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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 11 Apr 1945

Vol. 96 No. 17

Public Business. - Racing Board and Racecourses Bill, 1945—Report and Fifth Stages.

I move amendment No. 1:—

In page 6, before Section 10, line 44, to insert the following new section:—

10. (1) The Board may from time to time appoint such and so many committees as it thinks proper.

(2) The board may delegate to a committee of the board any of its functions, powers and duties which, in its opinion, can be better or more conveniently exercised or performed by a committee, and may regulate the procedure of any such committee.

(3) A committee of the board shall consist of such number of members as the board thinks proper and may, at the discretion of the board, consist exclusively of persons who are members of the board or partly of persons who are members of the board and partly of persons who are officers of the board.

(4) The acts of a committee of the board shall be subject to confirmation by the board save where the board dispenses with the necessity for such confirmation.

This amendment arises out of a discussion that we had on the last occasion. As Deputies will remember, I accepted, on the last occasion, an amendment to make the number of the quorum five. Now, I think that Deputies will agree, on thinking over the matter, that five is rather a large quorum in a committee of 11, especially if, as is possible, the residences of the members, or of a number of them, at any rate, in this case, are scattered all over the country and where it might frequently be very difficult to get them together. Accordingly, I think it is necessary and desirable that the board should have power to delegate its duties to committees or, perhaps, to sub-committees—committees are mentioned in the amendment—and that these committees should consist of such a number as the board itself might, from time to time, think proper, and that they might be members of the board with, perhaps, a chief official or two chief officials of the board, acting with the members of the board on that committee. I think that such a delegation of power is absolutely necessary, especially where meetings may be required for purely routine business and where it might be difficult to get members together. Accordingly, I think there should be no serious objection to a delegation of power in that way.

I think the Minister's amendment is absolutely necessary, but I should like to ask him if he would not consider it wise and necessary to put in a provision for appointing people who might not be members of the board. There might be a case where specialised knowledge would be required, and it might be possible that none of the members of the board had that particular specialised knowledge. In such a case, I suggest that it might be desirable or even necessary to have a man of that kind on the committee. Under sub-section (4) the ratification of the board is required for the acts of a committee of the board, and I think it would be a useful provision, although it might not be necessary, to allow for persons with specialised knowledge to be appointed on such committees, since the acts of the committees are subject to confirmation by the board.

I should like to support Deputy Hughes's suggestion. I think that this amendment is desirable because it is possible that the limitation that the quorum of the board should be not less than five, as proposed on a previous occasion, came about because people did not properly read the section. The section, as originally worded, was "not less than three".

That is right.

A number of people were under the impression that three members could hold a meeting at any time, irrespective of the wishes of the other members of the board, and there arrogate to themselves all the powers of the board, without consultation with the other members. There was nothing in the section to prevent the board itself fixing the quorum——

That is right.

——and I think it is desirable that the board should be forced to function, either with the quorum or with such larger number as they find necessary, and this amendment enables the board to delegate functions, some of which might be purely routine, or others of which might require specialised knowledge which the ordinary members of the board do not have, to a smaller committee—things which, quite possibly, could be done more effectively by a smaller committee. Deputy Hughes suggests that the board should have power to nominate to a sub-committee an individual or individuals who are not members of the board, and I think that that is a desirable and very useful suggestion. It is quite likely that for a particular function or functions an individual whom the board might not have as an employee but who would have, say, interests or other functions connected with racing, could be of great service on such a committee, and I think it is desirable that the board should have power to nominate such an individual. It is equally likely that, when racing is resumed on a normal scale, two meetings may be held on the same day in different parts of the country. It is rare to have more than two meetings on the same day but there might be, under normal conditions, two meetings on the same day and it might be desirable to extend the provisions of the Bill in this way.

While I agree with the amendment and with the observations which have just been made, I wonder if the net is not being cast too far in the opposite direction. It will now be possible for the board to set up a committee to deal with any function. No limitation is placed on that except such as the board may impose. Some people thought that the board might be careless if a quorum of three were fixed. That could now be brought about by the board's appointing a committee of three.

Subject to confirmation by the board.

The objection to a quorum of three was that the board would be careless. Under this provision, the board could be equally careless.

If the board be careless, the Minister or the racing fraternity will cause it to be removed. If the board does not take its duties reasonably seriously, there is no future for this legislation. In the course of ordinary legislation, a committee like this would, I think, be useful—almost essential. I do not know what particular decisions would come within the functions of the board, but it can only function at a particular race meeting if five members are present. If two members were sick you would not have a quorum of the board. Under this amendment, they could delegate their functions to a committee.

I do not like the principle involved in this amendment. Under the Bill, we give certain statutory functions to the officials of the board, and by this amendment we are proposing to constitute those functionaries members of the board, as it were. We felt that it was necessary to have a quorum of five for the proper conduct of the business of the board, and so as to prevent snap decisions being taken by a minority, but a committee might be set up by the board consisting of any number—one, two or three. The acts of that committee are to be subject to confirmation by the board, "save where the board dispenses with the necessity for such confirmation". I felt that, in this regard, we were giving very drastic powers to the board. We tried to curb those powers, but did not succeed. Now, it is proposed to enable this board to function through a number of committees. There is no limit to the numerical composition of the committees, and no limit to the number of committees. These committees may consist, in the majority, of officials who are charged with certain statutory duties under the Act, and who will be in a position, as it were, to supervise themselves. I feel that the principle is bad.

Take out the last words of the amendment.

I think that those words should go—"save where the board dispenses with the necessity for such confirmation". All acts of the committee should be compulsorily subject to confirmation by the board.

That was the point I was attempting to make.

I am in absolute agreement with those who have spoken against the amendment. A few weeks ago, when we were discussing this Bill, I had down amendments to increase the number of members of the board. I did not specify the number and I was told that the proposal was rather vague. It was also argued that 11 members were quite sufficient to deal with the business. Now, we are proposing to give power for the creation of committees. The committees' decisions will, I understand, be subject to confirmation by the board. Nevertheless, I think that, having settled the membership of the board, we should leave it to that body to carry out its business. I think that they should be quite capable of doing what they will, by acceptance of office, undertake to do under this measure. I do not think that any committee is necessary. We are outstepping ourselves and we shall not know who will be in eventual control. There will be crowds of people trying to get on the various committees. It is quite sufficient to have 11 persons responsible to the Dáil, as I understand they will be, and, if they fail in their duty, they can be brought to book here. These committees might also be used to relieve the board of some unpleasant duty which it was not anxious to discharge. I think that, if we have too many people, the business may not be done in a businesslike way, and that we should leave matters as they are. The last lines of this amendment should, certainly, be deleted.

Is it not quite clear throughout the whole of this Bill that the board is the body in whom we are vesting very wide authority and the Dáil will, naturally, look to the board to ensure that that authority be wisely and justly used? That board should never be in a position to come back to Dáil Eireann, in the event of a bookmaker or other person engaged in horse racing feeling that he was victimised, and say that the board was not responsible, that the injustice was done by one of its committees and consummated without the knowledge of the board. If we pass this amendment as it stands, that situation could easily arise. A committee of the board which had been exonerated under sub-section (4) of this amendment from the necessity of seeking confirmation from the whole board for its acts might do something which seriously prejudiced some individual or group of individuals. Unless that action were brought to the notice of the board, that individual or group of individuals would have no remedy.

It may be argued that the aggrieved party could write to the board protesting that the committee had done them an injustice, but the Minister will agree with me that, where boards delegate certain duties to a committee and give that committee final powers in the instrument of delegation, they are extremely reluctant to hear complaints from outsiders as to the manner in which that subsidiary committee has carried out its duties, on the ground that, if they entertained such representations in one case, every decision of the committee would be challenged with the board in the hope that there would be a reversal. If, on the other hand, every decision of the committee must come before the board for formal ratification, then, where representations have been made to a member that injustice has been done, that individual point of the sub-committee's general report can be discussed, and if anything requires to be rectified, rectification can be made before the committee's report is sanctioned and adopted by the board as a whole.

I cannot envisage a situation in which this board in which we have vested such wide power, will be inclined to delegate many of its powers to committees. I do not think that the Minister intends that the board should become a figurehead, doing all its executive work through committees which the Minister thought properly should be done by the board itself. Therefore, we may assume that the committees envisaged by the section will be few and that the labour of confirming or reviewing the decisions of those committees would not place an undue burden on the board as a whole. I think the House would feel easier in its mind if it were satisfied that the discretion, which a great many of us have reposed in this board with some reluctance, is not going to be further passed on to other parties, of the constitution of which we have no knowledge. I think if the proposal made by Deputy Coogan, that the words in sub-section (4) of this amendment—"save where the board dispenses with the necessity for such confirmation"—is adopted, a great deal of the objections to the amendment will fall to the ground. I cannot imagine that this is a matter of principle upon which the Minister will feel inclined rigidly to stand. It cannot certainly do any serious harm and it will with equal certainty relieve the minds of many of us who would have considerable apprehension were the amendment to be adopted in its present form.

With the exception of what I might call principles, without whose presence the Bill would be useless, this is a Bill on the contents of which I should like the guidance of the House. I came forward with this amendment because I thought that the Bill would not be practicable and would not work with a quorum of five obligatory on a board of 11, especially having regard to the fact that as Deputy Cosgrave reminded us, there might be a necessity for having two meetings on the one day in different parts of the country, if it were possible for the board to translate itself from one part of the country to another. Two quorums would be necessary for such meetings. The position as it stood after the last day's discussion was that we should have a quorum of five rather than a minimum attendance of three members. The quorum being five, I think it is essential that there should be power to delegate to committees. I do not think the board could operate without that power. I think the board as a body of experienced, sensible and responsible men, as I hope they will be, will delegate only minor powers generally to any committee they are likely to set up. There are certain important duties and responsibilities imposed by the Bill on the members of the board. I cannot imagine the members of the board trying to rid themselves of the responsibilities attaching to membership or accepting membership of the board and endeavouring to slide out of responsibility by putting it on to some committee. I do not think that will happen; I do not see it happening.

I think that where a committee is appointed it will be necessary that the board should see to it that the reports of these committees are submitted to the board and that they will keep full control of the working of the committees down to the smallest detail.

I think that it is quite possible, as Deputy Hughes suggested, that it might be advisable to get some specialist from time to time put on a committee. It did not occur to me before but I see the force of Deputy Hughes's suggestion. There may be people with special knowledge which will not be available to the board we shall appoint. The board may like to have that knowledge and experience available and put such a person on a committee to advise them.

I think it is a reasonable suggestion, and if Deputy Hughes would agree, I would consider it for an amendment when we come to the Seanad. I should like to consider the matter further, but it does strike me as a useful and practical suggestion that might be of value to the work of the board. I do not see the board working without the power to set up committees. It is a board of 11 with a quorum of five, and I think the committees are necessary. I have had experience in this House of putting through Bills giving very important powers to boards, and I have asked the House before to allow such boards to set up committees and the House agreed. One case I have in mind is the Central Bank. We gave them instructions practically to set up committees. I think the setting up of different committees in this case is a necessity. I do not think that anything that the Deputy from Donegal suggested in the way of a want of responsibility on the part of members, or of their handing over their responsibility lightly to sub-committees is likely to happen, not if the type of people I have in mind—men, first of all, with a knowledge of racing, a knowledge of the various things that go to make up a successful race meeting, the breeding of horses, and the matters that are mentioned in the various sections of the Bill—are on the board.

As to the type of person whom I have in mind and hope to get, there will probably be a fairly wide field to select from, and I hope to get 11 men who will be knowledgeable in this business, responsible and, above all, common sense people. They will be appointed for five year periods, and if they do any of the things that Deputy Mrs. Redmond thinks they might do, the matter can come up here for review when the accounts are annually laid before the House, as they must be under the terms of the Bill. With regard to the suggestion that the words "save where the board dispenses with the necessity for such confirmation" be dropped from the amendment, I think that their retention will not do any harm, and it would give the board power to dispense with a lot of routine work that will otherwise have to be faced by the board, perhaps over a long period. They can in advance make up their mind what they will ask a certain committee to do. That committee can do the work, and need not bother reporting to them.

Suppose they set up a committee to inspect the licences of a number of bookmakers at a particular race meeting, they need not, unless the committee think well of it, report back. They are not obliged to report back. If they think well of it, or if they come across people acting who have not got a licence, then they will report back. But I think it is possible that we might be tying the hands of the board if we did not leave them power to delegate routine jobs of that kind to a committee. That is a matter, as Deputy Dillon properly said, of business and routine. It is not a matter of principle. It is a matter on which we are all entitled to our views as to what is practical and sensible. If the House as a whole thinks that the board would work better and would have a greater sense of responsibility attached to it if these words were left out, then I am quite in the hands of the House.

After making that nice, ultimate observation, is the Minister going to leave out the words?

I am not, unless the House very strongly puts it to me.

How are we very strongly to put it to the Minister? Are we to come across the House and beat him? All we can do is to make our observations in the most courteous and effective way we can.

There is one item which occurs to me. This body will have the duty of controlling the Totalisator. There are routine jobs connected with the Totalisator, such as winding up the day's business at every meeting. They could delegate that duty to a sub-committee of the board and its officers, and the committee need never report back.

What is the objection to having an obligation placed on them to report back: "Instructions in regard to checking the Totalisator at Baldoyle race meeting were duly carried out. Signed: chairman of sub-committee"? That is merely an item on the agenda: "Report of the sub-committee, Baldoyle meeting", and takes 30 seconds to dispose of at the meeting of the board. It is the board that is responsible to this House, not the committees at Baldoyle or Tramore or anywhere else.

The Minister says that when the board lays its report before the House we can discuss its administration. What is the use of discussing its administration if the board says: "Oh, we did not do that at all. Some fools on the committee made a mess of it at Tramore"? We can say: "Well, do not appoint any fools on your committee again." The board can defend itself to us in Dáil Eireann by saying: "It is not our fault; we made a mistake in choosing the committee." I want the board to come forward and explain to the House why they did wrong. The Minister says he may adopt Deputy Hughes's proposal and bring on to those committees persons who are not on the board at all.

Persons who are not officials.

God help the poor bookmakers. Everybody seems to be kicking them about the place, but if we are to put their lives and being in the hands of this board, and then announce that the board can delegate them to a sub-committee, and then go further and announce that you can put all and sundry on the sub-committee and that the sub-committee need never refer back to the board, although there is only one member of the board or one official of the board on the sub-committee, surely that is going too far? We in this House are trustees of the rights of those decent, respectable men who, so far as I know, are doing nothing but earning their living in a legitimate way. The only bookmakers I ever met were men like Dick Power and John Keenan, decent, respectable men, who never wanted subsidy or help from anybody, but only to be let stand up under their umbrella and do their business. As the Minister knows, it was their presence and their personalities that drew a very large part of the patrons of racing to the racecourse. I think the Minister will agree with me that 50 per cent. of the people who go to racecourses know very little about horse-flesh or form or anything of that kind, but they like to hear the bookmakers shouting the odds, and to see the green, white and yellow umbrellas, and so forth. If we are going to put all those people absolutely in the power of the board, and the board may delegate its duties in relation to them to a sub-committee, and, if Deputy Hughes's proposal is adopted, the sub-committee may consist of one official of the board and a group of extern persons of whom we know nothing, surely it is not unreasonable to say that those sub-committees will be required to refer back their findings to the board, which is the only body responsible to this House.

I do not want to use trenchant or extreme language, but if any extremity of language would impress on the Minister the emphasis with which I am asking to have those words removed, I am prepared to use it. I am asking the Minister to assume that I have resorted to as trenchant a series of observations——

We should like to hear the Deputy.

I will postpone that treat for the Minister to another occasion. In the meantime, I respectfully urge upon him the desirability of restoring the absolute responsibility of the board to answer to this House for all its acts, and the way to do that is to take out the last few words.

But the board has responsibility to this House. It is responsible for every act of every committee it appoints. The board is responsible; the committees are not responsible to this House.

Exactly. That is what I complain of.

The committees are not responsible. Why should they be? We have the board.

But the committees need not get the approval of the board for certain of their acts.

Oh, no. The board is responsible for every act of every committee it appoints.

It says in the amendment that in certain cases the board may dispense with the necessity of confirming what the committee has done.

That does not mean they are not responsible. They are as responsible for every committee and every individual they appoint as they are for every act the board does. Deputy Dillon, I think, knows well that a Minister dare not come in here and say to the House: "Oh, well, that is somebody I appointed, and I am not responsible for what that person or committee did."

Mr. Lemass and the Bishop of Galway; Mr. MacEntee and the Bishop of Clonfert.

Ministers should be referred to as such.

Well, the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Bishop of Galway; the Minister for Local Government and the Bishop of Clonfert. One said the Bishop of Galway was slovenly; the other said the Bishop of Clonfert was impertinent.

This is the Report Stage. Deputies may therefore not speak twice on any amendment. If allowed to rise a second time they should do so briefly.

The Minister has said that Ministers cannot repudiate their own nominees. We have had a few outstanding examples.

The Minister should be allowed to make his observations.

I was just jogging his recollection.

I have as good a memory as anybody else in this House, I think, and I know all the things connected with those items to which the Deputy refers. I am not going to follow him, but I do say that no Minister dare come into this House and say that he is not responsible for such and such a board or committee that he appointed. Every Minister is held responsible here every day in the week for anybody he appoints, and in the same way this board will have to answer to this House for every committee and every individual that it appoints. We have no right to ask committees appointed by this board or any other board to be responsible to this House. The Minister and the Government will hold the board responsible, and the House will hold the Minister responsible for the acts of every individual appointed by that board, so there is no use in suggesting that those committees can get away with something, or that when the board appoints those committees the responsibility of the board ends there. It does not. The responsibility of the board carries right through to the furthest unimportant individual official or non-official that the board appoints. They have to accept responsibility for their acts. I think it would be unfair to the committee.

I understand there is quite a considerable amount of routine work in that one item, the Totalisator. In the ordinary business of winding up the day's proceedings in connection with the Totalisator there is a good deal of routine business that need not be reported back to the board. That is one item, and there may be others. There are all sorts of documents to be signed and it takes a considerable amount of the time—it did in the past —of members of the board to look after the Totalisator.

I said it before, and I would like to repeat it, that I as Minister for Finance have been grateful to the members of the board for the splendid work they did in making such a success of the Totalisator. This new body has to take over that responsibility and there is a lot of routine work in connection with it. I am told—I have no personal knowledge—that sometimes there have been hours of labour in connection with the winding up of the day's work in respect of that one item alone and I do not think it would be fair to the board that reports on matters of a routine character, business which, though important and necessary, is still routine, should have to be made to the members of the board. It would not be fair to the board, certainly in the initial stages, to have these items coming back day after day with, perhaps, other items, important in themselves, but purely of a routine nature. It would take up time that could be more usefully employed with other aspects connected with work of the Racing Board.

I suggest to the Minister that he should delete that because, according to that portion of the amendment, the board will be responsible to the Minister. The Minister will appoint the board, but the board can appoint any sub-committee it likes to deal with matters affecting racing on the racecourses, be it bookmakers or any other matter, and they can say: "The results of your work need not be confirmed by this board". That is very unfair. Any sub-committees that are appointed by the board should be subject to confirmation by that board.

I suggest to the Minister that it might meet the difficulty if he would amend the sub-section to this extent: "Save where in the case of business of a routine nature the board dispenses with the necessity for such confirmation." Perhaps the Minister would add these words?

I shall consider that between now and the period when the Seanad will consider the Bill. That is as far as I will go.

Is the Ministerial amendment accepted?

On the understanding that the Minister will give favourable consideration to an amendment of his own amendment.

I am not accepting that; I said I would consider the Deputy's proposal.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2:—

In page 9, Section 23, before sub-section (3), line 26, to insert the following sub-section:—

(3) Whenever the board, in the exercise of its powers under this section, refuses to grant a course-betting permit to a licensed bookmaker or suspends or revokes a course-betting permit held by a licensed bookmaker, the following provisions shall have effect—

(a) the board shall inform the licensed bookmaker in writing of such refusal, suspension or revocation,

(b) the licensed bookmaker may, within seven days after being so informed, request the board to afford him an opportunity of making to the board, in relation to such refusal, suspension or revocation, representations, oral or written, and the board shall grant any such request.

This amendment arose out of the discussion on the Second Stage and the Committee Stage of the Bill. It was the view of a number of Deputies that there should be some way open to persons who were refused a permit to make bets on a racecourse to have their complaints brought before the board for further examination. I hesitate to take away to any degree the absolute power that I sought to give the board to decide, without an appeal to any court, who should or should not have permits to make bets on the course.

Deputies on all sides of the House expressed strong views that the persons aggrieved should have some way of bringing their cases to the notice of the board with a view to having further consideration of their grievances. It is for that reason I propose amendment No. 2. It does not go as far as the amendment sent in by Deputy Breen, but I think it goes a long piece of the road to meet the views that he and others expressed, and to meet the perhaps not unreasonable claim that the person refused a permit, or whose permit was suspended or revoked, should have notice in writing to that effect, and should be enabled to write to the board or appear before it and orally state his case against the refusal of the permit and in favour of its being continued. I do not think I can go any further in that matter, desirous as I am of making the board the final arbiters as to what persons may or may not have permits to make bets on racecourses.

Amendment No. 3, being an amendment to amendment No. 2, must be disposed of before No. 2 comes for decision.

It would perhaps be better to have them taken together. I move amendment No. 3:—

In paragraph (a) of the proposed new sub-section to delete the words "inform the licensed bookmaker in writing" and substitute the words "send to the licensed bookmaker a statement in writing of the grounds", and in paragraph (b) to delete the words "after being so informed" and substitute the words "after having received such statement".

My reason for putting down an amendment to the Minister's amendment is to bring to the notice of the Minister an important point which I fear he may have overlooked. That is the desirability of giving a bookmaker a right to be re-heard, giving him some form of appeal board. On the Committee Stage the Minister refused to accept an amendment in which we asked that there should be an appeal back to the Minister. I quite agree that it may not be a good thing to go back over the board to the Minister, but I now suggest that it should go back to the board as a whole or, perhaps, to more than half of the board. Take a case where a bookmaker is refused a licence, say, by a board of five members. Three of the five members may decide to withdraw his licence, and that is binding. Why not have another board of, say, the remaining members, who would confirm or reject that decision? I put down this amendment in the hope that the Minister will give further consideration to the matter. I think that all people who hold licences from the Government are entitled to have some board to appeal to where there is injustice.

I suggest that the Minister might agree to include some additional words in his amendment. The amendment states:—

"(a) The board shall inform the licensed bookmaker in writing of such refusal, suspension or revocation,

(b) the licensed bookmaker may, within seven days after being so informed, request the board to afford him an opportunity of making ... representations ..."

Will the Minister include such words as "pending the hearing of his representations, whether they be oral or written, the bookmaker shall be allowed to carry on"? I suggest that until such time as the matter is decided the bookmaker shall be allowed to carry on.

I could not accept that.

In the ordinary course of things it is reasonable to suggest that if you appeal against the refusal of the board to grant a betting permit, you should be given an opportunity of stating your case and, pending a decision, you should be allowed to carry on as a bookmaker.

I will not do that, Deputy.

I think the Minister's amendment is incomplete because he has made no provision for the service of the notice of revocation; he has not indicated whether it is to be served by hand or posted. Then the difficulty of the seven days arises. The man may be absent from home and if the notice is sent by post he may not get it within seven days. I think the amendment is incomplete in that respect and I believe it is necessary that the Minister should consider the matter again. The Minister will have to make some provision for serving the notice of revocation in order to ensure that the person concerned will have the necessary seven days in order to make his request to the board.

I take it that as regards paragraph (a)—"the board shall inform the licensed bookmaker in writing of such refusal, suspension or revocation"—a letter would be sent by registered post.

Suppose it is sent by registered post and the bookmaker is absent from his home. He may not return for a fortnight or three weeks, and if his request is not made by seven days he does not get any opportunity of making representations.

I was not here for the earlier stages of this Bill, through no fault of my own. What I should like to know is why has Dáil Éireann suddenly appeared to accept the proposition that all bookmakers in this country are rogues and vagabonds? Any bookmaker I ever knew was a decent, respectable man. Some of them are neighbours of mine in Ballaghaderreen. There are others in Waterford and Dublin and, indeed, in every other part of the country. I make no apology for naming some of them. I knew Dick Duggan, I know Dick Power and I know John Keenan, and the idea that these men and others like them must be hunted and harried and restricted and made liable to their livelihoods being swept away without any right of appeal except to the persons constituting this board, seems to me to be an outrage. Why should not a man who has reared a decent family and who has a perfectly legitimate business have a right to go to the courts if he believes that a statutory board has unjustly taken away his means of living?

The Deputy may not know that that was the subject of an amendment which was defeated in Committee. It cannot be raised now.

I am speaking about the Minister's amendment. There is a great fuss being made about giving an appeal and there are Deputies who say it would not be reasonable to ask the Minister to give an appeal to a judge. Why? Have not these men got as much rights as we have? We have got into the habit in this House of talking in vacuo as if we were remote from the people for whom we are legislating and cannot consider individual cases. I am considering individual cases. If we are to come to individual cases and if we are to count up percentages in order to find out how many rogues and vagabonds there are among the bookmakers, as opposed to the rogues and vagabonds among the horse owners, we might get a very rude shock. If we are to start counting heads, I would be very glad to count heads on behalf of the bookmakers and I will match every rogue and vagabond that the board can find among the bookmakers with two rogues and vagabonds among the gentlemen who own the horses.

I object most strenuously to the general atmosphere that seems to have grown up that our purpose should be to eliminate bookmakers, that they are a damn nuisance and that we should have a nice clean Tote run by this board. I do not give a fiddle-de-dee what the board does. I am not a racing man, but I like to go to a race meeting occasionally and when I go there I like to see the bookmakers, because they provide a certain atmosphere by their personalities and an interest for the occasion. Why then do we announce it as a great concession if, when a board of 11 members steps in and tells a man of Jack Keenan's or Dick Power's standing that he will not be allowed to put up his umbrella or earn his living, that he must get out of business, that man has no recourse to a judge of this State?

The Deputy may not advocate an appeal to the courts. That matter was decided in Committee.

May I not say that the appeal provided for in the amendment is inadequate? The Minister makes what is described as a concession; he says he will allow an appeal back to the total personnel of the board. I make the case that that is inadequate. We are not entitled to think of a bookmaker as a genius of evil. I am thinking of individual friends of mine.

The Deputy might tell us what he thinks of the amendment and the proposed amendment thereto.

They are utterly unsatisfactory and I particularly resent that it is now announced, apparently with the consent of Deputies, that it would be unreasonable to ask the Minister to let a man go to the courts.

It is irrelevant, yet the Deputy persists.

Surely I can say that the amendment is inadequate?

The Minister has proposed an amendment and to that amendment another amendment has been moved. The discussion is confined to these two amendments.

I say that they are inadequate and am I not entitled to say that? I am not one bit grateful to the Minister for what he describes as a concession. I say the amendment is inadequate and it creates a grave injustice, and the reason I make that case is because the House is inclined to accept sympathetically the Minister's amendment. They are not thinking of individuals, but of a class. I am thinking of the individual citizen of standing who may be told to-morrow that his livelihood is gone.

Why does the House take up the position that it is utterly unreasonable to give that man access to the courts? If a licensed trader is deprived of his licence by a district justice, does anyone challenge his right to go to the Circuit Court and appeal against the deprivation of his licence? So far as I know, members of the House will agree that that would only be fair and just. Here a perfectly respectable man is brought before a board, every member of which is interested in the trade in which he himself is operating.

Prominent individuals in the racing world in this country have on more than one occasion been deeply beholden to bookmakers. Will anyone in this House challenge that allegation? Suppose a bookmaker found himself in the position of having one member or a couple of members of the board up to their elbows in his book—and it is not impossible. That bookmaker may think: "I am having the screws put on me because I am threatening to bring this fellow before the Conyngham Club for failing to pay his bets, and if I do not give him a clear receipt for his bets, maybe the screws will pinch tighter and tighter still." He is sitting among 11 friends and that bookmaker may be constrained to think: "There is not one of the 11 I have not salted in my day, and they will be all glad to have a rattle at me for it." He makes up his mind that, perhaps, it would be better to take so-and-so's name out of his book.

Why does he make up his mind to do that? Because he knows that if the board, the 11 friends, combine to put him out of business, or if a majority of them, six out of the 11, combine to put him out of business, he has no appeal; he has no tribunal in the world to make the case to that they put him out unjustly, that they had made paupers of himself, his wife and children. He must go out, a man in middle age who has never known how to do anything but pick up some ticktack man's messages quickly. He has to learn a new trade and become, possibly, a carpenter or a plumber, and all because he would not let X. off the debts he owed him.

That is not my idea of justice. I deliberately bring in the names of outstanding men in the profession of bookmakers, because it is very hard to assess an injustice unless you can picture somebody you know as its victim. Why should a man of Dick Power's standing, a man of John Keenan's standing, men who do not pretend to be aristocrats or powers in the land, who pretend to be nothing more than common, ordinary citizens earning their livings in an honest way, be deprived of the right of going to the courts if they feel themselves aggrieved? Everybody in this country has the right to go to the courts if his means of livelihood are threatened.

We are not discussing that now.

We are. You are limiting the concession by giving the bookmaker, who is deprived of a licence, the right to go back to the board.

I suggest that is not in order now. That was discussed on the Committee Stage.

I think we had better put Chairs all over the House.

If the Deputy wants me to make a point of order, I make it formally now.

The Minister is quite correct in saying that this matter was discussed on the Committee Stage.

How could an amendment put down by the Minister for the Report Stage—something that was not in existence when the Committee Stage was taken—have been argued in Committee?

The reference to an appeal to the courts was discussed fully in Committee.

I am talking of the reference by way of appeal to the board provided for in this amendment.

An amendment to that effect was discussed in Committee and was not carried.

I am talking of this amendment.

When the matter is disposed of once it cannot be discussed again.

We are discussing here the Minister's amendment No. 2. I suggest that it is utterly inadequate, and I do not think the House should accept it as being in any way sufficient. I suggest that, unless the Minister is prepared to give an undertaking to restore to bookmakers the ordinary rights enjoyed by the humblest citizen of this State, this Bill will be of such a character as to deserve rejection on the Fifth Stage.

Some people may imagine that under these amendments a concession is being made to the bookmakers. Actually, they are only being given the right of appeal to somebody. On the last occasion I suggested that the Minister should give the bookmaker who felt he had a grievance the right to go to court. He would not accept the amendment on those lines. It is a very serious matter to deprive a bookmaker of his means of livelihood. How are his wife, his family and himself to eke out an existence if such a thing happens? Such a bookmaker may be carrying on a large business or a small one. These bookmakers are honourable men, and ought to be entitled to carry an appeal against a decision of the board. At the moment we do not know how this board will be composed. The members of it may not be as angelic as we are led to believe they will be. I am quite sure the Minister will endeavour to pick the best men he can get. At the same time, it is not easy to find people of the character described to us by the Minister. That may be so sometimes.

Since the Minister is not prepared to give the right of appeal to the courts, perhaps he would give the right of appeal to the Minister himself. His would be an independent mind. It would not be blackened against these particular men as the minds of the members of the board may be. What I mean is, that if they once turn down a man they are not likely, later, to see any new points in his favour and grant him a licence. I think it would be more satisfactory if there was the right of appeal to the Minister rather than to the board. If the board turns down a man once, they are not likely to reverse their decision.

In case the Minister should be persuaded by the eloquence of Deputy Dillon and Deputy Mrs. Redmond, I would like to say that, in my opinion, the Minister's amendment is quite sufficient. No member of the House is more ready than I am to pay a tribute to the bookmakers of this country. I did that on the Second Reading of the Bill. I do not think there is any more honourable body of men in the country than the bookmakers. I can truthfully give them that character as one who, perhaps, has had more transactions with them over many years than any other member of the House. As I said on the Second Reading, the bookmakers may have grievances under this Bill, but we must remember other sections of the racing public may also feel that they are aggrieved by it. If the Minister is not prepared to give a general concession, and I am not at all sure that it would be a wise thing for him to do so, I do not see why he should pick out one class and give a special advantage to it. There are other people besides bookmakers who, possibly, may feel that they are being victimised—men with families. Tribute has been paid to the bookmakers, a tribute in which I have joined myself. I would also like to pay a little tribute to the jockeys who sometimes are accused, though it may not be their fault at all since none of us can envisage the mind of a horse——

There are no jockeys in this amendment.

Mr. Corish

What about the men who are getting 3/6 a week?

As I was about to say, jockeys are sometimes accused of pulling a horse although, actually, the horse may have pulled the jockey. If an incident like that occurs the jockey may lose his licence, and if he does, then, naturally, the jockey, his wife and family will feel that they have a grievance. The jockey will feel aggrieved if he is not given the right of appeal. The same thing may apply in the case of an owner.

What about the trainers?

I include owners, trainers and all other classes. I am not saying that any of these individuals or classes are a bit more honourable than the bookmakers. I think you will probably find more delinquents among other classes than you will among bookmakers. I would like to see fair play all round. Hitherto, racing has been conducted as a sportsman's business. The penalties inflicted in the past by the stewards of the Turf Club and by the National Hunt Steeplechase Committee have been accepted by everybody. We hope that the new board will carry on as the old racing authorities did. Anything that would tend to shake the confidence of the public in the racing authority would be a bad thing. I do not anticipate that anything of the kind will occur when this new board starts to function. I am sure the members of the board will be an honourable body of men and will dispense justice fairly. I do not see why one class connected with racing should get a favour that is not given to other classes.

My difficulty in accepting amendment No. 2 is that it goes back to amendment No. 1, under which the board may delegate to a committee any of its functions, powers and duties. It is quite conceivable that the board might find it a rather tall order to go into the details of every bookmaker's licence and might delegate these powers to a committee. It is for that reason I see considerable danger in this for the bookmaker. This matter was discussed on Committee Stage, and I do not want to go into it in detail now. The bookmaker is denied the right of appeal to the court and the only concession is that he may make written representation to the board and the board may receive such written representation. It does not get him very much farther. Therefore, the Minister should make it clear in the Bill that this is a function that should not be delegated to a committee, and that pending the hearing of an appeal the bookmaker should be allowed to continue in business. If he holds a course betting permit I do not see any great objection to allowing him to continue until a decision is reached by the board. The State has licensed him as a bookmaker, has given him a certificate as a bookmaker, and the right to a place on the course, and it is doubtful if he is not entitled to assert that right up to a point even against the provisions of this Bill.

I would suggest that the Minister should add after clause (b) of amendment No. 2, the latter portion of the amendment submitted by Deputy Breen, that is, that, pending the decision, the bookmaker would be in a position to carry on his business. I do not see that that would mean very much. It might possibly be a month or two and in that time he might not get to many race meetings but, as we have debarred him of any right of appeal to the court, I think it is only reasonable to give him as much latitude in these provisions as we can.

I would again impress upon the Minister that this should not be one of the functions that the board should delegate to a committee. The board should accept full responsibility for this. It would be very unfair to the bookmaking profession if they were to be put in a position that they could be vetted, as it were, by a committee, perhaps, of three persons, only one of whom might be a member of the board proper, the other two being officers of the board. Deputy Dillon has painted the picture in rather colourful language. I believe that the bookmaker is no worse and no better than any other people who are making their livelihood out of racing and I think he is entitled to all the reasonable safeguards that this House can provide for him.

We are giving very drastic powers to an outside body that has no responsibility to this House, good, bad or indifferent. It may make an annual report; it may present its accounts here but, beyond that, I do not see that we can interfere with it in any way other than by new legislation. The board is appointed for a period of five years. There is no right of removal. If the board acts in an arbitrary fashion towards the bookmaking profession and if it decides arbitrarily that it will reduce the number of course betting bookmakers to half the present number, there is no right of redress and the Minister has no powers by which he can interfere with the discretion or the decisions of the board in these matters. Therefore, I think it is only reasonable for the Minister to accept the amendment put forward by Deputy Breen.

I do not think I am called on to say any more. Many of the points that Deputy Dillon introduced to-day were argued at great length on the Committee Stage. We are restricted now to what is in the Bill and what is proposed in the amendment. I regard it as a considerable concession to introduce the amendment that I moved here to-day. I have not a word to say against any of the bookmakers. I have not the privilege of the acquaintance of any one of them. As Minister I have met half a dozen bookmakers twice, on deputations. That is the extent of my knowledge of them. I am sure that as a body they are just as honourable citizens as any other class of people.

Did the deputation ask for access to the courts?

I could not say for certain now whether or not the deputation that I met on this Bill asked for access to the courts. They did ask for a right of appeal. I think it was to the Minister, but I am not certain, and I should not like to take that responsibility on myself, as Minister. I think we have gone a considerable part of the road to meet the views put forward by a number of people who spoke here, some of whom said that they spoke with authority on behalf of bookmakers.

I did not speak with the authority of anybody.

I do not know them, but I give them credit for being as honourable citizens as any other class of the community. I do not see many of them getting into trouble with this board or, if they want to carry on their profession so far as racecourses are concerned, I do not see why any of them should get into trouble with the board. There is one thing which may be a source of irritation in the beginning to the bookmakers, that is the levy. That will irritate them, undoubtedly, and it will be a troublesome, bothersome business. They would like to get out of it, and around it and under and over it, and some of them might like to defeat it if they could— not the responsible members of the profession. Once the law is passed, the responsible members of the profession will say: "We will obey the law; we will carry out what is required." But the board must have power to see that the levy is collected. That is the only trouble that I see is likely to arise between bookmakers and the board. The board must be in a position to say authoritatively to these people: "If you will not collect the levy, you will have no permit from us." That is the only time that they will come down with a strong hand, so far as I can see. I think it is necessary to give them the power to say that the levy is to be collected in the way the Bill sets out.

Amendment No. 2 agreed to.
Amendment No. 3, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 4 not moved.
Question:—"That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration"—put and agreed to.

When is it proposed to take the Fifth Stage?

It was agreed last day, I think, that we should get all stages to-day.

Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

I want to protest again in the most emphatic way against the manner in which this Bill enshrines the views (1) that the bookmakers are rogues and vagabonds, and (2) that it is a desirable thing to chase them off the racecourses of this country as soon as conveniently may be. I deprecate both these views most strongly. I have had an opportunity of explaining, on the Report Stage of the amendment put forward by the Minister, my view as to the propriety of depriving citizens of this State of access to the courts and I make no apology for returning to that again and again and again. It is becoming the fashion in this country to deride anybody and to jeer at anybody who claims his right to seek protection of the courts. That is all very well so long as you are depriving your neighbour of that right but any Deputy who lost his access to the courts would regret the loss very bitterly. A practice has grown up in this country and other countries of setting up statutory bodies and giving these bodies which, remember, hold office by a tenure of office far different from that of a judge, the right to dispose of the livelihoods of individual citizens. If you go to a middle-aged man and destroy his trade or profession you might as well put him in jail.

Can this House ever ask itself: why give judges in the courts a special kind of tenure of office? We did it in order to ensure that the humblest citizen would have a tribunal to which he could go in the knowledge that the judge presiding over it was immune from all kinds of influence. Is not that so? Therefore, if a man was charged by the most powerful citizen in the State, or if he was sued by a wealthy corporation, or if his antagonist in law was the most influential individual in the State, he knew that there was sitting upon the bench a judge before whom his case would be tried, who held office by a tenure that made him immune from any kind of influence.

It was that assurance that guaranteed liberty to every citizen of this State. Remove that influence and you make the courts of law of this country impossible for the humblest citizen. If a citizen is charged at the Central Criminal Court, or at the District Court, he stands liable to a sentence of six months in jail. Is that a heavier penalty than for a middle-aged man to be told that he will not be allowed to practise his trade as a bookmaker? Take the position of a bookmaker with a wife and family of six or seven children and a decent home. If he is suspended he has no right of appeal to that kind of tribunal where the Minister wants to go, and where I want to go if charged by the State with committing any crime, or if sued by a wealthy antagonist in a civil suit. I wish I could make Deputies realise the gravity of the position. In the United States of America men are ruined every day because they are liable to be attacked by wealthy corporations. If they go to courts of a certain character, municipally elected courts, these people know they cannot get justice, because the judges being elected depend on influence to get their jobs back at the end of their term.

This board depends on the goodwill of the Minister to get its job back at the end of five years. The Minister in determining whether the board shall be elected or not must depend on his expert advisers on racing. He stated himself, and I suppose his successors will say the same, that he knows nothing about racing, that he must depend on those who know the business acting in good faith and with good will. The bookmaker knows that, and he knows that in fact this board and the men on it will advise the Minister as to the constitution of the next board. He knows that if he quarrels with this board he will quarrel with all boards, and that he has no means of getting what he conceived to be justice. From the very beginning his prosecutor is his judge. Is there any such state of affairs in this State, where you ask a man to go to be tried by the same body that makes the charge against him? Is it not the officers of the board that bring the charge against the bookmaker? The Minister assents to that.

Can Deputies conceive a charge being made by a Gárda Síochána and a person being brought to the Gárda station and tried by the sergeant who signed the charge, and then being told that there was no right of appeal? The accursed practice of considering this matter in vacuo is developing in this House. The bookmaker becomes a sort of worm. I am thinking of the individual who earns his living harder than I earn mine, who works as hard at his trade as I do in my shop. He earns a living just as independently as I do, who never got subsidy or State assistance, and who pays his taxes and reared and educated a family. The idea that they are by Statute going to be placed in the position of being prosecuted and charged by the same person—the board in this Bill—without having an opportunity of going to the courts seems to me so brutally unjust as to be inconceivable.

The Minister says that he does not believe that any bookmaker will ever get into trouble with the board. It might not happen in a decade. All I ask is that once every ten years an opportunity should be given to one man to decide whether he was not wise in going to the Circuit Court and having his affairs discussed in public before the whole country. We assume that nine out of ten bookmakers will be guilty of such flagrant offences that unless they are mad they would not go and have the details of the offences published in the Circuit Court. My application boils down to this, that once in a century one bookmaker will go to the Circuit Court to question the decision of the board established under this Act. The knowledge that that right is there will prevent many injustices. Thousands of crimes would be committed only that criminals know that there is a Gárda Síochána and a Criminal Court that is able to do their duty. Thousands of injustices are not done because those who would do them if they dared fear to face the impartial administration of the civil courts. It may be that if we give bookmakers a right of appeal to the Circuit Court against decisions depriving them of the right to practise their trade that such an appeal will never arise, that the board will forbear victimising any bookmaker unless the case is so clear that there can be no question about it.

I claim the right of every citizen to have access to impartial judges who hold office by judicial tenure, before being deprived of the right to a living. I make no apology to Deputy Bennett, or to anybody, for claiming that right for bookmakers. I claim it for chimney sweeps and crossing sweepers just as I claim it for what is at stake in this case. I claim it for bookmakers now. I do not claim it as a concession. I claim it as a right.

What about jockeys and trainers?

I know very little about horses. I do not pretend to know the methods by which jockeys or trainers are controlled. I am not speaking as an expert at all. I am speaking as one concerned for liberty and for the right of simple men who live their lives in peace and in security. I should add that I have never discussed this Bill with a bookmaker.

The other thing in this Bill which I want to object to is that it is a thoroughly rotten Treasury principle to authorise bodies by statute to collect levies to finance themselves. If taxes are to be levied on the public, they should be levied and paid into the Exchequer and let the Exchequer pay out what it pleases or what the Dáil thinks it right to pay out to statutory bodies, such as the Racing Board, or any other board. I do not believe it is a sound principle to be earmarking certain parts of the revenue for certain services. The origin of this two-and-a-half per cent. or five per cent. which is to be levied on course betting was the ordinary betting tax put on as an ordinary revenue-raiser, taxation on all bets on horses, and that went into the Treasury in the past. Then, because it was extremely difficult to collect, and because the bookmakers made a case that it made the practice of their business on the racecourse almost impossible, I think it was waived on racecourse bets and maintained on betting office bets for the benefit of the Treasury.

Now we are to have a situation in which the tax levied on the office bet is to go to the Treasury, and the tax levied on the course bet is to go into the coffers of the Racing Board under the Bill. I think that is a rotten principle, and a very dangerous one, because if you establish statutory bodies and earmark certain blocks of revenue, and give them the right to raise revenue and to levy a tax, you are embarking upon a course of action which I think the Department of Finance will have very grave reason to regret in time to come. I do not think it is necessary to elaborate that to any Minister for Finance; his own officers will explain to him the dangers of that procedure more adequately and effectively than I can.

Quite apart from the finance view of it, I understand the Minister some five or six or ten years ago heard bookmakers on the difficulty of collecting a levy on the racecourse. We all know that if we put on half-a-crown with a "bookie" and the horse wins at 5 to 1, we expect to get 12/6 and our own half-crown back. The Minister is a mathematical man. What is 2½ per cent. on 12/6? Reckon up that. Reckon it up with 25 fellows roaring like bulls to get paid, and 35 fellows standing on the outside of them roaring like bulls to get bets on for the next race, and the poor fellow who is standing beside you trying to make that sum up and trying to keep your book right so that your money will not be flittered away. Is that a reasonable burden to put on the bookmaker? How much is it expected to get out of this tax?

About £100,000 a year.

About £100,000 a year. Could its collection have been arranged in no other way? If the bookmakers were able to persuade the Minister six or seven years ago that the revenue of the State should be required to give £100,000 rather than impose on them the impossible task of collecting it, why is it we are prepared to do for the finances of the Racing Board, at the expense of the "bookies" convenience what we were not prepared to do for the revenue of the State itself? Observe what that will lead into. It will lead into Sections 28 and 29—inspectors and inspectors.

Is there anyone in this House who is in business and who has experience of inspectors? With two friends, I went down to Connemara, to the Gaeltacht, a couple of days ago. We went to visit an old lady friend of ours whose house stood about 100 yards up from the road. I went there with some people who were experts in the Irish language, to see how the language was getting on in what was the FíorGaeltacht, if there was any such thing in Ireland. We got out of the car on the road. There were 100 yards of road up to the woman's house. I could see her looking over the half-door when we got out of the car. When she saw us climbing the fence to go up the road she clapped out the door and ran in. My friend said to me: "Is dóigh léi gur cigirí sinn"—"She thinks we are inspectors." Up we went to the house. She was an old friend, but she could not recognise us 100 yards down the road. We stood for several minutes at the door before she would open it. When she did, there was a light of battle in her eyes which I had not seen there for over 20 years. She said: "What do you want?" My friend said: "An aithníonn tú mé?""Ní aithním," said she. Then he made himself known to her in Irish, and she looked at him and said: "Ba dhóigh liom gur cigire a bhí ann." I said to him as we came away: "The whole of this country is hag-ridden by cigiri. We cannot eat our breakfast, or put a lump of coal or a sod of turf on the fire or open or shut our shops or sell our goods or plough our lands or offer crops for sale without the ubiquitous cigire." The ubiquity of the cigire is bad enough, but the universal dishonesty that his arrival has precipitated throughout the land is infinitely worse. The whole country is in a conspiracy to best the cigire. Lies, fraud or any other remedy that will put down an inspector is now considered legitimate throughout the length and breadth of rural Ireland.

Sections 28 and 29 of this Bill swarm with cigirí and they start out on their career with clear notice that they will have to contend with fraud, misrepresentation, falsification of books, and every other recourse which can be had in order to mislead them as to the true liability of a bookmaker whose books they are sent to inspect. Do you think the cigirí will be able to get round the misrepresentation which will take place as to the true liability of each individual bookmaker if the bookmakers made up their minds to get the best of the cigirí? They will not. You will turn every bookmaker in the country, in his own defence, into a bester and a fraud. If he keeps true books, in his heart he will feel that he was the only bookmaker in Ireland who did. He will say to himself: "Why should I pay 100 per cent. of my tax when all the other fellows can get away with 50 per cent. by adapting their accounts a little?" Deputies need not be shocked. We are all familiar with the process of filling up income-tax forms. I venture to say that if I went round to every Deputy who has paid income-tax in his day and asked him to put his hand on a Bible and swear that he never made an ambiguous entry on an income-tax form, he would take his hand off the Bible. This tax will be as heavy a burden on the average bookmaker as income-tax is on the average income-tax payer. Great difficulties will arise in the collection of the tax and it will make the work of the bookmaker standing under his umbrella on the course almost impossible. At the back of this Bill and in the minds of those who were advising the Minister when he drafted it, is the belief that the Bill will ultimately mean the end of the bookmakers on the racecourses of Ireland. I believe that the purpose of those promoting this Bill is to drive the bookmakers off the racecourses. I would issue this warning—the gentlemen who are concerned to do that are failing to see the wood for the trees.

Racing in this country depends on the men and women who go to races for a day's outing. If you restrict the crowds attending race meetings to those interested in horse flesh in a scientific way and in form and the like, race meetings will be very sparsely attended. The average individual going out for an evening's sport is not going out in the hope of making a living out of it, he is not going out professing to be a critic of horse flesh but in the hope of finding some fellow with a good tip, who will give him the tip before the bookmaker hears of it. Painful experience has taught him that, even then, it will be damn little good unless he can catch a poor gom of a bookmaker before the bookmaker knows as much as he knows. He very rarely succeeds, but he gets a bit of a thrill out of it and comes home a sadder and a wiser man as a general rule—unless the favourite falls and, providentially, it sometimes does.

If you put the bookmaker off the course, by removing all that excitement and colour from the racecourses, a very large percentage—more than 50 per cent.—of those who attend race meetings will cease to attend them. It will no longer be a day out. If that happens, I do not care what prices you have, what race boards you have, what amenities for horses, trainers and jockeys you have, racing will die in this country and, if racing dies, the horse-breeding industry here will die, too. In the last analysis, the horse-breeding industry depends on the mug, the person who attends the race meeting for the fun of it. The hub of that fun is the bookmaker's umbrella. I am convinced that this Bill is designed to wipe out the umbrella. These gentlemen think that it is better policy to run racing on the parimutuel system, as it is easier to collect the race board's revenue out of the Tote than it is from the bookmaker. I believe they have sold that idea to a great many people in this country who ought to know better, people who have been racing all their lives, who believe themselves to be deeply concerned with the horse-breeding industry and the success of the export trade.

I do not want to over-state my case, but very often what sounds a paradox is, in fact, the truth—the horse-breeding industry ultimately depends on the bookmaker's umbrella. Destroy the picturesque character of racing as a sport and you will reduce its supporters to such meagre dimensions that the sport will die. Mind you, sports have died out in this world because the picturesque surroundings associated with them vanished and the bare execution of the sport ceased to attract —or, at least, ceased to attract a sufficient section of the community to justify the maintenance of the sport. Racing as a sport might or might not be a social loss, but the horse-breeding industry would be a very severe economic loss to this country if it should be injured. It depends on racing for its successful maintenance; racing is its shop window—racing and international horse jumping are the two shop windows, the twin branches of the breeding industry.

Suppose you had the International Horse Jumping Competitions conducted in a fifty-acre field, with none of the trappings of the Royal Dublin Society about it, how many people would come to those jumping competitions? What makes that crowded function a success? What makes the horse shows in New York and other places crowded fashionable functions, to which everybody goes, and which creates the market for the class of horse, the jumper or the hunter, which is displayed there? Is it not the pageantry associated with them? Do not misunderstand me. I know that people who use these horses and buy them are the "huntin' men," the "huntin', shootin' and fishin' men," but the people who want to sell that class of horse bring those men to their stables and their studs by the publicity that they get at the shows. They make of the shows the biggest parade that they possibly can. It is the picturesqueness of the whole business which makes the shop window of the show-ground effective for the hunting class of horse; it is the picturesqueness of the racecourse which draws the crowds to see the racehorses and gives the publicity requisite to the breeder of racehorses to secure the custom from all over the world that we had in the past.

Let not the efficient experts of this country, the five-year planners, embark upon their plans without having carefully considered every aspect of this matter. They may know much more about horse flesh and pedigrees and training secrets and the practice of the course, but they do not know half as much as I know of the mentality of the ordinary racegoer, who would not know one end of a horse from another. Let them beware lest, in their desire for success, they destroy what they seek to strengthen. I want to make racing a prominent, legitimate and agreeable amusement for the people of this country, partly for their legitimate entertainment but mainly so that we may have a good shop window wherein to sell our bloodstock to the world. I go so far as to affirm the paradox: the racehorse-breeding industry ultimately depends on the bookmaker's umbrella. Close one and, sooner or later, you will close the other. Pursue the policies laid down in this Bill and you will close the bookmaker's umbrella and it may be then too late to save the horse-breeding industry in this country.

I can find myself in agreement with many of the things Deputy Dillon has dealt with, so far as important principles are concerned. In regard to the individual's right of appeal to the court, I can appreciate the Minister's difficulty. In this particular case, we are constituting bookmakers tax collectors and; when they are appointed to that work, the people who make the appointment and issue a permit to stand up and make a book on a racecourse, obviously must have some power to compel them to carry out that duty. If they had not the power to cancel or revoke a permit, the only source of revenue the board would have would largely disappear. I think that is the Minister's difficulty and we all appreciate it. Deputy Dillon was not quite fair in his approach to this matter, when he compared the proposals here with what obtained a few years ago, when the bets tax was for revenue. The vast majority of the people who attend race meetings will be satisfied to pay tax, when they know and appreciate that it is to be used for the purpose of improving horse breeding in the country generally. Furthermore, the people interested in the horse-breeding industry will not hesitate and will not be critical of the proposals here.

We must appreciate that the big punters in this country are the people who are interested in the horse-breeding industry, and they are the people who will make the biggest contribution so far as this proposal is concerned. I merely want to make this point: I think that this piece of legislation can be and, I hope, will be very useful and very advantageous so far as the horse-racing and horse-breeding industry is concerned, and I think that the success or otherwise of this piece of legislation will depend to a very great extent on the Minister since the Minister has power, under the Bill, to select the board. In my opinion, the personnel of the board will make all the difference between success and failure. If you get a good board, then I think that the House may look forward to a board that will operate successfully in the interests of this very important industry. I merely want to stress that point and to urge that, so far as the Minister is concerned, he will spare no effort to ensure that he gets the right personnel on the board.

I just want to say a few words about the board on this last Stage of the Bill. I was anxious to put it again to the Minister that the public, generally, are not enthusiastic about the Bill, and we have to study the public, so far as racing is concerned, because it is the public who make the race-meetings possible. However, I shall not labour that point since a lot has been said about it already this evening, but we must remember the public in connection with the personnel of this board and make sure to have on it people who have a general knowledge of racing and who understand the racing and horse-breeding industry: people who own horses and who understand the various expenses which have to be borne. We do not want to have on the board people who, in their own minds, may consider themselves expert, but who never had any real knowledge of the industry and who now may be put in the position of being able to dictate to the general public and the racing community what is good for them or not. I would appeal to the Minister, when he is selecting this board, to select people who have a practical knowledge of racing in all spheres—not merely people who have owned a horse or two for the last two or three years, but people who have had a long, general knowledge and experience of the industry.

I have in mind a person who has that knowledge and experience within his bones, so to speak, and who, although he may not wish to show off his knowledge, can have complete confidence in his own judgment and can stand up against the opinions of anyone, either in this country or in any other country, in the matter of horseflesh: one who, from his experience, thoroughly understands the question, knows what he is talking about, and is capable of putting racing on a better footing than it has been in this country for a number of years now.

I think that this Bill will do a lot of good for racing in general, but I am concerned with the question of the board. As a small owner myself, I feel that the small owner will not get a fair crack of the whip. The tendency lately is to have no small race meetings in the Midlands or the West of Ireland. I remember when, about 15 years ago, you could start off with your racehorse at Mullingar and go down to Sligo and all the small towns in the West of Ireland and find plenty of race meetings. Even before this emergency the tendency was to cut off the small meetings because they could not carry on on account of the expenses of the officials coming down from Dublin. The result was that one meeting after another in the West of Ireland was discontinued, and we, the small owners, had no place to go with our horses and had to sell them, unless we were to come up to the metropolitan races in and around Dublin, where, of course, we would be competing with the big, moneyed people. We were not in the position at that time to go into competition with these big people and, accordingly, were compelled to sell our horses.

I think that what should really concern the Minister in appointing the board under this Bill is to get on the board people who will represent the small farmer-owner, because the small farmer-owner is the backbone of racing, and without him you cannot carry on racing or horse breeding in this country. Take Westmeath alone: ten or 15 years ago every farmer there, practically, bred a horse, brought him up and ran him in a race at Mullingar, but for the last few years there has been no racing in Mullingar, Athlone, and from that down to Galway, and we are all cut off from racing. Our only hope is that if some of our children are keen to ride, as many of them are, we can compete at the local gymkhanas, and that type of meeting is thriving in our part of the country and in the West. You have a local gymkhana in almost every parish. If we had those small race meetings, we could train our horses at home, and not have to send them to the Curragh or the big meetings, and our own boys could ride them at home, as used to be the case in our young days. I want the Minister to try to put on the board genuine farmer-owners who will represent that type of meeting. It would appear that at the present time the South of Ireland and all that part of Ireland seems to have grasped the whole of racing whereas, in the Midlands and in the West, down to Galway, we have no race meetings, because they were killed by overhead expenses and the expenses of officials from Dublin.

In case the Minister has not had that in mind, I want to stress it strongly. He should bear in mind that a large part of our country is without race meetings at present, and if you want to encourage horse breeding, you should go back to the genuine farmer and get back to the old system of the small farmer-owner's horse, and put the small farmer-owner in the position where he will not be competing against millionaires. What made the Irish horse in the old days was that you had these small meetings in almost every parish, where the owners could compete without having to undergo heavy expenses. I would urge on the Minister to try to have such representation on the board. I agree with the Bill in general, and I agree that the present Turf Club and the Irish National Hunt Club have kept racing clean all through, and I admire them for that reason. Twenty years ago or so, I heard a lot of criticism, but it appears to me that they have always stuck to the straight thing, and I am glad to say that they have resisted temptation and that their record is a clean one.

I listened to Deputy Dillon, and I must say, as an owner myself, that I think the jizz and the jazz of race meetings will go if the bookmaker goes. If, as an owner, I go to a race meeting, I like to have a bet of £4 or £5 with a bookmaker because, if I win, I have some chance of paying my expenses, whereas, so far as the Tote is concerned, I have no chance of paying expenses. When I put my little "fiver" on at, say, ten to one with a bookmaker, I have a chance of winning £50, but in the other case everybody gets on to it and I have just the same chance as everybody else. I think that the owner is entitled to have a small bet at a long price if he wants to do so. Therefore, he wants to have the bookmaker there. It may be necessary for him to have a little bet to clear his expenses because, heretofore, the stakes did not permit of his clearing expenses. With the Tote, he might have no such chance. If the bookmakers are done away with, it will be a bad day for racing. I am glad that this Bill has been introduced because it will help the breeder, who is the backbone of racing. However, I am afraid that a number of professionals who have got into racing lately may be put on the board. There are very few Irish names amongst those. If you put representatives of the farmer-owners on the board, you will get racing in a clean state. That is not to say anything against the Turf Board or the N.H.S.C. I have always admired the way they ran racing and the manner in which they kept it straight.

I do not claim to interpret the public view of this Bill any more than any other Deputy. Certain Deputies arrogated to themselves the right to interpret public opinion so far as this measure was concerned. I do not know whether or not they have succeeded in estimating with accuracy the general view of the measure. So far as I can see, the majority of people who attend race meetings have taken little or no interest in the Bill. They have read whatever portions of the debate appeared in the papers and have taken their opinions from those.

The real reason why they have no very definite opinions for or against the measure is that they have not had the advantage of reading the Bill or have not understood it. Lest the opinion should go abroad that the House is unfavourable to the measure, due to the fact that the opponents of the Bill have been more vocal than its supporters, I should like to say that, so far as I understand the measure, and so far as the majority of Deputies are concerned, it is desirable and would be necessary, if racing were to revert to the condition in which it was prior to the boom which it is now enjoying.

The Bill deals with certain definite aspects of racing and horse breeding. I do not propose to recapitulate the provisions of the Bill with which we dealt on Second Reading. If it is contended that the Bill abolishes, or will tend to abolish, bookmakers, or tend to mitigate or lessen their rights, then, surely, the same provisions referring to owners, breeders and jockeys must limit the rights and privileges of these parties. While I am firmly in favour of retaining bookmakers, I do not concede that bookmakers should be allowed any further right of appeal to the Minister or to the courts than the jockey or trainer if he comes under the strictures of the board or is warned off the course. It is perfectly ludicrous to make the case that bookmakers are entitled to more advantageous treatment than jockeys, trainers or owners. All these sections are necessary for the well-being and progress of racing. Each one of them has its own function to fulfil. It was never intended—I should certainly oppose it if it had been—that their rights or privileges or sphere of operations should be limited, more than they are at present, after the enactment of this measure. It has been contended here that one or other section is the backbone of racing and that, if such a section were to cease to exist, racing would come to an end. The truth is that all these interests and sections, which have been referred to as the backbone of racing, are essential. Any one of them will, I think, admit that the others are essential. If some people have deduced from certain observations made here that bookmakers will be abolished under this Bill or that their spheres of activities will be limited, then I should like to disestablish that opinion.

The proposed levy differs from ordinary taxation. The tax formerly in operation in respect of course bets went into the Central Fund. The levy which it is proposed to impose under this Bill will go back into racing. Deputy Fagan has rightly told the House that the cessation of small meetings has meant that the opportunities for small owners and farmer-owners to run horses have become very limited. In the next breath, he told the House that the small meetings were not sufficient, and that the only method by which an owner could improve his financial position or maintain a horse in training was to secure a bet at a fairly long price. This Bill is designed to put an end, if possible, to the necessity for a small owner making a bet larger, perhaps, than he may be able to afford. It is designed to increase the stakes at small meetings, and at all meetings, if the fund is sufficient, so that owners, whether small or large, will have sufficient for which to race. Most Deputies who have any knowledge of racing or horse-breeding will remember that, a few years ago, a commission was set up to inquire into the horse-breeding industry. One of the first recommendations of that committee was that stakes should be increased and better provision made for trainers and owners. So far as they could see, the future maintenance of racing at the level at which it then was was dependent on adequate stakes. If that be so, surely a measure of this kind, which has as its prime object the betterment of stakes and the further advancement of the home and export trade in horses—the trade is mostly export—has many features to commend it. A number of Deputies, particularly Deputy Hughes, put their fingers on the kernel of the problem. Deputy Fagan referred to it from another angle. A board of proper personnel is the most necessary portion of the scheme envisaged by this Bill. There should be on the board people who are experienced in racing. I may as well add that it is not essential for membership of the board that a person should be either a large owner or a small owner. A person may have expert knowledge, although he never owned a horse, provided he has sufficient experience.

It might easily be that a person would be better equipped to be a member of the board because of the fact that he was not directly interested in either sphere of activity, so far as racing is concerned, but in order that adequate representation of all interests may be given, the section of the Bill which deals with the personnel of the board provides that certain characteristics are essential, such as that a person has practical experience in the management of racehorses or the ownership or breeding of racehorses, or is connected with bookmaking or other like pursuits. On the personnel of the board the success of the measure depends primarily, and secondly on the public receiving a proper and true perspective of the functions of the measure, free from all distortions, either of exaggeration or of other injurious suggestions, concerned with the functions of the board and the provisions of the Bill. I cannot prophesy what effect the Bill may have, but we all hope sincerely that the enactment of this measure may result in the creation of a proper, effective and efficient board which, I may say, will not receive any remuneration for its services. So far as I am concerned, I have no fear for the future of racing as a result of this measure. On the contrary, I look forward to a more prosperous era when racing resumes its normal course, when the money which is now so freely distributed and the large owners who have come here from elsewhere may disappear. When these normal times return, stakes will of necessity require financial assistance from some source, and the alternative to the fund proposed to be created under the board is subsidisation by the State. I am quite sure that equal objection, possibly far more vigorous objection, would be made to direct subsidisation from the Exchequer. However, we need not go into that now. I hope the Minister will give consideration to the various interests connected with racing before deciding on the personnel of the board and, if he does, I am quite confident that the board and the Bill will be a success.

The sole purpose of the Bill is to improve racing in the country. If it does not succeed in that, then the Bill will have been a failure. It is agreed, generally, I think that racing has been having on the whole a fairly prosperous time in recent years though, as Deputy Fagan pointed out, there are many parts of the country where no meetings have been held. Nevertheless, I think it is agreed by those who are in a position to know that racing, on the whole, is enjoying a prosperity now that it had not enjoyed for a long period. There was a time not so long ago when racing was not prosperous, when not alone small meetings but a number of the more important meetings in the country were though held—perhaps not held as often as before—regarded as failures because of the lack of horses and the small attendance of the public. It is quite possible that at some period after the war, racing may not know the prosperity it is enjoying at present. It is to try to provide for the rainy day, the day that will not be so prosperous which may come on racing again, that this Bill is brought before the House and that we are asking the House to pass it.

I think there is some advantage in the fact that a person like myself, ignorant of racing, was put in charge of this Bill, though some may hold that it might be more profitable if others who are familiar with racing or with the science or art, whichever it be, connected with racing—and there are people in the Government who have knowledge of these matters —were put in charge of the Bill. On the other hand, it might be said that people with a good knowledge of racing might have strong prejudices one way or another. I have none; I have no knowledge of the subject except what I have obtained since I started to study the Bill. I have not consulted any special interests; any information I have got, I got from my official advisers and nobody else. I have no prejudices against bookmakers, none at all. I have read reports of meetings of bodies, experts on racing, who recommended that, in the interests of racing and stock-breeding, bookmakers should be abolished.

I do not agree with them. I am wholly in agreement, though not knowing much of the subject admittedly, with the description given by Deputy Dillon as to the attractiveness given to race meetings by the presence of bookmakers. I believe that is correct though I do not agree—I think it was a grossly exaggerated suggestion— that if the bookmakers were to disappear, the racehorse would disappear along with him. That is a gross exaggeration to my mind. It is quite possible that Deputy Dillon is right in saying that 20 per cent. of the people attending race meetings go there because of the attractiveness of bookmakers. That may be; whether it be true or not, there is no suggestion, nor was it in my mind or in the minds of those who are my advisers, that bookmakers should be abolished. There is no suggestion of that type in the Bill or at the back of my mind.

I do not regard bookmakers as rogues or vagabonds which Deputy Dillon said was the interpretation to be put on the sections of the Bill dealing with bookmakers. They are a class as decent and honest as any other class in the community and there is nothing in the Bill that will hurt them if they obey the law. As I said earlier, the only thing that may cause them annoyance or irritation is the collection of the levy. I frankly admit that the bookmakers will dislike the trouble of collecting the levy though if they look to their own interests, I respectfully suggest to them they will put up with the bother, whatever it is, of collecting the levy in the hope—I go further, in the belief—that if this Bill is a success and if it improves racing, it is going to improve their own profession. It is going to increase largely the numbers who will go to races. It will increase the prizes provided for successful horses at race meetings and, therefore, make race meetings more attractive for the breeder, the owner, the jockey and the trainer, and also, as I contend, for the bookmaker eventually, if the Bill is a success, as I hope it will be.

The case that Deputy Dillon made about special privileges for bookmakers with regard to appeals in certain types of cases was properly and efficiently answered by Deputy Cosgrave. He pointed out that they are in no worse position than a variety of other people who are connected in one way or another with racing. The same may be said of people connected with a variety of other sports as well. Where the ruling authority on those sports gives a decision, there is no appeal, and usually the decision is accepted without appeal by the generality of the people concerned.

There is not much else I have to say, except that I will do my best to get as representative a board as I can get, remembering that there are to be only 11 members on that board to represent all aspects of racing and horse breeding. I will try to get as wide a representation as possible within the limits of that number, also bearing in mind that a majority of the members of the board—that is, six out of 11— must be selected from two recognised societies connected with racing. Within those limits, as objectively as one human being can, without prejudice of any kind—I have no friends in the business that I know of; I have nobody that I could regard as a great friend, who has any influence with me to push me in one direction or the other as far as that board is concerned—I will try, with the help of my official advisers, to select as representative a board as possible. I know it will not satisfy everybody. I do not think anybody in my position could hope to satisfy all the interests concerned, but I will do the best I can to get a board that will represent all important sections of the industry, the small and the large breeder, if possible, and others connected in any way with making racing in this country the success which it has been in the past and which I hope it will be in the future. I cannot add any more to that. I will disabuse my mind of all prejudice, and get down to looking at the list of those who are in the racing calendar and who are members of the different societies; for the other five I will try to make as representative a selection as I can.

Question put and agreed to.