase of cattle or sheep.

Dr. Ryan

Deputy Belton is quite wrong in thinking that the victualler members of the consultative council were not keen on the amendment. It is their own wording.

The cattle export consultative council?

Dr. Ryan

No, the consultative council under the main Act. They asked for this amendment, the victualler members of the council, and it was in those words they asked for it. If the Deputy will get in touch with some of the producer members as well as the victualler members he might get a better idea of what they require. But the Deputy, when he is outside the House, is not interested in the producer or the farmer.

Draw it milder.

Dr. Ryan

I agreed to put this amendment in and I will ask the Dáil to accept it. Deputy Bennett's amendment will not be accepted if I can get the Dáil to reject it, because it would make the section absolutely ridiculous. If a person is convicted twice, Deputy Bennett wants him to be dealt with. He will not be in business at all at that time; he will be removed from the register if he is convicted under the Act.

Then you do not want the section?

Dr. Ryan

We do want the section.

Are you going to use it against people who have done nothing?

Dr. Ryan

If Deputy Dillon were here instead of celebrating the Jubilee he would know why I want the section. I am not going to go over the ground again for Deputy Dillon's benefit. Take the position of a butcher buying cattle. He asks the farmer: "Can I buy them," and the farmer says: "For the minimum price." Immediately he says the cattle do not suit him, but yet he gets the cattle through a third person in a few days. Is anybody so innocent as to think that he will pay the minimum price? Naturally, Deputy Dillon and others like him will stand up for the butcher instead of the farmer. They will talk about the farmer outside and make fine speeches, but they will always vote against his interests here. I would not expect anything else from them except that sort of hypocrisy. Formerly the butcher used to go round to the farmers and buy beasts. Now the butcher gets one farmer to collect all the beasts for him. Is it not in order to avoid paying the minimum price? Under Section 10 the inspector will report that that is going on. He serves a notice on this man and says that within 14 days he will be supplied with cattle by the inspector. If that person objects, some higher official will investigate the matter and he will advise the Minister either to put the order into force or not. In any case, the victualler's representations in writing will come before the Minister.

Could the Minister suggest what would satisfy him to withdraw that prohibitory notice in the case of the victualler?

Dr. Ryan

If the victualler satisfied me that he was buying his cattle as he always bought them, I would not put the notice into operation. Every Deputy here said the Principal Act was not being obeyed, that the minimum price was not being paid. If the clause is amended as I suggest, I say that Deputy Bennett's amendment could not be considered. Deputies may vote for or against the clause as they feel inclined. Deputy Belton talked about the difference between the victualler and the inspector. He said the victualler is a man who built up his own business. We are trying to get at the man who built up his business in an unfair way against his competitors. You have a group paying the minimum price and one man does not. Any man can build up a business on that basis. We want to stop that, but the Deputy is not inclined to help us. He talks about the inspectors getting a job, but that is most unfair.

It is true.

Dr. Ryan

They were appointed by the Civil Service Commissioners.

They were looking for jobs. They were unable to build up a business of their own.

Dr. Ryan

The Deputy was a civil servant at one time.

I was, but when I left the Civil Service I succeeded in building up a business for myself and I would resent any ne'er-do-well coming in to tell me how to run my business.

How did you get into the Civil Service?

By open competition. The Minister knows very well why I was fired out of it. I was convicted by courtmartial.

Dr. Ryan

That is all right. The Deputy might have been much better off and the Dáil might have been much better off if that had not occured.

Perhaps it would be better if there had been no '16 at all, and it would be right to fire Belton out anyway.

Dr. Ryan

I am not making little of the Deputy.

The Deputy at any rate did not go looking for a Government job when he was thrown out.

Dr. Ryan

I was just saying that the Deputy might have been much better off and the Dáil might have been much better off. The point I want to make is that if this section is to stand, and Deputies appear to think it is best, it will be improved by the amendments I suggest.

The Minister has just stated that he did not intend to proceed against people who are normally carrying on their business, but he will proceed against the men trying to get an unfair advantage against their competitors by attempting to buy cattle under the stipulated price. I am all out for penalising the man in any business who is evading the law that his competitors have to acknowledge and who thereby gets an advantage as against his competitors. But in the principal Act the Minister recognised the possibility of somebody trying to evade the principles of the Act. Every precaution that could possibly be taken was taken to prevent that. There were inspectors appointed by competitive examination and I for one am willing to admit that they were fairly appointed. There were oral examinations into their knowledge of livestock and things like that. I am free to admit that they were appointed fairly, that they were competent men able in every way to see that the conditions of the principal Act were complied with. In addition to that the farmer seller was offered an inducement under the Act to become an informer to the Minister if the butchers were evading the Act. It was hoped that the needy farmer would do it; if the butcher were not giving the minimum price there is no penalty on the farmer for accepting less than the minimum price. The farmer, if he had a row with the butcher, could come along six or seven months later and demand the full price. That was the precaution then taken against the evasion of the Act. Everything that could be done was done to prevent evasion. The House is now asked to agree to a thing to which it should not agree. The House is asked to agree that you can on suspicion convict a man and subject him to penalties. I do not think it needs any further argument to dispose of that principle. It is a principle that should not be accepted by this House, and I hope it never will. Much as I would like to see the principles of any Act passed by the House maintained I would never be a party to seeing any man convicted merely on suspicion and subjected to a penalty for something of which he may be completely innocent. I hope when you are putting the amendments that it will be in order to put mine first.

It would not be in order to do so.

I suggested putting mine first because it will obviate a multiplicity of votes being taken.

There is not a single word about suspicion in the section—

The Deputy might raise that on the section.

I suggest that the Minister's amendments go in and then divide.

Amendments 5a and 5b put and agreed to.
Amendment 7 put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 33; Níl, 49.

  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Everett, James.
  • Finlay, John.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Keating, John.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Redmond, Bridget Mary.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Wall, Nicholas.

Níl

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corbett, Edmond.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Daly, Denis.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doherty, Hugh.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Keely, Séamus P.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Doherty, Joseph.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Bennett and MacEoin; Níl: Deputies Little and Smith.
Amendment declared lost.
Question proposed: "That Section 10, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

On the section. The Minister may, if he thinks fit, serve any particular registered proprietor with a notice stopping him from trading. It does not say why that notice should be served. It does not say what will be in that notice. In those circumstances, is it not open to the Minister to serve a notice on anybody, in effect, to get out of business? Surely, if there is a suspicion it is a suspicion that he is evading the principal Act. Why is not some indication given here of the manner in which the principal Act may be evaded without the inspector catching the offender, and why is it not specified in the notice that the person is suspected of evading the Act? Why is it not stipulated in the section that the statutory notice which will be served must specify what the suspicion is about? There is no obligation on the Minister, according to this section, as far as I can see, that he must give a reason for serving the notice on the registered proprietor or trader. He need not state a reason for serving a notice stopping him from buying cattle and sheep. The Minister has, by his amendment 5 (b), graciously extended to 15 days the time allowed to a butcher to explain. But what will he explain? There is no provision made in the section that the reasons for stopping him from buying cattle and sheep must be set out. Then the butcher is supposed, within 15 days, to come to the Minister and explain. Explain what? One would have thought that if a statutory notice is to be served on anybody an indication in general terms should be set out as to the offences, if any, which the particular trader is suspected of having committed.

The Minister said that this section was put there at the dictation of the Consultative Council. I do not care at whose dictation it was put there; a man should be caught and convicted before he is branded as a criminal. I do not care if every farmer in Ireland came to the Minister and said: "This section must go in"; that does not make it right. The Minister tries to get away on the plea that certain traders are carrying on a dishonest business, and are not paying the minimum price. He wants to throw on those who criticise this section the onus of saying that the butcher should not pay the minimum price. That kind of stuff will not wash at all. I hold that one man should pay as high a price as another when it is fixed, but over and above that I believe that the whole thing is nonsense, because you have too many cattle offering for sale, and the inevitable attenuation will go on until we will just have enough fat cattle— and no more—for sale here, and to fill the quota we get in other markets. If there was ever a Party on which the epithet of "rancher" should be branded both on their shoulders and on their backs, it is the Government which is responsible for this type of legislation. We have a free market for stores; we have a restricted market for fat cattle. What will the inevitable development of the trade be? More stores and less fat cattle. Supply and demand will operate until we will just produce about the number of fat cattle for which we have a market. The Minister might as well recognise that and not be trying to plaster legislation of this kind, as supply and demand are going to rule the price. If the law provides that all butchers should pay the minimum price for fat cattle, I am sure that the Consultative Council would say to the Minister: "If we, who are butchers, are paying that price, you should take steps to see that all butchers will pay that price." That is a reasonable request to put up to the Minister, and I suggest that the Consultative Council put up no more, even though the Minister tries to get a left-handed blow at me, that I am only interested in producers in the House and not outside it. I did not expect that from the Minister. He can get in his left-handed blow under the belt if he likes; but it is not true. I was interested in these people before the Minister, and I am more genuinely interested than the Minister.

Dr. Ryan

You are too young.

By the time you have as much experience you will have grown up and developed a bit. They put it to the Minister to try to remedy this, and this is the Minister's remedy and nobody else's. I submit it is no remedy at all; that it is an outrage and shows that the Minister and his Party are driven to the wall. They have really no solution to offer for the cattle problem. They have admitted reluctantly that the cattle problem was the weak one with them, and they have nothing to offer for its solution better than this Bill, and nothing in this Bill better than Section 10. I think Section 10 should be turned down. It would be much better for the cattle trade if neither the principal Act nor this Bill was ever introduced. If the cattle trade were left to look after itself it would be much better off to-day. It is only the incompetent meddling with it by the Government that has it in its present position, and if this is passed into legislation it will make matters worse. I hope the House will reject it. I am afraid it will not, because the whipped-up majority will do the trick.

Question put: "That Section 10, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
The Committee divided: Tá, 53; Níl, 31.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corbett, Edmond.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Daly, Denis.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doherty, Hugh.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Everett, James.
  • Flinn, Hugo V.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Keely, Séamus P.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Doherty, Joseph.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.

Níl

  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Finlay, John.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Keating, John.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Redmond, Bridget Mary.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Wall, Nicholas.
Tellers:—Tá, Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Bennett and MacEoin.
Question declared carried.
SECTION 11.

I move amendment No. 8:—

At the end of the section to add a new sub-section as follows:—

The provisions of this section shall not operate except in the case of a registered proprietor who has been charged and convicted of an infringement of the principal Act.

The same remarks apply to this amendment as to the previous one. This section also provides a penalty to which any trader, honest or dishonest, may be subjected at the will of the Minister. I need not repeat the arguments which I used in regard to the previous amendment as to the injustice of inflicting a penalty on suspicion on any trader who may or may not be guilty of an infringement of the Act. Another question arises on this section which furnishes a still further argument for my amendment. That is that it has been pointed out to me that many, if not all, of the butchers in the country districts would find it impossible to fulfil the obligations imposed by this section. Various butchers—and my information has not been received from one district alone—have pointed out to me that their trade is very fluctuating in country districts and that at any moment it may be necessary to engage in killing. They are subject to orders and so on. In these cases it might be utterly impossible to give the notice required to the inspector. That is an added argument for the acceptance of the amendment. If the section is allowed to stand as it is, it would inflict an injustice on country victuallers who would find it impossible to give the notice required in the Bill.

Would the Minister say what prompts this provision?

Dr. Ryan

This, of course, stands very much on a par with Section 10 but it will be used only in comparatively few cases, namely, in cases where we find it impossible to get what we could regard as a true return of the number of killings for the purposes of the collection of the levy. The only way we can deal with such people is to get notice of the time of killing so that the inspector can go and check the killings at the actual time the beasts are killed. This is not nearly so drastic a section as Section 10, but if it would meet Deputy Bennett's amendment—I am aware that there would be some difficulty in country districts in meeting this provision—I would be prepared to change the 48 hours' notice required by the section to 24 hours' notice. If the inspector gets notice at all I will be satisfied. If the inspector got 24 hours' instead of 48 hours' notice, perhaps no great injury would be done to anybody. The section will be used, of course, only where we find it difficult to get the butchers to keep true books and where the inspector is satisfied that he is not getting a proper return of the number of killings,

Would the Minister explain what he means by 24 hours' notice? Does that mean that a registered proprietor or any person who is going to slaughter cattle must write to the inspector, say at 10 o'clock on Tuesday morning, that he proposes to slaughter at 10 o'clock on Wednesday?

Dr. Ryan

That would have to be defined by regulations. I would undertake to make it possible in the regulations to give him notice by hand or even by 'phone because the inspectors, as a rule, live very close to these people and notice could be given in five minutes. If they get 24 hours notice that would be sufficient.

This would not be the normal method of killing?

Dr. Ryan

No. Section 15 deals with the normal times of killing. This only deals with individuals who do not supply proper returns.

I am thankful for small mercies and on the slight concession the Minister gives me, I shall accept his offer to bring in an amendment reducing the length of the notice from 48 hours to 24 hours. I hope also that the Minister will provide that notice can be given by 'phone or wire if necessary.

Dr. Ryan

That will be for the regulations.

We understand that complaints may be made against certain people both in connection with this section and the previous one. Will the Minister give us this undertaking, that unless he gets three such complaints from a reliable source he will not put this machinery into operation. A single complaint is very often no indication whatever that an offence has been committed by a person. The Minister ought to know by this in his own Department that getting a single complaint or even two or three complaints scarcely justifies the taking of very severe action. If it is a fact that a single complaint will mean that this section or the previous section would be brought into operation against a person it really means that that person's business would be damaged to a very considerable extent. I think the Minister ought to be in a position to meet us generally in that regard.

Dr. Ryan

I think I can very easily give that undertaking because, as the Deputy knows as he was a member of the last Government for some years, such action is never taken lightly. It is only when every other means has been exhausted that drastic action of that kind is taken against any trader. I think I can give the Deputy an undertaking that the power given in the section will not be resorted to on a single report or a single instance.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 8 withdrawn.

Does the Minister intend to introduce an amendment on the Report Stage to make the alteration?

Dr. Ryan

If the House will agree to take it now I will move to substitute the words "twenty-four" for "forty-eight" in line 31.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 11, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 12.
(1) Every inspector of the Minister is hereby authorised and empowered to do all or any of the following things, that is to say—
(2) Every person who shall do any of the following things, that is to say—

I move amendment No. 9:

In sub-section (1), line 60, after the word "things" to insert the words "on land or premises owned or rented by registered proprietors."

From the way in which this section is drawn, it seems to me that an inspector could go in on any man's land and search for cattle and sheep. As drawn, I do not think it would be confined to cattle and sheep for slaughter. Therefore, I suggest the insertion of the words in my amendment. I take it that it is in regard to registered proprietors that the Minister is asking for more power. If they have done something wrong, or contemplate doing something wrong, the Minister is asking for more power to search paddocks or lands owned or rented by butchers. If that is the intention, I think the full case would be met by the section if my amendment is embodied in it. I cannot say more until I hear from the Minister what reason he has for putting in this section as it stands. Does he want to rope in more people than the butcher, or does he want to make it another "D.O.R.A."? I would like to hear the Minister's reason for having this section put in at all.

Dr. Ryan

I think the Deputy will realise that if these restrictive words were inserted it might be difficult for the inspector to get the information he is looking for. He might want to see five or six cattle that he thinks the butcher has bought. If this amendment is accepted, and the butcher left his cattle on someone else's land, the owner of that land could prevent the inspector coming on it. Therefore, he must have power to enter anybody's land, otherwise the Act could be evaded.

What help would entering other people's land be to the inspector?

Dr. Ryan

He has to check up what the butcher bought. The butcher may say: "I have five cattle somewhere else, that I did not kill yet." The inspector may say: "I want to see them." If the butcher says they are on so-and-so's farm he may tell that person not to admit the inspector to the land.

Why does the inspector want to go after them if he knew they were there?

Dr. Ryan

But they might not be there; they might have been killed. The Deputy knows we are not anxious to have inspectors going on to other people's land. We refused the request of the county committees to look after cattle for them. They were anxious to have our inspectors going on to the farms, but we would not accept the invitation.

It is the limit. He can go into a man's drawingroom if he wished.

Dr. Ryan

Yes, but he is not likely to do so.

I think it is monstrous. I think it should be confined to where the butcher's business operates, or to accommodation land either owned or rented by the butcher, on which he might have cattle. No one should be given a roving commission. We have no privacy owing to the legislation we have.

Dr. Ryan

I have six inspectors in the County Dublin with power to go into Deputy Belton's house to look for maize meal, but they do not do it.

They would get a damn warm reception if they did.

Amendment put and declared negatived.

I move amendment No. 10.

In sub-section (2), line 22, after the word "person" to insert the words "in charge of or having the custody or possession of any cattle or sheep."

This amendment is only meant to clarify sub-section (2). That sub-section gives the Minister's inspectors power to interrogate certain people. I notice that, in regard to the penalties, the sub-section says that any person who fails or refuses to answer questions asked by the inspector shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding £20. I may be wrong, but, to my mind, that may mean any person, whether he had anything to do with the care of the cattle or sheep, might be subjected to these penalties. The amendment may not be necessary, and if the House thinks so I shall not press it.

Dr. Ryan

I think the Deputy will find it is not necessary. The inspector under sub-section (1) is only authorised or empowered to do things in the following cases, that is to say:—To prosecute any person who gives an answer which is to his knowledge false or misleading or any person who, when his own or any other name or address is demanded of him by such inspector, fails, or refuses to give such address or gives a name or address which is false. If any person under sub-section (2) refused to answer any questions, instead of incurring a penalty he might have an action against the inspector for interfering with him.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 12 agreed to.
Section 13 agreed to.
SECTION 14.
(1) Every person who, whether before or after the passing of this Act, slaughters in any premises other than registered premises any cattle or sheep for human consumption in Saorstát Eireann, shall be liable to pay to the Minister on demand made by the Minister a levy on all cattle and sheep so slaughtered.

Dr. Ryan

On the Second Reading, Deputy O'Sullivan raised a point under this section. He said that as the section stands a person who is killing cattle for his own use, or an institution killing cattle, would be liable to the levy. We only mean to interfere with people who should be registered but who are not registered, and I think amendments 11, 12 and 13 will give the section that effect. Amendments 11 and 12 lead up to amendment 13, which sets out:

"If the said non-registration of the said premises was or is a contravention of the said Part II."

Unless the non-registration was a contravention against Part II, we cannot take any action against them, so that institutions and those killing cattle for themselves will not come under this section when we insert these three amendments. I beg to move:—

In sub-section (1), line 10, to delete the word "whether" and substitute the words "after the commencement of Part II of the principal Act and either."

In sub-section (1), lines 11 and 12, to delete the words "other than registered premises" and substitute the words "which, at the time of such slaughter, were or are not registered in the register of slaughtering premises."

In sub-section (1), line 13, after the word "shall" to insert the words "if the said non-registration of the said premises was or is a contravention of the said Part II."

Amendments agreed to.

Amendment No. 14 is governed by amendment No. 1. That has been ruled already.

Amendment No. 14 not moved.
Section 14, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 15.
(3) The Minister may by order, whenever he thinks fit so to do, prohibit, either generally or in such areas as may be specified in such order, the slaughter of cattle or sheep at any hours or times other than such hours or times as shall be specified in that behalf in such order.
(4) Every person who slaughters any cattle or sheep in contravention of an order made under the next preceding sub-section of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this sub-section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding ten pounds for each animal in respect of which such offence is committed.
(5) Where a person is charged with an offence under any sub-section of this section, it shall be a good defence to such charge for such person to prove that the animal in respect of which the offence is alleged to have been committed was suffering pain caused by injury or disease and was slaughtered in order to avoid the unnecessary suffering to which such animal would have been subjected by deferring its slaughter until a time at which such slaughter would not be a contravention of this section.

I move amendment No. 15:—

To delete sub-sections (3), (4) and (5).

I move that on the ground that a man should have his own time to carry on slaughtering. He knows his own business and he should have his own time in which to carry out the work.

Dr. Ryan

The object of this section is, of course, to regulate the trade generally. It is not meant to penalise in any way. The Dublin abattoir has special rules and the intention is to make rules, but they will be liberal—from 8 to 8, let us say. I do not think there will be any penalising of anybody under this section.

Will the Minister have regard to the customs in the different localities?

Does not this apply to butchers all over the country, irrespective of public abattoirs?

Dr. Ryan

Yes.

Then it will be a very serious matter for country butchers. After all, there are registered butchers in the country who follow other occupations—farming, for instance. It will be pretty hard for them to have an hour fixed by somebody else in which they must make the killings.

Dr. Ryan

The Minister specifies the hours in which they must not slaughter.

It will be very hard for you to fix suitable hours. Take a town where there are four butchers. You fix an hour for those butchers and once you fix that hour that ties the butchers down. Some of them might have other interests, possibly the funeral of a friend. The killing of a beast requires care and attention and it is hard to expect a man to be there with his servants at a specified hour when he might find it convenient to be elsewhere attending to other business.

Dr. Ryan

I do not think the Deputy is getting this correctly. A ten or 12 hour day will be fixed during which they may slaughter. It is not meant that they must slaughter between one and two in the afternoon. They will slaughter in the ordinary course of working hours.

If that is clarified, I would have no objection.

Dr. Ryan

We can change the hours for certain areas. The custom in one district may be that there is a half-day on Saturday, while in another district there would be a half-day on Thursday.

The Minister's idea is that there will be a 12-hour run?

Dr. Ryan

A full working day.

Amendment No. 15, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 15 to 17, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 18.
(1) The Minister may, whenever he so thinks proper, by order (in this section referred to as an exemption order) made with the consent of the Minister for Finance, exempt all or any specified holders of manufacturing licences from all or any specified provisions of the Principal Act as amended by this Act or of this Act.

I move amendment No. 16:—

In sub-section (1), line 53, after the word "Act" to add the words "except as regards the payment of the minimum price for meat."

This amendment is prompted by the Minister's peculiar way of helping the cattle industry. He is going to find an outlet in canning and an outlet in a knacker industry. If he is going to can meat for human consumption or is going to give a licence to others to can, I take it the seller of the meat is entitled to a full price for it. Who is going to give it? If the Minister is going to provide an outlet, let it be a genuine outlet. If good meat is going into this channel, let it be paid for at a fixed regulation price. If good meat cannot be diverted into that channel and paid for at the minimum price, then it is not a proper channel into which to direct it. If the Minister is finding new markets, those markets must at least be equal to the butchers' market. There is no use in setting up a fictitious industry in any part of the country and saying it is going to absorb 1,000 cattle a week. If the object is merely to kill off 1,000 cattle a week, it is very easy to shoot 1,000 a week and bury them. Will the Minister be able to find an outlet for the 1,000 cattle a week without any loss to the taxpayer? If he does not he had better leave it alone. I put down the amendment and if the Minister is trying those experiments let him try away but let him pay the full price and when he is paying the full price, if it pays it is all right, but if it does not pay let him go to the Exchequer and make up the deficit. I know what is going to operate. The Minister refused an amendment at the beginning of this Committee Stage which would put before the country the money that was roped in through taxation in fees under this Bill. The Minister wants to conceal that and where the minimum price can be paid use the fees to obtain from that end of the trade the wherewithal to pay for the waste of 1,000 a week that he contemplates providing for fat cattle by means of canning. But this canning business cannot afford to pay the fixed minimum price. There will be a loss on it. The Minister is going to meet that by drawing from taxation on the beef industry. The Minister is going to waste his time in starting a canning industry that will not pay for itself. If the Minister wants to try that experiment let him try it or give a licence to someone to try it but let the rest of the Bill govern the price of the meat going into that channel. Let them pay the full price for it but do not let him use up any of the fees under this Bill to subsidise that end which can never pay.

Dr. Ryan

The object of this section is to allow the canning factory, which is not to be confused with the meat meal factory, to get cattle at less than the minimum price. A meat-meal factory can get cattle at less, because meat-meal is not for human consumption. If the canning factory were taking all first class cattle they would have to pay the minimum price, but they will have to get a certain proportion of thin cattle. They will have to get a certain proportion of these in order to make good tinned meat. These cattle would be, perhaps, three or four years old. We could not expect anybody to pay the same price for them as is paid for fat cattle. Therefore, we are exempting the owners of the canning factory from paying the minimum price for that class of cattle. If they are going to buy fat cattle for that purpose then they will have to pay the minimum price. In that case it will be enforced all right. They will get no exemption for that particular class of cattle. It is only for cattle that cannot be classed as fat cattle that they are going to get exemption.

There is going to be no outlet in the canning factory for fat cattle then?

Dr. Ryan

For some of them.

Did not the Minister say that there must be no fat on the cattle used in the canning factory?

Dr. Ryan

For a certain proportion.

Is it necessary that there should be a mixture in the factory?

Dr. Ryan

Yes.

Who is going to supply them with the lean cattle? Will not a man get more for stores in the open market than the price that can be given by the factory?

Dr. Ryan

The factory will pay the market price for the store cattle.

If there is no restriction on stores there will be no cattle taken to the canning factory unless cattle of the knacker kind. Does the Minister say that he can guarantee prices equivalent to the British or world prices for store cattle that are used by the canning factory? Is the Minister going to say that? Of course he will not. While there is an open market for store cattle in Britain there can be no supply for the canning factory. This is the logic of the Minister's argument. He says that the lean cattle will have to be mixed with the fat cattle, and unless we have lean cattle there can be no consumption of fat cattle in the canning factory. Is not that the position in the matter of the canning factory? It is not to provide an outlet for fat cattle?

Dr. Ryan

Yes.

Then we must go back to the old British market. If that were open, there need be none of these tricks at all.

Dr. Ryan

But it is not open.

Yes, it is open for stores. Unless you are going to pay more for stores than for fat cattle where are you? What farmer will fatten a beast if he can get more for a thin beast?

Dr. Ryan

The canning factory will pay the market price for the stores.

The market price for stores, but the market price is going to be better for stores than for fat cattle. We are to keep down the supply of fat cattle to the limits of our requirements at home and abroad. Is it not as clear as noon-day that that is going to be the trend of the cattle business—that we will only fatten the amount of cattle for which there is a market? But there is an unlimited market for stores. Then the Minister's talk of the canning factory is all nonsense.

Dr. Ryan

It appears to be in order to make this speech on every amendment.

We are talking of canning now, and it is the first time I heard this. I give the Minister credit for giving me that much information— that for the canning factory we will want thin cattle three or four years old. I did not know that we had any prairies in this country where you can get a very considerable number of thin cattle three or four years old. To my mind that business will not last long, because the man who is pursuing it will soon be up a tree.

Dr. Ryan

He is putting his own money into it.

Under what conditions would it be possible to develop a canning factory if the British market remained open? I do not know that it would develop if the British penal tariff were doubled. Perhaps it would be a good thing if that tariff were doubled, because then we would get rid of this nonsense in a very short time.

I was very anxious to hear the views of the Minister on this section, and he has given us his views. I intended to oppose the section, but the Minister has explained it, and his explanation has altered it to some extent. To some extent the Minister is being badly canned under this section. I do not think he has given any reasonable explanation for the incidence of that section. First and foremost I think Deputy Belton is right. If this canning factory is going to absorb fat cattle, then they ought to go to the factory on the ordinary terms, and the factory should not be exempt by any provisions in the Bill from paying the market price. On the other hand, stores are going at a better price than fat cattle. If that is so, and the canning factory wants lean cattle, is there any explanation as to why it should be exempt from the restrictions that are on the other victuallers and buyers of fat stock? I do not see any reason in the Minister's attitude. If we are going to have a canning factory, and if that canning factory is going to buy certain fat stock, they should stand in the ring and buy on the same terms as anybody else. The section says that they may be exempted from all or any of the specified provisions of the Principal Act. That is sub-section (1), and sub-section (3) is a repetition of that. I do not see how the Minister is going to keep them in and let them out at the same time.

They are not in according to that section.

If the Minister lets them out, they are out, and there is no way of roping them in again. On the whole, I think the Minister should reconsider what he is going to do about that section. If there is any benefit in the Minister's scheme—which I am very doubtful about myself, but still it is our duty as far as we can to try to remedy the thing—and in the fixing of the minimum price, every buyer ought to be in the same category, and the people who are going to run the canning factory ought to be obliged to pay the same price as anybody else. There ought to be no way out for them. I do not see any reason why there should be. As Deputy Belton says, if we have an open market for our store cattle they are going to retain a higher price than fat cattle. Consequently, there is no reason why the canning factory should be exempt.

As I said on the Second Reading of the Bill, this section provides practically a subsidy to the manufacturers as against the traders. In certain circumstances they would be allowed to enter into competition with the traders. Deputy Belton's amendment seeks to provide an equivalent price for cattle bought by those and other people. The Minister answered that by saying that the same class of cattle will not be bought. He said that certain thin stores would be purchased, and that consequently there could not be the stipulated price which Deputy Belton asked for. I can back up what Deputy Belton said that stores are in some cases dearer per cwt. than beef, and as the condition advances or decreases—whichever way you put it— the thin store is comparatively dearer than the beef. The less flesh there is on him the dearer he is per cwt. except in the case of the unsound store, which is at any stagnant price you like. If what we have heard about this factory and the proposed price to be given is true—I am not going to mention a price without being sure—then the stores to be bought and delivered at that price can be nothing else than inferior cattle. I think we ought to provide against that. It would be impossible to get sound stores at the stipulated price I heard mentioned. We ought to be careful for two reasons before we accept this particular section; first, that there should be no subsidies to manufacturers against other traders, and, secondly, that the quality of the cattle supplied to them must bear some relation to the quality of the cattle bought and killed and sold by the people against whom they are competing. It is a dangerous section as it stands; it gives the Minister power to discriminate between different sections of the traders.

Dr. Ryan

I think Deputies are unduly anxious about this. As far as fat cattle are concerned, they will have to pay the minimum price.

How do you reconcile that with sub-section (1)?

Dr. Ryan

Sub-section (1) says:

"The Minister may whenever he so thinks proper, by order (in this section referred to as an exemption order) made with the consent of the Minister for Finance, exempt all or any specified holders of manufacturing licences from all or any specified provisions of the principal Act ..."

The Minister may exempt——

Dr. Ryan

Yes. "The Minister may ... exempt all or any."

He may exempt them as regards the minimum price?

Dr. Ryan

Yes, for certain classes of cattle, or for all classes of cattle if he wishes.

There is only one class of cattle for which the price is fixed— fat cattle.

Dr. Ryan

Not at all. There is no mention of fat cattle in the principal Act. What is mentioned are cattle for slaughter.

It implies that.

Dr. Ryan

Therefore, if they buy those stores for canning, they are for consumption in Saorstát Eireann, and under the principal Act they would have to pay the minimum price. If it is true that store cattle are being sold at a higher price per cwt. than fat cattle, they will have to pay the market price, and perhaps pay even higher than the minimum price. In case it should happen that store cattle will be a few shillings lower than fat cattle there is no reason why we should force them to pay the minimum price for the stores. We will make them pay for the fat cattle.

Why exempt them?

Dr. Ryan

They will not be exempt.

I am satisfied if you safeguard that with any word you like, but I submit that it is not safeguarded in the sub-section as drawn.

It is left completely open.

If that is the Minister's intention I agree with it, but as the sub-section is drawn you cannot read that into it.

Dr. Ryan

You can. It says "from all or any specified provisions."

One is as important as the other.

Dr. Ryan

For instance, they will not get a licence to evade every section of the Act. They will only get it in certain directions like that.

The Minister knows what difficulties arise as regards what are store cattle and what are fat cattle. A lot of difficulties have arisen on the other side as to what is really a store beast and what is not. Once you make an exemption in a case like this you are on dangerous ground.

Dr. Ryan

I do not think so.

I submit that the minimum price should be allowed to stand for them all.

Dr. Ryan

I do not think there will be any great difficulty here. The matter has been discussed very fully between my Department and the proprietors of this factory. The intention is that they will be allowed to buy a certain amount of fat cattle on their own, but that the store cattle must be bought in certain areas specified by us, and must be inspected by us to see that they are stores. I do not think there will be any difficulty about that.

I should like to draw the Minister's attention to the wording of the amendment. It only clarifies what he says is his intention. The sub-section reads:

(1) The Minister may, whenever he so thinks proper, by order (in this section referred to as an exemption order) made with the consent of the Minister for Finance, exempt all or any specified holders of manufacturing licences from all or any specified provisions of the Principal Act as amended by this Act or of this Act.

To clarify that, I propose that those words be added: "Except as regards the payment of the minimum price for meat." That only clarifies what the Minister says is his intention. What objection can he have to the clarification of his own intention?

The Minister's last explanation makes it, to my mind, more imperative that Deputy Belton's amendment should be accepted. The Minister said that as regards fat cattle it is already accepted that the principle is there, but as regards other cattle that it is not so. Then he adds that as far as stores are concerned, they are to be bought in certain areas by the Minister or his agents. If it were only to protect the Minister or his agents, and to protect the Exchequer from possible loss, Deputy Belton's amendment should be accepted. As far as I know, and I think I know the cattle trade very well, healthy stores in general are making as much per cwt. as beef in normal times, and I think even now that would be so. A store beast of what we would call inferior flesh—that would be less than half fat, and the Minister mentioned that he was going to use a lot of those—would perhaps in certain cases be dearer per cwt. than beef. If the Minister is going to guarantee that he is going to buy those for the cattle trade, I think it ought to be stipulated that the minimum price will be given. He should not be restricted at all as to price, or there will be a suspicion in the public mind, as I said, that inferior or unsound stores are passed on to the factory. I do not believe that is the intention. To safeguard the Minister and the Exchequer, and to satisfy the people in general that there is no such thing as a possibility of unsound stores being used, I think the Minister ought to accept Deputy Belton's amendment in full to apply to store cattle as well as to fat cattle.

Has there been any contract with the factory as regards the price to be paid, or charged for this meat when canned? Presumably, the canned meat must be sold at a moderate price, and if to sell it at a moderate price, the beef has to be bought below the ordinary price, then we are simply getting rid of surplus cattle, but we are not helping the people to cash them at anything like an economic price. Is the Minister at liberty to mention anything as regards the price to be paid per cwt. for cattle in this case?

Dr. Ryan

Not exactly, because the negotiations have not finally concluded. Although I think an agreement has been come to, I do not think it has been signed; at least I have not signed it. All I can say is that the price of the tinned meat will have a relation to the price paid for the cattle. That is how the agreement goes. There is also, of course, a provision for a subsidy from the Government in certain circumstances; that is, if the prices of cattle go higher than the stipulated price, the subsidy must be paid for a number of years, because, naturally, people are not inclined to put a large amount of money into a concern like that unless they get a reasonable guarantee that they will be able to carry on for a certain number of years. That is as far as I can go at present. Under the Cattle Act, the particulars of every agreement must be published as soon as the agreement is made, and I think we will be in a position to do that within the next three or four weeks.

Is there portion of the subsidy in the figure of £200,000 which the Minister gave this evening?

Dr. Ryan

There is.

Do I understand that this is to be sold to persons in receipt of unemployment assistance at a particular price and to be sold in shops at the same price?

Dr. Ryan

Yes. There is a fixed price to the ordinary consumer. That is regulated also.

I take it there is a flat price all round?

Dr. Ryan

Yes.

So that the people in receipt of unemployment assistance can buy or not as they please?

Dr. Ryan

That is right.

Then it is not in the nature of a new social service?

Dr. Ryan

I do not know if I understand the Deputy exactly. If the recipients of free beef at present are not in a position to get free fresh beef, there is a section in this Bill which empowers us to give tinned beef instead. We make a contract with this factory to supply the Government with a certain amount of tinned meat for distribution in that way.

Amendment put and negatived.

Question put: "That Section 18 stand part of the Bill."
The Committee divided: Tá, 52; Níl, 30.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corbett, Edmond.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Daly, Denis,
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doherty, Hugh.
  • Everett, James.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Keely, Séamus P.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Doherty, Joseph.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.

Níl

  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Keating, John.
  • Lavery, Cecil.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Finlay, John.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Redmond, Bridget Mary.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Wall, Nicholas.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith: Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.
SECTION 19.

I move amendment No. 17:—

At the end of the section to add a new sub-section as follows:—

The price payable by recipients for beef shall be such a price which when the subsidy given by the Minister for Finance is added to it will give the registered proprietor his ordinary retail price.

Sub-section (4) of Section 17 provides for the fixing of the rate per lb. payable for meat by the recipients of this cheap meat. The Government fixes the price which the butcher should get for the meat which he is to give out free or cheaply. It is all right for the Government to take credit for giving free meat or cheap meat if they provide the money for that. If they say that the price of meat to the recipients shall be 3d. per lb., and the price which the butcher should get would be 6d. per lb., let that be so, but let the Government come along and make up the difference of 3d. per lb. instead of pinching the money out of the fund built up here ostensibly to help the cattle trade. That is the object of the amendment. Let the Minister provide the money to fill up the gap.

In support of Deputy Belton's amendment, I wish to say that one of the things that militated against the payment of the minimum price by the butchers down the country more than anything else was the fact that they felt that they suffered a dead loss on the meat supplied under the Government's scheme of free beef. That is what Deputy Belton is endeavouring to remedy. I agree with Deputy Belton that if the Government is going to introduce new social services, be it free beef or free anything else, they ought to pay for it. It is not fair to ask the butchers to deduct it out of the fixed price, a thing which has been happening up to now, and to ask that the producer should suffer the loss. If we are going to have social services such as this, let that service be paid for. I do not know whether it would be an easy matter to determine what the ordinary retail price should be, but if the Government institutes a service such as this and claims credit for it, they should pay for it.

Dr. Ryan

I do not believe at all that one of the things which militated against the payment of a fixed price was the price paid for free beef.

Indeed it did.

Dr. Ryan

We were paying 5d. per lb. when the minimum price of cattle was fixed at 25/- per cwt., but we came to the conclusion that they were not paying that minimum price. We then brought the price down to 4d. per lb., and they continued to pay the same price for the cattle. They paid as little as they could for the cattle. We are trying to make things better, if we can, by amending the Principal Act in order to compel them to pay the minimum price. In any case, in regard to this amendment, I hold that the price we are paying for the free beef or the cheap beef is what would be the ordinary retail price for that beef to these people if there was no Act at all. Before we operated this cattle Act the butchers here in Dublin—they are in a different position to the butchers in the country, but we shall take the Dublin butchers first—were selling at prices ranging, for first class beef, from 2d. per lb. to 1/2 per lb. They were selling a small percentage—15 or 20 per cent.— in the form of free beef and we were giving them 4d. per lb. for it, and they were doing very well. The same thing would apply to the majority of provincial towns. There is, I admit, a difficulty in certain areas. A very big complaint has been made in County Donegal in that regard. There is a genuine complaint from areas like Donegal, where the greater proportion of the meat is being sold as free beef. That is where the ordinary consumer is not taking 80 per cent. of the beef, which would be the average for the whole country. The only way we can meet these cases is to give tinned meat. Provision is being made for that in this Bill, that tinned meat will be given instead of fresh meat where it is not practicable to get fresh meat. It is the only possible way to meet it. I think everybody will agree that it would be wrong to give the penny or, perhaps, twopence per lb., which would be necessary if this amendment were adopted, to butchers all over Ireland, because there might be five per cent. of them who could not supply beef at less than 6d. instead of 4d. per lb. The big majority are making the business pay all right.

I do not think the Minister touched on the amendment at all. He mistook it.

Would the Minister be good enough to tell me what percentage of the beef distributed in Donegal was distributed as free beef?

Dr. Ryan

No, I could not, but the return could be got. We could get a return of the number of cattle killed and the beef supplied.

Has the Minister had his attention directed to the fact that a large proportion of the beef consumed in Donegal was consumed as free beef, so as to make the minimum rate for cattle and the compensation for free beef distributed by the Minister unfair? It is a very remarkable state of affairs. On the amendment standing in the name of Deputy Belton the Minister makes the case that the price which is being paid for free beef has compensated the butchers for the price they had to pay for live cattle. It is common knowledge that that is not so. Everyone will agree that the constant complaint of the butcher is that he could not pay the fixed minimum price for cattle owing to the price at which he had to distribute the free beef. I do not know where the Minister gets his information, but he has to face this fact that unless he makes provision for the distribution of free beef on an economic basis two evils will arise. First, he is putting the burden of social services not upon the community as a whole, but upon people suffering most in the general financial strain—that is the small farmer who is selling his cattle to whoever buys them. Secondly, he is putting a premium on dishonesty on the part of the victualler, because if he is constantly striving to beat down the price he has to pay for cattle to supply free beef, what is going to happen and has happened in many parts of the country, is that the recipients of free beef are getting free cow, and very old cow at that. I think the Minister is aware of that.

I am not of the opinion that butchers are saints by any means; but where you have the evil existing, all over the country, and where men in general take very great risks by providing old cow meat, where they were supposed to supply heifer or bullock, you have an indication that something is wrong. I admit, no matter what provision is made by the Government, you would have some people trying to profiteer, but you would not have the vast majority of the butchers trying to do it. I think our experience is that in very few instances have the people who are supposed to get heifer and bullock beef got anything but cow beef. Our experience is that farmers selling cattle have been steadfastly refused the prices fixed by the Minister on the ground that the butchers could not pay it and make a living.

In face of these facts, I think, Deputy Belton's amendment ought to be accepted. If it is not accepted you will have the same abuse arising in the future as in the past. The point made by Deputy Belton is not unreasonable. If the House wants social services it ought to pay for them. If we want free beef or cheap beef we ought to distribute the expenses, not over a small section of the community, but at the expense of the Exchequer, and spread the cost over the entire taxpaying community, because we are holding ourselves out as giving effect to the desire of the entire taxpaying community who, if they want certain things done, ought to pay for them.

Dr. Ryan

I agree if the House wants social services the House should pay for them. But the butchers do not come into the social services, and what I object to is that they should get any of our money for social services. They are getting the price they are entitled to. If we have any money to spare let us give it to the people who are entitled to it.

If the Minister contends the butchers are getting more than ordinary prices, would he tell us what is the Food Prices Commission doing?

Dr. Ryan

I am not saying they are profiteering.

The Minister said that certain butchers were selling certain portions of beef at 2d per lb. Would the Minister consider that as the giving away of free beef? Whether that is correct or not the producer or farmer who has livestock to sell is suffering all the time.

Question put: "That the said new sub-section be there inserted."
The Committee divided: Tá, 30; Níl, 51.

  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Finlay, John.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Keating, John.
  • Lavery, Cecil.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Redmond, Bridget Mary.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Wall, Nicholas.

Níl

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corbett, Edmond.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Daly, Denis.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doherty, Hugh.
  • Everett, James.
  • O'Doherty, Joseph.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Keely, Séamus P.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Doyle and Bennett; Níl: Deputies Little and Smith.
Amendment declared lost.

Amendment No. 18 is out of order.

Amendment No. 18 not moved.
Sections 19 to 22 inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 23.

Dr. Ryan

I move amendment No. 19:—

Before Section 23 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) It shall not be lawful for any registered proprietor of registered victualling premises or other person lawfully entitled to give or sell beef or canned beef to recipients in exchange for beef vouchers to give or sell or offer to give or sell, in exchange for a beef voucher, any beef or canned beef of a kind or quality different from the kind or quality of beef or canned beef (as the case may be) which he is required by the Principal Act as amended by this Act or any order, contract, or regulation made thereunder so to give or sell.

(2) Every registered proprietor or other person who gives or sells or offers to give or sell any beef or canned beef in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding twenty-five pounds.

Deputies were complaining a few minutes ago that some of those who were receiving free beef were getting cow beef. This new section is being inserted to make that an offence. It was not an offence, strange to say, under the other Act. Of course it was an oversight and now it is being made right. As a matter of fact it was responsible for the delay in the payment of accounts for the supply of free beef in many cases where we suspected cow beef was being supplied. I think it is necessary that this new section should go in in order to make it obligatory on the supplier of free beef or beef under the contributory scheme to supply beef of proper quality.

I would like to know whether this new section is calculated to have any effect on the situation that has developed in many parts of the country where people with free beef vouchers ask that they should be given sausages or bacon or some other food-stuff of that kind instead of beef. I would be glad if the Minister will tell us whether any considerable number of complaints reached him on that score and whether the prohibition against selling anything but beef of the proper quality will be taken to include a prohibition against selling anything but beef.

Dr. Ryan

That is already provided for in the principal Act.

Did the Minister get complaints that the Act was being transgressed?

Dr. Ryan

There were certain cases.

Amendment No. 19 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 20:—

At the end of the section to add a new sub-section as follows:—

In any case where it is clearly impossible for a registered proprietor to supply the full quantity stated on a beef or canned beef voucher it shall be lawful for him to sell and for the holder of the voucher to accept a lesser quantity provided it is so recorded on the voucher and that the balance is later supplied.

I submitted this amendment to avoid the possibility of recipients of free beef being disappointed. The section precludes victuallers giving part of the amount stated on the voucher. It might so happen that butchers having a rush of business in the week-end would not be able to give the full amount on the voucher. If this section were strictly adhered to it might mean they would get none. I do not say my amendment is the proper way of meeting the matter, but perhaps the Minister could devise some wording that will obviate the difficulty that I anticipate. The difficulty will be added to by the new regulations. Whatever chance the butcher would have of providing the amount of meat under the principal Act, now when he would have to apply for a permit 24 hours ahead he would be totally unable to meet the supply. Unless we are going to obviate that there will be occasions on which the local butcher will not be able to supply the amount of the voucher.

Dr. Ryan

This section is to meet a case such as the Deputy has in mind. There has been a growing process of a person accepting less than the quantity. What happens is that they go in and they ask for the very best cut and the butcher says that he could not give that particular cut unless at a much higher price, then the person would take half the amount specified in his voucher instead of the full amount. The section is more to remedy that than anything else. There is a practice amongst butchers to which there is no objection, to supply half the amount in the voucher in one day and the other half some days later.

Is he permitted to do that?

Dr. Ryan

What I am referring to in this section is the agreement to give two-thirds or half of the full quantity mentioned in the voucher. The other thing would not be an offence—supplying half now and the other half later in the week.

Does not the section prevent that? I suggest that Section 23 prevents that.

Dr. Ryan

That is all right. What I am suggesting is that it is agreed between two people that, say, the lady will accept 3 lbs. now and 3 lbs. later on. She is not taking 3 lbs. in exchange for the beef voucher. There will be a mark on the voucher that 3 lbs. will be due to the lady. What the Deputy is afraid of is this, that a person goes in and wants 3 or 4 lbs. and the butcher can only give him 2 lbs. In that case the butcher will be entitled to say: "I cannot give you any," if he is afraid there is going to be a prosecution. If the butcher marks the voucher the inspector will see that there is no trickery in it. That type of case will give no difficulty. It is the type of case where the butcher has persuaded the recipient and perhaps persuaded the recipient not very fairly or justly that he is giving very much better quality than he need and therefore he is only giving him two-thirds of the quantity.

That is the type of case the Minister is thinking of. But there may be butchers who may read this Bill, men who are not at all anxious to carry on this business and they may refuse to serve the person at all. Is there any objection to putting these words in to the Bill? That is what I am proposing in my amendment.

Dr. Ryan

I did not deal with the Deputy's amendment and for that I apologise. I am afraid if we adopted the amendment, it would give the butcher a way out every time we caught him. He would quote this section and get away with it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 23 put and agreed to.
The Schedule and Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.

Dr. Ryan

I move: "That the Bill be received for final consideration."

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

Fianna Fáil has got a strange gift——

——in this Bill as in many others, for they set out to do something and when they make a hopeless mess of it they wrap the green sheet around them and emerge out of the boghole in which they themselves have gone with a slimy covering of green mud, which they perceive is nothing but the veneer of patriotism which was always associated with Fianna Fáil. They emerge describing themselves as sea-green incorruptibles, which they always were. How many Deputies remember that the Slaughter of Cattle and Sheep Act was first heralded in this country as one of the alternative markets which Fianna Fáil was to provide for the surplus cattle in this country? Very few. Most of the Deputies have now a kind of warm feeling in their heart that this is one of the Christian measures introduced by President de Valera to relieve the sufferings of the poor and needy in this country. These Deputies have entirely forgotten that there was a time when the Minister for Agriculture had declared that he had found a new and better way of disposing of the live stock produced by the farmers of this State. What has happened? Like every other cracked scheme which Fianna Fáil has brought before the Oireachtas, this scheme has broken down. It has proved to be a costly and a futile thing.

For the first time in this country since 1847 the Government have established a state of affairs in which a very considerable part of the population have voluntarily transformed themselves into soupers. You find to-day respectable, able-bodied fellows from 20 to 21 years of age marching into town to get free meat and going home in the evening with a lump of free beef under their arms. Every decent element in this country contemplates that state of affairs with disgust. It is something to realise, even at this eleventh hour, that the Government has itself perceived its demoralising effect upon self-respecting people as something that should not be allowed to continue.

We have here a new principle introduced by which what the Government describe as surplus live stock is to be sold at a cheap price to certain chosen people in the community. We are becoming accustomed to subsidies in regard to agriculture and in regard, indeed, to everything which is at present being produced, both by the agricultural and industrial community in this country. There are subsidies in regard to every commercial and agricultural industry in the country. This scheme as originally provided was for the purpose of securing minimum prices to the farmers for their cattle, but not a single farmer got what was described under this Bill as a minimum price. Since the principal Act came into operation not one farmer has got the minimum price. Do Deputies imagine that they are to get it now? Not a bit of it. If they did get 25/- a cwt., what compensation is that for the producers of live stock in this country? In Great Britain to-day, and in the Six-Counties of Northern Ireland, the farmers are getting 43/- per cwt. for exactly the same cattle as are being sold here for 18/- per cwt., and which the Government says must be sold for 25/-.

Yes, 22/-. The price for good quality bullock or heifer meat in England to-day is 35/- per cwt., and the Government of Great Britain and the Government of Northern Ireland give to their farmers 5/- per cwt. bounty on every beast they sell. That means those farmers are getting between 40/- and 43/- per cwt. for the same meat for which our farmers are getting 18/- to 22/- per cwt. And we are all meant to compliment the Minister for Agriculture on the adroit and resourceful methods he has resorted to in order to restore our farmers to the condition of prosperity in which he found them when he took office! There are a lot of people in this country who are quite prepared to sit back in silence so long as it is only their neighbour who is suffering; so long as they can nourish the belief that whatever sufferings their neighbour is undergoing, they will have to suffer nothing themselves; but slowly the people of this country are coming to realise that you cannot destroy one section of the community without the repercussions being felt by every other section in time. Now I point out to the House that in Great Britain and Northern Ireland cattle are fetching from 40/- to 43/- per cwt. In Saorstát Eireann, under the Minister's legislation and administration, they are fetching from 18/- to 22/- per cwt.

The agricultural labourers in those parts of England where live stock are fetching the prices I named are receiving from 36/- to 38/- per week, without perquisites, and the Minister for Industry and Commerce read to us to-day the average wages for agricultural labourers in this country, from one end of it to the other; they are 21/- per week without perquisites. The ordinary labourer in Great Britain and Northern Ireland to-day is receiving from 14/- to 15/- per week more than our labourers are getting in this country. Any one of them who goes as a migratory labourer to Lancashire or Cheshire, not to speak of Gloucestershire or the other counties, knows that he is going there at the present time in order to get 33/- per week, and he is getting it. The neighbours of those men, who, for family or other reasons have to remain at home, are doing the same work and possibly for longer hours for an average wage of 21/-; and, as many of us know, in certain parts of the country they are getting no more than 18/- per week, and they are not earning it, because the men who employ them are making no profit out of them. That is the situation which is supposed to be rectified by the Bill we have before us now. This Bill is to provide the alternative market of Fianna Fáil for our live stock produce. This House ought to realise that that means that the live stock industry of this country is doomed to destruction. It has already shrunk so much that the Government has found itself able to suspend all licences in respect of the British quota. We have not now got enough cattle to fill the British quota. We have not got enough cattle to fill such share of the despised British market as Great Britain has given us. Let us remember that that is the market about which President de Valera said: "Thank God it is gone."

Let Deputies realise that if the policy continues whereunder that market is to be abandoned in favour of the sort of market that this Bill provides, it does not only mean that the stock fattener is going to be bankrupt. It means that every producer of live stock in Connemara, in The Rosses in Donegal, and in all the other congested areas of this country is going to be permanently on the dole, because his means of livelihood will be gone. That means that every shopkeeper throughout rural Ireland is going to lose all the custom on which he depends, and every shop assistant or labouring man who derives his livelihood through retail or wholesale distribution in rural Ireland is going to lose his livelihood. It means eventually that every industry in this country designed for the supply of commodities to the consuming public in this country is going to be bankrupt too. Deputies in this House do not seem to be able to realise that fact. They do seem to realise what is going on around them. I do not blame men who spend their lives here in the City of Dublin, and who never go down the country at all, or men who have left the country, and left it for their own good, because they find they can do much better here in the City. They have got out of touch with rural Ireland, and do not know what is going on there. They are living here in the centre of a salary-earning community. They are living here in a City into which any loose money that is flying around the country eventually finds its way. No one will deny that with the distribution of unemployment assistance, with the enormous increase in the Civil Service, and with the very considerable influx of wage-earning persons into this City, Dublin is comparatively well off. They are getting along very nicely. It will be a long time before the conditions that obtain in rural Ireland are reflected in Dublin. But anyone who lives in the country, and comes into daily contact with the country people, must know that their standard of living is being forced steadily down, and that they have less and less to buy those things which make life in rural parts of the country tolerable under modern conditions. The reason that their standard of living has been forced down is that the basis of their agricultural economy is being destroyed by Fianna Fáil, and being destroyed by legislation of this character which is being passed on the presumption that the economic war is to go on indefinitely.

I have spoken on another occasion of what the ultimate end of all this business must be. I now warn the House that unless this House combines to rescue the live stock industry of this country from the extinction which threatens it, not only will the standard of living of the entire agricultural community be forced down to something like what it was in 1847, but all the social services which every Deputy in this House wants to maintain will be destroyed for the want of money to maintain them. We will inevitably be forced to embark upon the policy forecasted by the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, speaking in Boyle, when he said the expenses of government and the salaries paid in this country were far higher than such a country as Saorstát Eireann could contemplate maintaining indefinitely.

We will be forced, if this industry is destroyed, not only to abandon the social services, as we are already partially doing by our economies of £300,000 at the expense of the unemployed, and £100,000 or £200,000 at the expense of the old age pensioners, but to push down the wages and salaries of every public employee and to bring the standard of living of every section of the community down to the same level as the standard which we are imposing upon rural dwellers. We can go a certain distance along these lines, but we ought to learn by what we see going on all over the world that we cannot go beyond a certain point. Deflation is possible up to a certain point; but when you try to pass that, you are faced with revolution, because the people will not stand for it. If you deliberately create a situation in which the alternatives are deflation or bankruptcy, what is going to happen is that you will either have wild inflation or revolution, because you cannot explain the obscure working of economic laws to the people of the country at large. Not being trained in economics, not having time to study the science of economics, they are incapable of understanding the immutable laws that operate in that sphere; and when they are asked to make the economic sacrifices that deflation demand—and deflation you have got to have, if you pursue the policy on which this Bill is founded—they will not do it. If I know Fianna Fáil, when they find themselves face to face with that situation they will take, as they always do take, the easy and popular course. If they do, they will embark this country on a slippery slope from which the whole lot of us will not be able to save it.

We come back to the old situation. It may be to our misfortune, or it may be for our benefit, but whatever it is, we have the job of running the country. Fianna Fáil has put us up against it and they are driving us straight into the greatest crisis Ireland has ever encountered, so that the Government will have to make their choice between running this country well or running it on the rocks. If the policy enshrined in this Bill is going to be followed, so certainly as we are all sitting in this House to-day, this country will be run upon the rocks. If it is not to be followed, then the Government have got to turn their minds to recovering the ordinary market for our live stock industry and restoring prosperity to the agricultural community. Unless they do that, and until they do that, this country will continue on the road to bankruptcy and eventual destruction.

I have only a few remarks to make against the passing of this Bill in its present form. Deputy Dillon gave some interesting figures which I accept as correct. They conveyed a very significant meaning to me. Before he gave the wages figures, he gave the relative prices for similar beef in England and in the Free State. The price of beef in England is around 38/- per cwt., with a Government subsidy of 5/-. The price here for similar beef is from 18/- to 21/-. He followed that up with this interesting statement— I hope every man and woman capable of reading will have an opportunity of reading it to-morrow—that agricultural wages in Great Britain are from 36/- to 38/- per week, and in the Free State from 18/- to 21/- per week. See the marvellous connection between the price of beef in Great Britain and agricultural wages there, and the price of beef here and the rate of agricultural wages here. We are depending more on the sale of beef here to keep up agricultural prices than they are in Great Britain. I would have a good deal to say in developing that only we are going to have an adjournment debate and there is no use in duplicating matters.

This Bill and the principal Act last year were introduced to help the cattle trade but, in my opinion, they have injured the cattle trade, and the trade would be better off without them. If we are going to have the present conditions obtaining in the future indefinitely, let the law of supply and demand operate. You cannot regulate the matter in any other way. Interference in a trade, when the market that controls that trade is outside our control, cannot do any good. If there is one form of ranching detrimental to the interests of this country it is the ranching that produces store cattle as the finished article, and this Bill is confronted with that. You can sell all the store cattle you like in Great Britain, but you cannot sell all the beef cattle you like. If these conditions are to obtain it will mean more store cattle in future produced for sale abroad and less beef cattle, and that will regulate itself. All these restrictions on the butchers will mean nothing.

The Minister got an Act passed through this House last year and this Bill continues the principle of that Act this year. He is going to help an industry that has a lame leg by taxing it. He is pumping no money by way of help into the cattle trade but he is taking some out of it. When he and his colleagues get on political platforms they tell the poor people that they have given them free beef. But they have not given them free beef; they have stolen money from the cattle trade to give them free beef. Now it is becoming cheap beef. Through this arrangement here we will have hidden taxation, as we have had in all the other Acts passed to help the agricultural industry, and the Exchequer is making money out of it, in fact, sucking more money out of the industry than they would get if they had not the pretence of legislating to help it.

It is a sorry position into which the country is drifting. If an attempt is not made in a big, generous way to face up to the trouble we have with Great Britain, the time will come when we will have to surrender, and surrender unconditionally. That time is coming, because the largest section of the people who are following a certain industry are being impoverished and bankrupted, and everybody who knows anything about the country knows that. I am afraid the Minister has not faced up to the situation. He has not defended the interests of agriculture in this Bill. He is taxing the cattle trade to help the cattle trade. He is taking a bite out of one place and putting it into another, instead of trying to make good to the cattle industry what the circumstances of the conflict with Great Britain have taken out of it. He has not attempted to do that. All his talk about canning and knackering is moonshine.

There is no ingenuity shown in the Bill. There is no new idea to help the industry, that I can discover, in it. There seems to be no idea dominating the Bill or dominating any speech delivered by the Minister here that present conditions are going to have any end. He seems to take the present state of affairs as permanent. If it is, the sooner he ceases interfering with the industry the better. Let the law of supply and demand regulate it and let it find its own level. If not, I would be very glad to hear from him how long this condition of affairs is likely to last. Is he going to sit mute as Minister for Agriculture while agriculture is being exterminated in this country over a conflict about something else, and while agriculture must bear the whole cost of that conflict? He is tinkering with the industry, as this Bill indicates. If he is satisfied with that condition of affairs I am afraid he is not acting as the watchdog for agriculture, as he should act. If he sees no sign of lifting the burden that agriculture has to bear, he should frankly inform the House of that. If tinkering with the agricultural industry must go on in this way, I think the House would be well advised not to pass this Bill at all. If we are going to have indefinitely a British tariff on our exports and the resultant price regulating the price here at home, let us face that fact and let each individual in the business have freedom in the business. Let the economic laws regulate the trade. Let us get out of fattening cattle. Let us face the inevitable future, that not only is this country going to be the fruitful mother of flocks and herds for Britain, but also the fruitful mother of store cattle, and not fat cattle, for Britain. The Minister will not accept that, because he endeavours to preach a policy of tillage without beef. Nonsense.

If the Minister is going to occupy the Ministry of Agriculture in the Government of this country while that development is taking place in the trend of business here, he is sitting there watching the ruin of agriculture with his eyes open, and he is—I do not want to say this in any special personal sense—guilty of the greatest treason of which a citizen of this country could be guilty. He is occupying a position in which his actions could have a dominating effect upon the policy that is being pursued. Is he not convinced that the policy that is being pursued— and I challenge him to contradict it— in the development of the agricultural economy of this country must lead to the production of store cattle? The increased production of store cattle can have one effect only—the contraction of tillage and not the development of tillage. I say that as a practical farmer, and I challenge the Minister to contradict it by any logical argument. If he sits there silently and allows that to develop, he is a traitor to the country. If he does not want it to develop, let him stand up and say so. If the Minister will say that, he will put a brake on the freakish legislation and the tinkering with agriculture that has been going on in the past and of which this Bill is a specimen. I would rather cut off my right arm than be responsible for that. I challenge the Minister to defend it here or outside.

It is no use at all saying in two or three years' time or in two or three months' time: "Things would have been right if we had support." How can any sensible man who sees the drift of things support a policy that is helping on that drift instead of stopping it? Ministers sit mutely there while they allow that to go on instead of using their eyes and their intelligence and being courageous enough when they have examined the situation to speak out. There is no moral courage over there or they would have spoken out. Every man in this House knows that we are drifting to ruin and that there is not a scrap of agriculture paying its way except what is subsidised—tobacco, wheat, beet—by robbing the Exchequer.

Not under this Bill.

I hold views far in advance of many people in this House about the cattle question. Personally, I would not be sorry to see an end to the export of store cattle in this country—that is a personal opinion— because the export of store cattle from an old country shows that that country has not gone beyond the prairie stage, the pastoral stage. We are being developed now, not away from the export of cattle, but we are being developed further and further away from the production of beef. That is a very serious matter for this country. It is too serious for anybody to try to score a cheap debating point on it over an opponent here. I think the Minister ought to face up to it. If we are going to be driven, in spite of ourselves, to the development of the store cattle trade in this country, we are like an army that was routed in war, and the Minister should have intelligence enough and pluck enough to speak out to his Executive Council and to this House, and to say that if agriculture is on the rout in this country, we have got to face up to the situation and try to get a settlement, or try to get the forces that are driving us in that direction dissipated, by some force we can develop ourselves or by some settlement we can come to. Whichever it is, it is time that every force we can command to win this war was applied to it, or that otherwise we should face the situation fairly and squarely as it is, and make the best terms we can. If we do not do that, we shall find ourselves in the position in which Germany found itself in 1918, when she had to surrender unconditionally. That is what is staring us in the face now, and the Minister for Agriculture is, perhaps, the one Minister who can now sound the note of warning that it is necessary to sound before we have to capitulate.

This Bill is another milestone on the Government road of failure. It is the usual type of carrot held before the donkey's nose to draw him along and to pretend that there is something doing. Of course there is nothing doing. The Minister knows perfectly well that when the Principal Act was passed it was held out as the salvation of the cattle trade and the salvation of the poor man who wanted free beef. In both respects it has failed and the Minister knows it. We are abandoning both aspects of the Act. We are abandoning the free beef, and it seems to me that by introducing this measure we are admitting to everybody that, as far as the minimum price is concerned, the Principal Act has failed. What is this Bill or what was the Principal Act which we are endeavouring to amend? It was not the salvation of the cattle producer by any means. The salvation of the cattle producer now depends entirely upon the operation of Section 10 of this Bill. Section 10 sets out that there is nobody in this country to be depended upon so far as the buying and selling of cattle are concerned, except the inspectors of the Minister. The farmer cannot be depended upon. No wonder! The fact is there are too many people wanting to sell, but there is no machinery to compel the butcher to pay the minimum price. The Minister now says here is the machinery. But is it really the machinery. I do not believe it is. I do not believe an inspector of the Department is one bit more solid or more incorruptible than anyone else in this country. The Minister, by this Bill, and by the right he takes to issue prohibition to compel the butcher not to buy his cattle from the farmer, but through an inspector, will not ensure that the farmer will get the full price. As a matter of fact, I have not the highest respect for an inspectorial system such as prevails in this country. Is the Minister satisfied with the result, even in respect of the levies which the butchers were supposed to pay in respect of cattle and sheep, and which his inspectors are supposed to see paid?

Personally I do not think this Bill will get us anywhere. For one thing it is an abandonment of any hope so far as Fianna Fáil is concerned of their previous scheme. There is nothing in it that will ensure success. The unfortunate thing about this Bill is that there is an inducement to fraud and that there is demoralisation. Butchers were supposed to give the minimum price, and farmers were supposed to get the minimum price; and they wanted it badly. When there were ten people claiming to sell a beast the farmer had to take what he could get. The Government had a levy of £1 per head on every beast and 5/- on every sheep and that came out of the pockets of the producer. The Government gained but the Government's gain was the producers' loss. The case was there and the butcher had to pay. Did he pay? Was the Government able to make him pay? From beginning to end there is an inducement to fraud; there is a loophole; there is a way out of everything and this Bill is not better. After all I think the present Bill is only an attempt to get the Government out of an awkward hole into which they walked with their eyes open. This is only a carrot held out before the donkey's nose so that the Government could say they were doing something. On the whole I see nothing in the Bill to recommend it. There is nothing in it which is an improvement upon the previous Act and therefore we must oppose it.

Dr. Ryan

I would like to hear Deputy Brennan say, some time or other, that there was even one thing, in an Act brought in by the Government that he approved of. He cannot see anything in this Bill; he is emphatic that there is not a single line in it that he could approve of; otherwise I should not take much notice of him. Deputy Belton quoted figures from Deputy Dillon and of course like the usual figures the Opposition give they were one sided. They always quote one sided statistics. He took the very highest price for beef which is quoted on rare occasions on the other side, and sets that against the lowest price paid here. It is the same with agricultural wages. Deputy Dillon told us of men leaving his district and going over to Lancashire to work for 33/- a week. We all know we would not get casual labourers in this country for less than that. It is nothing to boast of at this time of the year. I do not know whether Deputy Brennan would agree with that, but I am quite sure Deputy Belton pays that figure and so does Deputy Dillon.

The Land Commission pays less than that.

Dr. Ryan

But it is not casual labour.

It is, practically.

Dr. Ryan

No, it is permanent.

There is no degree of permanency about it.

Dr. Ryan

There is no permanency about any employment but it is permanent as opposed to casual.

What would you call a week on and a week off; a fortnight on and a fortnight off?

Dr. Ryan

The Deputy can find a name for that.

That is what the Land Commission are doing.

Dr. Ryan

I do not know. With regard to store cattle, this Bill has nothing to do with store cattle. Deputy Belton complained that we had not enough to deal with the quota. Last year we had the complaint that we had too many store cattle. There is a motion on the Order Paper blaming us for not getting an adequate quota to deal with our store cattle. Now, that we have got a quota, we are blamed for not having enough store cattle. It is very hard to know what the Opposition want. They will not tell us until a special occasion arises. They will not take a chance because it might turn out that they were wrong.

Deputy Brennan said that we are taking this levy on cattle and sheep out of the pockets of the producers. That is a most extraordinary thing and, perhaps, he will not be convinced with what I say. Deputy Brennan had better get Deputy Mulcahy to convince him. Deputy Mulcahy said it was the consumers who paid.

Between them they pay.

Dr. Ryan

That is just it: the Opposition want to have it both ways. They fear that they may be wrong if they say anything definitely in one way. It must be quite easy to see that if a Dublin butcher goes into the Dublin market and buys against an exporter he must give the export price, and if he pays 5/- to us he takes that off the consumer. There is no doubt about that.

All cattle are not bought in the Dublin market.

Dr. Ryan

The same thing goes on down the country. The price of sheep —there is a difference about cattle— where there is no restriction upon export it is ruled by the export price. That price is paid and the butcher buys against that and if he has to pay 5/- levy he takes it off the consumer. In the case of cattle if we were going to enforce the minimum price which is not done in all cases the producer does not suffer. Deputy Belton says we are making money out of the Act. I told him on three or four occasions and again last week, and produced figures showing that the Minister for Finance is paying £200,000 in addition to the levies under this Bill to carry out the provisions of the Cattle Act. But Deputy Belton prepares his speeches before he comes to the House and he will not spoil them. His speech might go wrong if he accepted corrections.

Deputy Belton says we might have to surrender unconditionally. He wants to know how long this condition of affairs is going to last. It would be rather repeating oneself to have to say that this thing has gone on for the last three years in spite of the prophecies of the Opposition in every quarter that we could not stand it very much longer. It is still being carried on and we are not very much worse off than we were, perhaps. Deputy Belton says there is nothing in this Bill to help the industry. He declared that it is all moonshine. It hurt me to be told by Deputy Belton that I was talking anything like moonshine, because I recognise him as a good judge of that sort of thing. Why should we let the economic laws operate if we can do better? They are not sacred in any way. How a person can hold, as Deputy Belton holds, that you cannot carry on tillage without beef and that you cannot carry on tillage if you have store cattle, I cannot understand. Some people who feed their store cattle give them the same care as the stall-fed cattle and it should not make the slightest difference with regard to tillage. I am not arguing on behalf of the store-cattle trade at all, but I cannot see Deputy Belton's point—that it makes any great difference whether we are producing beef or store cattle. He says that no branch of agriculture can be made pay now unless it is subsidised. There is no country in the world in which any branch of agriculture pays at the moment unless it is subsidised.

I do not think Section 10 lays it down that nobody is to be depended upon except the inspector, as Deputy Brennan tries to make out. This section is only to be applied to certain individuals at certain times. It is not that we want to make out that all the butchers are rogues. It is really the fact that there are a few not paying the minimum price and they are making it very difficult for their own competitors to carry on. Where you have three or four men paying the minimum price, it is very difficult for them to carry on if one competitor is paying less and selling beef at a lower price. It may be necessary in some cases to operate Section 10 and put an inspector in to buy cattle as the only means of getting the Act operative.

Deputy Brennan asked if all levies have been paid. Probably not. We are trying to get after many cases where we believe the levies have not been paid in full, where we are suspicious that the levies have not been paid in full. There is no abandonment of the principal Act by bringing in an amending Bill. Surely it should be put down to a belief in the principal Act and that we are strengthening it more and more rather than abandoning it. Deputy Dillon made some rather interesting remarks before he left the House. That expression about sea-green incorruptibles was not applied to this Party before. I always thought it was applied to the old Parliamentary Party. We may be incorruptible—I hope we are. I do not know whether we are green or not. We may be a little bit too green for the Opposition, but we cannot help that.

Deputy Dillon says that half the population are becoming soupers because they get free beef and milk. That is a disgusting and contemptible sort of thing to say. If we have too many cattle and if, instead of burying them as they have done in other countries—destroying them—we adopted the plan of killing a thousand cattle a week and giving the beef to people not able to afford it, does that mean that these people should be called soupers? Must that expression be flung at them by men like Deputy Dillon and others who never have known a hungry day? I think it is a scandalous thing to say. I was told that Deputy Dillon has been entertained by the British Government for the last three weeks. Is he a souper because he accepted entertainment on the part of the British Government in celebration of the Jubilee? Was the Deputy getting free beef there?

Like you got in Ottawa?

Dr. Ryan

We enjoyed the hospitality of the Canadian Government. I ate plenty of beef there and got it free, and I do not see why I should be called a souper if I did eat it. Is Deputy Dillon to be called a souper for taking free beef in England? Why should the Deputy term as soupers people to whom we give free beef? It is the usual contemptible sort of way in which the Opposition talk about the poor people of this country. We had the usual statements that we are going to become bankrupt. I am sick listening to that sort of thing for the last three years. I remember when I was a young lad going into the town of Wexford, and I knew some shopkeepers who, when they were doing badly themselves, always said the country was going to be bankrupt. Now we have the same from Deputy Dillon.

You indulged a little in that yourself, at one time.

Dr. Ryan

Possibly I did. When I am doing badly myself. I might say that.

You did it for at least five years; we heard nothing else from you.

Dr. Ryan

It was not true, was it? It is not true now, either.

I do not think it was true.

Dr. Ryan

Deputy Dillon became very earnest and very profound when he said that he warned the House that unless we rescued the livestock industry there was going to be something like a stupendous catastrophe. What is going to happen? He told us the standard of living is going to go down and that social services will go. Not only will we take the £300,000 off the unemployed and the £100,000 off the old age pensioners, but we will have to go further. Does Deputy Cosgrave agree with me that it is rather cheeky for a member of that Party to talk about taking a few hundred thousand pounds off the unemployed considering that the unemployed never got anything under their Government? Is it not cheeky also to talk about the old age pensioners, considering that we have given them over £600,000 extra since we came into office? We would want to go a long way indeed before we would do as badly by the old age pensioners as Cumann na nGaedheal did. We would want to take £7,000,000 off the social services before we would reach the Cumann na nGaedheal level.

The Minister is giving me great material for my speech tomorrow.

Dr. Ryan

I would want Deputy Dillon's vocabulary to follow him up in those things. I know Deputy Cosgrave is honest and I am sure he will agree with me about the defects of his Government.

I will have to examine my conscience after that.

Dr. Ryan

Deputy Dillon ended his speech by an appeal to end the economic war. When are we going to have a change from that? I advise Deputies opposite to forget about the economic war for a while, because I am afraid they are getting into a state of not being able to think. They merely say: "End the economic war and everything will be all right." They have not to think. Just as a mental exercise. I ask Deputies opposite to imagine that they were in the position in which we are and that they were up against it. I ask them how would they solve it? It might be too much to ask the Deputies opposite to solve that but it would be a good mental exercise for them to try. It is a thing on which during the holidays they might exercise their minds.

The Minister might try that exercise for a little bit himself.

Dr. Ryan

We have been at it.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 47; Níl, 31.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Corbett, Edmond.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doherty, Hugh.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Keely, Séamus P.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.

Níl

  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Broderick, William Joseph.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Davitt, Robert Emmett.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Finlay, John.
  • Keating, John.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Redmond, Bridget Mary.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Wall, Nicholas.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Doyle and G. O'Sullivan.
Question declared carried.