The Minister's line is that he has told the House all about these Orders and that it will be convenient to discuss them on Committee. My attitude with regard to measures of this particular type is that nothing can be conveniently discussed in this way; that these Orders are matters that are dealing with vitally important aspects of industrial life here, and that they should be presented to the House in such a way that there can be discussion, and discussion of a nature that would afford the House some information so that the House can discuss whatever information is before them. I pointed out on two occasions already that this Act had been passed in 1932 for the purpose of dealing with a grave emergency—an emergency in which we were entering on a struggle with Great Britain and in which Great Britain was dealing very drastically with the trade of this country. It was expressly stated that the very wide powers—and they are very wide powers—that are taken in this measure were required for that particular purpose and that they would not be used after that necessity had disappeared.
As I say, the machinery is entirely impossible if intelligent discussion is to take place in this House on vital matters of industrial business. The Minister has already in his power previous Acts of the Oireachtas that would enable him to put on a duty or to take such steps as he considered necessary to prevent dumping or to prevent the importation into this country of goods from any other country because of certain special circumstances there. He has these powers under the Customs Duties Provisional Imposition Act of 1931. That was an improvement on a previous Act of 1927, but under the 1931 Act it is possible for him to issue an Order putting on any duty to keep out any stuff that he feared was going to come in either to prejudice the establishment of a new industry here and flood the market or to prevent dumping. That Act imposes an obligation on the Minister that, within ten sitting days of the Dáil, Dáil Eireann shall pass a resolution approving of such Orders and the matter shall be subsequently dealt with at the expiration of a period of four months. From the litany we have heard from the Minister, and from the look of the Schedule here and from the Orders, if collected and put together, so far from there being any information available there is nothing but absolute confusion of mind, and any person who wanted to get down and study what the Minister was doing would find it almost impossible.
I should like to ask the Minister whether, in connection with any one of these items, it would not be useful for him and for the people generally that there should be an opportunity, by a definite resolution here, for his explaining on the Committee Stage what exactly was the effect of the particular Orders concerned. He says, I think, that Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 are a variation of duties or a reduction of duties, but I read it that item No. 3 is imposing a duty, cutting away a preference. As a matter of fact, there is not a single one of these items on which we have information as to the policy involved in them, not only with regard to the particular industry concerned but with regard to what practice was going to be carried on by the Department with respect to licences, preferences and so on. There is no possibility of intelligent discussion of this thing here in the Dáil. On the Committee Stage the Minister may be able to demonstrate that he is able to afford a satisfactory opportunity to the House to discuss these things. But I am convinced that it cannot be done and that the time has come to stop this particular type of imposition of duties by Order. There can be no objection, in important matters, to the imposition of a duty or to action with regard to stopping, by order, goods from coming in here to the country. But we must ask, when an Order is issued in a matter that warrants it, that a resolution will be put before the House, and that something of the procedure under the 1931 Act will be introduced. A scheme of things under which tremendously strong powers of all kinds are retained under the Emergency Imposition of Duties Act, is entirely wrong, and is cutting this House here out of any serious or reasonable discussion on the details of industrial development.