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Dáil Éireann debate -
Friday, 23 Mar 1945

Vol. 96 No. 16

Racing Board and Racecourses Bill, 1945—Committee (Amendment No. 22—Resumed).

I expressed my opinion on this amendment last night. I asked the Minister to introduce some clause whereby bookmakers would have an opportunity of appealing from a decision to somebody, and that at least one month's notice should be given to a bookmaker if it was proposed to revoke a course licence.

Amendments Nos. 22 to 25 deal with the same matter and might be discussed together. Except for No. 24, which falls with No. 22, separate decisions can be taken on each but the one discussion should suffice, seeing that they deal with the same subject matter, namely, the granting of permits to bookmakers.

The House should appreciate that if we are going to set up a board to take charge of racing, to see that it is properly conducted, and that amenities generally are improved, so that everything will be satisfactory from the public point of view, is it not right that that board should look after bookies to see that they were honourable men, men who would honour their commitments and conduct themselves properly on racecourses? The body best capable of judging in that respect is the board. If discretion were to be withdrawn from the board, and if it was to be stated that they should grant permits regardless of the type the applicants might be, then all power of control would be removed from the board, and any type of person could set himself up as a bookmaker provided he had a licence, regardless of his conduct, his honour or his commitments. I think it wise to leave that discretion which I have mentioned in amendment No. 25, with the board. The amendment provides that the board, in the exercise of its powers under the preceding sub-section, shall not refuse to grant a course betting permit to any licensed bookmaker or suspend a permit except there is grave reason for doing so. I merely put down that as a result of the debate here and of the doubt that was expressed that the board might discriminate as between one individual and another. I am not inclined to argue that to any great extent at all, and I merely wish to insert the safeguard to ensure that, unless an individual commits a grave indiscretion of some sort, the board cannot refuse to issue a permit. I am certainly opposed to withdrawing from the board any discretionary power in the matter. I think a discretionary power would be wisely vested in the board.

Amendment No. 23 in the name of Deputy Breen and myself was put down for the reason that we felt that there should be some right of appeal from a board of this kind. In every walk of life there is appeal from such decisions to somebody. If the Minister would indicate that, on the Report Stage of the Bill he would be prepared to introduce an amendment providing even for a right of appeal to himself, I would be prepared, with the concurrence of my colleague, Deputy Breen, to withdraw the amendment. He might evolve some form of appeal which might suit the case. I have no objection to the appeal being to the Minister himself. From the way Deputy Hughes talks on this matter it is clear that he has not attended many race meetings in his life. One had only to listen to him to know that he was arguing something that is not being thought of at all. If Deputy Hughes had been at the Baldoyle meeting last week he would have discovered that there were such crowds there that the Total facilities and the supply of bookmakers were quite inadequate. A great number of people were unable to make any bets at all because they could not get near either the bookmakers or the Tote. The board may decide at some time to limit the number of bookmakers which would be allowed to attend a race meeting. They could argue under the Bill that they had every justification for doing that by merely saying: "We shall have only 20 although there were 40 or 50 attending here before." There may be no reason at all for that. On the other hand, if there is a reason, surely to goodness these men who make their living out of this particular profession, are entitled to have some means of making representations to enable them to continue to make a living?

As I say, all the amendments deal with the same matter, and I hope the Minister will indicate that on the next Stage of the Bill he will be able to devise some amendment which will enable these men either as a group or as individuals, where they feel they are not being justly treated, to make representations by way of an appeal to himself. Nobody says that he must uphold their appeal, but at least they will be put in the position that they will have this last court to resort to. If the Minister does feel that the board has been acting hastily, he will then be able to say: "Look here, you just cannot do that." I could speak at great length on this matter, but there are many members of the House who are frequent visitors to racecourses who know the difficulties of one kind or another which confront racegoers.

They know that what the public want is a day's outing, a bit of sport and opportunity to have a bet now and then. Deputy Mrs. Redmond and myself are fairly regular racegoers—at least I was up to recently—and I think she will agree with me that it is very unpleasant if one wants to have a bet on the Tote to find that before one can get near it, the shutters are pulled down and the horses are off. Until there are sufficient facilities on the Tote to meet the requirements of the public, there should be no interference with the number of bookies attending a meeting. We are prepared to withdraw the amendment if the Minister will indicate that he will give it consideration on the next stage and insert some provision which will give these people a right of appeal in regard to whatever grievance they may have from time to time.

I agree with some of the remarks of Deputy Briscoe concerning the congestion at racecourses, the lack of Tote facilities, and, in certain cases, the difficulty of getting in touch with bookmakers. It is sometimes not easy to approach a number of bookmakers. Very often, owing to the positions which they occupy owing to the lay-out of the course, it is difficult to walk down to their stands, see the prices, have a bet and get back in time to have a look at the race. If there is provision, however, for a special appeal for bookmakers and the same right of appeal is not given to horse owners, horse trainers or jockeys from other decisions under the Bill there will be a differentiation in treatment which might lead to a rather unenviable position as between bookmakers and horse owners and trainers. As far as I can gather, the main purpose of the Bill is to have a board which will deal with, amongst other things, the admission of bookmakers to racecourses, the provision of Tote facilities which in the case of big race meetings are invariably inadequate, and the improvement of racecourses so that facilities for egress and otherwise will be increased, etc. I think that if we give bookmakers a special right of appeal over and above those enjoyed by horse owners, horse trainers and jockeys, we shall alter the main purpose of the Bill.

So far as I can gather, one of the series of complaints which have been made is that existing facilities are not sufficient. I think it would be undesirable that bookmakers should have a special right of appeal to the Minister or to the courts which the other sections covered by the Bill will not have. While I agree that it would be undesirable that the board should operate to the disadvantage of an individual bookmaker, as Deputy Fogarty suggested, there is no probability that the board is likely to be biased against bookmakers or bookmaking, any more than against a particular horse trainer or owner. If we go on the assumption that the board, because they happen to have a whim against a particular individual, are going to operate to the disadvantage of the class of which that individual is a member, then the whole function of the board is bound to be prejudiced. I imagine that the various sections which will be represented on the board will be prepared to argue the rights of the class to which they belong, and while one individual may have a dispute with another, both these individuals will have their representatives on the board. The section which represents the bookmakers on the board will have the same facilities for arguing their position as the sections representing horse owners or trainers. I feel that if the board is to function at all it must have the last word unless you have an interminable right of appeal. I imagine that not many bookmakers, owners or trainers would welcome the prospect of appealing all these cases with all the cost which that would entail. Deputy Hughes' amendment might meet the situation although there is difficulty in defining what is a "grave reason." It would probably cause a certain amount of trouble to the board. I am sure that the memebers of the board, particularly when there is amongst them a representative of bookmakers, will not be anxious to operate to the detriment of bookmakers or their assistants.

I feel that, in the circumstances set out in the amendment which, with Deputy Briscoe, I have tabled, the bookmaker should be entitled to an appeal. Deputy Cosgrave makes the point that there should be an appeal for jockeys and horse owners and other people, but the bookmaker is in a different category. He is a Government licensee; he holds a licence from the Government and he is in quite a different position. The jockey holds a licence from the Turf Club or the National Hunt, as the case may be, but the bookmaker is licensed by the Government, and I feel that the last word should be with the Government. I believe if some appeal is not allowed the bookmaker, you are infringing on the citizen's rights. When the Government issue a licence no board or outside body should have the power to say that a person is not a fit and proper person. That is the reason why I joined with Deputy Briscoe in tabling this amendment. The Minister, I suggest, should give it very careful consideration.

I support the proposal that there should be an appeal from the decision of the board. I have been on racecourses on a few occasions. I backed a few losers. I am aware of the congestion and I can understand the difficulties. I feel that if a bookmaker is allotted a bad place on a course, and he resents being offered that bad place, and feeling that somebody has been given priority in the matter of position, he complains and shows bitterness towards the board, there are people who would resent that kind of thing and they might say, because he disagreed with them: "Well, there you will stay, because we have control and you will not get out of that place to a better place." If a man in that position feels aggrieved, if he considers he is not being properly treated by the board, or by any member of the board, who might have some grudge against him and wants to show his authority, that man should have the right of appeal to the Minister or somebody in the Minister's Department or to some district justice.

I am aware that, in the old days of boards of control, bookmakers had difficulties with those boards and they were brushed aside and badly treated and had to put up with bad places on the rails. A bookmaker is now more or less an unpaid tax collector. He is doing work for the Government, collecting taxes for them and, that being so, he ought to have some right of appeal. The bookmakers are being asked to do what the Tote managers are not asked to do. The bookmaker has to pay for the admission of his staff. He brings them into keep his books and to assist in collecting moneys for the Government. I hope the Minister will carefully consider that point and, perhaps, he will agree that a bookmaker should be allowed to bring his staff in free, the same as the Tote people. At the moment we are dealing with a proposal that a bookmaker should have an appeal to somebody over the control board. As an ordinary outsider, who has backed a few losers in his time, I support the idea that the Minister or somebody representing the Government should listen to the man when they have a grievance.

I strongly support this amendment. I believe the bookmaker is entitled to appeal to some sort of court or referee who will decide whether he is being wrongly judged by the board. It is all very fine for some of us here who may have angelic ideas about this board, but at the same time we must consider that the livelihoods of many men depend on the decision of this board and members of the board may decide against them on important matters affecting their welfare. For that reason I think the Minister will see the Justice of the argument put up by several speakers, that these men whose livelihoods are directly connected with bookmaking should be given some consideration. Bookmaking is their business and it is as honourable a business as any other, and there are as decent men connected with it as are to be found in any other sphere.

It is all right to say that there is nothing in this Bill against the bookmaker. If that be so, why is it that there are people who regard this measure as one which has enshrined in it the principle of exterminating bookmakers? In some quarters it is believed that the intention is to wipe them off the face of the map. There can be little doubt that bookmakers are part and parcel of racing, that they are really essential to it. The Minister has given us an assurance that, so far as he is concerned, he will let them carry on their business in the ordinary way. Nevertheless, there are many of us who believe it can happen that this board may have something against bookmakers, for one reason or another, and in that way it can exterminate them, put them out of business by not granting a licence or by penalising individual bookmakers in one way or another.

I believe it is not asking too much to give these men the right of appeal to the Minister. If that is allowed, I have no fear for them then, because I believe they will get a fair run, a fair crack of the whip, irrespective of politics, creed or Party. Such a course would be only just and fair to these people. They are really essential to racing—we all agree on that. Under this Bill the bookmaker will become a tax collector. We must remember that he is deriving his living directly from the business. I think any fair-minded and reasonable man will see the justice of our point and will grant those bookmakers just what we are seeking for them—somebody to appeal to if they feel themselves placed in a wrong position, and that may well occur.

We have many bookmakers attending the bigger meetings. There are not so many, perhaps, attending the small meetings in places like Powerstown—I will not say Tramore, because it is a seaside place and there is a big holiday meeting there—or Limerick Junction and other such places. I believe it is quite within the scope of the board to reduce the number of bookmakers at these meetings; in other words, to stamp out the men who, in their opinion, are not just as good as somebody for whom they may have a particular liking, or because they know their names better, although they may have no experience of the men as individuals. We do not want that type of thing to occur and we do not want any grading or any reduction in numbers, unless some of those men of their own accord want to go out of the business. So long as they want to attend these meetings, it is only fair that they will have every right to do so.

We talk a lot about liberty. We want on this occasion to protect the rights of the ordinary citizen, whether he be a bookmaker, a punter or anything else. We want this matter put straight in the Bill. I support the amendment and I join in the appeal to the Minister to consider this matter carefully, because there is a lot more in it than perhaps meets the eye of the ordinary man in the street. We can realise that there are fears for the bookmakers and it is not asking too much to give them, No. 1, the right to appeal to the Minister and No. 2, to give these people some sense of security that they will not be victimised, no matter who is on the board, and that they can appeal to someone who will see justice done.

I think Deputy Briscoe has an infinite amount of cheek to tell me or any other Deputy that he knows more about the national sport of this country than we.

Cheek to be told that?

Yes, an infinite amount of cheek on the Deputy's part to tell us that he knows more about our national sport.

I know more about it than the Deputy, who has not been to a race meeting half-a-dozen times in his life.

That has nothing to do with what is before the House.

We are not going to have anything like that, from Deputy Briscoe, anyway.

I see—because I said it.

In setting up this board we trust it or we do not trust it. We appear to trust the board in regard to many things, but not on this particular matter. The board has power to make grants to executives. Are we to trust the board in that regard if they make a bigger grant to one executive rather than to another for certain reasons?

That might appear to some people to be discrimination in favour of one as against the other. The board will also help breeding, and advances may be made for the purpose of subsidising the breeding of horses, which might also appear to some people to be discrimination. Are we to have a right of appeal in all these cases? Why should we in this particular case single out one body of people and give them a right of appeal and not give it to other, in my opinion, more important sections?

Why should we not give executives a right of appeal to the Minister? The board will be dealing directly with executives, and, if they are dissatisfied with the conduct of an executive, they can penalise them by withholding grants. If an executive ploughs back some of its profits into a racecourse, the board can encourage them by increasing grants, and it could very easily be suggested that there was discrimination there, too. Executives would have just as good a right and, in my opinion, a better right, to claim a right of appeal to the Minister.

Great stress was laid on this right of appeal and the point was made that every section of the community has a right to appeal, but I suggest to the Deputies who made the point that, in the case of a man holding a tea or sugar licence from the Minister for Supplies, there is no court of appeal if his licence is revoked.

But the Minister has the last word.

Here is an authority we are setting up to ensure that these people conduct themselves properly. We either trust them or we do not. We are prepared to trust them in some matters, but in more important matters we are giving them absolute power. Why should we discriminate in favour of these people?

I do not think there is any need for heat in a matter like this because it is really a question of giving an individual his civic rights. I do not quite agree with the argument put up by Deputy Hughes and earlier by Deputy Cosgrave in relation to executives because the Racing Board, as I understand it, will have no control over me as an owner or trainer. That is a matter for stewards of the meeting.

They have control over executives.

They have, but it is the stewards of the particular race meeting who have control over me as an owner or trainer. In such matters as the straight running of horses, the pulling of horses by jockeys and so on, the board have no control. Apart from all that, this is a question of an individual right and I ask the Minister not to do what he has been asked to do, that is, to take the appeal to himself. It is quite a simple matter to give a right of appeal either to a district justice or—this being a rather important board with a very considerable standing—to a Circuit Court judge. These gentlemen on the board are all pretty crusted gentlemen. They are men of high standing, but when men get on in years they tend to become conservative. They have a high sense of integrity which they are sometimes inclined to push too far. In the heat of heavy betting and a rush by racegoers at a race meeting, a bookmaker may say or do something involuntary which he normally would not do or say, and if the attention of the board were drawn to it, that single incident might react adversely on the bookmaker.

I am not concerned about the bookmakers as such, but with the matter of an individual right, and when we are passing legislation here we should take care to ensure that, where individual rights may be confiscated, the protection of an appeal will be given. The Minister should look at it in that light and apart from all the other considerations put to him. Racecourse executives are bodies and not individuals, and it is not their individual rights which are being taken away. We must keep these things separate and distinct. I urge the Minister not to take the responsibility on himself because it means that they will be standing in lines on the steps in Merrion Street— Fine Gael Deputies, Labour Deputies and Republican Deputies. God help the Minister if he has to stand up at the request of bookmakers to listen to all these things.

It is a simple matter of legal machinery. Let the Minister not take the responsibility of hearing this appeal, but let it go to a district justice or to a Circuit Court judge—I favour the Circuit Court judge because of the importance of the board and of the principle involved. As I say, things occur at a racecourse which normally would not occur, owing to a rush being made on a bookmaker, and from what I have seen at race meetings, a bookmaker needs to be a man of infinite patience and goodwill to stand up to it all. A man in those circumstances may do something which is reported and for which he could be penalised, and I ask the Minister to accept the suggestion of an appeal to a Circuit Court judge.

I should like to correct Deputy Hughes's statement with regard to racing executives. Section 39 says that the board, after consultation with the governing bodies, may make regulations governing an executive. It further makes provision that if a racing executive does not carry out the regulations, all the board can do is to report the fact to the stewards of the governing bodies, and then the stewards will decide the matter. If bookmakers had some person outside the board to decide grievances, they would be satisfied, as in the case of racing executives.

Deputy Hughes introduced a new note into the discussion here.

Let us not have any heat.

There is no heat so far as I am concerned. He introduced a new note into the discussion of a Bill which everybody has approached from the angle of getting the best results. I should like to know who confirmed for Deputy Hughes his own opinion of himself on anything. Deputy Hughes said it was cheek on my part to disagree with him and then he implied something to which I strenuously object—that he has a better knowledge of national matters than I. That is something which I throw back at the Deputy. I never heard of Deputy Hughes being in any national affairs in the past when it was necessary to be national.

You were?

I was, and that is where the Deputy's ignorance——

Perhaps, we could leave the Deputy now and get to the racing.

The Deputy confuses everything. Deputy Mrs. Redmond and those of us who support these amendments for the purpose of getting something from the Minister realise what the position is. A person connected with the Totalisator Board and a member of the Racing Commission told me that it was his hope that this Bill would bring about the complete elimination of bookmakers as a profession. That man is a Senator, a member of the Oireachtas. If that is the position, it is up to those of us who feel that danger exists to make some provision, as Deputy McMenamin says, to ensure that the ordinary rights of an individual will not be filched away because of any confusion or misunderstanding of the situation.

All that we want is that there shall be the right of appeal to somebody, somehow or somewhere so as to guarantee that what none of us wants to see happen will not happen. There are many ways in which that can be brought about. Deputy Mrs. Redmond has indicated some, and I and other Deputies have given our views. Deputy Breen has pointed out that, in this matter, we are dealing with people who are licensed by the State to carry on business. They pay a substanial fee of £10. Having done so, and having, as Deputy P.J. Fogarty has said, passed the personal fitness test, they are liable to be told by somebody that they cannot make their living here or anywhere else. That is the position that we are trying to correct. I hope the Minister will indicate, if these amendments are withdrawn, that he will be able to find some way of meeting the situation. The bookmakers are in an entirely different position from almost all others who are going to be affected by this Bill. It is well to remind Deputy Hughes that practically all other sections such as horse breeders, horse owners, racing executives, etc., will be beneficiaries under the Bill. Whatever profits accrue from the levy on bookmakers will be shared by all these classes. The bookmakers and the public are the people who are going to pay, and the bookmakers are to get no consideration and no protection.

I referred to certain aspects of this matter on the Second Reading of the Bill. I believe that there will eventually arise a legal conflict between the position created under this measure and the position that obtains under the Totalisator Act. Under that Act, where the Tote is operated on a particular course, the racing executive is bound by law to provide standing accommodation for the bookmaker. Under this Bill you are giving the Racing Board an absolute discretion to refuse a particular bookmaker admission to a course. I can quite visualise a situation arising where this matter will be tested and, perhaps, taken to the Supreme Court. I think that now is the time to solve the difficulty. I do not suggest that this amendment solves it, but at least it gives the bookmaker a reasonable method of ventilating his grievance if he is refused admission.

On the Second Reading of the Bill I put it to the Minister that he should examine the position, as I have indicated it, under the Totalisator Act and the position which will obtain under this Bill. If, under the Totalisator Act, you say to a racecourse executive that it must set up standing accommodation for the bookmaker, and if under this Bill you say to a certain board that you are going to give it the right to refuse admission to a particular bookmaker, there is an obvious conflict of interest, and who is to decide which shall prevail?

A second point is that under this Bill we are giving racing executives the right to run the Tote on racecourses. The Totalisator, therefore, will, as it were, be operated for the benefit of race executives, and it will be to their interest to divert all possible betting to the Tote almost to the exclusion of the bookmaker. It will, naturally, be to the interest of the race executive to do that where they set up the Tote under this Bill. There, again, you will have a conflict of interest which, I think, should be reconciled now. There is a third point, and it is that two different bodies, the Racing Commission and the commission which examined the question of horse breeding, both made a unanimous recommendation to the Government that bookmakers should be abolished. They went so far as to say that no new licences should be issued, and that the bookmaker should, more or less, disappear automatically. The feeling is that the personnel of this new board is likely to be drawn from among the gentlemen who made these recommendations. Therefore the fears expressed here are, I think, well founded in fact and in law.

The Minister, I think, should seriously consider giving the right of appeal to the bookmaker who is refused a permit to appear on a racecourse. That right of appeal might be given to the District Court. It would provide a ready and a cheap method of appeal. Deputy P.J. Fogarty would seem to favour the idea of having an itinerant justice on every racecourse so that appeals could be heard on the spot and that the bookmakers would be able to carry on their work. Somehow I do not think that would work.

I think that if the right of appeal were given to the District Court it would get over the difficulty and ease the fears which so many people entertain on this matter. The only other alternative would be for the Minister to give himself a sort of appellant power so that he could exercise a discretion or some supervisory function over the board. He might not like to undertake a position of that sort. At any rate, the right of appeal should be given to a man who has been refused a permit for a racecourse. In my opinion, he should also get some notice in advance, since the refusal to grant a permit means that he is going to be deprived, to a large extent, of his means of livelihood. Many of those men who bet on racecourses have not registered offices. If such a man is refused a permit to a course you strike at once at his main means of livelihood. For these reasons, I hope the Minister will give serious consideration to the amendment, and that, if he is not able to accept it, he will on a later stage of the Bill introduce an amendment himself giving the right of appeal to a bookmaker who has been refused a permit.

I regard these sections which give full disciplinary powers to the Racing Board as fundamental to the Bill. That statement should help to clear the ground. I cannot accept any amendment which would modify, or lessen in any degree, the full disciplinary powers of the board over all the matters entrusted to it. None of these amendments proposing to give the right of appeal to a board, or to the Minister, would be workable. Since the Second Reading of the Bill I have given a good deal of consideration to the arguments put forward from Deputies on all sides of the House as to the necessity for securing that the rights of individual bookmakers — their rights were stressed—and others should be safeguarded. I cannot see the board revoking a permit to a bookmaker except for good and sufficient reasons. I cannot see that happening. I hope to get a board of reasonable and sensible men. I have no set notion now as to who are likely to be on the board. I am not able to say that. I do not think that, even if you had on the board the most violent and extreme opponent of bookmakers, he would press his views on the board, especially in view of the fact that the feelings of members of the House on the question of the abolition of bookmakers are now so well known.

If he did and if the board were foolish enough to be influenced by one strong personality so as to act in the way described by Deputy Fogarty and other Deputies with a view to getting rid of bookmakers, then I remind the House that the Oireachtas will be still here and that this legislation will not last for all time. We are here to safeguard the rights of every individual in the State, subject to the law. We are all restricted in some way or other by the law. I do not know much about racecourses, race meetings or "bookies," but I have heard that the bookmaker adds considerably to the enjoyment of a day's racing. Those who are interested in racing here do not favour the elimination of the bookmaker. Though a number of people closely connected with bodies which discussed this question in the remote and recent past held the view that the Tote should be the only permitted method of betting, that view has not prevailed and there is no suggestion in this Bill that bookmakers should be either eliminated or reduced in number.

As regards the difficulties attending appeals, I think that there is a good deal in what Deputy McMenamin said, that a Minister's life would be made very difficult if he were to agree to act as judge in disputes between individuals and the Racing Board, whether the individuals were bookmakers or others. If the Minister were foolish enough to accept that onerous responsibility, he might be able to give a fairly quick decision. But consider the time that would be taken in coming to a decision in a dispute between a bookmaker or another citizen and the Racing Board if an appeal to the courts were allowed. It might take six months. The law's delays are proverbial. What is to happen to the bookmaker in the meantime? Is he to be subject to mandamus, so that he is not to resort to a course until this question of law is decided? He might be out of business for six or nine months. I do not think that those who want an appeal board would like that to happen.

He goes out altogether when the order is made against him by the board.

Only for good and sufficient reason.

That is not stated in the Bill.

I hope to get reasonable, sensible men on the board, including a representative of the bookmakers. If they are unreasonable and act unjustly, I am sure the Dáil will not stand for it. The Dáil will not stand for injustice by that board to individual citizens any more than it will stand for injustice by any other body to any other citizen. In my opinion, the difficulty, so far as the bookmakers and the board are concerned, will arise on the question of the levy. I do not see any insurmountable difficulties arising on any other question. On the question of the levy, the board must have power to act strictly and quickly. I met deputations of bookmakers a few years ago when there was a question of imposing additional taxation and I met one such deputation in connection with this Bill. They were decent citizens, as respectable and law-abiding as any other class of the community. Why are we to assume that there will be trouble between them and the Racing Board, that they will not obey the law or the regulations? I do not accept that. I say that they are as law-abiding as any other section. If the Dáil passes this Bill and if the obligation of collecting the levy be placed upon the bookmakers, I am sure they will obey the law. Of course, respectable citizens are sometimes led into evasion of the law. The courts are chock-full of such cases at present. That might happen here and the quickest way of settling the matter, in the interests of all parties, is to leave it to the Racing Board.

They will polish them off immediately—summary execution.

They will settle the question immediately. You are more likely to get proper recognition of the power of the law in that way. Deputy Fogarty wants to get the matter settled in the same way as a dispute on the winning of a race is settled—by the stewards—I think that it could be settled just as quickly by leaving it to the Racing Board. If that is accepted by everybody, I think that it will work smoothly. If there is an appeal, and a long period between the dispute and the decision, we are in for infinite trouble.

Regarding Deputy Coogan's point, I do not think that there will be any conflict between the Totalisator Act and the present Bill when it becomes an Act. I am informed—the Deputy knows this better than I do—that it is an established principle in law that the later Act governs the former. Though there may appear on the surface to be a certain conflict between the two pieces of legislation, what we are passing here will be the real authority until new legislation be passed. Therefore the conflict the Deputy has in mind is not likely to arise. I say to the House and to those who feel strongly on this matter, as some of my colleagues do, and as Deputy Mrs. Redmond does, that we should trust the board and give it a trial. I think that we can, with confidence, depend upon those men being not only just but reasonable, because justice is sometimes harsh. If they do not turn out to be just and reasonable, then they are appointed at short intervals and can be changed. The Dáil will be here to make recommendations and the Minister will be here to listen to them. If he is a sensible and reasonable man—as I hope I am—he will give serious consideration to any representations made to him regarding unjust action by the board.

I should be prepared to go a certain distance to meet the House. I am not prepared to act as an appeal board. I am not prepared to take on the job of deciding every day between the board and citizens of any class who feel they have a grievance. If anybody, whether or not he is interested in racing, felt that a serious injustice had been done by the Racing Board, I would certainly ask the chairman of the Racing Board to come to see me and to discuss the matter. It will want to be a serious injustice and substantiated as such. I would certainly be prepared to do that but I would refuse to be drawn into being an appeal officer or to sit in judgment on the board in respect of every tittle-tattle of gossip and suspicion that might be raised against their decisions or actions. But, if it was a question of a serious injustice against a bookmaker or any other citizen who attends a race meeting or who is interested in horse breeding, and if he thought he was unjustly treated and was able to state in writing, in clear language, the charges and the grounds on which he believed he had a serious grievance, then I certainly would ask the chairman to come to see me. I hope I am not suggesting that I will ever act as an appeal board or a peacemaker, in that sense, between all the people who might think they had grievances and the board but, certainly, if there was grave injustice proved, I would ask the chairman to see me and I would ask him to hear the other side of the question. That is as far as I think the Dáil could ask me to go in this case. I want to say that I do not believe that there is any solid ground under the fears that this board will act unjustly, improperly or unfairly although I do not know what the composition of the board will be. It will be left to me to pick the board and I will try, as one human being with limited powers, to get a board that will act as this House would like it to act.

If we could feel sure that the Minister was not likely to be a candidate in the forthcoming Presidential election and if we could feel sure that he was not likely to occupy the exalted position of President later in the year, I think we could take a good deal of the assurances which he has given as a guarantee that there would be no injustice so far as bookmakers are concerned, but it is an unusual type of legislation which takes the form of "trust the Minister; do not provide an appeal where there is any injustice inflicted."

There is one precedent, the Tourist Board. In certain aspects of its work there is no appeal.

Unfortunately, I did not hear the Minister's references on that matter.

I did not make any reference to it before. I am just giving it now as a precedent.

There is a somewhat different atmosphere between the Tourist Board and hotels and the bookmakers and this board.

The Tourist Board could put hotels out of business.

I know that, and they should put out of business some of the places which are masquerading as hotels. But the bookmakers approach this Bill in an entirely different way. They are suspicious as to the purpose of the Bill. They think there is some ulterior motive behind it, calculated to reduce substantially the number of bookmakers and generally to attenuate their number. If the Minister will advert for a moment to developments in mechanical betting in recent years he will see that there are some grounds for the bookmakers' fears in the matter. The Minister has disavowed any intention of levying war on the bookmakers. He has told us that so far as the board is concerned he will endeavour to select reasonable people who will administer this matter in the way the ordinary citizen would desire it to be administered. These are commendable intentions, but I think the Minister could reasonably meet the claims of the bookmakers in this matter by providing them with an appeal board of some kind. A long process of law is of no use to the bookmaker.

An appeal to the Minister has obvious disadvantages because appeals of that kind are probably not the kind of appeals that can be decided in any impartial or judicial manner because political pressure would swing the Minister in one direction or another. When the fate of a political Party in a particular area might be involved, the Minister, being a politician, naturally would say: "I would like to keep this fellow off the course but the Cumann says it cannot be done and therefore it cannot be done". That is just a natural kind of thing. I suggest that the Minister has an easy way out of this matter. The bookmakers want to be reasonable. They want an appeal against the decisions of the board. Would it not be possible to constitute an appeal tribunal consisting, say, of three members, one to be a representative of the bookmakers, another to be any member of the board and a chairman who would be agreed on by the bookmakers and the board? If you have a representative of the bookmakers and a representative of the board that seeks to deny the bookmaker the course permit, you ensure that a case for and against is likely to be put up and if the bookmakers and the board can agree on a chairman, then you get a situation in which the bookmakers and the board are prepared to accept the tribunal as one which can be relied upon fairly to adjudicate between the parties. I put it to the Minister that he ought to go a long way to relieve the fears of the bookmakers in this matter. A simple tribunal of that kind, composed of three people, representing the bookmakers and the board, with a chairman acceptable to both sides, is an easy, convenient, expeditious and inexpensive way of deciding a dispute of this kind. I put that suggestion to the Minister and perhaps he would examine the matter between now and Report Stage.

We are hoping to get the Report Stage to-day.

I hope the Minister will be adamant in adhering to the decision he has made. While I admit that the bookmakers, like other sections of people interested in this Bill, have some fears that certain sections will operate against them, I do not see any reason why special provisions should be made governing the position of bookmakers that are not made in respect of other sections of the community. Unless the complexion of the board is completely changed—I hope it will not be, and I have faith enough in the Minister to believe that he will select the best men possible— unless the board is completely different from the board that has governed racing as long as I remember, and longer, I cannot conceive the things happening that people are afraid of. It has been the recognised practice of sportsmen generally, whatever part they play in racing, whether they are owners, jockeys, bookmakers or anybody else, to accept the verdict of the existing board that governs racing. As far as I know, it has been very rare to have a case taken to the courts in respect of their decisions. It would not be good for racing that that should happen. It would not be to the honour of the sport if these verdicts were to be frequently brought on appeal to an appeal board, whether it was a court or any other form of appeal. The verdict of the governing body of racing in this country and in England has always been accepted wholeheartedly by sportsmen. Some of the victims may not have liked it—nobody likes to have a penalty imposed upon him—but the verdicts generally have been accepted by sportsmen in a good spirit. It is felt that the less publicity that is given to these cases between sportsmen, whether in courts or anywhere else, the better it will be. I hope that the present conditions will continue. Unless the constitution of the board is to be vastly different from that which operated in the past, I do not believe that any of the things feared will happen. I have faith enough in the Minister to believe that, in addition to the members of the Turf Club and the N.H.S.C., the men he will nominate to the board will be men of at least as good integrity as the members of the Turf Club and the members of N.H.S.C. and that we will have a board whose decisions will be respected. That is one of the two things about which I did not see eye to eye with other Deputies.

The other was the constitution of the board. I felt that if any difficulty arose it would be in connection with the constitution of the board. That is why on the Second Reading I appealed as strongly as I could to the Minister to see that every section of the people would be represented on the board. That appeal was made generally. If that is done, and I believe the Minister will make every effort to see that it is done, then I think we would be well advised to leave the question of disciplinary action by the board to remain as it is. Whether it is a warning-off sentence on an offending racehorse owner or a jockey or a bookmaker I feel that it will be accepted in the same sportsmanlike spirit with which it has been accepted in this and other countries for over a century.

I have nothing further to add.

Amendment put and declared negatived.

Amendments Nos. 23, 24 and 25 not moved.
Question proposed: "That Section 23 stand part of the Bill."

The Minister takes power in this Bill to make it operative as from a certain date. Then a situation will arise in which a bookmaker has not merely to get an ordinary betting licence but a course-betting permit as well. I should like to ascertain from the Minister if it is the intention of the board, or if it is his intention to request the board, to issue automatically without any investigation permits for course betting to existing bookmakers. The Minister ought to give the House an assurance that every existing bookmaker will automatically get from the new board a permit to operate on the course and that there will not be any preliminary investigation as to the qualifications or otherwise of the bookmaker. Obviously the board could not have reasonable cause to complain against any bookmaker. If the board is appointed on a Monday, there may be a race meeting on the Tuesday. I therefore take it that the Minister will give an assurance that existing bookmakers will, at all events, be entitled to operate on the course immediately. If the question of refusing to issue a course-betting permit arises, that will only arise subsequently and then only in a case of proven misconduct. The Minister should, therefore, give an assurance that all existing bookmakers will get permits to operate immediately the board is set up and that there will be no preliminary "vetting" of the bookmakers.

I support that with certain modifications. I do not think the Deputy meant to convey it, but every bookmaker does not bet on the same racecourse.

We know that. Some of them do not bet at all.

From the way the Deputy put it, it would appear that the Minister should suggest that every bookmaker should have the right to go to the first race meeting held. I suggest that the matter should be left as it is, that the bookmakers betting on the different racecourses should be allowed to continue and that there should be no refusal by the board of a course-betting permit until something arises which would justify a refusal of a permit.

Deputies will realise that I can only act strictly within the terms of the Bill when it is passed. My powers are set out there; they are limited and defined and I cannot go outside them. If I attempted to give an instruction to the board, they would probably not take it; they could tell me to mind my own business. I would not put myself in that position. I think what Deputy Norton and Deputy Briscoe have in mind is quite reasonable and proper. I hope the board will be reasonable men and will not look for trouble. I hope they will not have any reason to put any of these men who go on the course off the course. I think it was Deputy Briscoe mentioned the trouble and difficulty that arose at Baldoyle recently. I was told by one or two people that considerable difficulty and confusion arose at Baldoyle because of the unusual crowd that attended there. Would it not be well that somebody should have the power to see that everybody gets a chance of making a bet by not allowing all the crowd to congregate in one part of the course and thus give facilities for betting?

There were not sufficient bookmakers for the crowd that was there.

If they were properly spaced out, the people could get at them. But that is raising another topic. I think that what Deputy Norton and Deputy Briscoe are stating is quite reasonable.

And the Minister will convey that request to the board?

I have reason to know that the debates on this Bill are being read very carefully by people interested and I hope they will see this part of the debate as well as the others and take note accordingly.

If they do not, we will come back to you.

I think the revocation of a licence will be very rare.

I would say so; I hope so.

But supposing a bookmaker pays his licence fee at the beginning of the year and a week or a fortnight later his permit is revoked. That would obviously be a hardship on him as he may have to go out of business. The Minister may say that he may have an office or that he can go to the dog racing and bet. He cannot go to the racecourse anyway for the purpose of making a book. What about refunding the licence fee in that case?

That will be part of the penalty he will have to pay.

Question put and agreed to.

As it is nearly 12 o'clock now I should like to know if we are likely to spend more than two hours on the remaining portions of the Bill. If so, it would be necessary to move to sit later than 2 p.m.

I think there is very little left to be discussed.

Then it is not necessary for me to move to sit later?

I move amendment No. 26:—

In sub-section (1), line 33, after the word "thereof" to insert the words "except those persons whose names are included on the list of persons holding such permits".

I had better read Section 24 as it stands in the Bill:—

"(1) Any authorised officer of the board may demand of any person, whom he observes to be engaged in or carrying on the business of a bookmaker at any authorised racecourse or in the precincts thereof, the production of his course-betting permit, and if that person refuses or fails to produce such permit or produces such permit, but refuses or fails to permit such authorised officer to read it he shall be guilty of an offence under this section."

I think it will be quite simple for any inspector who knows his business to get to know the bookmakers who are licensed by the board and who hold a permit. If such a bookmaker by accident fails to bring with him his permit on that particular day, or if his clerk has forgotten to put it into the bag, he should not be penalised. I think the Minister will see that it is not necessary in the case of people who have already been granted permits.

I am afraid I cannot accept this amendment. The officer must have full power to demand to see the permit and it would be absolutely necessary to provide that power here.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 24 agreed to.
Amendment No. 27 not moved.

I move amendment No. 27a, as given on the Order Paper circulated this morning:—

To delete sub-section (2) and insert the following sub-sections:—

(2) In making regulations under this section in relation to any authorised racecourse, the board shall not—

(a) fix, for the admission of a licensed bookmaker to any part of that racecourse, a charge exceeding five times the charge then made to a member of the public for admission to that part, or

(b) fix, for the admission of an assistant accompanying a licensed bookmaker to any part of that racecourse, a charge exceeding the charge then made to a member of the public for admission to that part.

(3) Where regulations under this section applicable to any authorised racecourse are in force—

(a) the charge to be made to any licensed bookmaker for admission to any part of that racecourse shall not, except with the consent of the licensed bookmaker, exceed that fixed by those regulations for the admission of a licensed bookmaker to that part, and

(b) the charge to be made to any assistant accompanying a licensed bookmaker for admission to any part of that racecourse shall not, except with the consent of the licensed bookmaker, exceed that fixed by those regulations for the admission of an assistant accompanying a licensed bookmaker to that part.

This amendment proposes to do what Deputies asked for during the Second Reading, when it was said that there was a possibility of ten or 20 times the normal fee being charged. The amendment prevents that happening and a ceiling is restored.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 28 and 29 not moved.
Section 25, as amended, agreed to.
Amendment No. 30 not moved.

On behalf of Deputy Everett, I move amendment No. 31:—

In sub-section (6), line 48, to delete the word "five" and substitute the words "two and a half".

I think the Deputy's idea in putting down this amendment was to get some information from the Minister as to the extent of the fund that he proposes to establish under the Bill. What sum has he in mind and for what period does he intend to operate it?

It is a matter of estimate and we are going, to some extent, on previous experience. When the revenue duty on course betting was in operation from 1926 to 1931, the rate was 2½ per cent. and the gross proceeds were in the region of £50,000. It is likely that that would yield somewhat more now, but the Racing Board will be under considerable expense in the collection of levy. In the circumstances, probably a rate of 2½ per cent. would not provide an adequate income to allow them to carry on in a satisfactory manner the functions assigned to them under the Bill. It is possible that the Board will not fix a rate as high as 5 per cent., which is the maximum figure under the Bill. They may not fix 5 per cent. in the first instance but, as I said on the Second Reading debate, it would probably be easier for the board to start off, under the present moderately prosperous conditions of racing, with a levy of 5 per cent. and reduce it subsequently to 2½ per cent. They could start high and come down later, rather than have to push it up later if the prosperous conditions did not continue.

Can the Minister give any guarantee? The 2½ per cent. levy imposed on betting heretofore brought in £50,000, so it is quite obvious that the Minister has in mind a sum of £100,000 to be derived from this levy. Can he give any indication now, or will he insert an amendment on the Report Stage, saying whether the levy will be dropped when the sum of £100,000 has been raised? As soon as the £100,000 is reached, will he arrange that, for the remainder of the season, no further levy will be imposed?

No, I could not do that at all.

Would the board not have collected the amount of money they have in mind to devote to the improvement of racing?

We have not fixed any ceiling.

The Minister has £100,000 in mind.

I hope we will have that much available to fulfill the purpose set out in the Bill.

I am asking if, when you reach that sum, you will drop the levy?

We want to try it out for a year or two first.

It is hoped to have £100,000 each year and not merely that sum to start with as a basis.

Is it the Minister's intention to impose a 2½ per cent. levy at the outset?

No, we will leave that to the board. We put the maximum at 5 per cent. I do not know what the board will decide.

The Minister must have some view on this matter. The section says that the board may, with the approval of the Minister, make some regulation as to the percentage, which shall not exceed a maximum of 5 per cent. The Minister has not had this matter under consideration without having some notion as to what the percentage may be.

My notion is that it should start at 5 per cent. and go down.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 26 and 27 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 32:—

In sub-section (1), line 35, to delete the words "or believed by such authorised officer to relate".

I move this amendment for the protection of the bookmaker. It is stated definitely in the Bill that any document can be taken from the bookmaker and searched and may be taken away by the inspector. I think that is all wrong and may mean taking a man's private documents from him, perhaps including documents which have nothing whatever to do with the racing or betting transactions in regard to which the tax is collected.

I think that that line, "or believed by such authorised officer to relate," should be deleted. I shall quote the sub-section in full, which is follows:—

"(1) An authorised officer of the board may (subject to the production by him if so required of his authority in writing as such authorised officer) at any time enter any premises in which the business of bookmaking is carried on and there search for, inspect and take copies of or extracts from any documents there found relating or believed by such authorised officer to relate to course bets entered into by the person engaged in the said business and may require any person found in such premises to produce all documents in such premises relating to such course bets."

I think that this is just a matter of amendment. My point is that such an officer, who might be prejudiced, can, under the section as it stands, possibly frame up something in his mind against a bookmaker and take away documents which have nothing at all to do with betting transactions. There is no objection to the inspection of documents relating to betting transactions—documents which the official is supposed to inspect—but as the section stands now, it could happen that the official concerned might imagine that any document in the possession of the bookmaker had some relation to betting transactions, and could take such a document away. I think that the matter could be solved by taking out that line, and I am sure the Minister sees that the section, as it stands, might be the cause of an injustice to a man carrying on a legitimate business.

I wish to support this amendment. It is not contended that these men should not be given extensive rights to carry out their duties, but their success depends upon their efficiency, and if an inspector cannot distinguish as to whether a document relates to betting or not, then he is incompetent, unfitted for his job, and should not be in that position. This section gives an inspector power to inspect any private documents that he desires to inspect and take them away with him. I referred last night to certain things that have been done under the Emergency Powers Act which this House gave to the Government in connection with the matter of supplies in this country. Most atrocious things have been done by certain inspectors in connection with the matter of supplies. I do not say that they have been generally done, but they have been done. For instance, in this country, if a private house is attached to business premises, there have been cases where the officials having searched the business part of the house, then went into the private part of the premises, tore open and searched wardrobes, and so on. We must put an end to that kind of performance. I read in yesterday's Irish Times of a case down in Monaghan where certain officers of the law, named there in, took a prisoner, ill-treated him in the barracks, and endeavoured to put aside the evidence altogether. The medical evidence in the case was outrageous, to say the least of it, and the detective named therein stated that he had power under the Emergency Powers Act to take the course he did in abusing the detained man. This thing is getting a hold on everybody who is made an inspector or an official in connection with these various measures. They seem to feel that they are given arbitrary and absolute powers.

I think that Deputy Mrs. Redmond's amendment is fair and reasonable. It does not restrict the power of an officer, who knows his duty, to take away documents that are definitely relating to betting transactions. There should be no question of suspicion in such a case. If the inspector does not know whether the document relates to a betting transaction or not, then he is incompetent and should not be in that position, and this House should declare so. I understand that the people referred to in this section are not office bookmakers; that is to say, that they are course bookmakers and, therefore, their offices would be in a private house. It is not right, in such circumstances, to give permission to some inspector appointed by the board to enter a private house in this way. The board might consider the man, when he was up for appointment before them, to be a competent man, but he might have certain pecularities as an individual that would not betray themselves when the members of the board were examining him. It might be possible that an inspector might have something against a particular bookmaker, would ransack his house and turn it upside down, merely because of something that he had against the bookmaker. I think we should take very strict precautions to prevent such things happening, and to ensure that whatever inspector may be appointed will be a competent man and who will know the difference between a document relating to a betting transaction and an ordinary private document. He should not be given power to rampage around, ransack a house, and examine private papers that he may find in the man's house. Such papers might be the property of the man's wife or some other member of his family. Perhaps there might be a reference to betting in a private letter by way of a joke, or something like that. If the section is left as it stands, all those private papers could be examined and taken away as a result of the ransacking of the house. I say that it is unfair and unjust to give these powers, seeing what has already taken place under the powers given to officials under the Emergency Powers Act.

I should like to support this amendment. I think that the powers conferred here are rather drastic, having regard to the fact that they are being conferred on a private individual appointed by the Racing Board and not upon a State official in uniform. Furthermore, you give this right of entry without the protection of a search warrant or a written authority or anything like that. The official can enter the premises at any time. There is no question as to whether his right of entry is within business hours or not, and I can see considerable difficulty arising if the section is allowed to go through in its present form. The section says that any authorised officer of the board may enter any premises in which the business of bookmaking is carried on. I take that to mean that he may not only enter registered premises in which the business of bookmaking is carried on, but also a private dwelling-house. Let me put it in this way. Take the case of a course betting man who has no registered premises and who is in the habit of running credit accounts with his clients. After a race meeting he, naturally, brings his documents and books home to his private house and keeps them there, and he will have the week-end in which to make up his accounts and send them to his clients. In law, he will be referred to as carrying on the business of bookmaking in his private house, therefore, and it would seem that an inspector, without any search warrant or written authorisation of any kind, except his own document of identity, may, at any time of the day or night, approach and enter those premises and proceed to ransack them in search of evidence of betting. I think that these are very drastic powers to give to the employee of a private board, which is not a State institution—an employee who is not a State official. I could quite conceive such powers being granted if there were a suspicion that irregularities were occurring, that the levy was being evaded, or that proper entries were not being made in the books and so on. I can quite see a position, in such a case, under which officers of the board could be given authority to search, but in this case they are given carte blanche to enter, at any time of the day or night, and ransack the premises of a particular individual. These are powers that we should not give lightly to the board, and I suggest that, perhaps, the Minister would reconsider this matter on the Report Stage.

I should like to support the amendment. When I was speaking on another amendment I said that I did not see why bookmakers should not get the same treatment as other people get, and I say so still, but this is a departure from the ordinary practice of racing. I do not think it is the intention to depart very much from the powers that already existed under National Hunt Club rules, and I never heard that they had any intention or power of entering a bookmaker's office outside a racecourse. It would be rather dangerous if they should have such power. The object of this Bill is to improve and to govern racing and we ought to leave it at that. We should not make it possible to investigate offences committed outside a racecourse. If a bookmaker commits an offence on a racecourse, the board can penalise him. If there was suspicion that a bookmaker was not paying the tax, his racing book could be demanded by an inspector. The Government can ascertain whether the tax is paid or not. The proposal here would give power not only over a bookmaker operating on the course but over all bookmakers. There would be nothing to prevent officials walking into an office in Dublin, the owner of which never went on a racecourse, to inquire if tax had been paid, and demanding the books. I endorse the proposal in the amendment. I believe this section should not be in the Bill at all, as such power should not be given over people operating outside racecourses.

Deputy Coogan having read part of the section to which he objected started in his speech to misrepresent what the section set out to do:

"An authorised officer of the board may (subject to the production by him if so required of his authority in writing as such authorised officer)...."

It is not right to say that the officer went there without any authority.

What I had in mind was that he had no search order, but simply produced a document of identity.

This requires more than a document of identity. It is giving him "authority in writing."

That he is an authorised officer of the board, that is all.

Is not that enough? I think the power may be necessary. I hope it will never have to be used. It can only be used on the business premises. I want that to be clearly understood and underlined, "the business premises," because questions were asked about it by people who thought otherwise. It was mentioned to me by a deputation that under that section anybody could walk into a bookmaker's private residence and search any papers or documents. I went to great trouble to try to have that power investigated and I got the best legal advice on the matter. This section provides for the inspection of bookmakers' documents at their business premises. Since the only premises at which betting may legally be carried on are premises licensed under the Betting Act, 1931, it follows that it will not be permissible for officers of the board to enter the private residences of bookmakers, even where the bookmakers have no registered premises and carry on course betting only. In such a case the bookmaker is deemed to carry on his business on the racecourse and not at his private residence.

Why not say "registered premises" and have done with it?

That is the interpretation I got and I hope that it will be clear to the board and to the officials.

It will solve the difficulty if you say "registered premises."

Betting cannot be carried on anywhere but on registered premises under the Act of 1931. I think the words suggested are unnecessary. As far as registered premises are concerned, private houses cannot be entered.

And if a bet is made over the 'phone?

On the last day I was asked if a bet made over the 'phone might bring a bookmaker within the law. I am told that it is illegal unless made from registered premises.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 33 not moved.
Section 28 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 34:—

In sub-section (1), lines 52 and 53, to delete the words "in that person's possession and".

This section states that an authorised officer may require a person engaged in or carrying on the business of bookmaker to produce and to permit him to inspect and to take copies of, or extracts from, any documents then in that person's possession. I think that is going too far. I suggest that we should delete the words "in that person's possession." Otherwise an inspector could go in and demand to see documents whether they appertained to betting or not and take them away. Why should a bookmaker be put into the horrible position of having his private affairs inspected? He has not committed any offence. Why should such power be given to an inspector? It is going too far to allow any inspector to take copies of private documents.

The section also says "documents used for the purposes of such business."

Bookmakers should be entitled to some privacy and should not be at the beck and call of inspectors, who might require them to produce papers from their pockets.

I am advised that it is necessary to have this power of enforcing the levy. Any irritation that may arise during the first few weeks, I sincerly hope, will be got over, and that after three months or so there will be no question about the levy, and that the arrangements will work smoothly as the payment at the entrance to a cinema.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 35 not moved.
Sections 29 to 38, inclusive, agreed to.

On behalf of Deputy Everett, I move amendment No. 36:—

After Section 39 to insert a new section as follows:—

"The board shall have power—

(a) to fix, after consultation with the Minister, standards of remuneration, and to regulate the working conditions of those employed at weekly wage rates at racing and training establishments; and

(b) to limit the number of apprentices in each establishment, and to make such other regulations as may be conducive to the welfare of the boys."

This amendment was put down because of the very unsatisfactory conditions of employment of apprentices and other employees.

I want to raise a question as to the admissibility of these two amendments. I have read them over and I came to the conclusion that they would not be admissible on the Long Title of the Bill.

I think that, with the permission of the House, the two amendments might be discussed together.

I am raising the question of their being in order.

Yes, but whatever covers one will cover the other.

I put that point to the Chair formally. My impression was that they would not come within the scope of the Long Title of the Bill.

We have had Bills before the House in the past in which fair wages clauses were inserted which were not directly concerned with the principle of the Bill. I think the amendments therefore are in order on this occasion. Deputy Norton may discuss the amendment in his name in connection with this amendment.

I have nothing further to add to my remarks. The amendment speaks for itself. While these workers have been recently organised in a trade union, they have been able to secure portion only of the permitted emergency bonus under Order 260. Having regard to the main design of the measure, we feel that it is only fair and proper that there should be some provision in the Bill to safeguard the interests of workers such as apprentices and stable-boys.

Amendment No. 37 in my name reads:—

After Section 39 to insert the following new section:—

"(1) On receipt of a complaint from a trade union representing the employees of a racing establishment or of the employees of an executive of an authorised racecourse that the rates of wages paid to such employees or the conditions of their employment are unsatisfactory the board shall cause an inquiry to be held concerning the facts of such complaint and the board are hereby authorised to take such steps as may to them seem proper for the purpose of instituting such inquiry and securing the attendance thereat of witnesses and the production of documents.

(2) On the conclusion of the inquiry mentioned in the next preceding sub-section of this section the board shall make and transmit to the proprietor of the racing establishment concerned in such inquiry or the executive of the authorised racecourse, as the case may be, a recommendation in such form as may to them seem proper relating to the matters inquired into.

(3) If the proprietor of the racing establishment or the executive of the authorised racecourse to whom the recommendation mentioned in this section is addressed fails to give effect to such recommendation within a reasonable time it shall be competent for the board—

(a) in the case of the proprietor of a racing establishment to exclude from every racecourse in respect of which the board exercises jurisdiction until the terms of the recommendation have been complied with, any horse owned, trained or entered as a competitor by such proprietor, or

(b) in any other case, to prohibit until the terms of the recommendation are complied with the holding or promoting of a race meeting on any racecourse owned, leased or operated by the executive aforesaid."

This amendment makes a somewhat different approach to the problem to that which is apparently made under amendment No. 36. Amendment No. 36 seeks to give the board power, without representations from anybody, to fix certain standards and conditions. If existing standards or conditions were considered unsuitable the board would have power to vary these standards, upwards we hope, but downwards, if they so decided. Amendment 37 approaches the problem in a different way. It sets out that on the receipt of a complaint from a trade union representing the employees of a racing establishment or of the employees of an executive of an authorised racecourse, that the rates of wages or conditions of employment are unsatisfactory, the board shall do certain things. We are setting up a board which has very wide powers, as indicated in the Title to the Bill. When we come to make a detailed examination of the powers of the board and the utilisation of its funds—these are set out very comprehensively in Section 15 of the Bill— we find that the board is entitled to use its funds for the purpose of increasing stake money and prizes at horse racing, to reduce entrance fees and similar charges in respect of horse races, to assist in the carriage of horses to race meetings, to reduce charges for admission to members of the public, to improve racecourses, and to do anything else which is conducive to the breeding of horses or the development of an export trade in horses. That is a wide field of activity, but it does not exhaust the powers of the board or the spheres of activity in which they can engage.

All that industry, described under the umbrella description of horse racing, is carried on by human beings. Many of them are wealthy people. Many racegoers are wealthy people, many owners and bookmakers are very wealthy, and so are many punters, but there is another class engaged in that industry—stable boys, men who work around the racing stables, and apprentices who, in many cases, are really stable lads. Quite a considerable number of those who enter as apprentices ultimately fall back to become ordinary stable lads and, as I said on the Second Reading of the Bill, very few ever reach noteworthy eminence as jockeys. Some do come to the fore, but the number of persons who enter the industry as apprentices and become jockeys is not alarmingly high. Quite a considerable number who enter as apprentices never reach the jockey stage at all. I should like the Minister to note that the working conditions of these stable lads and apprentices are generally bad. I quoted a case recently where a certain judge refused to convict an apprentice for having broken his indenture of apprenticeship when he heard that the boy was being paid only 3/6 per week. He was being maintained in a racing establishment, but maintenance in a racing establishment is not that which is provided in a luxurious hotel. There is a difference between it and that of the Gresham Hotel for instance. To pay a lad 3/6 a week and maintain him in a racing establishment is to make sure that the lad is never going to be wealthy.

I think these workers have very substantial grounds of complaint. Their conditions are a reflection on the whole racing industry. At one time these lads were unorganised and it is to the credit of trade union organisation that they have been able to improve their conditions somewhat. While I very gladly pay tribute to the reforms effected for them by trade union action and by sympathetic public agitation generally, not even a trade union desiring to make the best case for its own activities, would attempt to say that the conditions of stable lads and employees of racing stables generally, are anything like satisfactory. If we are going to give this board wide powers and if the community is going to be taxed, so as to give the board approximately £150,000 annually, I think we ought to put on the board an obligation to clean up, as far as it can, that wretched aspect of the racing industry in this country—the exploitation of stable lads and apprentices, the payment of low wages to them and the imposition on them of conditions of employment which are anything but fair or decent.

In amendment No. 37, I want to put an obligation on the board to effect as far as it can a reformation and radical improvement in the conditions under which persons are employed in the racing stables. The amendment seeks to approach the problem in this way: that it should be possible for the board on the receipt of a complaint or a representation from a trade union representing the employees of a racing establishment or of an executive of an authorised racecourse, to institute an inquiry into the facts of the complaint, at which they will be entitled to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents. The amendment seeks to empower the board after examining the matter to make a recommendation in such a form as may seem proper to them relating to the matters inquired into with a view to effecting the necessary remedial action. The remaining section of the amendment provides that certain penalties may be inflicted on either the racehorse owner or the racecourse executive who refuses to comply with a recommendation of the board. I think the amendment proposes to give the board very reasonable powers. It says to the board: "If you should get a complaint from a trade union, representative of the employees in the racing industry, in a matter in which you are vitally interested, you should investigate that complaint. You should approach it in a reasonable manner and if, having examined the facts and heard the representatives of the employees on the one hand and the representatives of the training establishments and the racecourse executives on the other, you should make a reasonable recommendation, you are entitled to assume, having regard to the assistance which you give to the industry that that recommendation will be accepted and respected by those concerned."

The amendment goes on to say that if, however, after you have made, as reasonable men, a recommendation to improve the matters complained of, either the racing establishment, on the one hand, or the racing executive, on the other hand, will not do as you ask them, you are entitled to impose certain penalties, which are set out in the amendment, until such time as they do what you request. I am sure the Minister does not like to see racing conducted on the basis where you have on the one hand, a fairly wealthy section of the people and, on the other hand, a number of exploited stable lads and apprentices. The object of the amendment is to ensure that that end of the industry will be lifted up and, if we are to have a national racing industry and blood-stock which will be the envy of many other countries, we should at least ensure at the same time that that industry is not conducted on the basis of exploiting one unfortunate section of the people who are associated with it.

I do not propose to accept either of these amendments. We have not given power, and we do not propose anywhere in the Bill to give power, to the board to interfere with the management of racing stables. With all respect, I think it would be going outside what we had in mind in setting out the Long Title. I am glad to learn from Deputy Norton that there have been reforms already effected, through trade union action or otherwise—reforms of the matters that he complains of in relation to racing stables. I am glad to hear that and I hope there will be such other reforms as may be necessary to provide that in all sections of the racing industry, in particular the ones that Deputy Norton describes, where there are very bad conditions of living, they will disappear.

I hope that the trainers' establishments will share in the general improvement that, I trust, will result from this effort to organise and put on a more prosperous basis the whole racing industry. I hope the trainers' establishments and their staffs, the apprentices and stable lads and all concerned will share in the general prosperity. It should be realised that without these workers, these stable lads and apprentices, there could be no racing industry, and they ought to be reasonably and properly treated by their employers. I am sure that is so in many cases. I am not well acquainted with the industry, but I think that numbers of these people who are interested in racing are very good citizens, that they have a proper human outlook, and I am sure in many of these racing establishments proper provision is made for stable lads and apprentices. At any rate, I hope that is so. Where it is not so, I hope that organised bodies, and the stable lads and apprentices and others will get every assistance in having their wages and living conditions put in the position in which they should be.

I am not accepting either of the amendments, because I think they are not proper to the Bill and I would be putting upon this board, if I were to accept them, a duty and responsibility that might be perhaps a full-time job and would take away from the period of leisure that might be at their disposal to look after other important aspects of this industry to which we are directing their special attention. I hope that the conditions referred to, where they are bad, will be rectified in some other way under the laws as they stand—under the Conditions of Employment Act and other similar legislation dealing with bad conditions —and that such bad conditions, where they still exist, will be put into a proper perspective.

They do not come under the Conditions of Employment Act.

Can they not be brought under it?

If you will amend it.

Would the Minister not be prepared to give this matter further consideration and do something in respect to it on the next stage? Neither the unions nor the Minister can prevent what are called lightning strikes and now is the time, I suggest, to make some provision, to give something better than the pious hopes expressed by the Minister. If on some important occasion, the employees in the industry decide to take action, it will be very inconvenient for a great many people. I think the Minister ought not object to the principle and should give further consideration to what has been put forward in these amendments.

I do not propose to take any further action.

Amendment No. 36 put and declared lost.
Amendment No. 37 put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 11; Níl, 48.

  • Beirne, John.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Halliden, Patrick J.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Larkin, James (Junior).
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Roddy, Martin.


  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George C.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Brennan, Thomas.
  • Burke, Patrick (Co. Dublin).
  • Butler, Bernard.
  • Carter, Thomas.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Colbert, Michael.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Daly, Francis J.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Dockrell, Henry M.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Fogarty, Patrick J.
  • Furlong, Walter.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, James.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McCann, John.
  • McCarthy, Seán.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O Cléirigh, Mícheál.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • Rice, Bridget M.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheldon, William A.W.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Ua Donnchadha, Dómhnall.
  • Walsh, Laurence.
  • Ward, Conn.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Keyes and Larkin; Níl: Deputies Kissane and O Briain.
Amendment declared negatived.
Section 39 agreed to.
Schedule and Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.

When is it proposed to take the Report Stage?

I was hoping that I would get all stages of the Bill to-day, if Deputy Norton has not changed his mind.

We will give the Minister the Report and Final Stages on the next day. Some of us would like to have an opportunity of looking through the new print of the Bill to see if it can be amended on Report as regards the stable lads.

Report Stage ordered for 11th April, 1945.