I cannot agree with the Minister in what he has said. I think that if this proposal is carried out it will mean considerable inconvenience to the scutch millers. The Minister probably has not much experience of scutch milling. As each lot of flax comes from the scutchers it is weighed, and the miller pays the men on the weight. There may be two lots of flax being scutched in a mill. Each lot, as it comes from the scutchers, is weighed by the miller. He tots the weights, and on that the men are paid. Suppose that at the end of the week seven tons of flax have been scutched and that the miller has to weigh every ounce of that again in the presence of an inspector, that surely is going to cause considerable expense and inconvenience to the scutch miller. The Minister does not seem to favour the idea that the farmer should be allowed to take the flax home and have it examined there by an inspector. It is true that there might be some difficulty in having it weighed at a farmer's premises, as there might not be a suitable weighing machine available, but there is this point to be borne in mind, that the scutch miller is obliged to keep an accurate record of the quantity of flax scutched in his mill for each individual grower. Should not the inspector be satisfied with the weights there recorded without insisting on having the flax weighed a second time? If there is any difficulty in that connection there is this further point, that all flax may be sold in the public market. I do not know if there are any markets in Donegal at the moment, but you have them in Monaghan and Cavan. There is no reason why there should not be a market in Donegal for flax. If the flax is taken to the market it will be weighed on the market scales and the market ticket, I suggest, should suffice for the inspectors. It would mean endless trouble and worry for the scutch mill owner if he had to take responsibility for all the flax scutched in his mill, and had to hold it pending the inspector's visit.
Paragraph (c) of sub-section (1) of Section 16 provides that all flax sent for scutching to registered scutch milling premises shall
"be inspected, weighed, graded, and valued in such premises in accordance with"
the provisions of sub-section (2). Why is it that the flax must be valued by the inspector? It is most unfair to the inspector, I think, that he should be asked to do that because, in my opinion, the only one who is a real judge of the value of the flax is the flax buyer. That valuation can be got on the market. The sale ticket will be available there. All the information that is required as to weight, grade and price will be available in the market. In my opinion it would be putting the inspector in a very false position if he were to be asked to grade and value the flax. That is not his job. The only man competent to do that is the buyer of the flax, the man sent out by the spinning company, who is an expert in the business. It would be very misleading, too, if the inspector were to grade and price the flax. He might put too high or too low a price on it. If, when the flax is at the mill, he puts too low a value on it, the news of that will spread quickly around the country. It will be passed on from neighbour to neighbour, and eventually when the grower takes the flax to the market the flax buyer may come along and say, "Oh, the Government inspector only put 7/- per stone on this, and I will not pay any more for it," whereas the flax may be worth 9/- or 10/- per stone. Therefore I suggest that it would be very unfair to the growers to ask an inspector, no matter how competent he may be, to grade and value the flax. I think the Minister would be well advised to delete this paragraph from the section. It should be sufficient for the inspector to visit the mills and check the quantities of flax that have been scutched there. The job of putting a value on the flax should be left to the man who is an expert in the business. As I have already suggested, the inspector could attend the markets, see that the weights are correct, and check the price paid for the flax. If there is a bounty to be paid, it could be calculated on the price paid for the flax in the public market.