Committee on Finance. - Creameries (Acquisition) Bill, 1943—Committee Stage.

Section 1 agreed to.
SECTION 2.

I move amendment No. 1:—

In page 2, before line 31, to inscrt the following paragraph:—

"the word ‘worker' includes any person employed under any contract of service or apprenticeship whether written or oral or whether expressed or implied in or about a creamery immediately before a sale order relating to such creamery is made under this Part of this Act."

This is the first of a number of proposals designed to make some attempt to protect the number of employees who are involved in the measure.

The Deputy will understand that this amendment is consequential on amendments Nos. 16 and 17. Could the whole matter not be better discussed on those amendments which contain alternative proposals for compensating redundant employees?

No, Sir; I should prefer to move the amendment myself.

But No. 17 is the Deputy's own amendment.

I should prefer to move this amendment, because I think that we ought to make a provision of this kind in the first part of the Bill; that is, in the definition section of the Bill. For instance, in the definition section of the Bill, as it stands at present, it is set forth that "the Minister" means the Minister for Agriculture; that the expression "the company" means the Dairy Disposals Company, Limited; that the word "creamery" includes any factory or plant for the manufacture of milk products, and so on; and the section also goes on to describe what is meant by such expressions as "creamery premises,""proprietor" or "chattels." All these things are defined in that section, and the one notable omission from it is the word "workers." Accordingly, I wish to move this amendment.

Can amendment No. 17 also be moved?

Well, that is all right.

I do not see any necessity for dealing with this amendment at this stage.

Is it the intention to make any provision for compensation for workers removed from their positions as a result of this Bill?

The question of compensation does not arise here.

Surely, Sir, it would be well at this stage to set out what a worker is, and whether there is to be any provision for compensation as a result of such worker being removed from his position?

Where is there any such provision in the Bill, as it stands now?

I understood you, Sir, to say that this amendment was really consequential on amendments Nos. 16 and 17.

According to Deputy Murphy's proposed amendment, the word "worker" would include any person employed under any contract of service or apprenticeship, whether written or oral, or whether expressed or implied, in or about a creamery "immediately before" a sale order is made. It seems to me, according to that, that if people knew that a creamery was going to be disposed of to-morrow, they could take on, say, ten workers the day before, and that they could, therefore, claim compensation.

Well, of course, my amendment may not be quite properly worded, and I am prepared to have it put in a more definite shape, but I can assure the Deputy that that is not the intention.

I have been a member of this House since it was established, and I can say that in connection with every measure of this kind, which sought to bring about a scheme of amalgamation of industrial concerns, a section was always included making provision for the payment of compensation of some kind or another for the workers who would be thrown out of employment as a result of such an amalgamation scheme. This is the first measure of that kind where no provision for compensation of workers thrown out of employment is made, and I think that, even as a matter of courtesy, we are entitled to hear from the Minister whether he intends to amend this Bill so as to make it possible to provide compensation of the kind I have mentioned.

The question of compensation does not arise on this section or on Deputy Murphy's amendment.

I suggest, Sir, that if it is intended to make provision for the payment of compensation to workers who may be thrown out of employment as a result of this Bill, that should be done by the insertion of some amendment in the definition section of the Bill, such as that suggested by Deputy Murphy, or by the insertion of some suitable amendment that would be acceptable to the Minister along the same lines, if he desires to do so.

It has been suggested that Deputy Murphy should forgo this until amendments Nos. 16 and 17 come under discussion, and that then the question of inserting something like this in the definition clause could be discussed.

I should like to point out, Sir, that the Bill has already passed its Second Reading, and if the Minister would indicate, generally speaking, what his intentions are in this respect, then we would know where we stand, and could proceed on some understandable basis.

One cannot discuss a specific thing on an amendment or section which has nothing to do with that particular thing.

Do you not agree, Sir, that if the Minister, at a later stage, proposes to insert an amendment providing for the payment of compensation to workers who may lose their employment as a result of the operation of this measure, it will then be necessary to have something like this inserted in the definition clause?

Is the Deputy putting that question to me or to the Minister?

I am putting it to you, Sir, and I think we are entitled to an answer.

It is not possible to discuss the whole question of compensation now.

I quite agree, but I think we are entitled to an answer as to whether this should be included in the definition section.

Since it is not possible to discuss it intelligently now, why not leave that matter over until we come to amendments Nos. 16 and 17? I do not see any reason why these amendments could not be discussed at the same time.

What I want to know is whether it is the intention of the Minister to insert, at a later stage in the discussion of this measure, a clause making suitable provision by way of compensation for workers who may lose their employment as a result of the operation of this measure.

That is in amendment No. 17.

But that amendment is not in the Minister's name.

Deputy Davin must be a very simple man. Does he not know very well that if I state now what I propose to do in the matter of compensation, it will lead to a very long discussion?

I do not mean that.

Well, why not agree to postpone the discussion of that matter until the question actually comes up?

Does the Minister mean that something such as this will not be necessary in the definition clause?

It may or it may not be.

Is Deputy Murphy withdrawing this amendment?

No, Sir. I am anxious to facilitate the House in every way, but I cannot see my way to withdrawing this amendment.

It must be either pressed or withdrawn now. The whole question can be discussed on amendments Nos. 16 and 17, and then, if the Minister agrees, it can be brought in on the Report Stage.

Is the amendment in order?

It is consequential on amendments that come later on.

Yes, but is it in order?

Yes, it is in order.

If you would allow it to be postponed, Sir, until we come to discuss amendments Nos. 16 and 17, I would agree to that, if it meant facilitating the House, but I should prefer the amendment to be dealt with now.

It has been moved already.

I cannot accept it now.

Let us be clear about this. I take it that if the Committee negative this amendment, they cannot deal with it subsequently. Is that right?

Yes, that is right. It can be postponed or withdrawn.

The difficulty seems to me to be that there is no provision made here for compensation for workers who may lose their employment as a result of this Bill. The Minister says, in an off-hand way, that he is going to give compensation—at least I gathered that from what he said. Am I correct?

Would it not be possible, then, to elaborate in five or six sentences what he proposes to do in that connection?

I am prepared to admit, and I dare say that Deputy Murphy will agree with me that the wording of the amendment now under discussion may not be the best possible wording when we come to find out what the Minister's intentions are. The Minister has highly-paid draftsmen at his right-hand side, good advisers; we cannot claim to have any such people at our disposal in the drafting of amendments of this kind. If the Minister will say quite frankly that, as a result of the insertion of the necessary compensation clause, he will then take the requisite steps to put in a suitable definition section, I would suggest to Deputy Murphy, if you agree, Sir, that he should waive his right to move the amendment at the moment and reserve the right to put it forward on the Report Stage.

I would agree with that suggestion.

I think that will be all right. I am not sure whether or not it will be necessary to have a definition section. That will remain to be seen after we discuss the main amendment.

We are marking the amendment "not moved" so that it can be dealt with again.

Sections 2, 3 and 4 put and agreed to.
SECTION 5.

I just want to say a word in regard to the amendments. There is a number of amendments here all dealing with the one thing, all dealing, generally speaking, with encumbrances, that is amendments Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 11, 19 and 20. As Deputies may have observed, Bills of this kind that were passed here in the House in the past, such as, say, the Minerals Development Bill, the Electricity Supply Bill, and so on, had, as a basis for compensation and so on, the Land Acquisition Act. In drawing up this Bill, we did not follow that procedure. We adopted a basis, as it were, of our own, in valuing those creamery premises, superior interest, and so on. On examination, however, it was found that there was some, let us say, defect in those cases of encumbrances. It was possible, if you were dealing with dishonest people—I suppose, in legislation, we must always watch that point —that there could be injustices done to encumbrancers. I should like, however, to look further into the question, and I would ask the House to allow me not to move those amendments, Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 11, 19 and 20, and to bring them up again on Report Stage. I think they might require some further amendment before I bring them forward.

Agreed.

Question proposed: "That Section 5 stand part of the Bill."

Where does the ordinary creditor stand as regards the State? What is the intention? There is what is in the Bill and there is what the Minister is going to do. Perhaps he would give us some indication in that regard.

This is rather involved law, and I do not claim to be able to follow it exactly but, as the section stands, it is claimed that if there were a mortgage on any property which we were taking over under this Bill it is possible that the mortgagor might be done out of his money.

Was not that the purpose?

Oh, no.

If those amendments go through—as I say, they may have to be slightly altered—it will then provide that the first charge on the moneys provided for the acquisition will be any encumbrances; next, any costs of the sale; and, thirdly, any debt that may be due to any State Department. Whatever is left, of course, goes to the person who is selling the property.

I must say that is a revelation to me after reading the Bill. When dealing with it on the Second Reading, I think everybody was under the impression that the intention was to postpone every other debt, no matter when incurred, until the State had got its part.

As the section stands, the Deputy is right, but that was not the intention.

There was no question of involved law there.

It is involved because of the amendments that are necessary to the present amendments before they are right. As the section stands, it would appear that the State would come in first, and then that the person selling the property would get the money irrespective of any mortgage that might be there. These provide that all mortgages and charges will be cleared first.

Even before the State gets the money?

The reason I asked that is that for the moment it might look as if the Minister meant that before the man gets his money the mortgages must be cleared.

I understand now that other encumbrances come in before the State if they are contracted before the State debt.

There are four items: No. 1, mortgagors; No. 2, costs; No. 3, the State; No. 4, the vendor—in that order.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 6 put and agreed to.
SECTION 7.

I move amendment No. 6:—

In sub-section (2), page 4, line 16, to delete the words "a creamery" and substitute the words "creamery premises".

This is merely a drafting amendment. In every other part of the Bill the words "creamery premises" are used but here the word "premises" was omitted in the drafting.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 7:—

In sub-section (2), page 4, before the word "all," in line 17, to insert the following words: "within thirty days of such compliance".

Sub-section (2) says:

"Where the proprietor of a creamery complies with a notice served on him under this section the company shall pay to him all costs necessarily and properly incurred by him in relation to such compliance."

The purpose of this amendment is to see that the costs are paid within a reasonable time. I said on the Second Reading of this Bill that on a former occasion when returns were required and were officially compiled, as I understand was necessary some years ago, there never has been one penny costs paid in respect of them since. The proposal now is to provide for the payment of the costs within a reasonable time, and I suggest in this amendment that that should be within 30 days of the compliance.

If the Deputy is dealing with costs alone that is already dealt with in this Bill, and there is a further amendment to make sure that all costs are covered. Apart from that, the Deputy's amendment here imposes a time limit. I think it would be very unwise to put in a time limit of 30 days, because it is quite possible that the costs would not be furnished to the company within 30 days, and then the company is bound, under certain circumstances anyway, to have the costs taxed and so on, which would take some further time. I cannot suggest what would be a fair time limit. I think that, in all the circumstances, we should leave the matter as it stands, on the understanding that the company will be prompt in its payment. I see no reason whatever why they should not be prompt, because the procedure—every step they are to take —is laid down, and if the vendor furnishes the costs they will either be paid or taxed as the case may be; then there is no reason why prompt payment should not be made. It would be dangerous to put in a time limit.

If the Minister thinks 30 days is too short a time, he ought to indicate the time he thinks would be suitable. Merely to say that the Dairy Disposals Board should be prompt in paying the costs has no meaning in law; a proposal of that kind cannot be put into an Act of Parliament. It is purely a pious platitude that they should be prompt in paying. I indicated on the Second Reading that they have not been prompt in paying and I propose now to return to that point. I assert that a return of this kind was asked for in 1931 and was made by one of the concerns with which this Bill proposes to deal and, since 1931, not a penny of the costs involved in making the necessary return has been paid. I want to guard against a situation of that kind and I say to the Minister that to express the view that the Dairy Disposals Board should be prompt in meeting the costs means nothing in law and cannot be enshrined in an Act of Parliament.

I do not know what case the Deputy is referring to, but I think it is fairly obvious that under this Bill, in the business of acquisition, each case will be dealt with. But, if the Deputy or any other member of the House has any anxiety as to the delays that may occur, I will undertake to bring forward an amendment relating to the time from which all the returns are made. If the vendor is slow about making returns it would not be fair to blame the company but, as from the time the company has all the returns presented to it, we could make a time limit. I should like to think over this matter and ascertain what would be a reasonable time. I do not know how long it takes to get a list of costs taxed. I think we should allow a fair margin of time to the company in the matter of making payments. I will look into the point and, if the Deputy withdraws his amendment, I will arrange to bring forward a satisfactory amendment on the Report Stage.

Who will tax the costs?

The law costs will be taxed by the Taxing Master.

I think the Minister's suggestion is a reasonable one. I believe that from the time the returns are made a period of three or six months would be fair, and I am sure Deputy Murphy would agree to that.

I shall consider the matter between this and the Report Stage.

Will the person to whom Deputy Murphy referred, who furnished his costs in 1931, have his claim considered now?

I do not know what that case is.

I am authorised to assert here that the Cork and Kerry creamery proprietors were asked for a return of this kind in 1931. Returns were made then and those people have not yet received one penny.

I do not know anything about that, but I shall look into it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 8:—

Before sub-section (3), page 4, to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

(3) Any moneys due by the company under the preceding sub-section of this section may be recovered in a court of competent jurisdiction as a simple contract debt.

This provides the machinery whereby the costs may be recovered in a court of competent jurisdiction as a simple contract debt.

I am advised that this amendment is not necessary, that that is the law in any case. When this Bill goes through, and if arbitration takes place, a certain amount is awarded. The position then is that without this proposed sub-section the vendor can recover anything that is due to him in a court of competent jurisdiction.

These costs do not come under the jurisdiction of the arbitrator?

I take it the Deputy has in mind proceedings after the arbitrator has made his award?

The compensation is fixed and he can take the company into court?

Yes. This amendment is not necessary.

Who will fix the amount of costs referred to in this section?

Underlying all this, as Deputies may be aware, is the idea that the parties will try to come to an agreement. If they fail, then the arbitrator fixes the costs and everything else.

But this might never go to arbitration, and who fixes the costs in that case?

If the parties do not agree, it will go to arbitration.

The company may decide upon a certain thing and that may involve the owner of a creamery in certain work and costs and the company might not go any further. Who fixes the costs in that case?

Does the Deputy mean if they break off negotiations and there is nothing more done?

The whole intention of the Bill is that the deal should go through.

They get a lot of information as a result of this; in fact, the scales are loaded altogether in their favour. They may determine to go on or not to go on. Suppose they determine not to go on, who fixes the costs of what has been done up to then?

The company will pay the costs, even if negotiations are broken off.

I admit that, but who fixes them?

They will try to agree, but if they cannot agree the matter goes to arbitration.

Who says it must go to arbitration—where is that provided?

Excuse me, I should have said the Taxing Master.

Without having to go before a court?

Yes. As the Deputy knows, that is often done.

Is it the Taxing Master who will fix the costs?

Yes, if the parties concerned fail to agree.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 7, as amended, agreed to.
Section 8 agreed to.
SECTION 9.
Amendment No. 9 not moved.
Question—"That Section 9 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
SECTION 10.

I formally move amendment No. 10:

In sub-section (6) page 5, to delete in lines 28 and 29 the words "and the Minister, after consultation with the Minister for Finance, confirms such agreement."

This amendment deals with the case where the company and a proprietor agree upon a price subject, as the Bill stands, to the sanction of the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Finance. I think it is necessary to have that provision there because, as I explained on the Second Reading, a certain amount of State funds will have to be provided to bridge the gap between what is paid for those premises and what will be received from the co-operative societies to which they are sold. The two Ministers named have, of course, an interest in seeing that the price paid is a reasonable one. Therefore, I could not agree to the deletion of those words.

In this case two people make a bargain as to the price to be paid. One of the parties, having put all his cards on the table, is then told that the bargain has to go before that very tough gentleman, the Minister for Finance. Surely, the obvious thing would be for the Minister for Finance, who has been in touch with the company all along, to come in before, and not after, the bargain was struck. It certainly looks objectionable to have a third party coming in after the bargain is struck, particularly when that third party has been in close touch with the business all the time.

In fact, what happens is that the negotiator on behalf of the company will have had prior consultations with the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Finance. He knows the price that he can go to. If these words were not there, and if, for any reason, the company were to pay outlandish prices that would place Government Departments in a desperate position. I agree that is not likely to happen, but it might.

Does the Minister anticipate that losses are going to fall on the State?

The Deputy knows that in all these transactions where proprietary creameries are taken over and handed back to co-operative societies, there is always a difference to be made good by the State. The co-operative societies never pay as much for those creamery premises to the Dairy Disposals Board as the latter has to pay to the proprietors, because very often the premises in question are closed down and not used as creameries at all. In such cases, there is bound to be a loss which must be met by the State.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 11 not moved.

I move amendment No. 12:—

In sub-section (6) page 5, in line 36, to delete the words and brackets "(whose determination shall be final)".

The object of the amendment is to make it clear that the decision of the arbitrator in these cases shall not be final and that there will be the right of appeal from it to the Circuit Court judge. I regard this as one of the most vital matters in the whole Bill. Amendment No. 14 deals with the same matter.

The Deputy can discuss amendments Nos. 12 and 14 together.

In amendment No. 14 I am proposing, before sub-section (7), page 5, to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

(7) Any party to arbitration proceedings under the next preceding sub-section of this section shall be entitled within thirty days after the publication of the award of the arbitrator to appeal to the judge of the Circuit Court against the terms of such award and in all such cases the decision thereon of the judge of the Circuit Court shall be final.

I do not think any arguments are necessary in support of either of these proposals. The object is to ensure the observance of a well recognised, a well defined, right that, generally speaking, has been very jealously guarded. I spoke strongly on this matter on the Second Reading. It would be highly objectionable, in my opinion, if the Minister who, under this Bill, is seeking to close down or absorb a number of creameries, should have the appointment of the arbitrator put into his hands, and that there should be no appeal from the arbitrator's decision. These amendments seek to remedy that position. Deputies are aware that valuation appeals and matters of that kind generally go before the Circuit Court judge. I see no reason why people who are dissatisfied with the amount of the arbitrator's award should not have the right to go before the Circuit Court judge.

I hope that the Minister will accept Deputy Murphy's amendment or else bring in an amendment himself to modify the Bill. Here is a most objectionable situation, whether there is a precedent for it or not. In the course of the last ten minutes' discussion, it has become quite clear that the Minister is a party and is interested in the price. The Dairy Disposals Board—the company in question—works with the Minister. It is quite clear, from what we have heard from the Minister, that when any question of price is being discussed, there is full consultation—and there is to be full consultation— between the company and the Minister. Yet,ad hoc—for that particular case— the Minister, who is one of the bargaining parties, will appoint the person to decide the price. Surely, that is neither just nor equitable. There should be the provision which Deputy Murphy referred to, or the arbitrator should be appointed—as suggested on the Second Reading—by the President of the High Court or by the Chief Justice.

The present arrangement seems inequitable, and I put it very seriously to the Minister that he will not lose anything, and that a few pounds one way or another will not count. It is objectionable that a party to the negotiations for fixing a price should appoint the person for that particular case. He is not a person appointed to look into a number of cases and who holds office under the will of the Minister: he is appointedad hoc, for that particular bargain, and he is appointed by the Minister who, as we have seen in the course of this debate, is a most interested party. If the Minister gives this matter consideration, he will see that the interests of justice require that he meet the case put up by Deputy Murphy, or that he allow the arbitrator to be appointed by an independent person, such as the President of the High Court or the Chief Justice.

I, too, think there is good reason why the Minister should accept this amendment, as suggested by Deputy O'Sullivan. It would give more confidence to both parties to the bargain if some such suggestion were adopted. Without it, I do not see how either party could have confidence in the arbitrator appointed by the Minister, and I ask him to accept it.

Deputy O'Sullivan has made a very deep impression on me, and I think there is a lot in what he says. I would like to have finality, whatever arbitrator there be, and would prefer the alternative that the arbitrator be appointed by someone other than the Minister—maybe by the President of the High Court or by the Chief Justice. The Attorney-General would advise as to that.

I would prefer a judge to appoint him.

One or the other—the President of the High Court or the Chief Justice. I will undertake to bring in an amendment on those lines, if Deputy Murphy is satisfied.

I accept that.

This rules a similar section in Part III, with the very same wording.

Amendment No. 12, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 13:—

In sub-section (6), paragraph (b), to delete sub-paragraphs (iii) and (iv), and substitute the following sub-paragraphs:—

(iii) the arbitrator may, as respects the costs and expenses of the parties in any proceedings under this paragraph, by his award and at his direction—

(I) direct the company to pay a sum (to be measured by the arbitrator) towards the costs and expenses of the vendor, or

(II) direct the vendor to pay a sum (to be measured by the arbitrator) towards the costs and expenses of the company, or

(III) direct the company to pay the costs and expenses of the vendor as taxed by a Taxing Master of the High Court, or

(IV) direct the vendor to pay the costs and expenses of the company as taxed by a Taxing Master of the High Court, or

(V) direct the vendor and the company respectively to abide their own costs and expenses;

(iv) when the arbitrator directs the vendor to pay a sum (to be measured by the arbitrator) towards the costs and expenses of the company or directs the vendor to pay the costs and expenses of the company as taxed by a Taxing Master of the High Court, the company may deduct the amount payable to them under the direction from the said price.

This deals with costs and expenses. Although it is a long amendment, it differs very little from the original, except in so far as it says "costs and expenses". It was feared that "costs" alone might be held to refer only to legal costs. By including the word "expenses", it covers all such things as accountants' fees, valuers' fees and professional charges of that kind.

And journeys of officials?

I do not know about that

I would like to know.

I suppose it does.

Whether by train or motor car? And at the present time? We know that ordinary people must travel by train, but officials go by motor car.

Officials of the proprietors. The company does not come into this.

The expenses of the parties?

I am afraid the company does come into it.

It is unlikely that they do come in.

Is this meant to cover all the travelling expenses?

It is, if necessary, but I am told that it is most unlikely that anything would come into this but the expenses of counsel, the audit, the valuation, and so on, on behalf of the proprietors. It is very unlikely that any of the company's expenses would come into this, although they are covered, admittedly.

Would it not be possible to make it clear? If the company is going to take over a creamery against the will of the proprietor, is it fair that he should be asked, even legally, to be liable, in the strict letter of the law, to pay the expenses in getting an auditor, and so on, and in having the accounts examined? Surely not?

I asked the same question myself, as to whether it was necessary or not, and it was put to me that the vendor might be very unreasonable and put the company to a good deal of trouble and expense. It is a matter for the arbitrator, in the end, to decide whether it is necessary for the company to pay these expenses and whether they should be allowed. I think it is most unlikely that they would be allowed by the arbitrator.

The expenses might be necessary and yet they should not be charged.

If the company should say to the arbitrator that a certain person was very unreasonable and that these expenses were unnecessary, the arbitrator would have to decide whether they were unreasonable or not.

But there are other expenses that might be quite reasonable and necessary and still should not be charged.

The Bill provides that they are entitled to the expenses. Does that not mean that they can claim expenses?

You are making a provision which will entitle them to expenses.

The arbitrator can direct the company to pay the costs and expenses of the vendor, or he can do the opposite, or he can direct each to pay his own costs. The arbitrator, naturally, will be very reluctant to give the company its own costs, unless they can make a very good case.

Why put it in? It is not worth it.

I think it is necessary.

Here is a public company, working under statute. It is entitled to charge its expenses, according to this. Being entitled to charge its expenses, is it entitled to forgo them as a State institution? I doubt it. If it ever comes before the Committee of Public Accounts—and I understand it is not easy to get information out of the company before the Public Accounts Committee—it might be very hard to justify its not charging what it is legally entitled to charge.

I agree that there is something in what the Deputy says. If a Government Department were concerned, they would almost be bound to look for expenses, but the arbitrator here must be satisfied.

But he is bound by the law.

But you will see here that the arbitrator may, if he likes, direct the company to pay the costs of both, or may direct the vendor to pay the costs of both, or may direct each to pay his own. So he has the last say.

In my judgment the arbitrator's powers would be wide enough, without putting further powers into his hands with regard to expenses, apart from costs. I am very much obliged to Deputy O'Sullivan for the very clear manner in which he has explained this matter. I object to this amendment, and I think it will introduce a dangerous principle and one that tends to whittle down whatever few rights will be left to the proprietors.

I put it to the Minister this way. There are 21 premises altogether. It is not worth tying up all the loose ends and doing objectionable things, in order to provide for possibilities of that kind.

I do not see that there is anything unreasonable in doing this. The arbitrator can do one of five things outlined here: he can direct each to pay his own costs, he can direct one to pay all the costs as taxed, or he can name the sum that one or the other will pay. There are five alternatives. I think everyone will agree that the arbitrator appointed in a case like this—as he will be now, not by me but by another person—is not going to give the company costs unless they make a very good case.

I do not think we can anticipate the arbitrator's decision in any way.

I presume, when appointed, he will be a legal or semi-legal person.

I am not sure, possibly a valuer.

If a case comes before him one of the things he will have to determine will be costs, and whether it was reasonable to bring a case. If the company is going to take over premises it is reasonable to bring a case, because they are going to take them over, and all he can do is fix a price. The actual bringing of a case when there is no agreement is a reasonable action when the company is going to take over. He cannot stop them.

That is right.

Therefore, their action is reasonable and he must give them costs.

Not necessarily.

Better leave it in the original form without including expenses at all.

That is the only difference. In my opinion by rejecting the amendment Deputies will be going against the interests of the vendor, because he could not charge expenses.

My argument was directed as much against the amendment as against the section.

Would the Minister agree to look into the matter again?

I think Deputies have taken up a very strange attitude here. The arbitrator has full power to fix a price which, in some cases, will amount to tens of thousands of pounds. Deputies are objecting here when he is dealing with ten or twenty pounds for expenses.

Amendment put, and declared carried.

Amendment No. 14 is consequential on a previous amendment that was not moved.

Question—"That Section 9, as amended, stand part of the Bill"— put and agreed to.
SECTION 10.

I move amendment No. 15:—

Before Section 10, but in Part II of the Bill, to insert a new section as follows:—

Any creamery acquired by the company shall be disposed of, not later than three months after its acquisition by the company, to the nearest co-operative dairy society in the district in which such creamery has been operating.

I think it is necessary that something should be done to ginger up the Dairy Disposals Board to carry out the work they are supposed to do, and that is to dispose of the creameries they acquired. It was pointed out on the Second Reading that once creameries were acquired the word "disposal" was never given effect to as far as the board is concerned. The object of this amendment is to see that the intentions of the Act are carried out, and that creameries that were acquired will be handed over as soon as possible to co-operative creameries where they are working. It may be pointed out that this Bill will enable the Dairy Disposals Board to get hold of creameries that are redundant. I suppose the amendment should deal only with creameries that will not be redundant, and that it is necessary to keep alive, but I suggest that they should be handed over at an early date to co-operative creameries.

This is a type of amendment that should be reserved until the Bill that I mentioned previously is before the Dáil, to deal with the regularisation of the operating company. I am afraid that Bill will not be brought before the present Dáil, but I hope the Deputy will be here when there is an opportunity of raising the point.

It might be outside its scope.

With regard to this amendment there are two instances which would not fit in with it. It is likely that one unit may go to a group at present held by the Dairy Disposals Board. I could not say that definitely. I would be more definite in the second case, that in a particular area in South Cork, the Dairy Disposals Board will have to hold groups, there for some time until there is re-organisation. That could not possibly be done in a month. I do not know how long it will take. It might take six or 12 months but re-organisation will be necessary in that area.

Will the Minister agree to make it 12 months or two years?

Where there will not be redundancy can creameries be acquired?

I am quite prepared to give an undertaking that in areas other than southern areas, where it is obvious they are going over to co-operatives, there will be no delay.

In view of the criticism of the Dairy Disposals Board for holding on all this time, the feeling is that the same thing will occur again.

There is no intention to hold on to groups where obviously they are going over to existing co-operative concerns. They will go over immediately.

Will the Minister say how the redundance occurred?

In County Limerick there is a proprietory and co-operative creamery in the same town.

Which was there first?

I do not know. In any case the co-operative one will have to remain.

The Minister is trying to have this amendment withdrawn on the undertaking that there will be no delay in carrying out its object. This Party has taken up the attitude that if the intention of the original Act had been carried out in a reasonable period, ten or 15 years was long enough to see the policy enshrined in the Act put into operation. As the Minister and the Government have been in office for 11 years, I hope he will not take that as a reasonable period within which to put a certain policy into operation.

I am glad to hear the Minister state that it is his intention, or the intention of whoever succeeds him in the next Dáil, to bring in legislation for the regularisation of the activities of the Dairy Disposals Board. There should be an interesting discussion on that Bill as to the meaning of the word "regularisation." There is one thing we should have. The Minister should give a definite undertaking to Deputy O'Neill as to what he means by the carrying out of the policy enshrined in this Bill. What is the reasonable period within which the Minister thinks the intention will be put into operation? Deputy O'Neill is asking for certain things to be done inside a period of three months. The Minister has failed to do certain things within a period of 11 years. I will not hold him responsible for the activities of his predecessor in holding up the operation of the original Act for four or five years previous to that. Is 15 or 16 years a reasonable period, or is three months an unreasonable period? Within what period does the Minister think the intentions of this Bill will be carried out?

Perhaps Deputy O'Neill and Deputy O'Donovan will understand when I explain that what I have in mind is that Kilmallock and Ballinascarthy might go over straight away. I do not think there will be any delay. In the Skibbereen area, however, re-organisation is necessary, and that may take some time. I do not think it will be 11 years. I think it may take more than one year, maybe two years. I think two years ought to see it through. I would not like, however, to put it into a Bill because you do not know what you will be up against. I do not want to go back on the discussion we had on Second Reading. Deputy Davin referred to groups already there. I think in each individual case, if Deputy Davin likes to go into it, he will find that there was some reason for the delay. There are certain of these groups I do not see any objection to going over to the co-operative societies. But one of the troubles, of course, is the question of price.

Surely a good deal of preliminary negotiations and consultations went on between the parties concerned before the Bill was brought in?

Between what parties?

Between the parties who will be involved in the operation of this legislation.

There was a good lot of discussion, but nothing formal.

The primary purpose for which the company was set up was to acquire certain properties, do away with redundancy, reorganise the creamery industry generally and dispose of the creameries to the co-operative societies. During the first years a good deal of progress was, in fact, made, but during the period the Minister has been in office very little property has been disposed of.

That is so.

In fact of that situation, it is not unreasonable for the House to insist that a period should be fixed within which these properties should be disposed of to the co-operative societies. I think myself that three months is ridiculous. It is far too short. Suppose you fix two years, or even three years. There ought to be a time limit fixed. This company appears to be very anxious to hang on to these properties indefinitely and no effort is being made to dispose of them to the co-operative societies. Proposals have been put up by a number of societies without any result. The demands that have been made by the company have been uneconomic from the point of view of the societies. How can the Minister or the House hope that the properties in the possession of the company will be disposed of at all if they persist in their attitude of asking an uneconomic price or a price that is not attractive to the societies?

Does the Minister admit that that is the attitude of the company?

Then why did the negotiations break down?

I think if the Deputy would examine——

From what I read in the reports of the I.A.O.S. I came to that conclusion.

The I.A.O.S. may think the price too high, but I do not.

Then it is a question of your opinion against that of the I.A.O.S.?

That is so. I do not know who will settle that. On the basis of the milk supply, I do not think the price is excessive asked for some of these groups. Neither do I think that on the basis of the machinery the price is excessive either. It would be very hard to insert a time limit here. I think this whole question might be discussed when the Dairy Disposals Board Bill comes before the Dáil. That would be the best time to discuss it. Whether we might put in a time limit then or not is a question. There are arguments against putting a time limit on it.

There is no guarantee as to when that Bill will be introduced. The Minister is not prepared to introduce it during the lifetime of this Dail?

It would not be ready. The Department are getting it ready.

It is unlikely that it will be introduced before the election.

It is quite clear that the whole tendency has been to slow up.

I do not know whether you should call it a tendency.

The Minister's own statement bears that out. I think "tendency" is a remarkably mild word to apply to it. The Minister says that in every case where there has been delay there have been reasons for it.

I have great respect for the Civil Service. If they cannot find reasons for delay I would be surprised. You can, of course, find reasons. As the Minister just let drop in the course of his statement, when this nebulous Bill which he has in mind comes before us very strong arguments may be used, and will be put forward probably, against fixing any time limit. In other words, strong arguments will be put forward for allowing the board to be the permanent proprietors of these creameries.

That does not follow.

It is what is meant. When the Minister stated that the introduction of the Bill for the regularisation of the Dairy Disposals Board would be the proper time to discuss this it struck me that that will be a Bill to allow the Dairy Disposals Board, in contravention of the original purpose, to act as a trading company and to continue for all time to act as a trading company. I think that is the policy of the board.

Is nationalisation the policy of the Minister?

It is not.

Deputy O'Sullivan is in possession.

The Chair will see to it that the Deputy is in possession.

I was afraid that Deputy Davin was about to get on to the banks. It made me nervous for a moment. Surely the policy is to hold these and to work them. I think the Dairy Disposals Board has been more or less ingenious in finding reasons for not disposing of each and every creamery. The Minister admits that they have not disposed of any.

Very good. If they have very good reasons for not having disposed of them, what hope is there that within a reasonable time they will ever dispose of any? The three months limit mentioned by Deputy O'Neill may be altogether too little. It seems to me it is, but there ought to be some indication that there is a drive away from the recent policy. I think the conditions that have to be satisfied and the requirements of the Dairy Disposals Board that have to be satisfied on the part of any co-operative creamery have become more onerous every six months almost. Difficulties are piled up between the proposed co-operative purchasers and the Dairy Disposals Board in striking a bargain. I think that is the general impression that is abroad on the part of people who were interested in the original intention of the Dairy Disposals Board.

I think that policy is the policy that will be continued, and I think everything which the Minister has said is an indication that it is really the policy and the policy that ultimately will triumph, not the policy of handing them over to the co-operatives. I gather that there is a certain amount of reasonable complaint on the part of the co-operatives. Here you have a powerful company owning a large number of these creameries, not keeping a balance sheet for each creamery and, consequently, able to compete in any area at cut prices with the neighbouring creamery. I have heard that charge made. That is not fair. This is a public company subsidised by public funds, run to a certain extent at the expense of public funds, having all these chain stores practically, and using its position, I am told, to undercut existing co-operative societies. In how many cases that has happened, I cannot say, but surely this is a company run as an ordinary company except that it does not pay any interest on its capital, or, at least, very little. It has great advantages and it has naturally the tendency to cling on to what it has got.

I am interested in two creamery premises in Limerick which will come under the provisions of this piece of legislation. They are the only two proprietary creamery premises in County Limerick. On this amendment, I would refer to the question of the disposal of these premises after they are taken over, under the provisions of the Bill, by the Dairy Disposals Company. It may be suggested to the Minister that one or both of these creameries are redundant. Frankly, one is redundant in view of the fact that it is across the road from the co-operative creamery. In the other case there is no creamery within a reasonable distance, and it would be altogether unfair to the dairy farmers who are supplying milk to the premises that I am speaking of to declare it redundant and close it down.

I want to sound a note of warning in respect of any proposal of that kind which might be put to the Minister. The creamery I am interested in particularly is that at Castletownconyers, County Limerick. The rumour has gone abroad already that it is proposed to close that premises when it is acquired by the Dairy Disposals Company. Any proposal of that kind would be very bitterly opposed by the dairy farmers in the area who are concerned. I have a fairly intimate acquaintance with conditions in the area and I think it should be dealt with as proposed in the amendment put down by Deputy O'Neill and the creamery handed over to the co-operative society nearest to it.

In the report of the I.A.O.S. I noticed a few cases were referred to. One was the Newmarket case, where negotiations were going on for a period of years. How is it that these negotiations were not brought to a successful conclusion? In other words, will the Minister tell the House what caused negotiations to break down there, if it was not the question of an economic price as far as the society was concerned? Then there is the Dicksgrove group in Kerry. Would the Minister give us the history of the negotiations in those two cases? The Minister feels a time limit is not necessary. Will he say why it is that the societies there found it impossible to arrive at a price which, from their point of view, was an economic price? What caused negotiations to break down?

In regard to the accusation that there is reluctance on the part of the company to dispose of groups to the co-operatives, I do not think that that can be borne out, fully at any rate, by the facts. There were certain units taken over in the last six or seven years—handed over direct to the co-operatives. They were not held at all by the Dairy Disposals Board, but passed over.

Only about five.

Some of them, at any rate; I do not know what number. I am quite sure that, whenever the Bill comes before the Dáil, good arguments can be put up against any time limit, because, for instance, when we set out to organise these areas from Cahirciveen down to Castletown Bere. I asked for a vote of £40,000, and I said I thought we might lose it. Nobody contradicted that statement. There is no doubt that no proprietor or co-operative would have attempted to try to re-organise these areas. The Dairy Disposals Board went in. They have reached a paying stage, but they have hardly reached a stage, I think, where a co-operative would like to take them over and be responsible for any price that might be put on them, even if the price were small. There may be areas —I do not know—that will be developed even in years to come that will have to be held by some body as that, so I think it is possible the Dairy Disposals Board, or some such body, will be there for years to come. I am surprised that Deputy Davin should base the opposition of the Labour Party to this Bill on the fact that the Dairy Disposals Board is holding on to creameries, because, surely, it is the nearest thing to nationalisation — the ideal of the Labour Party—that the Dairy Disposals Board should hold creameries like that on behalf of the State.

I never heard that under a policy of nationalisation a Minister concerned would refuse to answer questions in the House concerning his activity.

That is a small point.

It is the main point.

Surely, nationalisation means owned by the State, and managed by somebody or other appointed by the State. These units are all owned by the State, and they are managed by——

Civil servants.

Civil servants, yes—and when the Labour Party carry out their programme of nationalisation, everything will be done by civil servants, naturally, unless you call them something else. So that you have an ideal system of nationalisation and I thought I should have the support of the Labour Party in maintaining it. I am not sure, but I think I prefer co-operation on the whole. To come down to the point as to why these creameries were not handed over, there is a difference between what the co-operative society in Newmarket is prepared to pay and the price at which the Dairy Disposals Board is prepared to sell. There is not a big difference between them now. The board has come down a good deal in its price and the co-operative has gone up a good deal in its price.

Would the Minister say which of the two is wrong and which is right?

I think the Dairy Disposals Board is very reasonable in its price.

Very reasonable?

You have no machinery to determine what is a fair price?

No. Well, what can you do?

An arbitrator could be appointed.

An arbitrator, of course.

See Section 9 of the Bill.

But the seller is entitled to charge what he thinks his property is worth——

Did the Minister read Section 9 of the Bill?

——until compulsion of this kind comes in. I should like to deal with one other point. Deputy O'Sullivan said that the Dairy Disposals Company is accused of using its position to pay a good price in places where there is more competition than in others. I take it that what is meant by a good price is that they will pay a higher price for the milk. It is a rather strange thing that if you take any of the three last years you will find that the highest price paid by the Dairy Disposals Company was paid in the two groups Cahirciveen and Kenmare where there is certainly no competition. If the Deputy's allegation were right the highest prices would be paid in the Cork groups, but in the Cork groups they paid a much lower price than in those two areas I have mentioned. As a matter of fact, I think they have pursued a policy, if they are in an area surrounded by cooperatives, of paying whatever price the co-operative pays, so that any fault cannot be found in regard to the price. Coming back to the amendment proposed by Deputy O'Neill I think it would be impossible to put any time limit on the Dairy Disposals Company's ownership.

I should like to call attention to a question raised last year at the Public Accounts Committee in regard to the taking over of these creameries. At that time, the accounting officer said: "We would have no difficulty in disposing of these creameries to new societies if we would give them at a low price. We are inclined to hold out for such price as will recoup the State for the original cost; plus the cost of improvements— new plant and new buildings—since they were taken over." If that is your attitude, that you want a price that will cover compensation, redundancy, etc., you may wait until Doomsday to get it. If the Government feels from the national point of view that it should improve and reorganise the dairying industry. I think the State should be prepared to expend some capital and to incur some losses in doing so and it would be good business to do that. I think that the intention under the original Act was to incur such losses but, according to the accounting officer, the attitude of the disposals company is to look for a price that will recoup all losses and expenditure. That is unreasonable and that is why you cannot get societies to take over these creameries.

That principle is not applied in individual cases. I think there are 16 groups in all and the aim will be to recoup the State for outlay on the 16 groups, but the principle which the Deputy has mentioned would not apply in individual cases.

In the aggregate the State is out to recoup itself for all the money it has expended and I do not think that is possible.

After all if the State develops a particular area and, say, doubles the supply of a particular area, and sells at the total cost, it would be handing over a very good investment to the buyers. There are three ways in which you can test the value of these creameries. If you apply any of these three tests you can see whether the buyers are getting good value. The first is the cost up to date; the second is the milk supply at so much per gallon; and the third, the economic value at which you might sell any business, that is, the balance sheet value. On any of these tests I think you will find that too much is not being asked.

The Minister has apparently a funny idea of what nationalisation means.

The Deputy may not proceed to define "nationalisation" now.

The Minister apparently thinks that nationalisation means that he can come to the House, demand a million or two and get away with it, and when he is asked a simple question as to how it is being expended, that he can tell everybody to go to Billy Hayes. Is that the Minister's understanding of what nationalisation means?

Not exactly.

What is the idea of having representatives in a Parliament of this kind asked to vote huge sums of money and when the Minister is asked to give a reasonable explanation of how that money is being spent——

On amendment No. 15?

I think he will find that that system will not work whatever other system will be worked when his successor is appointed after the next general election.

Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present; House counted and 20 Deputies being present,

Amendment put and declared lost.
The following amendments appeared on the Order Paper:—
16. Before Section 10, but in Part II of the Bill, to insert a new section as follows:—
(1) Whenever a creamery has been acquired by the company under the immediately preceding section of this Act the company shall, in respect of every person who was an employee of the said creamery at the date of such acquisition, either—
(a) provide or cause to be provided suitable employment at not less favourable terms for such person, or
(b) pay such person a gratuity, calculated at the rate of one-sixth of his present yearly earnings for each completed year of his employment by such creamery.
(2) The expression "suitable employment" shall, for the purposes of the preceding sub-section, mean, in the case of a married man, employment within three miles of his usual place of residence.—(Ted O'Sullivan, Seán Buckley.)
17. Before Section 10, but in Part II of the Bill, to insert a new section as follows:—
(1) Whenever the Minister makes a sale order in relation to any creamery premises and the chattels thereon, the following provisions shall apply and have effect concerning the workers employed in or about such creamery, that is to say, the sale order shall provide that such workers or any specified workers named therein are entitled to transfer their services to the employment of the company or that such workers or any specified workers named therein are to be regarded as redundant and entitled to compensation for loss of employment in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(2) Whenever a sale order provides in relation to workers or to any specified workers, to whom this section refers, that such workers are entitled to transfer their services to the employment of the company, the following provisions shall apply, that is to say:—
(a) the company shall offer such workers employment under conditions not less favourable in regard to wages and working conditions than the conditions under which they were employed immediately before the making of the sale order, and
(b) such workers and each of them shall be deemed to have been offered and to have accepted under an enforceable contract a six years' engagement,
provided always that a sale order shall not provide that a married worker is entitled to transfer his services to the employment of the company unless the Minister is satisfied that such worker will be employed in his own district.
(3) Whenever a sale order provides in relation to workers, or to any specified workers to whom this section refers, that such workers are to be regarded as redundant, the following provisions shall apply, that is to say:—
(a) every such worker shall be entitled to compensation by way of gratuity;
(b) the gratuity payable to a worker who has been employed in the creamery premises to which the sale order relates for less than three years shall be an amount equal to the earnings of such worker during the last complete year of such employment;
(c) the gratuity payable to a worker who has been more than three years and less than twenty years employed in the creamery premises to which the sale order relates shall be an amount equal to the sum of three months' earnings in respect of each year of such employment, provided that the amount payable under this paragraph shall be not less than the equivalent of one year's earnings;
(d) the gratuity payable to a worker who has been for more than twenty years employed in the creamery premises to which the sale order relates shall be an amount equal to the sum of four months' earnings in respect of each year of such employment.
(4) Where a worker is deemed under sub-section (2) of this section to have accepted a six years' engagement with the company, the remuneration payable under such contract shall be payable as and from the date of the sale order.
(5) Any gratuity payable under this section shall become due and payable thirty days after the making by the Minister of the sale order.
(6) Any moneys due under this section may be recovered in a court of competent jurisdiction as a simple contract debt.—(Timothy J. Murphy.)

Amendments Nos. 16 and 17 are alternative proposals for compensating employees who may become redundant under the Bill. Technically, there can be only one amendment before the Committee at the same time. However, as the terms of amendment No. 17 are wider than those of amendment No. 16, I suggest that the discussion cover amendments Nos. 16 and 17. If Deputy Murphy desires a division on No. 17 he may formally move it after amendment No. 16 has been disposed of, and get a decision upon it.

I move amendment No. 16. I think there are several precedents for the proposal contained in this amendment. Under the Road Transport Act, the Shannon Electricity Supply Act, and the Local Government Act, huge sums were paid by way of compensation to redundant employees, and under the 1927 Act relating to this industry compensation to the extent of £53,000 was paid even though no provision was made for that in the Act. I suggest that provision should be made in this Act so as to ensure that no employee of these concerns will be victimised by any Act of this House. I should like the Minister to give us some information as to what he intends to do in this respect. The amendment also suggests that the expression "suitable employment" shall, for the purposes of this sub-section, mean, in the case of a married man, employment within three miles of his usual place of residence.

I do not think that it would be fair to send an old, married man with a family too far from his home for employment. From what I know of the área in West Cork which has been left undeveloped by the Dairy Disposals Company and by the proprietary and co-operative creameries, there is plenty of room for the employment of the men who will be displaced. There is a huge area to be newly organised and there is a huge area to be re-organised. I think that the Minister should include in the Bill a clause providing for suitable employment for each displaced employee. If suitable employment is not obtainable, compensation should be provided. I know that it is very hard to fix a rate which will compensate a man for loss of employment. If a man cannot get a similar job which he is equally able to do, it is doubtful whether he can be compensated at all for loss of his employment but I think that my proposal of a gratuity equal to one-sixth of his present yearly earnings for each completed year of employment is fair. Under that proposal, consideration could be given to men with long service and men with short service. It would not be a question of their ages but of their service with the creameries concerned. The Minister might now give us an indication of what he proposes to do as regards these amendments.

I move amendment No. 17:—

The Deputy understands that he may move amendment No. 17, without discussion, when a decision has been reached on amendment No. 16, in order to get a decision. The two amendments are being discussed together.

I understand. Amendment No. 17 is a long, comprehensive proposal, but it means something that is exceedingly simple and exceedingly necessary. It aims at making provision for the employees who will lose their employment in the creameries in which they are now engaged. These men may or may not get employment in other creameries. If they do not get such employment, they are entitled to some compensation. A number of them have many years of service. In a number of cases, the employment was well paid. In the case of some of the concerns which are liable to disappear under this measure, it was practically unheard of for a man to be dismissed. Son followed father into the same employment and the employment has, generally, been of a very high standard. I make no apology for saying a word in defence of concerns which paid men well and in the service of which they were happy and content. Despite the Minister's sneers regarding the policy of the Labour Party, I shall not be diverted from an expression of that view. Some of the employees who will lose their employment are in the evening of life, and they will find themselves out on the roadside without any prospect of employment. I have had letters from a number of those concerned, and it would be most regrettable if no provision were made for them.

The view has just been expressed that there should be no victimisation. Surely we know that there has been victimisation in many matters in the past. Apart from Acts of Parliament, there has been victimisation of the meanest kind, and there has been political victimisation in many cases. So far as I can protect the employees concerned, I propose to do it. My proposal seeks to give the persons concerned some crumbs in the way of compensation in the event of employment not being available for them. It will not amount to a great deal, but the people concerned are entitled to simple justice. The number of people who will be affected by this Bill will be 300 in the case of one concern. Some of them have been in their present employment for 30 or 40 years. Surely, people in that position are entitled to compensation if they are not reemployed. I should like to have the Minister's view at this stage as to how far he proposes to meet the demand for alternative employment or compensation for these men.

I think that the proposals contained in Deputy Murphy's amendment are reasonable and fair in the circumstances. Some provision should be made for compensation for employees who may be found to be redundant. Where possible, they should be transferred to other creameries. Where that is not possible, it is merely a matter of justice to provide some form of security for them.

I quite agree with Deputy O'Sullivan when he said that you can hardly compensate a person for loss of employment. However, I must admit that he and Deputy Murphy made a very good attempt to compensate the persons concerned in this case. The proposals put up are, I shall not say extravagant, but ridiculous. Under Deputy Murphy's proposition, a man might get the equivalent of ten years' salary down for loss of employment. I do not think that such provision was ever contained in any Bill brought before the Dáil or any other Parliament. In the proposals before us, we are going altogether too far. In fact, I think that it would be extremely difficult to deal with this problem by legislation. Deputies are under a wrong impression if they think that it was dealt with by legislation in 1927. There was no legislation on this question in 1927. A scale was laid down which was not, in my opinion, adequate. It was improved by me about 1935, after some years of negotiation with the Minister for Finance. We arrived at a better scale of compensation for those whose cases were still outstanding under the 1927 arrangement. The best plan, of course, would be to give all these men equivalent employment.

The problem is not as big as some Deputies would lead the House to believe. I do not know what the total number of men employed in the affected groups would be but it is easy to make a rough survey of what will happen to the various groups when taken over. Having made that rough survey, I am satisfied that we shall not have any trouble except in connection with 20 or 25 men and from nine to 11 auxiliary managers. Our problem is, therefore, very small. I am very confident—one can never be sure—that equivalent employment can be offered to all these men without exception. However, I may be wrong in that. Something may miscarry in the calculation. There may be some trouble about the transfer of a particular unit to some "co-operative" or there may be some breakdown in the negotiations, necessitating a change of policy.

That might, in turn, involve some change in what I have in mind with regard to the absorption of these employees. With the best will in the world. I should find it impossible to enshrine in a clause in the Bill a guarantee of equivalent employment for the persons concerned because "equivalent employment" is very difficult to define. On the whole, I think it would be much better to leave this matter outside the Bill, as it was left outside the 1927 scheme, but with this difference: I am quite prepared to give a much better undertaking than was given at that time. I have no doubt that Deputy Murphy is right in saying that these men enjoyed good employment during many years and were quite happy in their work. It is a great misfortune for them that they have to be disturbed. I have every sympathy with these men and we must treat them as well as possible, but everybody will agree that, if financial compensation on the terms laid down in the amendments were provided, it would be very hard to persuade men who were offered equivalent employment to take it. They would, naturally, be tempted to claim six years' or ten years' salary down and take their chance of finding a job. Any man would expect to find as good a job as he has within six years. At the same time, he would enjoy the cash compensation offered under the amendment. It would be very unwise to offer such huge amounts by way of compensation. It would lead to discontent on the part of men who took any job and left that huge amount of cash behind. I do not think that it is possible to have these amendments accepted or included in the Bill but, in lieu of that, I am prepared to give an undertaking publicly that every one of these employees will, in all probability, be put into equivalent employment and that, where equivalent employment is not possible or is not accepted by the persons concerned, then they will get the best compensation that was offered under the 1927 scheme. I can assure Deputy O'Sullivan and others who referred to Acts dealing with this compensation question that the compensation in this case was far more favourable than the compensation given under any of the Acts mentioned by the Deputies. That compensation was: one year's salary for men under 50 years; one and a half years' salary for men between 50 and 60 years and two years' salary for men over 60 years. That is far short of what is proposed in the amendments here——

Was it based on years of service?

It was not. Although it is far short of what is proposed in the amendments before us, it is very much better than that originally given under the 1927 Act. Under the 1927 arrangement 13 weeks' salary was the compensation given in the beginning, and many of those concerned went out with that compensation. I am confident that every man can be kept in equivalent employment—I do not say the same employment. Deputies will understand that, if you have two creameries side by side, and one is taken over by the other, you cannot make the second manager a central manager, because there is a central manager there already. However, if equivalent employment is provided, I think that those concerned should be quite satisfied.

I do not admit for a moment that the proposals contained in this amendment are ridiculous. As Deputy Hughes said, they are, on the whole, quite reasonable. I have some well-defined precedents to guide me. An Act was passed to provide pensions for Ministers. That Act provided that Ministers be paid pensions at the rate of one-third of their salaries after service of five years. This proposal is not at all as revolutionary as that. There was no means test in that case— the kind of thing usually applied in other directions. The Minister himself has reason to know, from his knowledge of that measure, that it is far more generous to the section with which it deals than is this proposal of mine. Perhaps, the difference is that I am making this proposal for ordinary working people. Perhaps it is expected that they should not make claim to anything approaching the treatment regarded as natural and proper to other sections. If that is the view, I do not accept it. Under the Railways Act of 1924, a number of comparatively young people were put out of employment, and have been paid pensions since. A number of them received as pension half the amount of their retiring salary. The Minister said that neither in this House nor in any other Parliament were proposals as strange as my proposal introduced. I refer the Minister to the two instances I have cited. These Acts were passed by this House, and they are on far more generous lines than the provision contained in my amendment. I adhere to the proposal contained in my amendment, and I regret that the Minister has given no indication that he has anything to offer these people but a few crumbs.

In the circumstances in which these men, who have given faithful service, will find themselves, I think that there is nothing extravagant in Deputy Murphy's proposal. Not many of the men will, I think, become redundant: The bulk of them should be absorbed under the new arrangement. No young people will be involved. These are all middle-aged employees. Those of them who will become redundant will, probably, be one or two managers and a few others who will be advanced in years and who would not be able to get alternative employment. The least that should be given to those people after their years of faithful service would be something such as is embodied in the amendment suggested by Deputy Murphy. I do not agree with the Minister's proposal at all. I think it is most unfair. We do not know what the arbitrator may do, and I think that the Minister should rise to the occasion now, and deal fairly and squarely with people who may lose their employment as a result of the passing of this measure.

In view of the opening remarks of the Minister, I am surprised at the attitude he is now taking. When we were speaking about the necessity for inserting a clause dealing with this matter in the definition section of the Bill, I understood the Minister to indicate that he was prepared to do something in the way of compensation for persons who might lose their employment as a result of the operation of this Bill, in the same way as has been done, both under this Government and the previous Government, where legislation of this kind was passed through this House. I know, of course, that the Minister has the best intentions, but I am very sorry that I sat here in this House on a certain occasion and did not protest when the Minister discussed with Deputy Dillon, across the floor of the House, the necessity for inserting a similar clause in the Live Stock Insurance Bill.

On that occasion also, I know that the Minister was actuated by the best intentions when he gave an undertaking to Deputy Dillon, which Deputy Dillon accepted, that alternative employment, under equally suitable conditions, would be found for the people concerned in that case. I now know, and I think the Minister also knows, that that did not happen in that case. As a matter of fact, I know of the case of a very efficient young man, married, and with a family, who lost his employment owing to that measure, and for whom no alternative employment was provided. That young man is now seeking a permit to be allowed to go across to work in England, simply because what the Minister intended to be carried out at that time was not carried out. It was the Minister's intention that alternative employment under equally suitable conditions should be provided for such people, or that compensation should be given to them, if suitable employment could not be provided. As I have said, I am sorry that I sat here and listened to that discussion, because I feel that I, or somebody in the House, either on this side of the House or the other side, should have got up and advocated the insertion of a protective clause of a similar nature to the one we are advocating now. I am certain that on that occasion the Minister had the best intentions, but he passed over the control of that matter to a body outside this House, with the result that a decent young man, married and with a family, must now seek a permit to go across to work in England—all because the people to whom the Minister gave control would not deal with that man's case properly.

I thought that the Minister would at least accept the principle contained in Deputy Ted O'Sullivan's amendment, with a view to making certain that if people do lose their employment as a result of this measure and cannot get employment under equally suitable conditions, they should get compensation. I appeal to the Minister now to give this matter serious consideration, and I am not saying that in any offensive way, because I know that the Minister has the best intentions. I know that he means to have the livelihoods of these people protected, and I agree that it is right and proper that they should be provided with suitable alternative employment, but if something happens which we cannot now foresee, as happened in the case to which I have already referred, I think it is necessary that some protective clause-should be inserted in this measure so as to ensure that something in the way of compensation will be provided for these people and their dependants, if suitable employment cannot be provided for them.

I think that compensation is a reasonable alternative to the failure of the powers-that-be to provide suitable employment. I think the Minister himself would admit that. The Minister intends to do a certain thing, and he says that, doubtless, it will be done, but he said the same on a previous occasion, and, as I say, I am sorry that I sat here and listened to him without any protest, because I happen to know of the cases of people who suffered as a result of the Minister's handing over that control to an outside body.

Whether under the Cosgrave Government or the de Valera Government, whenever the Dáil passed legislation of this kind, providing for the amalgamation of such concerns, it has always been the practice to put in a protective clause so that people who lost their employment, as a result of such legislation, would get compensation, either by way of gratuity or pension, and I hope that the Minister will see his way to insert some such clause in this measure. If it is possible to provide suitable employment for these people, under equally good conditions, and if, therefore, the necessity for providing compensation does not arise, well and good. We shall all be glad if that should prove to be the case, but if that should not turn out to be so, then these people should be compensated, and I appeal to the Minister to insert that principle in the Bill. I do not think the Minister disagrees with the policy enshrined in the amendments proposed by Deputies Murphy and O'Sullivan, and I would appeal to him to put in something of that nature in the Bill so as to ensure that people who may lose their employment as a result of this measure will be provided with equally suitable employment, or else compensated.

I also am disappointed that the Minister cannot see his way to insert one or other of these clauses in the Bill. I can quite understand that it might not be possible to provide suitable employment in some cases—although I believe that in West Cork, at any rate, it would be possible to provide equivalent employment for these people—but I cannot understand why it should not be possible to provide compensation for such people as may not be able to get suitable equivalent employment. Of course, I accept the Minister's undertaking, and I am sure that when he gives a public undertaking, such as he has given, he will honour it. I am fairly certain that suitable equivalent employment can be found for these people, but I would still press on the Minister to accept some provision to deal with the question of compensation, in the event that suitable employment cannot be found for these persons.

Mr. Brennan

I should like to draw the attention of the House to what I feel to be a very grave danger in regard to this matter of reasonable compensation or the provision of suitable employment. A great deal of stress has been laid upon the provision of equivalent occupation. Now, there may be a desire on the part of the powers-that-be to retain in employment people who really are redundant, with the result that the industry concerned may be hampered economically, and become both uneconomic and inefficient. To my mind, there is a grave danger there. The Dairy Disposals Board, or the creamery company concerned, or even the Minister, may possibly be inclined to keep people in employment because no reasonable compensation can be paid to them. I think that that would be very bad, and I would much prefer the Minister to make some reasonable compensation available so that, if necessary, the creameries could be cleared out, even to the last man, and that they should not be retaining people who are redundant because there is no compensation for them. That is the danger we are up against, and if we want efficiency we ought to take care that that does not happen to us.

In spite of the meaning that he wanted to convey, the two cases mentioned by Deputy Murphy are not exactly parallel. He did cite, of course, Ministers' pensions. That has been cited by the Labour Party both inside and outside the Dáil——

And we will cite it again, too.

——as if they had not approved of them when they were going through. They may not approve of them now because they have no great hope of ever being Ministers themselves. There is no Minister who gets ten years' salary when he leaves his office. That is what Deputy Murphy is proposing in his amendment—ten years' salary down for a man who loses his office; if he has, say, thirty years' employment, and he gets four months for every year, that means he gets ten years' salary. As I say, I do not think there was ever such compensation offered. He also mentioned employees who left the Railway. I should like to know whether those employees were pensionable or not? In all probability they were.

Some of them were not.

But some of them were?

Their cases were met like the Electricity Supply Board, where the compensation was not better than I have mentioned. I now come to Deputy O'Donovan. He belongs to a creamery that will be taking over some of those units. If I say: "So-and-so should get equivalent employment in your creamery"—Deputy Brennan has fears about the man being redundant —I have not the slightest doubt that if Deputy O'Donovan goes to his committee and says: "Give this man ten years' salary and let him off" there will be no trouble about getting rid of him. Deputy O'Donovan wants to be generous at the State's expense; let him be generous at his own committee's expense and give this compensation.

Mr. Brennan

I do not think that is a good way of dealing with the question.

I do not see why every Party here should be so very flaitheamhlach when it is State money that is going to be used for the purpose. I am quite certain that the men would not be human if they agreed with me that they are getting equivalent employment when the alternative is ten years' salary down.

Mr. Brennan

What is the Minister's alternative?

My alternative is two years' salary when those men are over 60, and any man with whom there will be a doubt in regard to equivalent employment will be over 60. In the case of a man who is over 60 years of age, if I say: "Here is equivalent employment," he will say to himself: "I have only five or six years to go anyway, and if I find fault with the employment I will get ten years' salary down."

Mr. Brennan

Leave out the ten years. We are not arguing it on that basis.

That is Deputy Murphy's amendment, which was approved by Deputy O'Donovan and also in principle by Deputy Brennan.

And by Deputy O'Sullivan.

Deputy O'Sullivan is not altogether as bad. He would give six or seven years' salary, not ten. Indeed, as Deputy Davin says, in principle he is just as bad. We ought to be reasonable about this matter. Whatever our feelings may be, we have to be reasonable about it. I think if there is any hope of giving equivalent employment, and especially if there is any hope of getting those men to agree that they are being given equivalent employment, we cannot make the compensation too high; we must keep it at a reasonable level. I do not propose to depart from what I have said already.

For the information of the Minister, I should like to say this: he appears to have some doubt as to whether or not the persons who got pensions under the Railways Act of 1924 were previously pensionable. I can quote one case where the Act made it possible for—I will say obligatory on—a railway company to give a manager £2,072 a year, and he enjoyed that for 19 years, although he never paid a penny into a superannuation fund.

The Deputy does not want us to follow that.

Mr. Brennan

The Minister mentioned two years' salary for a man over 60. What is his allowance in the case of a man under 60?

The allowance I mentioned was a year's salary for a man under 50; 1½ years' for a man over 50. and 2 years' for a man over 60.

Mr. Brennan

Does the Minister think a year and a half is reasonable? Let us debate this matter from a reasonable standpoint. Is there not a real danger that a man who ought to be treated as redundant will be kept on because there are no means of compensating him otherwise?

The Deputy is wrong in that. Surely there is nothing to prevent a co-operative society from taking him over and offering him something in addition to that.

Surely the Minister will realise that a fair way to fix a gratuity or pension is on the basis of service and not of age? You can have a man who came into the service at 58 years of age getting a pension on better terms than a fellow who came into the service of the creamery at 25 years of age. A fair basis for compensation is service and not age.

I should like to say to the Deputy that that particular question was threshed out very fully about 1935. At that time we discussed with the men themselves, and with those who spoke for them, the question as to whether the compensation should be graded with regard to service or to age, and in the end it was decided that age was a fair basis. Taking the human element into it, a man over 60 would find it very hard to get another job; a man between 50 and 60 would find it fairly hard, while a man under 50 would find it less hard, and so it was graded in that way rather than on years of service. I do not think it makes much difference, because as far as I know—I have seen an account of a number of those employees—the two things more or less coincide, that is years of service and age, because they all came in at a reasonable age.

If they did, it is all right, but, like the case of the Livestock Insurance Board, the Minister cannot be sure of anything. He cannot be sure that he will be sitting over there.

I do not recollect what the Deputy is referring to in that case.

I recollect it, and I will give the Minister the file dealing with it.

Would the Minister agree that a man over 60 years of age who cannot be provided with alternative employment is likely to remain unemployed until he gets the old age pension, and, therefore, consider the question of increasing the two years as a maximum there?

I am sorry that I cannot give the Deputy an undertaking on that. As Deputies know, I am more or less bound by procedure in those matters. Unless I could get my colleague, the Minister for Finance, to agree—which I am afraid would be very difficult, because I do not think I could put up good arguments to him, considering that the compensation granted in this particular case is very much better than that under many of the Acts that were passed dealing with other matters like electricity and so on —I should not like to promise the Deputy that there would be very much hope of making any improvement.

Is the Minister not prepared to move the insertion of a protective clause?

I do not object altogether to that, but I would appeal to the Deputy in this way: It is very difficult to define all those words like "equivalent employment," and so on, and it might lead to a High Court action in the end if we did not have it right. I really think an undertaking is just as good. The Deputy said that I may not be here. That is quite true; but I think the Deputy knows that, even if a different Government comes in, they always honour undertakings given by a previous Minister. I think the Deputy will admit that any undertakings of that kind given by Ministers of the last Government were honoured by us when we came along.

I would not for a moment accuse the Minister of standing up here in the House and giving an undertaking which he did not honestly intend to carry out, but circumstances may arise which we can never foresee. It is for that reason that I am pressing the Minister to insert a clause. There is another reason at the back of Deputy Murphy's mind, and at the back of my mind. We will not be allowed to refer in this House to the activities or the operations of the Dairy Disposals Board, and that is the body that will have to carry out the Minister's promises in this matter.

I can understand the Deputy's difficulties in this connection. If I were in his place I would probably raise this matter too. But I think the Deputy will see that it is much better for the employees to have a public undertaking rather than have a clause inserted. I think that with an undertaking you have to be a bit more generous. Then there is the very point that the Deputy mentioned. Certain things that we do not foresee may turn up, and our clause might not be of any use at all. I think the undertaking will probably be interpreted to cover unforeseen circumstances, and, on the whole, the undertaking is better. If the Deputy were satisfied that what I am offering is all right, I would say that he should be more pleased to have an undertaking rather than to have this put into the Bill.

Your colleagues, in every piece of legislation of this kind, with the exception of the Live Stock Insurance Bill, inserted protective clauses in the interests of workers likely to lose their employment.

If I were to put in a clause, it would have to have the approval of the other Departments concerned, and in all probability it would be whittled down considerably.

Is amendment No. 16 being withdrawn?

Yes, on the undertaking given by the Minister.

I am pressing that.

Question put: "That the new section be therein inserted."
The Committee divided: Tá, 22; Níl, 57.

Tá.

  • Bennett, George C.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Davin, William.
  • Dockrell, Henry M.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Hannigan, Joseph.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Keating, John.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • O'Sullivan, John M.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Rogers, Patrick J.

Níl

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Brennan, Martin.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Crowley, Fred Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flvnn, John.
  • Flvnn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Patrick J.
  • Fuller, Stephen.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Keane, John J.
  • Kellv, James P.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McCann, John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Meaney, Cornelius.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Movlan, Seán.
  • Mullen, Thomas.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Laurence J.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Corish and Everett; Níl: Deputies Smith and S. Brady.
Question declared lost.
Section 10 agreed to.
SECTION 11.
Amendment No. 18 not moved.
Question—"That Section 11 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
SECTION 12.
Amendments Nos. 19 and 20 not moved.

I move amendment No. 21:—

In sub-section (6), paragraph (b), to delete sub-paragraphs (iii) and (iv), and substitute the following sub-paragraphs:—

(iii) the arbitrator may, as respects the costs and expenses of the parties in any proceedings under this paragraph, by his award and at his discretion—

(I) direct the company to pay a sum (to be measured by the arbitrator) towards the costs and expenses of the vendor, or

(II) direct the vendor to pay a sum (to be measured by the arbitrator) towards the costs and expenses of the company, or

(III) direct the company to pay the costs and expenses of the vendor as taxed by a Taxing Master of the High Court, or

(IV) direct the vendor to pay the costs and expenses of the company as taxed by a Taxing Master of the High Court, or

(V) direct the vendor and the company respectively to abide their own costs and expenses;

(iv) when the arbitrator directs the vendor to pay a sum (to be measured by the arbitrator) towards the costs and expenses of the company or directs the vendor to pay the costs and expenses of the company as taxed by a Taxing Master of the High Court, the company may deduct the amount payable to them under the direction from the said price.

This amendment is similar to one already adopted with regard to costs and expenses.

I am opposing this amendment on the same grounds that I opposed one of a similar type earlier.

Amendment put and declared carried.
Section 12, as amended, put and agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.

When is it proposed to take the Report Stage?

On this day week.

What is the urgency about this Bill?

Well, the sitting next week will be the last one before the Easter recess. Would to-morrow week suit the Deputy?

Report Stage ordered for Thursday, 15th April.