Finance (No. 2) Bill, 1939—Committee.

Question proposed: "That Section 1 stand part of the Bill."

I should like to ask the Minister if he has reconsidered this matter, and whether he really thinks that, having added 1/- to the income-tax this year, the addition of another 1/- to the income-tax next year is going to do anything like what he told the House he estimated it would do. We warned him when the 1/- was going on the income-tax at the beginning of this year that he was not going to get the revenue which he informed the House he expected to get from it. Already about one-third of the income-tax for the year has been collected, and what is the position? After the addition of the 1/- at the beginning of the year the Minister expected that he would get an additional £377,000 from income-tax over what he got last year. One-third of the total amount of income-tax has been collected this year, but, although the rate has been increased by 1/-, instead of being up, the amount collected up to 26th November is £343,000 down. I should like to ask the Minister whether the significance in the trend shown there would make him hesitate to put his proposal before the House to increase the income-tax by another 1/- for the coming year?

I certainly did not propose, without due consideration, that an additional 1/- be imposed from April next. From anybody's point of view, it was not a pleasant thing to have to do. We believed it was necessary, and I am afraid there is no way out of it; it will have to continue. With regard to the figures he has just quoted, I think the Deputy does not realise that the 5/6 rate is not appreciably reflected in the income-tax figures which have been received so far. It will not be reflected until after 1st January next.

The increased rate of 5/6 will not be reflected until after 1st January?

Not appreciably. There is no way out of this position; the additional 1/- proposed will have to continue.

Can the Minister give any explanation as to why the amount received in income-tax up to 26th November this year is £343,000 less than the amount received for the same period last year?

It does fluctuate. The income-tax comes in mainly in the last quarter. We will have to wait; we cannot draw any really sound deductions from the figure of income-tax revenue at any other time of the year except towards the end of the last quarter.

Was that not true last year as well as this year?

It was true last year and most other years, but it does fluctuate from year to year.

Question put and declared carried.
Question proposed: "That Section 2 stand part of the Bill".

On Section 2, I emphasised, on the Second Stage, that the action of the Government in imposing a duty on sugar, tobacco, beer and spirits was giving a tremendous impetus to the rise in the cost of the ordinary commodities of life and that the Minister was doing that in order to raise £603,000 between this and the end of the year. I pointed out that, in the face of the various matters that were impinging on the situation here from outside, tending to disturb the price level here on the one hand, and the amount of money that he was borrowing on the other, it was a disastrous thing for the Government to impose additional taxation for the purpose of getting in that additional amount in such a unique and very disturbing situation, and that it was having a very bad effect. Has the Minister reconsidered the matter, and what are the reasons why he should continue to press for the raising of the price of sugar in this particular way?

I am quite sure that the Australian Government is as much exercised and as much affected by the influences of the war as we are here and that, in so far as additional expense is caused to them by the conditions brought about by the war, the burden falling on them is as great, for the moment, as the burden falling on us here. Recent newspaper notices have shown that they have decided not to increase taxation during the current financial year, but to wait and see what the general situation is likely to be at the end of the financial year and then, in the face of the fuller and clearer knowledge that they will have, and the clearer understanding of the way in which outside events are going to impinge on their financial situation, they will make decisions. I should like to know if the Minister has given any consideration since to that particular aspect of things, and does he still persist in imposing this duty on sugar?

I think this proposal to increase the duty on sugar, taken in conjunction with the imposition of an extra 3/4d. on the price of sugar, deserves to be considered in the light of what the Prime Minister said when speaking on the Second Stage of this Bill and comparing the outlook of the Government with the outlook of this Party. The Prime Minister spoke of the outlook of this Party as representing the rule of jungle law in which the defenceless and the poor were to be delivered over to the tender mercies of the exploiter under the policy of the Manchester School of Free Trade, whereas the Fianna Fáil Party stood for a paternal solicitude for the poor, observing constant vigilance to protect them from any attempt at exploitation. He went on to explain that the policy of this Party must result in intense suffering for the most defenceless sections of the community, whereas their Party were prepared to make very great sacrifices in order to ensure that the poor would pass unscathed upon their way.

While I listened to that, I could not help thinking of this Budget; I could not help thinking that the Prime Minister was actually talking on the Second Stages of a Finance Bill which imposed heavy taxation on one of the modest luxuries of the poor in the form of tobacco and, not content with that, went further to levy heavy taxation, not only on their luxuries, but on the very essential foodstuffs without which it would be impossible for the poor to maintain the minimum standard of health. Not only that, but that the commodity at which he proposes to strike was that commodity which the children of the poor, particularly, stood in need if their health was to be maintained. I do not propose to go into a long discourse on dietetics here this morning, but there are few Deputies who know more of that aspect of the life of the poor than the present Minister for Finance. He has been for years intimately associated with the daily life of the poor; for the last five or six years he was Minister for Local Government and Public Health and such questions were continually canvassed in his own office.

The poor find the greatest difficulty in providing for their children the minimum necessary diet to protect them from sickness. One of the most valuable foods they have for that purpose is sugar. The point to be remembered there is that no matter what tax you may put upon it, no matter how you raise the price, everyone goes on trying to get some sugar. We are accused by the Prime Minister of being entirely indifferent to the interests of the poor, and we are accused of that because he says we stand for the free trade policy. I put, in direct contrast to his policy, the policy for which we stand, and which I think I am entitled to say is the policy to which Cordell Hull, Secretary of State in the United States, has been converted, the policy to which Lord Halifax of Great Britain has been converted, the policy to which Monsieur Daladier, the Prime Minister of France, has been converted, the policy to which every enlightened statesman in the world has been converted, the policy which, in the world to-day, has only two convinced enemies, one, the barbarian Government which has just invaded Finland and, two, the barbarian Government of Berlin, which remains one of the two surviving apostles of the doctrine of self-sufficiency in Europe, or, for that matter, in the world.

There is a third.

What is it?

What about Italy?

I think Italy is very rapidly coming round to the view that economic co-operation with France, Great Britain and all the other liberty-loving countries of Europe, is good politics, and I thank God that the difference between Italy and Germany is becoming wider and wider with the passage of every day.

I am afraid the Deputy is travelling widely from the subject of sugar.

I do not want to pursue that further, but the Minister drew me.

Is it in order for the Minister to encourage the Deputy to break our policy of neutrality?

It is all right about Russia and Finland, whatever about Germany.

Deputy Davin waxing solicitous lest the tender feelings of Comrade Joe Stalin should become ruffled as he marches across the territory of Finland, is not an edifying spectacle. Neither Deputy Davin nor the Government here will persuade me to lick that gentleman's feet. As I have said, Sir, the Minister drew me.

Would that be possible?

He sought to draw me. He made the suggestion that Italy is to be identified——

The Deputy and the Minister must confine their remarks to a tax on sugar.

Quite so, but surely you will allow me to answer his interruption? The Minister sought to identify Italy with the international outlook of Russia and Germany. Such an identification cannot be made. I will depart from that, and I should like to say that our policy, described by the Prime Minister as the law of the jungle, is the policy adopted by every enlightened statesman in the world to-day as an essential pre-requisite of effectively protecting the poor and defenceless against exploitation, not only by foreigners, but by those who would exploit them at home. The policy of the Government, I submit, is to permit every vested interest——

The Deputy must deal with the sugar tax. This is not the occasion for replying to speeches made on the Second Stage by the Taoiseach or any other Minister. The Deputy must apply himself to sugar, which is the subject-matter of Section 2.

I say that the policy of the Government is to permit the exploitation of the poor by any vested interest that is powerful enough to bring pressure to bear upon them. Not content with bowing before the vested interests which they themselves created in the industrial sphere, they are now concerned to create vested interests among the agricultural population. They want to create vested interests among the beet growers, among the wheat growers, among the peat collectors and among the industrial alcohol suppliers. This proposal to increase the tax on sugar by 3/4d. and at the same time to impose an additional 3/4d. upon it is a proposal which, in my submission, sacrifices the poor of this country, first of all, to a vested interest which the Government are deliberately creating in the cultivation of the beet crop. They are, in the second place, sacrificing the poor in order to extract from them money, in the shape of this tax, in order to subsidise the industrial alcohol factories and other hopelessly uneconomic and rotten schemes, the continuation of which could only be justified by the necessity to appease the voracity of vested interests, for the creation of many of which the Minister and his colleagues are responsible. I challenge the Minister to answer this question now—he has avoided the question time and again—if you have charged upon your Budget several uneconomic and undesirable experimental schemes, such as the industrial alcohol experiments?

If the Deputy cannot get away from a Second Reading speech, I am afraid I shall have to ask him to resume his seat.

Is not the taxation on sugar a proper subject for discussion?

The Deputy discussed that on the Second Stage, which was quite proper. He should now confine the discussion to the point as to whether the tax on sugar is fair or not.

I want the Minister to take the tax off sugar, and only off sugar. He is using the money that he is receiving under this section of the Finance Bill—this money and only this money—for the purpose of financing rotten schemes. I suggest you should delete the section and delete the scheme. There is no use in my saying to the Minister. "Abandon this taxation" if I do not make a proposal to him that will fill the gap that my request to abandon the taxation will create. I am attacking this particular tax, this particular item of revenue. I say that you should abandon this item and give back to the poor the 3/4d. you are taking from them. You can arrange for that surrender of the money to the poor by abandoning the schemes which you propose to finance out of that money. I am asking the Minister for Finance is he prepared to get up here to-day and say, "I am going to take 6d. per quarter-stone of sugar from the poor of this country in order to keep the industrial alcohol scheme in existence". I am saying to the Minister: "If you will get up and say that you are going to ask the Minister for Industry and Commerce to close down that scheme and that, at the same time, you are going to give back to the poor the money that was sought to provide for that scheme——"

The Chair would prevent the Minister from being irrelevant, if he attempted to argue on those lines.

Surely, Sir, I am entitled to argue that he should not put this 3/4d. on sugar. Of course, the Minister will get up here and say: "Deputy Dillon asks me to abandon the 3/4d. on sugar, but where am I to find the money?"

The Deputy realises that all that was fully discussed, and rightly so, on the Second Stage. This is not a Second Stage discussion. Why reopen the Second Stage discussion now?

I quite appreciate the Chair's position, but I want to point out that this jibe has been thrown at us a thousand times: that we divide and divide and argue on the Finance Bills but never tell the Minister where he is to get the money, and that all we want to do is to take his revenue from him.

The Deputy cannot fail to see that another Deputy may get up and make exactly the same argument in relation to the beer tax or any other tax in the Budget and have a Second Stage debate on every section.

Very well, Sir. I make the case and I urgently second the suggestion made by Deputy Mulcahy, that this tax should be abandoned. I am convinced that there is no more uncomfortable man in this House than the Minister for Finance in respect of this. I think he knows how wrong, how rotten, and how indefensible it is. I often wonder will the day ever dawn in which the Minister and his colleagues will have the courage to do the right thing, and that is to get up quite frankly and say: "Look here. We admit that we have made very grave mistakes and stumbled into very deep water and into very great difficulties, out of which we are unable to get. We want everybody's help, by way of counsel and advice, as to how to get out of these difficulties, and we are prepared to accept that help." If he is prepared to say that, I believe that wholly unjust and wicked impositions of this kind will disappear and that the difficulties confronting us will be surmounted without resort to expedients of this kind.

Deputy Mulcahy asked me why we insist on this extra taxation on sugar and why we would not put back all this taxation to the end of the year. Well, my idea of financial—may I use the word?—rectitude is that when a time like the present, a time of emergency, arises, when we find our revenue falling fast, and when we know, after investigating the matter to the fullest, that we are not going to receive a considerable amount of the revenue budgeted for to the end of the financial year, we ought to take whatever measures are necessary and whatever measures it is possible to take in order to try to meet that situation. I said on the last occasion, and I repeat it, that the financial credit of this country is good. It was kept high by the last Government. I said that several times here during these discussions on this financial measure, and I repeat it, and I, as Minister having responsibility in this matter and having the backing of the Government for my view in the matter, would like to keep that credit as high as it has been maintained, and in that interest I think it would be entirely wrong to carry on to the end of the financial year knowing that we were going to be faced with such—to us, as we are in our condition and with our small finances—an alarmingly large deficit.

The Minister must now get away from Second Reading debate.

I suggest that financial rectitude is also necessary in the home, and that the credit of the State stands upon the stability of the workers.

As to the tax on sugar, it is unquestionably hard on the poor. We have heard a good deal of that all through these debates—the poor, the poor, the poor. I do not believe that there is anyone on the Opposition side who thinks more often of the poor than we do; I am not saying that one of them thinks less. Probably what the Opposition Party and this Party say and think on that matter applies also to every other Party. There is no difference between us as to that. Everybody here would like to avoid that tax on the poor. I know Deputy Dillon long enough and I know Deputy Cosgrave long enough; they are both Dublin men like myself. They know Dublin City and they know the hardships of the poor and the makeshifts that the poor have to contrive to live; and that tax on sugar is admittedly severe. But the money had to be found and the poor had to be taxed as well as everybody else. The Government were not seeking popularity when they taxed the poor. We are told to do the courageous thing. I would say that any political Party or any Government that stands over measures of that kind which they think necessary are taking their political courage and their political fate in their hands. I do not think anyone can deny that. It is a courageous thing to do. Other Governments have done it. The last Government did it; they taxed sugar more heavily than we are taxing it now.

That is not so.

It is quite true.

It is not so.

What is the use of denying the facts? I quoted the facts.

Did the Minister not hear what was quoted in reply to him?

The facts are that in the years 1923-24, 1924-25, and 1925-26 the tax on sugar was 1/4d. per lb. higher than now.

But the consumers got sugar then for 3d. per lb. and they are paying 5d. now.

The tax on sugar imposed by the last Government was higher than this. The answer to that was: "But look at the years; was it not in a state of emergency?"

The price must be taken into account.

I agree that it was in a state of emergency. I agree that money had to be got to get over that difficult time.

Surely the Minister is not deliberately trying to deceive the House?

Surely he admits at once that the taxation imposed by the Government to which he refers was on sugar which contained in its price no subsidy on beet?

We are getting away from it.

The subsidy on beet at that time was levied by taxes on other things. It is now in the price of sugar and is part of the tax on sugar. That is the honest way to look at it.

We should discuss the taxation. The tax on sugar imposed by the last Government was higher during those years. I certainly agree that it was to get over a time of emergency. Is not that admitted? That money was necessary; I am not denying that at all. The fact is that part of that tax was taken over from the British, just as part of the tax we are imposing was taken over. There is no denying that fact. As I say it was 1/4d. per lb. higher during those three years.

The Minister is quite mistaken.

I am not. The facts are there.

We do not want to be interrupting the Minister.

What was done with that money is a matter that can be discussed another time; the Chair would not allow us to develop it now. What that revenue from sugar was used for is a different matter altogether. The Deputy challenged us to take our courage in our hands and drop certain other schemes. There is no want of courage on this side. I do not think there is any want of courage on the other side either. If we had to change our policy, I certainly would come to the Dáil and go to my constituency and to the country and would not hesitate to tell the country and the Dáil what I felt if I were convinced that the policy was not the best one for the country. I think the Deputy will admit that my career in politics for many years, such as it was, was a bitter uphill fight against terrific odds. We were in a very small minority, of which Deputy Cosgrave was one, for many years. We were battered and beaten and kicked and bruised, spiritually as well as physically, when we were fighting our uphill battle. When we differed with those who are now in the Opposition, we were again in a very small minority for a time and got hammered and beaten and kicked again. We did not lack the moral courage anyhow to stand up for what we believed to be true, and what was true of that time is equally true now. There will be no want of courage. I have not seen any argument produced by those on the Opposition side against the main policy, in which sugar is involved to some extent, to induce us to change that.

I assure the Minister that if he was listening to our arguments he would find that there was no charge of want of courage. What we criticise is the Ministerial lack of intelligence——

Now you are on another foot, and we will answer that too.

——in understanding the situation and bringing an intelligent judgment to bear on it.

Would the Minister say what the price of sugar was in 1922-1923 and what the price of sugar is now?

I cannot tell you the figures. It was much higher in 1922 and 1923 than it is now.

Our trouble is, what it is going to be in 1942.

Whoever is here then will be vocal on the matter.

The Minister in his speech emphasised the necessity for adhering to a policy of financial rectitude. Does not such a policy involve putting the onus on himself for balancing the Budget?

It does. It comes as near that as possible.

Does the Minister suggest that this Budget has been balanced?

I hope before the year is out to go very near balancing that Budget.

I am only an ordinary person when dealing with figures, but I have some limited knowledge of trying to balance the budget of a much more minor type, and if this Budget has been balanced, even on paper, then the Minister is a magician and not an accountant.

I am neither one nor the other.

Anyone who takes up the Budget figures——

I am not prepared to hear the Deputy on the Budget figures.

The Minister was very close to the subject when he talked about financial rectitude.

The Deputy is still closer.

The Minister proceeded to justify the tax on sugar, and told us there was no other means of finding the money that he was going to get, except by imposing a tax of 3/4d. on sugar. On the Second Reading Stage of the Budget he told us that there were so many things involved, in putting an additional tax of 6d., 1/- or 1/6d. on income tax, that it would not be worth doing so. He seemed to suggest to the House and to the country— and the people in the country are just as intelligent as anyone in this House, including the Minister—that on account of the mess that was likely to occur, from the accountancy point of view, he could not justify at this period an increase in the income tax of 6d., 1/- or 1/6d in the £. That argument is not going to be followed by the people. The Minister seems to ignore the figures produced for the information of the House concerning the excessive profits made by bacon curers and flour millers.

The Deputy may not make a Second Reading speech.

I was prompted to make these remarks by reason of the fact, that the Minister tried to convince Deputies who are listening to him and those who may read his words outside the House, that he had no other means of finding the revenue which will come to the Exchequer as a result of the imposition of 3/4d. per lb. on sugar, except by putting it on to people who consume sugar. I do not accept that argument, and I am not going to accept it, even with the limited knowledge of figures that I have, that the Minister has balanced his Budget.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 50; Níl, 27.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Friel, John.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • McCann, John.
  • McDevitt, Henry A.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Munnelly, John.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Laurence J.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George C.
  • Benson, Ernest E.
  • Brasier, Brooke.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Davin, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry M.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Keating, John.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Sullivan, John.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Rogers, Patrick J.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Smith and S. Brady; Níl, Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.
Section 3 put and declared carried.
SECTION 4.
Question proposed: "That Section 4 stand part of the Bill."

Is the Minister satisfied that this tax on tobacco will yield him any revenue at all?

My experience in the country is that a considerable number of workmen have had to give up smoking altogether. They cannot afford it and it is a classic fact that, in regard to certain commodities, if you raise taxation beyond a certain point, the fall in consumption resulting from the people abandoning the use of that commodity brings about a fall in the yield. So far as essentials are concerned, people will go on buying them rather than starve but, so far as tobacco is concerned, a very considerable number of countrymen and agricultural labourers—in the neighbourhood of Ballaghaderreen in any case, and I speak as a retailer of tobacco who knows what he is talking about—have simply had to give up tobacco because they could not afford to pay for it. Certainly, between now and the introduction of the Budget next year, the Minister would be well advised to invite the Revenue Commissioners to keep a close eye on the consumption of tobacco, bearing in mind that any forestalling of the tobacco tax may induce the commissioners to advise the Miniister that the yield between the date of the imposition of this tax and the end of the financial year has been injured in that way. I invite him to tell the Revenue Commissioners to inquire further and more closely into that matter and satisfy themselves as to whether or not the yield has fallen because the people have given up smoking. If that be true, not only on humane grounds but on cold, economic grounds, the tax on tobacco should be reviewed and let the countryman enjoy his pipe again while contributing to the revenue at the same time.

I think Deputy Dillon is right in saying that there is likely to be a considerable drop in the consumption of tobacco. I am aware that a very large consignment of old clay pipes was some time ago posted to the Minister——

They were handed to me here.

——from a big parish in my constituency and part of Deputy Pattison's. If that be so, it is an indication that they have given up smoking tobacco.

I got a letter from an old woman in Limerick a couple of days ago in which she said that she was having the old clay pipe ground up and mixed with snuff because she could not afford to buy the snuff and she was stretching it out as far as possible in that way. That is not a pretty picture from a back street in Limerick—Deputy Keyes' constituency—but I got that letter. When the minds of the people are working in that direction, it is not a hopeful picture from the revenue point of view.

If the Deputy gives me the name of the lady, I shall see that she gets a good supply of snuff.

I take the Minister's offer and I shall send him the letter to-morrow.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 50; Níl, 31.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Friel, John.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • McCann, John.
  • McDevitt, Henry A.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Munnelly, John.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Laurence J.
  • Walsh, Richard.

Níl

  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George C.
  • Benson, Ernest E.
  • Brasier, Brooke.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Davin, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry M.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Keating, John.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Sullivan, John.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Rogers, Patrick J.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Smith and Seán Brady; Níl, Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.

Before we go further, Sir, I propose, with your leave, to give the Minister the letter to which I have referred, so that he may redeem the promise he has made.

Thank you. Would the Deputy say, snuff or tobacco?

I should say both.

SECTION 5.

Question—"That Section 5 stand part of the Bill"—put and declared carried.
SECTION 6.
(1) In lieu of the duty of excise imposed by Section 6 of the Finance Act, 1920, there shall be charged, levied, and paid on all beer brewed within the State on or after the 9th day of November, 1939, a duty of excise at the rate of £5 12s. for every 36 gallons of worts of a specific gravity of 1,055 degrees.

Amendments Nos. 1 and 2, being interdependent, the decision will be taken on amendment No. 1.

I move amendment No. 1:—

In sub-section (1), line 53, page 5, before the word "in" to insert the following words: "Except as otherwise provided in this sub-section."

In a previous discussion on the Finance Bill I raised the matter referred to in this amendment and the Minister, as far as I can remember, at the end of the discussion gave an assurance that he would give sympathetic consideration to any case or cases covered by this amendment that were likely to be put before him. If I am correctly informed, the Minister should have received representations from a number of the small breweries concerned, and I dare say they have given him a fairly detailed explanation of their financial position and of the consequences of the further imposition of this new tax upon their future. I have been very reliably informed by some of the people affected in my constituency that the imposition of this additional tax is likely to have very serious consequences for the future of the firms concerned, and I hope the Minister will accept this amendment. I should like to be corrected if I am wrong when I say that I assume that the cost of accepting this amendment would not exceed £20,000 a year.

It would, a good deal.

I should like to have the figure, but apart from the question of whether it represents £16,000 or £20,000 or up to £25,000, the fact of the matter is that, if the Minister insists upon the new tax, he is likely to assist also in closing down some of the small breweries and in throwing a considerable number of people out of employment, and out of a very good type of employment. I appeal to the Minister to give the subject of this amendment his very sympathetic consideration. I have received a number of communications in connection with the subject matter of this amendment. I received one communication from one of the few live Fianna Fáil clubs in my own constituency. I dare say the Minister himself would also, as Minister for Finance, have received the same communication containing a resolution recently passed by that body.

Mountmellick?

Yes; the branch of the Fianna Fáil Cumann passed this resolution:

"Some months ago, members of this Cumann asked the Government to reduce the taxation on beer by 50 per cent., as same would be better for agriculture and would provide more employment. Seeing that the Government could not find it possible to do so as we requested we now ask them to remove the present tax, as we were previously bound to lose our most important local industry, which loss would create great unemployment among local workers. This newly-imposed tax is likely to kill outright the malting industry."

That comes from a body of supporters of the Minister who know more about this particular case and the consequences to the workers in the industry than I do. I have reason, however, to know something about the industry dealt with in this resolution, as I was one of a number of Deputies—with Deputy O'Higgins, and I think Deputy Gorry—on a local deputation which met the directors of Messrs. Guinness, and Company some time ago. It was then proposed, as a result of certain action by Messrs. Guinness, to close down this industry.

The people associated with the passing of this resolution know more than I do about the recent history of the firm and they are entitled to know more about the consequences of this new tax—if it is insisted upon—upon the future of that industry. I would appeal to the Minister to accept this amendment and to realise that the cost of accepting this amendment will be much less in the future if he agrees to give this relief than the other cost which would be passed on to the State through the throwing of large numbers of workers out of useful employment in the industries immediately concerned.

I am prepared to support this amendment, and in doing so would like to call the Minister's attention to the fact that in the City of Kilkenny in my constituency the brewery there is about the only industry that provides good employment the whole year round.

And it is doing very well.

It is doing very well, but great uneasiness has been created through this announcement of additional taxation. While I am not informed by the men themselves, I am told that at least 16 men are already under notice. If it has that effect already, I venture to say that quite a large number of men may expect to see the other side of the gate in a few months' time. This is a time of the year when a provincial brewery like the one I am referring to experiences the most dull season of the year—from now until next May. They are very good employers, who try to meet the men in every possible way over the dull period of the year; but there is no doubt at all that this extra taxation is going very adversely to affect employment there. Already, I regret to say, there are about 400 unemployed men in the City of Kilkenny. It is a dreadful state of affairs to have so many unemployed practically half the year in a small city like Kilkenny, and it would be more dreadful still to add possibly another 25 or more. I hope it will not be more, but at the moment I am told that about 16 are under notice, and it is evident that when this tax is imposed this number will be almost doubled.

I should like to support this amendment. The Minister in his Budget speech referred to the fact that the figures supplied to him by his officials were such as to convince him that beer and tobacco were two things which possibly could carry increased taxation. That may be so, or it may not; but, in regard to the breweries, I should like to remind the Minister that the figures given recently regarding the trade of these small breweries were given at a time and in a year when things were very favourable to the brewing industry. For instance, the season this year was very favourable; the weather conditions prevailing in the months of May and June were such that, in the brewing industry, sales rose in quantity. That was due, to a very large extent, to the favourable weather conditions prevailing during those months. There is no guarantee that we will have the same weather prevailing next year. Whilst this brewing industry, according to the Minister's statement, may be able to bear this additional burden, I might remind him of the old saying that "it is the last straw which breaks the camel's back". This may be, indeed, the last straw, so far as some breweries are concerned.

The Minister may not be aware of the fact that there exists a loyalty between the owners of the small breweries and their men—a loyalty which, I am glad to say, has existed for a long time. There is a great feeling of comradeship between employers and employees. The heads of the largest brewing firms—even Messrs. Guinness—and of the small breweries are men who like to keep their servants, particularly their old servants, in employment. They are not of the type who dismiss them when they come to a certain age. I am personally not aware of the effect yet, but it may be that these men would take it into their heads—when this increased taxation is imposed—that there is very little recompense coming to them for the way in which they carried on their business under adverse conditions, and it may so happen that, as a result of this extra taxation of 12/- per standard barrel, these people may dismiss some of their employees. That would be a grave calamity at the present time and one of those things which the Minister himself would not wish to happen. From my personal knowledge, I can assure the Minister that there is just that danger.

Again, I would say that the amount derived as a result of this increased taxation is likely to be such as not to make very much difference to the Exchequer. I am not going into the whole question of finance, but this I say: I am not convinced that this extra money required by the Minister—and which has to be raised by means of taxes—is of such importance that it could not be postponed, at least in this particular case, for some time. As far as I can see, most of that money is going, not to make up, as the Minister states, for loss of revenue, but to extend certain services in certain directions. There would be something to be said for the Minister's contention were it true, but I am not convinced of that at the moment, as I believe that a good deal of this £1,600,000 is being used for the Army and the auxiliary force of the Gárda Síochána. I do not know whether that is true or not, but I see that we are making certain preparations in order, as the Taoiseach has assured us, to assure our neutrality. If, to assure our neutrality, it is necessary to endanger such industries as the brewing industry, then I think the Minister is embarking on a very dangerous course.

The amendment set down here by Deputy Davin, whereby it is asked that the first 5,000 barrels of beer brewed in a particular year should not be subject to this tax, would meet the case, especially in regard to the smaller brewers. Of course, the Minister would argue that that would also be favourable to larger ones. Even if it were, it is a big industry and one that gives very much employment. What I am afraid of is that something may happen as a result of this additional burden or burdens in regard to the numbers employed in the small breweries.

Leaving out breweries altogether, the Minister must be aware that there is a very considerable section of workers who look upon the pint of beer or stout as an essential article of food. Certain people would not believe that, but it is a fact. There are men engaged in very hard work at the docks and in the building trades, who attach very much importance, in so far as their sustenance is concerned, to a pint of porter or beer. Everyone knows that the increased cost of that commodity now is going to fall very heavily on that particular section. That is another reason which could be adduced in support of this amendment. Realising that this matter has been discussed at great length, I appeal to the Minister to go a certain distance to meet this amendment, and thereby prevent the very probable result of people being disemployed by reason of this extra taxation of 12/- per standard barrel.

I desire to support this amendment, and I consider that it was moved in a very moderate tone, without any attempt at exaggeration. I think that, in itself, is proof of the strength of the case and the gravity of the situation that prompted the amendment. I am not quarrelling, and would not attempt to quarrel, with the right of financial advisers in difficult times to suggest the procuring of revenue in any direction in which revenue may be procured. That is their job, and it is not their job to consider the possible human reactions after that revenue has been collected. It is, however, the function of Parliament to consider what the reactions may be, and the final court of appeal is the Minister when he sizes up the amount of revenue he may have to forego by a remission of a proportion of a tax as against the tragedy which may result. Deputy Davin referred to the fact that in this connection a very big firm was up against the same situation some six months ago, facing the stark tragedy that would result from the closing of their maltings in one Irish town. That firm did not accept the case put up by a mixed deputation, but they did accept this much, that aprime facie case had been made out and they sent their own representative down to that town. He lived in that town for two or three days; and, having satisfied themselves that the case was a true case, and that the whole town was living on that particular business, that there was no alternative employment to make good the loss of employment if this place closed down, that firm decided, in view of the appalling situation that would otherwise result, to keep the premises open for a further 12 months, and if and when the time came when they had to close down, to put a considerable lump of their own money in to be administered by a committee for the purpose of breaking the fall.

The two towns for which Deputy Davin speaks in a peculiarly representative way, the two towns in his county and mine, are towns which have no other type of industry, good, bad or indifferent. One of them had, but it went many years ago, and both of them grew up around the local maltings in one case and the maltings and brewery in the other. The trade of the town indirectly comes from the brewery and the maltings, in one and the other case. Practically the whole working population depends, directly or indirectly, on that industry. One of the towns, Mountmellick, is practically under sentence of death at the moment, and the only possible reprieve is a reduction in the duty. At the moment we are not in a position even to advocate a reduction in the duty; we can only advocate that a new duty will not be imposed. The other industry, the brewery in Rathdowney, has been carried on as a very useful and leading county institution. It has been trading throughout the county and it has suffered the knocks which most firms have suffered through the outbreak of war. The cost of raw materials has gone up very considerably and the cost of transport and distribution has gone up considerably also. I happened to be in that town last Sunday evening. I was talking to responsible people who have no direct financial interest in the concern as wage earners, salary earners or shareholders, but they are terribly disturbed as to what the position will be unless some particular effort is made to keep the industry going. They are all agreed on this, that the business is not in such a flourishing condition, with all the indirect penalties and taxes which business has to pay as a result of the outbreak of war, as to be able to stagger along under a new direct tax.

I do not, and would not presume to argue with the Minister what the loss of revenue would be if this concession to small breweries were made, but I suggest that this tax in its application to the smaller breweries may lead to an increased revenue of £x in one direction and increased expenditure of £x in another. If the industry closes down in either of the towns I have in mind, those towns will be in the same position as—a sight which, I am sure, the Minister often witnessed with regret—a Welsh colliery town where the mine has closed down and where even the people who were prosperous and the leading people in the town have no visible means of existence. I do not want, and I very seldom expect, statements made by a Deputy in an Assembly such as this to be accepted without reservation by people sitting opposite. The Minister has more sources of information at his disposal than I have. He has more sources of information with regard to the human side and the probable results even than I have. I ask him, before turning this amendment down, at least to take the same steps as the firm I indicated took, that is, that he does not reject it flatly, but checks up to see whether the case made by the movers of the amendment and supported by myself is a correct case. I am certain of this much with regard to the Minister and his Department, that if they can afford to take their time to satisfy themselves as to the truth of the case being made—that there is real danger of fairly general destitution in a town which used to be prosperous, he will meet the application made in this amendment.

I support the amendment. I look upon the general policy in these islands with regard to this industry for the last 30 years as one of jumping to the place where revenue can be found with an utter dis regard for the application of the test that should be applied to all taxation. That policy has been to seek revenue there because it could be got there, with a complete ignoring of the results of that policy. I have spoken on this matter before both on this tax and the tax on the sister industry. In my opinion, it is fatal. Apply to this tax any of the fundamental tests that should be applied to all taxation—does the tax you impose tend to increase and to distribute wealth—and it is wrong. What has happened over the last 30 years with regard to this industry? Ministers, seeking money, pile on taxes because it is a handy way of getting revenue. I do not know how many times since these financial proposals were introduced the Minister has told the House about emergencies. Emergencies are serious enough in their way, but there is no use taking a step in an emergency that is likely to lead to destitution. No tax should be imposed unless it is going to increase the wealth of the country or is likely to result in wealth being distributed among a larger number of citizens in the country.

There are three matters which have to be considered in connection with this industry. Firstly, we have to consider the workers within the breweries. There is no use in our blindly imposing tax after tax and burden after burden upon this industry until ultimately we have crushed it altogether out of existence and have displaced the workers who find employment in it. That simply means that those who are working elsewhere must provide money to maintain the people who have been driven out of employment in this industry. Again, the employment afforded by this industry is not confined to the breweries themselves. We hear a good deal of talk in this House about the necessity for extending our tillage. Here is an industry that is immediately concerned with the extension of tillage and which is connected with a branch of tillage that is indigenous to this country—the production of barley. Again, in centres where these breweries and distilleries are situated, you have an ample supply of by-products which can be utilised for the feeding of live stock. Yesterday we were dealing with the Bill to promote the production of pigs. What will be the result of this tax on that industry and on the production of other live stock? Will it not further restrict the feeding stuffs available in these districts?

Finally there is another consideration. Nobody will assert I think, that I am a man who is concerned about the value of drink as a food. I have never taken a pint of beer or stout in my life but I do not believe in being an extremist either in this or any other instance. Deputy Coburn, Deputy Davin and Deputy O'Higgins have spoken about the value of drink as a food, particularly beer and stout in the case of working men, but there is so much more than that to be considered. The man who is doing the heaviest work in the community wants beer or stout, not as a food but he wants it because he has been stuck in a horrible atmosphere while engaged at his work. He wants something to slake his thirst. A teetotaller may say: "Why cannot he go to the water tap and get a drink of water?" Think of the poor man who is stuck in the hold of a ship from early morning until late at night or take a man who is engaged on the first shift from early morning until lunch time. Picture a poor man coming out of the hold of a ship after several hours laborious work in a foul atmosphere. If that man thinks that it is necessary to have a pint of stout or beer why should a teetotaller seek to deprive him of that? In my opinion, that would be cruelty. I am a teetotaller and always have been but I say that we have no right to prevent these men from refreshing themselves in any way they like. I say that no Finance Minister should make it almost impossible for these poor men who are engaged in the most laborious work that could be performed to take a pint of beer or stout after their work is finished. There is no use in our entering this House and putting gas masks on ourselves as if we had forgotten all that happens outside.

Another fact to remember in connection with this tax is that we are simply copying what has been done in England. I do not mind copying a good example if it is applicable to conditions in this country but this is a case in which England's example is not applicable in this country. There is no comparison between conditions in England and in this country at present, because in England the workmen have got increased wages. They are mostly engaged in the production of commodities for war purposes and their wages have been substantially increased. There is no analogy, therefore, between conditions in England and conditions here at the moment. Workmen here have not got a single shilling of an increase as a result of the war. In fact the Minister said that they should not get it, that no section of the community should profit at the expense of other sections. Just consider for a moment how the increased taxes affect poor workmen. His ounce of tobacco costs 11½d. I do not know what is the price of a pint of beer as I do not go into public houses, but it must be substantially increased as a result of this tax. Imagine then the feelings of these men who are performing the heaviest type of work that has to be performed in any community. It is a type of work that almost crushes the life out of them. I refer to men who are engaged in the holds of ships unloading coal and other goods. I do not know whether the Minister has ever had any intimate connection at any period of his life with work of that kind, but I wish to goodness that he had some short experience of it. I am sure that he would not, after that experience, be so ready to impose a tax of this kind unless there was ample compensation for it, that is to say, that increased wealth was produced and that portion of that wealth would go back to these men. Nothing of that kind is hoped for as a result of this Budget.

This is a very modest amendment in my opinion, not that it will give any serious financial relief to this industry at all. It will, however, convey the idea to those engaged in it that, while we wish them to contribute something to the State in this emergency, the House has no desire to crush the industry finally. Very probably somebody will attack me for making a speech of this kind, but I do not give a snap of my fingers about them. This House, and this country, must have its foundations set in truth, justice and fair play, and if this State does not stand for truth, justice and fair play, then the sooner it disappears, and the sooner that I disappear from public life, the better.

I appealed to the Minister before on behalf of this industry. While I say that, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have no personal interest in the industry. I have not as much as a penny in it. Assuming that I was the Minister responsible for this Budget, then before imposing this tax, or any other tax, I would ask myself this question: In putting forward this imposition am I going to increase the wealth of the country and to distribute that wealth amongst the workers and citizens of this State? If we judge this tax by that standard, then I say very definitely that we are not doing that here. This industry, which is situated at various centres throughout the country, is being asked to bear not merely a burden but an impossible burden. Year after year, during the last 30 years, that burden has been increased both by the British Government and our own Government. The result is that we are crushing it out of existence. Very often that is done at the behest of a few faddists in the country. I am not concerned as to who they are, and I do not give a snap of my fingers. If a thing is unjust, and is going to do national injury, then it ought not to be done. I do not want to see anybody abuse themselves with drink. No one would think of defending abuse, but I am going to defend its use. We should put a stop to all this. Surely something else could be found, if more money is needed, and if something else cannot be found, then it is time that this House set about trimming its cloth. We have been cutting at and taxing out of existence one thing after another. If that policy is persisted in, then we shall ultimately arrive at the position in which the sources of the production of wealth in this country will have dried up.

What then is going to happen? Is the attitude to all this to be, "Get what you can to-day, and to Hong Kong with to-morrow?" Is it in that reckless spirit the House is going to heap impossible burdens on industry? The whole tendency and atmosphere in this young State would appear to be, "Provide for to-day's trouble and forget about to-morrow's," but remember that somebody must face to-morrow. The House should not forget that it is the poor who will ultimately suffer in all this. I regard this as a very moderate amendment. It is some years now since I last spoke on this industry in the Dáil. I make no apology whatever for speaking to-day. I say that the man down in the hold of a boat, working throughout the day in a choking atmosphere, ought to be able to get his pint of beer at a price that is in keeping with the wage he earns. Under this Budget we are imposing a new tax on him, while at the same time we are not giving him any compensation by way of an increased wage. I say that the tax in those circumstances is unjust, emergency or no emergency.

I would ask the Minister to grant Deputy Davin the small relief that he is seeking in his amendment. What I have said about this industry also applies to the sister industry—the manufacture of spirits. Both, as I have said, have been subjected to burden after burden both by the British Government and our own Government over the last 30 years. The result will be that these industries will be crushed out of existence. We are doing that because extremists ask the public to boycott and strafe them. The reason they advance for that is that individuals have done injury to themselves by abusing the products of those industries. We all know that people have abused liberty since the very beginning of time, and I suppose they will continue to do that to the end. Why should we take one extreme class of case as governing all? I understand that if this imposition is persisted in it will mean the extinction of a number of small breweries. If that should happen it will be a bad thing for the industries themselves, the workers employed in them, and, further, it will have its effect on the prosperity of the community and on the production of wealth in the country. I hope the Minister will see his way to accept the amendment.

I desire to support the amendment. I think that very good reasons were advanced for its acceptance by Deputy Davin, in moving it, as well as by Deputy O'Higgins and others. All of them pointed to this danger: that if the amendment is not accepted an important industry will run the risk of being extinguished. I share the views expressed by those Deputies that the imposition of this tax will have a very detrimental effect on the industry. I believe, and have believed for years, that we have probably reached the limit of taxation so far as this particular industry is concerned. It is problematical, to my mind, whether there is very much more in the way of taxation to be got out of the industry. In a war situation the Minister might possibly be able to get more out of it, but in present circumstances the Minister is endangering the continuance of the industry.

Deputy McMenamin, or any other member of the House who gets up and speaks as he did, runs the risk of being severely criticised by certain interests, but we all know quite well that any imposition which the Minister may put on drink is not going to end drunkenness in the country. If we thought that it would we would support it, but we know that any tax the Minister may impose on the industry is not going to have any effect. It is not going to cure the hardened drunkard. The people who are going to suffer most by this taxation are those who should be the first to be spared the infliction. The first who have to economise in drink will be those who have been ordered it for medical reasons. We know that many a delicate woman is ordered by her doctor to take a bottle or two of stout daily because of the state of her health. You have men in certain employments to whom drink is almost a necessity because of the nature of the work they are engaged on. A tax of this kind will be a hardship on a delicate woman with a family who, because of the state of her health, has been ordered by her doctor to take a bottle of stout. Every doctor in the House knows that for certain forms of delicacy stout is recommended by members of the medical profession. For these reasons, I hope the Minister will accept the amendment. As Deputy Davin has pointed out, its acceptance may mean saving certain industries named by him and by Deputy O'Higgins. Its acceptance, too, would be a small help as a concession in the matter of the general imposition of taxation. If the Minister is not going to be induced to drop the tax altogether—and I have very little hope of that from the smile I see on his face—I do hope he will accept this very moderate amendment.

I am very sorry, Deputy Bennett, that I cannot drop the tax.

I am not asking the Minister to drop the tax altogether. What I am asking is that he accepts this amendment of Deputy Davin's.

I am really sorry that I cannot accept that amendment. I would very much like to do so. I do not think that the tax we propose is going to affect, to any extent, the consumption of beer. The brewers, of course, pass the tax on to the consumers. With regard to what has been said as to the reduced consumption from 1930 to 1939, in the case of the beer brewed by the small brewers, I must say that there has not been much change in the sale of beer even by the small brewers all over the country. The number of standard barrels sold by the small brewers has gone up and down slightly in that period, but there has not been very much of a change. I do not think any great change will come as a result of the tax now proposed to be added. No Minister for Finance wants to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. That would be a foolish policy. No Minister in imposing taxes does so without serious consideration as to what the results are likely to be. What applies to tobacco applies equally to sugar, beer and every other commodity that is taxed. I got from Mountmellick the resolution to which Deputy Davin referred. I also got one letter from the director of a small brewery and I got a resolution from the Association of Brewers. These people promised to give me the particulars in detail as to their case, but these were never received by me. I was certainly impressed by the remarks made by Deputies Davin and O'Higgins. I would not like at all to imagine that I was going to be responsible for crushing out of existence these small industries, as I realise that they do mean something in the towns concerned. The same applies to the breweries that exist in other towns all over the country. I am not going to go into the question of the taxation of beer in general nor into the question of beer consumption. I am not going to follow Deputy McMenamin along that line. I know that the consumption of beer and spirits has gone down very rapidly. The customs of the people have changed very much in my lifetime and especially so in the latter half of my lifetime; they have changed for the better. In proposing this taxation I want to say that I am not out in any way as a social reformer. It is not with any radical views of bringing about social reform that I am imposing this taxation. I am imposing it because I have to get the money. The amendment that Deputy Davin asks me to accept would very seriously upset the calculation made to bring us to the end of the financial year.

What would it cost?

It would cost more than £32,000. I cannot do without that sum this year. However, I will say this—that I will examine seriously and sympathetically the question again. I have already gone into it but in trying to get this Bill through, in addition to all the other work one has to do, I was unable to devote enough time to it. If I had more leisure I might be able to go into it more fully and to look at it from other angles. I again say that I am very much impressed by the case made by Deputies Davin, Pattison, O'Higgins and others. I am very much impressed by the case made by the small brewers. I want to say this, that within six months the next Budget will be introduced. In the meantime, I will have this matter very fully and seriously examined. If I see a way out I will take it.

I appreciate and accept with pleasure the sympathetic note in the Minister's statement. I am rather surprised to hear from him that the particulars which the Brewers' Association promised to send him have not yet been received. I think that is what he said.

I was asked some months ago to arrange for a deputation from the Brewers' Association to meet the then Minister for Industry and Commerce, now the Minister for Supplies. That Minister very kindly agreed to receive the deputation. I did not accompany them because I have refrained in this House from going into the financial position of the concerns affected by this amendment. The position is so serious that the disclosure of the details to a Minister would do more harm than good. I refrained from going into the matter from their financial point of view. I believe that the people concerned could make a convincing case and a very convincing case can be made to the Minister with regard to the manner in which the small brewers are affected by this taxation. I was glad to hear from the Minister himself the undertaking now given that he will in the next few months give most careful consideration to this question.

As it affects the small brewers. I would be glad to meet any deputation they send and to go into any particulars they give me.

Not accompanied by the politicians.

They can come too.

In the light of that undertaking I am inclined not to press this amendment. I do not want to make this a political matter. I know that if it is made a political matter the Minister can march his men into the lobbies and defeat any amendment I press. I accept the assurance he has given, particularly his intimation that he would meet the representative of the small brewers at an early date and go into this matter very fully on its merits.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 go together. Both are now, by leave, withdrawn.

Question put: "That Section 6 stand part of the Bill."
The Committee divided: Tá, 53; Níl, 34.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Brennan, Martin.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Friel, John.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • McDevitt, Henry A.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Munnelly, John.
  • O'Briain, Donuchadh.
  • O'Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Laurence J.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George C.
  • Benson, Ernest E.
  • Brasier, Brooke.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Davin, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry M.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mcgilligan, Patrick.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Sullivan, John.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Rogers, Patrick J.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Smith and S. Brady; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.
Question put: "That Section 7 stand part of the Bill."
The Committee divided: Tá, 54; Níl, 34.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Brennan, Martin.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Friel, John.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • McCann, John.
  • McDevitt, Henry A.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Munnelly, John.
  • O'Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Laurence J.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George C.
  • Benson, Ernest E.
  • Brasier, Brooke.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Davin, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry M.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Sullivan, John.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Rogers, Patrick J.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Smith and S. Brady; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.
Section 8 agreed to.
Section 9 agreed to.
SECTION 10.
The following amendment appeared on the Order Paper:—
3. Before Section 10, to insert a new section as follows:—
10. —Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 42 of the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876, or in any enactment extending or amending that Act it shall not be lawful for the Revenue Commissioners to order the destruction of any goods consisting of or capable of being used as food, drink, or clothing or the raw materials of food, drink, or clothing, or any goods consisting of articles of general use or consumption, unless such goods are infected by any disease or otherwise unfit for human use or consumption, but such goods shall be disposed of either by sale, by public auction or by distribution to hospitals or other charitable institutions or in such other manner as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance.—(Deputy Doyle.)

I have two amendments on the Order Paper, one under Section 10 and one to the Long Title. I understand from the Ceann Comhairle that he has doubts as to whether they are in order or not. At any rate, I would like to draw attention to them. It was arising out of a Parliamentary question put to the Minister yesterday that I tabled amendment No. 3 and the amendment itself explains the point that I wished to make. Perhaps the Minister would give me some opportunity of ascertaining how he would feel in the matter.

The amendments proposed by Deputy Doyle would not, I think, bring us much further with regard to the law. As the matter stands at present, the Revenue Commissioners have powers to deal with any similar situation that may arise. They have full powers, without any reference to the Minister or the Government, to decide the method of disposal. The normal method of disposal of such matters is by sale and it is the usual method. It is only when it is, in their view, necessary for the safeguarding of public health or public morals or something of that kind that they decide on the method of destruction, burning. The law does not rule out the method of disposal of these goods by distribution. Some safeguards would have to be taken by the Commissioners of course, but, as things stand, they have that power. I think everybody will bear in mind, the Minister and the Government, too, if they are consulted in any way, the feeling that has been aroused as a result of what has happened recently. I do not think the same method is likely to be resorted to again.

I am quite satisfied with the Minister's explanation.

Amendments, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 10 agreed to.
First, second and third Schedule and the Title agreed to.
Bill reported.
Agreed to take the Fourth Stage now.