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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 24 May 1939

Vol. 76 No. 2

In Committee on Finance. - Tourist Traffic Bill, 1938—Committee (resumed).

Question again proposed: That Section 31 stand part, put and agreed to.
Question proposed: That Section 32 stand part.

I understand that an amendment was tabled to delete this section, but I gather that the amendment was found to be out of order. If there is any desire to delete this section I am not going to press for its retention. The section will not have any great effect because the board will consider the representations referred to anyhow.

It is almost impossible to imagine the reasons that prompted the insertion of a section like this. If it were allowed to remain I think it would be really outrageous.

It is desired to ensure that registered hotel proprietors will themselves assist the board in maintaining the standard of accommodation intended by the Act, and consequently report to the board any departure from that standard. I am sure they will do that in any event without the section being there.

The Minister intends to provide that the board will endeavour to see that hotel proprietors keep up a certain standard in respect of their own premises, but under this section he invites them to endeavour to keep up a standard in respect of their neighbours. The Minister's experience must be sufficient to tell him that the more people attempt to teach their neighbours how to do their business the less successful and less competent they usually are in doing their own, and particularly when they are people in the same class of business.

I am prepared to delete the section. I am satisfied that they will do this anyhow.

Question put and declared lost.
Sections 33, 34 and 35 agreed to.
(1) It shall not be lawful for the proprietor of any premises to describe such premises as a holiday hostel, youth hostel, or holiday home or to hold out such premises as a holiday hostel, youth hostel, or holiday home or to permit any person to so describe...

I move amendment No. 35:—

In sub-section (1), page 13, to delete the word "youth" in line 41, the word "hostel" in line 42, and the words "youth hostel" in line 43.

This is consequential on an earlier amendment providing for a separate registration of youth hostels.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 36, as amended, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 36:—

Before Section 37 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) It shall not be lawful for the proprietor of any premises to describe or hold out or permit any person to describe or hold out such premises as a youth hostel unless such premises are registered in the register of youth hostels and such proprietor is registered in that register as the registered proprietor of such premises.

(2) Any person who acts in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds.

(3) This section shall come into operation on such day as may be appointed in that behalf by order of the Minister.

With regard to these camps, hostels, and guest houses there is no definition anywhere of what any of them is.

The board will decide that.

The board will not, because the Bill does not give them any indication as to what they are to go on.

The Bill gives the board power to make regulations.

The Minister uses the word "guest house" in this section. Am I right in supposing that guest house is a lower grade hotel? That is not how the word is used in the English language. In German, the word used is equivalent to the old name of hotel, very often. In England, and I think possibly in the United States—after all that is where the term is rather familiar—the term "guest house" is very often used for a private and rather high-class hotel.

The term "low-grade hotel"——

By "low-grade" I mean it does not fulfil all the conditions which would allow it to be registered as an hotel. I take that as being the meaning, and that in fact a man will if he can try to get it registered as an hotel, because it is a more pretentious thing.

And if he is prepared to carry on a hotel business. I can imagine, for example, that a hotel must be prepared to supply a hot meal at any time—I am merely giving this as an illustration—whereas the proprietor of a guest house may not be prepared to do so. He is prepared to take in guests for a week or three or four days, and cater for them during that period, but he is not prepared to deal with casual callers and give them meals or give them a bed for the night. Those may not be the regulations, but I am giving it as an illustration of what is in my mind when I try to distinguish between a hotel and a guest house. The regulations may be of that character; they may impose certain conditions which an individual running a place described as a hotel now would regard as too onerous, and involving a different type of business, in which case he would seek registration as a guest house.

If he is up to a certain standard he will try to get registered as a hotel. I think, in fact —especially if they are called private guest houses—the term is used in England for a rather exclusive type of hotel, where there is a certain choice of the people who utilise them. For instance, a hotel, if it has a room, cannot refuse it to a guest?

That is right.

But a guest house can. It has a certain selection of clientele. I think there is that use of the words in countries which you may be anxious to cater for, and I should like to point out to the Minister that there is a certain danger of misleading that type of guest.

So far as hotels are concerned, there will be registration of hotels, and then there will be grading. The hotels will be graded according to the accommodation they have to offer. The lower grade hotel will, nevertheless, be a hotel. The regulations which will apply to guest houses will be different. They will involve different obligations upon the owners. It may be, perhaps, that they will not involve an obligation to provide accommodation for the night for a casual visitor, or an obligation to serve meals at any time that guests may arrive and seek them, or something else of that kind. A hotel will be subject to those conditions, and must fulfil them, but the proprietor of a guest house need not do so.

First of all, a hotel, if the place is not booked out, cannot refuse a person who asks for accommodation there?

But a private guest house chooses its clientele?

And its success depends upon its capacity for doing that? If it is not able to do that, it loses certain clientele. Mind you, I know they are by no means the only people to be catered for. On the contrary, they form only a very small portion of the people who ought to be catered for, but they may be a very valuable portion to the country.

Quite so.

I do not want that particular type of visitor snuffed out, because there is a certain undevelopment here that could be used, and there is not the same clashing of established interests. There may be an opportunity for that type.

It is intended to promote them, but it would be a mistaken idea to think of them as merely low-grade hotels. A lower grade hotel is still a hotel, but on the lower grade.

It is rather the obligations that differ. When you distinguish between hotels, guest houses, holiday camps and hostels, what about the Conditions of Employment Act? Would that apply equally to all?

I intimated here in the course of my speech on introducing the Estimate that we were proposing to amend the Conditions of Employment Act as it applies to hotels. We have had many discussions with hotel proprietors and other interested parties. I do not say they were very helpful or offered a very easy solution of the problem, but there is a problem which we are proposing to meet by an amendment of the Act.

In connection with that matter of the grading of hotels, there are guest houses which have their own clientele and charge certain prices. In the absence of a better term, I might say they are "exclusive" in a certain respect. If, in the grading which is proposed to be adopted here, they get a lower standard than they occupy at the present time in the minds of the people who patronise them, it may interfere with the particular class of client they get, and might diminish their business. Is there any prospect of having such a type of grading as will not degrade that type of establishment from the position it occupies at the moment?

It is not intended that it should be a lower grade—it will be a different business—any more than it would be correct to say that to register a premises as a holiday camp is to degrade it. You are merely saying it is a holiday camp; it is not a guest house and it is not a hotel. The same distinction applies as between guest houses and hotels. A premises is registered as a guest house; that means it is a guest house and not a hotel. It would be incorrect and improper for the proprietor to describe it as a hotel if in fact it is not, and if he is not prepared to undertake the obligations and conform to the regulations which apply to hotels. It is not a lower standard; it is a different standard. Some of the houses on the guest house register may be the most expensive places in the country to live in.

That is the point to which I want to direct the Minister's attention. In the matter of grading, will care be taken to ensure that the standard of those places will not be interfered with?

The grading will be done within the class. There will be grades of hotels. They will be all registered as hotels, but they will be graded according to certain standards. The grading will take place within that class. There may be grades of guest houses, but they will be all guest houses on the register. Between guest houses and hotels the announcement will merely be that a different type of business is being carried on in those premises; that what goes on in the guest house is not a hotel business; that it is a different type of business— a business which does not cater for the public in the same manner as hotels.

It caters for members of the public, but not necessarily for the public?

I quite understand the Minister's distinction, but is there not this danger, from the purely practical point of view? You have particular things called hotels. Sometimes they are graded as "De Luxe"; sometimes they are graded "A", "B", "C", and so on. The same thing may be done with the guest houses. Is there not a danger that you will create the impression that, on the whole, the guest houses are little places which take in a few lodgers?

I do not think so.

That is not meant, but when you get your register you have in one place "hotels", and in another place you have "guest houses". In fact, most of the guest houses may be and probably will be of the type referred to by the Minister, but, although they may be of a more exclusive and higher grade than any hotel you have, is there not a danger that they will be brought down in the minds of the people who see that register?

There will be on the register some intimation as to what different regulations apply in respect of guest houses, an intimation that you cannot just walk in and ask for a room for the night, but that accommodation must be booked in advance and the proprietor would be at liberty to refuse to accept you as a client. There will also appear on the register the charges for accommodation and these charges may show that a particular guest house is of a very high standard or is a very expensive place to live in.

There are a certain number of guest houses in this country already—there are some, I think, in County Wicklow; certainly, there is one in Killarney—that do work of that particular type, cater for a particular clientele. The proprietors get in touch with London and American guests for that particular place. They do not advertise that they are open to all, but restrict themselves to particular tourists. It is desirable to have a number of those places here.

Very desirable.

The Minister is not making it—from a reply to an interruption he gave yesterday as regards an amendment—compulsory for those to advertise, but only to register; and in the actual list that point will not be seen; there will be no means of showing it. I do not know how their prices will be distinguished from the others. It is the name, the group, under which different types of premises will be registered, that will matter. If I took this Bill in the ordinary way—and I presume that the board will largely follow on those lines—I would have got the impression that in a town like say Killarney there were a number of guest houses taking three or four people, giving them bed and breakfast and possibly a chop in the evening. I would get that impression, and such impressions may pull down their reputation.

That distinction applies on the Continent, and I do not think that it causes any ambiguity.

If the Minister saw the things that are called hotels on the Continent——

Do they not style such places pensions. We have a different terminology here.

At any rate, I think that that danger exists, and I am anxious to call the Minister's attention to it.

I will see that there is no misunderstanding by the board as to what is intended.

Amendment No. 36 agreed to.
Section 37 agreed to.
(3) Where the premises registered in any register have been graded under this section, it shall not be lawful for the registered proprietor of any such premises to describe or hold out such premises as being of a grade other than that for the time being allotted thereto.

I move amendment No. 37:

Before Section 38 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) Where the board is satisfied that any premises are carried on by a charitable organisation, the board, if in its absolute discretion it so thinks fit, may by order declare that any one of the four preceding sections shall not apply in respect of such premises and, so long as such order remains in force, such section shall not apply in respect of such premises.

(2) The board may by order revoke any order under the immediately preceding sub-section of this section.

This amendment is designed to enable the board to exempt from registration philanthropic holiday accommodation, such as camps for Boy Scouts.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 38 and 39 might be taken together.

I move amendments Nos. 38 and 39:

38. Before sub-section (3) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

(3) (a) If the registered proprietor of a registered premises is dissatisfied with the grade allotted by the board to such premises he shall be entitled to appeal to a referee, and such referee shall confirm or revise the grade allotted to the premises.

(b) In this sub-section the word "referee" means a person appointed by the Minister for the purposes of this sub-section.

39. Before sub-section (3) to insert two new sub-sections as follows:—

(3) If the registered proprietor of a registered premises is dissatisfied with the grade allotted by the board to such premises, he shall be entitled to appear personally, or be represented by an agent authorised in writing, before an arbitration board, and to submit evidence in support of his appeal, and such arbitration board shall confirm or revise the grade allotted to the premises.

(4) In this section the expression "arbitration board" means a board or committee consisting of two persons appointed by an organisation, or organisations, which in the opinion of the Minister are reasonably representative of the hotel industry, and two members of, or persons appointed by the board, and a chairman appointed by the Minister.

I take it that the Minister does not wish us to go over the ground that was covered yesterday, with regard to the refusal of an application for registration.

Whatever would apply in the one case would apply in the other.

This, I would say, is the more delicate operation.

Let it be assumed that, under the licensing laws, a licensing authority grants a hotel licence to certain premises. Do I understand from this Bill that it will be in the absolute power of this board to abrogate that and say they will refuse to register those premises as a hotel, though they may register them as a guest house? I rather visualise a conflict there, between the board and the owner of the premises. Already, by statute, his premises have been legally defined and licensed as a hotel. Assume the board goes along and says these premises are not suitable; that they may do as a guest house or something like that, but do not come up to the standard required for a hotel. I can visualise a conflict arising there, where a man could take mandamus proceedings against the board to compel them to register his premises as a hotel. I wonder did the Minister consider that at all in relation to this Bill?

I think we have taken all due precautions that he could not succeed in any action of that kind. We have given the board control of this word "hotel" and they will determine who will use that word.

Not at all.

That is what we have set out to do.

You have not repealed the Licensing Act.

We have set out here:

"It shall not be lawful for the proprietor of any premises to describe or hold out or permit any person to describe or hold out such premises as a hotel unless such premises are registered in the register of hotels and such proprietor is registered in that register as the registered proprietor of such premises."

This Bill does not purport, either expressly or by implication, to repeal the Licensing Act. However, the Minister has lawyers at his disposal to consider this question. I am only putting it before the Minister so that he may consider it, because obviously the point will arise and there will be a conflict. Obviously, a man who has a hotel licence, given under the Licensing Act, can say that the licensing laws have not been repealed —this Bill does not repeal them—and he can go into court and demand a mandatory injunction compelling the board to register his premises as a hotel. I have not gone into the matter fully and am not prepared to say at the moment what would be the result in such a case.

Has the Minister considered the possibility of a person who feels he has a grievance and who has a first-class hotel with moderate charges, publishing outside his hotel: "This is not a hotel according to the tourist board, but we challenge anyone in Ireland to give better accommodation or better comfort than this hotel provides" and have the word "hotel" in fairly large letters and the other words in smaller lettering.

It is suggested that we should take power in the Bill to prevent the use of any form of terminology that might mislead the public, and prevent places being called homes or rest-houses or by other such names.

As far as we are concerned in passing this Bill, all our money is on this favourite: the board, and we know nothing about it.

It is "Blue Peter."

The Minister read out the section. He might explain two words for me, the words "hold out." It is a peculiar expression; whether it is a legal expression or not I do not know.

It is, I take it.

I am not so sure. Let us take it that there is a well-known hotel in, say, my native county. I will invent a name for it. It does not call itself a hotel, it calls itself, shall I say, "Ivanhoe," and advertises in that way. Is that completely outside the pincers so to speak of this Bill? It does not try to deceive the public. Is that holding out as being a hotel? What is the meaning of "hold out" in the section that the Minister read for Deputy McMenamin? It is not for the board to interpret this. It is for the House to know what it is passing.

The intention is that nobody can describe a place as a hotel or carry on hotel business without being registered.

That is a different thing. Does that mean that you cannot carry on any kind of business taking in travellers without being registered?

In some capacity. That is the intention. I think there is a gap there and that we will have to take power to include other forms of designation.

It seems to be very loose if it is meant to cover that. Such a place as I am referring to does not advertise itself as a hotel, does not say that it is a hotel. Supposing even that it said that it was not a hotel, how can you say it is holding itself out as one?

I am considering that point. I think we shall have to consider that.

As to the other matter, are we not in this Bill defining as little as possible? The Bill would have been much simpler if it was stated: "We are setting up a board, we will provide so much money and we will let them manage the thing altogether." To a large extent, when any controversial point turns up, that is what we are doing. But the Minister says: "That might be a little bit too thick; we might not get that through the Dáil. We will have to pretend to have a Bill, but any point of importance we shall have we will leave that to the board." Is not that what it really means? Is not that really the purpose of the Minister?

A lot of it is left to the personnel of the board. Again, everything is to depend on the personnel of the board. I am wondering where in this country the Minister will find five men of sufficient experience and knowledge of tourist development, as it should be developed, to carry out the purpose that he has before him. However, I am not raising that now.

Amendments, by leave, withdrawn.

On behalf of Deputy Benson, I move amendment No. 40:—

At the end of sub-section (3), line 21, to add the words "provided, however, that nothing in this section shall apply or be deemed to apply to any grading or designation by the Royal Irish Automobile Club, the Automobile Association, or other similar body."

The amendment is not necessary because there is nothing in the Bill to prohibit the Royal Irish Automobile Club or the Automobile Association or any similar organisation from grading and publishing such rates to their members.

I admit that, possibly, they can do that. Any private individual can do it. But then you have Section 43.

That is different. That has reference to showing signs.

Is the Minister serious in saying that a hotel cannot put up a private sign like that without consent? What harm does it do? However, we can discuss that when we come to Section 43. I take it that there is nothing in the Bill as it stands to prevent what Deputy Benson has in mind?

There is nothing to prevent what Deputy Benson has in mind in amendment No. 40; that is to enable these organisations to grade hotels and publish handbooks.

They can have a grading which is completely different?

Yes, completely different grading.

Can they describe as hotels what the board calls guest houses?

I am sure they could, but I imagine it would be misleading. But these places will not have the right to call themselves that.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That Section 38 stand part of the Bill."

Is there not a likelihood, without some sort of association between these bodies and the board, that there might be a conflict between them at some time? The Minister has experience of local authorities which have much the same boundary, portion of one and portion of another, and he knows the disposition that there has been occasionally on the part of these bodies to have disputes. Here we have much the same thing.

The purpose is somewhat different.

You may have much the same thing, because these bodies have already been in this business and they are doing useful work which is of benefit to the country. Wherever their signs appear, however much we may disagree with them in particular cases, they attract their members. They have been of value to this country and have been worth thousands of pounds in the way of advertisement. It appears to me that there might be some closer association between them and the board, something at any rate different from what we might call the malevolent neutrality which is likely to develop between them. If you have a board set up consisting of people who have never had anything to do with this business before, they may have the attributes of an all-powerful institution. We know that those who are unaccustomed to the exercise of authority are inclined to abuse it. It would appear to be desirable that some effort should be made in the Bill itself to promote harmonious co-operation with these bodies. If the work these bodies have done in the past has been of benefit to the country, every effort should be made to maintain that helpful attitude of theirs.

I think that so long as these bodies are prepared to work in accordance with principles which the board approve of, these harmonious relations will exist. But we cannot say that any one of these bodies is not at some time going to adopt practices which we could not approve of, such as selling signs for money without any investigation or supervision of the standard of accommodation of the hotel, or in some way abuse the position, which would necessitate the board interfering. Here we are only dealing with the question of publication of grading or designation by these organisations, and I say that there is nothing to prevent that. The putting up of signs is another matter, and what the Bill provides is that these signs may not be erected without the consent of the board. That is something that we should maintain. But that is a different matter. So far as what is at issue here is concerned, if a cycling or motoring or hikers' organisation want to publish a handbook and say, here is a list of hotels for motorists or cyclists or fishermen, or some other particular class of persons, they can do so, and they can grade the hotels in a different way from the official grading, having regard to the special facilities they may require for their members.

There is one observation of the Minister which, I think, on reflection he will probably modify to some extent. He says that he couldn't say that one of these associations might not at some time sell signs. It is very unlikely that a body of this sort would do any such thing.

It is very unlikely that some of these would do it.

I am quite sure the Minister had something different in his mind.

I am sure some of them will not.

There are two mentioned.

There are, but it also says: "Any other similar body."

As it is most unlikely that either of the two mentioned would do it, if there is another body there is not any similarity between them.

On the question of grading, can we have any indication as to what the grading will mean? One takes up a confidential handbook, some of them published under the official aegis of a Government and some under the aegis of some association corresponding with the tourist association here. Then there are guide books to the hotels. Very elaborate guide books are published in Italy. Sometimes hotels seem to be graded according to their size, sometimes on other considerations altogether.

According to their terms.

Again, does it mean value for money or excellency, apart from value or size altogether. One may find a hotel that charges a certain amount and for that amount may give much better value than a hotel that charges a great deal more. On what basis does the Minister expect the grading to take place? Will it be size, value for money, absolute comfort or the quality of the food?

I should imagine that the grading would be done according to the clientele for which the hotel caters.

The Minister means that the grading will be given to the hotel not by its high standard but only by the charges the hotel makes?

The board will have the job of seeing that the hotels are giving value for the money they charge. If a hotel proposes to charge 25/- a day, the board may say "we do not think that the hotel is giving value for the money and we are not prepared to register you." The purpose of the board is not to refuse classification but to bring the hotels up to a high standard. It is like first, second or third class on the railways. I travel third class because the accommodation which is offered me on the railway, having regard to the fare charged, is what suits me.

The Minister has not met my point. Suppose the board says "the hotel is not value for a certain charge—we will grade you not grade A but grade B or C", am I to take it that that hotel will be graded A without any change in the hotel except the change in the prices charged? The hotel charges, say, two guineas a day; the board says "it is not worth two guineas a day; we will therefore grade you C". Is that clear?

Very good. That hotel them says it is going to give the same accommodation, the same quality of meals, cleanliness and everything else and it is to charge only one guinea a day. Is it possible under the circumstances that it would be graded A?

The board will make the regulations. It is to see that the hotels of the first grade must have accommodation for visitors up to the standard set. The hotels which do not conform to the standard would not get into that grade.

But does the question of the prices charged come in at all?

The Minister said that if the hotel does not give value for the money it charges, it will not get the grade it demands, but apparently if it cuts its prices by half it gives value for the money.

The grade is determined by the standard of the hotel. In practice, the price will conform to the standard.

I cannot follow that. It will affect the attitude of the tourists, but how it will affect the question of grading is not clear to me. How will the board make up its mind as regards grading?

That will be determined by the standard of accommodation.

There is a point I want to raise:—

In sub-section (2) of the section it is provided that when the premises have been graded "the board may at any time, if it so thinks proper, withdraw the grade then allotted to any of such premises and allot a different grade thereto."

That is a very wide discretion. I suggest to the Minister that the words "for reasons stated" might be inserted. This may not be the subject of litigation, but the reasons ought to be stated. There is no reason if a hotel is brought down to grade B or C that the reasons should not be given. Though that should not be the subject of litigation, at any rate the man is entitled to know what the cause of his degradation is, if there be discretion in the power of the board to bring it about.

I understand that the Minister has met us on the question of grading. When we withdrew amendments Nos. 38 and 39, I understood that the same principle was to apply to grading as to registration.

I would not say so.

With regard to appeals?

But the Minister told us that the same procedure would apply.

These amendments related to the question of the renewal of registration. One of them is in connection with the application for registration and the second is in connection with the renewal of the registration. But there was no amendment in relation to the grade or limiting the discretion of the board in that matter. You allow the person to register and carry on business. The grading of the hotel is a matter for the board, the same as it is at present for such associations as the Automobile Association.

It is a matter for the discretion of the board but so is registration.

These associations grade hotels according to their standards. We have them grading hotels "one star,""two stars,""three stars," and "four stars," in accordance with the standard of accommodation provided. That is done on the discretion of the association.

Does the Minister know of a case in which stars have been lessened by one?

This particular section to which I direct attention is giving that power to the board. The board can do it, if it thinks proper, without giving any reason.

Do I understand that the Minister's attitude is this:—that when it comes to a question of registration the board must have some evidence to go on, such evidence as it gets from its inspectors? Do I understand that in that particular case the Minister was quite willing to allow further investigations by a senior inspector or a member of the board but when it comes to the question of grading the board should not have any evidence of its inspectors or anybody else, that it may act purely out of the blue? I presume the board will act on evidence. It will act on evidence. It will act on the evidence of its inspectors. Is it not only just—and justice is as strong in this case as in any other case—that the person who is being degraded will have an opportunity for an inspection of his premises?

That is so, but this is a different matter. The person applies for registration and for re-registration. When he is getting registered, the board of its own initiative grades the hotel. It does that according to its own policy, its own standards, and generally to raise the level or standard of accommodation so as to ensure better accommodation for tourists. There is no question of anybody applying for a change from one grade to another. The board will determine to what grade he belongs.

I thought you were following some of the analogies in other countries. I do not think that happens in other countries. The person applies for a certain grade.

In practice, the hotel proprietors write to the R.I.A.C. or some other association for another star, and they have been writing for years without success.

Surely there is some method by which he can get a case investigated? How is the board to determine, except from the reports of its inspectors? I gathered from the Minister that technically they can do it without any report from the inspectors.

There can be a re-inspection. The purpose of my amendment was to secure the reinspection. I asked the Minister would the same thing apply, and he said yes.

That is in the matter of the registration of the premises.

I asked the Minister, as regards my amendment to Section 38, did the same thing apply as applied to the other—to grading the same as to registration, and he said yes.

The Deputy is obviously under a misapprehension, which might be cleared up on the Report Stage.

The wording in this is very peculiar. It points out that where the premises registered have been graded under this section, the board may at any time withdraw the grade and allot a different grade.

They may alter the grade, but the registration and the grading are different things. Once the premises are registered, the person who is the proprietor is entitled to carry on the hotel premises, but when it comes to grading it is a different matter—it is a matter for the decision of the board. The hotel proprietors in the country are quite accustomed to this thing.

The Minister can make this Bill a farce very easily. If the hotel proprietors come together, they can snap their fingers at the Minister and his board. They have their licences. Unless this Bill is properly framed they may do that.

I put down an amendment jointly with Deputy O'Sullivan in order to ensure that if an error was made a remedy would be available. I understood the Minister to say that there would be the same machinery. It would be a different thing, of course, but the same principle is involved. In the case of re-registration the matter will not be so serious. The main questions will arise at the first registration, and it is there mistakes of judgment might be made. When you get the first registration over, your problem is solved. Some may fall by the roadside, but in the main your difficulty will occur with the original grading. That was the purpose here in the case of the machinery I was endeavouring to carry through with regard to the registration provisions. I think the Minister could not defend it with regard to registration, and the same thing applies to the grading. There is no answer to it.

I should like to say one last word with regard to the section. I do not want this Bill to go through without drawing attention to the fact that if a man is licensed, if his premises are licensed as an hotel, under another statute or a code of statutes, he hangs out a sign or paints on the hotel wall the word "hotel," or any other words indicating that the place is an hotel, having been empowered to do that by the law. I would like to know from the Minister where in this Bill he purports to repeal the licensing code. I think the appeal machinery must come in here. It is only a question of a senior inspector or a member of the board. If it is justified in the other case, it is justified there.

I produced my amendments in the matter of registration and re-registration. I do not think the same procedure need necessarily apply in this case.

But you have no procedure at all.

It is at the discretion of the board.

Can you not legislate for what you want?

No. We should make it clear that this is a matter for the board.

Then, why not appoint the board to manage the whole tourist industry?

Unfortunately, our legal practice here will not permit action of that kind.

It goes very near it.

Why should we not give this protection to the people whose property is involved? One member of the board, or a senior inspector, would deal with the grading of an hotel. Why not give them that simple protection? We are all human and we are capable of an error of judgment. That may and probably will arise here. It may only arise in one case, and should we not have machinery for that case?

We have machinery for it, the machinery set out in the section. The board can change the grading of the hotel at any time.

That is not machinery to say that the board can change the grading. This is not setting up machinery indicating how the board can make that change.

An hotel proprietor will make improvements or will get himself in the position where he thinks he can have a higher or a different grade. He will write to the board and the board will carry out whatever investigations they think necessary. If they decide in his favour, they will give him a higher grade.

Faoi'n leasú seo, déarfainn go mba cheart breathnú isteach sa gceist ionnus go mbainfear feidhm as an ngealladh a thug an tAire dúinn aréir. Sin é, mura mbeadh hotelier sásta leis an ngrád a gcuirfear ann é go bhféadfa sé scríobh chuig an mBord ag rá go gceapann sé go mba cheart grád níos airde thabhairt dó. Nuair a dhéanfas sé seo, ba cheart go mbreathnóchadh an Bord isteach ann agus ais-fheiceál a dhéanamh ar an áit féachaint a mb'fhéidir é seo dhéanamh.

Tá mé ar aon-inntin amháin leis an Aire nach ndearna an "A.A." no an "R.I.A.C." a leitheid do seo ach comharta ar bith a thogáir siad fhéin a thabhairt do no daoine. Is maith liom go bhfuil an lá sin caithte agus tá súil agam nach mbeidh a leitheid de seo níos mó mar, dhá mbeadh, bhead sé chómaith don Aire an Bille a stróiceadh.

Cuireadh an tAire an Bord seo os cionn rudaí mar seo do dheanamh agus tugadh sé cead do hoteliers ar bith a mbeadh sórt gearáin ar bith acu a theacht go dtí an Bord agus a geúis a phlé. Cuirfeadh sé sin muinghin i lucht na hotelanna go bhfuighe siad cothrom na féinne. Tá mé cinnte go bhfuighe siad seo ón mBord nua agus nach bhfuil pioe difríochta sa rud atáim ag iarraidh ar an Aire a dhéanamh thar an rud atá aige san mBille ach go dtiubhradh sé muinghin do na daoine a mbeadh gearán acu go bhfuair siad uile "fair play". Ná mill an Bille ná muinghin na ndaoine as ucht an beagán athrú seo do dhéanamh.

I suggest we let the matter stand over until the Report Stage, and then consider whatever remedies suggest themselves.

You promised nothing on this, and what is the good of letting things stand over?

Perhaps we might decide to let the section stand as it is.

Section 38 put and agreed to.
Section 39 agreed to.
(1) An inspector shall be entitled at all reasonable times to enter and inspect any registered premises or any premises in respect of which an application for registration has been made, and to require the registered proprietor or the applicant for registration (as the case may be) or any person employed in such premises to furnish to such inspector such information in relation to such premises as may be reasonably necessary for the purposes of the administration of this Act.
(2) Every person who—
(a) obstructs or impedes an inspector in the exercise of any of the powers conferred by this section, or
(b) fails or refuses to give to an inspector on demand any information which such inspector is entitled to demand under this section, or
(c) wilfully or negligently gives to an inspector information which is false or misleading in a material particular.
shall be guilty of an offence under this section, and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding five pounds.
(3) In this section the word "inspector" means an officer of the Board appointed by the Board to be an inspector for the purposes of this section.

I move amendment No. 41:—

In sub-section (1), line 15, to delete the words "any person employed in," and substitute therefor the words "the person for the time being in charge of".

In my opinion it is not just to this House to give such power as is provided here to an employee. Some subordinate employee who, perhaps, is hostile to his employer, and wished to injure him, might be in a position to give information which might be entirely wrong, but which would be detrimental to the premises. That might be done absolutely malafide. Information of this kind should not be given except by some one in authority, a manager, sub-manager, a head waiter or some one occupying a senior position in a hotel. I think the proposal goes too far. If a hotel was owned by a company, and staffed entirely by employees, the manager, assistant manager or manageress should be the person to supply the information.

I do not see the force of the amendment at all. I do not see why there should be any objection to allowing an inspector to get whatever information he may require from any person employed on the premises. There can be no reason why an inspector should depart from the practice of seeking information from an employee, other than the manager, except there was some suggestion that there was a desire to conceal information. We must act on the assumption that the inspector will be a responsible, sensible person who will not be misled by lies.

You are not doing that.

An inspector will not be looking to the "boots" or the stableman for information that might damage the interests of a hotel proprietor. This legislation is very largely in the interests of hotel proprietors. It is not designed to damage their interests, but to help them.

Many things are done with the best intentions in the world, but the effects are the reverse of good.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. That is not original. In this particular case I think there is no reason whatever why we should not give an inspector the right to get information from any person employed on the premises who can best give it. Similar powers were given to inspectors in a host of other Acts. I see no reason why we should not give the power here.

In my opinion it would be unfair and unjust to do so. If there is a manager, an assistant manager, or a manageress there, they are held responsible for everything that goes on in the hotel. If an inspector knows some one else employed there, such a person may give information bona fide, but it may not be the facts.

Why jump to the conclusion that the inspector will take what that person says against the facts?

That person may be perfectly bona fide but may not know the facts correctly, owing to the position he occupies. He may not have verified the facts, and may have no means of doing so. In my opinion the wording of the section is too loose. An inspector might walk into a kitchen and ask the girl who is washing up the delph: “What about so and so.” That information should be got from some person in a responsible position. It is due to those who have a great deal of money invested in hotels that information should not be taken from people in a lower grade, as it might seriously injure these properties. This is only a precaution but it is essential in a matter of this kind. There may be malafides, or it may be done in perfectly good faith, where full information was not at the disposal of the person giving it, but it is put on paper.

The inspector will go to someone who has the facts.

As the Minister knows, obstruction is the last thing I have in mind in this matter. My only desire is that the Bill should be as workable as possible, and that the least evil consequences should follow. This is new machinery and it is not amending or improving previous legislation. The Minister can take it from me, if he is in the House five years hence, that there will be a Bill here to amend this one.

The Deputy's prophecy is a safe one. I do not think I have been responsible for the introduction of a major measure that was not amended once. That is the only way we can proceed. If the situation justifies it, I hope a Minister will never be afraid to come forward with amending proposals, if it is necessary to do so. It is desirable to give inspectors this power.

We must assume that you are going to have reasonable, responsible men, who are anxious to be fair to everybody, whose concern in relation to hotels will be, not to injure any one section, but to improve the standard of accommodation. When a question as to registration or re-registration arises, and an inspector visits premises to get information, he is entitled to get it from whoever can give it. What the Deputy wants to suggest is that it must be got from one person, even though that person may not be the most suitable one to give it.

Not from one person, but from the person in authority at the time. I did not think it would be necessary to press this matter, but I happen to be a little longer in the world than the Minister, and I know more of the ups and downs of life. I remember a case where in an establishment with a large number of employees, a trick was played on one employee by a person who was sent there to get material for a lawsuit. This person went to a junior employee, and got him to do a certain thing he had no authority to do, and that was, in fact, illegal. As a consequence of that act, a lawsuit arose, and the employer was heavily mulcted in damages. I do not want to give too many facts of that case; I merely want to give the Minister an outline of what could happen. That case is sticking in my mind and were it not for the fact that he was a man of substance that man would have been bankrupt after that action. I was in touch with that matter myself. This is a new kind of thing and I want to impress on the Minister that there is a very dangerous loop-hole there, athough it looks perfectly innocent. The wisdom of this course is obvious to me and I did not think I should have to press it so strongly, to ensure that no person could give out information except somebody in a responsible position. If an inspector thinks that he is not getting the truth from the person in charge, let him stay there for a week.

And question the employees sub rosa.

Let the board send a woman to stay there for a week to investigate a complaint. They will have to use some machinery of that kind in certain cases.

This is far simpler machinery.

The Minister is aware that, under sub-section (2) an offence is created in respect of failure to comply with certain matters in sub-section (1). As the section stands, an inspector would be entitled to come to a hotel and, even though he were met by the proprietor on the doorstep and was told by the proprietor,"I will give you all the information you require," to say to the proprietor,"Stand aside. I want to see the kitchen maid and get the information from her." Does the Minister contemplate that state of affairs?

I submit that the section as drafted gives the inspector power to do that.

Oh, it gives him power to do it.

The object of this amendment is to restrict the powers of the inspector to that extent, because everybody is human, and when we are legislating here, we must contemplate practically every eventuality that may arise. It is quite possible that you might get a difficult inspector who might interpret his duties in that way, and who might go to a hotel proprietor, push him aside and say, "I am entitled to go in and to find my way to the kitchen or to the attic," and get the information in the absence of the proprietor. The Minister says that the section does not contemplate that that should be done, but my submission is that the legislature should not give power to a person to do something which the Minister contemplates should not be done.

If we were to proceed on the assumption that we are going to have a board and a number of inspectors who are utterly unreasonable and incapable of performing their duties properly, we would not proceed with the Bill at all. We must assume that they are going to be reasonable, and that they will do their job reasonably. I should like to forecast that we shall have fewer unreasonable inspectors than there are unreasonable hotel proprietors.

There are unreasonable inspectors as there are unreasonable politicians and unreasonable people in every walk of life. It will not be possible to get perfectly angelic inspectors, and when the board selects them they will select men with certain defects. That is bound to be the case, because they are human beings. As Deputy Esmonde has said, the Minister does not intend that these things should be done, but we are leaving the way open for their being done. Why should it not be prescribed? Everybody who knows anything about the world knows that people in authority, in the main, perform their duties reasonably, but there are cases to the contrary, and I am sure the Minister knows them.

The Minister does not quite get my point. I opened my remarks by stating that an offence is created under this section. It is a new offence, a statutory offence, and a penal matter involving punishment. It is something which is going to place a citizen of this State in the position of having to answer a criminal charge, and although the Minister says it is not contemplated that any inspector should go into a hotel and push the proprietor aside, suppose the proprietor says: "I am not going to let you in. I am the person who can give you all the necessary information," and suppose the inspector says: "That does not satisfy me. You must get out of the way. I want to go in and investigate this matter with an employee of yours." An offence has been created under sub-section (2), and that is the importance of the section. The Minister says that an inspector is never going to do that, that no reasonable inspector will do it, but if there is an unreasonable inspector he is going to set something in motion which will make a citizen guilty of a criminal offence.

That is very farfetched, I think.

I suggest there is another aspect of the matter, and it is an aspect which may be more likely to arise than the point raised by Deputy Esmonde. An inspector looking for information, in the absence of a suitable representative of the owner or applicant for registration, may consult somebody in the premises, of no matter what status, and that somebody may purport to give him the information. That party may not be competent to give the correct information, but on the giving of false information a penalty is incurred.

There is a big difference between giving false information and being incapable of giving the right information.

I suggest that the information in question is of an important character and it ought not to be demeaned by allowing it to be sought from anybody in the employment of the proprietor. Even the stable boy mentioned by the Minister is not excluded from being consulted by the inspector. In the absence of the manager, or hotel keeper, the inspector will ask somebody. He may ask the waitress serving him his meal. She may have had a row with her boss and might be glad of an opportunity to get her own back and she may tell him something not in accordance with the facts in order to slip one across him. You are putting hoteliers in the position of being under suspicion. The Minister hopes that the inspectors are all going to be above reproach, but I think he ought to approach the hotel keepers on the same basis until they are proven guilty, and they ought to be assured that this information, which is going to have important repercussions on their business, will be got from some responsible person. It merely means the insertion of a provision that the hotel keepers, the applicant or some other person in a responsible position will be consulted, and not leave it possible for any Tom, Dick or Harry to be consulted and to give false information, either maliciously or accidentally. The thing is too loose altogether. I am surprised that the Minister has not been influenced by the logic of the arguments put forward by Deputy MacMenamin. I think he has made a very forcible case.

The Deputy may be surprised, but he is not half as surprised as I am at finding support for the employers' point of view coming from those benches.

It shows how reasonable we are.

I think the Deputy should not assume that an employee in an hotel will necessarily be actuated by malice.

Or by ignorance of the facts.

The discussion, I hope, would have just one effect on the Minister, namely, to induce him to consider more favourably the question of a review. I could understand the Minister's point of view that he wants to get information wherever he can, but I must say that I was rather surprised when he said that a certain thing would not happen, namely, that in the absence of the proprietor a man might go down to the kitchen and make his own inquiries. The Minister criticised that as a thing that could not happen.

I did not say it could not happen. The suggestion was the inspector would go down to the kitchen maid and brush the proprietor aside.

The phrase used was that he might brush the proprietor aside and go down to the kitchen. What surprised me was the Minister repudiating that action. I thought he would stand over that action. In view of the debate that has taken place on this matter, I would urge on the Minister the importance of having a check on any report that comes in, whether it has to do with grading or registration. I think there is a certain danger in this matter. You will sometimes get peculiar inspectors. I myself have had some experience of inspectors, all intelligent men, but a few of them very peculiar. It is not a question of dishonesty. It is their peculiarities which get them into all sorts of trouble which they need not get into if it were not for these peculiarities. It is not their lack of intelligence that is responsible for the trouble. They create a great deal of trouble merely because of the peculiarities which you are bound to get in the case of some individuals when you are dealing with any body of men. I think there should be a check on their reports and an opportunity afforded of rebutting them both in the case of grading and of registration. The whole debate has tended in that direction, namely, the necessity of having a check.

I am not wedded to this particular form of amendment. It is some check I want.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Acting Chairman

Amendments Nos. 42, 43 and 44 go together.

I move amendments Nos. 42, 43 and 44:—

42. In sub-section (2) (a), line 20, to insert the word "wilfully" before the word "obstructs".

43. In sub-section (2) (b), line 22, to insert the word "wilfully" before the word "fails".

44. In sub-section (2) (c), line 25, to delete the word "negligently" and substitute, therefore, the word "knowingly".

I think the purpose of these amendments is obvious. The word "wilfully" should, in my opinion, be inserted in paragraphs (a) and (b) and the word "knowingly" should be substituted for "negligently" in paragraph (c).

This is the type of amendment which we get most frequently and which we are never able to accept. It may appear quite a trivial matter to make this change, but the effect of the change is considerable. Let us try to visualise a person instituting proccedings for some offence under the section. It is an ordinary simple matter to say that the thing was done, that, in fact, the inspector was obstructed, or that he was in some other way interfered with, but it is an entirely different matter to prove that the thing was done wilfully. In this particular case the Deputy wants to insert the word "wilfully." I do not think we should insert it. I think we should say that it is an offence to obstruct an inspector whether it is done wilfully or not.

Surely, the Minister can see that the interference or obstruction may be perfectly innocent?

Surely, that is a matter for the judge or the court?

If we provide that interference or obstruction is an offence, it will be held to be an offence whether it is innocent or not.

Take the case of an inspector who goes to a premises and does not disclose that he is an inspector at all. He says: "I want to see your premises," and the proprietor says, "I will not let you in." There is no question about that being obstruction, but there is no wilful obstruction of a known official.

Do I understand that the difficulty of the Minister is that about which we have heard so much recently—the difficulty of proving what is wilful obstruction?

How can the Minister stand over the omission of the word "wilfully" from paragraphs (a) and (b) while it is inserted in paragraph (c)? That is a matter that is altogether too subtle for me—even though I did study metaphysical science in my youthful days. He says that he is not prepared to impose on the prosecutor the onus of proving that the obstruction or the failure to give information was wilful, but at the same time he provides that when a person is prosecuted for giving false or misleading information, it must be proved that it was wilfully or negligently given. That would be an extremely difficult matter to prove.

I am not prepared to insert these words.

I never expect the Minister to accept any amendment. Will the Minister explain why the word "wilfully" is inserted in paragraph (c) and is omitted in paragraphs (a) and (b)?

Because the giving of false information is not an offence unless it is done for the purpose of deceiving.

Excuse me. "Wilfully or negligently gives false information": that is not an offence?

Unless it is done for the purpose of deceiving.

Let me read the section: "Every person who (a) obstructs or impedes an inspector in the exercise of any of the powers conferred by this section, or (b) fails or refuses to give to an inspector on demand any information which such inspector is entitled to demand under this section or (c) wilfully or negligently gives to an inspector information which is false or misleading in a material particular, shall be guilty of an offence under this section."

What is an offence? A criminal act. I expect the Minister knows sufficient about the criminal code to know that mens rea applies to all criminal cases. He demonstrates it here by inserting in paragraph (c) “wilfully or negligently.” In these other cases, mens rea is also involved and a person found guilty of such an offence shall be liable to a fine of £5. The Minister is there creating a criminal offence and mens rea is a necessary element in a criminal offence. That is the point to which Deputy O'Sullivan has drawn attention. It is ridiculous to suggest that in the first two paragraphs it should not be necessary to prove that the offence was wilful. It must be proved in all criminal offences and that is implied in the opening words of paragraph (c).

Is there not a fundamental difference between refusing to give information and giving false information?

All an inspector has to say is "I was obstructed by such and such a person" and the proprietor is thereupon liable to a fine of £5 under this section.

If the court finds him guilty.

All the inspector has to say is that he was obstructed.

He has got to prove it.

He may be a new inspector and he may not be known in the hotel. When he tries to enter the hotel, the proprietor may instruct the boots to turn him away. He can then say he was obstructed simply because he was turned away by an employee as it was his bounden duty to turn him away. That person is brought into court and he may be fined a sum of £5.

The only point that has arisen is the possibility of an inspector visiting premises without revealing the fact that he is an inspector. I think we could amend that by requiring him to produce his warrant.

If the Minister refers to the end of the section, sub-section (3) he will find a definition of the word "inspector." I would ask the Minister to place himself in the position of a district justice presiding over a court of summary jurisdiction who is going to try an offence under this section. Take paragraph (a) sub-section (2) under which the offence will be one of obstructing and impeding an inspector. What has the prosecution got to prove? They have got to prove that a certain individual whose status can be ascertained, from sub-section (3), namely an officer of the board appointed by the board, has in fact been obstructed. It may not be within the knowledge of the proprietor that he was an inspector but an offence has been committed, a criminal offence.

The Deputy knows quite well that no proceedings will be instituted unless, in fact, there is the belief that this thing has been done wilfully, but it is difficult to prove that a thing has been done wilfully or that the refusal to give information was wilful. In fact, however, unless the circumstances are there in which an inspector believes that he has been wilfully obstructed, he will not go to court, because he will know that the justice would not listen to him, much less impose a fine.

The point is, however, that, if the case comes to court, the justice is obliged to take the view that this matter has been carefully considered by the Legislature and that they have deliberately omitted to insert any word to guide the justice, over and above the fact that there has been an obstruction of an inspector or duly appointed officer of the board, and the justice is obliged to interpret that section accordingly.

Yes, and it is clear that what we are concerned with in this particular case is, say, the failure of a hotel proprietor to give the information required. If the hotel proprietor says, "I shall not give the information," that is the offence.

I am dealing with obstruction now.

Well, obstruction is the same thing. If he refuses to give the information, is not that obstruction? For instance, if the inspector arrives and finds that the front door is shut and that he is left standing on the doorstep, because nobody will open the door, is not that obstruction? Is not the fact that the door was closed, and that it remained closed, obstruction?

With regard to paragraph (c), on the question of giving information, it must be done wilfully or negligently.

That is a different matter altogether.

It seems to me that there is protection only for the inspector, and that there is no protection for the ordinary citizen.

It is obvious that paragraph (c) is a different matter. In that case the information has been given, and it is the case that there is no doubt that it is false information. If it were not false information, this would not arise, but here is a case where information is given which is false. That false information may have been given quite innocently. It may have been given without any intention to deceive, but if it were done wilfully or through negligence, in a manner which was indicative of bad faith on the part of the person concerned, then it is an offence.

So it must be proved?

Well, why not have the machinery here to prove in this case also whether it was done wilfully or negligently?

Because it does not matter whether it was or not in that case. That is a question of obstruction.

Of course, what happens is that the inspector issues the summons and then the man is brought to court and the district justice fines him.

If the inspector finds that the door is shut and that it is kept shut against him, it does not matter to the inspector whether it was done wilfully or not. If the proprietor refuses to give information, it does not matter what the intention is; the fact remains that he did not get the information.

Supposing the inspector goes at an unreasonable hour?

That is provided for here. The words used are "at all reasonable times". It must be at a reasonable hour and at a reasonable time.

And he must have his warrant?

I cannot see the Minister's objection here. If the inspector produces his warrant and the door is not opened, while it will be extremely difficult to prove wilfulness in the case of false information, it will be very difficult to prove lack of wilfulness in (c), (a) or (b), if the thing occurs.

He will not have to prove it—merely that the door was shut against him.

We are speaking of the section, as it stands, and the amendment. The main objection was the difficulty of proof. In the case of (a) and (b) there is no difficulty of proof of wilfulness because, in 99 cases out of 100, if the thing is done, that in itself is prima facie proof of wilfulness, and therefore there can be no real objection to putting it in in order to save misunderstandings of one kind or another. Where there will be real difficulty of proof of wilfulness will be in connection with paragraph (c), where the Minister has it in.

I think that paragraph (b) is worse than paragraph (a). Anybody can fail to give information quite by accident. I am sure the Minister is aware that information can fail to be given quite by accident, and yet, if through an oversight a hotel owner fails to give information, or does not give it completely when it is required, he is committing an offence. Surely the word "wilfully" should go in there?

Surely not.

I have often failed to get information from the Minister as to that word "wilfully".

The Deputy may think that it was wilful, whereas, in my opinion, it may be just that it was not got.

At any rate, it is plain that the fact is that the person will be guilty of an offence.

With regard to amendment No. 44, surely it is not intended that the word "negligently" should stand there? It is quite possible, as I mentioned in connection with paragraph (b), for a man to give information through negligence on his part, and surely the word that is intended there should be "knowingly" and not "negligently". It is a very simple thing to give wrong information through sheer negligence, but not criminally, and yet, as that stands there, if the information is given through an oversight, it is an offence.

The word "wilfully" clearly covers "knowingly".

Then, delete the word "negligently" and have it "wilfully gives false information."

I think that if a person gives information which, with a little trouble, he could have ascertained to be not correct, it should be an offence. Again, to approach this matter from a commonsense point of view, no inspector will bring proceedings unless he has a case that he thinks will stand in court. If he thinks that the case is so ridiculous that the court would not listen to him and the case would be laughed out of court, there will be no proceedings. It is only where there has been serious impediment to the carrying out of the inspector's duties that this will happen.

Of course, all through this we have the same kind of statement from the Minister—that it is not intended that the board will do so-and-so, that it is not intended that the inspector will do so-and-so; and so on. All through, we have this: "It is not intended."

It is certainly not intended that the board will recruit its staff from Grangegorman. It will recruit sensible men.

That is a hopeless attitude.

Our amendments are designed to limit the powers of the board and its inspectors, and the Minister's whole argument is that it is not intended to use these powers. The fact remains, however, that he is giving these powers.

I object to the fact that the Minister sees no difference in this matter between choosing inspectors in the ordinary way or from Grangegorman. I suggest, Sir, that that ought not to be the attitude of any Minister who has had inspectors under him. He knows that the qualities of these inspectors vary to a tremendous extent. He knows, as I know, that some of the inspectors would be most reasonable men and that some would be fairly reasonable, but that there will be found in any body of men a certain number of unreasonable men, and they will act unreasonably, accordingly. It is absurd to come to anybody who has ever had experience, either in an administrative capacity or as a simple citizen of this State, and suggest that inspectors, occasionally, will not act unreasonably, and that the only choice you would have in that case is to suggest that, if they act at all unreasonably, they are from Grangegorman. That is not the alternative. The fact is that you will have every type of inspector, varying in every degree between reasonable and unreasonable men. What we have to take into account is not the ordinary reasonable type of inspector. There would be no necessity for one-third of our laws if everybody were reasonable, and if the reply the Minister has given were to be taken as correct, there would be no point in legislation. It is just because you have all this difference between, on the one hand, the ordinary reasonable people and, on the other, the extremely unreasonable people, that you have to guard against it. Surely the Minister knows that some of these people will act unreasonably on occasion, and to say that, because we demand a provision to see that there will be some safeguard against occasion a provision to see that there will be some safeguard against occasional unreasonableness, we are practically saying that the board would have people fit only for Grangegorman, shows a complete incapacity to grasp the situation.

What the Deputy is saying is, in effect, that because we recognise that in order to carry out the intentions of this Bill inspectors and so on should have certain powers, and because there is a risk that some people might act unreasonably, or because some unreasonable person might be appointed, we must prevent the Act from functioning properly, and must not allow the inspectors to carry out their duties properly.

Certainly not. That is not it.

Of course it is. The argument is that we are to deprive all the inspectors of the proper powers necessary for carrying out their duties because one of them may be unreasonable.

That is not so.

That is the argument we have heard.

Nothing of the kind.

And the Minister knows that.

Of course, that is the argument that has been used. There are reasonable and unreasonable people——

Except amongst inspectors.

If all the hotel proprietors are perfectly reasonable and anxious to facilitate the inspectors, you do not need the section at all. It is because amongst them, as amongst other people, there will be individuals who, for one reason or another, will refuse to do what is required of them that legal powers are required. These legal powers have never been exercised, in my knowledge of ten years' administration, except when the need arose.

I completely disagree with the Minister. This proposal is made not on the off-chance of injustice being done, but in the certainty that there will be abuse. The Minister has continued to refuse to meet any point raised. He has something down in black and white before him, and he assumes that all inspectors are reasonable people. A number of them will not be reasonable. They will act unreasonably, and there is no safeguard for those concerned if they do. The board will have to stand for what they do. If they do not, their machinery will be in danger of collapsing. I cannot, for the life of me, see why, in matters of this kind, the word "reasonably" cannot be put in. When the inspector produces his warrant, it will be almost impossible for the person concerned to prove that what he did was not done wilfully. If he can show cause, why not allow him to do so? The Minister said that that would lead to the breaking down of the Act. That was, of course, an exaggeration. Inspectors are reasonable or unreasonable, we are told. They are neither. They are a mixture of both.

The Deputy is assuming a conflict between the board and the hotel proprietors which will not arise.

Then there is no point in passing laws.

Is it the Minister's intention by sub-paragraph (c) of sub-section (2) to create two distinct offences—the offence of wilfully giving the inspector information which is false or misleading, and the offence of negligently giving the inspector such information?

No. What is intended is to remove a possible defence for wilfully refusing information.

Does the Minister intend to create two offences with which a person may be charged in a court of summary jurisdiction? That paragraph creates two distinct offences. From what the Minister said, I thought it was not his intention to create two offences.

I did not say that. We are making it an offence to give false information to an inspector wilfully or negligently.

Does the Minister contemplate the creation of only one statutory offence under this sub-paragraph?

The offence of wilfully or negligently giving false information.

We are entitled to ask whether the Minister proposes to create two distinct criminal offences. If it is the Minister's intention to create only one offence, then I think that this paragraph does not give effect to his intention because it creates two offences. What the Minister wants to prevent, I think, is the owner of a hotel wilfully giving false information. That is covered by the word "wilfully." A person might be acquitted of the offence of wilfully giving false information and still be liable for negligently giving false information, which would be a different offence, requiring different proof. I think that it is only a question of drafting. If the Minister drops the word "negligently," what he has in mind will be covered. This is the only case I can think of in which civil negligence constitutes a crime. I do not know of any case where a person guilty of civil negligence is deemed to be guilty of a crime.

We shall take out the word "negligently," but it will have to wait for the Report Stage.

Is the Minister convinced as to the other two matters?

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 45:—

Before sub-section (3) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

Every person who shall offer, give, attempt to offer or give any inducement or bribe to any inspector, whether by way of free refreshment or lodging or otherwise, shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding five pounds.

This amendment is designed to prevent (1) an inspector living free for all his life, and (2) a hotel receiving a higher grade by reason of having provided the inspector with a better bottle of wine than that with which he was provided the night before.

I have consulted the law officers and they advice me that this amendment is not necessary, that the ordinary criminal law covers the matter.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 40 agreed to.
(2)Prima facie evidence of any entry in any register may be given in any court or in any legal proceedings by the production of a copy of such entry purporting to be certified to be a true copy by an officer of the board authorised in that behalf and it shall not be necessary to prove the signature of such officer or that he was in fact such officer or was in fact so authorised.

I move amendment No. 46, which is a drafting amendment:—

In sub-section (2), page 15, line 41, to insert after the word "behalf" the words "by the Board".

Amendment agreed to.
Section 41, as amended, agreed to.
(1) The registered proprietor of registered premises shall display in a prominent position and an easily legible form at or near the principal entrance to such premises a list of the charges for the time being current in respect of rooms, meals, and other services provided in such premises.

I move amendment No. 47.

In sub-section (1), lines 6 and 7, to delete the words "at or near the principal entrance to such premises."

This amendment raises the question of exhibiting the prices to be charged by a hotel. In the case of an ordinary restaurant, there would be nothing objectionable in that but, in an area in which there would be a number of hotels of different grades, this practice might be abused. The people who will go into a Grade A hotel will not be concerned about the charge.

I think we may accept that there will be no question of their being unable to pay for the food. That question does not arise. I think it would not be a suitable thing that somebody maliciously disposed could gather a number of boys or girls from around the street and send them up to the hotel door. They could justify themselves by the fact that they were reading the price list of the food supplied there.

Other objections occurred to me and to meet them I drafted the amendment to delete the words "at or near the principal entrance of such premises". It occurred to me that such place as outside the office window or in some lounge, or some place inside the entrance to a high-class hotel would be more suitable. If it were outside the hotel anybody at all could walk up and pretend they were reading the price list of the food, whereas, as a matter of fact, they were really intending to create an obstruction or nuisance, knowing perfectly well that they were people who were not suitable to be there at all.

I put down this amendment fearing that the duty that is being imposed in this section would lead to trouble and would only be a menace to certain hotels. There would be no objection in the case of a restaurant, or any of these other premises with which this Act is dealing, because hikers and people like that, young people, with limited means, would require to know the price of the meal they intended to consume. There are other cases where the provision is uncalled for and would not be necessary. I would go so far as to say that the price list should be exhibited somewhere—at the office window or some place like that, where it could be seen by every visitor. Nobody would be deceived, but I do see certain cases where this provision could be abused if it was insisted upon. Therefore, I put down this amendment.

If we delete these words we may as well delete the section. The list of charges could be prominently displayed in the kitchen or coal-cellar, where it would be of no use. I attach considerable importance to this idea of displaying a list of charges, and it seems to me that the most appropriate place is at or near the entrance to the hotel. I am afraid, I could not agree to this amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section No. 42 agreed to.
(1) The board may supply to the registered proprietor of registered premises a sign suitable for display on the outside of such premises and indicating the standard thereof, and thereupon such registered proprietor shall keep such sign displayed in a prominent position outside and at or near the principal entrance to such premises.
(2) If the registered proprietor of registered premises to whom a sign has been supplied by the board under this section fails to keep such sign displayed in a prominent position outside and at or near the principal entrance to such premises, such registered proprietor shall be guilty of an offence under this sub-section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding ten pounds.
(3) Save with consent of the board, it shall not be lawful for the registered proprietor of registered premises to display outside such premises any sign indicating the standard of such premises other than a sign supplied under this section by the board.
(4) If any person acts in contravention of the immediately preceding sub-section of this section, he shall be guilty of an offence under this sub-section, and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding ten pounds.
(5) A sign supplied under this section may be in such form and contain such information in regard to the premises to which it relates as the board thinks proper.

I move amendment No. 48:—

In sub-section (1), line 18, to delete the words "and indicating the standard thereof".

It occurred to me when considering this section that if a register is being prepared in which the grade of an hotel will be set forth, it would be hardly quite fair that an hotel proprietor should have to hang a sign outside his door to the effect that his hotel was of such and such a grade. The ordinary people living around the district, who were not using the hotel at all, could say: "Look at this place, it is only Grade C or Grade D." We had examples of that sort of thing during the last war, when terms of contempt were applied to people who were graded as C men. I think that it is enough that the tourist should get the catalogue that is being circulated. They can see from that how the hotel is graded. I think that would be enough, without compelling the hotel proprietor to hang the sign outside the door, indicating the grade of the hotel.

I think there are advantages from the point of view of the public in having the standard of the hotel indicated by the sign outside. You have that, in fact, at the present time. Various organisations supply signs indicating the standard of the hotel, and I suppose the absence of those signs also indicates the standard of the hotel. In my view it is an advantage to have that provision in the Bill. Again, I want to impress upon the Dáil that the object of this Bill is not to impose burdens on hotel-keepers or to make it more difficult for them to carry out their business. It is quite the reverse. The object of the Bill is to assist hotel-keepers and increase their business.

Would the Minister say what is the advantage of the section?

The advantage is to the public.

Will the Minister show what the advantage is?

It gives an indication to the public of the standard of the hotel in which they are seeking accommodation, an indication which they can easily see and the significance of which they can easily appreciate.

I think they can only appreciate it if they have the handbook.

I think the Minister's case is not analogous at all. I think he is referring to the signs of the Automobile Association and the Royal Irish Automobile Club and those other organisations. I would like to direct the Minister's attention to the fact that when they give these signs to an hotel they do not indicate the grade of the hotel. You have to go to the booklet or catalogue which they issue in order to find out whether it is a one-star, two-star or five-star hotel. It is only in the booklet that is set forth. I think this thing is pushing efficiency rather far. I think it would be quite sufficient to have the sign, but not give the grading, seeing that we have power in this Bill to keep a register in which the grading of the hotel will be set forth. These catalogues will be available to tourists at any bookstall. That is quite sufficient, in my opinion, and will conform to what the Automobile Association and the Royal Irish Automobile Club do.

I think the Deputy is speaking on the assumption that the amount of business which a hotel will do will be determined by these standards.

Not at all.

And that the higher standards will do the most business. That does not follow at all. The average holiday-maker will be a person of limited means, who will be looking for an hotel that will provide accommodation suitable to his means. It will be of assistance to that person to have some such indication given. I suppose there are two points of view in this matter. There will be holiday-makers who will dislike having the standard of the hotel in which they are staying displayed in that particular way. I will consider the matter if the Deputy still stands over it.

I am not dealing at all with the capacity of visitors to pay.

The issue here is the deletion of the word "standard" in the section. I take it that what is intended is "grading," because I cannot find any reference in the Bill to "standard".

I will consider the matter before Report.

Amendment No. 48, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 49:—

In sub-section (1), line 19, to delete the word "shall" and substitute therefor the word "may".

I am moving the amendment on behalf of Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy Morrissey.

I take it that the intention of the amendment is to make it optional with a hotel proprietor as to whether he shall display a sign or not. That is tied up with an earlier amendment. If we are going to have signs indicating a standard for hotels we must ensure that those signs are displayed. If we decide not to have such signs then we may also have to consider this amendment with the other.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 50:—

In sub-section (3), page 16, line 29, to insert the word "the" before, and the words "in writing" after the word "consent".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 51:—

At the end of sub-section (3) to add the words "provided however that nothing in this section shall apply or be deemed to apply to any sign indicating appointment or approval of such hotel by the Royal Irish Automobile Club, the Automobile Association or other similar organisation.

What is proposed here will depend on what the Minister's decision on amendment No. 48 may be on Report Stage. If he deletes the grading on the sign, then I take it this sub-section will go out altogether.

No. I would not agree with that at all. It is a different matter. What sub-section (3) of Section 43 provides is that the consent of the board will be required before any other signs are displayed outside the hotel. I attach importance to this matter. I think that we should keep the display of those signs, which purport to indicate the standard of an hotel, subject to the control of the board. I feel that in the case of certain responsible organisations the board will have no difficulty in maintaining harmonious relations with them, and that the standard and procedure in their cases will be the same as that of the board's. There may be other kinds of organisations furnishing those signs and prepared to give them to any hotel that is willing to pay enough for them, or giving them on some basis of which the board could not approve. Therefore, I think that we should keep the matter subject to the consent of the board.

Surely, it does not matter to the board on what terms the signs are given out, because they are only of benefit to the members of the body which has issued them. If they consider that they are getting value from belonging to an organisation why should they be prohibited from getting the signs?

Obviously, this affects the interests of hotel proprietors.

But it does not affect the board's standard, grading, or anything of that sort. These bodies have been in existence for many years. They have been indicating that certain hotels are appointed by certain bodies as being suitable for their members. I can see no reason why the Minister should propose to give power to the board to refuse its consent to the issuing of those signs. These bodies have done considerable service to their members and to this industry. What the Minister suggests would inflict a serious penalty on them. Of course, the Minister will say that it is not intended that the board should do that.

I am not saying it in this case.

The legislation passed by this House should indicate the wishes of the House and not what another body intends or does not intend to do.

The Deputy must not interpret me as saying that it is not intended to control the issue of signs by organisations for display outside hotels. It is definitely intended to control them, and that control is as much in the interests of the hotel proprietors themselves as it is for the purpose of ensuring that the intentions of the Bill are carried out. We think that the classification of hotels, grading, and so on, should be a matter primarily for the board, and that, therefore, the board should not allow other signs to be issued at all unless they conform to its own standard.

That is a completely different point of view from that which the Minister expressed earlier on this.

This is the first time that I have spoken on the amendment.

Excuse me. I think that twice to-day the Minister gave this explanation—I may be wrong, and my memory may be playing me a trick—that there were certain organisations that might sell signs, and therefore that the board ought to control them on that account. That was the principal explanation that the Minister gave twice to-day on this very matter. That is not the explanation he gives now. Now he wants uniformity of standard. That is what it amounts to. Those people will have to conform their standard to the board's standard. In other words, in practice they are to be wiped out, because it is inconceivable that two bodies should reach the same standard in the case of different hotels. It is not in the exceptional case of fraud, which was what the Minister first suggested, that these signs are to be prohibited. It is in reality to make the board the only body that can put any signs outside an hotel.

Take the extreme case that the Minister mentions, namely, of bribery. Even there, why cannot the Minister allow the ordinary channels of commerce to destroy such an association. It will be found out very quickly if it issues signs to bad hotels. Why continue this unnecessary interference? The first inclination appears to be: Interfere if we can. My inclination is always the opposite: do not interfere unless you have grounds for interfering. I agree that we are approaching this from a different standpoint. Suppose the bodies mentioned do differ from the board in grading, that is no reason for preventing them saying: "We recommend this hotel." I think it highly undesirable that the board should be given the power the Minister speaks of. If the Minister had based his case on his first explanation, namely, corrupt practices, there might be some grounds for it, but now he seems to take the ground altogether from under his feet. He now says it is intended that the signs issued by the bodies mentioned shall not appear if they are different from the signs issued by the board.

The Deputy has suggested that there is some conflict of opinion between two statements I made. I submit that there is not. I assume that certain organisations will work on the same general lines of policy as the board and in harmony with it. I should imagine that there will be no conflict between them, but if there is a conflict the board's will must predominate where the conflict arises because of a different point of view from that of the directors of the organisations concerned. There is no reason why those organisations cannot recommend hotels to their members, or why they cannot publish and issue guide books or indicate a preference for certain hotels. What we have before us here relates to the display of signs. That is a matter that, I think, must be under the control of the board. I regard it as a most important matter.

I would point out to the Minister that you have a number of hotels in the South of Ireland bearing the Royal Automobile signs. These hotels were quite up to the mark when the signs were first issued. The Royal Automobile Club does not carry out inspections except at very long intervals. Two hotels that I have in mind have become so dilapidated that I do not think anybody should be invited to go to them. The Royal Automobile sign, where it is used in England, gives the visitor the impression that a certain standard is reached and maintained in that hotel. In this country those people are allowed to use the Royal Automobile sign when the hotel has gone completely down. I think some supervision should be exercised. We discussed this at the Tourist Association Board meeting, and I think Deputy Mongan agreed that the present board should have some jurisdiction over the issue of signs, whether from across Channel or otherwise.

In regard to this matter there is another point which requires attention, and that is the fact that those bodies, be they motoring or cycling bodies, may view an hotel from a different aspect than the board In the case of a motoring body they may look for suitable garage facilities, and so forth, which the board may or may not consider. Therefore, their grading may differ very much from that of the board. That, of course, in a way does not arise here—it arose on an earlier amendment, for which I was not present—but at the same time an hotel should not thereby be debarred from showing those signs, so that a member of those bodies may refer to his book and find out what sort of hotel it is. With regard to the point mentioned by Deputy Crowley, I understand that those bodies inspect the hotels every year. It is possible that they may still have the sign, but they may have been lowered in grade since the sign was originally given. I doubt very much if any of those bodies has on its list hotels which do not conform to its minimum standard at all events.

Mr. Byrne

Might I ask the Minister whether he will do in regard to this what he has done in connection with previous amendments, that is, give an assurance that he will go into the matter later on? Will he give the House an assurance that there will be no such thing as retrospective legislation; that the board will have no power to take away A.A. signs or R.I.A.C. signs from those who have already got them? Why not allow the people who have already got those signs to continue to hold them, and at the same time put up the sign of the new tourist board? If I were a visitor coming from any part of the Continent, and I saw an hotel displaying an A.A. or an R.I.A.C. sign, it would seem to me that it was a sort of security for me in going in there, but it would sound very peculiar to me if I heard that such and such a place had that sign but it was taken from them. As a visitor, I would not quite follow that it had been done by legislation here in this House. I think the Minister ought not to make the legislation retrospective. I think that anybody who has had those hall-marks on his premises should be allowed to retain them, and that there should be no such thing as giving any board power to order hotel proprietors to take down those signs. There may be power to give them the board's own sign, which I certainly should like to see, but, if the hotel is up to the standard necessary to get the sign of those two motoring bodies, one of them at least world famous, I think it should be allowed to continue to use those two signs and the new one as well. That ought to meet with the tourist board's approval. I would put it to the Minister that, at this late hour, it seems an extraordinary thing to introduce legislation which will take from those hotels the signs which foreign visitors look on as a type of security. I would ask the Minister to consider that matter.

There is no reason why the Tourist Board should take any action in this matter at all except it had reason to believe that the interests of hotel proprietors and of the tourist business were being injured. What we are proposing here in the Bill is that those signs cannot be displayed except with the consent of the board. What the amendment seeks is that the board should have no function in regard to the signs of any of those organisations, but I think the matter must remain subject to the consent of the board.

Mr. Byrne

You are giving the board power to take down the signs of those other two bodies?

Certainly. As the Bill stands, the board can decide when the sign of any one of those bodies should not be displayed. They will not have power to take the sign from one hotel proprietor, or from two hotel proprietors. They will not have the power to take it from an individual here and there. They will either withdraw their consent altogether in regard to those organisations, or continue it altogether. If they continue their consent, then the distribution of the signs will be a matter for those bodies and not for the board.

Mr. Byrne

It still appears that you are making the legislation retrospective by giving the board the power to order hotels to take down a sign that is world famous and put up a new one. I would agree that the board should have the right to give those hotels their own approved sign, and that hotels which already have the A.A. and R.I.A.C. signs should then display all three of them as hall-marks of security. One of them is better known to the Irish people who are seeing Ireland first. One of these organisations is famous throughout Great Britain and Ireland, while the other is world-famous, and I think the hotels should be allowed to continue to display their signs. I put it to the Minister that it is not an unreasonable suggestion to make.

I do not want to discuss the reasonableness of the suggestion. The only thing I want to ensure is that it will be a matter within the power of the board to deal with.

Mr. Byrne

To order them to come down?

Yes, if they consider that that is necessary in the interests of the hotel business and the tourist trade here.

Amendment No. 51, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 52:—

In sub-section (5), lines 38 and 39, to delete the words "and contain such information in regard to the premises to which it relates".

I do consider that the information on those signs issued by the board should be very simple. In the first place, from the practical point of view, if you put a considerable amount of information on any sign you are going to confuse people. The sign will not be legible at a passing glance, particularly in these days when everybody travels in motor-cars.

There is no point in this amendment. Earlier we discussed whether hotels should be required to display signs whether they liked it or not. I undertook to reconsider that. It is surely right that the signs supplied by the board should contain such information as the board thinks proper. If we decide to leave it optional to hotel proprietors to display the sign or not, then they need not display it if they do not like; but if it is compulsory it must be a matter for the board to determine what is to be on the sign.

Amendment No. 52, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 43, as amended, put and agreed to.
(1) The Board shall publish or cause to be published at least once in every year a list of registered premises arranged so as to show separately premises registered in the register of hotels, premises registered in the register of guest houses, premises registered in the register of holiday hostels and premises registered in the register of holiday camps.
(2) A list under this section may include in respect of any premises mentioned in such list such information as the Board thinks proper in relation to the standard of such premises, the charges made therein, and any other matter of interest to tourists.

I move amendment No. 53:—

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

(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in the preceding sub-sections of this section, the proprietor of any premises to which this section applies may request the board not to publish or cause to be published any particulars concerning the premises in respect of which such proprietor is registered, and on such request being made, the board shall refrain from publishing or causing to be published such particulars.

I am prepared to accept the amendment in principle, provided we leave to the discretion of the board the decision concerning non-publication.

Surely, we should at least allow the proprietor of an hotel to determine whether or not it is good for his business that those particulars should appear in a handbook? Surely, he should decide that? That is all we ask. There are certain people who object, and who think it will damage their business. The Minister may say: "That is bad business", but there are certain types of hotels which run on that particular line. They feel that if their names are inserted in a book of this kind it will interfere with the particular type of business they want to do. All that is asked is to have something analogous, say, to a telephone directory. There are a number of people who have telephones and who find them extremely useful and who get their names in the telephone book. There are other people who find telephones a nuisance, and they have a telephone but the name does not appear in the book. All that is asked is that the proprietor of a hotel might be able to say: "I will register; you can grade me, but I do not want to appear in the book. I do not want that type of publicity; it will damage my business."

The analogy does not apply. A hotel is a business premises, the proprietor of which contracts that he will at all times serve the public.

This Bill covers more than hotels.

This amendment covers hotels as well as other premises, and while the board might consider in certain cases a request of this kind, I think it should be left to their discretion. I think we will give them power to leave out of the register the name of a hotel in response to a request, but at the same time give them discretion, as it may be in the interest of the board and in the general interest that this information be published. I should imagine it is most unlikely that cases will arise of this nature, but there may be such cases.

That conveys nothing to me unless the Minister tells me the type of case he has in mind.

It may not be in the general interest that a hotel in a particular locality should not be made known. If, for some reason of his own, the proprietor of that hotel does not want to do that type of business, I do not think it should be registered as a hotel. In certain cases the board might take the view that its existence must be made known.

They have power themselves to set up a hotel.

Quite so.

But there is the question of the man doing a certain type of business—who wants to do it and has been doing it—who is going to be compelled to do something that would prevent him carrying on the business.

Not necessarily. It will be in the interest of the board to work in harmony with the hotel proprietors, and it certainly will not be the board's intention to do anything which would amount to blistering the hotel proprietors. As the Bill stands, the board must publish particulars of all registered hotels, but I am prepared to amend it to give them power to delete from the public register particulars relating to any hotel in respect of which the proprietor has asked that they should not be published. I think that is as far as we can go.

I do not see why, if a man does not want publicity, he should be compelled to take it. As I said before, it would have been much simpler to say: "Let us set up a board, and let them work out the rest themselves."'

It would have been much simpler, certainly.

And quite as effective.

I will produce an amendment.

Amendment No. 55, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 45 agreed to.
The Minister may by order, if he so thinks proper, on the application of the board, declare that any area shall be an area to which this Part of this Act applies.

I move amendment No. 54:—

Before Section 46 but in Part III of the Act to insert a new section as follows:—

Nothing in this Act shall operate to prevent the Royal Irish Automobile Club, the Automobile Association or other similar organisation, as such, established at the date of the coming into force of this Act, from classifying, appointing and distinguishing for the private benefit and convenience of the members of such association, club or organisation by the signs heretofore in use hotels or guest houses or holiday hostels or holiday camps.

Is not this point covered by amendment No. 51?

Well, to a certain extent.

If the Deputy thinks there is an added point in it he might make it.

While the other amendment merely related to signs, this has rather a wider scope. This relates to "classifying, appointing and distinguishing for the private benefit and convenience of the members", and it is a thing that has been done for many years. I do not think that the Minister can produce any reason as to why these bodies should not be allowed to continue to do this work.

They are not being prevented. There is nothing in the Bill to prevent anybody classifying hotels or publishing information in handbooks as to their classification. The only thing we are taking power to control is publication by means of signs attached to the hotel.

Unfortunately, I was not here when the first amendment was being moved. Does the Minister not consider that publication can be held to be grading?

When the Deputy's amendment was moved, my answer was that it was not necessary. There was nothing in the Bill to prevent these associations from indicating hotel grades to their members.

There is nothing in the Bill which says that the board alone may grade.

But the Bill does not say that the proprietor may not describe his hotel in a grade other than that set out.

That would be the board's grade.

Take it that one of the organisations' grades differs from that of the board's grading. According to the Bill they cannot use it.

If it is clear that it is the organisation's grading, I take it for granted that, when you say grading, it means the board's grading.

Clearly so. There is nothing to prevent any organisation grading for the information of its own members.

Amendment No. 54, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 46 agreed to.
(1) Whenever the Minister by order declares that an area shall be an area to which this Part of this Act applies, he may from time to time, if he so thinks proper on the application of the board, by order do all or any of the following things, that is to say:—
(a) authorise the board to keep, in respect of such area, such registers as the Minister shall think proper, and shall specify in such order of all or any of the following, that is to say:—
(i) boarding houses and other forms of residential accommodation,
(ii) camping sites,
(iii) restaurants, cafés, and similar establishments,
(iv) cinemas, theatres, sports grounds, band promenades, premises in which games or entertainment are provided for the public, and similar places of public entertainment, and
(v) local transport services;
(b) apply in relation to any register so authorised to be kept by the board such of the provisions of Part III of this Act as he thinks proper, and so apply such provisions either with or without modification;
(c) confer on the board such powers as he thinks proper for the preservation of the amenities of such area including, in particular, powers of restriction on the erection of advertisements and tents or other temporary structures in such area;
(d) confer on the board such powers as he thinks proper in relation to the provision and control (including licensing) of guides, beach guards, and attendants at parking places in such area;
(e) make such provisions (including provisions creating offences and providing for the prosecution and punishment of offenders) ancillary to or consequential upon the keeping of any register so authorised to be kept by the board or the exercise of any power so conferred on the board.

I move amendment No. 55.

In sub-section (1) (c), page 17, to delete lines 35, 36 and 37.

The powers given by this section as originally drafted are being removed. It was suggested here that ugly permanent structures are, if anything more objectionable in the long run than temporary structures of the same type. The amendment is designed to give the Minister power to protect adequately the amenities of a special area. I think it meets the views which were expressed by some Deputies in the course of the Second Reading debate, as to the need for having effective powers to that end.

There is one point with regard to this part of the Bill. I do not know whether it should come in on this amendment or not. It is that the board should work in close collaboration with the Town Planning Committee where such exists, It seems to me that it would be most necessary that the amenities of a district should be preserved, and I take it that this board would work in close collaboration with the town planning committee where such exists.

I agree fully on that point. I do not think that we need that as a statutory obligation on the board, because it would mean to say that there is a lack of collaboration. I think the board will see the wisdom of that collaboration itself. As a matter of fact, the town planning committees will soon have powers to use in this respect.

But this Bill is later than the other, and the Minister may confer those powers on the board. This is a statutory power, too, quite as much as the other. I wonder what the Minister has in mind in all this. I am quite in favour of the board having extensive powers to preserve amenities, and in many cases there are no town planning committees, but I think where you have, they ought to work in harmony from every point of view. I do not know whether the Minister can confer these powers. Can he confer them, and must they be general powers or conferred in respect of a special area?

I will consider that point. It might serve, to put into the section some phraseology whereby the Minister in exercising his powers would have regard to any town planning committee or any body that was doing work sanctioned by a town planning authority.

In cases where there is a town planning committee, I think it is obvious that the board should be compelled to bow to that committee. There are quite a number of other places where it is highly desirable that there should be power that no county council has at present, I am afraid, and that no town planning authority has, to preserve amenities. What I want to know is, could the Minister under the powers he has in this Bill mark out a certain district and say to the board: "You have full power to do certain things in that particular district"? Can the Minister delimit the district or must he give general powers?

He has powers relating to particular districts.

The Minister will determine what the different districts are?

Of course the board may make representations to the Minister asking for the powers.

I think the Deputy mentioned the erection of a tin garage or some other structure of that kind at places like Killarney. These are the type of powers we have in mind.

Is the Minister convinced that the powers are sufficiently wide?

I think they are sufficiently wide. We intended to make them wide enough anyhow to ensure this.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 56 and 57 are met by the earlier amendment.

Amendment No. 57 is the town planning amendment.

That is covered by the Minister's statement.

I will consider that.

I think we will have to make it almost compulsory.

I am not familiar with the operations of the Act, and I will have to consult with the Department of Local Government about it.

Amendments Nos 56 and 57 not moved.

I move amendment No. 58:

In sub-section (1), before paragraph (e), to insert a new subparagraph as follows:—

(e) confer on the board such powers as he thinks proper including powers of restriction or limitation in relation to the distribution and sale of articles of food or refreshment, tobacco, confectionery, souvenirs or other ornaments, postcards, guide-books or other publications, where such distribution or sale is made by means of automatic machines or from vehicles mechanically propelled or otherwise, or from booths or other temporary structures or receptacles.

Perhaps I had better leave that to the Minister when he is in consultation with the Local Government Department. It is a matter for the Minister and the Minister for Local Government. They should consider this matter also in relation to the town planning business.

I think that amendment is unnecessary with the alteration in the phraseology of paragraph (c), which gives the power which the Deputy is seeking to confer. The Minister takes power to confer on the board such powers as he thinks proper for the preservation of amenities of such area. In these circumstances, I think the amendment is unnecessary, because we have the power which the Deputy is proposing to give us.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 47, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 48 and 49 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 59:

In sub-section (1), (i), line 12, to delete the word "where" and substitute therefor the word "were".

That amendment is accepted. It is a typographical error.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 50, as amended, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That this be the Title to the Bill."

I should like to say something on the Title. I put down an amendment which you, Sir, were kind enough to rule out of order.

If the amendment was ruled out of order it may not be discussed.

I put down an amendment which in effect was to repeal the Shop Hours Act——

It may not be debated.

Can I not raise it on the Title?

Then I can raise it on the next Stage.

The Deputy is mistaken.

Question put and agreed to.
Bill reported, with amendments.

I should like to raise a question. On the registers which the Minister has there is a register called the Guest House Register. In studying the Bill I cannot find any clear indication of what a guest house is intended to be. There are two things which, to my mind, could come under that. One is a boarding house, and the other is a guest house, which is really a more expensive and exclusive place than a hotel. Could the Minister indicate what is covered by this?

We had a discussion on that earlier this evening and I gave an indication, roughly, of the distinction I made between hotels and guest houses. A boarding house in the ordinary sense is not covered by the Bill at all.

Ordered: That the Report Stage be taken on Wednesday, 7th June.