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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 5 Nov 1942

Vol. 88 No. 15

Intoxicating Liquor Bill, 1942—Committee Stage (resumed).

As amendments Nos. 9 and 12 to 18 deal with the extension of week day hours of trading, they are to be recorded as not moved. As I stated yesterday, the question of the alteration in the proposed Sunday hours of opening for county boroughs arises on amendments Nos. 10 (d) and 11. With a view to orderly procedure, I have some suggestions to make about to-day's business. Amendments Nos. 30-36 and 42-44 contain proposals relative to bona fide hours on weekdays. The discussion and decision might be taken on amendment No. 31. As amendment No. 30 is a special bona fide clause to cover Sunday travellers in buses, it should be decided separately from the main issue.

The question of special facilities for tourist resorts arises on amendments Nos. 37, 38 and 39, which offer alternative proposals. A decision on one of those amendments should suffice. The question of mileage for bona fide travellers should be decided on amendments Nos. 40 and 41. On amendments Nos. 46 and 47 arises the question of new Sunday bona fide hours outside the county boroughs.

Amendments Nos. 60, 61, 62 and 82 are out of order (as Part VI of the Act of 1927 is not affected by this Bill). The Chair has doubts of the admissibility of amendments Nos. 50, 51, 58, 75, 78, 79, 83 and 84, but is inclined to allow them to be moved.

SECTION 3 (resumed).

Amendment No. 9 not moved.

I move amendment No. 10:—

To delete the words and brackets in lines 26 to 29, inclusive, and substitute:—

"(c) on any Sunday, except in the County Borough of Dublin, before the hour of one o'clock in the afternoon or between the hours of two o'clock and four o'clock in the afternoon, or after the hour of seven o'clock in the evening, or

(d) in the County Borough of Dublin, on any Sunday before the hour of two o'clock in the afternoon or after six o'clock in the evening, or".

The object of the amendment is to deal with the position in Dublin, which needs special consideration, as distinct from the position in other county boroughs. The hours in Dublin at present are from 2 to 5. They are quite good for the provision of refreshments in respect of the static population in the city. One might say they do not fully meet the case of persons who come to Dublin on Sundays for football matches or other events, but I know the city well and I have never heard any profound agitation to alter the hours. They may be inconvenient hours in some respects, but the main case for the alteration is to meet persons not resident in the city but who come in for special events on Sundays. The proposal in the Bill, in order to meet that difficulty or other difficulties the Minister envisages, is that the opening hours in Dublin should be from 1 to 2 and from 4 to 7. The Minister yesterday—and, I think, on a previous occasion—professed his complete unfamiliarity with the environment associated with a licensed premises.

I did not. There is quite a difference between knowing what goes on and standing at the bar. I would not admit that at all.

If the Minister were to make inquiries into the matter, he would really be convinced, from consultation with the managers of large licensed premises in Dublin, that it would be physically impossible to open premises at 1 o'clock and close them again at 2 o'clock. I am assured by managers of licensed premises in Dublin who are members of the grocery assistants' organisation that if they opened from 1 o'clock to 2 o'clock, they would have 400 or 500 persons in the licensed premises, and that, to get those people out of the premises, who came in only a short period before, is expecting the impossible. I am told that there are some very well-known houses in Dublin, where 400 or 500 persons in a bar between 1 and 2 o'clock on Sunday would not be a phenomenal accommodation accomplishment.

If that number of persons were accommodated in licensed premises in Dublin between 1 and 2 on Sunday, it would mean that the manager would have to start about 20 minutes to 2 or 1.30 to get them out by 2 o'clock. Most of the customers come in in a rush at 1 o'clock, some of them are probably not served until half-past, and before they have a drink consumed or have stood one to the fellow who came in with them or to the third fellow who came in, they would be told to get out. They would be told by the manager: "Look here, I must have the last person out by 2, so I must start to put the first person out at 20 minutes to 2 in order to make sure of the last." He would have to take his second foot away from the door by 2 o'clock. If the Minister consults assistants with practical experience in this matter, he will realise that it is physically impossible to open licensed premises—particularly large premises—at 1 o'clock and hope to have them closed at 2. He might as well say: "Let us have no split hour and go on from 1 to 7," but I think it is undesirable to have a continuous drinking period from 1 to 7.

In order to meet the difficulty, this amendment suggests that the opening hours on Sundays be from 2 to 6, giving a 4-hour refreshment period. In all the circumstances, it is a suitable period and would avoid the objection from both the publicans and the assistants of a split attendance, while it would provide, at the same time, reasonable facilities for those who require refreshment. It would shorten the general working day of the assistants, which is definitely increased under the provisions of this Bill.

Probably a special case can be made for the assistants employed in this trade. Everybody knows that the grocers' assistants in Dublin are the backbone of the G.A.A. games. In the main, these games are kept alive by the zeal and enthusiasm of the grocers' assistants and the zeal and enthusiasm which they radiate in connection with those games. It has been difficult for them to maintain that keen interest and association with the G.A.A. games because of the fact that they have to work regularly on Sunday; but if they are going to be asked to work from 1 o'clock to 2 o'clock and from 4 o'clock to 7 o'clock, it simply means that they will have to abandon completely any association with the G.A.A. games, and these games will suffer very seriously in consequence. As the Minister probably knows, there is no other substitute material calculated to replace the valuable source of strength which the grocers' assistants give to these games in Dublin City.

Is it necessary to do what is here proposed? If one could visualise a community that was stricken with an excessive thirst and wanted to gratify its desire, one might understand having to make some sacrifice in this connection, but in the opinion of very many people an opening from 2 o'clock to 6 o'clock would be quite a reasonable period for the purpose of obtaining refreshments. The Minister need have no doubt whatever that reasonable persons desire any extension of hours. I think that period is reasonable, bearing in mind that certain people have to minister to the needs of the drinking public. If there is any difficulty involved, it is the difficulty of the person coming to Dublin who may not, because he has to attend to certain functions when he arrives in the city, find these hours so convenient; but so far as the general citizen of Dublin is concerned, the period 2 o'clock to 6 o'clock is a really reasonable refreshment period.

I hope the Minister will limit the hours of opening to the period from 2 o'clock to 6 o'clock. In adverting to what is desirable in that connection, I hope he will bear in mind the impracticability of opening at 1 o'clock and closing at 2 o'clock and the possibility of a breach of the licensing laws occurring because of the difficulty of achieving a 2 p.m. closing. I hope the Minister will have some consideration for those who are compelled by the nature of their employment to work every Sunday and that he will not make their task more arduous.

Mr. Byrne

I appeal to the Minister not to alter the existing hours, no matter what case is made for an alteration. I think the existing hours, 2 o'clock to 5 o'clock, are quite sufficient. One must have some regard for the home life of the people who use public houses on Sunday. I think 5 o'clock is late enough, having regard to the fact that it barely gives a man time to go home for his tea. The Dublin worker usually has his tea at 6 o'clock. I think the three hours from 2 o'clock to 5 o'clock are quite sufficient for the drinking people in the City of Dublin. We must have some regard for the injustice that would be done to the workers behind the counter by extending the hours. If we were to extend them we would be doing a great injustice to those workers. We should give some consideration to the home life of the working people and to the women who are affected by the gas regulations.

I know sufficient about the licensing business to be aware that the young men working behind the counters look forward eagerly to having a few hours free on Sunday morning. I appeal to the Minister not to upset that arrangement whereby they will have a few hours free on Sunday morning. These few hours are valuable from the point of view of the health of the persons concerned and the games in which they participate. If we decide to leave the public houses open until 6 o'clock it will mean that the evenings for those young men are spoiled. I believe that neither the owners of the licensed houses nor the assistants are particularly interested in an extension of the Sunday hours. The Minister has given way a good deal; he has been quite reasonable, and has given satisfaction to various members of the House. I suggest to him that he should not alter the Sunday opening hours in Dublin City; the period from 2 to 5 o'clock should be quite sufficient for all comers.

It is no wonder the Minister is smiling. Ever since we got over the first critical stages in connection with this Bill, he has been getting support from the most unexpected quarters. He is now being supported by Deputy Byrne, and that certainly surprises me. I should like to refer to amendment No. 11, which is in the name of Deputy Cooney. I am inclined to think he intended that to apply to the City of Dublin. I understood from the Minister that he is dealing with the other county boroughs in a slightly different way as regards the hours—that is, Cork, Waterford and Limerick. The section and the amendment cover all the county boroughs, and there is nothing to indicate the Minister's intention.

Mr. Boland

Representations were made to me, when I met the licensed vintners, that the hours proposed in the Bill did not suit Cork, Limerick and Waterford. I think I stated that if Deputies from these constituencies wished to have the hours changed, I was quite prepared favourably to consider any amendments they might submit. No amendments have been submitted. I expected some Deputies would put amendments forward. I did not say that I would submit amendments. I said I would favourably consider any amendments submitted to me.

There was another point made by the representatives from those areas. That was that during the split hours on weekdays—the lunch interval—there was a bona fide trade carried on and they were anxious that it would not be interfered with. That will not be interfered with. The bona fide trade will be allowed from 6 o'clock in the morning until 11 o'clock at night; that point is covered. As no Deputy suggested by way of amendment that there should be any difference between the county boroughs, I took it for granted that that was all right. I am still open to consider any suggestions that may be urged in that connection.

Apparently there is a complete misunderstanding. Those of us interested in Cork, Waterford and Limerick were under the impression that the Minister was introducing amendments to meet the situation. In the circumstances, perhaps the Minister will accept amendments on the Report Stage.

Mr. Boland

If what we decide here as a result of this amendment does not satisfy Deputies, I am prepared to consider other proposals.

Can we do that on the Report Stage?

Mr. Boland

If the decision in relation to this amendment does not satisfy the Deputies who are interested in this matter, I will be prepared to consider their suggestions.

I think the decision in relation to the section or the amendment may not satisfy the people of Cork, Waterford or Limerick.

Mr. Boland

Of course, there are limits to what I will be prepared to accept.

Perhaps the Minister will indicate his views in connection with this matter?

Mr. Boland

I admit it was not the convenience of the drinking public with which I was so much concerned, but the other problem that has given so much trouble. Everybody knows about the rush on Sunday evening, not alone from Dublin City, but from other cities, to the outlying districts. That was due, I believe, to the fact that the public houses closed at 5 o'clock in the cities and it was the practice—I think it has been discontinued—for the justices to allow bona fide traffic on Sunday from 2 o'clock to 9 o'clock—1 o'clock to 8 o'clock in summer time. Where a justice decided to allow from 2 o'clock to 9 o'clock, that left a gap of four hours.

If the people in Dublin were satisfied with the 2 o'clock to 5 o'clock opening, why did this unruly crowd rush out into the outlying districts, make scenes and cause such commotion that the Guards could not deal with them? That was my primary object in extending the hour to 7 o'clock. I do not want to extend the drinking hours too much, but I thought, and the trade in Dublin anyway is satisfied with it, that 1 o'clock to 2 o'clock would be reasonable for people who do not want to get drunk but who might want a drink before dinner; then there would be the two-hour gap and a further opening from 4 o'clock to 7 o'clock. I thought that that would meet the demand. My primary object was to stop the rush from the city which was causing all the trouble, leading to rowdy scenes and making it impossible, as I know from my own experience and from the complaints I have had from all sorts of decent citizens living in Lucan, Howth and other places outside the city, for people to travel in buses to these places. It was almost impossible for them to travel by bus on Sunday evenings because of the types they were compelled to associate with.

My other object was to cater for the crowds coming into Dublin for big matches. These are mostly Gaelic matches, but latterly, as I explained on Second Reading, the practice has grown up—it is, I think, only a late development—in Dublin, Cork and other cities of playing Soccer matches on Sundays as well. These were generally played during the hours the public houses were open and I do not see why persons attending these matches should not be facilitated in respect of being able to have a drink for an hour after the match has finished. These crowds will not get away from Dalymount Park or these other places until nearly 5.30, and I thought it reasonable that they should get facilities. What I was concerned with was giving these people what I think they are reasonably entitled to in such circumstances. My primary object, I admit, was to try to do away, if possible, with the disgraceful scenes that were taking place, and I believe that a gap of anything more than an hour between the closing time in the country generally and in the bona fide areas would still leave a temptation to people to rush out, to create scenes and make things practically unbearable in the outlying districts.

The Minister could control that situation by extending the bona fide limits so far that it will take them at least an hour to travel the distance.

Mr. Boland

If I could do that, it would be another matter, but I doubt it very much, because I know that, with cars on the roads, five miles can be done in a few minutes. This is permanent legislation and not merely legislation for the emergency. We have to forget the position at the moment and look to the time when cars will be on the road again. In those circumstances, an extra five miles will make no difference to buses or cars.

I suggest that the Minister should drop the 1 o'clock to 2 o'clock opening.

Mr. Boland

The point I have made about games was put to me and— maybe because I was a Gaelic man myself—I thought it reasonable. The assistants did make the point that they were practically all Gaelic players and that their one opportunity of recreation was Sunday morning. I knew that myself of old, and I was very much impressed by the point. For that reason, I am prepared to agree to a 2 o'clock opening, but I do not propose to agree to 6 o'clock. It is the gap of two hours which creates the problem for me. Deputy Cooney has an amendment down suggesting 2 o'clock to 3 o'clock and 4 o'clock to 7 o'clock, which, I think, is a better proposal. I think the House should agree with me that it is desirable to stop the rush from the big towns and cities to outside areas, which takes place not only in Dublin but in other centres.

Why does the Minister want the split hours?

Mr. Boland

I do not want them, except in so far as I do not want to have a continuous five hours and I want to get 7 o'clock. I did throw out a hint to some people interested that perhaps 3 to 7 o'clock would be acceptable, but they said they did not want that at all, that 3 o'clock was too late for opening. I do not want the split hours, but I thought that the public convenience would demand at least 2 o'clock. What I am keen on is not to have the hours too long and to close at 7 o'clock. If there is any other way in which that can be met, I am prepared to listen to it.

Would the Minister explain why he considers it essential to bring the assistants in from 1 o'clock to 2 o'clock, turn them out and then require them to come back to work from 4 o'clock to 7 o'clock? Why could he not make the hours 3 o'clock to 7 o'clock? Is there any objection to that in principle?

Mr. Boland

I confess that I had not got the assistants in mind in this respect. I thought, from the point of view of public convenience, that if people wanted a drink on Sunday, an opening at 3 o'clock was rather too long to keep them waiting for it. From what I know of the Dublin assistants— I played with them for years and I know what their habits are— they have often to rush in after a match and start working without any meal. If the public are allowed an hour, no matter what Deputy Norton says, they can in that hour get one drink or maybe two, and then go home.

The police, too, are anxious that there should be a break on Sunday. It has been impressed on me by the Commissioner that they are very anxious to have such a break and in that hour the assistants could get their dinners, which they are not able to get at present. They have to rush in after their matches and work from 2 o'clock until 5 o'clock and I do not see how they can get their dinners. I often had to run in myself—I had to work on Sundays, although I did not work in a public house. One stayed out as long as one could, and then rushed in without a meal. I think this proposal will convenience the assistants and the public. The public will have facilities for having a drink and the assistants will be able to get their dinners, and the public can then go home to their own dinners. If they want another drink later on, they can come out. I am prepared to accept Deputy Cooney's amendment of an opening from 2 o'clock to 3 o'clock and from 4 o'clock to 7 o'clock, so long as we are to have an 8 o'clock closing elsewhere, because my object is to reduce the gap between closing in the cities and in the other areas.

Mr. Byrne

Opening from 4 o'clock to 7 o'clock spoils the tea hour.

Mr. Boland

I do not think it does.

I want to reinforce what the Minister has said on the subject of the split hours. Deputy Dillon seems to be ignorant of what the object of the split hours is. I think the underlying idea is that while a person who wants refreshment can get it over a longer period, it will break up the hours of the person who goes in to make a day of it and to drink continuously for the full period during which the public house is allowed to remain open. While I support the Minister in respect of the split hours, I do not want to pontificate about what the exact hours should be because there are other people who have to be taken into consideration. I quite appreciate that there is something to be said for the assistant who says: "I had to come in for a period; I was then told to stand by for two hours while the premises were shut; then I had to come on duty again." I also appreciate that the Minister has to make soup of the various ideas and sometimes I suppose the broth is unacceptable to anybody.

There is one point which I was very glad to hear the Minister make last night. It is at the root of the whole matter. I hope the Minister will not let any legislation pass through the House which he is not prepared rigidly to enforce. I would much prefer to see a drastic change in the hours of closing, if they were accepted by everybody and if the Guards and the Minister were determined to deal with the slightest infringement of them. We do not want to see a gradual decline in this country until we reach something like the position which obtained in America some years ago, when everybody carried his own supplies on his person. I think that is an absurd situation and, while I support the Minister in his contention for split hours, I realise that there are other matters to be considered.

The principal purpose of this amendment, as Deputy Norton indicated, is to abolish the principle of split hours enshrined in Section 3, and the proposed new hours to which the Minister is prepared to agree do not get over the difficulty referred to already, that it will be impossible in a busy house to clear the premises promptly if the opening is from 2 to 3 o'clock. The same objection obtains with regard to opening from 2 o'clock to 3 o'clock as with regard to opening from 1 o'clock to 2 o'clock so far as clearing the premises is concerned. It will take about 20 minutes to clear the premises in a busy house. Therefore the clearing process will have to begin at least a quarter of an hour before the scheduled closing hour; so that if the house were to close at 3 o'clock, the "time-gentlemen-please" announcement will have to be made at a quarter to 3. In any case there has not been any demand from any quarter, as the Minister is well aware, for the split hours opening on Sunday.

The Minister, instead of taking his courage in his hands and closing the 200 clubs in Dublin except during the hours when licensed premises are permitted to open, took the easy course, or what he thought was the easy course, of opening 2,000 public houses. Instead of doing away with the abuse of the clubs in an honest way, he prefers to try to mitigate the abuse by putting licensed premises in competition with the clubs and ignores the rights of those employed in such places. I hope the Minister will take serious note of this particular aspect of the matter. It is a very unfortunate state of affairs that the owners of these premises have to meet this unfair type of competition that deals, of course, only with the privileged few.

The omissions which Deputies see in a Bill are debated on the Second Stage, not in Committee. In any case, this measure does not deal with clubs, which are regulated by the Registration of Clubs Act, not by the licensing code.

I am dealing with what I think is the raison d'être of the split hours principle which I am arguing against. I think that is the kernel of the whole trouble. I would urge the Minister to bear in mind, so far as this break in the hours of work is concerned, that it is very much setting back the hands of the clock so far as the employees are concerned. Although they have a 48-hour week, the way in which the 48 hours are distributed—and it is inevitable that they should be distributed in the way they are—reacts most unfavourably on the workers and any worsening of their conditions in that regard is, to say the least, very unfair. As I say, the whole difficulty could be got over if the Minister would take the step I have indicated. We listened to the Minister for a good while indulging in introspection in this House when he was asking himself the question in the presence of the members of the House whether he was foolhardy or courageous in introducing this measure. That kind of stuff does not impress anybody. Nor does it impress anybody when the Minister stands up and says, although only three members have spoken in favour of a particular thing, that he is prepared to do that. That kind of political codology does not work at all, because we all know that the 70 or so bell-boys in the Fianna Fáil Party are always there to give their official sanction to the Minister's conduct, whatever their political views may be on the matter. I hope the Minister will seriously consider the representations made to him on this amendment. If he is not prepared to do the courageous thing and deal with the clubs abuse—and he should be prepared to deal with that abuse—because that is what I think this Bill is supposed to be designed for——

Clubs do not come within the ambit of this Bill.

I suggest to the Minister that if he is not prepared to accept the hours 2 o'clock to 6 o'clock, he should accept the hours 3 o'clock to 6 o'clock, or 3 o'clock to 7 o'clock.

We have just heard from Deputy Hannigan a lecture delivered to the Minister in regard to political codology. I think the Labour Party's attitude in respect to this amendment has been fully demonstrated as political codology. Yesterday we had another amendment dealing with the opening hours on Sundays for the country areas. Deputy Davin moved that amendment and was eloquently supported by the Leader of the Party and Deputy Hannigan.

The discussion of yesterday is over and should not be reverted to.

This is in connection with political codology.

Might we move the adjournment of the Dublin Corporation?

When it comes to Dublin, we hear a different tune being played.

We heard no tune from you during the last four years and we would not hear this one from you now only there is an election pending.

I do not claim to speak on a subject that I have not some knowledge of. I have some knowledge of the licensed trade in this city and, not alone in this city, but throughout the country. I say that this attempt of the Minister to regulate the hours of trading is an effort to meet the requirements of the ordinary man in the street. He has made an effort to make this a people's Bill. If I can prevent it, it will not be a publican's Bill or an assistant's Bill. That is what has inspired the Minister. He has been above board all along the line. No Party in this House tried to make any Party capital out of the Bill until we came to discuss certain hours of opening, when suddenly the Labour Party jumped in and tried to demonstrate that they alone were concerned about the welfare of the employees in this particular trade in Dublin. They were not concerned about the employees of the trade in the country, but only in Dublin. They have only one representative, and that is the Labour Party.

As I have said, this amendment aims at enabling the licensed trade to compete with the clubs. We have been told by experts like Deputies Norton and Hannigan that this hour is impracticable, but what is the position at present? The public houses in Dublin City open on Sunday from 2 to 5, and we have these big matches—both G.A.A. and Soccer matches—starting at 3.15, approximately, and finishing up about 4.30. Do you want that condition of affairs to continue? The publicans do not close their doors until 5 o'clock on Sundays, but from about 4.30 to 5, when there is a big match on, there is perfect bedlam, and it is practically impossible for the publican to deal with the people, but when people go into a public house, and then have to leave, knowing that they can come back later on in the evening, they will not become an impossible mob. On the other hand, when you go into a public house at 4.30—perhaps with some friends— knowing that you are going on a long journey afterwards, without any chance of getting a drink, you are certainly going to press the trader to keep you there as long as possible—even after hours—and you are going to make it impossible for him to provide proper facilities. The people who come on a Sunday to the big matches in Dublin— I am speaking of normal times, of course—generally arrive between 12 noon and 1 o'clock, and sometimes earlier, and if they know that they can have an hour before they go to the match in which to get reasonable refreshments, and then go off and have their evening at the match and come back again at, say, 4 o'clock, and have two or three hours more for refreshments, they will be quite satisfied.

I agree with the Minister when he stressed the point that it would be very difficult to have a 1 o'clock opening. I am sorry that it has not been found possible to have a 1 o'clock opening, but one can see the difficulty from the point of view of those who participate in the national games. However, I think that the Minister has met that point very fairly. On the other hand, the Labour Party want the Minister to introduce legislation that would permit of the continuance of the very evils that the Minister is trying to abolish. On the Second Reading, the Minister made it quite clear, that, no matter what the city hours may be, the other areas will only have one hour extra. Knowing that fact, I cannot see why we should not be prepared to support the split hours in the city on Sundays. Again, I say, that from the assistants' point of view the split hours would inevitably result in increased employment. Deputy Norton said that the assistants had no Sunday off. That is not true. They have one Sunday off in four at present, and, as one who has had some practical knowledge of the trade, I would suggest that the split hours would result in their having two Sundays off in four instead of one, as at present. The majority of these men—all of them, in fact, at present— are living in their own homes with their families, and if they were to get two Sundays off in four, instead of the one in four at present, I claim that from a practical point of view they would be getting better facilities, and, in my opinion, the practical working out of the scheme must inevitably lead to that.

In this connection, I should like to quote from remarks made by a district justice some time prior to the war. It was left to the discretion of the district justice to grant or withhold an extension of hours to our seaside resorts, and so on. The district justice concerned allowed that to continue for, approximately, ten years, but about five years ago he ceased to grant that extension, and the reason he gave—I am not quoting him verbatim—was that while the capital of this State was allowed to remain as a dead city from 5 o'clock on a Sunday evening, he could not see why any district should have these extra facilities. As one who has the welfare of the assistants' organisation at heart, I appeal to the Minister to stick to the split hours on Sunday, because I want to see a position created where the market for employment in that trade will be enlarged.

I want to tell Deputy Cooney that I do not want to stress the point of view of one section as against another, but I am entirely opposed to the split hours on Sundays. I have a good many people in mind in that connection. First of all, I have the woman in the home in mind, and I would definitely stand against the split hour in the evening after 7 o'clock, because if there is one day in the week when a woman wants to see her husband and family around her for dinner and tea, it is on a Sunday. I have read a lot about this, and have had a good deal of correspondence about it, and I think that we should have more regard for the women in the homes than for the type of people we are talking about. I am not speaking of one section as against another, but I think that if we could come to an agreement to have the hours from 2 to 6, that would afford sufficient opportunities for anybody who wants a drink.

As Deputy Dillon has pointed out, if there is a clamour for more drinking facilities, there are other ways of dealing with that than keeping the public houses open on Sundays. I think that if the public houses and the clubs were compelled to open and close at the same hours, much of the abuse of which people complain at present would be done away with. I certainly do not agree that public houses should have to close at a certain hour while the clubs are allowed to open afterwards. I should prefer to see them all opening and closing at the same time, and it is my opinion that all this talk about the man who wants a drink on a Sunday is not very manifest throughout the country. Deputy Linehan spoke about people wanting the split hours, but I have not heard of it. I would agree to opening from 2 to 6, because that would mean that a man would be home for his dinner and also for his tea. Most women are anxious to see their husbands home for the meals on Sundays, both for dinner and tea, and I think that if the hours of opening were to be from 2 to 6, it would meet the views of everybody in the House.

I have listened to the Dublin points of view, and I suppose it will not be easy to put things from the point of view of other parts of the country. However, I was thinking of throwing another spanner into the works at this stage, and I was wondering how the Minister would approach the matter. I have an amendment down here, amendment No. 48. I gathered from the Minister when he introduced this Bill, that the main object of extending the hours on Sundays was to prevent the rush out from the city to the country. I am sure that if he had any other means of preventing that happening he would never have suggested any extension of the hours for getting intoxicating liquor in the city on Sunday. I do not think it was suggested from any side of the House that there was any demand for a longer opening than the three hours at present permitted on Sunday. I put down that amendment and I want to suggest that if that amendment or some amendment on the same principle, were adopted, it would strengthen the law in the matter of the bona fide traffic around the city on Sunday evenings, when the greatest abuses take place. It enables a district justice, if it is proved to his satisfaction that there are serious abuses in any particular licensed premises, to limit the hours that that licensed premises may be opened for the service of the bona fide traffic on Sunday evenings or week evenings. It enables the district justice to close a particular licensed premises during the hours for the service of bona fide traffic on Sunday evenings or on week evenings, if necessary.

As the law stands at present, a justice has no option except to fine a licensed trader very heavily for a breach of the licensing laws and to endorse his licence. District justices are only human, and they realise that in endorsing a publican's licence they are injuring his business seriously. From what I can gather, they are very reluctant to endorse a licence. Even if the licence is endorsed, the trader has the right of appeal to the Circuit Court, and I think in 99.9 per cent. of cases the endorsement is lifted in the Circuit Court. I think that, more than anything else, has brought the law into any contempt that it has been brought into in the matter of the licensed trade. If an amendment embodying the principle contained in my amendment were put in, giving the district justice power, where it was proved to his satisfaction that serious abuses had occurred in the City of Dublin, in the City of Cork or any area in the country, in regard to the bona fide traffic, to close the licensed premises for an hour or two hours as he thought fit, that would have the effect of putting the licensed trade more on their mettle and they would set out to prevent abuses happening. That is why I put down that amendment. It was suggested to me by a member of the licensed trade that if such a provision were in the Bill there would be no necessity to change the hours of opening on Sunday and scarcely any necessity for closing public houses from 11 p.m. to 6 in the morning, as the Minister is suggesting. I suggest that if that provision were in the Bill there would be no need for any split hour. Have the public houses open from 3 to 6 or from 4 to 7 or 2 to 6, or, whatever it might be, and you would have the two hours afterwards in the country. If there were any abuses occurring in any particular licensed premises in the country, the superintendent of the Gárda would have power to approach the local district justice and ask for the closing of that house within certain hours. I think if that amendment were accepted, it would solve this whole question.

The "drunks" would all go out.

If you had the law strengthened in that way, I believe it would solve the whole problem.

I want to make two points on this matter. One is, I deplore the attitude of the Minister in saying that the bona fide problem in the outlying areas of Dublin—Lucan, Howth, and such like places—has got out of control. If the Commissioner of the Gárda Síochána says that it has got out of control, he ought to be removed from his job as being not fit for it. It is scandalous.

Mr. Boland

The Deputy ought to think of what he is saying.

I do not believe the Commissioner of the Gárda Síochána did say that. If the Commissioner were to say that, I think he would not be fit for his job. It is grotesque to suggest that a couple of dozen drunken louts, going out to Clondalkin, Lucan and Howth, have set the whole police force of this country in defiance and that the Guards threw up their hands and said: "We cannot manage them." That is grotesque. If there are publicans in these places who are habitually co-operating with the drunken gang that upset the public peace, they ought to have their licence taken from them; they ought to be raided and raided, and raided, prosecuted and endorsed until they are put out of the licensed trade. Nobody in the licensed trade wants such a curse in the trade. Nobody would be better pleased than the licensed traders of this city or country if such persons were moved out of the trade. They are the kind of people who bring disrepute on respectable licensed traders in this country and nobody is interested in the fate that overtakes them.

There is no validity in the argument that the hours of opening should be altered simply because there is no other way of keeping the "drunks" from carrying on their capers in Howth, Lucan or Clondalkin. The right and only way is to arrest them; if necessary, to put them in jail; to close down the houses where the scandals habitually take place and, if necessary, to amend the law in order to make it possible to close down these houses. I deny completely the validity of this argument for opening until 7 o'clock if the only defence for it is that there is no other means of preventing the riots in Lucan, Clondalkin and Howth. It is the Guards' job to see that such riots do not take place. It is the Guards' job to see that no publican conducts his business in such a way as to permit of such riots taking place and the sooner they open their eyes to the fact that that is what they are paid to do, the better it will be for the Gárda Síochána in this country. There is a lot of codology talked about the publicans. You would really think that the publicans were whiskered tigers that the Guards could not manage at all. You would think that a few drunken "bums" who go out to outlying districts were sufficient to set the Army and the Guards at defiance. Are we all gone daft? Pack them into the Bridewell and keep them in Mountjoy until they get sober and stop amending the law in order to persuade the boys to stay in town.

Therefore, I reject absolutely the suggestion that this microscopic minority of drunken rascals should persuade the gentlemen of Oireachtas Eireann as to the proper hours for opening licensed premises in the City of Dublin. We should decide that quite independent of the activities of these people and we ought to be delivered— and that at an early date—by the Gárda Síochána, from the continued nuisance of these drunken louts misconducting themselves in the outlying districts of Dublin and coming in and disembarking on the doorsteps of respectable citizens, singing serenades to the accompaniment of the jew's harp, to the great scandal of the respectable citizen's next-door neighbour.

In regard to the split hours: I have worked for years in a shop of one kind or another, behind the counter, and I have a deep prejudice against a system founded on split hours. If I were working as a shop assistant behind the counter I would prefer to stay behind the counter and get my day's work done because, if there were split hours in the middle of my day, although I might not actually serve any customers, I would still be as much detained by my employment as if I were behind the counter. What is the use of an hour between 2 and 3 to an assistant? He may be able to get out and get a mouthful of dinner but he would not be able to get any fresh air; he would not be able to keep an appointment; he would not be able to meet his friends. He might just as well be working behind the counter instead of, nominally, having an hour's time off. After 52 hours work weekly people want rest. In effect, if there is a break of two hours in the working period the 52 hours are turned into 54 hours. I believe that the assistants in Dublin have a 48-hour week. If you effect a break of one or two hours in the middle of the day those concerned cannot use that time for any purpose that would take them any distance. They will not get home and cannot get any recreation.

As far as I can make out, the only argument that the Minister put forward for this proposal was that the Guards say that it would make their job easy. I am tired of hearing what the Guards say, and what they want in order that the enforcement of the law may be easy. My experience of the Guards is that they never made any attempt to enforce the licensing law. They simply threw up their hands and left the situation to develop. It is not good enough for them to tell the Oireachtas that they want this or they want that. The best way to enforce the law is for the Guards seriously to face that task, and then they might not find it as difficult as they allege. I am perfectly convinced, and the Minister knows it perfectly well, that the Guards are not trying to enforce the law. There is a variety of reasons why the enforcement of the law has broken down, but I do not propose to go into all of them at this stage. There are many places where I am perfectly satisfied the Gárda Síochána are making no serious attempt to enforce the licensing law. I do not see why we should adopt what appears to be a thoroughly obnoxious practice, that of broken hours, simply to oblige the Gárda Síochána. Grocers' assistants do a week's work for a week's pay. Small publicans do their best to make a living. It is time that the Gárda Síochána did their work, without demanding that others should suffer very great inconvenience and, in effect, work additional hours without extra pay in order to oblige them.

I do not believe it is the function of this House to ensure that the fellow who has a natural tendency to go and drink to excess should be spared that temptation, if the process of sparing this very small minority from temptation involves for the vast majority inconvenience of a formidable character. If men who go to public houses for a couple of drinks cannot go home sober, split hours will not keep them sober. They will get drunk no matter what is done. My experience of 15 years in the licensed trade is that if you are dealing with drunkards they will go outside during the split hours and sit on a stone and will be the first men to enter when the doors are opened again. Will legislation of this kind cure that? The only thing that will cure that, I suggest, is that publicans must make up their mind that the Guards will enforce the licensing laws, if people are found drunk on the premises, by prosecuting. It is an offence for the proprietor of a licensed house to permit drunkenness on his premises. Are the Guards enforcing that law? If they were the towns would not be filled up with drunken rowdies who smash up buses. If the Guards enforce the law they can make the publicans responsible.

Mr. Byrne

These people went in drunk.

They should not be allowed into licensed premises.

Mr. Byrne

They get in accidentally.

If they did they should pay the penalty. If people want to make a living in the licensed trade then they have a duty to discharge. The vast majority of licensed traders comply with the law and conduct their business with real success. Most licensed houses are kept by respectable men into which people know that they can go with perfect confidence and that drunkenness will not be allowed there. Decent publicans tell those who want drink to go elsewhere —preferably to go home. There are certain types who are glad to see drunken men coming into their premises whom they will plunder before they leave. I say that most of the publicans who allow drunken men into their premises welcome them for the purpose of robbing them. If they allow drunken men in and allow them to remain the object is to rob them. If they did not mean to rob them then they would have put them out. These are the kind of people we are trying to deal with in connection with this Bill. It is right to make them liable for their misdeeds instead of trying to amend our laws by removing the temptation. I object on principle to the split hours, and I object to fixing any hours except what common sense would suggest. Whatever the hours let them not be split hours. If public houses are to open from 2 o'clock to 6 o'clock or from 3 to 7 and then close, well and good. By their own confession the Guards are not doing their duty and, if not, the sooner men are got to do it the better for themselves and for the country.

Mr. Boland

I would not like to let that remark pass. Deputy Dillon was not here for the Second Reading when I made it clear that the difficulties the Guards have are not with drunkenness but to find out whether men went from the city solely in order to get drink. Whatever the closing hours they should be the closing hours all over. People leave the city and go out three miles or five miles for the purpose of getting drink. The Guards find houses full and they know very well that the people who are there came out to get drink and are not bona fide travellers. However, the Guards are not able to prove they went out to get drink. Nobody can prove that.

Were there not rowdy scenes?

Mr. Boland

I made it clear on the Second Reading that these houses are crowded with people that everybody knows went there to get drink. When they leave public houses in Dublin they go out from the city.

Then I say the proper means of dealing with the position is to prosecute publicans on whose premises that takes place.

Mr. Boland

That is only one part. The other part is to establish that these people are not entitled to get drink.

This problem is not as easy as the speeches of Deputy Dillon and other Deputies suggest. It is quite easy to attack publicans and to attack the Guards. The question before the House is the trouble that takes place when the public houses are closed and when these people proceed to the suburbs in buses. I am perfectly sure that what Deputy Dillon said is perfectly bona fide and may be perfectly justified in certain cases but what he said about publicans and Guards in my opinion went too far. He made statements that were too sweeping. Take the position of a publican at Clondalkin or wherever abuses take place—and there are abuses—the necessary steps should be taken in this Bill to put an end to such abuses.

Everybody knows that a publican who gives drink to a drunken man or woman is liable to prosecution. What is the problem of the publican at Clondalkin and these other places where scenes take place? About 5, 5.30 or 6 o'clock in the evening, bus loads of these fellows arrive at the doors of the public house. They are allowed to do that by law. So far as the Guards are concerned, they are bona fide travellers and, so far as the publican is concerned, they are also bona fide travellers. They go into the public house. I ask Deputies to take a detached view of this problem before attacking the Guards or the publicans. Let us try to measure the problem and then put a weapon into the hands of the publican and the Guards to deal with it. Three problems really arise——

Would the Deputy finish his description of the dilemma of the publican? What is the dilemma?

A man whom the publican has not served with drink comes into the public house. So far as he knows, he is absolutely sober. His appearance gives no indication of drink. He has two drinks and these send him "over the top." He is immediately drunk.

Throw him out.

Into the hands of the Guards?

Then, you will complain that the publican is not prosecuted for giving drink to a drunken man. The publican did not know that the man was drunk until he got those two drinks.

The last two did it.

The Minister, presumably in consultation with the Commissioner, is trying to create a machine to deal with that position. That is hard to do in practice.

I have been doing it for 15 years and I ought to know.

I am an older man than Deputy Dillon and I think I was as long in the trade as Deputy Dillon has been. I never served a drunken man in my life and never allowed a man to enter after hours. I can speak here with absolute freedom. I am merely trying to put into the hands of the Guards a weapon by which they can end this abuse. This matter should be considered calmly and dispassionately. I do not know anything of the problem which has arisen in consequence of the rapidity of transport, but I am examining the other problem from a completely detached point of view. The amendments which I put down were drafted without consultation with either the Minister or the Guards and without the information which the Minister and the Guards had. I went on the information furnished by the reports in the newspapers. How are we to end this abuse? Unless you link up the closing hour in Dublin—this is, in the main, a Dublin problem—with the bona fide closing hour elsewhere, you cannot prevent this abuse.

The Minister is, I think, right in the steps he took, presumably on the advice of the Commissioner, to link up the closing hour and the bona fide hour. I do not see any justification for allowing a man who has had three hours to drink to go into a bus and move off somewhere else in order to get more drink. It is quite easy to attack publicans in Howth or Clondalkin or Bray for the disorder that occurs in these centres. The trouble is that a man who has been drinking for three hours elsewhere may show no physical signs of drunkenness when he presents himself at these houses. He may be substantially sober. Then a couple of drinks make him drunk, and if the publican hurls him into the hands of the Guards, the Guards are attacked for not having prevented that man from getting drunk. How are they to do that? I should be the first man to attack the Guards if I felt that they were not doing their duty, but the problem presented to the sergeant and the Guards in these areas is utterly impossible. The Guards are left with a riotous mob with whom they have to deal. Bus conductors are abused and spat upon. Decent civilians travelling in the bus are insulted and abused. Travelling is made so intolerable for decent people that they prefer staying at home to travelling along these routes.

I should be the last to impose any hardship on the assistants in these premises but this is a monopolistic business and it is for us to remedy the disease which has occurred in it. The question of the extra labour which would be imposed on the assistants can be quite easily remedied by the employment of extra staff. I was surprised to learn from Deputy Cooney that assistants have only one Sunday free in four even at the present time. It would be impossible for the same number of men to carry on under the new conditions. The staffs will have to be increased and that will reduce the burden of the assistants. Be that as it may, this Bill will, in its main purpose, be defective if it does not deal with this problem. The Minister should, I think, have taken the House more into his confidence in connection with the reports he has received. We are not a collection of babies and if we were told the whole story it would make the handling of this Bill much easier for us. I have considered this Bill from the first section to the last and I can see no way of meeting the problem except by linking up the closing hour in the city with the closing hour in the country generally. I am not going to say what the Guards do or fail to do with regard to the enforcement of the licensing law but, in this respect, I think the Guards are placed in a very unenviable position. Between two stools, drunken men are hurled at them. What are they to do with them? They belong to Dublin, which is six or seven miles distant, and they have to get back there. When they get into a bus, they insult and assault respectable people.

I think this House should take its courage in its hands and put into the Bill a weapon that will defeat that. I believe the only way you can defeat it is by linking up the closing hour in the cities with the closing hour throughout the country. With only half an hour to get out to the country, the people creating these abuses will no longer be able to cause trouble. In view of the availability of rapid transport, that is the only way in which this thing can be defeated. I support the Minister on this Bill. When it has become an Act, if we find, from reading the newspapers, that the scenes that we have been speaking about continue to occur, there will be very little use in our throwing up our hands in horror. Now is the time to make preparations to deal with such a situation. We are only hypocrites if we fail in the trust that has been imposed on us. Even though we are not members of the Government Party we are part of this House, and hence we should manfully and courageously face the responsibility that has been put upon us.

As one who never had any experience in the running of a public house, except from the wrong side of the counter, I think that some of those who have spoken on this Bill, and claimed to have had that kind of experience, have not been very helpful. I think they have distorted and exaggerated the whole position. Listening to the speeches of some of them, one would be inclined to think that we were a nation of "drunks", and that the problem is far more serious than it really is—in fact, that it could not be solved. To say the least, I do not think it is fair, in a loose sort of way, to accuse publicans and the Guards of not doing certain things. The Minister yesterday gave some particulars with regard to the renewal of publicans' licences. Only in a small number of cases did the district justice agree with the view taken by the Guards. In one year, as well as I remember the Minister's statement, the Guards, for good and sufficient reasons of their own, opposed renewals in 35 or 38 cases. The district justices, however, refused to act on the advice of the Gárda authorities, and, so to speak, renewed the licences in spite of them. That sort of thing is not going to encourage the Guards to take action. My opinion is that, if things are even half as bad as we are told they are in certain districts in the County Dublin, there is only one remedy, and that is to close these houses completely.

I find it difficult, however, to believe that things are as bad as that. I have very little knowledge of the licensed trade in Dublin, but the members of it that I happen to know are decent, honourable men whose one desire is to live within the law. That is quite true. As Deputy McMenamin has pointed out, the task of the ordinary licensed grocer in carrying on his business is not just as easy as Deputy Dillon would lead us to believe, nor is it as easy to settle some of the problems raised here as Deputy Dillon seems to imagine.

The proposal with regard to the split hour is, I think, a sensible one. I would like to say to my friend, Deputy Hickey, that even on the arguments he put forward it is a move in the right direction. I agree with him that it is desirable that men should have their meals in their own homes. In present circumstances, it is particularly desirable that they should be home at the right time to take their meals. Deputies should remember that in this measure we are not legislating for particular people, for a small percentage of the people or for those who have a kink in them. This legislation is going to govern all the people. It seems to me that if an ordinary man is put in the position in which he can walk in, openly and independently, to licensed premises at 1 o'clock on a Sunday— he may be accompanied by a friend— he will take a drink or perhaps two or three, and when the house closes at 2 o'clock he will at once go home and have his dinner with his family. I think that is what will happen in 99 cases out of every 100. That man will probably not return to the public house during the afternoon opening. That is what the ordinary man will do. As to the other type of person, the one we have been hearing so much about, I believe that no legislation framed by this House is going to stop him from getting drink. My experience of this country is—I believe the same is true of most other countries— that the only time you cannot get a drink here is when you have not the price of it. I imagine that position will remain, no matter what legislation we may pass. We are not going to change human nature by putting a section into a green Bill.

Listening to some Deputies who have spoken on this Bill, I am of the opinion that they have been inclined to exaggerate and distort the picture. I do not know much about the conditions that obtain in Dublin, or in the area surrounding it, on a Sunday. I can say, however, speaking for rural Ireland, that it is a rare thing nowadays to see a drunken man, even on a fair day, in a country town. We all know that men attending fairs very often have to travel long distances, sometimes up to 12 miles or more. They leave their homes at 1 o'clock or 2 o'clock in the morning to drive their cattle to the fair, very often through a hard winter's night. It often happens that they have to remain on at the fair from 5 o'clock in the morning until noon, and yet in these conditions it is, as I have said, a rare thing to see a drunken man nowadays. We ought not allow our minds to be confused by exaggeration and distortion. So far as drinking is concerned, there has been, in my view, an amazing improvement in the country. The best way, I think, to set about cleaning up what we call the illegitimate trade is to give reasonable facilities to the person who wants to get a drink as well as to the publican who wants to conduct a clean business. By doing that we will be helping him to meet and defeat unclean opposition.

Unlike Deputy Dillon, I believe it is the duty of the Minister to introduce amending legislation when the reports reaching him from his responsible officers indicate that the existing legislation applicable to some particular trade or business cannot be administered effectively. Assuming that a proper case has been made by the Gárda authorities to the Minister on this matter, then I think he was perfectly justified in introducing this Bill to amend the Intoxicating Liquor Acts. I do not agree with Deputy Dillon that this House has not the right to come to the assistance of the Guards. If their reports indicate that abuses are taking place that cannot be corrected by the existing legislation, then the necessary amendments should be made so that they will have full power to deal with those abuses. I do not think we should provide a special police force for the purpose of dealing with the crowds that Deputy Dillon speaks of: to create a sort of new industry for a force of "chuckers-out." I believe the Minister is right in introducing amending legislation to combat the evil that exists. In doing that, however, we should be careful not to inflict hardship on the legitimate trader, the law-abiding citizen who has in no way contributed to the abuses that are said to exist.

It has been perfectly evident that both in Dublin and through the country many anomalies exist under the present licensing code. The Minister has indicated that, in an attempt to correct certain abuses, he thought this a suitable time to bring forward provisions for the abolition of some of those anomalies. For that reason it was only to be expected that certain alterations would be proposed in this Bill for the country as a whole. As some Deputy has said, I am afraid it is too much tinged by the primary object for its introduction, namely, the desire to deal with abuses that are said to exist in Dublin City and the surrounding areas. Like Deputy Morrissey, I have not very much knowledge of the conditions in Dublin City or suburbs, and my interest in this Bill is mainly concerned with the constituency which I represent.

On the question of the split hour, I was prepared to accept the split hours in Limerick, from 1 o'clock to 3 o'clock, and 5 o'clock to 7 o'clock, as the best thing that could be done, and I understood that the Minister was to introduce an amendment to that effect himself. I wanted to get the opening at 1 o'clock because that was suitable to my city. It is a comparatively small city, and has no relation at all to the metropolis. My instructions from that area and my own knowledge of the city went to indicate that the 1 o'clock opening was essential for the advancement of the city as a whole. We were prohibited from the holding of big matches there because of the preference enjoyed by small towns wherein the inspector of the Gárda Síochána could set aside the licensing laws in the case of a big match; that could not happen in the borough.

In Thurles, Tralee and elsewhere, all that was necessary was for the inspector to say: "I am expecting a big influx of visitors to the match on Sunday, and because of that I think it would be difficult or impossible for me to administer the laws as they are. Hence, I recommend the opening of the public houses until the trains have left," and, ipso facto, the public houses were opened in those towns. The chief superintendent and the Minister himself were perfectly powerless to do the same thing in Cork, Waterford, Limerick and even in Dublin; they had to stick to the bona fide hours from 2 o'clock to 5 o'clock. That arrangement inflicts a great hardship on us on the odd occasions when we get matches in Limerick, and prevents our getting our due share of those matches. For that reason I was anxious for an opening from 1 o'clock to 5 or 6 or 7 o'clock, but I was prepared to accept the split hours from 1 to 3 o'clock and from 5 to 7 o'clock, and I do hope it is not too late for the Minister to give effect to that. I did understand that he intended to introduce that himself, and would give us an opportunity on the Report Stage of dealing with that aspect of the matter.

I believe that the problem in Dublin is quite different. I would have been anxious to have an opening in Dublin at 1 o'clock also, looking at Dublin from the countryman's point of view, but I am influenced by the arguments on behalf of the assistants, who have put forward the reasonable case that their only opportunity of being associated with the Gaelic pastimes is on Sunday morning. For that reason, I am satisfied that there is a difference between the conditions there and those obtaining in shops in the smaller cities and towns. I am in favour of opening in Dublin for a continuous period, letting them work through from 2 o'clock to 6 o'clock; my only regret is that it could not be from 1 o'clock. From the point of view of those who come up to Dublin to attend matches, I want to speak of the difficulty which still exists in Dublin City. Those people arrive at Kingsbridge or the other stations at 12 o'clock, and have no facility for getting a drink until 2 o'clock. I think some effort should be made to allow the publican himself, in the absence of the staff, to serve drink to those people, treating them as bona fide travellers, because it is a real hardship on those men coming from Cork and Limerick and Kerry to be unable to get a drink in the City of Dublin. They may as well be up in the Phoenix Park with the deer for all they can get in the city.

There was one point which the Minister made when speaking a little while ago, and that was on the question of dealing with the split hour in the provincial towns, 2.30 to 3.30 p.m. To meet the case, the Minister said he will allow it to be bona fide. I suggest that that does not completely meet the point, because under the law as it stands I am given to understand from a recent decision by a district justice that a bona fide traveller going in between 2.30 and 3.30 will be entitled to buy drink but nothing else. If a man comes in for a sack of meal, he cannot get it. There will be the further anomaly that he is entitled to a drink between 2.30 and 3.30, but he will be prosecuted or the publican will be prosecuted if he buys anything else. I do not think we should create further anomalies. If my interpretation of that point is correct, I should like the Minister to take a note of it.

Mr. Boland

I am surprised to hear the Deputy say that.

I think he is right.

Mr. Boland

A man cannot get anything but drink during the hour?

The point is that the shop is shut, but you can go in for a drink.

Mr. Boland

Let me try to clear that point up. I met representatives from Limerick but they did not make that point. They said they would prefer not to have the split hour at all, but I was not prepared to agree to that. They asked, alternatively, to be allowed to continue the arrangement at present in force whereby bona fide travellers can be catered for. That is all right, as far as that is concerned; Sunday is another matter. I am surprised to hear the Deputy saying that a man could not get flour or anything else during that hour, but I will look into the point.

I would suggest that the correct way would be to wipe out the split hour altogether. Limerick and Waterford are not in the same category as the metropolis. I might say that there are no universities there.

Mr. Boland

There might be, at some time.

I think the origin of that hour had very close relationship to the universities, if I remember correctly. In the Cities of Limerick and Waterford and in the provincial towns the conditions are very different from those obtaining in the metropolis. The traders are dependent on the country customers. They come in and park their horses and cars at the back of a public house. Then they go around the town, buy their groceries, and get them sent to that particular public house. There does not seem to be any sense in closing those premises for an hour in the middle of the day. The proprietors and assistants live on the premises, and yet the premises have to be shut for an hour. If, however, the Minister persists in that, I would ask him to realise that the suggestion he is making is not a complete answer, because, as I have said, under the existing law there can be a prosecution of the type to which I have referred. I hope the Minister will look into that point, so that we will not create further anomalies.

I do not think I would go quite so far as Deputy Keyes and say that a bona fide traveller would be prosecuted for buying a stone of flour as well as a drink during that time. If he is entitled to be on the premises for the purpose of getting a drink, he certainly would be entitled to buy another article. The real point is—and I think that was their objection—that while the bona fide arrangement stands their doors are shut; the person who is a bona fide traveller comes in the door, and the door is shut behind him. But the Minister will not go any further; he is leaving matters as they stand, so there is no use in pressing that matter.

There is one point which I should like to put to the Minister in regard to this split hour, and to my mind it bears very much on the general subject of split hours. We have not had in this country, either on the passing of the 1924, the 1927, or the present Act, any outside body or commission dealing with the general question of intoxicating liquor. They had one in England as late as 1929 to 1931, and in their report they are very strong on the subject of the split hour. They say:

"We feel satisfied that broken hours, as fixed by the Act of 1921, have, by restricting the almost indefinite continuity of opportunity for drinking which formerly existed, proved themselves to be an indispensable element in the reduction of insobriety."

Now that is a very strong case in favour of the split hour from a commission that was composed of all types of persons in England, representing the Churches, Labour, the trade and other sections. That body was absolutely satisfied that one of the factors which had contributed greatly to the reduction of drunkenness in England was the split hour, and it is quite understandable because they seemed to think that the most valuable split hour was the one that broke afternoon drinking. In face of that, in face of what I have heard from a number of people, I am inclined to think that on a day when people are not working and when they have plenty of time on their hands there is a lot to be said for a split hour so that people will not be permitted to remain for a considerable period in a public house.

Deputy Keyes was quite right when he said that there was an entirely different problem in Cork, Limerick and Waterford because, in the first place, you have different types of public houses and different types of citizens. There is no doubt that the trade feel very strongly on the question of a split hour on Sunday and are very anxious for it. There is no use in Deputy Dillon saying that this demand does not come from representative publicans; I say that the Munster Licensed Traders' Association are at least as much entitled to speak for the licensed trade as Deputy Dillon. These are the people who interviewed the Minister and who put up this claim. It is very easy for the Deputy to say that some publicans will not throw out a drunken man or will not refuse to admit a drunken man to their premises. That is, to use the Deputy's own words, "utter codology". You have some people in this House who hold themselves out as the perfect publicans and who say that, if everybody did as they did, there would never be any breaches of the licensing laws. Everybody knows that Deputy Dillon is not a publican. He may say, of course, that he has served behind the bar, but Deputy Dillon is not a man who is making his living from the licensed trade. The people who are entitled to speak for the trade, and the people whose opinions should be respected, are the people who have to earn their living from this trade. They are the people who know best the problems which face those who have to make their living in the trade, and they are not problems that face Deputy Dillon, because it does not matter to Deputy Dillon whether or not his public house is shut the whole year round. He can live without it. It does, however, matter to these people very seriously if they are not given proper facilities to carry on their business.

I am afraid the Minister by his Second Reading speech made some people very cross. At one time he was challenged as to whether abuse of the bona fide trade was not a Dublin problem and he said: “No, I understand it is as bad in Cork.” He made some statement in which he said that things were as bad in Cork.

Mr. Boland

I read a letter.

He said that he understood that 50 per cent. more drink was consumed in Cork during prohibited hours than in Dublin. As far as Cork is concerned, from my experience that does not appear to be the case. There may be one or two outlying districts of which I am not aware, but certainly going into or coming out of Cork City and places adjoining Cork City on Sundays and holidays, or on the occasion of football matches and coursing matches such as are held on St. Stephen's Day, I do not think one can say that that problem exists to the same extent as around Dublin. I doubt if the people to whom Deputy McMenamin refers, bus drivers and people such as they, would have ever the same complaints as in the vicinity of Dublin. So far as Limerick is concerned, the one big day there would be St. Stephen's Day when there is a great influx of people to attend the race meeting. That is the one centre of attraction for quite a number of people in Munster on that day, but there is never the terrific drunkenness problem in either of these cities that there is in Dublin.

So far as the hours in Dublin are concerned, two view points have been put forward. There is a proposal to open from 2 to 6, and the Ministerial proposal for two openings—1 to 2 and 4 to 7. Then there is the proposal by Deputy Cooney which substitutes the hours 2 to 3 instead of 1 to 2. From what I have heard of the case made for the various hours of opening, I think that Deputy Cooney's amendment is the most reasonable of the lot. The position might be met to a certain extent by altering the first period of opening slightly to meet the point of view of people who want a later hour. I would, therefore, suggest that the hours should be from 1.30 to 2.30, that then there should be a break of an hour and a half from 2.30 to 4, when opening could take place for the second period. That, I think, is a reasonable way out of the problem. I think 1.30 is a reasonable hour to open. The premises could again be shut at 2.30, and then after a break of an hour and a half there could be a second period of opening from 4 to 7. That would give the assistants and proprietors a better chance of getting their meals. An hour would be very short as the closing period, but I think if you give an interval of an hour and a half it would give a reasonable chance to the proprietor and his assistants to have their meals in comfort before the next opening.

In reference to statements that the Commissioner is not fit to do his duty and that the Guards are not doing their duty, again I might describe these charges in Deputy Dillon's own word as all "cod". Unfortunately, the one trouble about police duties in connection with the licensing Acts arises from tradition and history. The average person in this country never regarded a breach of the licensing laws as a crime or even as a very minor offence, if he could get away with it. That is the real cause of the trouble. People who would hesitate to break, or who would be horrified about breaking, a minor regulation under any other branch of the laws do not think anything at all about contravening the licensing laws. I always feel that the people have regarded the licensing laws as one of the relics of our 700 years of serfdom, and they will do anything to get round these laws. There is another aspect that I should like to put to the Minister. There is no doubt in the world that there is a sporting element in all this. In a small country town on a Sunday, even when the Guards are vigilant, there is a certain sporting element in the attitude of a person who is watching to see if he can make a 100 yards' dash for the public house before the Guards come round the corner. If he succeeds in doing so he is very proud of it. The people in these towns do not regard the breaking of the licensing laws in any sense as a heinous offence.

I have gone to the trouble of reading the report of the English commission, and they seem to think that the split hour has been a great advantage to them after a trial period of ten years. I think therefore that the split hour would be an advantage, and if Deputy Cooney were to make the closing period an hour and a half, that is from 2.30 to 4 o'clock, I would support his amendment.

In the course of his remarks the Minister indicated that his main problem was to try to prevent a lag between the Dublin closing hour and the closing hour for bona fide travellers outside Dublin.

Mr. Boland

I did not say Dublin. I thought I made that clear three or four times. I said the ordinary closing hour and the bona fide hour. I could name other places, but I do not want to name them.

The only amendment I moved had reference to the position in Dublin.

Mr. Boland

It is all right in that case.

That is the only point on which I focused my attention. It seems to me that the Minister is really penalising a very large body of workers by extending the working hours in Dublin on Sundays, to provide facilities which are not keenly demanded in order to deal with a certain problem so far as Dublin is concerned, because the Waterford hours do not affect Dublin at all. No matter what hours you have in Waterford they will not affect the Dublin position. Dublin and the places round Dublin have got to stand on their own in relation to Dublin facilities.

Everybody who knows Dublin and the environment of Dublin knows very well that there are probably not more than a dozen public houses concerned in this trade that goes on around Dublin, that the total accommodation available in those public houses is limited and that, in the main, it is the one type of person who is the habitual frequenter of those public houses. The abuse is not a really difficult one to clean up, if the Gárdaí want to clean it up by vigorous methods. The Minister knows, his Department knows and the Commissioner knows that certain types of Gárda officers have been sent to particularly difficult places, with special instructions to clean up abuses which long continued in those places. I have heard it said, on behalf of particular Gárda officers, that "he made a great success" of such and such a place, that "he cleaned up" that particular place; and certain officers got a reputation for having cleaned up muddy places where there were infringements of the licensing regulations. I do not believe the problem, as we know it around the County Dublin—a problem which affects a limited number of houses only—is one that must be dealt with on the lines indicated in this Bill. The position can be met easily by opening from 2 to 6 on Sunday.

I am sorry that Deputy Cooney is not in the House now to hear what I am going to say. He adopted a most belligerent attitude in connection with a very harmless amendment—particularly harmless so far as Deputy Cooney is concerned. We sought to make no political capital out of this Bill and we do not seek to make any now. It does not seem to be a Party Bill at all, so much so that we left it to a free vote of our members, and any member can take any view he likes on its provisions. But that knowledge would not be sufficient for Deputy Cooney. Apparently, he selected this Bill to rend the cloak of silence in which he has shrouded himself since the last general election. He only woke up now, notwithstanding all the Bills that have been passed here, notwithstanding Emergency Powers Orders Nos. 83 and 166, and other vicious pieces of legislation. Now he has got rid of the chloroform and has broken the silence, to make an attack on the Labour Party, simply because he sees the opportunity to make political capital out of this Bill. Deputy Cooney wants to pose here as a person completely in touch with the viewpoint of the assistants, but he has no mandate to speak for them.

I did not say I had.

So long as the Deputy knows perfectly well that he is not speaking for the assistants, he will not delude other people into imagining that he is.

I have a more intimate knowledge than Deputy Norton.

Deputy Cooney knows why he is not a member of the union for which he claims to talk.

That is a new alliance.

On alliances, the Deputy should be quiet. He should learn how to discuss a Bill of this kind, which has no Party significance, without injecting villainous remarks into it.

They came from the Deputy's benches first.

I will pass that. Deputy Linehan suggested that there should be an opening hour from 1.30 to 2.30, then a gap of one and a half until 4, opening then until 7. That has all the objections of the split hour and means spreading the drinking period from 1.30 to 7. As Deputy Dillon has said, a split of an hour's duration would simply mean that the fellows would go out of the public houses at, say, 2.15 —if they are due to close at 2—and they would say: "If we wait for three-quarters of an hour, they will be open again." That is something we have observed at present, when licensed premises close from 2.30 to 3.30 on weekdays. Very frequently, you will see people standing outside the premises at 3 o'clock, obviously indicating that they left at 2.30 and are quite willing to go back again at 3.30. A short closing period of an hour is not likely to be successful in Dublin, particularly where many houses cater for 300 or 400 persons.

If Deputy Linehan is not favourable to a 1.30 opening, I would suggest to him, in the interests of reasonable facilities and reasonable conditions for the assistants, that the situation might be met by opening from 2 to 6. That would have the advantage of enabling an assistant to have his meal before he goes on duty at 2 o'clock and be able to go home for tea at 6 o'clock. It would be better than creating a situation in which a man is tempted to go in for a drink at 1.30, to stay away from home during the closed period, and ultimately to get facilities to remain until 7 o'clock in the evening. Having regard to the existing law, which is a 2 to 5 opening in Dublin on Sundays, the hours 2 to 6 would provide a substantial increase in the facilities for the Dublin consuming public.

It represents a willingness on the part of assistants to work an additional hour and it meets every reasonable requirement in the matter. If the Minister would accept 2 to 6 and direct the Gárdaí to exercise their vigilance in those places well known outside the City of Dublin, I venture to say that he will not be presented with the problem of arranging for houses to remain open until 7 o'clock in Dublin, in order to deal with a situation which affects probably not more than a dozen public houses and a couple of hundred people on the outskirts of the city. If the Minister will not agree to 2 to 6, there is no case for opening for an hour and then closing for an hour, so he should consider 3 to 7; though I think 2 to 6 is much more attractive than 3 to 7. I hope the Minister will accept either suggestion.

I listened very carefully to the Minister when he introduced this Bill. He stated quite frankly that he was impressed by the case that was put before him by the assistants in the City of Dublin. I would not pay very much heed to what Deputy Norton says, as the working-class people are by far the majority of the consumers of intoxicating drink in the ordinary public houses in the city, since they have nowhere else to go. I am surprised that, as Leader of the Labour Party, he did not take the attitude of facilitating the working class for the few hours they have on Sundays. Of the cases put forward to the Minister, the one dealing with the assistants is the one which should get special consideration and which should be dealt with by the Minister in deciding on Deputy Norton's suggestion to alter the hours. The case put forward by the assistants is that they have given great support to the G.A.A. in the city, and that they have a number of hurling and football teams which mainly consist of assistants. To their credit I want to say that, even in the team that brought All-Ireland honours to County Dublin, there were five players who were shop assistants. That is something the Minister should consider. It would hamper and interfere a great deal with the G.A.A. activities in County Dublin. Their case is that they do not object to working four hours on Sundays at all, but object to the hours 1 to 2 and 4 to 7, the hours submitted by the Minister.

Of course, the majority of Deputies are at a disadvantage in arguing with the Minister on this matter, as he says he has very little knowledge of the bar. If you have the hours 1 to 2, it will be 2.15 before the house is clear and nearly 2.30 before the assistant can get on his bicycle to go home, and his whole day is gone. He can take no part in football or hurling. Matches are played in places like Croke Park and Parnell Park early in the day, in the afternoon and also in the evening. That applies also to various other parks in the city. From my knowledge of the G.A.A., it is common enough to have matches played in the evening, at 6.30 or 6.45. From what I can gather, the attitude of the workers is that they are agreeable to work the four hours on a Sunday, but they want the straight hours from 2 o'clock to 6 o'clock.

I am somewhat concerned with the Minister's attitude as regards the opening hours for the city, and also about certain references he made to the position in County Dublin. I think the Minister, in trying to grapple with excessive drinking, is more or less in this position, that he is prepared to leave a period of one or one and a half hours between the closing hour in the city and the closing hour for bona fide traffic in the county. He mentioned the condition of things at Lucan, Clondalkin and Howth. I want to protest against his statement as regards the licensed houses in County Dublin. I suggest those places cannot be given as the reason for a Bill of this kind. I say that the licensed trade in County Dublin is properly conducted and properly managed, and in order to bear out that statement I will point out that in only two cases in County Dublin in the past year the Minister's officers thought it necessary to oppose the granting of licences. I am glad to see the civil servants nodding assent, indicating that that is correct.

The Deputy should not have made that statement.

I am sorry; I was not aware that I was infringing the rules of the House. I repeat that only on two occasions were licences opposed in County Dublin. I do not think the Minister can show that there have been abuses or excesses in County Dublin on a Sunday. He has sufficient legislation at his disposal to deal with houses where that type of thing is allowed. There are about 200 licensed houses in County Dublin, and in 1941 there were only 150 people convicted for drunkenness. That is revealed in the statistics presented by the Chief Commissioner of the Gárda Síochána. That shows that less than one man per public house was convicted. In such circumstances, with less than one man per public house convicted in a county like County Dublin, the county surrounding the capital city, I think it is very creditable. You must remember that there are at least 90,000 people over the age of 21 years in the County Dublin and there are over 500,000 people in the city.

In these circumstances, I do not think that a reasonable case has been made by the Minister in objecting to a break of two hours as between the city and the county. The Minister should look up the statistics in order to see whether I am making an exaggerated statement. I do not know whether the Minister has had any representations from the licensed trade that they wanted an alteration in the hours. I should like him to consider the points I have referred to. I must protest against the Minister's statement about the licensed houses in County Dublin.

Reference was made here to the cleaning-up of certain districts. I should like to put a proposition to Deputy Norton. Let us say that he is out at Clondalkin, or one of those places where there is abuse. Let us say he owns a public house. I arrive on a bus, apparently sober, and I take a drink in his house. Then someone stands me another drink, and after a second drink I find myself "over the top," and I am put out on the street. What are the Guards to do with all the people who arrive on buses? How are they to deal with that situation? The people arrive apparently sober and they are entitled to go into the public house. After one or two drinks they become drunk. The man in the public house could not possibly know they had drink taken before they arrived on the bus. The superintendent goes in and he finds that the publican has served drink to a man who is drunk. At the time the man arrives to all appearances he was perfectly sober. What can the Guards do except pack these people into buses and send them home again, or put them into a pound or a camp, such as they have at the Curragh, and keep them for the night? Of course, the Guards cannot do that, and the only way is to link up the time of closing in the city and outside the city.

With regard to the split hour, I have a very open mind on that point. If there is going to be a split hour the assistants should have at least one and a half hours before re-opening the premises. Some assistants have to travel a long distance in order to get their dinners, and it would be unfair to expect them to rush at top speed to swallow a meal in order to be back to open the licensed premises. They would need more than an hour. If we agree on the split hour, we should give the assistants a reasonable period in which to take their meals.

The point is that it is spreading out their day.

The major problem is to defeat what is taking place. Are we going to do that, or are we going to allow this Bill to pass through the House and let the abuses remain as they are?

Drop the earlier opening and stop at 7 o'clock.

I do not want to see licensing Bills brought before the House every year. These are matters which rarely come before the House and I suppose that Deputy Norton is like myself in that he does not care if there never was a public house open on Sunday or any other day, or if there was never a public house in Ireland, but there are certain people on whom

I do not intend to enforce my rabid views. I do not propose to enforce my views on anybody, but take the case of people who are out up to dinner time in the forenoon of Sunday. When they go into their houses for dinner, they do not come out again. They have been working hard all week and if they do not get a drink before 2 o'clock on Sunday, they get none, because the rule of their lives is that after dinner on Sunday they read the Sunday papers, play a game of cards with their wives and families, and they do not go out at all. Such people would probably like a drink before dinner—a glass of sherry, a glass of port or a bottle of light beer. The more moderate legislation is, the more effective, so long as it is rational, it will be, but the enforcement of the licensing laws at present is a laughing stock in the country. I would make the law rational and see that it was enforced.

I am sorry that Deputy Fogarty has left the House. He has evidently plumped in favour of opening from 2 o'clock until 6 o'clock in Dublin on Sunday, and in view of the fact that the Minister has made it perfectly clear that he will not give more than an hour, I should like to ask him if he is advocating a 7 o'clock closing for the county. So far as Deputy Norton's remarks are concerned—I was absent for the greater part of them—I certainly do not claim to have any mandate from the assistants' union. I came in here with a mandate from the people of a certain area under the banner of Fianna Fáil and I never claimed to have any other mandate. It is my duty, as I see it, as a public representative, as it is the duty of the members of the Government Party, to help the Government in the matter of legislation, to give them the benefit of whatever little experience I have, and then to let the House decide. But now we have Deputy Norton, the Leader of the Labour Party, advocating definite class legislation in respect of these amendments. He wants a straight run through from 3 o'clock until 7 o'clock on a Sunday evening. Many Deputies may not be aware that the union to which Deputy Norton belongs has a lovely licensed club attached to it, which opens from 1 o'clock to 3 o'clock and from 6 o'clock to 9 o'clock——

This Bill is class legislation, and the Deputy knows it.

——as do all other licensed clubs in the City of Dublin. What employment do these clubs give? Let us be straight on this matter. I should like to support Deputy Linehan in his suggestion for 1.30 opening, but I am afraid that that would clash with the national games. They would definitely be hampered by such an arrangement, but I have a very open mind on it and it is a matter, in the last analysis, for the Minister.

Mr. Byrne

I have made about 11 speeches on this Bill, and I make a final appeal to the Minister not to alter the hours in Dublin City at all. No argument has been made for an alteration and no demand has come from the assistants or the licensed traders. Neither side wants it. There is no need for the Minister to deal specifically with the group of people with whom he wants to deal, who jump into buses and go out to the country districts. He can deal with them in the ordinary way. There is a danger that Deputy Dillon's strong statement might invite the Gárdaí to be more active in their duties than they have been heretofore. If these people who go out to country districts on buses are as fond of drink as the House believes, they generally put a half-pint of whiskey in their pockets and they go out to a house on the outskirts of the city seven-eighths under the influence. They steady themselves at the door and succeed in deceiving the man at the door, and thus get into the trader's house. That trader may have put his life's savings into the business with the intention of doing a clean, honest trade. Is it because such a man is able to deceive the door-man and the publican, and able to enter the house and ask for a drink, although the barman says to him, "We will give you no more; you have had drink on the road," that a Gárda is to prosecute the trader for having a man under the influence on his premises, when he has done everything he possibly could to keep him out? Surely there ought to be some protection for such a trader which will ensure that his licence will not be endorsed by reason of extra supervision on the part of the Gárdaí, due to speeches that might be made here?

I am satisfied that the Gárdaí have done everything possible to carry out their duty well. I am satisfied that the licensed traders have done everything possible, as decent business men, to conduct their houses as they should be conducted. I know of no better character in this country than the licensed trader and his assistant. The licensed trader is one of the few business men in the country whose character is investigated and whose every action and saying for years before is examined before he can get his licence. He does not want the drunken man on his premises. No licensed trader wants the drunken man, because he knows that he is a most infernal nuisance and the damnedest nuisance that ever entered a house, and he does everything possible to keep him out, but if such a man slips in and a Guard finds him there, is the trader's licence to be endorsed?

The Deputy is stepping a little beyond the amendment.

Mr. Byrne

A couple of speeches have been made in this connection, and I was afraid that if these speeches, as recorded in the records of the House, were read by these people, they might think that the whole House thought on the same lines. Personally, I do not, but I make a final appeal to the Minister not to be swayed by anything he has heard in the House in support of an alteration of the hours. There is no demand for an alteration of the hours in Dublin. Give the assistants a chance and give the owners a chance. They do not want to stand behind the counter for the odd hour.

Might I suggest to Deputy Byrne that we cannot have it both ways? Either there is a scandal in Lucan, Dundrum, Howth and other outlying districts, or there is not. Does anybody in the House contend that there is not? If there is a scandal in these places, to what is it due? Is it due to the failure of the Guards to enforce the law? I absolutely deny that any gang of drunks ought to be allowed to get into a position in which they can hold Oireachtas Eireann up to ransom and force us to make such arrangements as will deter them from falling into the temptations to which they have allowed themselves to become subject. If they want to go out to Clondalkin, Dundrum and these other places and kick up a row, the right place for them is the Bridewell, and the sooner they are put there the better.

This debate has proceeded, in my respectful submission, with a virtual indifference to the real problem which lies behind this whole proposal. The real problem is apparently that the publicans want to be put on an equal footing with the clubs. There is no use in the Minister saying that this Bill does not deal with the clubs. That is not my fault. The Minister has come to the House, representing that he desires to enact desirable reforms in the law relating to the consumption of alcoholic liquor in the City of Dublin and elsewhere. I appreciate the difficulties he has had to contend with, and anyone who understands them will appreciate the courage which characterises his readiness to undertake this task of reform at all. Many another man would have said: "I am not going to get my head in a halter over a question like this just before an election. It was allowed to go so far, and it can go a little further." He has taken the proper line. But the fact of it is that this system of club licences, whereunder clubs can serve people between 1 and 3 and 6 and 9, is becoming a notorious scandal. There are clubs in this city with high-sounding religious titles which have become little better than drinking booths, and the latest thing is that they have elected lady associate members, and that in fact a member of a club can bring his lady friends in between 1 and 3 and 6 and 9. We are all to pretend that that is not so, and that it has not an effect on the impact of this legislation on the licensed trade.

The truth of it is that a good many licensed traders in this city were prepared to accept this 1 to 2 and 4 to 7 proposal, and were influenced in their readiness to accept it, with the broken hour provision, by the belief that this was the first time they have been put on an equal footing with the clubs. Does Dáil Eireann want groups of individuals in this city to be able to join together to form themselves into a club with a high-sounding title, the main purpose of which is to consume intoxicating liquor during hours when they are prohibited from consuming it in a public house? Is it rational for us to deceive ourselves into the belief that we are amending the licensing law when, in fact, the institutions where most drink is consumed on a Sunday are not affected by the measure we are considering? Is it rational for us to allow a system to grow up in this city whereby institutions are masquerading under the names of clubs which are in fact uncontrolled public houses?

I want to draw the attention of Dáil Eireann to the fact that the licensing law which we are at present enacting in fact does not hit what, in my opinion, is the greatest evil of all. It is not going to the kernel of the matter. Why should co-operative public houses have leave to serve customers and their friends when a public house, which has been built up by the efforts of an honest trader, is required to close? Why should a perfectly honest trader be obliged to advertise over his front door that he is licensed to sell beer, wine and spirits, and that his house is a public house, when his competitor next door masquerades under the name of a club, and occasionally a religious club, where people are invited to come and dwell in the odour of sanctity, and the odour of sanctity is overwhelmed by the odour of Guinness's stout and Jameson's whiskey? If you are a publican and the Guards come to your door you must throw open the door at once and give free access to them to inspect the premises. But if you are one of the holy clubs you can go to the door and ask the Guard for his search warrant. The Minister will correct me if I am wrong, but, as I understand it, unless the Guard is in a position to produce a search warrant——

Mr. Boland

I understood that this was out of order.

Why does the Minister think it is out of order?

Mr. Boland

We are not dealing with clubs in this Bill.

This amendment deals simply with the opening hours of public houses on Sunday. The Deputy is quite right in making a passing reference by contrast to the hours for clubs, but he must not make a Second Reading speech on it.

I dealt with this question of clubs already, and surely Deputy Dillon has a right to say something on it.

This is an Act "to amend and extend the Licensing (Ireland) Acts, 1833 to 1929, in divers respects and, in particular, by providing for the licensing of aerodromes and passenger aircraft", and the Title of the Bill is "Intoxicating Liquor Bill". I am suggesting that it is not an Intoxicating Liquor Bill at all but a public house Bill. The greater part of the intoxicating liquor consumed in Dublin on Sunday is not affected by this Bill at all.

These are matters which the Deputy should have raised on the Second Reading of the Bill.

A very considerable part of the intoxicating liquor consumed in the City of Dublin and other cities is consumed in clubs. What is the use of our talking round this subject when, in fact, the motive moving many Deputies who contributed to the debate has been to put the public houses on an equal footing with the clubs? I am suggesting to the Minister that a great deal of his difficulties would evaporate if he would announce that having dealt with the public houses he intended bringing the clubs down to the same level which he proposes to impose on the public houses. But the reason people in this House are concerned to lengthen the hours of public houses, to permit public houses to open at 1 and to close at 2, is to ensure that the public house will not be put in an inferior position to the club. Would the Minister tell us what his intentions are in respect to these clubs if the House gives him the power he seeks to deal with public houses? Does he deny that a very substantial part——

If the Deputy will read the amendment he will see that it refers to the closing hour of public houses on Sunday.

I am suggesting to the House that many of the Deputies who supported this amendment have supported it, not on its merits, but because they want to put the public houses on an equal footing with the clubs.

Having said that, would the Deputy come to the amendment which relates to public houses?

I am suggesting that, but for the fact that clubs are becoming ever-growing institutions in number and membership, the licensed traders would not desire this 1 to 2 proviso or the longer hours in the afternoon. There are, I understand, 200 drinking clubs in this city——

I should like to point out to the Deputy that he is going beyond the original scope of the Bill. He is dealing with a matter that is not raised by this Bill.

I am talking about public houses. I am talking about the reasons why certain persons want to permit the public houses in this city to open from 1 to 2 on Sunday. They all said they want to do it in order to allow fellows to have a glass of sherry before dinner. Devil the many glasses of sherry are taken before dinner in public houses in Dublin. They also advanced a number of other grotesque reasons, from light beer to aperitifs, to justify the opening of public houses in Parnell Street between 1 and 2. The real truth is that they want to put the public houses on an equal footing with the clubs. I say that you can achieve that by another method. Instead of trying to extend the public house hours to cover the whole gamut of the drinking club, why not contract the drinking club's hours to coincide with those of the public house? Do we all feel so solicitous about these clubs that we ought to recommend more people to go to them and bring their lady friends? Do we believe that they are institutions to be compared with a well-run public house? Does Deputy Byrne agree with me that a great many of the gentlemen who go out from the city on the buses in order to arrive drunk at the rural public house consume the bulk of the liquor which they drink in clubs with a high-sounding religious title?

Mr. Byrne

They drink most of it out of a bottle on the way out.

Maybe they get that in the pious club as well.

What about the golf clubs?

It covers the whole gamut—golf clubs, pious clubs, trade union clubs, industrial clubs and staff clubs. Any ten men can establish a club.

The public house is the working man's club.

Most of the public houses are run by decent men on decent lines and by men who want to keep them decent and respectable. I think this House is running away from the real issue that is raised by this amendment and the amendments relating to the hours at which public houses may open in the city. Why are we running away? What is the difficulty about regulating the clubs and bringing them within the same limitations with regard to hours and conditions that obtain for licensed houses? Why cannot the Guards enter a club and inspect it if they are entitled to walk into a public house?

The matter before the House is an alteration of the Sunday opening hours for county boroughs.

Yes, sir. As I was explaining to the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, I am suggesting that the reason behind this proposal is to put the licensed houses in Dublin on an equal footing with the clubs, and that most of the arguments put forward have been of a spurious character. The real reason is that they want to put the public houses on a level with the clubs, and I think that the way to do that would be to contract the hours in which the clubs can work, rather than to expand the hours in which the public houses can work.

Quite. Deputy Hannigan raised the same issue, but was prevented from pursuing it. If there are omissions in a Bill, attention should be drawn to those omissions in the Second Stage debate. Now, the licensing code does not deal with clubs; they come under the Registration of Clubs Acts. There is no reference in this measure to Part VI of the Act of 1927, which deals with that matter. I think the reference is Section 64, (2) and (3) of Part VI of the Act of 1927.

Is it not in order, sir, to argue on this amendment the Minister's proposal to open between 1 and 2, so as to fit in the opening hours of public houses for one hour in the day with the opening hours of clubs?

Yes, but Part VI of the 1927 Act is not touched on in this Bill. If Deputies desired that that matter should have been dealt with, they should have so argued on the Second Stage. The Deputy is entitled to suggest the purpose behind this measure without making proposals for dealing with clubs, which would be irrelevant.

Well, in any case, I do not want to trespass any further on the indulgence of the Ceann Comhairle. I have said what I want to say about clubs, and, if it is not relevant, all I can say is that, making all allowances for the indulgence of the Ceann Comhairle, we have been practically constrained to talk on this Bill without any reference to the real problem at all, and I hope that, if the Minister should wish to refer, when he is replying, to the general matter of clubs, he will be allowed to do so, because that is the real problem, and until you deal with that problem you will get nowhere at all. I firmly believe that if you were to deal with that problem, the difficulty with regard to a change of hours, so far as the public houses are concerned, would evaporate.

Can the Deputy give a guarantee that if the Minister were permitted to make such a reference, however brief, it would not mean a prolongation of the debate for several hours?

Yes, sir, but my point is that if that problem were dealt with, the whole question, so far as Dublin City is concerned, would resolve itself at once and there would be no need to do anything further.

It is regrettable then that that course was not suggested at an earlier stage of this Bill.

Well, I suggest that since the Minister has put his head into the halter so far as he has done so already in connection with this Bill, he might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb, and if he anticipates that the publicans and the "drunks" will be hanging around his neck, then I suggest that the weight of the clubs will not be so very much more, and the support of the other people under his arms might relieve him of some of the pressure. Of course, he will get all the abuse that it is conceivable he could get, but if he finishes up this business properly, and remedies this evil, then, even if his head is bloodied, it will still be unbowed.

By the way, Deputy Norton may have a division on his full amendment.

I should like to sympathise with the Minister on his efforts to solve this problem of the hours of opening, and I hope that the few remarks I have to make will not impose any further burden on him, but I think he must be well aware of the position in the City of Dublin and what happens on the occasion of inter-county or All-Ireland finals. I want to point to the contrast between the City of Dublin and towns such as Thurles, Kilkenny, Maryborough, and other places where inter-county matches are played. In these towns, the visitors on such occasions have no trouble in getting refreshments, because exemptions are granted for such occasions, but here in the City of Dublin, owing to the present restrictions, there is only a limited number of restaurants catering for 40,000 or 50,000 visitors. The position at present is that the public houses are only open on Sundays from 2 to 5, and these hours coincide more or less with the hours during which the matches are played, with the result that the visitors to Dublin have to go away without any refreshments or, which is much worse, probably bringing the drink with them. I would suggest that the Minister should make some addition to the 5 o'clock hour on a Sunday and let it be 6 or 6.30. I hope that he will not overlook that. It is a view that has been put before him on many occasions, and I know that many deputations have called on him with a view to trying to get over that difficulty. The making of an exemption order with regard to certain parts of the city on such occasions has failed to meet the situation, and I think he should make some arrangement for a general exemption on these occasions, and that the closing hours should be extended to 6 or 6.30.

I am entirely with the Minister in his desire to wipe out the abuses which exist, and have existed for a long time, in County Dublin, in connection with the administration of the licensing laws. I understand that Deputy P.J. Fogarty takes a fairly active interest in the administration of the licensing laws in his own area, and information to that effect—I do not say evidence—was produced in this House on more than one occasion, but I do not agree with his version, so far as County Dublin is concerned. He seems to think—I do not agree with him—that there are only two or three places in the county where these abuses exist. Well, only about three weeks ago I was listening to a very interesting statement by a licensed trader in County Dublin in connection with the administration of the licensing laws in the county, as applicable to places like Lucan, Clondalkin, Rathcoole, and so on. The trader concerned used all the eloquence at his disposal—it was only by accident that I overheard him—to show that the abuses alleged to exist by the Minister and the sponsors of this Bill did not exist: that there was no such thing in County Dublin. It happened that I travelled with a friend that evening to a place near Saggart, and, on the same evening, after having a cup of tea with my friend, I got the last bus coming from Rathcoole to Dublin. I have been in Paris, Rome, Venice, London and many continental and cross-Channel cities, and I never witnessed such a brawl as the one I saw coming back from Rathcoole, three weeks ago last Sunday. That is in Deputy Fogarty's constituency, and I am certain that if Deputy Fogarty were in the bus and saw the conduct of the people who were there—men and women—he would not repeat the statements that he made on the Second Reading and on the Committee Stage of this Bill in regard to the abuses that exist in the constituency he represents. I am satisfied that that has been going on for a fairly long period, and does not apply only to the one or two experiences I have had in this respect. Therefore, I am with the Minister absolutely in his desire to prevent people who have reasonable facilities for drinking in Dublin, from going out, after they have had plenty in Dublin, to a County Dublin area where they will be able to make use of the bona fide regulations in order to get more than is good for them. The Minister is quite right in that. That is why I advocated last night uniformity of opening on weekdays. That is why I advocated—and I am sure I will incur the censure of people in high places—the general opening of public houses for a reasonable period in the country.

This Bill is based on class legislation, which gives preferential treatment to the people who live in the boroughs as against those who live outside the boroughs, on Sundays and on week days. It is ridiculous—and the Minister is right in cutting it out— to tolerate any longer the state of affairs which enables people to get more than is good for them in the city on Sunday and then to travel to an outlying area to get more, while people who reside in the area where this bona fide business is going on cannot get a drink there. The man in Dublin can get as much or more than is good for him in the city, and can then go to Lucan, Clondalkin, or other places in County Dublin and get more, while the man living in Clondalkin or Lucan, if he wants a drink, must come into the City of Dublin for it. I am certain Deputy Dillon does not stand for the continuance of that state of affairs, and so far as the Minister can help to remove that kind of abuse under the limited terms in this Bill I am with him.

A preliminary announcement was made in connection with the terms of this Bill and appeared, as usual, of course, as an inspired statement in the Irish Press. When I read the statement in the Irish Press, indicating that the terms of this Bill had been submitted to a private meeting of the Fianna Fáil members of the Oireachtas, I spoke to a very big trader in this city who gives a considerable amount of employment, and who runs a house that is well known to every Deputy as one that is conducted on ideal lines. I said: “Are you looking for these split opening hours on Sunday?” He said: “Certainly not.” I asked his foreman and some of his assistants, and they said the same. I do not know from whom this proposal emanated, but it is quite evident at any rate that the proposals contained in the Bill, as introduced by the Minister, do not meet with the full approval of all the big traders of this city.

Mr. Boland

They were not consulted on that at all. I am dealing with it in general, not with the licensed trader.

I am speaking here without any canvassing, as far as I am concerned, by the licensed traders in my area. I got a couple of resolutions that were passed by meetings of licensed traders in some of the small towns in my constituency, but I assure the Minister that I have not actually discussed it with any licensed trader in my constituency. I have received no request from anybody in my constituency to propose a general opening hour of 2 to 6, as I did last night. I did that in the belief that I was complying with the wishes of those who are entitled to get drink within reason and who drink within reason and who desire to cut out the abuses associated with the alleged bona fide traffic on Sundays. The Minister, if he remains longer in his present position, will hear more than he has heard up to the present about the abuses that exist in connection with the bona fide traffic in rural areas. I am amazed at the ignorance—and I use the word in no disrespectful sense—of the Minister in regard to the bona fide traffic in rural areas.

It is county boroughs that are at issue now.

Mr. Boland

Trying to deal with.

Supposed to be dealing with.

I strongly support the hours set down in the amendment by Deputy Norton. I understand it is not a matter of great difference as to whether the hours are 2 to 6 or 3 to 7, but if the Minister wants to put into effect, in a practical way, the desire to cut out the abuses which exist in the County Dublin, he will probably lean more to the 3 to 7 period than the 2 to 6 period. It is a matter of indifference to me, personally, but I think the idea of split opening hours is not founded on any sound basis and not taken from any big section of the citizens of Dublin or those who are going to benefit by the operation of split hours if they are enforced in any other area. My whole aim in connection with this Bill, personally, is to give equal chance and opportunity to every citizen in the State to get drink in the same hours whether it be in a hotel, a club or a "pub". If you do that, you will cut out a considerable amount of the abuse that exists. For instance, some very distinguished members of this House are members of some of these clubs that they condemn. I am not a member of any of these clubs. I confess I have been in some of these fairly high-class clubs as well as in workingmen's clubs. I would like to hear from Deputy Cooney whether he has any knowledge of any serious abuses that are supposed to exist in connection with the conduct of these clubs.

The Deputy wants to discuss clubs again.

With your permission, only in a passing way.

I understood the Deputy was inviting further intervention by Deputy Cooney on similar lines.

Deputy Cooney, when you were absent, Sir, more or less, by what he said, provoked the kind of statement that I am now making. I do not wish to pursue it, if you rule that it is not pertinent to the discussion on the amendment now before the House.

It is not relevant.

Does the Deputy know of no abuses?

I am not prepared to give any facilities to those who wish to drink in clubs as against those who wish to drink in hotels or "pubs" in the city or the country.

The Deputy is not answering my question.

Deputy Davin must support the split hours on Sunday, so if he is consistent, he will vote for the split hours on Sunday.

I am in favour of the continuous opening hours. I think split hours are ridiculous. They are unfair to the assistants who are being asked to work these hours, and I will go into the Lobby, if necessary, against Deputy Cooney, in favour of the 2 to 6 or 3 to 7 opening. I certainly will not vote for the split hours suggested.

I have already spoken on this amendment, and I only want to make a few very brief observations. I think this fairly long debate on this amendment is beginning to clarify some of our minds. I support the Minister in having a break in the Sunday opening. I have an open mind on the question of the hours public houses ought to be open on Sundays. I, like the Minister, want the law respected and enforced. I have already congratulated the Minister on the realistic manner in which he approached this Bill, but there is one question on which I would like to join issue with him. Perhaps he will forgive me for taking it up, but it was on this amendment that he mentioned it. He said that the objection to enforcing the bona fide law was that they could not find out the intention of the people who travelled. Of course, I think that is very true, but is that any reason why the law should not be enforced? I suggest to the Minister that if he is entering into the sphere of metaphysics, and looking around him for some way in which way to test the intentions of persons who travel to get drink, that would lead to nothing but confusion and disaster. We have had experience of people's intentions in connection with cars. In some cases they had to pay if their intentions were one thing but not if they were another thing. I am sure the Minister would not be very surprised to hear that when asked their intentions no one plumped to have to pay. Everybody knows that people are undoubtedly travelling to get drink, but there will never be a conviction on that basis. If the Minister wants to change the law along these lines, and to do away with abuses, can he suggest how that can be done? If so, the sooner he puts down an amendment the better. If we are going to try to cross-examine a bus-load of people discharged at some place like Clondalkin—which Deputy McMenamin mentioned—as to what they came out there for, it will be found that the first person came out to visit an aged aunt, and the next a sick child. There will be hundreds of other reasons given. The Minister would become a 100 per cent. realist in this Bill by indicating a way by which that could be prevented and the law enforced.

I wish to support the suggestion of Deputy Linehan for 1.30 to 2.30 opening on Sunday. In my young days I was, like the Minister, associated with the G.A.A. and with football, and I know what a prop the G.A.A. was, and still is, to the nation. I heard the Minister deal with the hours 1 to 2 o'clock, but not with 1.30 to 2.30 p.m. If his objection is as strong as to 1 to 2, then I accept his decision. It is a very important matter. On principle I am opposed to split hours on Sundays. I do not wish to deal with prohibited matters, but I suggest that 1.30 would allow equal competition in the case of a public house that is paying 10/- on every £1 valuation to the State in order to sell beer and spirits. That house cannot sell beer and spirits at a time that some form of club can sell, although it is making practically no contribution to the State. I object to people having to go to these places. I have often gone to social clubs, old comrades clubs of various kinds and also golf clubs. I would allow clubs privileges, but if they are to be left them, those who are paying to keep up the State, to such a large extent as the licensed trade, should have equal facilities with what are really competitors. If there was not that unfair competition, I would support Deputy Davin's amendment. It is because there is unfair competition that I want to get as near as possible to 1 o'clock opening for public houses, the only reason being that competitors are open. I know of no other reason. What is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander. Clubs could probably make a case. I hope I am not transgressing now.

Then I hope the Chair will forgive me. If clubs can make a case surely publicans can also make a case. If publicans cannot make a case how can clubs make one? Coming to the other side of the question, the Minister wants to cut down the margin between closing in the city and closing in the county on Sundays. I do not know what conditions obtain in other county boroughs, but all the county boroughs put together could not equal the county borough of Dublin, where large numbers of people reside, and where more noise must be expected. Without intending any reflection on Dublin, more noise must be expected there than in other towns, because these towns do not approach the size of Dublin. I do not agree with the statement that there are such terrible abuses in the City or the County of Dublin. Certain places were described as having notorious reputations. I do not think they deserve to have notorious reputations. I do not agree with Deputy Davin when he said that he never experienced anything worse in his extensive travels on the Continent than he experienced three weeks ago at Rathcoole.

If the Deputy does not believe what I said, will he ask the Minister to get a report from the Guards?

Mr. Boland

I will keep off particular areas.

The Guards had to be sent for.

Mr. Boland

In more than one place, unfortunately.

The Guards had to be sent for during the University Rag last week. They had also to be sent for for other happenings. The second period suggested in the Bill is from 4 to 7, and I suppose that will stand. As to the abuses, there is a good deal of sensible appreciation of the conditions that obtain in connection with bona fide traffic around the city. Unquestionably there is a rush out to the country when the city houses close. I do not agree with the statement that the Guards are helpless in dealing with that matter. I am quite satisfied that there is plenty of law available to clean up any abuses that want cleaning up. The so-called “bona fides” who cause this trouble are, to a large extent, not bona fide at all and, if the Minister would consider a way of handling these alleged “bona fides” he might find a very simple solution. If it were in my power, I would put the penalty on the man who wrongly claimed to be bona fide rather than on the publican. This is the law and the practice: a man comes to the premises of the publican and the man at the door asks him: “Are you travelling?” and “Where are you from?” He may also ask him his name. Once he satisfactorily answers these questions, the publican is justified, in law, in allowing that man in. I speak subject to correction on this matter, but I have it from authorities on the licensing laws and from a very useful book, published by a combined licensed trader and lawyer, and accepted by district justices as a useful publication, that the publican is justified—and bound if he is catering for bona fide travellers—in allowing these people in. The number and the identity of a large percentage of these bona fide travellers are the same every Sunday. If the onus of justifying themselves as travellers were placed on these men and, if it were found that they told a lie, a penalty, not of 1/- or 2/6 but of a guinea or five guineas—as is done in the case of the publican—were imposed on the offenders, there would not be many travelling out of the city for the sake of obtaining drink who had not come, at least, the required distance. If that regulation were strictly enforced, 70 per cent. or 80 per cent. of the abuses alleged to be arising, with which, the Minister says, the Guards cannot cope, would be eliminated at once.

In conclusion, I ask the Minister to consider that suggestion as to a 1.30 o'clock opening. I shall not deal with the club problem, because it would not be relevant now. We must take it as a competitor in the field. Consequently, I must vote, with regret, against Deputy Norton's amendment. The licensed trade of the City of Dublin is entitled to a fair basis of competition, and it is receiving unfair competition. We can only be fair to the licensed traders of the city by keeping as close to the opening hour of their competitors as possible. The Minister has given, as against the suggested hour, the reason that it interferes with athletics and the recreation of those engaged in the licensed trade. I suggest 1.30 to 2.30 as the first hour, and 4 to 7 o'clock for the second period, and I should be glad if the Minister would accept that.

Mr. Boland

I had better deal firstly with the reason why 1 o'clock was put into the Bill. When we were considering these hours, the one important hour I had in mind was 7 o'clock. I have indicated the reasons for that. When it came to considering the opening hour, I was informed that clubs and hotels opened at 1 o'clock. I believed that 1 o'clock was a reasonable hour for the public convenience. I did not consider the convenience of the licensed traders or their assistants. I was thinking of the public convenience, which is what I am expected to do. Some regard must, of course, be had for those engaged in the trade, but the first consideration should be the public convenience. To me 1 o'clock seemed to be a suitable hour for opening. No suggestion came from the trade, but we knew, as I have said, that the opening hour for hotels and clubs was 1 o'clock. When the Bill was printed, the assistants came along, and I was impressed by the representations of the G.A.A. If I thought that 1.30 would meet the objection they made to the original proposal, I should agree to the 1.30 opening. I shall consult some of these G.A.A. people, and if they are satisfied I shall make the hour 1.30 to 2.30. If that does not suit them I shall stick to the 2 o'clock opening for Dublin.

The Minister was thinking of 2 to 3 o'clock.

Mr. Boland

I think that the split hour is very important. I agree with Deputy Linehan on that. It is far more necessary to split the hours on Sunday, when people have plenty of time, than it is on a week-day, when people have to go to their business. I shall stick to the split hour. Deputy Cooney's amendment would suit better than the other proposals, except for that point about 1.30 o'clock.

As regards Cork, Limerick and Waterford boroughs, there has been a misunderstanding. I did not intend to bring in an amendment. I thought that the Deputies from these constituencies would have got in touch with the licensed trade or that the licensed trade would have got in touch with them, and that they would put down amendments dealing with these boroughs. I am prepared to deal separately with these three boroughs— to bring in an amendment making the hours on Sundays 1 to 3 and 5 to 7. That, apparently, suits them.

That will increase the existing hours.

Mr. Boland

It will give them an hour extra. At present the hours are from 2 o'clock to 5 o'clock. The new hours enable them to get over the situation that arises there when they have big matches as in Dublin. That, apparently, is what the trade there wants. On the whole question of Sunday opening, I think I have already made myself clear on it, and no useful purpose would be served by repetition. I think I can say that I have listened patiently to all the speeches that have been made on this. I am, however, satisfied that what I am doing will be for the general good. Nothing is to be gained by arguing about it now. I am satisfied that what I am proposing has a reasonable chance of succeeding.

The clubs are another matter. It is not right to say that there are 200 clubs in Dublin City and County. I am told that the total number, including sports clubs, is 89, so that there is no use in saying the number is 200. I have not had any reports of abuses in these clubs, not sufficient anyway to compel me to deal with them. I have had complaints of abuses in connection with the bona fide traffic. It was for the purpose of dealing with them, and in the hope that I would be able to confine myself to them, that I brought in the Bill. I know that I have been dragged further than I had intended to go. As regards Sunday opening, I am going to resist, as much as I can, departing from the original intention that I had when I introduced the Bill.

Would it be unfair to ask the Minister: who prompted the proposal for the split hour?

Was not the split hour the real, big achievement of the 1927 Act?

Mr. Boland

I think so. There was a three-hour opening in the county boroughs. You could not very well split three hours. I wanted to have the public houses closed at 7 o'clock in the evening in order, as I had hoped, to stop the exodus from the city. Deputies will be fair to me and admit that, in this, I was not dealing with drunken people. My approach to it was this: that people were not entitled to leave one public house after closing hour and get drink in another one, just because it was five miles away. That was an abuse of the law. We were not dealing here with metaphysics, as Deputy Dockrell seemed to think. I do not suppose the Deputy has ever acted the part of the bona fide. If he had he would have known that it is usual to ask if one is on business or on pleasure. The point at any rate is that I did not propose to have a longer period than three hours. I asked my advisers what they thought would be the most convenient hour to meet the wishes of people who wanted to get a drink. The hotels can serve drink at 1 o'clock on a Sunday. My advisers said they thought that 1 o'clock would be a suitable opening hour. I agreed with them, and we put that in the Bill. I think it would be a disastrous thing to make provision for a four-hour continuous sitting, particularly for people who want to get drink and nothing else. I think that the split hour is necessary on Sunday. That is how we came to decide on the split hour—that I felt that a four-hour continuous sitting would be too long.

But under the Minister's proposal he is going to have a three-hour, non-stop sitting—from 4 o'clock to 7 o'clock? Would the Minister think of dropping the 1.30 to 2.30 opening, and have one opening from 4 o'clock to 7 o'clock?

Mr. Boland

I did think of that, but I was given to understand that these hours would not give a reasonable chance to the person who genuinely wanted to have a drink before dinner on Sunday. The Deputy may say that by agreeing to make that provision I was anxious to encourage drinking. To that extent I was.

The Minister will not give the fellow in the country any opportunity of getting a drink on Sunday.

Is the Minister prepared to accept an opening hour on Sunday from 1.30 to 2.30?

Mr. Boland

That will depend on whether the G.A.A. people are satisfied that such an opening will not do what they claimed the 1 o'clock opening would do, namely, destroy the game of hurling in Dublin. It was not publicans but a deputation from the Dublin County Board of the G.A.A. that put that point before me. If a 1.30 opening will not destroy the game of hurling in Dublin, then I am prepared to say 1.30. I am prepared to look into the matter between this and Report Stage. If the G.A.A. people accept 1.30 I will accept it.

If they say 2 o'clock, will the Minister agree to have the opening hours from 2 o'clock to 6 o'clock?

Mr. Boland

No. I have already made it perfectly clear that I am not prepared to agree to a four hours' continuous opening. I have given my reasons for the split hour on Sunday. We are prepared to make provision for the man who wants to have a drink on Sunday. One hour's opening before dinner will be allowed for that. The house will then be closed so that the publican, his assistants and others will have the opportunity of going to their dinner.

Am I to understand from the Minister that regular drinking hours have been advanced to 11 p.m. on ordinary week-days?

Mr. Boland

To 10.30 p.m.

As far as the Minister is concerned he wants to have it that there will be no bona fide traffic in Dublin on Sunday, but there would be traffic allowed outside the county boroughs as between 1 o'clock and 7 o'clock, or 1 o'clock and 8 o'clock, according to Summer Time?

Mr. Boland

The position will be that there will be no bona fide traffic at all in Dublin, or in the county boroughs, on Sunday.

The present proposal with regard to Sunday is that instead of having the opening from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. it is going to be 1 o'clock to 2 o'clock.

Mr. Boland

We are changing that now, and saying that it may be 2 o'clock to 3 o'clock and from 4 o'clock to 7 o'clock, or perhaps from 1.30 to 2.30, and from 4 o'clock to 7 o'clock. I am accepting that.

Am I to understand that the Sunday hours for clubs are 1 o'clock to 3 o'clock and 6 o'clock to 9 o'clock? I understand these are the Sunday opening hours in England.

Mr. Boland

The magistrates there can fix different hours for different areas. The hours may be, I think, 1 o'clock to 3 o'clock and 6 o'clock to 9 o'clock, or 1 o'clock to 3 o'clock and from 7 o'clock to 10 o'clock.

I ask leave to withdraw my amendment with the right of reentry on Report when I see the Minister's amendment in the light of the information that he is seeking.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I also ask for permission to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments Nos. 12 to 18, inclusive, not moved.
Section 3 put and agreed to.

Mr. Boland

I move amendment No. 19:—

Before Section 4, page 2, to insert a new section as follows:—

Section 3 of the Act of 1927 is hereby amended by the insertion in sub-section (2) after the words "premises to which an off-licence is attached" of the following: "(not being premises to which a wine retailer's off-licence within the meaning of the Finance (1909-10) Act, 1910, and no other off-licence is attached)".

The purpose of this amendment is to make it lawful for pharmaceutical chemists and druggists who hold wine retailers' off-licences to open their premises for non-licensed business during prohibited hours. This matter seems to have been overlooked in the 1927 Act, but the police have never taken any action to prevent the opening of chemists' shops for non-licensed business during prohibited hours.

I just want to make a short protest against the selling of wine by pharmaceutical chemists. In the North of Ireland they sell wine, but I think in Britain the right to do so has been taken away from them altogether. As far as I know the trade, those chemists sell ordinary wine, and, according to the best experts, it is cheap and bad wine. A lot of women who are addicted to drinking wine make an excuse of going to the chemists and getting a bottle of wine at all hours of the day and night. I take this opportunity of protesting against the selling of wine by chemists. I believe that, on the best analysis, those so-called medicated wines are only so much dope, but apart from medicated wines those chemists get all brands of every cheap kind of grocers' port and sell them at great profit to themselves. They should be prohibited, in this or any other advanced country, from selling wines at all.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment No.20:—

Before the word "and" in line 31 to insert the following words: "for premises which are an hotel or a restaurant".

I should like to say a few preliminary words with regard to the amendments generally which are down in my name. They are practically all amendments which I have been asked by the Irish Tourist Association to sponsor. A few have been suggested to me by the branch of the Tourist Association in Killarney. The proposals embodied in those amendments are directed towards conveniencing the visitors to tourist areas. They are not at all inspired by members of the licensed trade, as far as I know. Indeed, as far as I am concerned, no member of the licensed trade in my constituency approached me with a view to suggesting any amendments at all. I do not say that I would not do so; indeed I would, because, apart altogether from Deputy Daly's eulogy of the licensed trade here yesterday, which I think was entirely unnecessary, I could never understand why it was considered quite a respectable thing to brew or to distil or to own brewery shares or distillery shares, but it was not respectable to sell the product of the distilleries. I hope the Minister will meet those amendments with an open mind. In bringing legislation before this House, the Minister has the very good record that when he comes into the House he does not dig in his heels and say: "I and my advisers are right, and everybody else is wrong." He does not take up that attitude, and I hope he will not be inspired to take up that attitude with regard to some of those amendments that we have yet to deal with on the Order Paper. Yesterday, unfortunately I think, Deputy Linehan used some very tactless remarks when the Minister gave way to the general feeling in the House with regard to rural opening; Deputy Linehan referred to the slippery slopes, and suggested that the Minister was weakening. Immediately after that the Minister did dig in his heels very strongly on the question of the general Sunday opening. With regard to the coming amendments, I hope the Minister will not adopt the attitude that they must be wrong, and that what his advisers say must essentially be right; I hope he will keep an open mind, and deal with them on their merits. As I have said, most of those amendments, including this one, were suggested to me by the Irish Tourist Association.

The effect of this particular amendment, No. 20, would be to enable any holder of an on-licence, that is not necessarily the proprietor of an hotel or restaurant, to apply for an exemption order on any special occasion, that is, for a dance, and so on. I was told by the directors of the Tourist Association that very many of the best-conducted dance halls in some of the tourist centres are owned by the proprietors of licensed premises, and they think it would be an advantage, from the point of view of the tourist trade in some of those areas, if this facility were granted.

It does not mean anything further than this—that that person is empowered to go and make his application to the court, just as at the present time the proprietor of an hotel or restaurant can go to the court and apply for a special exemption order. In this matter, I cannot see any real reason for distinguishing between the proprietor of an hotel or restaurant and the proprietor of an ordinary business premises. I am assured by the Tourist Association—to be perfectly candid, I did not know this myself— that a considerable number of the dance halls in tourist areas are run by very respectable licensed premises owners, who conduct their business in the best manner from the point of view of observation of the licensing laws.

If the Minister is remaining adamant on the original Bill, and doing away with the bona fide traffic from 12 midnight on Sunday until 6 a.m. on Monday, the acceptance of this amendment moved by Deputy Lynch would place certain publicans in a very privileged position, because apart from tourist centres there are a number of publicans in the country who own the dance halls adjoining them. Ninety per cent. of the dances in rural Ireland are run on Sunday nights. The result of the acceptance of this amendment would be that the owners of those public houses in the country could apply for an exemption order, and, whilst the other publicans in the town were closed down from 12 midnight on Sunday till 6 a.m. on Monday morning, those privileged few would have the monopoly of selling refreshments in this way. I know several cases in the Midlands and the West where the publican is also the owner of the dance hall. I am not against this arrangement at all if the Minister concedes that we continue the system whereby bona fide traffic is allowed from 12 midnight on Sunday till 6 a.m. on Monday. If that is continued I am not opposed to this amendment, but, if the Minister is adamant on doing away with the bona fide traffic from midnight on Sunday to 6 a.m. on Monday, then the acceptance of this amendment would place a certain number of publicans in a privileged position.

Hotel and restaurant proprietors are in that position at the moment.

I question that very much. Suppose there is a dance in a certain town. Can an hotel proprietor or restaurant proprietor—the Deputy is a lawyer and can inform me —open after 8 p.m. on a Sunday evening to supply intoxicating drinks? We shall take it in another way. Can a hotel proprietor or a restaurant proprietor open to supply intoxicating drinks to people attending a dance from 12 midnight until 6 a.m. at present, or if the Bill passes as it is? I do not think he can.

Mr. Lynch

The provision in the Bill reads: "Section 5 of the Act of 1927 is hereby amended by the deletion in sub-section (1) of the words ‘and are situate in a county borough.'" Section 5 of the Act of 1927 provides: "If the holder of an hotel or a restaurant and are situate in a county borough applies to the justice of the district court for an order (in this Act referred to as a special exemption order) exempting him on any special occasion from the provisions of this Act relating to prohibited hours in respect of the said premises, such justice may, if he thinks fit so to do after hearing the officer in charge of the Gárda Síochána for the licensing area, grant to the applicant upon such conditions as he thinks proper an order so exempting him during the hours and on the special occasion to be specified in such order." That was before confined to the county boroughs. The Minister's proposal in the Bill is to extend that to the proprietors of hotels and restaurants throughout the country, a proposal with which I entirely agree. But if the hotels and restaurants in the country are given the right to make that application—and mind you it is only just power to make application to the district justice—I see no reason whatever why we should differentiate between the owner of an hotel or restaurant and the owner of a licensed premises who is in a position to provide amusements. In many of the tourist areas it is the proprietor of licensed premises who is in a position to provide facilities for dancing during the tourist season. I would, therefore, ask the Minister to consider that point, and to agree to my amendment.

Mr. Boland

So far as I know, public houses have not dance halls attached, which are actually part of the licensed premises, while hotels and restaurants often have. I do not think there is much point in this amendment. As far as I know, the owner of licensed premises who has a dance hall, not part of the licensed premises, can get an occasional licence for that dance hall.

To sell liquor? Surely, that is not so.

Mr. Boland

Not for a licensed premises, but if he has a dance hall as a separate premises he can get an occasional licence for that.

He can get a licence for the occasion?

Mr. Boland

Yes. Even marquees on the occasion of a fête could get an occasional licence. The same thing applies to anyone who has a dance hall. I do not think that there is any public house or licensed premises suitable for a dance.

With a hall attached.

Mr. Boland

I do not want Deputy Lynch to think that I have got my heels dug in, but as far as the other matter is concerned I am quite satisfied that I could not do it. This is a departure with which I am not inclined to agree. If a man has a dance hall and it is not attached to licensed premises, it is possible to get an occasional licence.

Under what Act is that?

Mr. Boland

I am told under the Act of '62 as amended by the '27 Act, Section 6. A person can get an occasional licence, even for a marquee out in a field.

The point I would put to the Minister is that a hall and a licensed premises may be under the one roof. Can the owner of the hall and the licensed premises apply for permission to sell intoxicating drink from 12 o'clock midnight until 6 a.m. or 3 a.m. on Monday morning when, under this Bill, it is proposed to close every other public house to all kinds of traffic?

Mr. Boland

I am told that this amendment would be impracticable, anyhow.

The opening to which the Minister refers seems to be limited to the hours between sunrise and sunset.

Mr. Boland

Where there is a public ball there is an exception. It is a very intricate section.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 4, as amended, agreed to.

Mr. Boland

I am agreeable to accept Deputy McGilligan's amendment, No. 23.

Mine has a wider area in view than that of the Minister, No. 21. I understood that this was a transfer that was regarded as a desirable one and, that being the case, I thought that, in the wider area, the transfer could be better effected. The Minister is going to look into the wider areas?

Mr. Boland

I am prepared to do that. That was put to me also by the licensed vintners. I am prepared to accept the principle, but the amendment may need redrafting.

Amendments Nos. 21 to 23, inclusive, not moved.

I am not sure whether amendment No. 24, which is in my name, is necessary. The Minister's own amendment would seem to say that it can be done at a sitting of the district court. Does that mean a sitting of the district court anywhere?

Mr. Boland

That is so.

Amendments Nos. 24 and 25 not moved.
Section 5 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 6 stand part of the Bill".

On this section I want to ask a question. I think there is no doubt about it but there are people who have some doubts. Merely certifying that the premises are a restaurant only means that they are enabled to carry on a restaurant business during these hours and that they are not allowed to sell liquor? It does not mean that, so to speak, they can drift out into the sale of all sorts of intoxicants?

Mr. Boland

No, it does not mean that at all.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. Lynch

I move amendment No. 27:—

Section 13 of the Act of 1927, subsection (1), is hereby amended by the addition after the words "St. Patrick's Day" of the words "nor on any Christmas Day".

The object of this amendment is to allow a hotel or restaurant to serve liquor with a meal on Christmas Day. That is not permitted by the Act of 1927, though it is permitted on St. Patrick's Day. There seems to be no reason why it should not be allowed on Christmas Day also.

Mr. Boland

I accept that.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 28 not moved.

I move amendment No. 29:—

Before Section 7 to insert a new section as follows:—

"Paragraph (e) of Section 14 of the Act of 1927 is hereby amended by the deletion of the words ‘Christmas Day' and ‘and St. Patrick's Day'."

This is an amendment to Section 14 of the Act of 1927. I think the Minister should give way on this as he has given way on the last one. Everyone knows that habits have changed enormously. People close up their houses at these holiday times, particularly at Christmas, and go to reside in hotels. I do not know what takes place now— whether on Christmas Eve they buy a bottle of whiskey or wine and bring it up to the room and put it in the locker for the Christmas Day dinner. I am opposed to people having to buy drink in bottles. I think it would be far better that they should order a glass of sherry, a glass of port or a glass of Beaune. I rather suspect that on the day these people arrive at the hotel they make provision for the following day. There is no harm in people taking a glass of wine at dinner on Christmas Day, and this is a reasonable amendment which I hope the Minister will accept.

Mr. Boland

I accept the amendment, which is a reasonable one.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 30:—

Before Section 7 to insert a new section as follows:—

Section 14 of the Act of 1927 is hereby amended by the addition of the following new paragraph:—

the sale by the holder of an on-licence (which is not a six-day licence) of intoxicating liquor for consumption on his licensed premises on any Sunday between the hours of 11 o'clock in the morning and 11 o'clock in the evening to persons who produce tickets showing that they have travelled by omnibus or other public vehicle for a distance of not less than ten miles from the place where they lodged during the previous night.

The object of this is to allow bus passengers to obtain refreshments on Sundays between the hours mentioned. At present railway passengers are entitled—and always have been entitled—to privileges of that kind at railway stations when travelling. I would like the Minister to consider some concession in this direction. I can assure him that the Irish Tourist Association has suggested to me that there is a strong case for it. Very frequently large excursion parties arrive in tourist areas on Sunday morning. I have seen Great Northern Railway buses arriving in Killarney at 9 or 10 o'clock in the morning. The passengers tour the lakes and start back in the late evening. Some provision should be made for tourists of that type, who spend one day in the area, to enable them to obtain reasonable refreshments.

Mr. Boland

That would be very difficult to work. I do not think there is any case for it, any more than for a man going by car. When it is a question of a railway passenger——

Why is there a distinction then?

Mr. Boland

I do not see how this could be worked.

I agree that it is difficult.

Mr. Boland

It would lead to all the old abuses. I ask the Deputy not to press it. I gave the Tourist Association no hope whatever on that point, I can assure the Deputy.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

In the hope that the Minister may be induced, in amendment No. 42, to go a little further to 12 midnight instead of 11 o'clock, I will not move amendment No. 31, and will defer my remarks until we are discussing amendment No. 42.

Amendment No. 31 not moved.

I move amendment No. 32:

Before Section 7 to insert a new section as follows:

Section 15 of the Act of 1927 is hereby amended by the deletion of sub-sections (1) and (2) and the substitution in lieu thereof of the following sub-sections, that is to say:

(1) Nothing in this Act shall operate to prohibit the holder of an on-licence (not being a six-day licence) in respect of premises which are not situate in a county borough from selling intoxicating liquor for consumption on such licensed premises to bona fide travellers:

(a) on any week-day, during a period of summer time, at any time except between the hours of one o'clock in the morning and six o'clock in the morning, or

(b) on any other week-day at any time except between the hours of midnight and six o'clock in the morning, or

(c) on any Sunday, during a period of summer time, between the hours of one o'clock in the afternoon and eight o'clock in the evening, or

(d) on any other Sunday, between the hours of one o'clock in the afternoon and seven in the evening.

I will not take the chance of waiting until the Minister comes to his own amendment, as there are some points I would like to make about this amendment of mine.

Mr. Boland

I would ask the Chair if we are to take a decision on all these amendments together, as we did on the 11 o'clock question.

I presume the House is agreeable to debate all these bona fide sections together, and have one decision.

On the Second Reading, the Minister said he would agree to bona fide traffic to 11.30 on an ordinary week-day. My amendment is to extend that to 1 a.m. summer time, or 11.30 by the sun. There are many reasons for it. One reason is that in my particular locality—Westmeath—we have the lakes where the dapping season at the end of May runs into June, and the tourists there fish until it is dark. They fish near villages like Finea and Castletown, where there are no hotels, and where they board in public houses. There is no reason why these men should not be entitled to refreshment. It is daylight at 11.30— which is 10 o'clock by the sun—and they keep out on the lakes. The Green fly fishing is followed by the Morrough fly, and there is trout fishing all the summer, and these people should be entitled to get a drink when they come in. Very often they stay five or six miles from the lake. There was a time when they came by motor, but they come now by bicycle.

In the same way, men who come into town to attend a circus should be entitled to a drink after the circus; or if the local dramatic society puts on a drama or a concert, they should be entitled to a drink when they come out. These performances cannot be billed as they are billed for a theatre in Dublin. You cannot say that the performance will commence at 8 o'clock summer time. The performance will commence when the people have done their work; they will troop in at dark and go by the sun time. There should not be a taboo against their getting drink. If there is a dance or a ceilidhe in the locality, people should be entitled to get refreshments when it is over. All this talk we have heard about bicycle brigades going from one town to another does not apply there. Of course, it happens in Deputy Davin's constituency, but that is a benighted constituency that elected Deputy Davin. I would not wonder at what happens there.

Do those fishermen take anything with them in the boat?

They catch the fish and they want a drink afterwards. It is in Dún Laoghaire harbour that they bring it out in the boat. They are keen on the art of fishing down my way, and want a drink when they are done. I move the amendment, and would ask the Minister to accept it.

There is an amendment very much to the same effect in the names of Deputy Linehan, Deputy Ryan, Deputy Morrissey and myself. I associated my name with that amendment in this spirit. Whatever licensing laws we have in this country, I should like to see them respected and carried out, not only by the officers of the State, but by the general public as well. If we have licensing laws that are unduly restrictive, or that in themselves interfere to too great an extent with the reasonable requirements of the people, I think, no matter how many Acts of that kind are passed, they are doomed to failure on the very day of their passing, in so far as if they carry on their face the stamp of being unreasonable, of interfering to an undue extent with the ordinary normal requirements of the people, then those Acts will not get public support, and the public servants charged with the responsibility of carrying out such Acts will carry them out in a rather lame way.

As this Bill stands, it would seem that we are to lay it down in this country, from north to south, from east to west, that under no circumstances, no matter if a man has travelled 200 miles between the hours of 10 o'clock at night and 10 o'clock the following morning, can drink be supplied to him in an ordinary licensed house. On the face of it, that is unreasonable. There is nothing evil in alcohol; there is nothing more evil in a glass of whiskey or a pint of beer than there is in a pound of beef. It is the abuse of either one or the other that brings about the evil, that is dangerous and harmful. Our object should not be to prevent people getting any type of solid or liquid refreshment that they want; our legislation should be aimed at preventing abuses in the use of any commodity, the outstanding one being alcohol. World experience should have taught us this much, that over-interference with the people and too rigid restrictions on a population produce reactions among the public so that the end is far worse than the beginning.

Experiments have been tried in many countries, and I think experience has shown—and time will tell here— that the only type of legislation that is likely to succeed in removing the abuses that are there and removing the scandals that have existed, is reasonable, common-sense legislation. It is definitely unreasonable to say that for 12 hours out of the 24 the person who treats himself or a friend, the person who secures refreshment, is going to be branded as a law-breaker. The Minister told us that the purpose of this legislation is to deal with disorderly houses, to put down all-night drinking, to deal with the houses that have a far bigger trade during the hours of the night and the early hours of the morning than would be done during the normal working hours. Having introduced his Bill on that note, the Minister proceeds by the very drastic provisions contained in the Bill to drive every legitimate trader into the position of being a law-breaker if he is to listen to the appeals, the knocks and the demands of his customers. That is entirely unreasonable.

The all-night house would be dealt with by the suggestions contained in any of these amendments. The all-night house would be dealt with by allowing a reasonable margin for bona fide trading over the normal hours, such as is suggested here—1 a.m. in summer time and 12 midnight in the winter. The gap between that and the ordinary hours of trading has been considerably lessened by amendments already outlined by the Minister. I urge on the Minister the advisability of accepting the type of amendment that is before him. He will at least deal with the type of house that, he has indicated, has brought about all this legislation. He would have more public support behind him and far more support from the trade in dealing with abuses and breaches of the law if the law in itself is reasonable, is common sense and appears to be fair, not only to the trader but to the general public.

I am not so very keen on the amendments from the point of view of the trader. I am more interested in the amendments from the point of view of the general public and the rights of ordinary, well-behaved citizens. I think it is an entirely undue and bureaucratic interference with the ordinary free people of this country to say that a law has to be introduced to make it a crime to take alcoholic beverages in a licensed house between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. That particular suggestion is so restrictive that it will lead to widespread law-breaking of, what some may consider, a minor kind. The Minister and his colleagues are long enough in public life to know that, if you are to have the laws of the land respected, you must have those laws founded on a reasonable foundation, and that the very minute you bring about a mentality that "this is an unreasonable law and we will ignore it, brush it aside," it is only a step from that to the breaking of another law, and still another after that. What is really required more than anything else in this country is to stamp into the mind of the ordinary member of the community as deep a respect for all the laws as would be found in other democracies.

Our background historically over a very great number of years, indeed over a number of centuries, is a background of conflict between the people and the law. National aspirations, the national demands, the national agitations and one national movement after another found themselves in those days in conflict with the law, so that, with our papfeed, every one of us imbibed disrespect for the law and a kind of natural tendency to break and to oppose laws. Times are changed. We are our own law-makers now. We are making laws with the authority of the people, and we should make those laws with the approval of the people, and, above all, we should not legislate here in an Irish Parliament to make laws which unduly interfere with the normal rights, the normal recreations and the normal pleasures of normal people. If there are abnormal people in the community, deal with them, but do not deal with them by victimising the ordinary people. If there are abnormal licensed houses, badly supervised, badly managed, badly kept, there is ample machinery in existing Acts to empower the State to deal with them; but do not deal with them by hitting, and hitting hard, the ordinary people of the community and the ordinary member of the trade who has conducted his business within the law in an orderly and proper manner.

The particular suggestions contained in the Bill as it stands are unreasonable, either from the point of view of the member of the general public or from the point of view of the well-conducted business. The Minister, on an earlier stage of the Bill, said that his reasons for introducing the Bill, and his complaints against members of the licensed trade, were not based on a few houses in County Dublin or any other county, that abuses of the Acts in houses carried on in an improper manner were to be found in every county and every parish.

Presumably a Minister making a statement of that kind does not make it on the basis of his information as the man in the street. A Minister making such a statement bases it on information received by him as a Minister, through the services operating and functioning under him. It is an extraordinary thing that if there are houses badly-conducted, breaking the law, giving scandal and demoralising people in every parish in the country, there have been only 35 objections on behalf of the State to the renewal of licences, and that, of those 35 objections, only five were considered reasonable by the courts of the land.

On the very evidence of the Minister's answers, it would appear that the whole necessity for tightening up of a drastic kind is based on a very small percentage of the licensed houses, and because there is a very small percentage of the licensed houses improperly supervised, badly managed and anything but well-conducted, the well-conducted, highly organised trade throughout the country is to be hit, and hit drastically, and what is more, the ordinary normal citizen is to suffer more restrictions, more interference with his rights as an individual than, so far as I know, is the case in any other European country.

Are we such a weak-minded, spineless people in this country that we cannot conduct ourselves unless the State steps in between us and temptation, and unless there is a policeman to keep us from making fools of ourselves, and that the conduct of Irish people depends upon the amount of policing over every individual? I think that over-drastic legislation will do harm instead of good. Reasonable legislation, reasonable provision for reasonable people, will get reasonable people behind the State, behind the services of the State and behind the laws of the State.

I urge the Minister very strongly to consider at this stage the advisability of accepting amendments such as those before him, that bona fide trading should not be allowed during the late hours of the night or the early hours of the morning—there are the ordinary legal hours for open trading—that bona fide trading be allowed up to 12 midnight winter time or 1 a.m. summer time, that from 12 midnight winter time or 1 a.m. summer time until 6 a.m., no licensed house be allowed to serve anyone with alcoholic refreshment no matter how pressing his case is, and, having got an Act containing restrictions of that kind— reasonable restrictions, sensible restrictions and restrictions which will prevent the scandal of the all-night house—the Minister will not only have the full co-operation of his own State servants, but will have, what is more valuable in a democracy, the co-operation of the general public brought about by the belief that the Minister's legislation is reasonable and not unreasonable.

In connection with the bona fide traffic, one of the reasons why I and some of the other Deputies in this Party were induced to set out the hours we set out in the amendments in our names was the point which has been raised often enough in this discussion already, that is, the differentiation, particularly in country districts, between the observance of what is called summer time and what people actually do. I understand that the Minister is prepared to move from his original proposal to abolish the bona fide traffic altogether to a limitation of the period during which no licensed trade may operate to the period from 11 o'clock at night to 6 o'clock in the morning.

Again the difficulty arises there that 11 o'clock at night in country districts in summer time means 10 o'clock for all practical purposes, and that is a completely unreasonable hour, in my opinion, for the closing of the bona fide trade. I am convinced that, to be reasonable about it, 12 o'clock summer time, or 11 o'clock in the period when summer time is not in force, would be the most reasonable hours. I think it is the natural way of looking at it, and I do not think the Minister would be giving very much away in granting that concession of one hour.

So far as the general principles involved in the amendment and the Minister's attitude towards it are concerned, the main point that impressed me in respect of the value of the abolition of the bona fide traffic during the night was in dealing with the question of drink at dances in rural areas. As everybody knows, 90 per cent. of the dances in these places are held on Sunday nights. The position up to the present was that dances started at 9 or 10 o'clock and continued until 12 o'clock. After 12 o'clock, the ordinary bona fide hours started for Monday and the dance hall emptied and everybody went to the public house. If the Minister agreed to 12 midnight during the period of summer time and 11 o'clock during the period when summer time is not in force, he would be doing a reasonable job. I think the Minister would not be giving away too much if he gave away that hour, and that any great harm that was being done by permitting the carrying on of the bona fide trade during the night will be knocked out by leaving the hours as suggested in these amendments from this Party. I put it to the Minister that the hour of 10 o'clock old time, which his suggestion means, is entirely too early.

When I saw the Bill at first I got a bit of a shock. I was wondering if the Minister had turned into a Scotsman. If there is anything I dislike and anything which causes trouble in a community, it is puritanical action of any kind. Wherever this puritanical attitude was adopted it always caused trouble. Here we have the Minister proposing that in this country we should go from one extreme to the other. If there was anyone on the Ministerial side of the House whom I regarded from experience as a practical man, it was the Minister. But I got a rude shock when I saw this provision in the Bill. So far as I am concerned, the Minister may close the public houses for 24 hours of every day. But I am not the community. The people want some accommodation and they should get it. Let me admit, for the purpose of argument, that abuses took place. Surely that does not justify flying to the other extreme and interfering with the rights of ordinary people? Because half a dozen people in a district—and that would be as many as there would be, taking the country as a whole—abuse the rights given them, why should other people be penalised?

I travel very little by road, and really the only experience I had of travelling by road at night was about two years ago. I arrived about midnight at Athlone and found I wanted petrol. The gentleman who owned the garage at which I stopped apparently was too important to sell any petrol and I had to drive away. Ultimately, I arrived in some town in the Minister's constituency. By that time my petrol supply was running short and I was hungry and thirsty. In despair, I knocked at a house outside which there were petrol pumps. The people were all in bed, but the man came down and gave me petrol. He asked me where I was travelling to, and when I said Donegal, he said: "You have a long way to go. Will you come inside?" I said I would, that I was starving with hunger. I went in and had a glass or two of wine. Is that an abuse of any right by a man in the position in which I was on that occasion? For people who are travelling in that way these simple amenities are elementary rights. Perhaps they obtained on too broad a scale. But why should we because of that fly to the other extreme and become rigid puritans? I think it is ridiculous and it shocked me when I saw it. I thought it was incredible that the Minister should be responsible for it.

In my opinion, the only question before the House is to strike a happy medium in this matter. When I saw the amendments on the Paper, I liked amendment No. 33 rather than my own. I do not like varying hours. In making a law of this kind I think the hours should be uniform. But the unfortunate thing is that not only have we summer time, but double summer time. The time is completely put out of gear. Therefore, it is essential in a matter of this kind that we should have varying hours with regard to summer time and winter time. For that reason I prefer amendment No. 33 to my own. I think 1 o'clock in summer time is very reasonable, as it is really only 11.30. When I put down my amendment what I had in mind was this. I had an earlier amendment advancing the closing hour to 11 o'clock. I then wanted to restrict the time between the ordinary closing and the time for the bona fide trade, so that people could not get out very far to abuse the bona fide trade. Now the Minister has agreed to 10.30 for the closing of public houses, and I think his amendment with regard to 11 o'clock for the bona fide trade goes by the board. It is simply futile. Rather than stand by that, I think he should do what he proposed originally and put an end to the bona fide trade altogether. There would be only half an hour after the ordinary closing hour for the bona fide trade. I think it would make the Bill ridiculous; that it would make it appear that we were not serious or practical about this matter. If the Minister accepted the proposals in amendment No. 33, I think it would cut short this discussion and let us get on with the other amendments. I think they are reasonable proposals. On reflection, I think the Minister could not defend the jump from one extreme to the other. It was really ridiculous and I was surprised to see it. I think the Minister should accept the proposals in amendment No. 33 which I am willing to accept.

I would not agree with that hour at all. It would only lead to the trouble we had before.

As a matter of fact, I did not intend to push it that far. I was prepared to go half-way with the Minister.

Mr. Boland

We were talking about Sunday. I think the hour would prevent the abuses I have referred to. For the night time I am prepared to advance it from 11 to 11.30. Perhaps somebody will be taking a chance and breaking the speed limit.

I suggest to the Minister to make it a firm midnight.

For winter and summer?

I would like to make it 12 midnight for all the year round. There are various amendments down dealing with this matter. There is one in my name suggesting 12 o'clock. The Minister having agreed to 10.30 for the closing of public houses on week nights for the whole of the year, I do not think it would lead to any more abuse of the licensing laws if he agreed to 12 midnight for the bona fide trade, or 1½ hours later. If the Minister is to give any recognition at all to the principle of government of the people by the people for the people he would be wise to accept 12 midnight the whole year round for the bona fide trade. I think he will have dealt very fairly with what he has in mind, which is to cut out these abuses in connection with the licensing laws— people gallivanting around the country and drinking until 3 and 4 o'clock in the morning, and all that sort of thing. I think it would be better if the Minister were to get away from the Ministerial point of view and get down again to the point of view of the ordinary John Citizen. He must realise that in country towns, people, after their day's work, come in to attend meetings or concerts—perhaps something in connection with tourism or something like that—and sometimes these meetings or concerts do not end until after 11 o'clock. Surely it is not too much to ask the Minister to agree that a person like that, coming in to a concert or a meeting, or in connection with some other business, whether political or otherwise, should be allowed to have a drink as a bona fide traveller up to 12 midnight. I think that if the Minister would agree to alter his own amendment to that extent, he would meet the views of all sides of the House.

Could the Minister agree to that?

Mr. Boland

Well, as I have said about 100 times already, my object is to remedy these abuses, and I am afraid that if this is accepted, that object is defeated, and the whole Bill is in vain. However, I do not want to stand out against the House, but I am afraid that the whole purpose of the Bill will be defeated by this.

I do not think it will.

Mr. Boland

Well, in God's name, I hope it will not.

Is that hour of 12 midnight to be a national hour—for county and borough?

Mr. Boland


Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments 33-36, inclusive, not moved.

I wish to move amendment No. 37: standing in the name of Deputy Fionán Lynch:—

Before Section 7 to insert a new section as follows:—

(c) the holder of an on-licence in respect of premises situate in a scheduled tourist area from selling intoxicating liquor for consumption on such licensed premises to bona fide travellers who are tourists and who have travelled not less than 25 miles to the said tourist area:—

(i) at any time on any week day,

(ii) at any time on any Sunday.

Mr. Boland

I thought that Deputy Lynch was not serious in this amendment, as I notice he has left the House.

Well, as far as I understand it, the object behind this particular amendment is to deal with places that might be placed in the category of tourist resorts, and I think it was Deputy Lynch's idea that some concession should be given to those areas in connection with the bona fide trade, whether on week days or Sundays. Of course, I cannot advance Deputy Lynch's actual ideas on the matter, but I understand that that was the object he had in view.

Mr. Boland

I do not think I could accept this. I heard the views of the Tourist Association on that matter, but I think it would not be possible to work it. Mention is made in the amendment of people who have travelled not less than 25 miles to the tourist area concerned, but if people were living there for even a fortnight it would mean that they should be treated as bona fide travellers. I could not accept the amendment.

The amendment may be going too far, perhaps, but take the case of genuine tourists—people going to tourist resorts on holiday. Those of them who stay in a licensed premises, such as a hotel, can have all the drink they want at any hour of the day or night, but those who stay in a non-licensed premises, such as a cottage or a private house, and who want to have a drink, are debarred from having it. These people go to such resorts for a certain amount of relaxation, and I think there should be some variation in the ordinary laws, so far as such people are concerned. Otherwise, it places a handicap on the man who wants to spend a quiet holiday and who is not staying in a licensed premises. If he is staying in a hotel which has a licence he can get all the drink he wants, but if he is a paying guest in a private house or cottage he cannot get a drink.

I should like to support the suggestion made by Deputy Keyes, because I think there is a lot in it. The great majority of our seaside resorts are in their original state, and have practically no amenities except those with which nature provided them. They are beautiful places, but they are undeveloped. Generally, in such places, there is one fairly substantial hotel, and when that hotel is fully occupied, the other people have to live or take lodgings in private houses or cottages of one kind or another. As Deputy Keyes has pointed out, the people staying in the hotel can get all the drink they want at any hour, but the other people, living in private houses, or staying as paying guests, cannot get a drink at all. I think it was about three years ago that this House spent a considerable amount of time and did a good lot of work in connection with a Bill for the development of the tourist traffic in this country. I think we voted something like half a million pounds plus about £40,000 annually, as a contribution to the Tourist Board that was set up. Of course, even that amount of money is only a fleabite so far as the development of this country is concerned. There are places in this country, even in my own county, where you could spend £1,000,000 to bring them up to the requirements of modern tourist traffic. These are beautiful places—as beautiful as could be found in any part of the world. In my opinion they are matchless, but they are there in what I might call a raw state. Now, the development of such places would be a great source of wealth to this country generally, and I think it would have been a very wise policy for this country to have allocated a far bigger sum for that purpose. The sum that was allocated would not even touch the fringe of the matter. All it would do would be to provide a swimming-pool or a bathing box here and there, but it would not touch the real fringe of the problem.

Accordingly, I think that in connection with this Bill, the Minister should take power—he need not use the power until it is necessary—to make an exemption in the case of these districts. There are not so many of them, and they want all the help that can be given to them—far more than has been given. I should like to see millions of pounds being spent on these places, and, as I have said, it would be a source of great wealth to this country. I think the Minister should declare such districts as tourist districts so that the people who were there for, say, three or four days, could be declared bona fide and could have a drink. Such people, perhaps, are away all day, playing tennis or golf, or engaging in sea fishing, and so on. They stay away until about 10 o'clock in the evening, and then they come back and have to get their dinner, but by that time they cannot get a drink.

I am not so much concerned with the people of this country in this particular matter. I am looking far further afield and am hoping for the time when this country may become a world centre for tourists, which it should be, and which it is not, simply because of the lack of development. In my opinion, cities like Paris, London and so on, have nothing to compare with the attractions that we can offer. All they have to show are public buildings and, of course, the monuments to characters in history, but we can give tourists the most beautiful scenery in the world—the matchless scenery that human hands cannot produce. We have that all around the shores of this country, and I think the Minister should take power in this Bill —because I do not want to see Bills dealing with the licensing laws coming along year after year—to deal with this matter. As I said, he need not use the power until it is necessary, but I think he should have that power until such time as this House may decide to contribute a much larger sum for the development of these places. I should like to see millions spent on their development. As I said, it is one of the things staring us in the face in this country, and yet we do not deal with it. It has been alleged that we are a very radical and lawless people. In my opinion, we are one of the most conservative people in the world. At any rate, one proof of that is that we will not lash out and raise money to develop these resorts, the proper development of which would mean an enormous source of wealth to our country. The Minister should take power to declare these districts tourist districts so that the people who are there for three or four days or more would be regarded as bona fide and, thereby, have the amenities. As I said, he need not use that power until it is necessary.

Mr. Boland

I think this thing is impossible. There is no greater tourist centre in the whole of Ireland than Dublin City. I think more tourists come to Dublin City than anywhere else. How could I possibly schedule tourist centres throughout this country? All around the coast is beautiful. As a Dublin man, I think there is no better place than the outskirts of Dublin and even the city itself. How could I exclude Dublin and the districts all around the coast? The thing would be impossible. If that situation arises in future, let somebody else deal with it. I do not see how I could deal with it. I could not say what is a tourist area or what is not. I would not like to take on the job and nobody else would. I could not exclude Dublin City. Everyone knows that Dublin is packed out with tourists, both from this country and other countries.

It is a joke to suggest that Dublin should be declared a tourist centre. It is only a pivot from which the tourist traffic radiates. That is all it is. It is ridiculous to suggest that Dublin is a tourist centre.

Mr. Boland

Of course it is.

It is a landing spot, perhaps, and a departure spot. That is all it is. Nobody could suggest it is a tourist centre. With regard to the towns surrounding it, they have ample accommodation, big hotels, that hold all the tourists in it. Of course, if the Minister does not see his way and is afraid to face the future, I cannot press him.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Lynch

I move amendment No. 38:—

Before Section 7 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) For the purposes of this section the Minister may by order, if he so thinks proper, on application made to him, declare that any area which, in his opinion, is wont to be used, or is likely to be used, as a resort for the purpose of seeking health, pleasure or holiday recreation by a considerable number of persons, who for any of the said purposes become or are likely to become temporarily resident in the said area shall be a holiday resort.

(2) Save as is otherwise provided by this section it shall not be lawful for any person in any place so declared to be a holiday resort to sell or expose for sale or open or keep open any premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor or to permit any intoxicating liquor to be consumed on licensed premises:—

(a) on any ordinary week-day—

(i) during the period between 1st May and 30th September before the hour of 10 o'clock in the morning and after the hour of 12 o'clock midnight, or

(ii) during the period between 1st October and the following 30th April, before the hour of 10 o'clock in the morning and after the hour of 10 o'clock in the evening in any urban county district or town the population of which district or town according to the census which is for the time being the last census exceeds 5,000 or before the hour of 9 o'clock in the morning, or after the hour of 9 o'clock in the evening in any place not being a county borough or such urban county district;

(b) on any Saturday—

(i) during the period 1st May and 30th September before the hour of 10 o'clock in the morning and after the hour of 11 o'clock in the evening, or

(ii) during the period between 1st October and the following 30th April, before the hour of 10 o'clock in the morning and after the hour of 9.30 o'clock in the evening in an urban county district or town the population of which district or town according to the census which is for the time being the last census exceeds 5,000 or before the hour of 9 o'clock in the morning or after 9 o'clock in the evening in any place not being a county borough or such urban county district, or

(c) at any time on any Sunday or on Christmas Day, Good Friday or St. Patrick's Day.

(3) Nothing in this section or in the Act of 1927 shall operate to prohibit the holder of an on-licence (which is not a six-day licence) in respect of premises in an area so declared to be a holiday resort from selling intoxicating liquor for consumption on such licensed premises to persons who are temporarily resident in such area on any Sunday during the period between 1st May and 30th September between the hours of 1 o'clock and 6.30 o'clock in the afternoon and between the hours of 8.30 o'clock and 11 o'clock in the evening.

(4) Every person who shall sell or expose for sale any intoxicating liquor or open or keep open any premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor or permit any intoxicating liquor to be consumed on licensed premises in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof in the case of a first offence to a fine not exceeding £20 or in the case of a second or any subsequent offence to a fine not exceeding £40.

(5) For the purposes of this section, the expressions "Minister", "Ordinary week-day", "Saturday", "Sunday", and "St. Patrick's Day" shall have the same meaning as they respectively have in the Act of 1927.

This again is one of the proposals of the Irish Tourist Association to provide for the special circumstances of tourist areas. It asks, in paragraph (1), that the Minister should declare any area to be a tourist area and in paragraph (2) it sets out special licensing powers for week-days and Saturdays, and so on, during the tourist season. I do not know whether the Minister has given any consideration to it, but the Tourist Association are extremely keen on having this provision included in the Intoxicating Liquor Bill. There seems to be a fair case, I think, for it and I would like to have the Minister's views on it.

Mr. Boland

I think the thing would be impracticable. One of the difficulties—not the only difficulty, but the big difficulty—would be, how could anybody schedule these areas? I do not think Deputy Lynch was here when I mentioned Dublin. Tourists do come to Dublin. It is not merely a jumping-off ground at all. They stay out by Dollymount, Portmarnock, and other places. They come from Roscommon and other parts of the country and stay in Dublin for a couple of weeks. I do not see how you could possibly exclude Dublin. We would have all that trouble. I think the thing is impossible, and impracticable altogether. If I could see any way of doing it, I would agree to it, but I do not. I think I told the tourist people that, too.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 39 not moved.

On amendments Nos. 40 and 41 the question of mileage for bona fide travellers arises.

Mr. Boland

If it would shorten the debate I will accept those amendments.

Amendments Nos. 40 and 41 not moved, on the understanding that the Minister will table an amendment on Report Stage.

Mr. Lynch

If this means that the House is assenting to some arrangement by which the present mileage would be increased, especially in rural areas, I certainly do not want to be taken as assenting to it, because I am going to oppose very strongly any increase in the mileage in rural areas. I do not care what is done about Dublin, but in the country areas we still use the ass and cart and the horse and cart and the mule and cart. We are not provided to any great extent with motors or anything else, and no real case can be made for increasing the present three mile limit.

The Deputy would have an opportunity of opposing the Ministerial amendment on Report Stage.

Mr. Boland

I thought there was a lot of support for this on the opposite side and I was not going to resist it.

The Deputy had better move amendment No. 40.

Mr. Boland

I am not going to oppose it anyway. I do not know where that leaves me.

There is opposition. Deputy Dockrell should move his amendment.

I feel the Minister's attitude left me time to consider it. There will be time to consider it between now and the Report Stage.

Mr. Boland

I will put down an amendment and have it debated.

I take amendments Nos. 40 and 41 as not moved. An amendment will be submitted on Report Stage.

Amendments Nos. 40 to 45, inclusive, not moved.

Amendments Nos. 46 and 47 are interdependent.

I take it the Minister has met my idea of a break on this. Is not that the position?

That is in regard to the Sunday hours in the boroughs?

I think so. It is for the Minister to say.

The Minister is having a break and that was the point I wanted to make.

Mr. Boland

Yes. We have not quite decided on what the exact break will be, but we have agreed to have a break.

Amendments Nos. 46 and 47 not moved.
Section 7 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 48.

Before Section 8 to insert a new section as follows:

Section 15 of the Act of 1927 is hereby amended by the addition of the following sub-section, that is to say:

Whenever the justice of a District Court is satisfied on the application of a superintendent of the Gárda Síochána that for good and sufficient reasons the hours during which bona fide travellers may be served on a particular premises should be limited, the justice may at his discretion limit the hours for the sale of intoxicating drink on such premises.

I gave reasons for this proposal previously. I think it would strengthen the hands of the courts and of the Guards in enforcing the law when dealing with bona fide traffic until 12 o'clock at night. While the wording may not be appropriate the principle is that, where a superintendent believes there would be grave abuse of the bona fide traffic in the hours between 10.30 and 12, the justice hearing an application will have power to limit the hours of the bona fide trading. The Dáil has already given extra power to district justices to decide whether there are abuses or not, and the justice instead of taking away the licence would, by the amendment, have power to limit the trading hours.

Mr. Boland

I do not think the amendment would serve the purpose intended. At present a justice can endorse a licence and penalise a publican. I do not think the amendment would meet the position that the Deputy has in mind.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Lynch

I move amendment No. 49.

Before Section 8, to insert a new section as follows:

Section 16 of the Act of 1927 is hereby amended by the addition in sub-section (1), after the words "(not being or forming part of a county borough)", of the words "or by any holder of an on-licence in that licensing area"; and by the deletion in sub-section (1) of the words "(not exceeding in the whole three hours)."

The object is to amend Section 16 of the Act of 1927, and to empower any holder of a seven-day on-licence, as well as an officer of the Gárda Síochána, to apply to the court for an area exemption order to extend the time limit beyond three hours on the occasion of football or hurling matches. I understand that when there is a football match or anything of that kind in a particular area the onus of applying for an extension order is on the local superintendent of the Gárda Síochána. It is only he can make such an application to the District Court.

That is all right where there is a sensible superintendent there, but it works out otherwise where you have a superintendent with a different complex. Some superintendents have complete pussy-foot mentalities and would not allow anybody to have a drink. Nobody can persuade them to apply for an area exemption order for their locality. With other superintendents, for an occasion such as is contemplated, there would be no difficulty about having the application made. The difficulty can be got over by empowering any licence holder in the area to make such application.

Mr. Boland

Except for the three hours, I would be prepared to accept the amendment. There should be some limit to three hours which seems reasonable. If the Deputy would fix, say, four hours, I will accept it on principle, and have it brought in on Report, so that a licensed trader can apply as well as the superintendent, and make it four hours.

Why not leave the hours to the justice to decide?

Mr. Boland

I would like to fix a limit. It is not likely that four hours would be unacceptable. I am safeguarding the position, because the superintendent can still oppose if he thinks it unreasonable.

A particular justice might be found who would refuse to give anything at all because he had a particular mentality.

Mr. Boland


Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Minister will table an amendment for the Report Stage.

Amendments Nos. 50 and 51 not moved.

I move amendment No. 52:—

Before Section 8 to insert a new section as follows:—

Section 24 of the Act of 1927 is hereby amended by the deletion of the word "drink" and the substitution therefor of the words "intoxicating liquor".

Section 24 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act, 1927, states that where a licensed person is convicted of an offence under the Food and Drugs Act a licence had to be endorsed as for the sale of "drink". That came to be interpreted as meaning the sale of drink of any kind. It could be read in that way where a licensed trader was carrying on a mixed trade and selling groceries. If he sold vinegar that on analysis was found not to be of the character described he was convicted for selling adulterated vinegar and his licence would be endorsed. It is suggested that this section should read "for the sale of intoxicating liquor" instead of "drink". It would be most unfair that a licensed trader convicted under the Food and Drugs Act in connection with the sale of vinegar should have his licence endorsed.

Mr. Boland

I am agreeable to accept the amendment. I do not think that any case of the kind suggested ever occurred. I am sure there is ample provision for dealing with such cases under the Food and Drugs Act. I am prepared to make it definite that it is the sale of intoxicating drink only that will involve endorsement.

Is the amendment accepted as it stands?

Mr. Boland


Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 53 not moved.

On behalf of Deputy McGilligan I move amendment No. 54:

Before Section 8 to insert a new section as follows:—

Section 25 (1) of the Act of 1927 is hereby amended by deleting the word "shall" now contained therein and the substitution of the words "may if a Justice of the District Court so orders".

This amendment proposes to amend Section 25 of the Act of 1927 where it sets out that where the holder of a licence for the sale of intoxicating liquor is convicted of an offence, the conviction shall be recorded by the district justice on the licence, unless where the justice may find extenuating circumstances. At present where a justice convicts it is mandatory on him to endorse the conviction, unless there are extenuating circumstances to indicate that it was a trivial offence. In other words, if a trader is convicted, the justice has to look around for reasons that suggest that the offence was trivial. The object here is that when a case goes before a justice he shall have discretion as to whether he shall or shall not endorse the licence.

I put it to the Minister that the section has worked out badly since the Act was passed and that he will find, if he goes back over the statistics, that in the vast number of cases where licences were endorsed, in a high proportion the endorsements were removed by the circuit judge. The simple way to deal with the matter is to let the justice who has the facts before him decide whether or not the case was on the borderline, and leave it in his power to say whether the conviction should or should not be recorded. The only people who might be aggrieved by the Minister's acceptance of this amendment would be my own profession because, if discretion is left to the district justice as to whether or not he will endorse, we shall lose a valuable source of revenue in appeals to the circuit judge on the endorsement of licences.

I should like to adopt this amendment instead of my own amendment, No. 55, which had the same aim. Compulsory endorsement has worked out very badly in practice. It has put a strain on the inventive capacity of district justices to find "trivial circumstances". Since we have on the bench of the District Courts trained professional men, the discretion in cases of this kind should be left to them. It should be left to them to say whether or not a case brought against a licensed trader was of sufficient gravity to warrant an endorsement. The justice's hands should not be tied, and he should not be compelled, if he thinks there should not be an endorsement, to write out a rigmarole setting out the extenuating circumstances

Mr. Boland

I accept this proposal, but I should not like the impression to go out that we do not want any licences endorsed. We did intend to leave the matter to the discretion of the justices.

It may involve a certain amount of drafting, but would the Minister go the length of saying that the justice will have complete discretion in this matter? Will he assure us that this will not mean that, because an offence has been found to have been committed, the justice will say: "Now I must endorse unless you give me reasons against it"? I want the justice to have complete discretion.

Mr. Boland

I agree to that.

There is a phase of this matter which the Minister would be well advised to consider. This clause in the Intoxicating Liquor Act, 1927, was originally intended to be in terrorem. It has not effected its purpose.

Mr. Boland

It has not.

It is scarcely fair to those who have had their licences endorsed under circumstances which are now to be changed that these endorsements should remain. The Minister might consider that aspect of the matter. The original idea underlying endorsement was that the offence meriting it was of the major class. It would not have been possible during those 15 years to impose a smart fine unless the licence was endorsed. Endorsement is regarded as a very serious blot on the licensed premises and, possibly, on the character of the licensee. In considering the amendment of this section, the Minister should give attention to the cases I have mentioned. If it is his intention to start out afresh and to enforce the law in future, that should be done with notice and there should be a general absolution so far as past offences are concerned.

Mr. Boland

There is an amendment down to that effect. I am prepared to agree to that, too.

Amendment No. 54, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments Nos. 55 and 56 not moved.
Section 8 agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 57, 58 and 59 not moved.
Section 9 agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 60, 61 and 62 are not in order.

Section 10 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 63, as follows:—

Before Section 11 but in Part II of the Bill to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Act of 1927 or in any other enactment it shall not be lawful on St. Patrick's Day for any person to sell or expose for sale any intoxicating liquor or to open or keep open any premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor or to permit any intoxicating liquor to be consumed on licensed premises.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 6 of the Act of 1927 an occasional licence in respect of St. Patrick's Day shall not be granted to any person so as to exempt such person from the provisions of the Act of 1927 as amended by this Act.

I am asking the Minister to provide that drink shall not be exposed for sale in any place so long as the public houses are closed. I think that it is unfair that drink should be on sale at race meetings while the public houses are closed. If we are consistent regarding the St. Patrick's Day closing—and I have heard no complaints regarding it—it is wrong that people should be able to go to a race meeting, a hotel or club and drink as much as they like on that day. The Minister should agree to this amendment and prevent the sale of intoxicating liquor at any place on St. Patrick's Day.

To show the want of unanimity on the Labour Benches on this Bill, I propose definitely to oppose Deputy Hickey's amendment. If Deputy Hickey desired to give effect to his idea, he should have moved an amendment to open the public houses on St. Patrick's Day.

I will not.

This is like the case of the fox that lost its tail. Because the "pubs" are closed, every other place at which intoxicants are sold is to be closed, too. Some amenities should be permitted to the citizen. The man who attends a race meeting and backs five or six losers wants to console himself somewhere. He should have the right to go to the refreshment tent and bury his grievance there. Apart from the cases that come into that category, I should like to see the public houses open for limited hours on St. Patrick's Day. Since they are not open on that day, it is only right that some facilities should be allowed to citizens. Restricted facilities are provided by hotels and those other places to which Deputy Hickey referred. These should be allowed to remain, so that citizens may have some relaxation and so that, if they be patriotic, they can honour the National Apostle in true patriotic fashion by "drowning the shamrock". I hope that the Minister will not give any heed to what Deputy Hickey says.

Mr. Boland

I will not, but Deputies can talk away as much as they like.

I am surprised at the attitude that the Minister is taking up, and I am more surprised at Deputy Keyes' plea that public houses and clubs should be open on St. Patrick's Day. I remember when all the forces of a united Ireland were trying to provide that the national festival would be observed without the accompaniment of drink.

I object to preferential treatment being accorded to any class under the legislation passed here. The Minister has not the courage to give equal treatment to all classes. He is giving to wealthy people and members of clubs the unfair advantage of being able to get drink in clubs while the poor working man in the rural area will not be allowed to get a drink.

On another section on which the question might have had some relevance, Deputies were precluded from discussing the question of clubs. It is certainly not relevant now.

I ask the Minister to reconsider his statement that he is prepared to allow drinking on St. Patrick's Day.

Mr. Boland

As far as St. Patrick's Day is concerned, I am going to allow things to remain as they are.

The excuse given by the Minister for bringing in the Bill was to try to put an end to the scenes that, it was stated, were taking place in the County Dublin. There are other areas to be considered as well as the County Dublin. The position in the tourist areas ought to be considered. I come from a tourist area. Thousands of people come to the County Wicklow during the tourist season and, perhaps with the exception of one or two, no temperance man could make the slightest complaint against what takes place there. What I do complain about is that the Government, instead of carrying out the provisions of the 1927 Licensing Act, which aimed at reducing the number of public houses in the country, are increasing the number. The position now is that every idle mansion in the country can get a licence. Most of them are miles away from the Guards' barracks, and they get every facility. It is now proposed to give extra facilities to people to get drink on St. Patrick's Day.

Mr. Boland

I am not proposing to interfere with the present position as regards St. Patrick's Day. Some people have said that we are interfering with it, but we are not giving any extra facilities.

What about the hotels?

Mr. Boland

They have them already.

Are the Deputies prepared to go the whole way and advocate that on St. Patrick's Day it will be an offence for a person to have a drink in his own house? That really is what their proposal amounts to.

There should be no preferential treatment in connection with the sale of drink on St. Patrick's Day. Cut it out of the Bill altogether.

Amendment put and declared lost.
Section 11 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 64.

In sub-section (1), page 5, line 34, to delete the words "objection to."

This is really only a drafting amendment. Sub-section (1) of the section provides that an applicant shall give notice of his intention to apply for a licence in respect of specified premises. At the hearing before the Circuit Court if there be objection to such an application there is an obligation on the applicant to show certain things to the satisfaction of the court before the licence is granted. The remaining part of the sub-section, following paragraph (c), clearly implies that objectors can be heard under the provisions of an earlier Act. If the drafting be allowed to stand as it is at the moment it might possibly be implied that where an application is made, and nobody objects, the Circuit Court has no jurisdiction, in the absence of an objector, It is in order to make the position clear that I have put down the amendment. I am suggesting that it is necessary to put in something to make the position clear, such, for example, as "at the hearing of objections, if any," or by deleting the words "objection to," because it is clear in the next part of the sub-section that objections are permitted and can be heard.

Mr. Boland

I am advised that the section is all right as it is, but I will consult the Parliamentary draftsman on the matter.

On consideration of the matter, I think the Minister will find that there is some substance in it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 65:—

To delete sub-section (1) (b), page 5, lines 40-42, and to substitute therefor the following new paragraph:—

(b) that in the licensing year including the 1st day of January, 1933, a licence was in fact issued in respect of or was attached to the said premises or to premises substantially the same as the said premises.

This amendment merely aims at making what I understand to be the intention of the Minister in this section completely effective. It is well known, of course, that this section has application to a particular case. At the hearing of it the learned Circuit Court judge, who heard it, gave a written judgment, and during the course of the proceedings gave expression to certain views which, if taken at their face value, might mean that the licence which was granted by the late Recorder of Dublin for additional premises in, I think, the year 1922, was given without jurisdiction. The Minister is probably aware that the particular premises concerned in this matter were licensed in piecemeal: that originally there was a certain portion of the premises, then additional portions were added and the whole was licensed. Finally, in, I think, the year 1922, an application came before the late Recorder of Dublin to license the additional premises as well as the premises that were the subject of the licence at that time. That licence was granted by the Recorder of Dublin and continued in existence from 1922 until the licence expired some considerable number of years afterwards by reason of its not being renewed. The point was made that in 1922 the Recorder of Dublin had no jurisdiction, by reason of the provisions of the licensing Act of 1902, to give the licence that he did give. That particular judicial personage had a way of his own in dealing with matters that came before his court. Possibly, if anybody was interested in suggesting at the time that the Recorder had no jurisdiction it would not have affected his decision one way or the other. The point is that he made the Order at the time giving the additional licence.

It might now be open to an objector to say that Section 12 is all very well, but that so far as the person applying for a licence under it is concerned the section says that there must be a licence in existence on a certain date. Under sub-section (1), paragraph (b), it is provided that "on the 1st day of January, 1933, a licence was attached to the said premises". The argument would be that the expression "on the 1st day of January, 1933, a licence was attached to the premises" was mentioned to indicate the view of the Legislature that a licence was validly and lawfully granted, or attached, to the premises. It would then be open to the objector to say: "Oh, here is a flaw in the chain of the title to the various licences given to the premises." If that were so, then, of course, the whole section would be completely nullified, and the Minister's intention rendered nugatory. It appeared to me that I should draw the Minister's attention to that possible argument that might be put up. Now is the time to see, when the Bill is before the House, that no ingenious member of my fraternity will take advantage of any point of that kind.

Mr. Boland

There, again, I am advised that the section is all right, but I will have it examined.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 66:—

In sub-section (1), page 5, line 45, to delete the word "shall" and substitute the word "may".

The purpose of this amendment is to ensure that the court will have discretionary power in the matter. The section was clearly designed to grant a favour to a particular person, and I suggest to the Minister that this amendment would at least remove that construction from the section.

Mr. Boland

I think it is all right as it stands.

Would the Minister indicate why "shall" was put in? It may be highly desirable to do this, but I should like to know why you will not trust the district justice to do it? Why is he being coerced into doing it? Is there any fear that he will not do it if "may" is there?

Mr. Boland

As far as this section is concerned, it concerns a well-known premises here. I did mention the name here—Deputy McGilligan commented on that—and I did it for one reason. I have been accused by members of the Labour Party, in my own constituency, of having no other motive or intention in bringing in this Bill beyond "the Guiney section" as they called it, and the suggestion was that I myself had been paid. That was the reason I mentioned the name. That happened in Roscommon and Boyle; it was said there, and I have plenty of people to prove it. That is why I actually mentioned the name of the firm, and the other firms, too. My attitude, when I was first approached by this firm, was that I would not do it. I will be very frank on this whole matter.

Does the Minister say that a member of this Party made the accusation to which he has referred?

Mr. Boland

Not a member of your Party, but a would-be member—one who is trying to become a member. I was asked by a firm of solicitors, when this Bill was first mooted, to bring in a clause dealing with this particular case. I happen to be a personal friend of Mr. Guiney, and I would not do it; I simply funked doing it. When the Bill was being prepared, my assistants brought me some similar requests from other firms in the city, Messrs. Find-later and Messrs Mitchell. I said: "If there is a case on the merits there, am I justified—because I can be accused of being friendly with a particular person—in not doing for him what I am advised to do for other people? Should I not take my courage in my hands, and let the Labour Party and their spokesmen accuse me of anything they like?" That restaurant had a licence in 1933. It is a very popular restaurant. I do not want to advertise it, but I am forced to do so by this campaign initiated by the Labour Party spokesmen. This old-established restaurant had a licence in 1933. I understand that the person who bought it thought that there was no reason why he would not get a licence. In taking over such a big establishment he prevented a great lot of unemployment both in the drapery trade and in the restaurant portion of his business. The Government was very pleased when somebody did come along and take it over, because it is a very big firm, as we all know, and its closing down would have caused a serious increase in unemployment. Consequently, I brought in this provision. I think that firm is entitled to get a licence, and I stand over that decision. I have no fears whatever of any criticism levelled at me personally about that. I did say at the time that if those firms who had approached me would get an amendment brought in here I would favourably consider it. Then I saw that the more courageous thing was to face the matter myself. I have done so, and I have no apology to make to anyone. If the Labour Party think they are going to damage me in Roscommon or anywhere else they are making a big mistake; they will not succeed.

I think the Minister deserves a considerable amount of congratulation for his courage in bringing in this provision, and it is a matter of regret, purely from the public point of view, that charges of the kind he has mentioned should be levelled against him. It would be a very strange thing indeed if a person who has a claim which can be justified on its merits could be defeated in getting what are undoubtedly his rights, on his merits, merely because of the fact that some Government Minister would be afraid to face the slanderous charges that would be uttered against him. I myself have hesitated very much before speaking on this matter in view of the fact that I was counsel for the person concerned. I speak on it only because of the fact that there is a public justification for it, not a private justification of a particular individual. The premises concerned were faced with being closed. A vast amount of unemployment was about to be created when the particular individual concerned stepped in and took over the business. He kept a very large number of people in employment. There had been a restaurant there for some years, but it was not a paying proposition any more than any other department of the particular concern had been for some years a paying proposition. When the person who had purchased this concern had successfully weathered a very prolonged and expensive law suit, he was faced with one department which was not a paying proposition merely by reason of the fact that for some reason unknown the licence which had attached to that department for very many years had been allowed to lapse. From the time it lapsed until the present moment, that department, although it was pretty well patronised by the public, was not a paying proposition by reason of the absence of a licence.

There was only one thing to be done at that stage by any businessman, and that was to close down the restaurant and turn it into something else which was or could be made a paying proposition, but, from the public point of view, the particular individual concerned preferred to retain in his employment the 60 people who would be put out on the roadside if this restaurant were closed down. That is the only reason why this department was not closed down after the circuit judge's decision—because of the fact that at least 60 people would have been thrown out of employment. Because of the fact that the particular man concerned in this case did not wish to see 60 of his employees out of employment, he has carried on that restaurant, as a very good concern but not as a paying proposition. From the public point of view, I think that is deserving of commendation and of support, and it certainly surprises me that the only attack on this section of the Bill comes from the Labour Party, when the only reason why this department has been kept on was because it retained people in employment. The owner of the concern was willing, for a certain time at all events, to keep a number of people in his employment even if he had to do it at the expense of the firm.

The amendment with which we are concerned here seeks to give the Circuit Court judge a discretion. I personally am all in favour of giving judges discretion, instead of tying their hands, but in this case I think it is an ease to the circuit judge who heard this case that this section should be mandatory. The position is that the circuit judge has given a judgment and given a certain reason for it. When this section is passed it will be an indication at all events—whether it is in the mandatory form or the discretionary form—that, in the view of the Legislature, there are good grounds for the granting of this licence. It might be embarrassing for the circuit judge who heard this case, or his colleague who would be bound by the previous decision, that, irrespective of the law, he would again have to consider pretty much the same facts as before. That is one reason why it should be mandatory. The second reason is that there are, of course, vested interests who are against this clause and against the licence being granted. It is natural enough that other restaurants should think that their business will be affected in some way. Personally, I think it will not, but they are the best judges of their own business. However, we are in control of the situation now, and if we think that the facts are such that in the public interest this firm is entitled as of right to get the licence anew, and to start out in the same position as their competitors across the road and all around them, in all the circumstances I think there can be no objection to the clause.

The only purpose of this amendment, as I have already indicated, is to give the court discretionary power in the matter. There is no intention whatever on my part, or on the part of my colleagues, to impugn the personal character of the Minister or that of Mr. Guiney, but it is reprehensible to have legislation specially designed, as this appears to be, to bestow a favour on any particular individual. It is on that basis that my objection to the section as it stands is made. In so far as the point made by Deputy Costello in regard to conflicting interests is concerned, undoubtedly there are other interests involved. I do not think that Deputy Costello could be serious in his contention that the granting of a licence to Clery's restaurant will not affect numerous other restaurants and business houses in the vicinity. I say that it will not only affect those premises, but that it will seriously adversely affect, and will have a very undesirable and disastrous affect, on the employment of those who are paid at the full trade union rate of wages in licensed premises in the vicinity of this particular restaurant.

The granting of a licence in this Bill will mean that young girls can be employed at 30/- a week in Clery's restaurant, or in the cocktail bar that can be attached to it, under this section. Surely no one will contend that that will not seriously interfere with the interests of people carrying on a licensed trade in the vicinity of Clery's? If the case is so strong for granting a licence to Mr. Guiney, what objection can there be to giving this discretionary power to the court? That case has not been answered either by the Minister or by Deputy Costello.

The Minister has introduced my name into this discussion, though not in connection, I think, with the particular case referred to here.

Mr. Boland


I was referred to as having said that it was a very bad thing to have legislation of this particular type to benefit an individual.

Mr. Boland

Naming persons.

I do not mind about naming the person. I think it is as well that people should know the name, as it is an open secret anyway. I used this clause earlier to point the moral that previously we had been told that it was wrong to introduce legislation of a type antagonistic to an individual. I had in mind on that occasion the flour millers and the bacon curers, and I was told that it was wrong to bring in legislation that would have the effect of penalising these particular sections. It could be argued, as against that, that it is certainly not right now to introduce legislation to confer benefit on a particular person. We have had the facts of the case for and against in this instance and we can examine them on their merits. Deputy Costello has brought forward a considerable amount of evidence with regard to the merits of this clause. Deputy Hannigan, on the other hand, suggests that there may be some discrimination between the type of employment given in this restaurant and that given in surrounding licensed premises. That may be, but we have got to consider the advantages conferred by other sections of the Bill on these traders and the whole impact of the Bill on the present situation.

I want to draw the attention of Deputy Hannigan to the provisions of the Bill as a whole. The Bill, as introduced, was intended as a reform measure, but I do not think it has very much of that character now in the sense of restricting facilities for the sale of intoxicating liquor in the country. Can Deputy Hannigan not weigh up what I think are the very definite advantages which those who have licensed premises in this city and in the country generally have got from the earlier sections of the Bill with what is contained in this clause? I think that weighed in the balance, the mere fact that a restaurant which previously had a licence is to be given the licence again will not amount to very much when the balance is struck. I want to add one remark to those made by Deputy Costello. So far as I understood the trend of legislation from 1927 onwards, and so far as I understood the mind of judges approaching this question of granting licences, they were much more favourably disposed towards making liquor more readily available when there is food about than when there is not. That is one reason why I personally, if there were no other reason, would approve of this section.

In order to clarify our position, I should like to say to the Minister that I would be astounded if any person actively associated with the Labour Party were to make reflections on the Minister's character of the kind which he has indicated.

Mr. Boland

There is no doubt about it, they were made. The secretary of the organisation was present, and spoke on the same occasion in Boyle and Roscommon. There is any amount of evidence about that.

Whatever may have been said—I do not know what it was, as I never saw the matter reported in the Press——

Mr. Boland

It was not reported.

I still very much doubt if anybody would make any personal reflections on the Minister's character —in any case, they do not speak for me—because anybody who knows the Minister knows perfectly well that he is above lending himself to that type of abuse. He would probably be one of the first persons in this House to scorn any attempt to put such a low valuation on principles which I know the Minister values very highly. Aside from whatever may be said on that particular matter, has the Minister been advised that there is any danger in leaving this matter to the discretion of the courts? The normal procedure in seeking a licence is that a person makes application to the court for a licence. That is the procedure adopted by any person who buys a new premises of substantial size. He has got to go to the court, make his case for the licence and abide by the judgment of the court. In this particular case, the court is being compelled to grant a licence. Is there any reason for thinking that the court, if left a discretion, would not in the circumstances grant a licence?

Mr. Boland

The Deputy can see we are dealing with a particular firm. If we say that the court may grant a licence, we are simply throwing it over on the judge to decide. I think that there is very little difference between that and the wording of the section as it now stands, but we are removing the embarrassment from the judge by having this matter decided by the Dáil. We all know the firm concerned, and if we think it should get a licence, why not say so and remove all embarrassment from the judge?

Is there only one firm involved?

Mr. Boland

So far as I know, there is only one, but there may be others.

Is it the Minister's attitude that simply because the case was discussed openly and because everybody knows the Executive Council are in favour of granting this licence, that you must tell the judge that he has to grant the licence apart from the merits of the case? Why not allow the judge to examine the merits of the case? What is the reason for that?

Mr. Boland

We here are passing a section to enable this thing to be done, and it is superfluous, I suggest, to refer it to the courts. We are making a decision on the particular case here, and I do not see why the courts should have to review that decision. If the Dáil decides that a licence should not be given in these circumstances, well and good, but if it does decide that it is just to give a licence, why should a judge have to review that decision of the Dáil?

Let us examine how the Dáil comes to decide this. The Dáil is presented with a Bill which is the product of consideration by the Government and the Parliamentary draftsman. It comes here definitely providing that this particular person must get a licence, no matter what the court may think of the claim. The Government is standing, by the use of its Parliamentary majority, for the insertion of the word "shall" instead of the word "may". This Dáil would not have protested if the word "may" had been used there, because "may", in relation to this section and this type of licence, is the normal phraseology. In this case, "may" is gone completely and "shall" is put in. If a person were to erect a new hotel in the city or elsewhere, he would have to go to court and seek a licence, and take his chance of getting it in the ordinary way. In this case, a person is insulated against the possibility of defeat and is insured against any examination of the merits of his case. The case may be a good one and there may be excellent reasons for giving a licence; but, seeing that we normally allow the court discretion in the matter, what solid arguments exist for refusing to allow the court to exercise discretion now? The mere fact that some judge might be embarrassed—and there is no certainty at all that any judge on the bench will suffer excessive embarrassment—is no reason why the Dáil should reverse its whole procedure.

Deputy Norton has entirely missed the scope of this section. It is only in one particular instance that the discretion of the circuit judge is taken away. The circuit judge is given a wide discretion, even under "shall", because he has to take into account those things which are really material from the public point of view—which is what we should be most concerned with namely, the character of the applicant, his misconduct or his unfitness, the unfitness of his premises, or the inconvenience of his premises. If the circuit judge finds anything wrong in any one of these points, he is entitled to refuse the licence.

We know the considered circumstances.

I do not think the Deputy knows anything about the circumstances as, if he did, he would have reason to believe that this is not such a walk-over at all, on the facts of the case. The applicant is, I assume, beyond reproach, but the question of the character, fitness and construction of the premises are by no means matters of presented proof. What is left out—and recommended by Deputy Hannigan to be inserted, by a subsequent amendment—is the question of other premises immediately adjoining.

The decision of the learned circuit judge was based on the fact that, for years past, there had been a loss on this restaurant. That is entirely irrelevant in existing circumstances. At the time the judge gave his decision, it was, of course, a relevant circumstance for him to take into account, and he did so. At present, however, it is not. Deputy Hannigan purported to quote here, on the Second Reading, the decision of the circuit judge, but he had not got the actual written document before him. The learned circuit judge wound up his decision by saying the very vital and essential words, that "in present or existing circumstances" he would not grant the application. The object of this particular amendment, in so far as this word is concerned, is to avoid embarrassment of the circuit judge, on his having to go into other matters. when he might be told that he had tried them already. It is the wish, in the public interest and not in the private interest of the individual, to give this licence; and, in the circumstances, the only method by which that desire can be achieved is through the machinery of this section as it stands.

The real point to be considered is this. Everybody knows that the person in question is a suitable person and that there is, on the grounds of physical fitness, no possible objection. Everybody knows that the premises are suitable, but the real qualifying clause that should be in the section is not in it, namely, that some regard should be had for the number of premises already in the vicinity of Clery's Restaurant. That qualifying clause is suggested in the next amendment. So far as I am concerned, the attitude taken up by the Minister on this matter is very unsatisfactory.

In the normal course, I would oppose a clause such as this in a Licensing Bill. The facts of this case are, to my mind, fairly clear. There were premises, close to the premises which are now the subject of our consideration, licensed as a hotel. I remember them since I was a boy. That hotel licence continued up to the time of the destruction of the premises in 1916. The licence was there all that time, until it lapsed. If we had a case here before us of an ordinary licensed premises forfeiting the licence by reason of some catastrophe such as that, we would have consideration for the person in possession of the licence —and for the family if there were one. There was a licence there, it was not destroyed by reason of endorsement or anything of that sort, it merely lapsed. This section is to revive it. The persons who are in competition in that district are in no worse condition than they were prior to the lapse of the licence.

It is not unreasonable to have a clause inserted, presenting the circumstances in that setting, and giving the judge authority to grant a licence —to revive, I might say, the licence that was there a certain number of years ago. As I have said, if this were a new licence I would oppose it, as there would be grounds for entertaining the objections that have been raised; but these objections fail when we consider that it is merely a question of a lapse and that the public convenience would be served by the granting of the licence now. I have no interest in the case nor do I know the man concerned—I met him only once.

The point that has been made is not made by way of being derogatory. It is not a question of opposition to the licence, as the merits of the case cannot be examined in detail. It may be desirable to have the licence restored, but here we are saying definitely to the court that the man must be given a licence. The amendment proposed by Deputy Hannigan is merely for the purpose of allowing the court to exercise its discretion. Having considered the matter, if the court says "yes," the licence may be issued. The objection is to the Minister compelling the court to grant the licence, without the court having the slightest chance.

All we are doing is getting the bank manager's signature on the back of the cheque, to say that it is good.

Question—"That the words proposed to be deleted, stand"—put and declared carried.
Amendments Nos. 67, 68 and 69 not moved.

On Section 12, it was my intention to submit an amendment to this section, but unfortunately I was late. Lest it might be thought that the discussion to-night had provoked somebody else to move in this matter, I should like to mention to the Minister that I will move an amendment to the section on the Report Stage, dealing with one of the parties.

Section 12 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 70:—

In sub-section (1), page 6, to delete paragraph (c), lines 25 to 27.

The intention of this amendment is to extend to licensees in boroughs the privilege of leaving the area in which they have been carrying on business in order that they may occupy more convenient premises and be able, as it were, to follow their customers. As I mentioned on the Second Reading, I think this is a very desirable clause to introduce, and I am of the opinion that it would be much more advantageous if the Minister would extend the clause so that it may cover cities and towns as well as rural areas. I have in mind such places as slum clearance areas, where large numbers of people are removed by the local authorities, leaving, in many instances, a public house standing more or less isolated. The publican's customers are taken away from him.

That type of thing is not peculiar to a place like Limerick. It is quite common in Dublin and in other areas where there is congestion and where the local authorities think it necessary to constitute a clearance area. I think it is desirable that a publican who has established a good clientele in a particular locality should have an opportunity of transferring his licence from that locality from which his customers are taken away to a premises in a more suitable area where he will be, perhaps, following his customers. This clause is very desirable, but I think it would be a distinct improvement if the Minister would do as I suggest.

Mr. Boland

I think it might interfere too much in a town or city with the people already there. It is intended only for the country. There would be great opposition, and rightly so, if it were applied to a town or city. For instance, a man might have a good business established and then someone might plank himself right down beside that business. That is the danger in the case of towns and cities, and I do not see how we could possibly avoid that if we extended this clause to towns and cities. If it were possible, I should like to put in certain restrictions so that there would not be any interference with the businesses of other people, but I am afraid you would have that anyway. You might, for instance, have a person from some back lane establishing himself opposite someone who has been doing a very good business, and there might be all sorts of interference with interests already established in an area. I do not think, for that reason, that it would work.

I think the objection the Minister is raising might be regarded as a potential one. My point is that a licensee, through no fault of his own, will be left in a derelict position through the operation of, let us say, a slum clearance scheme. Must he be precluded from transferring his licence to another district because of the possibility of some syndicate establishing itself in opposition? We have been discussing the desirability or otherwise of giving a licence to a premises in an important city thoroughfare. Now the Minister is afraid that a small back lane public house may be bought out and the licence transferred to a premises in a place like O'Connell Street, for instance, or some other prominent thoroughfare. I regard that as a remote possibility. Under this clause, as it stands, you are going to prevent men who have devoted their lives to the licensed trade and who find themselves left without their customers, through the action of local authorities, from having their licences transferred to more convenient and more suitable premises. Why can they not be allowed to follow their customers? I think the Minister would be well advised to extend the benefits of this clause to the towns and cities.

Why should any man be permitted to transfer the licence from a public house that he may have purchased cheaply to an area beside some person who is already well-established there and is doing a good business?

I have not suggested anything like that; it was the Minister who suggested it.

No person should be permitted to do such a thing. A man might purchase a dilapidated public house in a back lane, and you want to give him the right to transfer his licence to a place where another man has a good licensed house and is doing a good business. I would call that sharp practice. I think the Minister is justified in not agreeing to that, and I do not believe the licensed trade would stand over anything of that kind.

The reason I put down amendment No. 72, which is dealing with the same subject, is to meet the very point that seems to be troubling Deputy Fogarty, and it may also meet the point raised by Deputy Keyes. I felt that it would be very desirable if Section 13 contained some provision such as I have suggested in my amendment: "or that there is already a sufficient number of licensed premises in the immediate vicinity of the new premises." I think that would get over the point to which the Minister has referred. If there were, let us say, two public houses in a particular rural area doing good business, then some gentleman could not come along and establish a public house beside them.

Mr. Boland

That is what I am afraid might happen.

If the courts are entitled to refuse the transfer of a licence on the ground that there are sufficient licensed premises in the locality, that would get over the difficulty.

Mr. Boland

I shall look into this matter. I think there is a feeling that we should finish the Committee Stage this evening, and any amendments that are left over will be brought forward on the Report Stage.

On the Report Stage we can go into Committee to consider whatever amendments have been left over.

Mr. Boland

I shall look into the points that have been raised on this amendment and see if it will be possible to meet them.

Amendment No. 70, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments Nos. 71 and 72 not moved.

On Section 13, I think it will be necessary for the Minister to make the section tighter. As I read it, a man can transfer to a new premises anywhere within the District Court area.

The immediate vicinity.

I think that is very wide altogether. It could be a mile away. I am sure Deputy McGilligan could construe it to his satisfaction if he had to make a case in court.

I would have nothing to do with the construction. The judge does that and you would be surprised how narrow his construction could be.

Mr. Boland

I think that section is required in order to deal with the position in rural areas.

Of course it is.

It should not be possible to transfer a licence from one village to another which would be, perhaps, a mile away.

Mr. Boland

That will not happen.

Section 13 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 73:—

In sub-section (1) (a), line 28, page 7, to insert after the word "registrar" the words "or have been acquired or are about to be acquired by a local or other public authority for public purposes".

The object of the amendment is to facilitate a local authority which wishes to make a street widening or some other similar improvement and which at present is very often deterred from so doing by the expense of extinguishing the licence. The actual premises themselves may be of small value, but the extinguishing of the licence is a costly performance, and very often by reason of what is regarded as the prohibitive cost, the work, desirable though it may be from the public point of view, is not proceeded with and the community, therefore, does not get the benefit it should get. If the Minister is prepared to accept this amendment, it will mean that instead of having to go to the expense of acquiring the licence, it will be possible for that licence to be transferred to some other premises, and the cost to the local authority will merely be the cost of the acquisition of the premises, apart altogether from the licence.

Mr. Boland

If the Deputy will withdraw his amendment I shall have it considered and see if the point can be met on Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 74 not moved.
Question proposed: "That Section 14 stand part of the Bill."

I suggest that the Minister should look into two matters on pages 7 and 8, lines 46 and 36, respectively. There the character, misconduct or unfitness of an applicant are grounds upon which objection can be taken in the matter of the transfer of a licence. If the character of a person be wrong, he should not have a licence. If the character of a person be wrong, it should not affect the suitability of the premises. The suitability of the premises, its convenience and the amenities of the district ought to be the prime consideration.

Mr. Boland

I shall look into the point.

Question put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 75:—

Before Section 15, but in Part III, to insert a new section as follows:—

Notwithstanding anything contained in the Licensing (Ireland) Acts, 1833 to 1929, or any other statute, any person who is at the date of the passing of this Act the holder of a wholesale dealer's licence shall, on application to the Revenue Commissioners, be entitled to receive a retailer's off-licence in respect of the premises comprised in such wholesale dealer's licence.

This amendment is directed to, I think, a purely Cork City problem. There are a number of traders in Cork who have at present merely a wholesale dealer's licence, which under the existing law enables them to sell only a certain amount of spirits or other liquor—I think, above two gallons. They cannot sell in small quantities, and by reason of the increase in prices and the change in trading conditions, it is a matter of grave loss and inconvenience to the traders concerned. There is only a very small number in Cork City, and I am informed that the general trade representatives in Cork City have no objection to the amendment proposed. Perhaps the Minister would consider the problem and see if anything could be done in the matter.

Tá áiteanna eile seachas Corcaigh go mbaineann an scéal seo leo. Scríobhas don Aire cheana mar gheall ar chás amháin, agus beidh mé an-bhuidheach dó má dhéanann sé scrúdúchán ar an gceist arís chun 'fháil amach an féidir aon ní do dhéanamh.

Would the Minister agree to the amendment?

Mr. Boland

It seems to me to be a matter of having more retail licences.

Retail off-licences. The whole point is merely to enable them to sell in small quantities. They can sell at the moment only in quantities above two gallons, and the amendment is designed to enable a particular number of people, who are not at the moment in a position to sell in these small quantities, to do so. I was shown a letter from the trade organisation agreeing to the proposal, but unfortunately I did not bring it with me this evening.

The position is that a brewery cannot give less than six dozen of stout to a publican, and there are many publicans who would never be able to buy six dozen of stout together. All that these people want is to be allowed to give such publicans two dozen or four dozen. A man might be able to pay for only a gallon of whiskey, but the wholesaler cannot give him that quantity because of the licence. I think this is a very reasonable request.

The limitation was imposed at a time when prices were very different from what they are now. Two gallons of whiskey, at the time of the fixing of this quantity, cost about 28/- or 30/-, and the price now is £9 or £10. People are apparently not in a position to buy a large amount, and there is no intermediate provider of these things. The wholesalers are limited to selling a particular quantity, and it would be a convenience, both for the wholesaler and the retailer, if the concession were granted.

Mr. Boland

I shall look into the matter.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 76:—

Before Section 15, but in Part III, to insert a new section as follows:—

Where by reason of the discontinuance of the business carried on in any premises, an off-licence attached to the said premises is extinguished or surrendered, the justice at any sitting of the District Court shall notwithstanding anything contained in the Licensing (Ireland) Act, 1902, have power to grant an off-licence for premises in the immediate vicinity of the premises to which the licence so extinguished or surrendered was attached unless the justice refuses to issue such licence on one or more of the following grounds, i.e., the character, misconduct or unfitness of the applicant or the unfitness or inconvenience of the premises.

This amendment provides for a Dublin problem. Having moved the last amendment dealing with a Cork City problem, I want to draw the Minister's attention to a specific Dublin problem. The facts of the particular case may possibly be known to the Minister. Recently, a very old-established business of a family nature in the city, to which there was attached an off-licence, that is, a licence which allowed sale for consumption off the premises, closed down rather suddenly, leaving all the staff completely without means of livelihood. One member of the staff procured a house immediately adjoining these premises, and bought from the retiring owners the goodwill, and so far as it was possible the then existing licence which had been in existence for a very considerable number of years. He proposed to start, and has in fact started, business next door, carrying on the business, with the goodwill attached to it, of the old premises and in which he and, I think, at least a dozen of the former workers, are now engaged in endeavouring to earn the livelihood of which they were deprived by the sudden closing down of this family concern.

While this section is directed to a particular case, nevertheless, I think it is one which could be of general applicability, because it is not a case of increasing the number of licences, but merely a case of transferring the licence attached to an old-established business which has closed down and been sold—to a drapery firm, I understand, but certainly not to a firm in the trade—the licence, so far as it can be sold and kept alive, being sold to the former employees. If the Minister could see his way to grant this request, there would not be merely employment for those who have endeavoured to carry on the business in the adjoining premises, but for perhaps a very considerable number more of the old employees. I think this is a matter which, in justice, requires, even for the individual case, to be considered, and it is a matter which raises an issue of general import—that no harm would be done to the public interest by a general section of this kind or something like it.

Mr. Boland

I am afraid the amendment is rather on the wide side.

I agree that it is rather wide, but the Minister might examine and narrow it down. The Minister will understand that I drafted it merely to bring the matter to his attention and not in order to have it inserted, as a matter of principle, in its present wide form.

Mr. Boland

If I can narrow it down, I shall consider it.

The remaining amendments must remain over until Report Stage, when they will be considered in Committee.

Sections 15 to 21, inclusive, and the Title, agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Report Stage ordered for Wednesday, 25th November.
The Dáil adjourned at 9.30 p.m. until 3 p.m., Wednesday, 18th November.