Public Business. - Exported Live Stock (Insurance) Bill, 1940—Committee and Final Stages.
Sections 1, 2 and 3 agreed to.
(1) The board shall consist of eight members.
I move amendment No. 1:—
In sub-section (1), line 5, to delete the word "eight" and substitute the word "nine".
Amendments Nos. 1, 2 and 3 would have the effect of bringing in the Minister for Agriculture as co-trustee of the funds realised by the levies on cattle. These levies are to be accumulated in a fund analogous to the Foot and Mouth Fund for the compensation of owners who lose a beast or who have a beast injured in transit between Ireland and its destination in Great Britain. It is perfectly true to say that the members who are likely to be elected to this board by the Livestock Exporters' Association are eminently trustworthy men, men in whose hands one would have no hesitation whatever in leaving a substantial sum of money on trust. The experience of all of us in business is that, even if you are on a board of directors, having deep confidence in your fellow directors, you still want the assurance of an independent auditor who will audit the accounts and present a report to the board of directors, a man on whose report each individual director is entitled to act. I think it is good law to say that no director need go behind the auditor's report for the purpose of forming his judgment as to what is right to do in connection with the company for which he is a trustee.
Now, it is true that the board envisaged under this Bill will employ an auditor, but there is no restriction on the character of the auditor who is to be employed—when I say character I mean to say the class of auditor who is to be employed—except that he should be a certified accountant. What this body of eight men have to do is not only to satisfy one another that these funds are being properly administered, but to satisfy every man in this country who ships a beast that these funds are being properly administered. The auditor's report to the eight members of the committee may satisfy each individual member of the committee that all is well, that he is entitled to remain a member and that he is satisfied that the auditor's report covers the whole story, but will the individual cattle shipper who has never managed to get on the board or who cannot find amongst the eight men on the board any person particularly representing his point of view be permanently satisfied that his interests are properly protected unless there is on the board a representative of the Government who it is to be assumed will be generally a trustee and representative of those elements in the cattle shipping trade who are not represented by any one of the eight individuals elected by the popular vote of the organisation? I think it is true to say that the working of the foot and mouth disease measure is directly under the control of the Minister.
No; it is worked on the very same lines as set out in this Bill.
I am not pressing this amendment very strongly. To tell you the truth, so far as I am concerned the scheme will satisfy me perfectly well. I have no doubt there will be men elected under the scheme here before us who will provide me with all the assurances that I personally require that everything will be properly done. It is really for the sake of the men who are liable to be put on this board that I put down this amendment. It is more for the purpose of protecting these men and to be able to say that the Minister was properly informed and that all interests were represented. It is not a matter for which I would press very hard but I thought that if the suggestion came from me it would be received better than coming from the Government, lest it might be said that the latter were not satisfied about the integrity of the men on the board.
I think the amendment is not really necessary. Under the Detained Animals (Compensation) Act, there is the very same organisation in the matter of the fund in connection with the foot and mouth disease and that has operated very satisfactorily. I think Deputies will agree that if there were any exporters who had any grievance with regard to the way the fund was administered they would make their grievances known to Deputies or to me, but I never had a complaint. Where we have a board working satisfactorily on their own, we should not interfere with them. I think Deputy Dillon takes that view too.
There never has been any application under the foot and mouth disease legislation for years.
There have been claims at the other side since the Amending Act was passed. It also deals with cases where cattle are held up at the other side due to proclamations of areas.
And claims have been made.
There have been small claims.
Amendment by leave withdrawn.
Amendments Nos. 2 and 3 not moved.
I might say that amendments Nos. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12 and 13 all deal with the same matter.
I move amendment No. 4.
In sub-section (2), page 3, lines 7 and 8 to delete the words "business of exporting live stock" and substitute the words "live stock trade".
It was felt that in the section as worded, unless a man was fully occupied in the export of live stock he could not be a member of this board. There are men in this association who very seldom export at all but they are interested in the raising and selling of cattle. A man may export only once or twice a year.
He may export through another.
Yes; they are very useful men and it is a pity they should be excluded through an oversight.
How is the national executive constituted?
I think there are three associations. The national executive is a combination of these three associations. It is composed of delegates of the three. There was one in Cork and there are two in Dublin. At any rate the national executive is composed of delegates from each association.
There is no danger of any particular group getting control?
No, they all seem to be satisfied.
Amendment No. 4 put and agreed to.
I move amendments Nos. 5 and 6.
In sub-section (3), page 3, line 10, to delete the words "business of exporting cattle and sheep or either of them" and substitute the words "cattle trade or the sheep trade".
In sub-section (3), page 3, to delete line 12 and substitute the words "pig trade".
Amendments Nos. 5 and 6 agreed to.
Section 4 as amended agreed to.
(8) A member of the board shall be disqualified for holding office if——
(c) he ceases to be engaged in the business of exporting live stock.
I move amendment No. 7:—
In sub-section (8) (c), page 3, lines 53 and 54, to delete the words "business of exporting live stock" and substitute the words "live stock trade".
Amendment agreed to.
Section 5 as amended, agreed to.
Sections 6 to 13, put and agreed to.
(4) The secretary to the board shall, upon the request of any person engaged in the business of exporting live stock furnish to such person, without the payment by him of any premium or fee, a copy of any account prepared and audited under this section and of the auditors' report thereon.
I move amendment No. 8:—
In sub-section (4), page 6, line 37, to delete the words "business of exporting live stock" and substitute the words "live stock trade".
This is similar to amendment No. 4.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 14 as amended, agreed to.
Section 15 and 16 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 17 stand part of the Bill."
On Section 17, this is compulsory insurance, and under sub-section (1) (a) (iii) the animals are insured at the owner's risk. I mentioned this already to the Minister. It can hardly be effective as compulsory insurance because, as it stands, the owner can put a purely nominal value on the beast if he wants in any way to evade the insurance. Is there any possibility of getting over that difficulty? This is a very expensive scheme and I do not see any way out of it, but this does not seem to make it watertight as compulsory insurance.
I do not know exactly how it is to be decided in law, but if a man brings in a beast obviously value for £14 and puts down £4 he is not giving his real opinion as to the value of the animal. It might be difficult for the board to bring that man before the court. I do not know how you are to get over that.
There is one way—put a minimum value on each beast.
A minimum would not be of very much use. The minimum would be, say, £3 and you have cows and calves which might be worth only £3.
But if he puts a value of £4 on the beast he will only receive 50 per cent. of it, £2, instead of receiving £7.
Yes, it will be his own loss.
Question put and agreed to.
(2) For the purposes of this section an animal shall be deemed to be in transit until——
(a) in case such animal is exported for immediate sale, the date of the holding, subsequent to importation, of the next sale at which it could be conveniently sold or the expiration of 72 hours from the time at which it is landed at a British landing place, whichever is the earlier,
(b) in any other case, the time at which such animal arrives at the land on which it is proposed to be kept or the expiration of 72 hours from the time at which it is landed at a British landing place, whichever is the earlier.
I move amendment No. 9:—
In sub-section (2). page 8, line 24, to delete the words "landed at" and substitute the words "released from".
It was not very clear what 72 hours meant. It was meant to cover the time from the time when the exporter had control over the animal. The detention period is about ten hours. The words put in here "released from" will cover that and then his time will date from the particular point at which the animal is released from detention at the other side.
Amendment No. 9 agreed to.
I move amendment No. 10:—
In sub-section (2), page 8, line 29, to delete the words "landed at" and substitute the words "released from".
This is similar to amendment No. 9.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 18, as amended, agreed to.
Section 19 put and agreed to.
(1) Every claim for compensation under this Act in respect of cattle or sheep shall be referred by the board to, and shall be investigated by, a committee of assessors consisting of three persons who shall, if and so far as qualified members of the board are available, be members of the board and be appointed by the board and shall, if or so far as such members are not available, be persons engaged in the business of exporting cattle and sheep and be appointed on the request of the board by the National Executive, but no such committee of assessors shall include a member of the board who is engaged in the business of exporting pigs.
(2) Every claim for compensation under this Act in respect of pigs shall be referred by the board to, and shall be investigated by, a committee of assessors consisting of three persons who shall, if and so far as qualified members of the board are available, be members of the board who are engaged in the business of exporting pigs and be appointed to such committee by the board and shall, so far as such members are not available, be persons engaged in the business of exporting pigs and be appointed by the National Executive on the request of the board.
The following amendments were agreed to.
11. In sub-section (1), page 8, line 50, to delete the words "business of exporting cattle and sheep" and substitute the words "cattle trade or the sheep trade"—Aire Talmhaidheachta.
12. In sub-section (1), page 8, lines 53 and 54, to delete the words "business of exporting pigs" and substitute the words "pig trade".— Aire Talmhaidheachta.
13. In sub-section (2), page 9, to delete in lines 1 and 2 and in line 4, the words "business of exporting pigs" and substitute the words "pig trade".—Aire Talmhaidheachta.
Section, as amended, put and agreed to.
Sections 21 to 24 inclusive, put and agreed to.
Title put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Agreed to take the remaining stages now.
Question—"That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration"—put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."
With regard to this Bill and to its passage now, the House will remember that on an earlier stage I mentioned the circumstances of certain employees of a firm engaged in the insurance of cattle for many years in this country and I asked the Minister to look into the matter. I understand that the Minister was good enough, in the course of an interview he had with representatives of the Livestock Exporters' Association to direct their attention to that representation. Senator John Counihan was good enough to say to me to-day, and to ask me to mention his name in this connection, on behalf of the Livestock Exporters' Association, that the Minister did not feel himself in a position to act as their spokesman and that, therefore, in agreement with the Minister, he did so and desired to communicate to me that the Livestock Exporters' Association undertook to provide analogous employment for the persons on whose behalf I spoke, with special reference to one of them, Ernest Nolan, whose circumstances I was peculiarly familiar with. I accept that undertaking, and I have no doubt, from my own knowledge of the men who gave it to me, that it will be carried out both in the letter and in the spirit. In these circumstances, such objections or apprehensions as I may have entertained about the consequences of this Bill are removed as far as I am concerned and the Bill has my entire assent. I understand that is correct.
Question put and agreed to.