Intoxicating Liquor (No. 2) Bill, 1948—Second Stage.

I move that this Bill be now read a Second Time. I would like to take the minds of Deputies back to the position here last November when I brought forward a Bill to give the rural community the same facilities as are enjoyed by the people in the cities with regard to the opening of licensed premises on Sundays. The Dáil, in its wisdom or lunacy, turned down that measure.

The Constitution of this State guarantees equal rights for all citizens. I endeavoured to get equal rights for the rural community by affording them the same facilities as are being afforded the people in the cities. That was beaten in this House by 106 votes to 23. The reasons given were undoubtedly honest and were largely influenced by the pressure and propaganda that were brought to bear on Deputies by temperance associations and others in this country. At that time I guaranteed that I would bring in a measure to remove this blot under our Constitution and to secure equal rights for all our citizens, if not by giving facilities to those who had not got them, then at least by withdrawing the facilities from those who had them.

I was tempted to bring in this Bill by the letters I have received from temperance associations referring to the horrible temptation facing a country boy going along the road on a Sunday and walking past a public-house which would have its doors open —the temptation there would be to him to go in. I have got a large number of letters—about 168 altogether— and I will give the House one just as an instance. I give it because it bears on this Bill. It states:

"The detrimental effect which the existing facilities for the consumption of intoxicating liquor are having on the people of Dublin City and Cork City is very plainly evident, particularly at week-ends, and the council consider that to extend these facilities throughout the entire country could only result in the widespread loosening of the moral fibre of the population, with consequent unhappy results involving violation of the laws of Church and State."

That was from one of the temperance associations. I got others on the same lines.

When the 1942 Intoxicating Liquor Act was introduced here the then Minister for Justice told us of various abuses that were at that time going on here, particularly around the City of Dublin. He said:

"I know that from the time I went to the Department of Justice complaints have been made by the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána of the growing public scandal created by abuses in connection with the bona fide traffic. The Guards complained that they were not able to prove that the people who had been causing these abuses were not entitled to be on licensed premises drinking during hours when they would not be entitled to get drink in licensed premises in their own areas.”

That was borne out by Deputy Dr. O'Higgins who said:

"It is within the knowledge of every one of us that there are houses —not many, but certain houses within a rifle shot of the City of Dublin —which have abused the licences they hold."

Those abuses are not ended and they were not ended by the Intoxicating Liquor Act of 1942. As a matter of fact, they have spread and the condition of affairs that prevailed then has been enlarged by the change in the transport system since. For instance, the Minister said here:—

"As the words bona fide connote, the exemption was meant to provide purely and simply for genuine travellers and not for people who could get on a bicycle and ride out into an area where, by doing so, they could get drink.”

They are not riding on bicycles now— those days are gone. They are going out in motor cars and, if I am to believe what I hear, no man's life is safe on any Dublin road on a Sunday night with these fellows coming back from the public-houses. A lot of them have other attractions, with their arms around their necks in the cars and not having sufficient control of the wheel, being in a more or less drunken condition.

That is the present condition of affairs, if I am to believe the 168 people who wrote to me about this terrible vice, as they put it, and the danger that would come on the rural community if for the unfortunate rural labourer the pubs were open for a couple of hours on Sunday. As regards the unfortunate countryman who would pass the public-house going to Mass and going home again, if there is to be a grave temptation for him in having public-houses open two, or two and a half miles away from him on a Sunday, what is the temptation to the unfortunate city man who comes out of his house on Sunday and, walking along a street, finds 15 or 30 pubs with their doors open? I hold that if 106 Deputies consider that there is a danger and that it is wrong to open public-houses on Sunday for the rural population, then that 106 should be swelled to practically all the Deputies in the House so as to put an end to an awful temptation that is at least 50 times greater in the city than in the country.

The ex-Minister for Justice, when he was introducing this Bill in 1942, said that he was abolishing all the abuses. But did he? At that time I gave here an account of the condition of affairs as I knew them in Cork City and, judging by what I have heard, the condition of affairs in the City of Dublin is ten times worse than it is in Cork. People in the City of Dublin and the other cities have no work to do on Sunday. They walk out of their homes at 1 o'clock and stay in the local public-house from 1 o'clock until 3 o'clock. At 3 o'clock they can adjourn to the "Independent Club," or the "Grocer's Club" or, as it is known in Cork, the "Tubs of Blood". They can drink in these places from 3 o'clock until 5 o'clock. A benevolent Government then opens again the local public-houses from 5 o'clock until 7 o'clock. At 7 o'clock they can go back again to the "Grocer's Club" and the "Independent Club" or the "Tubs of Blood" and drink away in these places from that time onwards. That is the law. The people acting in that fashion are within the law. That is the condition of affairs as it prevails at the moment. I would not consider that position so bad because these people do not at any rate do much harm out in the country. But I can see no equity in the position where gentlemen with motor cars can load up those cars with other gentlemen and ladies on Sunday and start out from the city at 1 o'clock for the rural districts where they can get all the drink they require or can consume while, at the same time, the ordinary local inhabitant in the rural district is prevented by the laws of this State from having so much as one drink. Those people in their motor cars can go out at 1 o'clock and continue to drink in the rural public-houses from then until 8 o'clock without let or hindrance. God help the unfortunate labourer who is travelling along the country road when these people are coming home.

That is the position under the law for certain favoured individuals. I was induced to bring in this Bill because of the support I got from Deputies Fitzpatrick, Corish and Larkin on the 17th November, 1948. At column 75 of Volume 113, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government, Deputy Corish, said:

"I have a certain sympathy with Deputy Corry, but I am totally opposed to the Bill. If Deputy Corry had set out, in the first instance, to tell us that the only thing that prompted him to introduce the Bill was his disgust with the facilities which the drinking public in Dublin, Cork and Waterford have, he would have got much more support. I am in agreement with him that there should not be these drinking facilities for the people in these three cities."

Deputy Corish saw the evil in the existing situation. Being a member of the Government he could not, apparently, put down a Bill. I came to his help. I am prepared to give him all the assistance in my power by putting down this Bill and putting it through this House. He can have the easier job of walking around the Lobby unless he wishes to say a few words in favour of it now.

Again, at column 77 of the debate on the 17th November, 1948—you all remember it, it is only a few short months ago—Deputy Corish said:

"Deputy Corry has possibly done the House and the country a great service by focussing attention on the fact that there is a terrific abuse."

At column 78, Deputy Larkin made the following statement:

"I am opposed to this Bill and will support a Bill to stop the opening of public-houses on Sundays in the large cities."

I hope that Deputy Larkin will remember those words this evening. At column 79 he further stated:

"If Deputy Corry wants to come in to-morrow with a Bill to control what he thinks is an abuse in favour of this in the city I am quite prepared to take that stand, as I take it to-night."

I shall now deal with Deputy Fitzpatrick. At column 93 he said:

"If Deputy Corry, as he threatened, brings in a more drastic Bill that public-houses should be closed altogether on Sunday and if nobody seconds him... if I am in the House I will second it and support it."

I am gathering in the clans now. I am not going to confine this matter to those Deputies who actually spoke here against the giving of these facilities to the rural community. If any Deputy in this House thinks that it would be wrong for him to vote against giving these facilities to the rural community, then he is bound to vote in equity in favour of taking away these facilities from the people in the urban areas.

Let there be one law for all. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. That is the basis on which I am bringing in this Bill. As I have pointed out, there are ten times as many temptations in the way of the city man with nothing to do on Sunday. If he goes out for a walk on Sunday, he has to pass ten or 15 public-houses in every street with the doors wide open and a "come-hither" smile on the face of every doorman. That is why in this Bill I have set out:

"Notwithstanding anything contained in the Licensing Acts, 1833 to 1943, or the Registration of Clubs Acts, 1904 to 1927, or any other enactment, it shall not be lawful at any time on any Sunday after the 1st day of January, 1949, for any person to sell or expose for sale any intoxicating liquor or to open or keep open any premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor or to permit any intoxicating liquor to be consumed on licensed premises."

I do that to embrace the scandal of the clubs and the so-called hotels. I put these things in in order to make every man equal, and in order that there will not be any special facilities available for the gentleman who has a motor car, who is swanky looking enough to go into a hotel or who, because he pays a "bob" registration fee, can become a member of the Independent Club, the Grocers' Club or "The Tubs of Blood."

I want to end all that. If this Dáil three months ago, in its wisdom, decided that the decent countryman, who has to go out on Sunday morning and milk and feed cattle in order to provide the city drones with supplies of food, is not entitled to have a drink in his own parish on Sunday, I am entitled to ask the Dáil to decide that these drones will not have the facilities which are refused to that worker. Fair play is fine play and that is the basis on which I bring in this Bill. I have no intention of delaying the House in the matter. I think the House is already converted and I doubt if there is any Deputy who is prepared to make the enormous somersault, as between November and February, which would be necessary for him to make, if he were to vote against this Bill.

I formally second.

As I said on the previous Bill introduced by Deputy Corry, I am a great believer in the principle of one law for all. I do not think this Bill has any real merit, other than the merit that it is going to bring the city man in line with the countryman. I feel that it would have been better for us all if Deputy Corry's first Bill had been passed, but I say that, in contrast with the myriad, the innumerable, letters which poured into my office before Deputy Corry's first Bill was discussed, the Pioneer Association were extraordinarily silent on this Bill, as indeed were my friends, the licensed vintners.

My attitude to this Bill is quite simple and I stated it during the discussion on the first Bill. So far as I am concerned, if the man in the city can get a drink on Sunday, the countryman should get it, and, if the position is reversed, I do not see any reason under the sun why the fellow living in the town should be enabled to walk into a selection of lounge bars, as Deputy Corry has said, lounge bars of all shapes and sizes, within a stone's throw of each other. Deputies are now getting an opportunity to be either the hypocrites which I think some of them might be or to be honest on this matter.

I heard pratings here about moral considerations on the occasion of the first Bill. I hope that those who were so—shall I say—virtuous and indeed so sanctimonious in their wonderful approach to the moral aspect, to the moral degradation that might flow from the first proposal made by Deputy Corry, will now salve their consciences by seeing to it that all these moral ailments and defects and all this moral degradation will be taken away by this House, as well as the easy facilities which give rise to them, by giving the city boys no drink on Sunday either. I am not at all sure that it is not going to involve an immense amount of extra work for the Minister and the various officers of the Garda Síochána in trying to enforce this measure. I have a horrible feeling that the Irishman who wants a drink, no matter at what time or on what day, usually has some way of getting it, but I say that there is something which, to my mind, is sinister, is rather unworthy of the general Irish outlook, in having a differentiation between city and rural areas, particularly at a time when we are purporting to try to make life in the rural areas more attractive and interesting. We are endeavouring to keep people in the rural areas and the way to do that is scarcely by offering a type of counter-attraction in the city which the man in the rural area cannot enjoy.

I have no particularly strong views on the issue, other than the principle that it will be one for all and all for one. When I meet any of my friends, if the occasion calls for it, I like to have a bottle of stout or a "half-one" or two. I think that drinking, kept within the bounds of common sense and moderation, is not the evil that some of the people in this House in November last seemed to indicate it was, but there is something iniquitous, something pernicious, something which is fundamentally and diametrically opposed to real Irish philosophy in giving to one portion of the country something which we are not prepared to give to the other. The sale of drink is a privilege afforded to certain types of traders in this country. These traders pay licence duties because they carry on that trade. The small publican in the country is often to my knowledge and experience a far better person in many ways than some of his alleged bigger brethren in any city area. I see no reason why, because of the populous centre where his bigger brethren can grow fatter and richer, they should be given an extra day in every week to get fatter and richer. I am saying quite simply and honestly with regard to this Bill that I hope to find myself again in the same Lobby as Deputy Corry and other Cork Deputies because if we cannot have it for ourselves—maybe we are dogs in the manger—we are not going to give it to Dublin and the others.

When Deputy Corry's previous Bill came up I voted against it. I wish now to say that it is going to give me great pleasure to support this Bill. I, like a number of other Deputies, was drowned by resolutions from various Pioneer Total Abstinence Societies who appealed to me to vote against the former Bill and I weakly agreed to the demand. Since this present Bill was mooted, I have been awaiting letters from the same societies appealing to me to vote in favour of this Bill. So far I have not received one. I have also noticed that there has been no "pow-wow" on this occasion between the P.T.A. and the licensed vintners. Although I did vote against Deputy Corry's former Bill, I maintain that if there are going to be restrictions on the sale of intoxicating drink on Sunday in this country they must be universal. If there is going to be opening on Sunday it must be universal. I see absolutely no reason whatever why it should not be equal rights for everybody.

I find myself in a different boat from the other speakers. As one who supported Deputy Corry's original Bill I find that I desire to be consistent. I voted because I desired to further facilities for drinkers and I was not apologising for that either. I am not apologising now because if the bona fide traders are closed we are going to have a much worse state of affairs in this country. We are going to turn all the country public-houses and the city public-houses into sheebeens. It is quite on the cards that the Minister or some future Minister must drastically overhaul the licensing laws of this country. I stand for every word Deputy Corry said with regard to the last Bill. It is most unfair to make fish of one and fowl of the other. I know that people in the country are demanding in many cases that some overhaul of the city licensing trade should take place.

It is not true that we, in the country, are unable to conduct ourselves properly on a Sunday if we take a drink. I am not trying to inflict that stigma on the city people either. We hear too much talk about the facilities that are given for drinking in this country. It is grossly exaggerated. If people have died from drinking in this country there are many thousands who have died for the want of it, too. The Pioneer organisations have not come out this time as they did on the last occasion. Why? I do not know what fate the Licensed Traders' Organisation are planning for the Deputies of Dáil Eireann but certainly they have not opposed this measure. Perhaps the Dublin publicans are now satisfied that they have a lot of money accumulated and that it is time now for them to close up completely on a Sunday. If that is true, as I have been given to understand, and if the workers of Dublin have drunk enough in the past, then perhaps there would be a good deal to be said for Deputy Corry's Bill No. 2.

All this grossly exaggerated talk about drinking is mostly nonsense. The statistics available to the Minister, and to any Deputy here who desires to see them, as to the amount of drunkenness on Sunday in the country show that it is negligible. That, I think, is a clear indication that all we hear about drinking on Sunday is unquestionably exaggerated. I would appeal to the Minister to have a drastic overhaul and to change his mind now and take the country people out of that category that alien laws put us into— a category that we were the wild Irish and that we were not able to behave ourselves on a Sunday. If we are able to behave ourselves in the country for six days we are unquestionably able to do it on the seventh. We have as great a respect—either publicans or drinkers —for the Sabbath day as those who have been branding us as people who are drunkards, people who are trying to get more facilities for drunkenness. I am going to oppose the Bill.

We all know that Deputy Corry is in favour of Sunday opening for the rural areas and that his only reason for introducing this Bill is that his Bill in November for Sunday opening was defeated. He moves it because the Dáil had not seen fit to take his view of his Bill at that time. That was a Bill that was to allow Sunday opening. He knew perfectly well that the Department of Justice were examining and are examining the whole licensing code. He was told that then, but Deputy Corry saw fit to introduce that Bill and he sees fit for some reason to introduce this one now. Because the Dáil did not approve of his Bill for Sunday opening all over the country, he now moves this one. That may be a natural reaction on his part, but I do not think it is a sound principle of legislation. He has made no case for the Bill. Sunday opening in the cities has always been permitted and I have no evidence whatever that there are any abuses arising out of that opening. In the absence of that evidence, I do not advise the Dáil to accept the Bill and I cannot accept it myself.

The enforcement of the law, if we pass this Bill into effect, would be a most extremely difficult matter and would lead to far greater abuses than could possibly arise by the present day opening. It is not for me to judge the reasons why organisations, either Pioneers, temperance organisations or the licensed vintners, have remained silent on this Bill. I can only suggest that they depend upon the common sense and the wisdom of this House and that they know we will not do anything that is unreasonable or take any line that would be to the detriment of the people. I am not going to follow the arguments that have been made so far, nor do I intend to intervene at any further stage of the debate; but I ask the House to reject the Bill and to reject it in a very positive way, just as positively as they rejected the Bill that he introduced some time ago. He would like to pillory every one of us, whether Opposition or Government supporters, into taking a certain line. I am not going to allow Deputy Corry to push me into that position. Therefore I am leaving it to a free vote of the House. I think it is a matter that must be decided by the Deputies of this House and I ask them to take my view on the matter, that this is a badtempered, ill-considered proposal by Deputy Corry just to annoy certain people in his own Party and in the Parties supporting the Government.

I, like other Deputies, had quite a number of letters from temperance organisations protesting against an extension of the licensing laws on Sundays to the rural areas. Possibly they did influence me and I voted against the first measure introduced by Deputy Corry here. Because of the convincing way those letters were written, I have now come to the conclusion that it would be a calamity on the people of Dublin if the public-houses were not closed in Dublin on Sunday, because it was shown to me quite clearly by those temperance organisations that if they were open in the country it would bring misfortune to the people of the country. I must naturally conclude that we here are great benefactors and that we are going to remove a big evil on the people of Dublin if we pass this measure. Consequently, I am in favour of it.

I think it is most un-Irish that we should approach this question of intoxicating liquor in this way. By this time, we should have some sort of new approach to all these ancient laws. They were originally passed by the British Government for the purpose of getting revenue and they are still being passed for that purpose. I hope the Minister for Finance did not prompt the Minister for Justice in order to continue that rotten system. Every one of us knows that the licensing laws were purely and simply to get money. There were hundreds of public-houses all over the country with all sorts of supervision; in other words, inducements to people to drink more. The contention was clear—that otherwise this country would go mad with drink. That was not the case. There were very few people who could afford a lot of money for drink.

We have had control of the licensing laws for a long time and public-houses are doing a fairly weak trade, as the money is short and there is a great deal of unemployment. Therefore, the revenue is going to suffer anyway. I agree with Deputy Corry and I think it is only right that we should open all of them if we open some of them. I did not vote to open them all, due to the fact that these letters really convinced me that we should not do so. Consequently, the letters have convinced me that the public-houses in Dublin should be closed on Sunday and that is the reason I am voting for Deputy Corry's measure.

There were very few Deputies who were as disappointed as I was when Deputy Corry produced his Bill last November. Personally, I am of the opinion that there should be no differentiation between the rural and the urban areas. For once in my life, I felt somewhat proud to find myself on the same side of the House with Deputy Corry. We do not agree at all times, but we are very good friends. I admired the 23 who supported his original Bill. There is no use now in going back over what has happened, but I was glad to hear the Minister state a few moments ago that the whole licensing question is under consideration by him and I hope he will report to the Government in due course.

It was with a great pang of regret that I found, when the original Bill was introduced by Deputy Corry, that there were only 23 members in favour to 108 against. At the same time, I will not find myself in the same lobby with him this time. There is a lot to be said for the Bill. In some respects, I agree with what Deputy Corry has said, but my statement in this will be the statement of a very famous Irish gentleman in days gone by—"What I have I hold, and not an inch." That is my view on this liquor question. If Deputy Corry gets his way in the division which will subsequently take place, it is his intention to close every licensed premises in Ireland from 10 o'clock on Saturday night to 10 o'clock on Monday morning. I wonder if he realises the seriousness of that and the very grave situation which would ensue, particularly where seaside towns are concerned. Deputy Corry, like myself, represents Cork East, where there are many seaside towns. In my own town, Youghal, which is one of the largest towns and the biggest seaside resort in the constituency, the trade that comes in there on Sunday, by people from Cork and the various places down the line, leaves a lot of money there.

In the pubs.

And in other places as well. It would appear that there is an idea prevalent amongst some Deputies in this House that every man who takes a drink on Sunday is a drunkard. I should not like to subscribe to that view. Personally I detest a drunkard though, like other Deputies, I enjoy a drink now and again. Perhaps I enjoy it on Sundays more than on any day of the week. In my opinion it would look very bad if we were to brand ourselves as drunkards generally. Undoubtedly you will get black sheep in every flock but looking round my own town, as I have often done on a Sunday, when you have seven or eight trains bringing in 5,000 or 6,000 visitors, I do not see anything in the nature of general drunkenness.

Occasionally you will get an odd fellow "under the weather." I do not blame him for that; there are very few Deputies in this House who have not been "under the weather" on a few occasions.

I was certainly glad to hear the Minister state that the licensing laws were under observation. I have a feeling at the back of my mind that the rejection of Deputy Corry's Bill last November instilled into his mind a desire to get something back on those who voted against him on that occasion. I do not blame him for that but I do not think it is a sufficient justification for the introduction of this Bill. Deputy Corry laid a good deal of emphasis on the fact that certain people owning cars leave cities and towns at night time. Many men own cars for the purposes of their business and I do not think it should be suggested that such men use their cars for the purpose of taking a "skite" around the liberties of Cork and Dublin to get drink at night time.

I think that the man who can take a drink and control himself afterwards is a man to be admired. As I said a moment ago, there are black sheep in every flock but personally I should be very sorry to see this Bill passed by the House. I know that it would react detrimentally on all the seaside resorts in Ireland. Most of the people in these seaside resorts have to earn sufficient from the 1st June to the end of September to keep them from October until the tourist season starts again. Deputy Davern has made a strong case in opposition to this Bill. I am glad that the Minister is leaving the measure to a free vote, but I sincerely hope that it will not commend itself to the House.

I also oppose the Bill and I sincerely ask any Deputy who is wavering on the matter to join me in my opposition to it. I oppose it principally on the grounds that two wrongs do not make a right. It is certainly very wrong to deprive a man living in a country district of reasonable facilities for refreshment on his only holiday in the week, but it would be also very wrong to deprive the Dublin working-man of his couple of pints if he feels that he needs them on a Sunday evening. On these grounds I hope the Dáil will reject the Bill. The Minister said that the law, as it applied in the county boroughs, had not led to any grave abuses. Perhaps not, in the sense that it has not led to any great drunkenness; but I would ask him, when he is considering the position generally, to think of the abuse arising from the fact that hundreds and thousands of men after Mass go into a public-house—perhaps not immediately after Mass but an hour or two afterwards, at 1.30—when they should be at home eating their dinners. They do not reach home until about 3.30. I think that is not fair to our Dublin housewives. Neither do I think that evening hours are suitable as they occur at a time when these men should be at home at their tea.

What time does the Deputy suggest?

I would suggest that the first opening should be from 12.30 to 1.30 and that the evening hours should be from 7 to 8 rather than from 5.30 to 7. I am glad that the Minister has announced his intention of giving early consideration to our licensing laws generally because there is certainly great room for improvement in them, especially with regard to the bona fide laws. The bona fide law is now a farce. There is no longer any necessity for it, and I think the time will come shortly when the bona fide traffic must be abolished completely.

As a representative of a rural people in a rural constituency, I should be very anxious to support the present Bill but at the same time I would not be too enthusiastic in doing so—not because as a pioneer I should not be glad to see the interests of the Pioneer Organisation advanced but that if that were done under the proposals in the present Bill I fear, in common with other Deputies who have spoken, it would lead to still greater abuses. It is remarkable that some of those who claim to have been influenced by resolutions from the Pioneer Organisation on the last few occasions are more or less tilting at the organisation because of its silence on this occasion. I do not pretend to speak for the Central Council of the Pioneer Organisation nor do I know why it is that they did not take the same steps on this as on the last occasion but it appears to me as if the remarks of certain Deputies were more or less a tilt at the organisation. I think the Pioneer Organisation can afford to ignore these remarks.

I think it is fair comment.

Furthermore, I think it is a very good sign that the pioneers are not bigots in this matter. They do not set out to put a muzzle on anyone not anxious to take the pledge of the association.

Why were they so active about it on the last occasion?

They leave it to the free will of everyone as to whether he should take a drink or not. They practise self-denial themselves in the hope that their example may have a beneficial influence on their weaker brethren. I do not think I need dwell further on that matter.

For another reason I should be anxious to support the present Bill in that I think it is not right that the Sabbath should be used as an occasion for personal indulgence but again I fear the consequences I fear the consequences of an illicit trade in intoxicating liquor. If closing became general on Sundays, I fear we might have a repetition of what is now a matter of history—the conditions that existed as a result of complete prohibition in the United States some 20 years ago. At the same time, I quite agree that the present licensing laws are out of keeping with present conditions. I do not know at what period the bona fide regulations were introduced but, with the present facilities for travel, there can be absolutely no control under the bona fide laws. If we had the same conditions as obtained 100 years ago when most people had to get around on foot, the three-mile limit would be a very considerable deterrent to people who wished to indulge in drink. Three miles is nothing nowadays, even on a bicycle.

I think that some very serious effort should be made to amend the licensing laws so as to either absolutely abolish the law or to make it very difficult, even for the man with a motor car, to evade the ordinary law. Again, I would say that I certainly am for the one law for all. I do not want to see any facilities given to the city and borough population that are not made available to the rural population also. I would consider the present advantage which the city has as helping to accelerate the drift from the rural areas into the cities and larger towns. At the same time, as I have already pointed out, the danger that we might get worse is still present. I am glad to hear that the Minister is considering proposals for amending the existing laws. I would suggest that he should invite representatives from all Parties in the House to set up some sort of a Select Committee to consider in detail any proposals that might be put forward for the amendment of the existing legislation.

With those suggestions I will leave the matter to the good judgment of the Deputies of the House.

I wonder if Deputy Corry realises the full implications of this measure which he is asking the House to accept. I was one of those who, before Deputy Corry introduced his last Bill, advocated, on the passing of legislation some years ago, the same right for persons in the country to have a drink at particular times as that available to those in the city. That was and is at the present time my own private opinion. I do not think that there should be any differentiation whatsoever between people who reside in the country areas and people who reside in the towns and cities.

The Deputy's name is here in the "Bible."

I am quite prepared to admit that that is exactly what I am quoting—that I did, on a previous occasion, speak in favour of the proposition that the same facilities should be given to people in the country as were available at that time to those in the city. That is still my own private opinion. However, I represent a rural constituency and, on the occasion when Deputy Corry introduced his recent Bill, I received numerous representations from responsible people and responsible organisations in my constituency to oppose the Bill. I did not receive a single representation from a single constituent asking me to support it. My purpose in speaking now is to point out to Deputy Corry that not only is he taking away from the country people what was sought to be gained in his last Bill, but that he is driving the knife even deeper because he wants to remove entirely from country and city alike the entire bona fide trade.

I cannot see consistency in the attitude of the mover of a Bill of this kind and the attitude adopted by him on a previous occasion. Deputy Corry is perfectly entitled to say that my name is in the "Bible." I repeat, however, that that is my own private opinion. I have my own views on the question of drink and drinking in licensed premises. I believe that too much nonsense is talked in this country about drink. I believe that there is too much putting of decent respectable citizens who run licensed houses in the dock—making them potential criminals —and I believe that the entire licensing code needs to be overhauled. I am glad to hear that it is going to be overhauled. I do not see how any Deputy who has the interests of the rural districts at heart can support this particular measure. If there was a grievance, and if the reason for introducing the last Bill was that the same facilities should be given to those who reside in the country as are given to those in the towns and cities, the only thing left to those people who live in the country is the use of the bona fide trade when they are passing through towns and cities. Deputy Corry has obviously introduced this measure in haste. It has obviously been introduced without consideration for the welfare of those whom it is intended to benefit. I am perfectly certain that Deputy Corry will agree that the measure has been introduced with the idea of telling the country that Dublin must be put all-fours with the rest of the country. I think his object is: If we are not going to have it, you will not have it either. I represent a rural constituency. I could not possibly support this Bill. It would be doing away with a very profitable bona fide traffic which is of very great value to the tourist industry of this country. If we pass this Bill we shall place ourselves in exactly the same position the United States of America was in, except that we shall keep total prohibition for one day of the week and the opposite for the other six days of the week. I would ask the Deputy (1) if it is his intention to do away with the bona fide traffic of this country, and (2) if it is his intention to change every licensed house in this country from a seven-day licensed premises to a six-day licensed premises, thereby reducing an enormous revenue to the Exchequer. Has the Deputy considered these points? Deputies of this House, especially Deputies of mature experience, have a responsibility when they introduce private Bills of this kind and no Deputy should use his position and his experience here for the purpose of paying back in like coin something that he sponsored before.

Finally, I am all in favour of people having drinks in properly conducted licensed premises any time of the day or night they may desire to do so. I believe that a great deal of nonsense is talked in this country about the licensing code. However, one often finds one's views in the minority, and public opinion has willed a certain course. I know I am voicing the opinion of my constituents, who enjoy a certain tourist traffic, when I say that it is my duty to oppose a Bill which seeks to do away at one fell swoop with the bona fide trade of this country.

I think this is the type of Bill on which people should express their opinions. I am opposing this Bill because I believe it is essentially dishonest, stupidly spiteful and foolishly childlike. I believe that those were the three motives which inspired Deputy Corry to put down this Bill. I know that I am right in believing that, because Deputy Corry with a fanfare of trumpets and with headlines in the Irish Press announced that this Bill was going down and that it was going down to spite the Deputies of this House who defeated the last Bill he introduced here. I want to say, if it gives him some consolation, that I believe a lot might be said for this Bill.

I believe that, from a great many points of view, a lot could be said in favour of the principle of this Bill. I differ from my friend, Deputy Sir John Esmonde, in that, but I am not going to stand up in this House and support any Bill which I know is inspired purely by motives of spite and dishonesty. I am being quite blunt about it. I think it is a disgrace that any Deputy should be allowed to utilise the floor of this House for the purpose of spite and dishonest publicity. I know that Deputies opposite, because they are where they are, would like to see this Assembly coming into disrepute. If by silently acquiescing in it or by actively supporting it, we allow this type of manoeuvre to be carried out in this House, then the Assembly will come into disrepute. It is for these reasons that I oppose this Bill, not because I do not believe that there is a great deal to be said for it.

I had not intended to speak on this Bill but I am moved to speak by the speech which has been made by Deputy O'Higgins. His reasons for opposing this Bill are not good reasons. He bases his opposition to the Bill upon what he believes to be the motives which inspired Deputy Corry. He said he thought these motives were motives of spite and dishonesty.

Proclaimed in advance.

I do not think he has any right to set himself up as a judge of Deputy Corry's motives. One's approach to this measure or any measure should be to examine it for what it is worth without regard to the considerations which inspired the mover. This Bill of Deputy Corry's should be supported for a reason different from any reason advanced by anybody else so far. If the Bill is carried, it will put the Department of Justice in this position, that it will have to introduce legislation to reopen the public-houses on Sunday all over the country. Then Deputy Corry will have achieved his object. This seems to me to be a perfectly logical Bill and not at all inconsistent on the part of Deputy Corry. He failed the last time when he introduced a Bill to give the same facilities in the country as there are in the city. He has now to adopt this method, which, in my opinion, cannot fail to be effective. Deputy Corry realises as well as everybody else that complete prohibition on Sundays here would simply be unworkable. I can find no complaint with him if he adopts this means of achieving his end and forcing the powers that be to give facilities in rural areas similar to those enjoyed in urban areas. If those people who have now expressed regret for their opposition to Deputy Corry's first Bill are sincere in their expression of regret and if they are convinced that they were then in error, they ought to support this Bill. Some Deputies have said they were wrong the last time but apparently they are going to stay wrong on this occasion also. They have now a means of correcting the error which they made and they ought to use the opportunity which Deputy Corry, with great courage, has given to them.

Mr. Byrne

I oppose the Bill. I have listened with interest to the various reasons given for and against the Bill. I agree that the Bill has been brought in in a fit of pique. Deputy Corry was defeated in his first Bill which, he claimed, was to do justice to the people in the areas that he represents and, now, in fit of pique, he says: "If you will not give these facilities to the people for whom I want these facilities, I will take them from those who already have them." That is the attitude in which the Bill is introduced. I suggest it is a most inconsistent action on the part of any public representative. It may be a means to an end. It may be that the votes for and against the Bill will induce the Minister to bring in a measure that will give something that was suggested in Deputy Corry's first Bill. If it has that effect, I am sure Deputy Corry will feel that something has been achieved by the discussions to-day. On the last occasion Deputy Corry used the expression "decent workman" and pleaded that the decent workman is entitled to these facilities. Surely he does not want to deprive the decent workman who enjoys his Sunday refreshment in moderation? It is not legislation to stand up one day and plead that the decent workman should get certain facilities and on another day to plead that, because he did not succeed the last time, others should be deprived. I hope the House will not be driven into the Division Lobbies, although it is an open vote.

You are taking the same attitude.

Mr. Byrne

No. For the last 40 years we have been hearing of licensing Bills, and certain things were done that brought about the present position. I would suggest that the reason why the Pioneers or the licensed trade did not interfere in this measure is that they relied absolutely on the judgment of Deputies. To-day, we have not been asked to increase facilities for drinking but we have been asked to remove facilities already in existence. I suppose these people do not wish to press their arguments until something has been done. Does Deputy Corry take into consideration the compensation claims that might come in from the licensed traders for the loss of so many trading hours? Is he going to take from the very people for whom he speaks, the people who come from the country and who put their money into trading concerns, liberty to carry on a decent trade? I want to be clearly understood. I hope there is no intention on the part of anybody of attacking the licensed trader. The licensed trader despises the drunkard. The greatest nuisance that ever came to the licensed trader's door is the man who spends too much money and drinks too much. While he is there the trader and his staff are a mass of nerves. It is good, clean business. They want to carry on the business as it should be carried on. Before a licensed trader obtains his licence, there are investigations as to character. If he has not a good character, and if he is not honest and upright and capable of conducting his business in the way it should be conducted, he will not get a licence.

It is purely formal.

Mr. Byrne

I can assure you that it is not purely formal, that any Superintendent of the Guards has the right to oppose on the grounds of character, and if there is the slightest thing against the individual applying for the licence, he will not get it. If he conducts his house wrongly or in a shady manner during the licensing period, a Superintendent of the Guards opposes his licence. Any citizen in the area has a right to complain and have the licence opposed.

Deputy Corry ought to be satisfied with the type of speeches which have been made for and against. He has drawn from the Minister a statement that the whole licensing code is going to be overhauled, that something is going to be done. What it is, I do not know. But I want to say on behalf of the licensed trade that you ought not to take from any person what he has paid a handsome price for, namely, the right to trade on seven days of the week. Deputy Corry is old enough to remember what happened in America when prohibition was brought in.

Illicit spirits were made and sold at a fabulous price, spirits that drove the people mad when they drank them. Such stuff was sold at a price which made fortunes for the rum-runners, as they were called, when they brought it into America illegally. Those who were able, paid a big price for these spirits. Surely Deputy Corry does not want to have spirits sold here illegally. If Deputy Corry has his way, the licensed trade will go and that kind of illegal trade will be carried on. The decent workmen in the cities and towns should not be deprived of the facilities they have simply because Deputy Corry's other Bill was defeated a couple of months ago.

Whatever motive actuated Deputy Corry in bringing in this Bill, the Bill is now before us. Quite a number of Deputies have made very strong charges, if I may use that word, against the Deputy with reference to the motive that lay behind the introduction of the Bill. Last November Deputy Corry introduced a Bill providing that public-houses in rural areas should be allowed to open at certain hours on Sundays in order to give those in the rural areas an opportunity of getting a pint or a bottle of stout or a "small one" like the people in the City of Dublin and other cities where Sunday opening is in operation. I opposed Deputy Corry's Bill for certain reasons which I am not going into now. I am one, however, who stands for equal rights for every individual in the community and, because I stand for that, I am prepared to give a certain measure of support to this Bill. I consider, however, that the Bill is a little too drastic. If Deputy Corry had confined his Bill to doing away with the hours of opening that already obtain in the City of Dublin and the other cities on Sundays, he would be meeting the situation from my point of view at any rate because he would be putting every individual in the community on the one basis. But his Bill is far more drastic. It does away with the bona fide law completely.

I can visualise a position in the City of Dublin during the months of July, August and September when there is a big hurling or football match at Croke Park and an influx of anything between 35,000 and 40,000 people from the country. Provision must be made for these people so that they can get refreshments. Deputy Corry's Bill would do away with that. I, therefore, could not support it fully from that point of view. I am prepared, however, to support it on Second Reading and, if the Bill gets a Second Reading, I hope Deputy Corry will amend it on the Committee Stage to meet such a situation as that which I have mentioned. I have only mentioned the City of Dublin, but the same thing would apply to the other centres throughout the country where big football and hurling matches are held. I hope the Deputy will be prepared to amend his Bill to meet the situation to which I have referred if he gets it through the Second Stage.

As a rural Deputy, I am surpised that the time of this House should be taken up discussing this Bill introduced by a Deputy whose Government had a majority in this House for 16 years during which he never thought of the people in the rural areas or of closing the public-houses in the cities on Sundays. If the duties imposed in the last Budget brought in by the Fianna Fáil Government had continued in operation, the public-houses in the rural areas would be closed long ago because the people in the rural areas have not that much money to spend on drink. I think it was a shame and a disgrace that that Bill was brought in last November when we were honouring the men of '98, and that we should have had the slogan: "If we fail to beat them it was drink that brought us down." It is all purely a stunt and there is no sincerity in the man at all. I am surprised that men on this side of the House should bother about his Bill because he knows well enough that it is not going to go through. The Minister for Justice said that the licensing laws were under review and I hope they will be better. To my mind—and I come from a country area—men have not the money to throw around on Sunday. A thing that may happen occasionally is that a man may go in for a drink on Sunday because he is sick after Saturday night and then a Guard might catch that unfortunate man. There is no demand for drink in the country. Take a man coming up to the City of Dublin from County Wexford to a football match, as Deputy Brennan said; what would happen if he could not get refreshments? How many barmen would be unemployed if they could not carry on that business on Sunday? How many would be unemployed in the bottling stores? We hear a lot from the Opposition about unemployment but are they looking to close down the licensing trade on Sunday here in Dublin where the biggest population is in the country and where there are so many people passing through? I think that Deputy Corry is wasting the time of this House and that he should not bring in this Bill at all. It is only play-acting because he is in opposition now. For 16 years he never thought of the man in the country or the man in the city. It is simply because he is in opposition. Why did he not bring it in when he had the Government and why did he not embarrass the Minister for Justice then? It is all play-acting and our talking here is no good to the country. I would prefer to talk about unemployment than about drink because the working class people have not the money to drink but I will make this statement: We should control the lounge bars where there is mixed drinking going on. That is not for the good of the country. I think that should be looked into and that some laws should be brought in to control that mixed drinking.

If Deputy Corry were serious he would have thought of the men down the country 16 years ago or whenever he came into this House—he came in years before that—but he never thought of the man in the country.

The Deputy is repeating himself.

I just want to ask Deputy Corry why he did not do it then when he had a majority to carry it through.

The Deputy has asked that ten times.

Why did he not?

I am going to take the unusual step of voting for the Bill and speaking against the mover. Deputy O'Leary said that there was a lot of "cod" and most of the "cod" is attached to Deputy Corry. Deputy Corry is worried because his earlier Bill to open the public-houses in rural areas on Sundays did not receive the support of the House and now he feels as a good politician that he should close them in the cities. I am not supporting this Bill for any of the reasons advanced by Deputy Corry. On many occasions I had the pleasure of listening to Deputy Corry in this House advocating one course on the floor of the House and voting for another course in the division. I am supporting this Bill because from a personal viewpoint—and I am speaking purely in a personal capacity—I do not like intoxicating liquor or the effects of intoxicating liquor. When I say that, it does not mean that I wish to interfere with other men's enjoyment or with other men's abuses, except to wish that they may be induced by reason and education to remedy the abuses. Deputy Corry's Bill is not going to remedy the defects of the drink trade. Closing the public-houses in the city is not going to bring about the improvement that many of us in this House want to see.

I have had sad experience of the abuses of drink. Because I feel so much on the question of drink I think that some of us must take a standard principle. Though I realise that there is no hope of this Bill being carried, I know that if it were actually carried it would not merely impose a hardship on the people in the city but would be ill-advised and against the best interests of those who want to see a reduction in drink. I do not want to be associated with any extension of the facilities for drinking. The people as a whole and those who speak for the people in this House must exercise their judgment and reasoning powers with regard to the control of drink.

In dealing with this particular problem—it is not a problem but an evil—these cheap political tricks of Deputy Corry's not only make a farce of the matter but, as Deputy O'Leary said, make this House into a farce also.

In spite of all that, I am going to vote for this Bill, not out of respect for the motives of Deputy Corry in bringing it before the House, but for reasons of personal conviction. Anybody who has any knowledge of the effects of drink—and possibly those of us who have to exercise our abilities in the working class movement come up against them more than anybody else—knows very well that you cannot legislate the evil out of existence. It is a question of raising the standard in the country, a question of education, of giving a new outlook and a new viewpoint to the people and of filling a gap in their lives. The average working man who goes into a public-house does not go in to indulge himself nor does he—though unfortunately some do—go in to make a beast of himself, but as a result of a system of society which denies the working man an opportunity of developing his abilities and of filling his leisure time in a proper manner. If we are going to tackle the question of drink we must tackle it from that angle and dissociate it from the idea of socialibility, company and recreation. We must replace it by something else. It has been done in other countries and sometime, perhaps, we will realise that we have to do it here.

Although I am voting for the Bill, I am not supporting it because of the motives of Deputy Corry and still less am I supporting it out of respect for its mover.

Briefly I would like to say that I am supporting Deputy Corry's Bill. I am sorry that it is Deputy Corry's Bill by reason of the way he has behaved as far as this Bill and his last Bill are concerned. I expressed my sentiments regarding the opening and closing of public-houses on the last Bill. Deputy Corry imagined that he was a good political scrum half and that he had caught me and Deputy Larkin on the wrong foot.

A Deputy

Foreign games.

The last time I spoke I expressed the opinion that Sunday was a special day and that it should not be used as it is here in the city. I want to deplore the tactics that Deputy Corry used in trying a political manoeuvre.

I can be very brief in concluding on this Bill because I have nothing to answer. Deputy Sir John Esmonde told us he was in favour of it. He reminded me of the fellow long ago who came up in the middle of a row and gave one fellow a blow on the jaw that knocked him out. The Deputy was in favour of the Bill that I brought in last November and then solemnly walked into the Lobby to vote against it—to show how much he was in favour of it. Deputy Alfred Byrne is very much like Boyle Roche's bird. He can be in two places at the one time. When I looked up the Division List on the Bill that I had here in November I found that there was a Deputy Alfred Byrne in each Lobby. One was for it and the other was against it, so that if there was any question about it afterwards down the country one or other of the two pages in the Dáil debates could be pulled out.

Surely the two Deputy Alfred Byrnes are separate and distinct persons.

Yes. They have a right to their individual opinions.

It is well that we have only one Deputy Corry.

I have been accused of various motives. I was accused by Deputy O'Leary, but I would remind the House that in 1942 I made the very same statement in this House that I made on the Bill that I introduced last November. Furthermore, in November, 1947, I brought a deputation from the Licensed Vintners to this House to interview the Minister for Justice. That was an all-Party deputation. Deputy Halliden, who walked in sanctimoniously to vote against my Bill, Deputy Dan Spring and all of them were there ready to pledge their support to a Bill. They wanted an all-Party measure that would give the rural population a few hours on a Sunday to be able to have a drink in peace in their own parish, the same as other people can have. I am aware that the same deputation interviewed the Minister for Justice 12 months ago this month. He promised them the sun, moon and stars and a bit of heaven along with it.

Were you with them, then?

They told me. When I brought my Bill into the House it was postponed time and again. Why? Because the Minister for Justice was preparing a new Bill. He was preparing it until the pronouncement of the Hierarchy came out and then he ran. Fair play is fine play. My motives in bringing in this Bill are above board. I want equal rights for every citizen in this State.

I am well aware of the O'Higgins' tactics, and the Deputy had better not draw me on that. I want equal rights. If this House decides that the decent countryman who has to work on a Sunday is not entitled to a drink in his own parish, then it should equally decide that the city man who has no work on a Sunday and who, in 99 cases out of 100, has all Saturday evening to drink all that he wants, should not get facilities that are denied to the ordinary worker.

I heard any amount of piffle from Deputy Alfred Byrne in connection with this matter. That was all thrashed out. They are appealing now to the worker. What did they do for the rural worker last November? I have heard various excuses given for the change of front. Here is a verse that was sent to me the other day:

Martin Corry, for you we'll pray

If you make us temperate on the Sabbath day.

But go one further, and no one will grouse

If you close the booze shop in Leinster House.

Read it again.

It should not be read here. It is not a proper thing for this House.

It is something that I got in connection with the Bill, the same as the Pioneer list, that Deputies have admitted here to-day drove them against their will into the wrong Lobby in November last. As soon as I brought forward this Bill, I put a public letter in the Press appealing to the Pioneer Associations and the Hierarchy, saying that if it was a bad thing that facilities should be given to the countryman on a Sunday it was a far worse thing to put greater temptation in the way of people in the cities. The members of the Pioneer Association in the town of Cobh were the only ones to open their lips on that I wonder why? We might find reasons for their silence that Deputy O'Higgins would object to.

I object to this type of attack on them.

I think that I have been fair to everyone on this If a Deputy said to me: "If you bring in a Bill for the closing of public-houses on Sundays I will support you," I do not think I was going beyond the bounds in reminding the Deputy of his words last November. That is all that I did with Deputy Larkin and Deputy Corish and I do not think that I went out of my way to take advantage of either of them.

I brought in this Bill to try and straighten out the laws of the State. If Deputies say to me that the Minister is bringing in a new Bill, my reply to them is: "If you want the Minister to bring in a new Bill, vote for this one; then you will see him move in a hurry and this is the only way in which you will get him to move." That is the way to get the Minister to move. Vote for this Bill, carry it, and then you will see the result.

There is one question that I would like to put to the mover of the Bill. Does Deputy Corry appreciate the fact that if this Bill passes it will do away with the bona fide trade in the country districts as well as in the City of Dublin?

Deputy Corry appreciates that Deputy Sir John Esmonde delivered here this evening the speech he should have made last November and voted, therefore, against his conscience on that occasion. Deputy Corry appreciates that very well.

The Deputy has not answered my question.

The Deputy is not obliged to answer.

Question put.
The Dáil divided : Tá, 41; Níl, 65.

  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Blaney, Neal T.
  • Brennan, Thomas.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Carter, Thomas.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Colley, Harry.
  • Collins, James J.
  • Collins, Seán.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Crowley, Honor Mary.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Friel, John.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kilroy, James.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lahiffe, Robert.
  • Larkin, James.
  • Lehane, Patrick D.
  • McCann, John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McQuillan, John.
  • Maguire, Patrick J.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Bridget M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Mary B.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Timoney, John J.
  • Walsh, Richard.

Níl

  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Beirne, John.
  • Belton, John.
  • Blowick, Joseph.
  • Bourke, Dan.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, Noel C.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Butler, Bernard.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Byrne, Alfred Patrick.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Cowan, Peadar.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Davern, Michael J.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Donnellan, Michael.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, Sir John L.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Finucane, Patrick.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Halliden, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hughes, Joseph.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Lehane, Con.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Lynch, John.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Madden, David J.
  • Monagan, Joseph W.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Gorman, Patrick J.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F. (Jun.)
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • O'Sullivan, Martin.
  • Palmer, Patrick W.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Roddy, Joseph.
  • Sheehan, Michael.
  • Sheldon, William A.W.
  • Spring, Daniel.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Walsh, Thomas.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Corry and J.J. Collins; Níl: Deputies P.S. Doyle and O'Leary.
Question declared lost.