In Committee on Finance. - Turf (Use and Development) Bill, 1935—Committee Stage (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following amendment:—
Section 2, to add at the end of subsection (1) a new paragraph as follows:—
(d) any person who had been cutting and selling turf before the first day of December, 1935.—(John M. O'Sullivan).

On amendment No. 1, Sir, I do not know whether the Minister has made any reply to the argument put forward by Deputy O'Sullivan on this subject. Deputy O'Sullivan made a claim that this section was going to interfere seriously with the income of a large number of people whose domestic economy was based on the fact that they cut and sold turf in certain quantities and that, in many cases, a very considerable quantity of the turf cut by these people was sold in their own neighbourhood through the year, and particularly in their local towns. The proposal in the section would mean that that trade is going to be cut away from ordinary turf cutters. Any person who buys coal in any small town in an appointed area is going to be forced to buy a certain quantity of approved turf. The approved turf will be turf that has been bought from one of the co-operative societies. The Minister has not, as far as I know, made any attempt to show how a turf cutter who has had that particular type of income is going to retain it. It was pointed out to the Minister that co-operative societies have not in any way shown themselves to be an improvement in respect to the turf industry. In five counties, Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Clare and Kerry, where they had half the total of the co-operative societies, two-thirds of the total distribution of sacks, and in which up to December 31st last £37,924 were spent on relief works in improving access to the bogs, the result of the work of half the societies, with two-thirds of the sacks and more than one-third of the money, was a reduction in the quantity of turf cut in the last year of which we have information by 242,000 tons.

What year was that?

I pointed out to the Minister that while he is not able to give the quantity of turf cut in 1934, he has provided figures to show that the carriage of turf by the railway companies and on the canals decreased in 1935, and that the purchase of turf by public offices in the City of Dublin, which was by far the greater part of the purchases from co-operative societies, and through the board, had fallen compared to 1934, and that it had fallen in 1934 as against 1933. The Ministerial Press has indicated that this Bill is introduced to make compulsory a scheme which had proved highly successful when tried in a voluntary way. I should like to hear from the Minister what type of success it had shown.

On a point of order, I submit that the Deputy is not speaking to the amendment at all.

The Deputy's speech would seem to be more appropriate to a Second Reading than to an amendment.

The amendment seeks to secure that the ordinary turf cutter who earned a living, either whole or in part, by cutting and selling turf will not be excluded by the passage of Section 2 in its present form. I pointed out that the section in the form in which it now is would endeavour to collar all the selling of turf for co-operative societies; that the outstanding manifestation in these counties where these societies had been developed had been a very big falling off in the amount of turf drawn from the bogs.

All that was discussed on the Second Stage and again on the Money Resolution. It should not be repeated on a specific amendment.

But the amendment is to the section.

It must be disposed of before the section as such can be discussed.

I submit that I am in order, and that argument would be futile if it hid the fact that the section we propose to amend sought to gather all that local sale of turf in an appointed area, into the hands of co-operative societies, and that the work of these societies in the past, in the areas in which they exist, had been marked by a falling off in the cutting of turf. That is the simple background. The important thing in the amendment is that we seek to secure to the ordinary turf cutter the income and the work he had in the past. We have heard nothing on the subject from the Minister, and we are anxious to hear why he cuts out from the profitable work of cutting and selling of turf, people who made it part of their livelihood in the past.

I see in this House at the moment Deputy Victory, Deputy Jordan and Deputy Hugh Doherty, three Fianna Fáil Deputies from turf-cutting areas, to whom I put this question: do they approve of a proposal which will prevent small farmers in their constituencies from selling such turf as they are in a position to save on the bogs annexed to their holdings?

Where is that proposal?

In Section 2, as usual enshrined under subterfuge, because we are told that all that section is designed to do is to make certain persons an "approved source." The argument is that it is not designed to stop anyone selling turf. Everyone realises that if you make certain restricted bodies an "approved source" for the purposes of this Bill, in the specified area, all turf must be and will be bought from them. A great many people will buy coal who require it, and who do not want turf. Under the terms of the Bill they will be forced to buy turf and they will either have to bury it or to burn it. If they do not burn it themselves they will dispose of it to neighbours, who will dispose of it at whatever price they can get to order to have it taken out of yards and kitchens. That will operate to prevent the casual vendor, who goes through the streets of a town with a crib of turf, and waits for someone to come up and ask the price, and buy it. Deputy Victory spoke on the Second Reading and on the Money Resolution, and being, as he is, an experienced man in the light of rural Ireland, he said turf was a side-line to the agricultural community. The Deputy was perfectly right. It is a side line, and it may make all the difference between living on the verge of starvation, or in a modest degree of prosperity, for a man who has a poor holding and a fair bit of turbary attached to it, if he could send one or two of the boys to save turf in the summer for sale on the streets. Does Deputy Victory want to stop that man from having that source of income? If he does not, he must vote for an amendment which schedules that man as an "approved source." That is all the amendment is designed to do, to ensure that the very persons Deputy Victory referred to when speaking on the Money Resolution, will be allowed to continue selling turf as they sold it in the past.

Did the Deputy ever consider the question of having briquettes?

What reaction has the question of briquettes on this? By Section 2 we are asked to give the Minister the right to prohibit anyone selling turf for the purposes of this Bill unless he is an "approved source." Sales of turf by an ordinary farmer will not fulfil the requirements of purchasers of coal. We are asking that farmers of the type described by Deputy Victory will be put in the same position as co-operative societies, as the board or a limited company dealing in briquettes. Surely that is a reasonable proposal. If what Deputy Victory said on the Money Resolution was true, I have no hesitation in saying that this is a very necessary precaution to take. Surely Deputy Jordan and Deputy Hugh Doherty will tell us in respect of Loughrea and Dunloe whether they are in favour of putting a small farmer with a bit of turbary who sells turf in towns off the streets. If they are not in favour of that, will they explain why they refuse to support this amendment, which does not seek to put such a farmer into any preferential position, does seek to exempt him from the provisions of this Bill, but merely seeks to provide that this Bill will not be used to deprive him of a livelihood upon which he has depended in the past and upon which he must depend in future if he is to be spared from real hardship.

How can his turf be inspected?

This is the Minister's Bill and the Minister can make provision for that.

It is not the Minister's amendment.

It is the Minister's Bill and it is the duty of the Minister to safeguard the interest of the community from every point of view. Suppose he does not make provision for the inspection of that turf, I would ask the Deputy to bear in mind that, in connection with the co-operative society, the briquette company and the board, the Minister purports to guarantee the quality of the turf. In the case of the farmer for whom Deputy Victory replied and with whom Deputy Jordan and Deputy Hugh Doherty are familiar, no such guarantee exists. That man brings his cart of turf into the town, and stands upon the hazard, seeking a price for his turf from persons who are there to examine it and to judge the condition and the quality of the turf. They make an offer to the vendor proportionate to the quality of the turf which he has to offer. These Deputies will confirm me when I say that you will very frequently see two carts of turf on the streets, one a cart of "spaddagh" and the other a cart of stone turf. The horse cart of stone turf would command 2/- or 2/6 more than a horse cart of "spaddagh." But the Minister does not purport to guarantee the quality of that turf. There is no necessity for his intervention. All the amendment seeks to provide is that if a person brings a certificate from one of these vendors of turf, from whom he has purchased his requirements to a coal retailer, and says: "I have bought the quantity of turf required by the Minister's order, to balance the quantity of coal I now require and in evidence of that purchase I produce the certificate of that person," that will be sufficient evidence to entitle him to purchase the quantity of coal which he requires from the retailer of coal, he having purchased the required quantity of turf already from the vendor of turf on the street.

This amendment appears to me not as an amendment to amend the section but an amendment asking for a new Bill. It is perfectly obvious, if the principle of the Bill is accepted, that the amendment as proposed could not be accepted. The amendment hits at the very root of the Bill. It hits at standardisation. It could not be reconciled with the proposal to guarantee the quality of the turf or to standardise the quality of the turf that is sold to the public. Might I remind Deputy Dillon in connection with another article of Irish produce that he and his colleagues have in the past couple of years shown their impatience with the Minister for Agriculture for not bringing about, more rapidly, collective marketing? They know what individual marketing has done in the case of butter, particularly in the matter of exports. Do they want to create that same problem now in connection with turf, the marketing of which is in its beginnings, so to speak? Do they want to create a position where there will be eternal bickering and quarrelling about the standard of turf that is for sale, one person getting turf that is guaranteed to him and another getting turf that is not guaranteed but that is simply offered to him without anything further than the judgment of the producer?

He need not take it if he does not want to. He can pass on to another cart of turf or go to the coal retailer for his turf.

Surely the Deputy will admit that there will be a gain through getting collective marketing, through getting these small producers of turf into an association or society where their turf can be inspected and where the quality can be guaranteed? If the whole principle of the Bill is going to have any effect, it will depend largely on that provision. I do not think that the amendment is intended very seriously. I am surprised that Deputies opposite have not gone all out for what looks to me a much bigger flaw in this section, that is, the omission to make people like coal merchants, for instance, approved sources for turf. It seems to me that an immense case could be made for making country coal merchants, particularly a country coal merchant who has a bog of his own——

The Deputy should defer making that case to the discussion on the section.

I wonder whether the Minister accepts Deputy Moore's arguments?

Let the Deputy make his own case.

I thought he would not, because Deputy Moore's arguments, if they are accepted by the Minister, undoubtedly reveal a purpose on the part of the Minister that has not been revealed up to the present— that he is going to use this Bill to compel these individual turf cutters and individual suppliers of turf to come under his scheme so as to have their turf inspected. That is the very first hint we got of that. I was under the impression that the Minister had no such intention, but Deputy Moore says it is the very principle of the Bill.

To guarantee the quality.

To guarantee the quality to be provided by a turf-cutter who sells his turf quite voluntarily? There is no compulsion on anybody to buy turf from him. I wish the Deputy would get that quite clear and the Minister too. As I said upon the last day, my purpose is to secure that individual turf-cutters who come into a country town to sell, as they have done up to the present, turf, by the rail to inhabitants of the town will not be interfered with. This is not going to cut across the principle of the Bill. All I want is that if a town inhabitant says: "I shall buy my turf, as I have always bought it, from John Doody, and I want that turf to be taken into account in fixing the amount I am bound to take when I buy my coal" his wishes will be respected. He is bound to buy so much turf, and that being so, if he is compelled to buy it from an approved source, then he must cut down the amount of turf that he has been accustomed to buy from the said John Doody. It is to prevent that happening that this amendment is moved, and for no other purpose.

There is no question of the quality of the turf. If I am dissatisfied with the quality of the turf offered by the private individual, I can go to the coal merchant and I can take my quota of turf from him. This turf, the Minister assures us, is guaranteed by the co-operative societies. If I have any doubts as to the quality of the turf offered by the person from whom I have been getting it all my life, I have that course open to me. There is no necessity for inspection of the turf that I, as an ordinary citizen, voluntarily buy. It is quite obvious from Deputy Moore's statement, if we take that as representing the mind of the Government, that a much more ambitious scheme is in prospect than the Minister gave us any idea of, that we are going to have turf standardised for everybody just as butter is standardised, though whether it is for an export trade or not was not made quite clear to me. I understood that was one of the purposes so far as butter was concerned.

What I object to is this: if this Bill is going to be seriously operated in the turf-cutting districts, in those districts that are at present turf-consuming districts, it will inevitably interfere with the particular man who depends on that to some extent for making his little farm help him to eke out an existence. It will interfere with his trade, undoubtedly. The Minister, I think, made it clear that large scale production and mechanisation was the purpose in view. He gave us an example of what is being done in Russia in this particular respect. I am not saying that the example was not apropos. It is quite relevant to the policy of the Minister, but I suggest that exactly the same argument could be applied to farming in general; that you could cut out small-scale individual farming on exactly the same ground, because large-scale production is more economic and more productive, and gives better scope for mechanisation. In the very country which the Minister adduced as an example, these are the arguments and these are the reasons that have been operative in wiping out small farming, and substituting for it large-scale production with the help of mechanisation. You are doing exactly the same thing here as regards turf.

I do not know how the Minister in almost two consecutive sentences can say, on the one hand, that you are not interfering with the trade of an individual, and then say that his market is going to be interfered with. Of course, his market is going to be interfered with if this Bill is to be operated. It is only on one condition that his market will not be interfered with, and that is if the Bill is not going to be operated in the turf consuming districts. But, I confess to Deputy Moore and to the House that I have never yet got from the Minister any clear idea as to where the Bill is going to be operated.

Does the Deputy object to the small producer being compelled to join a co-operative society?

Unless the advantage of it is shown to me, and no advantage has been shown. If that is the aim of the Government—to compel the small producer to join a co-operative society, let them make a case for it, but I am not aware that a case is being made. I suggest that you should not interfere with the individual in that way unless you can make a case for interfering, and I am sure that the Deputy will agree with me that a case has not been made. The Minister certainly has not attempted to make a case. I cannot exactly follow the Deputy in treating turf as if it were butter, though, as I have said, I should not be surprised at the Government ending up by mixing the two. You are undoubtedly, in this case, killing the trade of the individual. Why that should be necessary the Minister has not explained. The quality of the turf to be produced or to be supplied by the other two sources does not arise. That is a different question altogether. Here is a case of voluntary purchase, where the buyer determines of his own free will. You prevent him from doing so, and, to a certain extent, you interfere with the trade of the other man. I did not understand the reference of Deputy Victory. I thought I would have his support for this amendment because he was the Deputy who, as I said when speaking the last day, gave me the very good phrase that turf-cutting is a sideline with many farmers. That is precisely the case that I am making. I suggest that the Government are going to kill that side-line. How do briquettes meet the situation? I am sure the Deputy does not suggest that all those individual small farmers should, instead of cutting turf in the ordinary way and selling it in the neighbouring town, devote their attention to turning out briquettes.

The point made by the Deputies sitting on that side of the House is that nothing will do except the best English coal.

Not at all. I thoroughly agree, and the Minister says that he agrees with me, that there is no prejudice against turf in the country, People will burn it where they have been accustomed to its use or where the construction of their houses is suitable for turf burning. I do not think there is any prejudice against turf, and there the Minister, I am glad to say, agrees with me. What I want to ensure is that they will be allowed to buy turf in the place where they have always bought it and from the man who has always gone in for turf cutting as a sideline.

I do not think that Deputy O'Sullivan really put forward this amendment for the purpose that he has stated. I do not think that he is quite as simple as he represents himself to be. He knows quite well that if this amendment were carried the Bill would be completely inoperative, and I submit that is the reason why he has brought it before the House. The passage of this amendment would mean that the Bill might as well be withdrawn. It could not be worked. If the principle of the Bill is that, in certain circumstances and in certain areas, people may be required to use turf, then to put in the provision that they can be released from that requirement by getting a certificate from some person who had cut and sold turf before the 1st December, 1935, the whole thing would be reduced to a position in which any attempt to operate the Bill would be a complete failure. From a purely practical point of view, therefore, it is not possible to devise any scheme by which the individual turf producer can be brought within the definition of an approved source. That is not possible, and even if it were I question whether it would be desirable. The practical difficulty of doing so is so considerable that the matter is not worth considering further.

In any event, let us consider the question whether this Bill is going to have the bad effect on individual producers, which Deputy O'Sullivan and Deputy Dillon represented. May I say that I am gratified to see the representatives of the Party opposite showing this concern for the individual turf producers, because on occasions in the past when a proposal was brought before the House to increase the use of turf in the country as a fuel they were opposed to it.

It is for the Deputies themselves to say why. I merely record the fact that they were opposed to it, but now their hearts are bleeding for the turf producers.

That is not true.

I accept Deputy O'Leary's contention that his heart does not bleed. In any event, they are weeping crocodile tears, and they can do it quite efficiently, for the turf producers. They have put forward the turf producers, and are asking our sympathy for them merely for the purpose of defeating this measure which is designed to secure a much greater use of turf as a fuel, and a much greater development in the production of turf. Their contention, however, is that we should not attempt to organise the production of turf on a large scale, because by doing so we might act detrimentally to the interests of a limited number of small turf producers in the country. It is not a very sensible point of view. It would be just as sensible to ask that we should shut down all the boot factories in the country and prohibit the import of new boots, because by doing so we would give a lot more work to the cobblers. That is precisely the argument that they are using. Their argument is: "Look at all the work that would be going to the boot repairing shops if all the factories were closed down and if no new boots were allowed to be imported and sold." Deputy O'Sullivan says that because here and there throughout the country there are individuals——

Here and there?

——because in certain parts of the country there are individuals not making a livelihood out of turf, but supplementing their livelihood from some other source by producing and selling turf, that we should on that account abandon everything else, make no attempt to increase the production of turf on an organised basis, and make no attempt to secure that turf of good quality is sold on a commercial scale. It is a very sensible point of view—about as sensible a point of view as we have had from the Party opposite on any question. The individual turf-producer, about whom Deputy O'Sullivan and Deputy Dillon pretend to be concerned, will be affected by this Bill. I am not questioning that. To some extent he will be affected, but it will be a very, very small extent. To make the assertion, as Deputy Dillon does, that all the turf that is going to be sold will be sold by co-operative societies, or to make the assertion, as Deputy Mulcahy does, that the turf-cutters are going to be shut off from their present profitable business in the sale of turf is just nonsense. The people to whom these individual turf-cutters are selling turf at the present time are, in the main, people who use turf exclusively as their fuel, or who, in so far as they do not use turf exclusively, purchase coal only in quantities of 2 cwt. or less. There are individuals of whom that is not so. I admit that individual turf-producers are going to be affected to some extent, but, in the main, they will not be affected at all, There is nothing in this Bill which prevents them from selling turf, nor will they be affected in fact. They will continue to sell turf to quite a considerable extent and, in so far as we are increasing the market for turf against the opposition of the Party opposite, we are giving them a much greater chance of securing profitable employment from the sale of turf. We are not proposing to compel them to join co-operative societies, but I think it is likely that a large number of them will join co-operative societies. I think that it would be good business for them to do so. But there is nothing in this Bill to compel them to do that. In some districts it might not be possible to get co-operative societies established, but, in the turf-using areas in which this business is mainly carried on, the organisation of co-operative societies will present little difficulty to the great majority of these people. In so far as they are not in co-operative societies already, they will certainly be so organised in a short time after the Bill comes into operation. In due course, as the production of turf is increased and the requirements in respect of the use of turf are enlarged, the operation of the Bill will, perhaps, obtrude more extensively into the sphere of activity of those individual turf-cutters; but that is likely to be some time ahead, and, by that time, everybody will appreciate the advisability of having these people properly organised and the sale and distribution of turf conducted on commercial lines.

To reiterate, the Bill is designed to increase the market for turf. It is necessary, therefore, that we should be in a position to exercise supervision over the turf sold in accordance with the provisions of the Bill. In relation to other commodities, Deputies opposite are continuously pressing upon the Government the view that it has a responsibility for safeguarding the quality of commodities which people are required to use, in consequence of protective tariffs or other measures. The same principle applies in relation to turf. If we put people in the position that they must use turf, there is on the Government or on the organisations acting under the Government, a responsibility to ensure that good quality turf only is available and is available in sufficient quantities. It is not possible to exercise supervision over the quality of the turf produced by a number of individuals throughout the country but we can very effectively control the quality of turf sold by co-operative societies or by the Board. That is why, apart from any other reason, it is necessary to have that provision in the Bill. The individual turf-cutter will not be affected to any considerable extent. To a limited extent, in some areas, he may be affected. In so far, however, as individual turf-cutters in the main sell turf to people who use turf exclusively, or who use coal only in small quantities, their position will not be affected in the least. In so far as the operation of the Bill will increase the market for turf, and increase the profit to be secured from the production of turf, these people are likely to be organised in co-operative societies before long, in which case they will be able to take full advantage of the provisions of the Bill.

The Minister says it is impossible to exercise supervision over individual turf-cutters in respect of the type of turf they produce. That is not necessary. The individual who buys turf will see to that. He is not compelled to buy from these people.

We are to accept their certificates without question?

I shall come to that. The amount is what counts. The Minister says there would be a practical difficulty of administration in meeting our view. That is an extraordinary statement coming from a colleague of the Minister for Agriculture, who introduced the Butter Bill and pushed it through last year. We had there the case of the individual producer. It was a much more difficult case than the present case and the Minister's proposals were more objectionable, from the point of view of individual producers all over the country than they would be in the present case. The Minister's colleague, notwithstanding all that was said to him, had no difficulty in providing for inspection and even for inspection of a rather objectionable type—going into people's houses and rooms. When it suits the Minister for Industry and Commerce, administrative difficulties, which he does not explain to us, present themselves and form an insuperable obstacle.

On which leg is the Deputy standing?

If the Government did a much more difficult thing and a much more objectionable thing in the case to which I refer, then they can do a thing which does not present one-tenth of the difficulty.

Is that what the Deputy is proposing?

I am proposing that the amount of turf sold by an individual turf-cutter be allowed to count as portion of the quota. The Minister says that every proposal to increase the consumption of turf which was brought before this House was opposed by this Party. Because the Minister comes in here and says that he intends to have greater production of turf, are we to be forced to believe that the methods he is adopting will lead to greater production? He had plenty of opportunities on the Second Reading and on the Money Resolution to controvert the figures as regards the turf production which followed his previous schemes. Does he think that because he prophesies that measures he introduces will lead to greater production, we are to accept that without comment? Are we to do that in the light of the experience we have had of the Minister's proposals? He spoke of measures brought in here to increase turf production. Has he increased turf production? Did he increase turf production in the County Kerry in the year 1935?

Why did not the Minister controvert the figures put before him by Deputy Mulcahy on the various stages of this Bill?

Because they were his own.

35,000 tons less cut in Kerry.

In 1934 over 1931, a year when this measure was not in existence, and you had 32 co-operative societies then.

At the time when there was this diminution.

The Turf Board was established in November, 1934.

There was less production of turf in that county. What are the Minister's figures to show that there is increased production? All we know is that there has been a constant diminution in turf production, so far as we can judge. The Minister says these figures prove nothing, but he has given us no figures that controvert them. It is not a question of comparing 1934 with 1933, but a question of comparing 1934 with 1931. Have the Minister's efforts been so successful that he thinks any opposition to this is high treason to Irish industry? Surely he has adopted that attitude a little too often in this House. It is his conception of government that because he comes in here and states a thing, it must be accepted, even though the figures supplied by himself seem to point to the opposite conclusion.

With all respect to the Minister, I want to preserve the man to whom he so contemptuously refers by analogy as the cobbler in this business. I want to preserve the rights of the cobbler. We are first told that this Bill will have no effect on the individual and that the individual is not going to be affected to any extent by its provisions. Then we are told that he is going to be affected to some extent. On what does the Minister base his statement that in country towns where there are ranges in most of the houses, and where turf is also burned in the other rooms, there are very few people who buy turf and coal? I wonder on what he bases a statement of that kind. Has it any basis whatever? The Minister is very free with statistics. Was there any investigation made? Of course, there was not. This Bill was introduced without any advertence to the effect it was going to have on the particular class of men to whom I am referring. If the Minister had taken the hint dropped by Deputy Mrs. Concannon, it might have been better, so far as turf production is concerned, than the procedure he is now adopting—to see that there is proper provision for turf burning in the houses. That, however, is a matter which I can discuss more appropriately on another section. There is nothing in this Bill to prevent the individual turf-cutter, we are told, still having turf-cutting as a sideline. Of course, you do not prohibit it. As the Minister says himself, you only interfere with his market.

By increasing it.

Indeed? You are preventing people who bought from individual turf-cutters before from buying a certain amount now. Naturally, those people are not going to buy in two lots. They are not going to buy a rail of turf from one man and buy turf from the coal merchant on the other hand. They will buy it all in one lot if they can. It will seriously interfere with such individuals, and I am surprised that there is not more advertence to this danger on the Government Benches. You are undoubtedly interfering gravely with these individuals. They may be cobblers, but there is many a man in the country whose farm is so small that he finds it difficult enough to live on the produce of the farm alone, and this sideline, as Deputy Victory would call it, even though it is a cobbling sideline, if I may use the happy phrase of the Minister, is most useful. It enables a man to rise above the misery line and now the Fianna Fáil Party are going to deprive him of that advantage.

I think Deputy O'Sullivan has dealt with the Minister's observation that this Party has opposed every proposal for the development of turf. I remember Deputy Hugh Doherty, who has now faded out of the House, contesting an election in County Donegal with me in 1933, and I remember expounding my difficulty in fighting for my seat in County Donegal when Deputy Doherty was going around telling the people that he proposed to turn every bog in Donegal into a gold-mine. They were going to produce more wealth than they had ever produced before. I remember saying on that occasion: "This is a perfectly fraudulent promise, but it is just as good as those which Senator Connolly or any of the rest of them have made." Who was right? I was, and Deputy Doherty, depending on the infallible Minister for Industry and Commerce, was proved to be wrong, because, instead of turning bogs into gold-mines, the net result of Deputy Hugh Doherty's activities——

The activities and speeches of Deputies seeking election are not relevant.

The Minister has made an allegation and I take it that we may rebut it, in passing. Deputy O'Sullivan, speaking for his constituency, told of what he knows in Kerry, and I now ask leave further to rebut the Minister's misapprehension from what I know of Donegal, and to point out that he fooled poor Deputy Doherty, that he deceived poor Deputy Brady, and that he made a fool also of Deputy Doherty of Innishowen. He did not succeed in fooling me——

I did not need to.

—and his complaint now is that he did not succeed in fooling me. I point out that I prognosticated that his activities would do damage, and, in fact, the activities of the Minister for Industry and Commerce reduced the production of turf in County Donegal, as between 1931 and 1934, by 64,352 tons. In order to achieve that result, he spent thousands of pounds, and that is the extent to which he turned the bogs of County Donegal into gold mines. We opposed folly, and we pointed out that promises made by the Minister, and extravagances embarked upon by him, would yield no valuable results. That is our duty in this House, and I trust we shall continue to discharge it.

The Minister says this Bill is going to have no effect, or very little effect on the independent vendors of turf. Deputy O'Sullivan has indicated certain reactions which it will have upon them. Let me suggest another reaction which this Bill is going to have on the independent vendor of turf. Under the provisions of this Bill, a person who purchases more than two cwt. of coal must buy a certain proportion of turf to be fixed by the Minister. That means that certain individuals, who do not want turf, will have to buy it, and, having bought it, they must get rid of it because it will block their yards or wherever they store it. They will naturally go to a neighbour who ordinarily burns turf——

That will arise on another section.

I merely want to put this case, that each individual purchaser of coal will himself become an independent vendor of turf. He will be a vendor of turf, not on a free market, but a vendor who has got to sell or submit to suffocation by the accumulation of turf in his house, and he, accordingly, will sell the turf at rubbish prices to get it out of his way.

The price of turf has no relation to the amendment under consideration.

It is going to react on the individual purchaser as a vendor of turf.

Possibly before, not on the amendment before the House.

The Minister has said that the Bill is going to have no reactions on the independent vendor of turf, and I am pointing out that it is going to have very grave reactions, unless he is allowed to become an approved source from whom people can buy turf if they want it. However, I do not want to contest your view of the relevance of what I was saying in that regard, but I say that Deputy Victory ought to tell us now if he stands for the amount of damage which the Minister admits this Bill is going to do to the small farmer who produces turf as a sideline.

A portion of the must be native. If the Deputy objects to that being spread through the country, I do not.

That is precisely the point I am making. I want to leave the right to the small farmer to sell turf as he sold it in the past.

Deputy Victory has put you the one question and you will not answer it.

The Minister says that he admits that the Bill is going to do material injury to these small farmers, to whom Deputy Victory referred, but he says it is not going to be serious injury. I say we apprehend that this will do a serious injury. Does Deputy Victory take the view that that injury should be inflicted upon turf-cutters or does he take the view that they should be allowed to sell their turf as they did in the past within the framework of the Bill?

We are trying to get people to burn turf, we are trying to get it standardised and we will gradually accustom the people to burn native fuel.

That is the tragedy of it. Deputy Victory does not know what he is doing when giving his vote on this section. He will go into the lobby now in full faith and with good intentions and yet without the remotest notion of what injury he is doing by his vote. That is just the tragedy of it. I spent the last ten minutes in trying to explain to the Deputy what this section will do. Deputy O'Sullivan too spent some time in trying to explain to Deputy Victory and to others the nature of the section but we have not made the slightest impression upon his mind and he is as much in a fog now as he was 20 minutes ago. We have been trying to clear his mind, but the attempt seems hopeless. He is now going to put the people whom he wants to serve in the ash can. He is voting in the belief that he is doing them a benefit. The pity is that the Deputy is being bamboozled by the Minister. I ask him to apply his mind to this amendment. The Minister is here for the purpose of bamboozling and fooling Deputy Victory. I am now asking the Deputy to try and deliver himself from the fog he is in, to realise what he is doing, to have the courage of his convictions and by his vote to defend the interests of the people who elected him.

That is where we differ. I have the courage of my convictions.

Deputy Morrissey who has been closely concerned with the turf industry in his neighbourhood discussed this question here. He has told us about a merchant who had much experience of the turf industry in North Tipperary and who, in order to get the turf that would satisfy his customers, had to refuse to take turf from the co-operative societies and instead had to go to a turf-cutter in County Clare. Here is a person in Tipperary interested in the development of the turf industry and he had to go outside Tipperary for turf. He was forced to do it. He had to pay 4/- a ton more to that individual turf-cutter who did not get the same facilities from the railway company in the transport of turf that the co-operative societies got. He had to get the quality of turf that this individual turf-cutter had. That individual turf-cutter lived in the County Clare and he paid him 4/- a ton more for his turf. He had to do that because it was the only way in which he could get turf of the particular quality and in the particular condition that he wanted. That particular turf-cutter was upholding the reputation of turf and holding the market for turf where the co-operative societies in Clare, Galway and Tipperary were failing to do it. He is now in effect in future going to be prevented from selling his turf in any area which the Minister wishes to make an appointed area. We will come up against what the Minister means by an appointed area later on. I ask the Minister what purpose, in the interests of turf, either of its reputation as a fuel or its spread and use in the country, is going to be served by putting a man like that turf-cutter out of business? What purpose is served by putting out of business a person who during the last 12 months or more was selling turf from the west of Clare to people in North Tipperary because the co-operative societies in North Tipperary cannot supply the turf that is wanted by the people there?

What co-operative society—would the Deputy identify it?

The co-operative society is there.

That is a fairy story.

Is it an advantage to put that man out of business, a man who is cutting turf for which merchants are willing to pay 4/- a ton more?

Who was the man?

Deputy Morrissey——

Am I to understand that the reason was because this individual turf-cutter could not get the same rate from the railway company as the co-operative soceity? Well, I may tell the Deputy that the railway company will charge that man the same as they will charge the co-operative society. They have no right to discriminate.

Whether that was the reason or not, the fact is that this merchant had to pay 4/- a ton more to a private individual turf-cutter rather than accept turf at the lower price from the co-operative society.

There are people like that in Grangegorman too.

There may be, but the Minister must expect that some more people ought to be there or he would not argue in the way in which he argues now. Here you have the case of a private turf-cutter selling turf of a quality that it is bought at 4/- a ton more than the price at which the co-operative society in North Tipperary would sell it. This man is going to be put out of business. By the ordinary working of this Bill the Minister is going to put this man out of business in an appointed area.

Under what provision of the Bill does that arise?

That is a sideline.

Deputy Victory talks about sidelines. I do not know whether it is a sideline or not in this particular case, but I know that the turf-cutter in question sold very substantial quantities of turf, and Deputies Jordan and Victory are now going to put that man and men like him out of business.

How does that apply?

If, in fact, people in an appointed area buy any quantity of coal over 2 cwt., they are going to be forced to go to an approved society for their turf. Everybody in that area practically, except the co-operative societies, is going to be forced out of the turf business in so far as the Minister in operating this Bill can force them. I ask the Minister what turf purpose is going to be served by putting out of business in appointed areas men who have shown they were able to carry on the industry successfully?

The remarks made by Deputy Mulcahy show that he has practically no knowledge of the turf business. He said that the compulsory part of the Bill is going to create a position by which turf buying will be done in certain areas by coal merchants.

I said co-operative societies.

That, of course, is all wrong. In the countryside where turf is available there are two-thirds of the population whose only purchases of coal are for threshing operations. There are big numbers of farmers who buy 15 tons of turf in the year. They will buy a ¼ ton of coal for threshing and yet Deputy Mulcahy says that, because they buy a ¼ ton or a ½ ton of coal for threshing or for domestic purposes, they will have to buy a certain quantity of turf and that that will so limit the market for the individual turf producers that these turf producers will not be able to sell their produce. That is the merest nonsense. The individual turf producers will be in this position— that the average farmer who burns only turf can still buy from that individual. In addition, I may point out that the small person who never buys more than 2 cwt. of coal is still free to buy it. Of course, the person who buys only a limited quantity of coal, say half and half, possibly will be able to buy partly from that individual supplier. As a matter of fact, this Bill will probably extend the market for that individual seller, because the persons dependent on turf-cutting for a living will almost inevitably join the co-operative society. They will be largely concerned with the supplies to coal merchants, and so on. The small farmer with whom Deputy Dillon is so concerned, who merely sells his surplus of turf, will have a monopoly of the trade I am speaking about in so far as he can supply it.

I thought there might be something in this amendment until I heard the speeches delivered in connection with it, but I am now satisfied that there is no case whatever for the amendment. I believe that those who are dependent upon turf-cutting for a living will welcome the provision that will cause them to become members of co-operative societies. I believe it will give them a certain market for their produce and it will tend to standardise the produce. There will not be the bickering nor the disputes about quality that have prevailed heretofore. I am satisfied that the provision about co-operative societies as a means of administering the Act is a very useful one. I think the Opposition would be well advised not to persist in this line. So far as that part is concerned, they have not established their case; they have not made a case that the individual turf producer is going to be in the least bit affected by it. On the contrary, it is very likely in my opinion, and it should be the general opinion, that his market will be established.

I think that Deputy Mulcahy knows very little about the position of the producer of turf, and whatever Deputy Morrissey says about it is misleading to everybody. So far as my experience of the individual producers is concerned, up to this stage the Government's scheme in connection with turf has vastly improved their position. Prior to the setting up of the co-operative societies and the Turf Development Board, the producers and direct sellers in the bog areas in Kildare were in a very bad way. They were going into the towns trying to sell turf and the towns were not able to absorb all the turf they were producing. Then, with the extra drainage of the bogs, more turf was being produced. The producers were in the position that there was a surplus there and they could not sell it. As regards the purchasers of turf in the rural areas, the farmers used to go to the bogs and buy the turf there and they got that turf at whatever price they liked. Sometimes the producers were glad to get 4/- and 5/- a ton for the turf. When the Government's scheme started, the supporters of Deputy Dillon down the country did all they could to oppose it and keep it from working. They were inspired by political motives, and they tried to organise the turf producers, and they told them that the Government's scheme would put them off the road altogether. That was the type of campaign that was carried out. Deputy Belton went to Kildare to help that out. The experience of the turf producers since is that all the surplus turf has been taken off the market through the Turf Development Board and their sales have been increased.

As regards the bogs in Kildare, I believe those statistics are altogether wrong. Anyone with the slightest experience of the working of the bogs in Kildare must be aware they are wrong. I can say that ten loads of turf now leave the bog for Dublin to the one that left five or six years ago. The types of persons who buy turf from the producer in the local town usually would buy about 2 cwt. of coal. Those persons will not be affected. Then there is the other type of person, the farmer in the rural area, who never buys any coal. Such a person will buy turf every year, 20 and perhaps 30 tons, in the bogs. These people will have to give a better price now than they gave in former years before the turf scheme was made operative. We have heard a lot about the people who opposed the turf scheme in the country areas in Kildare. There were certain people in Kildare who became distributors of turf in a pretty extensive way. They bought large quantities from the producers, but at a very bad price.

And drew it themselves.

They were more in the position of middlemen. The Government scheme has taken those people off the necks of the producers, and the producers see that now. I believe the effect of the amendment would be to make the scheme unworkable. It looks as if the Opposition want to prevent the scheme working. It is a pity Deputy Minch is not here. He knows something about the turf industry, and I would be glad to hear him express his views. He knows well that the turf producers in Kildare are in favour of this scheme. As a matter of fact, the people who have talked most about it are the people who know nothing at all about it.

The sooner the Minister gets a proper statistician and lets him loose in relation to the turf in Kildare, the better for the credit of his turf scheme.

And it would be better for Deputy Mulcahy's credit if he could get lessons on how to read statistics.

If the Minister does as I suggest, it would be all the better for his turf scheme. The Minister told us that in Kildare in 1934 there were only 1,601 tons of turf more taken from the bogs there than in the year 1931.

If I may interrupt the Deputy, I also told him that in relation to turf no definite conclusion can be drawn from the figures for one year as compared with another, the production of turf in any year or any portion of a year being so dependent on climatic conditions that no reliable comparison could be made. It so happened that 1934 was a bad year for production, and production started late in that year.

And the Minister knows that neither he nor I is dependent on one year's statistics. He has shown us that there was less turf taken from the bogs in 1933 than in 1931; less in 1934 than in 1933, and less carried by the transport companies in 1935 than in 1934.

The Deputy is relying on figures that give an entirely false picture.

Let us examine the reason why we are asked to spend money and set up elaborate machinery, and interfere very much with people in their homes in relation to such an important matter as fuel. Let us see the reason why we ought to have some more information, taking Kildare as a sample.

The position of the turf scheme in Kildare does not arise on this amendment.

No, but ordinary sellers will be forced out of the business, and co-operative societies will take their place. Deputy Harris tells us that living in Kildare, with the bog in front of him, the position is that there is room for tremendous development. But that has not been shown in any way that we can see. So far as the Minister is concerned, he tells us that 1,600 tons more were taken from the bogs in Kildare in 1934 than in 1931.

The amount of turf won from Kildare, turf produced by co-operative societies as well as individual producers, does not arise. The amendment deals with individual producers only. Arguments covering the whole turf scheme in Kildare are irrelevant. If such were allowed, every Deputy might bring up the conditions of his own constituency—an appalling prospect—on this amendment.

I am going through the whole question of turf production.

By individuals and societies?

There were 3,800 tons taken by Department of Defence in that year. Deputy Harris is asking to have the private turf cutters choked down if the Minister wants to make Kildare an important area.

They will not be choked down whether he makes it an important area or not.

That is a matter for the future to tell.

The private cutters know it themselves.

We are dealing with the scheme that gives the Minister power to do it. The Minister proposes that no householder in Kildare can get a quarter of a ton of coal without having to deal with the local approved society. A man cannot get his coal unless he does that. It is all very well for Deputy Moore to say that there are so many householders who use nothing but turf, and that the individual turf-cutter will do better than in the past. I know that the Deputy, when he takes a certain amount of consolation from that remark, seems to take more consolation when he says that in any case the individual turf-cutter will be only delighted to be forced into the co-operative society.

Deputy Harris referred to selling turf at 4/- a crib. He is the first Deputy I ever heard describing turf as being sold at that price.

10/- per horse crib. A good crib would weigh one ton in our county.

I would be glad to see a horse crib that would weigh a ton.

The Deputy would find some difficulty in relating the weight of a creel of turf to amendment No. 1.

Yes, Because Deputy Harris professes to represent the conditions of these individual suppliers. But let us pass from Deputy Harris. He has spoken about the peculiar position in Kildare. I am thinking of the people in the congested areas. I am thinking of the people referred to by the Minister for Education, acting for the Minister for Industry and Commerce when the turf legislation was first brought in here. We were told that this legislation was to assist these people whom Deputy Victory described as crushed by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Deputy Victory told us these people were being crushed in the western areas. Do the conditions described by Deputy Harris correspond in any way with the conditions in the congested areas within, for instance, Deputy Jordan's knowledge? Of course they do not. They bear no relation to the condition of farmers in the congested areas who burn turf and who have their own turbary. These people have turf as a side line and bring it in and sell it in the market to town dwellers. These are the people we were thinking of when we put down this amendment.

Will the Deputy go to Donegal or Connemara and ask the people if they want this Bill or not?

Will the Minister ask the consumer?

The Minister's question is an extremely difficult one. I asked that question of the people in Donegal, and Deputy Doherty was despatched by the Minister to say to the people that the Bill before the House meant that there was going to be more turf sold, more money spent and that the bogs would become invaluable. I said the meaning is that the bogs will not be one bit more used than before, but that the Minister is going to create a horde of officials. Who was right, Deputy Doherty or myself? If I am told in Donegal that the Minister says this Bill does not prevent anyone from selling turf, I have to say that is right. There is no provision to prevent people selling any turf, but the implications of this Bill will mean that people who now sell turf as a side line will no longer be able to sell it. That will come to pass as sure as we are here if this amendment is not adopted. It may not affect Kildare. The peculiar circumstances that operate in Kildare are not known to me, but the conditions that operate in the congested areas are known to Deputy Doherty and to Deputy Jordan. The Minister for Industry and Commerce knows nothing about the congested areas, and I implore him to keep silent about them. He would be as incongruous in a congested area as a white blackbird. He does not know anything about the congested areas; we do not expect him to. I suggest to Deputy Jordan that the picture I have drawn is the true picture. We want to avoid these hardships and I believe this amendment is designed to do that, and unless the amendment is accepted grave hardships will prevail.

Mr. Brodrick

Coming from a district where a good deal of turf is cut, I believe this is a reasonable amendment. If this amendment was accepted you would have competition from the turf producers. If the amendment is not accepted, what will happen? A co-operative society is formed in the district, and it may turn out that the retailer has got to buy all his turf from the co-operative society. Down in the West of Ireland we have a terrible dread of co-operative societies. We were not dealt with fairly in regard to them in the past. In the second place it is quite possible you may develop a bog that may not be worth it. If you get a bad bog, such as Deputy O'Leary referred to in Kildare, and if a coal retailer has to buy from that society and to sell that turf over again, how can he do so when in the few homes where turf is used it must be the best black turf?

But the turf must be up to the Board's standard of quality.

Not short grass turf.

Will the Turf Board take only black turf?

They have indicated what they regard as standard quality.

Average quality.

Standard quality is the quality approved by them.

Mr. Brodrick

If the turf which I saw burned in Leinster House last winter is standard quality, I can say that it is only like the waste in some of our bogs. That is the objection I have to co-operative societies; that you will probably develop a bad bog and get some town dwellers, who have to buy from a coal retailer, to buy that bad turf, whereas the ordinary man coming in with his crib of surplus turf can sell it quite freely at present. Why not let the coal retailer go into the open market and buy the turf just as a corn merchant buys corn in the open market? He will buy the best turf and he will get it at the lowest possible price. The person who has to buy from him may be quite sure that he is going to get the best value that can be got for money. There are districts where there may not be a sufficient number of people to join in a co-operative society. The turbary was given to them years ago by the Land Commission or the Congested Districts Board. Every year they sold portion of their surplus turf to the ordinary farmers around and then brought in the rest into the smaller towns to dispose of it. I think this is not fair to them. What I am afraid of under the section is that you are putting a price on bad turf. If the amendment were accepted, the people who have the good turf would always be sure of a price. The danger is that the people who had good turf for sale in the past will not now produce that good turf because, under the section they will only get the same price as the producer of the bad turf.

I quite agree with Deputy Brodrick with regard to the quality of the turf. There should be some protection for the people with regard to that. As has been pointed out, there are a great many in the position of the people whom this amendment seeks to protect. Nothing should be done to put these people in the position that they cannot sell their turf. After all, this is not the first time that the Minister introduced a Bill interfering with the means of living of individuals. Under the Road Traffic Act he handed over the control of traffic to the Great Southern Railways Company, but he made provision for the people who suffered as a result of that. We want to see that the people concerned here will not suffer and have to come before the House demanding compensation for being deprived of their means of livelihood.

Knowing the farmers of Galway as I do, at least those in the Athenry area, and the individual turf-cutters as well as the members of the co-operative societies, I should like to remind the House of this fact, which has not been stated by anybody who has spoken on this Bill—that the people down there who cut turf, if they can produce the standardised turf necessary, and if the price is right, are not going to hawk it around for a smaller price. They will make sure that they will start a co-operative society in their district and unite to get the best price they can from the authorised merchants. If you leave them alone they will do their own business.

Mr. Brodrick

For bad turf?

For standardised turf.

Deputy Brodrick put a straight question to the Minister which ought to be answered—why cannot a registered coal retailer be allowed to buy turf from whomever he likes when he is put into the position that he cannot sell coal without selling turf with it? Why cannot the turf, which the registered coal retailer will sell in compulsory quantities with the coal, be bought from any dealer in turf?

There is nothing to prevent a coal retailer from purchasing turf from anybody he likes.

The turf he must sell with the coal under Section 15 is turf that he must have got from an approved source. Why cannot it be turf that he got from any source? It has been made clear that a better quality turf can be got from people who are not in the co-operative societies.

That is nonsense.

It has been shown clearly to the Minister, not only here but elsewhere, I am sure, that he is depriving people, who earned some part of their living in the past from turf, of part of that living by these proposals. I should like him to answer what is the difficulty that makes him force registered coal retailers to buy turf only from approved sources to sell in this compulsory way.

They must be sources that are subject to supervision.

So that the important thing is supervision and inspectors, and not turf and employment?

The important thing is the quality of the turf.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 36; Níl, 53.

  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Bourke, Séamus.
  • Broderick, William Joseph.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Burke, James Michael.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Keating, John.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McGuire, James Ivan.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Rogers, Patrick James.
  • Wall, Nicholas.

Níl

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Concannon, Helena
  • Corbett, Edmond.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doherty, Hugh.
  • Donnelly, Eamon.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • O'Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers: Tá: Deputies Doyle and Bennett: Níl: Deputies Little and Smith.
Amendment declared lost.
Question put: "That Section 2 stand part of the Bill."

On the section, I would again draw the Minister's attention to the fact that under Section 13 he is going to compel coal retailers selling a certain quantity of coal to sell with it a certain quantity of turf in an area which is not an approved area, but he is not going to allow the coal merchant, who is going to sell that turf, to buy it wherever he pleases. He is not going to allow that merchant to choose the bog from which he will get the turf or the type of turf which he may want to get. He is not going to allow the merchant to go into the open market for the purchase of turf. Instead of that, he forces the merchant to go to a type of society on the development of which the Minister has already spent a considerable amount of money, and which societies, at the end of last year, the Minister had succeeded in developing only to the extent of seven in Donegal, 32 in Kerry, five in Tipperary, 23 in Galway, and ten in Mayo, out of a total of 158. Now a further development of societies like that is going to take place at the expense of the State as well as at considerable inconvenience and loss to the people who are engaged in the turf-cutting industry. I think the Minister ought to explain, on this section, why he is deliberately endeavouring to prevent coal retailers buying their compulsory turf from whomever they want to buy it.

It is not correct to say that a coal retailer will be required to purchase from one co-operative society. So long as he purchases from a source that is approved under the section, he satisfies the requirements of the Act; and, if there were any difference between the quality of turf produced by one society as against the quality of turf produced by another society, he is at liberty to purchase from whichever society he chooses. He will not be forced to take turf from any particular society—whether the turf supplied by a society is satisfactory or not. In any event, however, it is necessary that there should be proper supervision over the turf sold. If we are taking power to compel people to purchase turf, it is obvious that there must be adequate machinery to see that the turf is of the proper quality, and it is not possible to do that unless we can be sure that the turf is from an approved source—in other words, a source that will be subject to the supervision of the Turf Development Board. The co-operative societies are being equipped with the necessary machinery for the proper production of turf and they are being provided with suitable storage facilities. The turf, when in store, will be inspected before being sold, and if it does not come up to the standard of quality required by the Turf Development Board, it will not be sold at all under the scheme. Therefore, the coal merchants and others who are anxious to purchase turf, can be satisfied that, when they purchase turf from an approved source, they will be getting turf of a good quality.

I think it is obvious that, if we did not have some such provision as this, there could be wide-spread evasions of the Act, and I think it is equally obvious that this is the only basis on which we could provide against such evasions. In fixing the quota in any area, or in defining a particular area, it is necessary that we should have full knowledge of the quantity of turf that has been produced or that is likely to be produced in that area in a certain time—turf which will conform to the standard of quality which the Turf Development Board has set up. On any other basis there could be many evasions of the Act, and, in fact, the Act could be made a dead-letter by various devices.

If a registered coal retailer is bound, by law, to sell a certain amount of turf with his coal, how can there be any evasion by allowing the merchant to purchase his turf from whatever source he wishes to buy it?

How can we know that, in fact, he purchases turf from anybody, if we have not some such machinery?

If he has to sell the turf, he has to purchase it.

What type of supervision has the Minister provided for co-operative societies, and what kind of supervision is he going to exercise under the present system to ensure that coal retailers purchase the proper supply of turf?

The Turf Development Board will have full knowledge of the quantities of turf sold by the co-operative societies to all coal retailers in the area concerned. If, however, you widen the source of supply so as to include a number of people not under the supervision of the Turf Development Board, then there could be evasions of the type I have suggested. For instance, a merchant could say: "Yes, I have sold so many tons of turf and I bought so many tons of turf from such and such persons"; but how could we prove that, unless we had some machinery of the type suggested?

Is not the Minister going to have supervision over the retailers by making them furnish periodical returns?

And if a merchant says that he got so many tons from a co-operative society, the Minister can check that statement with the returns of the co-operative society?

Quite so.

But if the coal merchant shows in his returns that he has purchased a certain number of tons from an unknown seller, the Minister says that he cannot check that?

Is it not plain that the only method of inspection is collective inspection? Surely, an inspector could not be kept at a coal merchant's yard inspecting the turf coming in from day to day? Would you not have this arising then—that, with each purchase of coal, there would be constant complaints as to the quality of the turf, if people chose to make those complaints—in other words, if the merchant were at liberty to purchase the turf from any one of his scores of neighbours? Where those who buy coal have to buy a certain amount of turf with it, the purchaser can complain at any time that, either rightly or wrongly, he is not getting a good quality of turf, and the State would have no defence to make against that. I think they are making him a present of that complaint, and I cannot see how the proposal can be carried out. I do submit, however, as I was saying a while ago, that it would be worth while considering whether a coal merchant could not himself become a producer of turf, provided, perhaps, that he produced a certain minimum quantity of turf. We are always complaining in this country that we have too many distributors. It is a constant criticism in this country that the tendency of our people is to engage in distribution instead of in production. Well, here is an opportunity to encourage our people to engage in production and to encourage production on the part of people already engaged as merchants in the distributive trade. For instance, there are already merchants in this country who own pieces of bog, and I think that it should be possible to have some provision in the Bill to make such people an approved source of supply.

According to Deputy Moore's argument, certain coal merchants could be recognised as approved sources of supply, but the ordinary turf-cutter could not be recognised.

There would have to be a certain minimum amount of production.

Well, why could not the ordinary turf-cutter be recognised as an approved source?

For the reason, obviously, that he could not produce the minimum that might be required.

But a coal merchant may be recognised?

Yes. Obviously, if a coal merchant is producing, say, 500 or 5,000 tons in a certain period, it would be an easy matter to inspect his turf, and I do think that it is a desirable thing to encourage production in that respect, provided that there is a certain minimum laid down. It must be remembered that you might have such a circumstance arising as that, in an emergency, the Minister might have to schedule a certain area that had not been scheduled previously. If there were no co-operative society in that area, then you would have the position that all the turf has to come from the Turf Board or from different co-operative societies. At the same time, it might be possible that the merchant concerned would be in a position to start producing turf for himself—perhaps from his own bog. I should like to hear the Minister's reason for omitting that type of person from the list of approved sources. I think there is a very good case for including such people, provided that there is a certain minimum of production fixed. If a person, in order to have his turf approved, has to pool it into the co-operative society, buy it back from a society, and then re-sell it, I think that is a rather cumbrous arrangement, and, to my own knowledge there are many coal merchants in that position. There are many coal merchants in the position that they own pieces of bog and, if there were the necessary provisions in this Bill, they would be encouraged to acquire a larger area of bog-land. Unless we are to decide that private enterprise is altogether a bad thing, I think there is a good case to be made for including such persons as I have described among the approved sources.

Deputy Moore said that if coal merchants were to be permitted to buy from various sources, the quality of the turf might be poor, and in certain cases would not be uniform. Is it not obvious that if coal merchants are forced to sell turf with coal, and if they get a choice, they are going to get the best turf? As a result, merchants with really tip-top turf are going to do better than their neighbours if they have poor turf. It is in the interests of merchants to get the best turf. It may be an answer that the Minister would refuse to let coal merchants buy from private individuals because by so doing they might get superior quality to turf supplied by the Board. It has to be remembered that certain qualities of turf are, on the average, better than what the Board supplies. I do not come from a turf county, but I know good turf from bad turf. I know that some of the turf I saw supplied by the Turf Board was bad turf, and that I could get a superior turf even in my own county. If I was a coal merchant I should like to be permitted to get the best turf I could—to get turf of really A1 quality. I would regard that as the best part of my business, because I would have an advantage over competitors if I could say that I was selling better turf than men in the next street. This is an interference with good business, and as Deputy Moore says, there is the possibility of getting inferior turf.

I agree fully with Deputy Bennett that a turf society might produce bad turf, and that an individual producer might produce good turf, but the difference in the point of view he has contemplated is that the turf will be inspected at the source, and only the good turf approved for sale under the scheme. Deputy Bennett in that connection must bear in mind that there is going to be a fixed price, and that turf sold by co-operative societies to a coal merchant is going to be sold at a fixed price. There is an obligation to ensure that the quality will be up to standard. We can do that in relation to co-operative societies, because the turf will be available for inspection.

Is there a fixed selling price to the consumer?

Not necessarily. That will vary with the cost of delivery in the different districts. The price the consumer will pay will obviously be determined by certain considerations, and people are going to buy the cheapest article if they want it. In practically every part of the country there is bound to be an alternative source of supply. My objection to Deputy Moore's suggestion is the same as that to Deputy Mulcahy's proposal. There will be no effective means of accounting for turf produced by merchants other than by an examination of merchants' books which would not be reliable. No one could check a merchant's statement that he produced 500 tons or 1,000 tons of turf and sold it in acordance with the provisions of the Bill. It is necessary to have a check on the returns of coal merchants, or otherwise a dishonest merchant might get an advantage over a competitor who conformed to the law. It is in the interests of the honest merchant who tries to carry out the obligation under this or any other statute, that this proper enforcement is necessary.

I hope the Minister will realise that the difficulty I have in understanding this Bill is due to the fact that he has never given any opinion of the type of inspection and how much he expects from it.

What does the Deputy mean in that regard? We have had references made to the possibility of a horde of inspectors being appointed. It will not be necessary to appoint a horde of inspectors. In so far as we foresee development this year, or next year, of the provisions of this Bill, there will be no additional inspectors appointed. It is true that to a large extent the Bill will be supervised by the Civic Guards in any area, but, apart from the appointment of a clerk to keep records, no additional inspector will be required for some time. It is, of course, possible that an additional inspector will be needed at some stage when the scheme has developed.

I am sorry the Minister has not cleared up my difficulty, especially in view of the exposition he gave before. I take it that there will be inspection at the source, and that the source is the bogs. Therefore, there will be inspection at the bogs. To me that seems to indicate a considerable amount of inspection. The Minister can make gestures, but the fact remains that there is to be inspection at the source. The Minister nodded when I said that that means inspection at the bogs—any quantity of bogs. There are 32 co-operative societies in my native county. If there is going to be inspection on all the bogs, I do not know how many there will be.

The turf is not produced and sold at the same time.

The Minister nodded when I said there would be inspection on the bogs. Then there will be a considerable amount of inspection. I confess to a difficulty in following the machinery of the Bill, and as to how the Minister intends to work it. A great deal of the delay, I think, is due to the refusal of the Minister to give a picture of what is in his mind. I gather that the only reason he is opposing the suggestion of Deputy Mulcahy is that the check on the merchant will be the amount of turf he buys from an approved source. If that is so, I confess that I misread the Bill. The Minister spoke of evasion and assumes that certain merchants will try to evade the Bill. What is there to prevent a merchant buying turf from an approved source and selling coal to one man and turf to another man, and in that way disposing of his turf, if the check the Minister indicated is to be merely the quantity the merchant buys? Is it not obvious that the purpose of the Bill can be evaded by having, so to speak, side by side coal merchants and turf merchants, selling coal and turf to consumers? The Minister says that there are provisions in the Bill under which that would be against the law. Then he will want inspection elsewhere to see that the purchaser does not evade the law, or that the merchant in selling does not evade it. Control of the amount of turf a merchant buys is not the check that the Minister's suggests if people are determined to evade the law, unless there is an amount of inspection considerably greater than the Minister indicated. In fact, you will have to have inspection at different times, both at the source and at the last stage in the sale to consumers. The provisions in the Bill show that. That being so, I cannot see what is the objection to allowing merchants to purchase turf where they wish, so long as they can show on inspection that they have purchased so much turf. I do not see how such men would be in a different position from the Minister's point of view from persons who purchase directly from the co-operative societies or the board. As to the question about the standard of the turf, it will not be to the advantage of one coal merchant as against a rival coal merchant to sell "compulsory turf," if I might use that phrase, of an inferior quality.

There will frequently be no competition in rural places.

Very often there is. Again we do not know where it is going to be enforced. There are 32 co-operative societies in Kerry alone. I do not know the number of bogs they have but that will require inspection. I wonder how many coal merchants are there? Not so many. The Minister has given no indication of the amount of extra inspection that will be required. Again, I can only say that I see at the back of this a determination to keep out at all costs the ordinary turf-cutter and to permit large scale production at the expense of the small individual producer. I suggest it is rather late in the day for Deputy Moore to appear as a defender of private enterprise in this matter. I think the Minister's answer was quite as effective, or at least as effective, to Deputy Moore's arguments as it was to the case which we put forward. Even Deputy Moore's own distinction between the merchant and the ordinary small producer shows that he also is bitten with the idea of big business, production on a grandiose scale. Both the Minister and the Deputy are misled by the example of big production in Russia.

Sir Horace Plunkett was not a Bolshevik.

I am referring to the economic side of the question. I am leaving out controversial matters. It was the Minister who quoted the example of Russia. He gave it as an example of this particular method of large scale production.

When did I refer to it?

The Minister did not mention Russia in his introductory speech? He did; he referred to what was being done in the way of turf production in Russia and Germany.

Again I invite the Deputy to quote my speech.

All right. I shall find it at some other time and if the Minister looks for it in his speech he will find it too. Apparently judging by his attitude now he must not have intended mentioning it. It slipped out unconsciously. Again I cannot see what the object of the section is unless it be a determination to crush out the small producer.

Question put.
The Committee divided:—Tá, 56; Níl, 31.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Corbett, Edmond.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Derrig, Thomas
  • Doherty, Hugh.
  • Donnelly, Eamon.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Houlihan. Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.

Níl

  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Bourke, Séamus.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Burke, James Michael.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Keating, John.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McGuire, James Ivan.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Rogers, Patrick James.
  • Rowlette, Robert James.
  • Wall, Nicholas.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies P.S. Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.
Section 3 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 4 stand part of the Bill."

On the section, would the Minister give the House some information as to the places in which he proposes to enforce this measure—the areas which he intends to prescribe?

I stated on the Second Reading of the Bill that, at the beginning, at any rate, the only appointed areas will be the places where turf can be sold cheapest and where coal is dearest. Generally speaking, that means the turf-producing areas, and perhaps only districts in those counties which come within that description. A lot, of course, will depend on the volume of production. It is impossible to state in advance, in the beginning of any year, what the volume of production in any area will be, because that will depend, not merely on the number of societies, but on weather conditions and on other factors. But, having regard to the production anticipated this and the following year, it is not likely that there will be very many areas appointed. In any event, it will be possible to confine the operation of the Bill to those areas where turf as a fuel can be regarded definitely as economic in so far as it will be cheaper weight for weight and calorie for calorie than turf.

I am not asking the Minister what his view is as to the relative value of turf and coal per calorie and per price.

Of course it varies.

It varies very considerably. There are people who burn turf. They do so from choice because they like it, but they will not admit that, calorie for calorie, it is at all an economic proposition. They burn it in their living rooms because they prefer it to coal, but they will tell you candidly that from the heating point of view it is not an economic proposition. Will the Minister realise that he has not given us any real indication of the areas in which it is proposed to enforce this measure? He speaks of the turf-producing areas. You may have an area in which there is a very big bog, and it may not be a turf-consuming area at all, in the sense that it does not consume anything like the quantity of turf produced in that area. You may have to go outside that area to dispose of the turf produced.

Not unless the production is higher than it was last year. In 1935, all the turf produced was disposed of without any compulsion at all. It is because we anticipate a substantial increase in production that we contemplate using the powers in this Bill at all. And even in that event a quite mild application of the provisions of the Bill will probably be sufficient to dispose of all the turf produced. Consequently it will only be necessary to operate it in certain defined areas, and then to a limited extent only. It is difficult to say to what extent the provisions of the Bill will be applied, or the size of the areas over which it will operate, in advance of some definite knowledge as to the quantity of turf that will be available to be disposed of.

I did not like to interrupt the Minister on a point of order, but I was going to raise the point of order that he was talking against the principle of the Bill in the argument that he now puts forward. He has brought an excellent argument against this Bill. "He could easily have waited 12 months so far as compulsion is concerned; it is most unlikely that it will be used in the next 12 months, and if used at all then only in the smallest possible doses." This is the Bill that there has been so much hurry about.

There was no hurry. The Bill was introduced last December.

Then, will the Minister say why the compulsory powers are necessary?

I refer the Deputy to my Second Reading speech.

I am dealing with what the Minister said. I am at a loss to know in what type of area he will enforce the Bill. Take the case of a coal merchant in the City of Cork, does he intend to enforce the measure there and will that coal merchant have to sell turf with coal?

In answer to the Deputy's first point, the reason why it is desired to have the Bill passed is for the purpose of encouraging the production of turf. The provisions in the Bill may not be necessary immediately for the purpose of ensuring the disposal of all the turf produced, but, having regard to the experience gained in 1934, it is considered that the co-operative societies will engage more vigorously in the production of turf, and if so they are entitled to know that we are in a position to ensure that the turf so produced will be disposed of. I do not think it will be necessary to operate the compulsory provisions of the Bill in an area like Cork City in the course of the coming year. At some stage, we shall get to the point at which we shall be able to supply turf in all parts of the country but that will not be for some time to come. Increase in turf production is a slow business. Under the best circumstances, it cannot be done readily. If you take virgin bog, before you can produce a sod of turf from it, at least two years' preparatory work must be done. For certain forms of production, even three years' preparatory work is necessary. The Deputy will see that you cannot increase the supply of turf very rapidly. Earlier in the discussion, a Deputy referred to the use of turf in an emergency. The fact is that, if an emergency were to arise and our supplies of coal, due to any cause, were cut off, we could not deal with that emergency except to a limited extent by turning to turf because turf could not be produced sufficiently rapidly to enable that emergency to be met. On the basis of the production we contemplate this year, it will, I think, be possible to dispose of all the turf merely by supplying, under the provisions of this Bill, certain limited areas which I have defined as turf-producing areas—the areas where turf is cheapest and coal is dearest. In these areas, there will, I think, be little difficulty in disposing of more turf than has been used in the past. In any event, the sales arising therefrom, plus the sales that will take place in the ordinary course in other areas without any compulsory powers, will enable us to dispose of the production contemplated this year.

The Minister has vague views about a city like Cork. The Minister must have in mind some particular areas.

That is precisely what I was arguing against on my second amendment. Notwithstanding all this talk, the Minister has shown that there is no necessity for the Bill at all. Now, apparently, all the rosy promises held out are more or less vanishing. The main reason the Minister gives for the Bill now is that he wants to give the turf producers a little more heart than resulted from his efforts in 1934. That is the principal argument he brought forward for these compulsory powers. As a result of their previous attempt to increase turf production, to give a little heart to the turf producers the Minister wants these compulsory powers, which he does not think he will be called upon to exercise for some considerable time. Again, we have this blowing hot and cold. We do not know where we are or what the intentions of the Minister are. Propaganda is the main purpose of the Bill—propaganda directed not at the public this time but at the turf producer.

Is there any objection to giving the turf producer encouragement?

The turf producer's mind is to be turned towards increased production by the promise to apply compulsion to the rest of the community. That is the principal argument used by the Minister. The idea is not to get people to use turf but, by the powers now sought, to hold an umbrella over the turf producers and to erase the effects of the efforts of 1934. I think the Minister might have mentioned about a dozen areas to which he proposed to apply these provisions. The County Kerry, which he has mentioned, is rather a large area. Does he suggest that, calorie for calorie, turf is a cheaper fuel than coal in Killarney or Tralee?

Surely it is in a place like Killarney.

That is not the view of the people there. I am speaking of people who use turf. Eighteen months ago I asked people there that question, though I did not use the Minister's phrase. I referred to "heating power." They were all of the opinion there that, as a heating proposition, turf was not as good as coal. That is the opinion of people accustomed to using turf and coal, and who use turf whenever they can use it. The Minister might give a list of 12 or 13 areas to which he intends to apply these provisions.

One essential factor is missing—the quantity of turf to be disposed of. We shall not know that until later. Assuming that we have the same increase as last year in the quantity produced, which I think is very likely, there will be certain limited areas in these counties in respect of which this scheme will be tried out during the coming winter.

Evidently the criticism levelled at the Bill generally is having some effect on the Minister. The people in the cities were becoming anxious lest the Bill should be applied to them, and the Minister now wants to make clear that he does not want to force it on Cork or Dublin. He is going to select areas where turf is more generally used, and where the people produce turf. The Bill is to be applied to Kerry or somewhere in the Gaeltacht where turf is already extensively and cheaply produced, and where the people are using turf. The Minister, if he brings the Bill into operation at all, is going to try it out in one or two of these districts first. But we do not know how far the area will extend. It may extend to the great bulk of the countryside. We may arrive at the point where the man who is producing turf sufficient for his own use will be affected. If, occasionally, he would like the luxury of a coal fire, he may come into town and buy four or five cwts. of coal. But he will also have to buy turf. So that he will be drawing turf instead of coal to Newcastle. He has already as much turf as he needs at home. If there were any logic in the Bill, one would think that the areas selected would not be the areas where turf is already cheap.

The Deputy has not even got the significance of the phrase about "sending coal to Newcastle."

Drawing turf to the bog might be a better expression.

Exactly.

Deputy O'Sullivan, for instance, may have sufficient turf for his own use down in Kerry. If he buys a few cwt. of coal, he will also have to buy more turf. He will, therefore, have more turf than he wants. I think that that would be unjust. I see no reason why the Minister should select first the areas where turf is already largely in use.

I have been listening very attentively to what the Minister has said about the people of the different areas. I understood the Minister to say that, if and when the production of turf increases, if the sales must be stimulated, certain areas will be appointed. He has mentioned Cork City. Let us take that as a typical case. Is it the Minister's idea that when the sale of turf requires to be stimulated, he will make Cork City an appointed area and will stipulate that of every sale of coal over two cwt., ten per cent., or some such percentage, must be turf, and that in another area, which might possibly be better situated, according to the Minister's idea, for the production of turf and the stimulation of its sale, 20 per cent. will be specified? That seems to suggest that the Minister had in mind that in certain portions of the country, which he will appoint from time to time, turf sales will be stimulated artificially, and other areas left alone.

I hesitate to refer to a section to which we have not yet come, but I am afraid I shall have to read portion of Section 13:—

Whenever a coal retailer sells and delivers, whether in or not in an appointed area, to a purchaser who is not entitled to the benefit of exemption....

Surely that contemplates that, where a person is not in an appointed area, he will have to take a certain percentage of turf? I should like the Minister to explain how that is to be worked, having regard to what he has stated as to appointed areas being fixed from time to time and, presumably, different percentages of turf to be consumed in those areas.

The Deputy's general statement as to the manner in which the Bill is to be operated is about 99½ per cent. right.

In regard to the appointed areas?

If that is so, how does the Minister suggest that anybody in the country can escape from the provisions of Section 13, once percentages are put in?

We will deal with that when we come to Section 13.

Do I take it now that the Minister is going to operate this Bill where there is already a considerable consumption of turf?

That might be correct. There might be an area in which there is a considerable consumption of turf with a town in the middle of it in which there is a very small consumption of turf; but, generally speaking, it is correct to say that the appointed areas are the areas in which turf is produced and used to a considerable extent.

In other words, it is in precisely the type of country town I had in mind when discussing Section 2, the Minister intends to operate this Act. I gather that is so from what he has said on this particular section. So far as the Bill is to be operative then, it is in the small country towns it is going to be operative, and the people who are going to be hit are precisely the people I mention, who are accustomed to bringing their turf there. You will get very little extra increase in turf. However, I will discuss that in relation to the compulsory powers, but you will do considerable damage to these men. It is these men, as I say, who will be hit and they are being sacrificed for an alleged advantage—I do not really know to whom—to the people who go into co-operative societies and sell through the board. That it will produce more consumption of turf, I take the liberty of doubting. Remember that the people who are going to be hit are precisely the men who purchase turf already in the country towns from a private individual, and not the people whom Deputy Victory wants to hit, the people who are too grand to use turf. He wanted this as a kind of guillotine against snobbery. It is not going to be used for that purpose. It is to be used for the purpose of hitting those people and their suppliers who up to the present used turf.

Would the Minister tell us what is the difference between an appointed area and a non-appointed area for the purpose of the Bill? In view of what he has said to Deputy Dockrell, is there any distinction?

That, of course, refers to Section 13. I think there is no difficulty about Section 13. The obvious interpretation of Section 13 is that, whenever a coal retailer sells coal to a person in an appointed area, the provisions of the Act apply, whether or not the coal retailer is himself in an appointed area or not.

Do the compulsory provisions apply all round?

Only in the appointed areas.

That is not the way it reads.

Is it the coal merchant or the customer? Which of them is to be in appointed area?

What the section says is whether a coal retailer is or is not in an appointed area.

No, it does not say that, but that is what is meant.

If he sells coal to somebody in an appointed area who is not otherwise exempt, the provisions of the Act concerning the supply of turf apply.

It is pretty obscure.

If the retailer is in an appointed area and the purchaser is outside, it does not apply?

Section 4 agreed to.
Sections 5 to 10, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 11 stand part of the Bill."

Will the Minister explain the reason for the size of the fine in this section?

It is a moderate fine, having regard to the fact that it is necessary to enforce that provision very rigorously. If we apply the Act at all in an appointed area, the penalty for selling coal when unregistered must be such as to intimidate people from attempting it.

I want the Minister to bear that in mind. I am sorry he did not bear it in mind when answering Deputy Mulcahy earlier in connection with Section 2, because that fine, and the fact that you will have to have control, not merely of the purchases by the merchant, but also of the sales by the merchant and purchases by the consumer, would ensure that there was no evasion of the Act.

This section relates to the selling of coal by an unregistered person. It is a somewhat different matter.

What is the fine in the other case?

Every person selling coal must sell the requisite quantity of turf as well, and the fine is calculated on the basis of the number of tons of coal so sold, but it must not exceed £1 a ton.

Does not the Minister think that that is a sufficient check in addition to the other things?

There are other provisions. There is Section 16 which provides that if the merchant does not purchase turf sufficient to enable him to carry out his obligations under the Bill he can be compelled by the Minister to purchase the requisite amount of turf.

Will not all these other provisions then enable the Minister to revise his ideas as to this section? He has any number of guarantees such as heavy fines, inspection of documents of all kinds, the Civic Guards on the spot and fines varying according to the quantity of coal sold. The Minister certainly has everything that would help to keep a person from evading the Act.

No fine will prevent any person from attempting to evade an Act if he can do so successfully.

Well surely if we from those benches now occupied by the Minister put up that kind of argument in the past we would be told that we were traducing the Irish people. In this matter there is continual inspection of the sales as well as other things. The Minister is not meeting Deputy Mulcahy's point.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: That Section 12 stand part of the Bill.

I should like to see Section 12 withdrawn. If the penalties in Section 11 are not sufficient to prohibit unregistered coal dealers from carrying on, I suppose the Minister will take other precautions to enforce the Act. What is the object of adding the penalties in Section 12 to all the other penalties? Why should an ordinary purchaser be penalised for an offence of which he is not wilfully cognisant? If a merchant sets up in defiance of the regulations and operates as a coal merchant, surely the ordinary citizen must assume that such a man is legally entitled to operate as such. If he goes in and buys coal from an unregistered person he is to be subjected to the same penalties as the man who sells him the coal. I object to the penalty in this section; there is no necessity for it. I would like the Minister to withdraw the section altogether.

Is the Deputy mixing up the section with some other provision of the Bill? This is a section which prohibits the purchase of coal from an unregistered coal retailer. Having regard to the general scheme of the Bill, it is obviously fair to the people on whom the obligation is placed that some such provision as this should be in the Bill. If you go to a coal retailer and say: "Under penalty you must sell a certain amount of turf with the coal," I think you must at the same time impose an obligation on the turf purchaser to take that quantity of turf. If the Bill is to go through with this provision that is an essential part of it.

The Minister has drafted Section 11 as drastically as he could to prevent an unregistered person operating. That being so, he should not press this section. If a man escapes the attention of the Minister with all these provisions it is natural that the ordinary person in the street will assume that he is entitled to sell coal. It is the same as if a solicitor or doctor displayed his qualifications in his office. That certificate is hung up in a part of the office where nobody sees it. This section is asking the purchaser of coal to take precautions which he ought not be asked to take. If the Minister is going to operate Section 11 he ought to operate it in such a way that it would be impossible for an unregistered coal merchant to carry on.

This is a normal provision in Acts of this kind. There is a similar provision in the Transport Acts. It is illegal for anyone to hire a mechanically propelled vehicle from an unlicensed person for transport purposes. The same applies to agricultural Acts in which registers are established.

I do not see exactly how this section is going to operate. Take the coal merchant who is living in a prescribed area. To carry on business at all or to exist as a coal merchant he must be registered.

It would be illegal for him to carry on.

That is what I am saying. He could not operate at all. What is the point then of this section? The man would be mad to try to operate as a coal retailer unless he were registered. Coal is not like one of those deadly drugs that one could conceal in a little tube.

The Deputy does not see how coal could be boot-legged.

Yes, candidly that is the only explanation. I do not think there is any purpose in having it in.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: That Section 13 stand part of the Bill.

I wonder could I bring to the Minister's mind an analogy that was once put up here; there was a certain amount of justification for it afterwards? I am not saying that the Act was not successful. I remember when I was introducing the Compulsory School Attendance Bill, it was put up to me by a number of experienced men in the country that one result of the Bill would be to procure the non-attendance in school of children once they reached the age of 14 years, that the children when you met them and asked them "Why are you not at school to-day?" would answer "I am 14." They were compelled to attend until 14 and they would think that the mere fact of reaching the age of 14 was an excuse for non-attendance. Though that Act has been a success up to the age of 14, I wonder if it has been a success after 14. There are places in which the Minister intends to operate this Bill, appointed areas. In country towns compulsion in this matter may have the opposite effect. For instance, the Minister compels a person, who is at present buying a quantity of turf, to buy turf and coal from a merchant. There is just the danger that the person will confine himself to that specified quantity of turf and will not bother buying from the man who sells it as a side line, as Deputy Victory would call it. There is that danger. However, I presume that is a danger that has been taken into account by the Minister.

The point that I raised previously is quite relevant to this particular section, that is, I asked the Minister whether there had been full co-operation between the different Departments. I put forward that point on the Second Reading. The Minister said there had been. Do I gather from the Minister's statement that, for the last three or four years, the Department of Industry and Commerce —and, remember, the Government have been giving attention to this turf problem for a number of years—has seen to it that in the new houses that have been erected in such numbers all over the country grates and ranges have been installed suitable for the consumption of turf? Is that the contention of the Minister? When he answered my question that there had been co-operation, I thought that was what he meant, because that was underlying the question I put. I suggest that, if the Minister or his Department means to be serious about this turf production problem, and anxious to promote the consumption of turf, they would have ensured that there was adequate co-operation between the two Departments— Industry and Commerce and Local Government. I am referring now to houses that have been subsidised by public grants, and I am suggesting that some arrangement should have been made in connection with the houses built during the last couple of years to see that they would be properly fitted for the consumption of turf.

I rather gather from the gesture made by the Minister just now that that has not been done, at least to any considerable extent. I believe I am correct in assuming that. I suggest in that case that it would have been much more advisable that some steps in that direction should have been taken, especially when help was being given through the medium of public money, rather than that compulsory powers, such as the Government are now asking for, should be sought. That would be a more reasonable and, I think, a more fruitful method of dealing with the problem. Deputy Mrs. Concannon raised that point incidentally in the course of the Second Reading debate. I think if the Minister had allowed his mind to run on that particular line, instead of on the compulsory line, he might get better results spread over a number of years. From the point of view of increased production, I believe a policy of that kind would be more effective than this continual use of compulsion. I am very doubtful about the feasibility of the Government's proposals.

There is one matter upon which I would like to glean some information. I am not making any particular point about it. My desire for information on the matter is partly stimulated by certain remarks made by the Minister. He referred recently to turf being utilised for the production of power. That problem, I presume, was fully considered by his Department and turned down—or was it turned down?

The question of the utilisation of turf for the production of power has been receiving very careful examination. In that connection I do not think it would be practicable to use hand-won turf, but we may be able to secure the mechanical production of turf for that purpose in the future.

When the Minister spoke of mechanisation, the use of machinery, I thought he had left these things out of account. I understand the Minister's Department and other Departments are co-operating towards the establishment of a new electric power scheme, and that that is being done without any reference to whether or not we are to utilise turf in the immediate future.

The Deputy will appreciate that an ideal combination for the production of power is a hydro-electric scheme and a turf scheme.

But from what we have been told it would appear that the Minister will have to rely on a dry season in order to operate the turf scheme. Surely you are not going to set up a turf power-producing station merely for the purpose of waiting for a dry year in order to operate it?

There must be a standby plant.

But that will not be enough, if you are going to use turf in the sense in which you have referred to it—using it as it is being used in other countries. Has the Minister in mind the utilisation of turf in the Pigeon House?

I take it the Minister has in mind establishing a big plant where the turf is produced, in the middle of the country, in such a place as that where he had lunch last Saturday. I am not to be taken as objecting, but it must be clear to the Minister that the new hydro-electric scheme will certainly postpone any such project for some time. It is not the type of plant that you can set up and use only occasionally; if it is to be productive it must be a plant that will be continually used. What I am anxious to know is what consideration has been given to that matter and why it was determined not to develop along these particular lines in the places where you have turf in large quantities and where you have not immediately on the turf area a large turf-consuming population. That would get over to a large extent the question of transport. That was one of the points the Minister referred to during the Second Reading debate and it was one of the reasons why he was anxious to operate this measure particularly in the turf-producing areas so that the cost of transport would be cut down as much as possible. Surely, one of the advantages of producing power from turf in the centre of the big bogs is that you can get over the cost of transport? You already have the transmission lines. I presume that with some modification it would be possible to utilise existing transmission lines. I merely want an assurance that that question has been fully considered. Perhaps the Minister will tell us how we stand in regard to that matter and what is the relationship to the existing hydro-electric schemes.

I have objected to the particular powers that are being taken by the Minister. We are half-way through the Committee Stage of this Bill and I must confess that Deputies are still in the position that they do not know precisely what are the Minister's intentions as to the use of these compulsory powers. If anybody in the House wishes to say that he intends to use these powers in the most oppressive manner, he can find statements in the course of the Minister's speeches to back that up; if a Deputy wishes to say that this is merely a stunt on the part of the Minister and that he has no intention to operate this measure, he still can find statements made by the Minister to back that up. That is why I suggest we should not lightly give powers which tend to have a wide ambit, particularly when we have such very vague indications from the Minister as to how he is going to use them. I suggest that to do so would be a very wrong thing.

As regards the production of electric power, we can leave that matter over because an Electricity Supply Bill will have to come before the Dáil in the course of the present session. So far as the production of power from turf is concerned, there is no technical problem involved; the only question is the price at which the turf can be delivered into the bunkers at the power station, and that question cannot be answered satisfactorily for some time to come, at least until the problems associated with the mechanical production of turf have been solved. The question of the equipment of the new houses with grates and ranges suitable for the utilisation of turf is one that, naturally, has given us concern. A number of houses recently erected in certain parts of the country have been so equipped. The answer to the Deputy's question in this connection is that it has not been made a condition for the receipt of financial assistance for house-building that the houses should be so equipped. That will come, undoubtedly and, in fact, with the enactment of this measure and our being able to see more clearly ahead the future development of turf production. The question will have to be taken up with the Department of Local Government at an early stage. It was considered undesirable to do so until the position of the turf scheme, as a whole, was more clearly defined. Another matter raised by the Deputy was the Government's intention in respect to the powers of the Bill. We would hope it would not be necessary to use the compulsory powers of the Bill. In any event these powers will be only utilised to the extent that is necessary to enable the actual turf produced in the season to be disposed of. There certainly will be no unnecessary utilisation of these powers for the purpose of creating an artificial scarcity of fuel. At the end of the producing season it will be possible to ascertain, with a fair degree of accuracy, the amount of turf available for disposal, and the amount that can be used in the ordinary way without the powers of this Bill. It is only if there is a surplus to the extent that only with the use of these powers could it be disposed of, the compulsory powers will be utilised at all.

That is what I might call the key section of the Bill. I do not propose to go very deeply into it, and I do not know whether the point was debated fully or not on Second Reading, as I was not here. Under this particular section a coal merchant may not sell to anybody more than two hundredweights of coal without at the same time selling to him an equal quantity of turf. In another section—Section 19, I think—sub-retailers have not that privilege.

A sub-retailer does not have to sell turf with the coal. A sub-retailer is regarded as a householder for the purchase of coal.

I am referring to Section 19, and sub-section (c) there says:—

(c) This Act, and, in particular the provisions of this Act relating to the compulsory purchase of turf shall apply to such sub-retailer and to such merchant accordingly.

It seems to me that the sub-retailer is bound by the provisions of the Act when he sells coal.

When he buys coal.

Is there not the same provision for him as for the other, that turf must be sold in the same proportion as coal, as provided in Section 13?

He cannot compel people to buy from him if he sells under two cwts.

I do not think he will have any difficulty in disposing of the turf as turf. I am not clear upon the point, but it seems to be that the sub-retailer is bound as much as anyone else. It seems to me if a bellman has to take turf, whether he wants it or not, he will find it very difficult to sell it. The coal merchant seems to have an advantage over him. If the intention is otherwise, I must confess it is very badly worked. There is one point that I would like the Minister to elucidate. I want to know who is entitled to the benefit of the exemption order.

Any person the Minister likes.

Section 17 provides that any person the Minister likes can get an exemption order. The Minister will give an exemption order to anyone he likes, and he can refuse exemption to people not entitled to the benefit of exemption. That implies that somebody is entitled to exemption. I want to know who is entitled to exemption or is anyone entitled to exemption.

If a Deputy purchased an all-electric house he would be entitled to exemption.

That does not arise at all. What would he buy coal for if he had an all-electric house?

There is nothing in the Bill at all as to who is entitled to exemption.

We can discuss the exemption clause when we come to it. It is obvious that it is desirable to have some sort of exemption, to deal with exceptional cases that undoubtedly will arise in certain cases. For some particular reason—perhaps for reasons of health—it may not be possible for some persons to use turf, and so the power of exemption is taken in the Bill.

Why not have it worded so? Why have it stated that somebody is entitled to an exemption order, when apparently nobody is?

The more I read this section the more difficulty I have in seeing that the Minister's interpretation is the one that an ordinary individual would place upon it. It seems to me that the Minister, according to his statement, intends, when he has made his orders, that nobody else living in any other area is entitled to exemption from the provisions of this Act. That is what I understand the Minister's statement to amount to. I should like this section to clearly set out what the Minister intends. There are several other matters that arise under this section Some people have been talking about the proper grates for burning coal and turf. I do not know whether Deputies are quite clear that to get the full benefit either out of coal or turf you want special grates or ranges for them. They do not vary a great deal. At the same time, the question of whether the bars are horizontal or vertical is governed by whether you are going to burn coal or turf. If you are going to burn turf you would require a bigger fire-box in the range than you would for coal. If you burn turf in a grate or range made exclusively for coal you will not get the same results. To my mind, this is part of the policy of the Government, and it creeps into certain other Acts where they do not seem to have one separate and distinct line of policy. To my mind, the Government ought to have started in on this line—that a person who is going to use turf requires a grate or range of a certain type and could not use coal. The person who is going to use coal, and who has got a grate or range for that purpose, cannot use turf. I do not mean to say that you could not shovel the alternative fuel into them and get some sort of result, but you will not get proper economic working in that way. That brings me to another point—that the Government, in my opinion, are trying to manage the affairs of the country to too great an extent under this section. I suggest to the Minister that, as he is out to promote the sale of a native product, he ought to consider how that could be done with the least trouble and expense to the community. I suggest that turf is not the only native fuel; that we also have coke and Irish anthracite. I should like to see some provision in which coke or anthracite could be expressed in terms of turf and that a person whom it suited could use either of these products.

It is in Section 1. The Bill does not apply to coke or anthracite.

I quite agree; but I want people to be allowed to substitute coke or anthracite for the compulsory purchase of turf. I wish to leave the people the utmost freedom. I am speaking now as a Dublin Deputy. There may be some portions of the country to which my remarks do not apply, but there is a considerable number of people who live upstairs in houses and who have a limited storage capacity and I can imagine turf becoming a nuisance to these people. I, therefore, suggest that where people do not want to use turf they ought to be able to substitute either coke or anthracite. That ought to be allowed and the people given the utmost freedom. I ask the Minister to consider the question why the people cannot be left—inside the provisions of a Bill which is obviously framed to benefit, promote, or stimulate the sales of the native product—to use other fuel if they object to the dust from turf getting on the room or to the smell of turf. I also request that the Minister should make it perfectly clear that anybody who is not in an appointed area is exempt.

I listened to the phrase used by the Minister which, it seems to me, has been used in reference to all the legislation enacted by this House for some time past. He mentioned that it was hoped that they need not use the power which the section confers. It is not the first time that the Minister made that statement. I remember the same phrase being used by the Minister for Agriculture in connection with Acts which he introduced. But, when it comes down to administering these Acts, what is the position? They always use every power which is conferred upon them. We are now discussing a Bill in connection with which the Minister himself does not seem to know exactly what he wants.

Deputy Dockrell referred to the Dublin householders and to the use of coke and anthracite. There seems to be nobody to speak in this House for the rural dweller. Is there no other fuel used in this country except the fuel mentioned by Deputy Dockrell and the Minister? What about all the firewood that is used in this country? In my own district I see people making a living by carting blocks into the town for sale. If Deputy Dockrell's contention is reasonable, and I think it is, is it not just as reasonable to ask for an exemption for the householder who buys what is a native fuel just as much as turf is and which is giving employment to those engaged in the sale of it? Where does the farmer come in in connection with this? Has he not to use the surplus firewood on his land? Under this Bill he will be compelled to buy turf. I only intervene to say that I strongly object to this phrase, that they hope they will not have to use the powers which the Bill confers on them. Why look for these powers if they do not hope to use them? While I think there is justification for the point of view put forward by Deputy Dockrell, I think it is only reasonable to consider the people of the rural districts who have to burn what is a native fuel just as much as turf is.

I gathered from the Minister that, after all, there was not co-operation between the Departments.

I intended to convey something different. I am sorry the Deputy gathered that.

From what the Minister said on the Second Reading, the putting in of a certain type of range was not made a condition. If that is what the Minister means by co-operation, I should like to know what he means by lack of co-operation.

I mean refusal to co-operate.

Not refusal, but neglect to co-operate, is lack of co-operation. It did not even strike the Minister to put it to the Department of Local Government. It is not that they refused—I am not making that charge unless he wishes to make it—but that it was not put up to them. Was it put up to them?

I explained that to the Deputy.

You did not. The statement was merely made that it was not made a condition that ranges and grates of a certain type should be put in.

I said we did not ask that it should be made a condition.

I regard that as lack of co-operation. I do not know what else lack of co-operation means.

I could explain that, too.

I have no doubt. You have one Department which for several years now—since the Government came into office—have had before their minds this magnificent turf scheme; then you have another Department with a housing scheme, and the two Departments work independently. We now gather from the Minister for Industry and Commerce that there is no approach to the Department of Local Government to see that the new houses which are being built on a Government subsidy will have better accommodation for the consumption of turf than the old houses. There is no approach made; they did not even ask the Department of Local Government whether that would or would not be a condition.

What is the most suitable appliance for the burning of turf?

I gathered that there was a more suitable appliance.

The Deputy will agree that obviously the first step to take——

The Minister will agree that it is the business of the Department of Local Government to know that.

We have in fact taken that step. The Industrial Research Council has been working on the matter for some time.

Four years after you started your scheme.

The Turf Development Board was set up in November, 1934.

The idea was there before. It was there from the moment the Government took office, according to the Minister. The logical step would be to see that the houses being built were properly fitted in the first instance. It is quite obvious that the Minister had not thought of it. It was not made a condition. Other conditions have been applied to the giving of Government grants. Roofing of a certain type has to be used, and various other necessary provisions are put in, but here, in a case where it was necessary to make some obvious provision to promote this industry which you say you have in mind, nothing was done. If that is co-operation I do not know what lack of co-operation is. Therefore, Deputy Dockrell ought not to be surprised if anthracite coal is not treated in the same way as turf is treated here. Not only is there a lack of co-operation between the different Government Departments, but there is a lack of co-operation in the different departments of the Minister's mind in regard to those matters. He may bring in another Bill to promote anthracite——

You may be nearer the truth than you think.

——but the idea that he should ever advert in this Bill to what he would do in the anthracite Bill is asking too much. We have heard about not letting your right hand know what your left hand does. The Minister does not let the left side of his brain know what the right side is doing. We need not expect him then to go outside his Department to the Department of Local Government and make any suggestions to them. Before the House grants those compulsory powers it ought to be convinced that they will be productive of good. Nothing that the Minister has said on this Bill would convince any man that those powers are going to be utilised to the advantage of the country. Compulsory powers ought not to be asked for without reason, and the Minister is asking for them without putting forward sufficient reason to induce this House to give them. He comes to this House asking for those powers and saying: "Give them to us. We hope we will not have to use them." You can justify a demand for the most despotic powers in that way. Every despot that the world has ever seen, unless he is mad, would much prefer not to use his despotic powers if the people would only do what he wants them to do without his using those despotic powers; it would be much more favourable for him. The Minister should not get those powers unless he shows the House sufficient reason for asking for them.

Might I ask the Minister to go to bed with this headache? Section 13 is the operative section of this Bill, and provides that any person who buys more than 2 cwts. of coal must take a specified quantity of turf. If they buy less than 2 cwts. they are exempted from the provisions of this Bill. What is to prevent someone who wants to buy a ton of coal from going to the rural retail distributor and saying: "I want a ton of coal. I am going to order a cwt. at 12 o'clock, a cwt. at 1 o'clock, a cwt. at 2 o'clock, and a cwt. every hour until I have accumulated my ton of coal. I will take delivery of the ton of coal in that way"?

Cwt. by cwt?

And a separate journey with each sack?

Yes. Remember we are dealing with small rural towns, the full length of which in many cases is a quarter of a mile. I am familiar with the circumstances obtaining there, and would have no difficulty whatever in effecting delivery of a ton of coal in individual cwts. to customers in the town in which I live. They could perfectly easily, and have on occasion, asked for delivery of three or four cwts. of coal at separate hours on the same day. They got it as a matter of course. Am I to understand that, having provided for every administrative difficulty which could be thought of in connection with this scheme, the Minister has overlooked this point? I want to warn him that if I want to buy five cwts. of coal, and my alternative is to take it in five separate orders or take with the coal five cwts. of turf when I do not want turf at all, I will simply buy five separate bags of coal. Do not let the Minister imagine that that would present any insuperable difficulty to any rural retail distributor of coal. It will not. Let me take a case in point. Supposing we have five customers for coal at one end of the town, and they want five cwts. of coal apiece. Nothing is easier than to send out five cwts. in the first lot, and drop one cwt. at each house. You can then send out another five cwts. later on in the day and drop one cwt. at each house, and so on until the five cwts. are delivered. In any case you would have to send out five cwts. to each house to meet each individual order, and to avoid the necessity for delivering unwanted turf you simply drop each individual cwt. as you go. In that way the whole Bill ceases to be operative. I just want to give the Minister that headache to go to bed with, because I think if he consults with any of his experts, or with any of his colleagues who are familiar with rural trade, they will tell him that the procedure I have here outlined for him is not only eminently practicable but absolutely certain of operation in the event of this Bill passing. I mention the thing at this juncture because the Bill is a farce and a joke. It is simply another piece of evidence of the growing Hitlerism of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who loves to have the right to tell everybody in this country what they will burn, what they will do, and how and when they will do it. The fact is that he is becoming gradually obsessed with the idea that he can run everybody's business in the country.

I do not tell the people half as much as the Deputy does.

The difference is that the Minister is seeking statutory power to give force to his words, and it is only right for him to realise that there are limitations. He has reached them so far as Section 13 is concerned. The Bill is a joke, and therefore it is unnecessary to put down amendments to try to bring it into line with realities. It is a bad Bill, and if it did operate it would have very undesirable effects, but Section 13 blows the whole bottom out of it in so far as the distribution of coal in rural areas is concerned. I gather that it is the Minister's attention to apply the Bill only in rural areas at the present time; there is no question of applying it in the cities. I think, then, that the House need not seriously worry, because the compulsory purchase of turf with coal will in fact be as rare as the white blackbird.

Perhaps then the Deputy will allow the rest of the Bill to go through without further discussion.

I think it is a useful thing, even if the Bill will not have any serious operation, to bring home to the Minister's colleagues the fatuity of certain of the proposals in support of which he flogs them into the lobby from time to time.

Is there any condition in the housing schemes for the provision of proper apparatus for the burning of turf?

It is not compulsory, but there is a number of foundries manufacturing grates and ranges here who have on the market grates and ranges which they consider suitable for the efficient burning of turf.

Mr. Brodrick

Is it not then the intention of the Minister for Local Government, in connection with mental hospitals and other institutions which are being built, to make compulsory the erection of grates and ranges for the burning of turf?

That may be necessary.

Why has it not been done already?

Obviously the first step is to devise the most efficient types.

The compulsion comes first.

The matter has been investigated by the Industrial Research Council, and a report has already been received. It is a very valuable report, and will be of very great benefit to the firms making those appliances. It will enable them to produce articles which will be much more efficient for their purpose than anything produced here before. That investigation is being continued. When we are satisfied that efficient apparatus is manufactured in the country and is on sale here, we can consider approaching the Department of Local Government with a view to the utilisation of their powers to ensure the use of those articles.

Progress reported; the Committee to sit again to-morrow.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 19th May, 1936.