Committee on Finance. - Milk (Regulation of Supply and Price) (Amendment) Bill, 1952 (Seanad)—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. This Bill has for its main object the granting to milk boards of the power to use their funds to operate schemes designed to encourage increased production of milk in their areas. The Act of 1936 empowers milk boards to use their funds, with the consent of the Minister for Agriculture, to contribute towards schemes for the encouragement of increased utilisation of milk but not production. A typical scheme which was operated from time to time under the existing powers was the "Drink More Milk" campaign of the Dublin District Milk Board which aimed at stimulating increased consumption of milk. In view of the difficulty of maintaining at all times of the year adequate supplies of milk in milk board areas, experience has shown that it is desirable that boards should be allowed to use their funds, with ministerial approval, to contribute to schemes to encourage increased milk production in milk board areas. These schemes should include an artificial insemination service, milk recording, soil testing and veterinary facilities, but it would, of course, be open to boards, if they thought fit, to design other beneficial schemes.

The most advantageous of these schemes would be that relating to artificial insemination. It is intended that the two existing milk boards—at Dublin and Cork—will, on enactment of this Bill, establish sub-centres to two of the existing main artificial insemination stations, providing the necessary capital and running expenses. Both of the main stations in question are run by the Department of Agriculture; one at Grange, County Meath, and one at Clonakilty Agricultural School, and the semen for insemination would be obtained from them. An adequate artificial insemination service in the area of the Dublin Board would involve about four sub-centres to the existing main station at Grange, and in the Cork Board area one sub-centre to the station at Clonakilty.

The Dublin board already arrange, with the co-operation of the Department of Agriculture, a certain amount of service for producers by way of soil testing, silage demonstrations, etc., but such services cannot be put on a proper basis and fully developed without statutory authority. The Bill will enable the board to meet the cost of these and other such services out of its own funds and to expand or intensify them if the need arises. It is also envisaged that the board may, in time, undertake the provision of milk recording and veterinary facilities for milk producers as a further contribution towards increased and more efficient methods of milk production.

The funds of milk boards are derived solely from levies on sales of milk for liquid consumption in their sale areas and the utilisation of these funds for the purpose of stimulating milk production would undoubtedly be to the advantage of producer and consumer alike.

While, as I already mentioned, the foregoing is the main purpose of the Bill, the opportunity is being taken of embodying in permanent legislation certain provisions already being operated for many years past by means of Emergency Powers Orders. One of these is the power of the Dublin District Milk Board to regulate the supply of creamery milk to Dublin so that such milk may be utilised to the best advantage over the year. Another such provision which is incorporated in the Bill is that under which creameries supplying milk to a milk board area are relieved of the obligation imposed by the main Act of entering into yearly contracts. The quantity of milk required from creameries varies from time to time and it is, therefore, not practicable for creameries to make long-term contracts for such milk.

Another provision of the Bill to which attention might be called is that relating to highest grade milk. Milk boards have already power to license the purchase by wholesalers and retailers of highest grade milk from producers who reside outside the area from which milk supplies can normally be drawn. Such licences, however, can at present only relate to specific quantities of milk at specific periods and it is proposed to extend this power to enable licences to be granted without limitation as to quantity or period. The purpose of this is to give certain producers of highest grade milk a measure of permanency of supply and, in the interests of public health, to encourage them to continue and expand production of such milk.

Another provision at present in Emergency Powers Orders which is being transferred to the Bill is the power of the Dublin District Milk Board to engage, with the Minister's consent, in the buying and selling of milk and the laying in of reserve stocks of condensed and dried milk. The object of the provision is to enable milk boards to deal adequately with acute surpluses or shortages of milk. Such powers are necessary from the point of view of both producer and consumer alike. The Dublin Board has had these powers under Emergency Powers Orders since 1942 and has on many occasions in the past applied for and received the consent of the Minister to utilise the powers for specified periods and, in fact, as recently as last Thursday has written to me again for permission to utilise the powers. The Cork District Milk Board passed unanimously a resolution in 1948 asking for similar powers and on 28th January last again wrote asking me to use my good offices towards ensuring priority in this House for all stages of this Bill in its present form, which, in the board's view, would enable the best handling of the Cork milk supply problem.

Notwithstanding these direct requests from the two milk boards, it has been suggested that the provisions of the Bill to which I have just referred have either been completely misunderstood or deliberately misinterpreted in certain quarters. Also, in the course of the debate on the Bill in the Seanad, this provision was opposed by some Senators who purported to represent the views of milk producers generally. It was alleged that the powers being given to the boards were much too wide and could be used by a board to combat, for example, a strike of milk producers. As I have already mentioned, the Dublin Board has had these powers for the past ten years and the Cork Board asked for them four years ago. Milk boards are democratically elected and the producers have the majority representation on them. For this reason, it would be impossible for the powers in question to be used to the detriment of producers. In point of fact, the powers could be very much to their advantage in periods of surplus. Furthermore, the necessity of having to obtain the Minister's consent provides a final safeguard against any action being taken which might react against the interests of milk producers generally.

I might also mention that the tribunal of inquiry into the milk supply for the Dublin sale district in the report which it furnished in 1945 recommended that the Dublin District Milk Board should have, in addition to the powers conferred on it by the Acts of 1936 and 1941, all the powers which were conferred by Emergency Powers (No. 247) Order, 1942, and such other powers as might be necessary to enable it to organise and direct effectively the production, distribution and sale of milk in its area. I trust, therefore, that Deputies in approaching this Bill will have these facts in mind and will realise that it is fundamentally a non-controversial measure, requested by producers and sponsored by the previous Administration as well as the present Government.

Did the Minister authorise anyone in the Seanad to say that this Bill was drafted and approved by me in its present form before I left office?

Mr. Walsh

I understood it was approved by the Deputy before he left office. I think I stated that myself.

I do not think it is correct.

Mr. Walsh

I think so.

I do not think so. I am quite certain.

The Minister started off by saying that the main purpose of this Bill was to provide a means by which the funds of the board could be utilised for the betterment and encouragement of milk production. Those powers are contained in Section 3 and I do not think the Minister will find the slightest difficulty with anybody in the House in agreeing with him that that is so. So far as that is the main purpose of the Bill I think everybody on both sides of the House will be in entire agreement with the point of view put forward by the Minister.

I should have liked the Minister to give us some indication, apart from the matter of the artificial insemination sub-centres, how he hopes the board will utilise their funds and how he hopes the board will utilise this new power which they are going to get. It is a power which is desirable and which we would all give gladly. I am sure the Minister has some idea in his mind as to what is intended and I think it would assist the House if the Minister would give us an indication as to the mode of operation that is intended, apart from the setting up of artificial insemination centres. So far as those centres are concerned, I think we all agree that they are entirely desirable and that the setting up of the existing main centres at Grange in Leinster and down in County Cork has proved a very considerable boon to the farmers who are in reach of them. These new sub-centres will mean that the number of milk producers who can take advantage of the facilities offered by these centres will be very greatly increased.

The Minister, in his opening remarks —I presume, believing that attack is the best method of defence—launched out on an attack on those who had criticised Section 4 of the Bill. There is a lot to be said for the fact that sometimes attack is the best method of defence—always provided that when you choose to attack you have your facts correct. Since the Minister started to discuss this question of the powers that are given by Section 4, he has on more than one occasion stated that the Cork Milk Board asked for these powers. I have no knowledge of the working of the Cork Milk Board and I do not propose in any way to enter into such a thorny question as to how they carry on their business in Cork. That I leave to the Cork Deputies, who seem always to be able to tell us in no uncertain way how they do things down there. I propose, however, to make a few statements on the Dublin Milk Board.

On many occasions, the Minister has said that the producers have a majority on the Dublin Milk Board. At present the Dublin Milk Board consists of 14 members. The board is set up in pursuance of Section 8 of the Milk (Regulation of Supply and Price) Act, 1936. Under that Act, the members of the board, and the proportion of the various interests from which the members of the board are drawn, are determined by Order of the Minister. There are 14 members at present— seven producer members and seven other members.

Any consumers?

No consumers. It is news to me, if there are seven producer members out of 14, that that number is a majority of 14. As a matter of fact, that is not the whole story. There are seven producer members, three wholesale members and three retailer members, making 13, and there is a chairman who is appointed directly by the Minister. Therefore, there are seven on each side. But there is also a provision that the chairman has a casting vote. Therefore, the position would appear to be, as I understand the position, that the seven on one side, with the assistance of the casting vote, can overrule the other seven.

But, even apart from that, there is another aspect of the position which I do not think was put quite fairly by the Minister. The present representation on the board is fixed by ministerial Order. The Minister could overnight change that representation. There was an occasion previously, as well as I remember, when the composition and the personnel of the board were changed in a rather sudden manner. That can be done by ministerial Order. What the Minister is asking here is, not to deal with the matter by Order. but to deal with the matter by legislation, and where the composition of a board is determined purely by Order and not by legislation, then I suggest to the Minister that to base his whole argument on the composition of a board is not a valid argument. If the composition of the board was equally fixed by legislation and was in the proportions which the Minister has suggested, then I could understand the validity of his argument that the producers need not bother about the matter at all because they had the majority. The majority, if it exists—I understand it does not exist—is one that exists purely by an Order which could be changed in the morning and is not therefore a valid basis upon which to found the case put to us by the Minister.

On the general question of the sale of milk, we all agree that it is entirely necessary that the Dublin District Milk Board should have powers for the purpose of ensuring that they will be able to handle surplus milk. In that circumstance, they must have the power contained in the section for the purpose of being able to cope with the flush period that regularly arises. The objection which I have is an objection which I will argue in greater detail with the Minister when it comes to the Committee Stage. That objection is that the powers which are being given to the board are powers to engage in general trading, not merely powers to engage in the ancillary business of disposing of surplus milk which would be required for the purpose of evening out the flow and ensuring that the production would be disposed of in a regular and proper manner.

So far as the question of the purchase of milk by the board is concerned, that is a power which should be only utilised and should be only required in the inverse ratio to the surplus; in other words, where there is a shortage. The way that the board should operate in regard to that should be by a temporary extension of the area to cover the shortage period. As I read the section, and as I think everybody must read the words in the section, the board is being authorised to engage in the ordinary business of buying and selling milk. It is entirely undesirable that the board should go into that business either in competition with the producers or in competition with the existing businesses. The board could go into competition with the producers by switching milk from one area to another if it was felt that the producers in that area were charging too high a price.

I do not think that that is the function of the board; I do not think the board should be given power to do it. The board could go into competition in a very obvious way against existing retailers; and, again, I do not think that is the function of the board. The function of the board, in so far as dealing in milk is concerned, if I may use that phrase—I think the Minister will understand what I mean—is to even out the shortage and the surplus. If, as the Minister has indicated both in the other House and even here to-day, that is all he wants power to do, then that is all he should ask the House to give him power to do. The section before us asks the House to give the Minister very much more power than that.

There is another point in that section which I will mention now so that the Minister can have it considered by his advisers between this and the Committee Stage. I am in some doubt as to whether the meaning of the section, as drafted, is that the Minister merely gives one consent and that that consent operates for all time.

I do not think that that is what the Minister intended. The drafting of the section does not make it perfectly clear that the consent of the Minister is one that must be givenad hoc for the particular occasion, the particular place, and which can be revoked at a later date. It seems to me that the section can be read, if the Bill passes in its existing form—I hope it will not be passed in its existing form, with all deference to the Cork Milk Board— that the board could then say to the Minister: “We want to engage in the business of selling milk” and, if the Minister says “all right,” thereafter the Minister has no power good, bad or indifferent, to determine that power to sell, to determine it in point of time, or in point of place, or in any way to qualify it at all. I do not think that is what the Minister intended in drafting his Bill. It is the way I read the section and I ask him to have it considered by the people who will ultimately have to be responsible for interpreting it, should it become necessary.

The Minister referred to the tribunal set up in 1945, as far as I remember. They took evidence anyway in 1945 in the Dublin sales area and presented a report in 1946. I noticed in the report of the Seanad debate that a learned Senator purported to give a quotation from the evidence of one of the witnesses before that tribunal. The witness who was quoted by the learned Senator gave evidence that was entirely and absolutely different from the quotation. The quotation makes it appear that the gentleman in question, who was a member of the producers' organisation, wanted something in the nature of this Bill; but the quotation which was given by the Senator stopped at a most crucial point because, as reported in column 755, Volume 40, of the Seanad Debates, having set out certain preliminary remarks by the witness in question, the quotation given by the Senator finished up with:

"The board should be in the position of an active participant in the milk trade."

The Senator used that as the basis of his argument that Section 4, as it was, was a sound section, but in the evidence that was given by Mr. Mullen, the producer's representative, he used the words given by the Senator. These were followed immediately by:—

"We do not want it, however, to compete for the business of the existing interests..."

It is precisely because we feel that Section 4, as it is, does compete with existing producers and with existing business interests——

Mr. Walsh

Would the Deputy not complete the sentence?

I will read the whole thing if the Minister wishes:-

"We do not want it, however, to compete for the business of the existing interests, but the necessity exists to provide a buffer between the producer of milk and his distributor. We think it would be better to make contracts with the board for the sale of our milk and they, in turn, to contract with the distributors. This is desirable as it avoids the difficulty of having differences directly with the distributors of milk over matters such as shortages, sour milk, surplus, etc."

Mr. Walsh

You have shortage and surpluses.

Does the Minister want me to give the quotation?

Mr. Walsh

Yes, if you like.

I read it before. It was sent in to the tribunal.

What is the Deputy quoting from?

From a report of the statement of evidence that was given before the tribunal on a date in April or May, 1945. The evidence that was given before the tribunal at that time dealt specifically with shortages and surpluses. I do not know whether the Minister has read the evidence or not, but if he reads it he will find that the evidence which was put up by the producers' association was divided into deliberate sections. The chairman of the association dealt with one aspect, the vice-chairman with another, while a member dealt with a third aspect. Finally, there was Mr. Mullen who, in dealing with the question of shortages and surpluses which had been made quite clear in the vice-chairman's evidence, said these were the two big problems with which the producers had to compete. When giving his evidence before the tribunal, Mr. Meredith, the vice-chairman, made it abundantly clear that shortages and surpluses were two of the producers' difficulties. Equally, it was made quite clear from the board's angle that that was what they had in mind.

I would ask the Minister to turn up the memorandum which was put in by the milk board itself to that tribunal. On page 4 of that memorandum he will find there the statement that the new board, which the chairman of the milk board was then recommending, would be an organisation which would not sell milk retail but which would confine its operations solely to sales to traders. There is no such restriction as that, as far as I can see, in Section 4. As I said initially, the power that is contained in Section 4 is infinitely wider than the power which I believe the Minister has really in his mind as being required. But it is a common practice for every Government Department, and for the personnel in Government Departments when they are coming to this or to the other House, to look for power to do something which they have in their minds and which they want to do, to extend, as they come along here, that power to cover all the aspects that could conceivably arise, quite apart from the one which arose in their minds at a particular time.

That is what has happened in this case. The point, however, about it is this, that the Minister is trying to stand over that instead of making up his own mind as to what power is required to restrict the operation of the section to that required power. We shall have an opportunity on the Committee Stage of discussing the exact wording of this to fit what I believe is necessary, and to ensure that unnecessary power will not be granted.

I did not quite follow the Minister when he was talking about this Bill being requested by the boards. I understood him to say—I am open to correction if I misheard him—that he had recently received a letter from the Cork Milk Board requiring the passage of the Bill at an early date in its existing form, and that he had received no representations to the contrary from the Dublin Milk Board. If that was not what he said, am I to understand that the Dublin Milk Board is against the Bill?

Mr. Walsh


Perhaps the Minister will inform the House what the position is.

Mr. Walsh

I said I had representations from Cork to go ahead with the Bill in its present form.

You also mentioned the Dublin Board.

Mr. Walsh

They have been anxious for this Bill for years.

Not in its existing form. I am asking the Minister to answer categorically the question, has he received any comment from the Dublin Board as to whether they are for or against the Bill in its existing form, and as to whether they are for or against Section 4? If the Minister has not received any representations that the Dublin Board are against Section 4, then my information must be mistaken. I will be quite happy to acknowledge that I am mistaken, but I believe that the Dublin Board is against Section 4.

Mr. Walsh

They are not against the Bill.

Section 4?

Mr. Walsh

I have no idea, a number of them may be.

Very good. Does the Minister say that he has no idea as to whether the Dublin Board are against Section 4?

Mr. Walsh

Just the same as I have an idea that the Deputy may be alone in being against Section 4.

The plain truth of the matter is that the Minister has not given an answer. We will have an opportunity of getting an answer to that question on the Committee Stage. I am going to tell the Minister now, and he can correct me if I am wrong, that the Dublin Milk Board have indicated to him that they are against the enactment of Section 4 in its existing form. If the Dublin Milk Board have indicated to him that that is the position, then I suggest it is not a proper thing for the Minister to come to this House and endeavour to give us the impression that they are in favour of it as it stands.

Mr. Walsh

They are in favour of the Bill.

The Minister is a very bad person to quibble. It is always perfectly obvious when he is trying to get out of answering a straight question. It becomes more and more obvious, the more he quibbles and the more he replies.

He has no legal training.

That is exactly it.

Thank God.

He is doing exactly what witnesses have a habit of doing— talking too much—and he has given his whole case away.

It is better than talking through your hat.

He was right to wear the silk hat on the occasion. It is a grand thing——

Not Deputy Corry. God save us from that aspect.

There is nothing about silk hats in this Bill.

It is a pleasure to contemplate the possibility of Deputy Corry in a silk hat.

I should not like to consider that a pleasure, but I should like to consider the Bill.

That would be a pleasure.

A deputation from the board visited the Minister with regard to Section 4. That deputation, so far as I can gather from the Seanad debates, indicated to the Minister that they thoroughly approved of Section 3, but disapproved of Section 4 in its existing form.

Mr. Walsh

Some of them.

A majority of them, and a majority of a board is what should——

Mr. Walsh

Not even a majority.

A majority of the board passed a resolution, which was sent to the Minister for Agriculture, stating that they did not approve of Section 4, and the Minister will not say so. When that fact was in the Minister's possession before he came in here and spoke, he should not have tried to leave the House under the impression, as he did try, that the Dublin District Milk Board was asking for this Bill in its present form. They are not, and we will renew that discussion on Committee Stage.

I am interested in this Bill from the point of view of the supply of milk in Cork, and all the other Deputies from that area are concerned with it. It is a well-known fact that a discussion on the supply of sour milk to the people of Cork in the summer months is a hardy annual here. I am disappointed that the consumers are not getting representation on the milk board, even if they were only to hold the balance of power which Deputy Sweetman says does not exist on the Dublin Board. There is no doubt that a milk board should be responsible for the supply of good milk to the people who are paying for it. That should be the primary concern of such a board.

It should be their responsibility to see that the milk is good and that the people to whom they give licences carry out their duties properly. Repeated resolutions have been sent to the Minister, to the milk board and other bodies with a view to improving the supply of milk in Cork, but without any success. On the whole, the people of Cork are satisfied with the milk they are getting, but for three months of the year, the hot summer months, the milk is very often sour, with the result that people find themselves without milk for their breakfast and must have resort to other means of satisfying their needs in the morning.

It should not be impossible for a board like the milk board to ensure that a twice daily delivery of milk will be provided for the people during these months. We have tried to get that year after year and have got nowhere with the Cork milk producers. It is a common thing to see the once-a-day delivery of milk in Cork taking place at 2 o'clock in the day. Here in Dublin where I stay, the milk is delivered before 7 o'clock in the morning. In Cork, the people sought to get pasteurised milk because there was no other means of getting fresh milk for their families and the corporation passed a resolution in favour of it which was forwarded to the Minister. The county council refused to pass the resolution and as a big portion of the Cork Milk Board area is in the county, the corporation's resolution had no effect whatever, because nobody will set up a pasteurising plant to supply the people within the county borough alone. It looks to me as if the people of Cork will have to be satisfied with sour milk every summer.

The corporation asked for representation on the milk board and failed to get it. The people who are paying for and consuming milk should have some voice in the matter, should have some say with regard to whether the service given by certain people is a good and suitable service and they should be entitled to tell the milk board that such and such a person should not get a licence. That is the principal grievance in regard to the Cork milk supply and surely the Minister or anybody else will not tell me that it is an unreasonable request to ask that there should be some law to prevent the milk board from giving licences to people in the Cork Milk Board area who are not prepared to give a decent supply of milk to the people.

I hope that due consideration will be given to the consumers in any revision of prices and that due consideration will be given to the fact that there are plenty of people anxious to supply milk to Cork who only get permits to do so during the winter period. There are at least 50 or 60 who are asked to supply milk in the winter, but who are not allowed to supply it in the summer. The Minister should look into it very carefully, because milk is a very important form of food. It is a form of food which can contain many unhealthy ingredients, if not properly looked after, and a form of food which should not be served in a sour condition. Even when it is supplied sweet, it surely should be able to remain in that condition until the next supply is available.

I doubt the propriety at all of the Minister coming to the Oireachtas with a Bill and saying he protests against anyone criticising him because he inherited this Bill from his predecessor.

Mr. Walsh

Yes, seeing that it has sins now. I inherit the sins.

I think it is a bad practice, but if my successor wants to shelter behind my person, I am quite prepared to protect him from his own supporters, in so far as that may be necessary. I do not think my recollection is at fault when I tell the House that this Bill was not drafted and approved by me for submission to the Government while I was in office, but I agree with the proposals in this Bill. I think one is bound to ask oneself: What is the purpose of a milk board?

If I understand the purpose of the milk board correctly, it is to secure in Cork or in Dublin that there will be an adequate supply of good milk for the citizens. That is the primary duty. If my recollection serves me aright, when I took over the Department of Agriculture that was the only duty that either milk board appeared to conceive itself as being charged with; and, apart from an annual representation to the Minister for the time being as to the maximum price, I think they engaged in very little other operations. The Minister mentions that the powers contained in Section 4 are merely the statutory implementation of powers taken by Emergency Powers Order in 1942. Would the Minister tell the House what was the occasion of taking those powers in 1942? Does the Minister know? I think he does himself no service in trying to maintain the absurd pretence here that Section 4 does not provide the board and himself with efficient powers to maintain the milk supply in Cork or Dublin in the event of an attempt being made by the suppliers, the wholesalers or the retailers to hold up supplies from the city. If my memory serves me aright, this question came under review in connection with the panic caused in Cork last Christmas when, strongly against my advice, preparations were made to establish municipal depots for milk. I think that was undertaken with unnecessary hullabaloo and, in fact, it proved ultimately quite unnecessary.

It was 12 months last Christmas.

Yes. However, the matters outstanding were settled amicably and the milk supply was maintained. That is quite a while ago and I cannot remember the exact position. I think the Department was then conscious of the fact that it might take certain measures in Cork to meet a certain emergency but that the legality of those measures could very easily be called into question. I think the Department had in mind that some of the measures taken when a similar situation arose in Dublin had served a very useful purpose in maintaining the milk supply to the City of Dublin but that their legality was very doubtful.

I wonder what was the date of the occasion when it became necessary to take emergency measures to maintain the Dublin milk supply, or was it the Cork milk supply on a previous occasion, when there were depots opened; and another occasion in a provincial area when it became necessary to set up milk depots, which were administered by the county manager. Perhaps the Minister would tell us the dates on which these emergencies arose and the circumstances in which the Emergency Powers Order of 1942 to which he refers was made. Having gone fully into that story, I would like to be present when he then assured the House that Section 4 had no purpose in view except to provide facilities wherewith to dispose of any temporary surplus milk or to fill any transitory shortage.

Why is the Minister ashamed of coming before the House to equip himself with powers which every reasonable Deputy will agree that he ought to have if there is to be a milk board at all, and if it is to maintain the milk supply to the cities? If he would have courage to get up and tell the truth and shame the devil he might find a considerable measure of agreement if he would restrict the powers of the Bill to a situation where he certified, as a prior condition of using those powers, that he had good grounds for apprehending that the supply of either city was imperilled and that it was necessary in order to maintain it that the powers contained in Section 4 should be used so long as that danger continued. I cannot see that it is at all likely that either milk board would wish permanently to engage in retail or wholesale distribution unless the existing machinery were used to starve either city out of milk. Then, I think, they ought to have the powers to collaborate with those in authority to see that the children in this city or in Cork will not be starved of milk while some legitimate trade dispute is proceeding between suppliers and distributors or between distributors and the board.

I make no apology for saying that, if I were Minister for Agriculture, no body of suppliers in this country, no body of wholesalers or retailers, would hold me up to ransom by saying to me: "If you do not toe the line, we will see that the children get no milk." I would not hesitate to take powers— and to insist on having them—to say: "While I fully recognise the right of the suppliers and the wholesalers or retailers to bring whatever pressure they like to bear on me, so long as I pretend that there is a milk board in existence they will not bring pressure to bear on the children, the maintenance of whose health depends on an adequate supply of milk." On reflection, I do not think any responsible Deputy would claim that right and from that follows, by conviction, that if the Minister were frank with the House and were prepared to confine the board's right to use these powers with his consent to circumstances in which he had certified that he had good grounds for apprehending the failure of the Dublin or Cork milk supply, undoubtedly certain Deputies in the House would not be so reluctant to pass the Bill with Section 4 amended as I suggested by the insertions therein.

I had no consultation with Deputy Sweetman about this or his reaction to the restriction which I propose, and I am not in a position to answer for his view. I am merely stating my own view, and not anyone else's. I will vote for Section 4 as amended, and put neither cap nor cloak on it that I think the Minister ought to have the power to use the machinery of the board to protect the population of either city from a milk famine precipitated from an ulterior motive.

They should make no apology for seeking it. Deputy McGrath seems to make a mystery out of the inability of the Department of Agriculture, when I was at the head of it, to get the milk supply from Cork City pasteurised. I am a great believer in persuasion and patience and when I first asked the Cork milk suppliers to help me in getting the milk supply of Cork City pasteurised, I knew they were suspicious and that they felt there was something in this proposal which might reduce their margin of profit or involve them in some liability, the exact nature of which they could not discern.

I thought the best way to go about that was to try gradually to persuade them that there was not a nigger in the woodpile, that everyone wished to protect their legitimate interests and, without creating any scandal, to ensure that certain grave defects in the Cork milk supply would be put right without anybody's feelings being hurt. I laboured at that for two years. Deputy Lehane and Deputy Corry, by a series of manoevres and conspiracy, succeeded in trading on the fact that I was resolved to be patient and they managed to postpone the business until I went out of office. I wish my successor better luck than I had.

In regard to the Cork milk suppliers—I tried to cover it up for two years but I will cover it up no longer —in certain respects the position was a scandal. I appealed to the Cork milk suppliers to help me to set right that scandal and not to take their profits at the expense of burying their neighbour's children. I say that the man who definitely knows that tubercular milk is going into his neighbour's house which may fatally infect his neighbour's child is worse than a man who commits murder in cold blood.

I informed the Cork milk suppliers that there was no effective means whereby to prevent the distribution of tubercular milk except the pasteurisation of the entire Cork milk supply. Even though they were possessed of that knowledge, it is now nearly three years since the proposal to pasteurise the Cork milk supply was formulated and we are to-day as far away from pasteurisation there as we were three years ago.

I want the House to know what the nature of the proposal was. It was that if the Cork milk suppliers wanted to form a co-operative, they could pasteurise their own milk and use their own co-operative to distribute it wholesale to their retailers and to the consumers; or, if they did not feel equal to that responsibility, the Dairy Disposal Board would do it for them and they might rest assured that in no circumstances would they be put into the hands of one, two or three licensed pasteurisers with the knowledge that if they did not pass their milk through the hands of these gentlemen they could not sell milk in Cork at all.

Finally, this proposal was made: "It is fully understandable that you may be reluctant to embark upon such a large undertaking. The Dairy Disposal Board will go to Cork, establish the pasteurising plant; they will build it, equip it and work it, on this understanding, that any day you like the Cork milk suppliers can form a co-operative society and walk away and purchase the pasteurising plant and organisation at the very penny that it cost the Dairy Disposal Board to establish it and operate it. If you do not want to take it you need not, but if you feel the Dairy Disposal Board is not serving you well all you have to do is form a co-operative, raise the capital, and," I said to them, "I will help you to get the capital and I guarantee to you that the Government will consent to a margin, not necessarily that will give you a profit on pasteurisation but that will ensure that the Cork milk suppliers will be at no loss from pasteurising their milk and they will continue to enjoy the same margin of profit as they have."

I must say the Cork Corporation, after some persuasion, passed a resolution in regard to pasteurisation, but the Cork County Council was persuaded not to pass it. If I had been returned to office I would have come to Dáil Eireann to seek power to force the Cork County Council in this matter whether they wanted it or not. I was reluctant because I did not want to disclose facts which I did not think ought to be disclosed, but I challenge the Cork milk suppliers now to publish the tests that are in existence of some of the milk that was collected and tested in the Cork distribution area.

Hear, hear; it would give some of them a shock.

Why did you not effect pasteurisation under the health law?

I wanted to get the local people to collaborate with the Department in doing it rather than to have the Department doing it alone.

You had the power for pasteurising the milk.

The Deputy is mistaken. You had to get from the two local authorities a resolution before the powers the Deputy has in mind became effective in the hands of the Minister.

You could have done it under the health law.

I did all I could to try to get it done. I think it would have been much better to get it done by consent and I think it would be much preferable to have the pasteurisation of the Cork milk supply done by a co-operative representing the producers, so that they would have the handling of their own milk, but if they will not do it, I think the Minister for Agriculture ought to get the powers, however radical, in order to get it done.

It is a scandal that in this day and age milk should be sold to the people of Cork City which constitutes a grave danger to the health of some of them and especially to the health of children.

Section 3 of this Bill is the section which is particularly dear to my heart. I invited the Dublin Milk Board to undertake, not only the supervision of the milk supply on behalf of the citizens of Dublin but the expansion of the demand so that the producers would have better milk and, on the other side, I offered to assist the producer by providing expert advice on the production of milk more economically, to provide them with equipment on credit terms and finally to provide them with access to artificial insemination facilities which would bring within their reach bulls that cost up to 2,000 guineas at the Shorthorn auctions in Great Britain and Ireland. The first reaction was that the Dublin milk producers wanted none of these things, that they kept fine herds, that artificial insemination did not matter a damn and that they did not want money wasted on it. They claimed that they knew blooming well how to produce milk without being told how and, generally, that any proposal of this character was an insolent intrusion into the autonomy of the people. Deputies will not have any serious difficulty in guessing the source of these complimentary observations which were made at meetings of public bodies in every county comprised in the Dublin milk-supplying area. However, despite the co-operative attitude of these public representatives, I am going to suggest to the Minister for Agriculture now that he should continue all the processes on which we embarked during the past three years, namely, artificial insemination, ensilage, pasture instruction and advice and the provision of equipment such as milking machines, milk coolers and the like on attractive credit terms for purchasers.

I feel the time has now come when the Minister might, with perfect propriety, consider going a step further. Nothing is more fundamental to the maintenance of the milk supply on tolerable terms for producer and consumer in this city than that it should be produced from cows who give a reasonable yield. When milk producers in the Dublin milk area found their industry on the 350-gallon cow, inevitably their need for an excessive price resultant on the inadequate yield of such cow will become an intolerable burden on city consumers. I, therefore, suggest to the Minister that, when he charges himself to supervise the quality and the price of milk to be supplied to the city, he has a right in equity to say to licensed producers of milk for local consumption in the city: "One of the conditions of having your cowhouses licensed for the production of milk for local consumption in Dublin and Cork will be that you join a cow testing society operated by your own milk board." All the stringency attaching to the cow testing regulations laid down for grading up in the Department's register need not be necessary. Farmers can have that if they want it. Should they find it burdensome, however, a simpler cow testing system could be introduced, based on the monthly test for the purpose solely of establishing the milk yield of each supplier's individual cow. In this way a farmer would know that he had a number of uneconomic cows of which he should dispose so as to replace them with animals which would give an adequate yield for the food given them.

I know what the reaction of some Deputies in the House will be. They will say, first of all: "Does not the farmer know what milk his own cow is giving?" The answer is that he does not, and it has been established in Holland, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark and in this country that there is not a farmer living who knows the yield of his own cow unless he belongs to a cow testing society, and takes the trouble to find out. The farmer himself is frequently the most surprised man in the parish when he gets the return of his own herd.

The second objection that will be raised is this: "If the farmer does find that he has two uneconomic cows in the paddock, what can he do about it? If he goes out and buys two more, they may be worse." The answer is that they may be worse. I ventured to meet that objection in the parish of Bansha. We examined every cow in that parish and indicated to every farmer there that he had certain uneconomic cows, and that if he wanted to get rid of them we would give him £40 apiece for them or else a three-year-old heifer in calf to a 2,000-guinea bull. Owing to the exceptional craze at the present time for boned, rolled, frozen, boxed beef in the United States of America, I feel that circumstances are such that, without any cost on the producer or on the consumer, a scheme could be operated from Grange to facilitate milk suppliers in the Dublin area, and from Clonakilty, to facilitate milk suppliers in the Cork area, for the killing off of uneconomic cows and for the processing of the beef. Surely if the board is in a position to come to the suppliers and say: "Look, at the end of lactation— and no one is going to compel you, you can see for yourself—if you have any uneconomic cows in the byre—that is, cows giving less than 500 gallons apiece—you can write to the milk board and say: ‘Give me £40 apiece for them or else a three-year-old heifer in calf to a 2,000-guinea bull.'" No farmer to whom that offer was made would have any reason to complain. The milk board could buy the uneconomic beasts, slaughter them and ship the meat to the United States as prime manufactured beef and get a price for that beef through the canneries. The canneries might be reasonably required to collaborate in such a scheme which would enable the Minister or the board to operate the plan—preferably the Minister—without costing anybody a one-penny piece.

I know it sounds queer that in this day and generation the story of Aladdin should be re-told and we should be able to go into every parish and offer new lamps for old without any charge on the Exchequer, without any charge on the consumer, and without any charge on the producer. But circumstances are such the present time that it is possible to do that.

I think the Minister ought to consider providing that facility in these two areas as one of the services envisaged under Section 3. Given that he is prepared to offer that amenity I think he has a duty to say to the suppliers: "A condition of your cows being licensed for the production of milk will be that you are also registered as a member of your own cow testing society and when the yield of your cows has been established there will be no other liability; the only claim made upon you will be that you will at least comply with that one monthly weighing which will fix you with notice of a pretty good approximation of the true milk yield of all the cows you own."

I will vote for this Bill, but I think in the Minister's own interest he should discard the pretence that he does not foresee the possibility of Section 4 having to be used in certain circumstances and he should tell the House frankly now that he intends to use it in defence of children should that necessity arise while conciliation and negotiation are in process of resolving any dispute which has interrupted the city milk supply.

If the Minister will indicate in his concluding observations that he will propose an amendment in that sense restricting the user of that power conferred upon him here and the board to a time when he, the Minister, being the absolute judge, certifies that he is satisfied that the milk supply of the city is about to be put in danger, I cannot conceive of any rational person objecting to that. Though I have not very much sympathy with it I can foresee wholesalers who have large capital investments in big premises organised for the wholesale distribution of milk and conceivably, too, producers whose suspicions and anxieties can be played upon, will have some kind of ground for apprehension that the chairman of the milk board will set up depots and try to short circuit them. I had exactly the same experience when I tried to monopolise the market for the inshore fishermen. The people for whom the market was being orgainsed suspected they were being had. There is no use getting hot under the collar and saying that something is unreasonable and that we must act reasonably. Nobody is reasonable in this world. If everybody was reasonable this world would be a close approximation to paradise. It is because everybody is unreasonable in his own particular bailiewick that we live in a vale of tears and experience sorrow and woe. Therefore, I never get cross when people are unreasonable, and I think one will often bring them to reason in moderation by saying to them: "I think your apprehensions are fantastic but if it is possible for me to meet you without destroying the essential elements in my Bill I will meet you." That course of conduct very often brings a man to a realisation of the fact that he has been acting-up, and he will be the first to turn round and give you a hand to settle whatever problems are outstanding.

If I am correct in my diagnosis of the situation I invite the Minister to say when concluding that he will restrict his power. If he prefers it I will very gladly put down an amendment proposing such a restriction, and I will withdraw that amendment in favour of one proposed by the Minister giving effect to the same consideration.

For a long time we have been trying to get a clean milk supply for Cork City. Deputy Dillon, as Minister for Agriculture, went a long way towards achieving that. Every encouragement was given to the milk suppliers in Cork City to supply clean milk. Every case that could be made was made against pasteurisation. It was said that we could get a clean supply by having a number of producers who would give us good clean milk.

I am concerned about the report of our medical officer of health in relation to our milk supply in Cork City I do not intend to give any figures or describe the condition of the milk supply. Deputy Allen said we could get clean milk through our health services. Our medical officer of health has been doing his part for a number of years to get a clean milk supply. Evidently there is no way of getting that except by pasteurisation.

I know, Deputy Dillon knows, and some of the milk suppliers know that there was a group of men anxious to take over the job. These men were prepared to do it because they would make a profit out of it. Deputy Dillon, as Minister for Agriculture at the time, suggested to the milk suppliers that they should start a co-operative society as producers and do the work themselves. He gave them every encouragement in regard to capital. When that was done the question arose as to where one would go to get £150,000 to start this pasteurising plant. It was asked would the municipal authority take it over. We still have a bad milk supply in Cork City. Deputy McGrath spoke about the conditions in the summer months. The same state of affairs will arise in the coming summer. I suggest the present Minister should go on from where the last Minister left off and ensure that the Cork people get a clean milk supply.

I have no objection to the personnel of the Milk Board for Cork City but for a number of years some of us have been advocating representation for the consumers on that board. I was a member of the corporation for a number of years and I advocated, with some others, that the corporation should have a direct representative on that board.

The corporation are a body elected by the votes of the citizens of Cork, and is it too much to ask that the citizens of Cork who are consumers— 85,000 of them both from the city and suburbs—should have a member on that board representing them? I hope that the Minister will not take dictation from any other source. I hope that he will do the right thing by the people and give the consumers a representative on that board. I think enough has been said on the subject. All the files relating to what took place during that period are in the Minister's office. From inquiries made during the past fortnight, I know that every effort is being made to delay the project of the pasteurisation of the milk supply to Cork City. I heard that certain developments were going to take place in a town not far from Cork. I made inquiries and I was told that we would not have pasteurisation of the milk for a long time because you had people who were too much taken up with their own interests.

I would appeal to the Minister to use the powers he holds at the moment to give the citizens of Cork a clean milk supply, which they have not got for a long time. Deputy Dillon knows about the position in relation to the supply of milk for the City of Cork. It would alarm anybody. I would appeal to the Minister not to take dictation from vested interests or from myself, as representing certain interests, and to see for himself that the consumers are entitled to have a representative on the milk board in the Cork area.

I did not expect that a practically non-contentious measure of this description would be used in this House for the furtherance of a filthy, dirty attack on the agricultural community in Cork in order to carry out a 50-year-old vendetta between the Mollies and the O'Briens. I did not expect it was going to be used for that purpose, but I can quite understand the mind of one who stated that he was not going to kow-tow to the Tricolour or take off his hat toThe Soldier's Song.

The Deputy must keep to the Bill.

I am keeping very strictly to it.

The Deputy is not.

And to the statements that were made here.

The Deputy is not.

I should like to point out that there is no compulsory milk pasteurisation for Dublin City which has a far larger population than Cork and which is a city to which a considerable quantity of Cork milk is sent. It is non-pasteurised milk and apparently it is quite satisfactory to the people of Dublin. It is not this dirty T.B. milk that is being supplied apparently by all the farmers of Cork.

Nobody said that.

Deputy Dillon stated it. The Deputy is nearer Deputy Dillon than I am and I am sure he is not altogether that deaf. Deputy Dillon also told us about cow-testing. About three and a half years ago Deputy Dillon got a lecture on milk costings taken in Cork by Professor Murphy. He found that the average production of those local T.B. cows kept by the farmers who were producing and sending milk into Cork City was from 565 to 650 gallons per cow. Those are the T.B. cows! Those are the dirty cows kept by the dirty farmers of Cork!

On a point of order, I have more respect than that for farmers and no such reference was ever made to them in this House.

That is not a point of order.

That remark should not have been made.

Who cares what that boyo says?

If Deputy Hickey takes half an hour off from his discussions on finance the next day coming up in the train and reads Deputy Dillon's speech, he will know where he stands. He should read it if he did not hear it. Those allegations have been made up and down this country in a campaign of vengeance on the part of Deputy Dillon and because of misconceived ideas on the part of some Deputies in this House.

Cork Corporation—and indeed every corporation—have the power and frequently make use of it to deal with any producer sending dirty or tubercular milk into a city. That power is there. There are, I think, in Cork City something between 15 and 25 officials looking after the milk of Cork to see that milk is clean. That is their job. Nobody is going to persuade me that pasteurisation will make dirty milk clean. It will not. That has been proved everywhere else in the world, except where manoeuvres were on behind the scenes to help a bunch of gentlemen in Cork to get rich quickly. That is what is behind the pasteurisation manoeuvre from start to finish.

Well, well, well!

Those inspectors are there and if Deputy Hickey asks the Cork Corporation next week how many veterinary surgeons and inspectors are employed by the corporation looking after the milk of Cork City, he will find their cost puts a pretty considerable sum on the rates.

I am quite well aware of it.

Those people, if they are doing anything for the money they are paid, have complete power to insist upon every gallon of milk going into Cork City being tested to see that it is clean. I have no doubt but that they are doing this. The kind of manoeuvring I have referred to has been got up for a specific purpose. We hear all about the dirty, bad and sour milk that is being supplied.

A pretty considerable number of the farmers supplying Cork City have gone to the expense, within the past couple of years, of putting in special plant for cooling the milk—plant costing anything from £150 to £350. That plant has been installed by those farmers. That plant will freeze milk so that it will hold sweet for two days but the farmer having gone to that expense is to find himself still in the position that because the health inspectors in Cork do not go around looking at the dirty jugs the milk is going into he must send in his milk twice a day.

The Fianna Fáil Party enjoys that joke?

I did not enjoy Deputy Dillon's filth for an hour.

I do not enjoy the joke.

It is undoubtedly very happy for the individual who finds after a couple of hours that the milk is sour in the jug, that instead of thinking that last night's milk, what was left of it, was still in the jug before the fresh milk was put in——

It is your own house you are thinking of.

I am thinking of what I have seen in Cork City.

There are a good many good housekeepers in Cork City.

Their money is all right, anyway.

There were before they learned to go to the pictures.

The Deputy never had a cup of tea in Cork.

This evening we had to put up with a filthy attack on a body of farmers who went to trouble and expense in order to supply the people of Cork City with good milk. Those people were held up to ridicule here for the past hour. They, as farmers, are as much entitled to representation on harbour boards, which are run by 14 or 15 vested interests for the purpose of skinning the farmers in everything that comes in and everything that goes out, as certain gentlemen are entitled to representation on a milk board.

However, I am anxious to get down to the Bill itself and examine it better. I regret that the passage of this Bill, which should be debated in this House on its merits, has been used in this rather filthy way.

Could we have the Bill?

Deputy McGrath was anxious for a 7 o'clock in the morning delivery.

I did not say anything of the kind.

Deputy McGrath was looking for the same conditions that apply in Dublin—7 o'clock in the morning.

I was not looking for anything of the kind. I simply stated what happened in Dublin and what happened in Cork, where the milk is delivered at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

The agricultural community are no longer going to stop up all night so that the drones who get up at 9 o'clock can get milk in their tea.

Nobody suggested it.

They have not a notion of it. The Minister was quite correct when he stated that the Cork Milk Board looked for this Bill in 1948. I do not know whether the file with that application in it shows the purpose for which it was looked for, that is, in order to increase the production of milk for Cork City by the purchase of Friesian bulls so as to get rid of the departmental policy which has been carried on for the past 30 years and which has transformed a fairly decent milch cow giving three or four gallons a day into a one-and-a-half-gallon animal.

The Cork Milk Board looked for the right to use the funds given to them by the farmers supplying milk to Cork city for the purpose of getting Friesian bulls so as to increase the milk yield and in order to endeavour to set back in some way the mad progress of the Department of Agriculture in their advocacy of beef. That was the first purpose for which we wanted an opportunity to use this money : to buy what Deputy Dillon described in this House as a "Pekingese" bull. It is all very well for people to talk about cow-testing and all the rest of the paraphernalia attached to it, yet those people who talk about improving milk yield see the Irish taxpayers' money paid in premiums on Herefords, premiums on Pol Angus and premiums on an animal, a kind of mongrel, called the dairy shorthorn. At the same time those people refuse to give assistance— they retard them as well as they can and put all the obstacles possible in their way—to farmers who endeavour to build up herds with a milk yield. That is what is wrong. That is the reason why the Cork Milk Board decided in their wisdom to look for the powers contained in this Bill, and I am sure they will make good use of them.

With regard to Section 4 that all the noise is about, I suggest that we, in Cork, are a practical, commonsense body of men. Section 4 is practically in full operation in Cork for a number of years with the difference that it is not operated by the Milk Board. Through the good offices of the dairy science section of University College, Cork, the surplus milk in Cork is pooled at the university and redistributed. That gets rid of the rather nasty position where you had a man rushing along with three or four gallons in the bottom of a churn, running into a laneway and tossing it upside down into the churn of another man who happened to be short.

The farmer who has surplus milk going into Cork to-day will deliver it to the Cork University, and it is there given out to the distributors who are in short supply. So that Section 4, to all intents and purposes, is at present being operated successfully in Cork.

I heard Deputy Dillon speaking about the furore that there was in Cork last Christmas twelve months owing to there being some idea of a milk strike and the establishment of milk depôts. He said he disagreed with them. If the Minister disagreed with them, there were two officials of the Minister's Department who called on the Cork City Manager and the Cork City Manager had to inform the gentlemen that were sent down, very much against the will of the Minister, as he said— I do not know who sent them down if he did not—that his officials were not going to be used as strike-breakers.

Does the Lord Mayor of Cork confirm that?

The lord mayor will, I am certain, verify what I am saying.

He is sitting beside you. Does the lord mayor confirm that?

I am not the lord mayor.

You were then.

Do you confirm what Deputy Corry says?

Not in full. The manager did not say it.

Perhaps the lord mayor himself said it. Did the lord mayor, as representing the citizens of Cork, tell us that the officials were not going to be used as strike breakers? Does that satisfy Deputy Dillon?

I leave it to the Lord Mayor of Cork.

The gentleman who disagreed completely with all this furore, as he described it, was the gentleman who sent down two men to form milk depôts and to get ready to smash the farmers. That kind of humbug is all very well. I notice that at first Deputy Dillon claimed to own the Bill, that is was brought in by himself. Apparently, Deputy Dillon is anxious to claim the good patches in it and to let who likes claim the bad.

I welcome the Bill as giving us in Cork an opportunity to improve our herds, to improve the yield of our cows and giving us a better chance to produce good, clean and cheap milk for the citizens of Cork. There is contained in the Bill an opportunity for doing that.

We hear about the powers of the milk board but I would like to say one thing about it. While Deputy Dillon was monarch of all he surveyed, the milk board sent about seven or eight unanimous decisions on price which were all very faithfully ignored and turned down. The profits on which the farmers were going to do a lot of things had completely disappeared about the middle of 1948 and were turned into a loss during 1949, 1950 and part of 1951. As a matter of fact, suppliers of milk in Cork City are still producing milk at a loss. That is the position.

When one speaks of cow testing, one must have regard to one aspect that applies to farmers who supply milk to Cork City. As any farmer knows, there is a plentiful period and a scarce period in the matter of milk production. About the middle of September, the farmer who has contracted to supply a definite quantity of milk to the city every day has either to have his cows coming in calf or to go down to the nearest auction yard and purchase cows. The majority of the cows that are brought there for sale are bought from people who produce cattle mainly for beef.

The unfortunate farmer is compelled to purchase a cow there that would give him a milk yield such as was very noticeable during the period of office of the former Minister, namely, one and a half gallons a day. That is the difficulty that these farmers are faced with and these are the obstacles against which we have to endeavour to supply the citizens of Cork with milk. There should be no difficulty whatever in the people of Cork City getting a decent supply of clean milk.

Why are not they getting it?

They are getting it or, if they are not getting it, there is a bunch of officials paid by the Cork Corporation who are not doing their duty and it should be the duty of the members of the corporation here to see that they do it. If they do that, there will be less noise about dirty milk in Cork. You cannot expect a farmer who has spent from £300 to £400 in putting in milking machines, cooling plant and everything else necessary to supply clean milk to Cork, to travel twice a day in summer into the city in order that he may be seen knocking at the housekeeper's door. If he has gone to the expense of providing machinery which enables him to produce milk that will remain sweet for two days, if treated properly when it is received, there should be no necessity to do that. That is the difficulty you are up against.

I take it that there is a Health Act in force in Cork City and under that Act corporation officials have power to deal with tubercular milk or dirty milk that is not in good condition when it is being delivered. That power is in existence and has been in existence always. Therefore, I cannot understand this wild drive on the part of a former Minister for Agriculture and his few supporters in different places in this House for pasteurised milk for Cork City.

The former Minister got the bright idea, very early in his infant stages as Minister, that it would be a great thing to try it on the dog, so instead of introducing enforced pasteurisation for Dublin City, he decided to introduce it for Cork. As I have already stated, there is more milk from County Cork coming up here to supply Dublin City to-day than there is going into Cork City itself, more non-pasteurised milk, so that if there is something specially contaminating about Cork milk, surely it should have its ill-effects on the citizens of Dublin. It does not seem to have had that effect. I am sorry for having taken up the time of the House for such a lengthy period, but in view of the statements that were made here, and in view of the fact that the passage of this Bill was used to make an unprovoked attack on the hard-working suppliers of milk to Cork City, I considered I had a duty to perform in putting an end to the vendetta started by the late Minister for Agriculture in revenge for things which happened 50 years ago.

As I understand the object of this Bill is to provide for the better utilisation of the funds available to the milk boards. In so far as that is the general principle of the Bill, I think all Deputies will accept it. It is, however, true that in the Dublin milk supply area particularly, there is a feeling of misgiving amongst producers generally in regard to the effect of the Bill. I think the Dublin District Milk Producers' Association have expressed that misgiving on various occasions and will continue to do so. They are not opposed to the general principle of the Bill, but they do fear that some abuse might be made of the powers conferred under Section 4.

I should like to ask the Minister if he has met the Dublin Milk Producers' Association to discuss this Bill with them. If he has not done so, would he have any objection in meeting them before the Committee Stage of the Bill is reached? Like Deputy Dillon I am altogether in favour of patience, forbearance and conciliation in dealing with matters of this kind. I think that the Minister will find that the Dublin Milk Suppliers' Association is a body of very reasonable men and that, if he discusses this matter with them, he will have no difficulty whatever in reaching agreement in regard to the exact wording of Section 4 or in regard to any safeguards which they might consider necessary to prevent abuse of the powers in this Bill.

It has been asked what possibility is there of the Dublin District Milk Board abusing its powers. It has been said that the majority of the members of the board are milk producers. In actual fact, the majority of the members of the board are not milk producers but, even if they were, there is the difficulty that the Dublin Milk Board, on which the producers have considerable representation, meets probably only once a month but the chairman sits every day. There are many things that a chairman, who is a permanent paid official, can do in the course of a month or from month to month which it is always very difficult to supervise. Those of us who are members of local authorities know the considerable powers exercised by county managers in between meetings of county councils, apart altogether from the reserved functions which they enjoy. The Minister may, or may not, be aware that at present the relations between the Dublin milk producers and the chairman of the milk board are slightly strained. It is only natural in those circumstances that people who are engaged in the production of milk should feel very uneasy when they see additional powers being put into the hands of an official in whom they have not, to put it mildly, complete confidence.

There are many aspects of this particular section which deserve close attention. It is agreed, and I think will be agreed, that the milk producers are a trade association. As such they have the right to negotiate in regard to the price of milk and in arranging terms and conditions with the wholesalers and others with whom they have to deal. As a trade association they have the right to withhold supplies in default of agreement. As a trade association they are very anxious to protect their rights. No labour union would like to see its powers in regard to strike action curbed or restricted in any way and I do not think any trade association dealing with milk producers' rights, and anxious for the protection of these rights, would like to see any curb put on their powers of negotiation or their power to secure a fair price for their produce. In these circumstances it is only natural that a Bill of this kind should arouse a certain amount of suspicion in the minds of producers.

I have the feeling that if the Minister, who is a reasonable and approachable man, were to meet the producers in open conference he would be able to reach agreement with them, not only in regard to the general principles of the Bill, which are accepted, but also in regard to the details. I think it very desirable that such a conference between the Minister and the producers should be held before this House is asked to deal with the Committee Stage of the Bill.

There is one matter, I think, in regard to which there is a certain amount of misgiving. It is acknowledged that there are certain funds in the hands of the Dublin District Board. These funds are derived from a small levy on each gallon supplied. I understand that there is power under existing legislation to increase that levy. In that way it might be possible for the Milk Board to build up a very substantial fund and to use that fund in a way which might be detrimental to the interests of the producers. I hope that the Minister will deal with this matter when he is replying.

I am satisfied that if agreement is reached in regard to Section 4, and that if the misgivings of the producers are removed, there will be no difficulty in getting a speedy assent to this stage of the Bill. Certainly the Bill has many good points. I understand that there has been a persistent demand in Cork for the passing of this Bill. It is desirable from every point of view that funds which have accumulated in the hands of the milk board should be used to provide cleaner and better milk, and more efficient production and distribution.

One of the main purposes of the Bill is to provide for the extension of artificial insemination centres and subcentres, and I think there is general agreement that that is desirable. Perhaps I am an optimist, but I have always been inclined to believe that there is a great hope for future development in the dairying industry, and I feel that through artificial insemination some of the difficulties which have hitherto been encountered in grading-up the milk yields of cows will be overcome. Certainly it will ensure that both the small and the medium-sized farmer in the milk-supplying areas will have available to them for their stock the services of the best bred and most expensive bulls that are to be had. Over the years that should improve the milk strains of cows in this State, and particularly in the milk supply areas covered by this Bill. In the same way, I think the Bill should be used to eliminate uneconomic and low-yielding cows.

I am in complete agreement with Deputy Dillon when he suggested universal cow-testing in the milk-supplying areas. It is absolutely essential, and the machinery to eliminate all low-yielding cows should be put into operation as quickly as possible. That is a step which is overdue, and it is one which the milk board can help to bring about.

The milk board provides a service in regard to soil-testing. I have often wondered whether or not there is overlapping in a service of this kind. We already have provision for soil-testing through our local agricultural instructors. I have often wondered whether it would not be better to ensure that these officers would concentrate on that purpose, instead of running the risk of overlapping by the provision of that service by other bodies to farmers.

I am all for raising the milk yield— and, of course, raising the milk yield means lowering the costs of production. Anybody who has the interests not only of the farmer but also of the consumer at heart, is anxious to see the costs of production lowered, because that would be beneficial both to the farmer and to the consumer.

There ought to be no question whatever in the minds of Deputies in regard to the matter of cleanliness. Everybody who supplies milk for human consumption must make up his mind that absolute cleanliness must be a condition of his continuing to supply milk. It should be a rigid condition of registration as a milk supplier that the farmer who is supplying accepts without question any inspection or any tests that may be required in order to ensure that the milk is absolutely clean.

The Dublin Milk Board, through the funds which they possess and the powers which may be provided under this Bill, should undertake the elimination of disease, and particularly of tuberculosis. I may be wrong, but I believe that bovine tuberculosis is much more prevalent than most people realise and that, perhaps, to some extent, it is more dangerous than the ordinary lay person accepts. The building up of tuberculin-tested herds should be one of the functions to be sought and achieved under the powers provided by this Bill. I realise that that is not an ideal that can quickly be achieved, but it is an ideal which should be striven for. In this connection, I have often wondered why such a healthy breed of cattle as the Kerry breed is not more popular. I think that that breed got rather a bad name as a beef breed or as a breed for store cattle purposes, but I do not think that it deserves that bad name. I think that, in the poorer districts of the country, and particularly in mountainous districts, it is a breed which gives good results, and I have heard of very satisfactory results which were obtained from that particular breed.

I want to warn the Minister that assurances given by him during the passage of this Bill through the House are hardly sufficient to allay the misgivings of the producers. I think that any assurance he may wish to give to the producers, to the effect that the powers contained in this Bill will not be used against them, should be incorporated in the Bill. We had an unhappy experience a few years ago in connection with the Irish News Agency Bill which was passed by the Oireachtas. Under that Act very far-reaching powers were conferred on an independent body.

The Minister promoting the Bill gave the most solemn assurance to the House that these powers would not be used to enable that board to compete with those at present engaged in the newspaper business. Yet, when the Bill became law and that board was set up, the board calmly ignored the assurance given by the Minister and proceeded to act on the powers conferred on it under the Bill. There is just the same danger in regard to this Bill. The Minister may have the best intentions in the world, but there is always a danger that the powers which he is conferring on the milk board may be abused to a certain extent and he should take all the steps necessary to safeguard the producers' interests in that respect.

As I said, the producers, particularly in the Dublin district supply area, are a reasonable body of men. They are a body of progressive and intelligent farmers and they are prepared to give the board all the powers that are necessary to improve the milk supply for the area. They are not, however, prepared to give the board any powers which are not required for that purpose and which might be used against the milk producers in the case of any trade disagreement. I, therefore, ask the Minister to meet the Dublin Milk Producers' Association in a friendly way and I am satisfied that, after a friendly exchange of views, agreement can be reached in regard to the details of this Bill.

I have very little to say on this Bill except to ask a few questions concerning the health side of it. From my own experience during the recent years, I must confess that I received a considerable degree of co-operation from the former Minister for Agriculture in regard to the provision of a good milk supply for the people generally. There was invariably, however—I presume there is still—a rivalry between the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture in regard to the provision of a milk supply. In the Health Department, we were concerned with providing a safe supply. In the Department of Agriculture, they were particularly concerned with the production, as it says in Section 3, of an increased milk supply.

That is perfectly natural and understandable. I should like to know to what extent this safe milk aspect has been protected in the Bill—I presume it has gone around the Department in the ordinary way—and to what extent the Department of Health's recommendations have been considered and incorporated or provided for. Possibly under Section 5 it may be protected by the reference to the purchase of the highest grade milk, etc., which may mean that any milk bought by this board will be of a particular standard.

One must bear in mind that you may get the attitude of mind shown by Deputy Corry in which he dismisses the necessity for the pasteurisation of milk and suggests that the acquisition of coolers, etc., would be sufficient to protect milk against carrying dangerous diseases such as bovine tuberculosis. That aspect from the health point of view must be emphasised and we should aim at trying to provide a safe milk supply, an aspect which might be overlooked by the farmers, naturally would be overlooked by the farmers, because their main concern is to provide sufficient milk to meet the demands.

I should like to know to what extent the health aspect has been protected. It might be of interest to Deputy Corry, who always has been a very militant guardian of the ratepayers' interests in the Dáil—as long as I have been here I have admired his conscientious care of these matters—to know that a lot of the ratepayers' money goes to the maintenance of institutions and sanatoria in which many children suffering from tuberculosis are cared for at the ratepayers' expense. It might appeal to the ratepayers that in this way they could reduce the incidence of this disease by its prevention and thus reduce the expense which they are at present bearing.

The best illustration of that is in Norway where, instead of pasteurising the milk, they adopted the expedient, suggested, I think, by Deputy Dillon, of carrying out a tuberculin test of their cattle and slaughtering those which were positive. The result of that policy has been that tremendous strides have been made there towards the eradication of bovine tuberculosis. In that way, although considerable expense was involved during the carrying out of that policy, they are now reaping considerable dividends owing to the reduced incidence of bovine tuberculosis and the shutting down of many of their tuberculosis institutions.

I should like to know in that regard whether any consideration has been given to that aspect of the problem, the provision of a safe milk supply by farmers; whether any encouragement is being given to them to see that pasteurised milk is made available in the urban areas and, ultimately, in the country areas as well. The fact that milk remains sweet for two days, as Deputy Corry suggested, has nothing to do with the question of whether the milk carries these dangerous bacilli. Consequently, it is important that that idea should be eradicated from the minds of those who might become members of this board and who might have that completely erroneous idea. A sweet milk supply, or a pleasant-tasting milk supply, could easily be a very dangerous milk supply. My approach to this is purely from the health point of view. I think there should not be anything but encouragement given to a Bill which might increase the quantity of milk made available to cities and towns as long as it can be assured at the same time that that increased quantity will be a safe increased quantity.

In so far as legislation is designed to improve the quality of a vital human food and give an adequate supply, it should be supported and approved. This Bill is designed for that purpose and, consequently, the House should give its approval to it. I am not impressed by the statement that this legislation is being pushed ahead mainly at the request of the Cork Milk Board or any other such body, rather than as a Bill designed for the citizens as a whole. Perhaps their interests will fit into the general scheme subsequently. Legislation is being asked for by a board without consumers' representatives. However, in any criticism we make we must ensure that we shall guard against damaging a vital industry by wild or unwarranted and exaggerated statements and that our approach to it shall be in a sensible, measured way. In regard to this particular Bill we have heard about things which are not in the Bill, things which are being read into it. We had references to the possibilities of the various sections, particularly Section 4, and of its implementation when the Bill becomes an Act.

Now, reference has been made to certain difficulties that have arisen from time to time. We had the question of a threatened milk strike in Cork over a year ago. Reference was made here to certain measures which were being taken, and my name was mentioned in that regard. At a very critical time during that threatened strike, it is true to say that departmental inspectors came to Cork and called to the City Hall. They went to the city manager. When it came to my ears, I said that my approach to the matter at that critical stage was an entirely different one, and that I thought anything of that type would only fray tempers and aggravate the position. That night, instead of starting out to establish milk depots, I arranged a meeting with the retailers and producers, and, following that, I came to the Department in Dublin, where the matter was fixed up without any more ado, and without any setting up of depots or anything of that kind. I did that because I am one of those who believe that, instead of allowing a position to continue where strike action is threatened, if these things are handled in time and handled by consulting both parties, it is much easier to fix them up than to wait until the situation has developed into a breach when they would not be easily fixed up again.

Hear, hear!

Well, now, there has been a good deal of talk about the milk supply to Cork. Apart from the very warm summer we had one and a half years ago, complaints, even though there may be some, are not very general. Take the month of May in that particular year. Undoubtedly, in any city, you will have people going out early to work. They want a good supply of milk. They want it also, of course, for their children, and it is a matter of considering how that supply is going to be got. In the first place, we want clean milk. Pasteurisation will not cure that. It will not remove dirt from milk. Deputy Dr. Browne has spoken of safe milk. Pasteurisation is the best remedy, apart from selecting cows free from tuberculosis, that can be applied to that. It is the best remedy, but it is not a perfect one. I have read in reputable journals of tests which were carried out both in the United States and in Scotland, and the results proved that certain important vitamins are removed from the milk through pasteurisation, vitamins which are beneficial in cases of ulceration and complaints of that kind. Therefore, they had to provide certain medicines to supply that deficiency subsequently.

Medical men in general feel that, in this country, the only way to provide safe milk for children, when we have not tuberculin-free herds, is to have the milk pasteurised. A certain amount of the milk supplied to Cork is pasteurised. We see from time to time orders made by the city manager giving licences to certain people in the city to buy pasteurised milk. It is there for people to buy in the ordinary way if they look for it. But even the medical officer of health himself has said that if he could get good clean milk he would prefer it to the pasteurised milk—that it is the milk he would use. Here in Dublin we also have pasteurised milk on the market. We have perhaps some high-grade milk, grade A milk, which is from tuberculin-free cows. It is on the market and the people have a choice in that regard.

I do not see why one particular city should be picked out. If this is considered good national policy, then it should apply generally to all cities, because the people in Limerick, Waterford, Drogheda, Donegal, Galway and Sligo are just as important to the nation as the people of Cork. Why not make general a policy if it is considered good policy? That is why I criticised at the start the suggestion that we are pushing this through evidently at the behest of the Milk Board in Cork, which has no representative on it from the Housewives' Association, formed there recently in connection with prices, or of anybody who may be particularly interested in the consumption of milk in the homes, rather than in the retailing of milk.

During that particular month, when there were so many complaints, a conference was called and, as Deputy Hickey has stated, all points of view were put forward there. It was proved, through certain experiences that pasteurisation itself was not a complete remedy. The suggestion was made by Deputy Hickey, as a result of places he had visited, that instead of putting up one complete plant, a plant would be put up to deal with, say, 5,000-gallon quantities, so that if something went wrong in one particular section, if there were some defect, it would not apply generally but would be confined to that particular unit. All these matters were gone into. The question was discussed from all angles. The suggestion was then made that the city health officers would be invited to visit the dairies in the contiguous area because there was no permanent health inspector there.

It was entirely beyond the power of the temporary man who was there to visit the dairies and cowsheds with any kind of regularity. That was refused. The university authorities found that even pasteurisation did not get rid of, I will not say, impurities— dirt, of course, is, I presume, an impurity in itself—and they had to go out to the particular farms. Their plant was able to show that there was something defective which had come in from the various farms. They visited places and helped to get in coolers and there was undoubtedly an improvement. The county council then appointed a permanent health officer. The corporation appointed another, but, of course, he will have to look after the various other health services in the city as well as the milk supply.

As far as this measure is concerned it does not provide for pasteurisation. It provides for certain other matters and gives the milk board much more power than it previously had. Whether that power is going to be used generally, or is there just to meet an emergency situation, is a matter on which everybody will have his own opinion. At any rate, it will be there in permanent legislation and it can be applied just as the authority for the time being wishes to use it. However, I think that, in general, there is nothing very objectionable in the Bill, and, apart from the points which I have raised because reference was made to me, I do not think there is anything more that I need refer to at this stage.

In view of the discussion which has taken place on this Bill, I hope to make my contribution as short as possible. I will pass over the approach made by Deputy Corry. I think everyone in the House will agree that I should do that.

If we ignored Deputy Corry's approach to these matters at all times, he might then come to realise that no one, either in his own Party or in any other Party, wishes to see that line of approach in the Parliament of the country. Without being personal to anyone, I want to say that I did expect Deputy MacCarthy to go more fully into the matter. It is a matter which we have discussed in Cork before now. We all know that the only section in the Bill that may give rise to any great discussion is Section 4, which gives the milk board power to go outside the area to purchase milk and also to give licences to milk producers outside the present restricted area. That section, in itself, is good, if it gives to farmers outside the present Cork Milk Board area an opportunity of selling milk in the city at a higher price, instead of having to send it to a creamery, as they may have to do at times. It gives them an opportunity of deciding for themselves which line they want to adopt, but in that connection there are two points which, to me, seem rather vague.

The section provides that the board may give licences to people outside the area and naturally it imposes on such farmers certain obligations. It does not say that it will give them; it merely says it may. I am not anxious to look for trouble, but we had certain discussions some four years ago and I want to ask if there could be a danger that any particular farmer, because he might not be friendly with the personnel of the board, could be refused a permit to sell his milk in the city. I am sure that many Deputies, having their own obligations to the people in their own constituencies, are probably browned-off hearing so many of us wasting, as they might think, the time of the House speaking about Cork, but I had occasion, when Deputy Dillon was Minister, to give him certain facts with regard to the activities of the milk board in Cork City. There was one notable case of a farmer a few miles outside the city who had not a licence under the 1936 Act to sell milk in Cork City. For a certain period of the year, he was allowed to bring milk into the premises of a city firm engaged in the sale of milk, and he got 1/7 or 1/7½ per gallon.

When the period of scarcity passed this farmer was politely told by the officials of the milk board that he would be allowed to bring the milk into a depot which was roughly a mile and a quarter from the city centre, and that, instead of the 1/7½ he was getting, he would get 1/1 or 1/1½ per gallon. At the same time, the distributing firm were told that they could collect the milk at the depot, but that they had to pay 1/7 or 1/7½ per gallon. That was roughly 6d. per gallon the farmer lost through having to leave it at the depot.

Strangely enough, Deputy Corry did not give us any information as to the amount of money the Cork Milk Board have gained by the levy which they have placed on these people who are dealing in milk over the years. I cannot say definitely how much it is, but I believe that the amount of money available to the Cork Milk Board at present, through the collection of levies, is substantial. That may perhaps be their own business, to a certain extent, but, because we are dealing with a Bill which gives them greater powers, we must question these points. I know that they have expenses in regard to staff and offices, but I believe that their own levy is sufficient to cover these expenses and leave them a nice profit.

My worry, then, would be whether it would be possible for the milk board officials to refuse the right to a farmer outside the area to sell milk inside. I maintain that the rights of every farmer should be safeguarded. I know of one farmer who is sending milk into the city and getting the city rate, while across the road from him another farmer outside the area must send it to a creamery. I am sure the Minister will make it clear that the section will give a direct right to every farmer to send milk in, and that a farmer will not be precluded from selling his milk in the area because of some grievance which an official may have against him.

Deputy Corry made some references to which I consider it worth while to draw attention. Listening to him as one Corkman listening to another, I say that the false accusations he made against the people of Cork City were the most disgraceful I ever heard in this House. I am not speaking for Cork City. Politically, it means nothing to me because I come from the country, but I want to say that it ill becomes any Deputy from any part of the country to speak in such terms—he talked about the housewives in Cork City with the dirty jugs—of these people. If an inspector of the Department of Health were to inspect the homes of the working people and of others in Cork City he would find that there were at least as clean and decent as those in any part of the country.

Deputy Corry knows, although he may wish to evade the issue, that there have been many prosecutions against milk vendors. We do not want great publicity about this and we would rather remedy that situation than make accusations, but the plain fact is that bad milk has been sold in Cork City; that sour milk has been sold there. Milk is dear enough for the working people without being supplied with milk at 2 o'clock in the day which they cannot use and which means that in the morning, when the men of the house have to go to work, the housewife must go out to borrow a drop of milk for their breakfasts. These are plain facts and Deputy Corry knows that they are plain facts, but, as usual, he makes a charge and leaves the House. That action speaks for itself.

Pasteurisation has been referred to during this discussion and there is no need for me to go into it except to say that, from my own knowledge, Deputy Dillon was quite correct in his approach to all that happened in connection with the correspondence and the discussions between him as Minister for Agriculture and the Cork Milk Board, and it is well that the present Minister should understand the position.

We are happy to be able to discuss this Bill away from politics, on a higher plane than that of trying to point the finger of scorn at one Party or another. The present Minister would be well advised to consider all that has happened in regard to this question. Deputy Dillon proved conclusively during his term of office, as the Minister will find in his files, that he did all possible to bring about full co-operation, based on the ultimate pasteurisation of milk for the Cork City area. Unfortunately, all these efforts were wasted, because there was no sense of co-operation at the other side. They had the excuse all the time that, because of the restriction of the milk board area, people had to be short of milk at times. I know full well that, while they were able to evade the issue, they were able to say: "We would welcome an extension of the milk board area", but at the same time they were determined to see that the area would not be extended. Perhaps it may be a human reaction to anything that may lead to ultimate profit personally, yet these are the facts.

As regards pasteurisation, when this matter was discussed in the Cork County Council they came to a decision not to go ahead with pasteurisation. It is by mistakes we learn. On that occasion I moved for the pasteurisation, but, as I pointed out then, there are two sides to every story. If we make mistakes and can see our faults, it may lead to an improvement in the future. Deputy McGrath mentioned the use in America of other items of food to make up for certain deficiencies in pasteurisation isation. We discussed all that in the Cork County Council. I said there that it is strange that, in Northern Ireland during the emergency, the American authorities, although they had Grade I milk, demanded pasteurised milk for their own troops. Those troops were given it, and prepared, perhaps, as one might prepare prime beef for slaughter; yet they did not wish them to be slaughtered by tuberculosis, and decided that pasteurised milk should be used. Personally, I never drank a drop of pasteurised milk, but I did not avoid the ulcers Deputy MacCarthy was speaking of. Had I used pasteurised milk, I might have escaped that.

Pasteurisation would mean an improvement in Cork. If the policy mentioned by Deputy Dillon were carried out, the farmers would have a full opportunity of working on a co-operative basis. What profits were made would be theirs. There was no question of get rich quick gentlemen stepping in, such as Deputy Corry mentioned. I can see a danger as the years go on, that if the Cork producers do not wake up to their responsibilities, the Departments of Health and Agriculture will insist on an improvement in our milk supplies and we may see some other body acting for pasteurisation in Cork and then the farmers will regret it. I would prefer to see the farmers wake up to the position now, in their own interests, and then they would be fully satisfied with the results.

Deputy McGrath mentioned the hours of delivery in Cork. Deputy Corry tried to misquote him by saying he demanded that milk be delivered at 7 o'clock. There is a great grievance in Cork City and suburbs regarding the hour of delivery. Pasteurisation would bring about an improvement and benefit both to farmers and consumers. The farmer could then bring the milk in during the day and after pasteurisation it would pass on to the consumer in the morning. At present, neither consumer nor producer is satisfied.

In regard to inspectors, Deputy MacCarthy said our present question is that of the appointment of a full-time inspector. We went through all this discussion in Cork and found that if an inspector were employed full-time and were to inspect every dairy in South Cork, he would have to work seven days a week and Christmas Day also, and even then he would not have made an adequate inspection. The biggest weakness at present is that, even with inspectors, they do not get to the root of the trouble. Deputy Corry insinuated that they are falling over each other in Cork City. Instead of taking a sample of the milk in the churn in the city, they should go to the root of the trouble, which lies very often elsewhere.

Sometimes a supplier from that restricted area who has not enough milk to meet the demand of his customers, must go outside the area and it is in the outside area that the trouble may exist. I state here with full responsibility that I have been informed of a case of a farmer outside that area who, when the inspector was about to call on him to inspect the stalls, happened to get a post card the morning before stating that he would be calling the next day. That meant that the farmer had the place in the best of trim, he had whitewash on every wall and a brush leaning against every door, giving the impression that everything was right, and they finished up by having a fine breakfast and probably a drop of poteen afterwards. These points must be drawn clearly, to show that the present system of inspection cannot be the success we want it to be.

We want to have the milk delivered in a really clean and decent manner. The milk some producers are selling in Cork City is a disgrace to themselves. We want that eliminated. If, through any discussion here, we can improve the milk supplies for human use, we will be doing well. If the Bill gives scope to the producer who is denied the right of entry into that market at the present time—and many are anxious to enter that market and are prepared to put the best quality milk into it—it will get from me as from all others the welcome it deserves.

First of all, we have been at a disadvantage here in not knowing what funds are available in the Cork and Dublin District Milk Boards. I did not hear the Minister give any indication in his opening statement as to the amount of money available. Not knowing that, it is difficult to make suggestions as to how it should be spent, which is what this Bill is for.

I think this Bill should be very welcome, and I am sure this stage will be passed unanimously. I must pay tribute, from my knowledge at any rate of the workings of the district milk board, to the great work done by them over the years. It is true that at first, of course, they concerned themselves with ensuring a supply of milk all the year round for the city. That was very necessary. Now that that has been achieved, surely it would not be amiss to request them to use some of their funds towards ensuring a supply of clean, pure milk by a tubercular testing of herds, through the medium of pasteurisation, by taking every precaution they possibly can with regard to cooling the milk, and so on. Not knowing the extent of the funds at the disposal of the board it is very difficult to make suggestions along that line. However, if they have not sufficient funds I see no reason why they should not be given grants towards carrying out the tubercular testing of herds and for the installation of first class cooling plants. In years past the board concerned themselves too with the price of milk, both wholesale and retail. It was part of their activities in addition to ensuring an adequate supply of milk. Little has been said here on this Bill to-night about the price of milk, but I must take it that every Deputy who spoke was satisfied with the price except Deputy Corry. There is one way in which the price of milk can be made economic, and that is, as was already said by Deputy Dillon and other speakers, by having higher yielding cows. If each cow could give a bigger supply of milk at very little increased cost we would then be able to sell the milk at a lower rate. Thus yields in the Cork District Milk Board and every other area in Ireland could be increased. At the end of last year I got from the Department of Agriculture the average milk yields of each of the 26 counties, and they amazed me.

I thought them to be absolutely uneconomic and I am satisfied now that if they were uneconomic last year they are more so this year. We have an opportunity now under this Bill of using funds to be contributed by the milk boards towards schemes designed to ensure the increased production of milk. I am one of those people who believe we can increase the milk yield either by getting pure milk-producing breeds of cattle or getting the highest possible milk-producing breeds that are to be found in this country. I would like to refer specially to the first-class pure Dairy Shorthorn or the Friesian. I hold that we in the Cork District Milk Board area should get an opportunity of supplying ourselves with the highest yielding cows by means of artificial insemination. An artificial insemination centre is to be set up there shortly, I believe. I should like to get a definite statement from the Minister, first, as to the amount of money for disposal, and secondly, as to how it is going to be disposed of. I certainly do not agree that, for example, any of it should be devoted to soil testing. I feel satisfied that we have in County Cork a first-class staff, 50 per cent. of their salary being paid by the rates and 50 per cent. by the Department, for this purpose, and that it would only be duplication if some of the funds now for disposal were to be used for soil testing. I would prefer to see them going towards providing a purer milk supply, an increased and cheaper milk supply. When replying, I should also like the Minister to guarantee that we will be free to improve our milk yield in the best manner we consider fit and that our hands will not be tied in that respect.

Mr. Byrne

I do not intend to detain the House very long. The speeches I have heard have disclosed one fact, and that is, the need for a consumers' representative on the milk board and especially a woman representative. I earnestly hope that the Minister will give consideration to the claim of women to go on the board so as to help towards safeguarding the health of children.

I would suggest that the Milk Board should have a representative of the Infant Aid Society, the Child Welfare Society, or the Housewives' Association. The members of these societies are splendid women and they give very valuable help towards safeguarding public health. It would not be very difficult to get one of these able representatives to give the Minister very valuable help in this direction. I will go so far as to say that the representatives from Cork should claim to have a representative of their corporation on the board. We in the Dublin Corporation have not asked for any representation on the board; we are being safeguarded and we are paying for the best quality milk that money can produce. The Dublin Corporation, through its various boards, contribute to the Child Welfare Society and to the Infant Aid Society. Under the Schools Meals Act I suppose we are the biggest purchasers of milk in the City of Dublin, if not in Ireland. We pay for an average of over 4,000,000 gallons per year and, perhaps, the figure is nearer to 5,000,000 gallons. Our Public Health Report, recently published by the Chief Medical Officer, says that we gave out under the Child Welfare Scheme over 7,250,000 bottles of milk, each bottle holding one-third of a pint. The Infant Aid Society gave out another million bottles of milk. From that point of view I earnestly hope the Minister will consider giving public representation on the board to the women who contributed so handsomely to the purchase of milk.

When I read this Bill as it went through the Seanad I was pleased, because I saw in it the possibility of a very big improvement as far as the supply and the distribution of milk in Dublin City is concerned. There is no necessity for any Deputy to say that milk is a valuable food. Not only is it a valuable food but it is a very dangerous food if it is not produced and distributed under the very best conditions.

I was glad to see a provision whereby the board may engage in the business of selling milk. I thought that was a very valuable development and I sincerely hope that that will be the beginning of a new phase of activity for our milk boards.

One of the difficulties that I see in Dublin—and it must to some extent affect the price of milk—is the competition that there is in distribution between the several dairies we have here. We have dairies of repute like the Merville Dairy, Dublin Dairies and Hughes Bros. Those are what I might term the bigger organisations that are distributing milk. I have often felt there must be a wastage when the particular firms are engaged in competition in distributing milk on the same streets or on the same roads. By a proper zoning of the city between these dairies—and I think the dairies themselves are anxious for that and, in fact, in an unofficial way are endeavouring to bring it about— considerable wastage may be avoided and the avoidance of that waste could affect the price of milk somewhat. I hope that that will be the next development and it is just as well that it should be mentioned in the House.

It is a disgraceful state of affairs when a dairy, purporting to be a big dairy, is brought up in the District Courts and charged with offences in regard to their milk. I think that any dairy that is convicted of selling milk that is bad should be taken over for the time being until it is properly reorganised by the milk board, or, at least, it should be put in the position where it could not do harm to the citizens. It would be very interesting if the Minister would look over the records of prosecutions brought in Dublin City, say, in the last ten years in connection with the quality of milk supplied, dirty milk, milk containing excess water and things like that, not against individuals running a small dairy business but against people in a big way of business.

They have to buy it themselves.

I do not mind where they get it. What I am saying is that when these firms get milk and put it through their own processes, that milk should be fit for human consumption when it is delivered in bottles to the consumer. Unfortunately, that has not been so and I take the opportunity of referring to it. If it only happens once a year it is too often. It should not happen at all. It has happened and I think it is regrettable to read in the evening papers of a particular firm charged with the supply of contaminated milk, dangerous milk, and not only charged with it but convicted of it.

I am not going to get into this question that I have spoken so often about, higher yields from cows. It has been mentioned in the House this evening and it has been mentioned often enough, that if a higher production of milk per cow were achieved, milk would not be as dear as it is at the moment; and milk is really too dear in the City of Dublin.

And the country.

I speak about what I know.

Fivepence halfpenny a pint in the midst of plenty.

I know the producer of milk is not getting anything like the price the consumers have to pay for it and if the average family, a family of eight, were to take, say, a pint of milk per head per day, that would amount to a gallon of milk at a cost of 4/- a day. No family can afford that out of the average wages and that is the position in regard to milk in Dublin.

I know it is the Minister's policy and I know it must be the policy of any person who is really concerned with this aspect of our agriculture that there should be a substantial improvement in the yields of our cattle and the sooner it is brought about the better. If the price can be reduced somewhat it will lead to a bigger consumption of milk. It is a valuable food, as I have said, for the people who consume it and a bigger consumption must inevitably be better for the producer.

In the big cities like Dublin and Cork the time for selling milk out of cans is passed. This idea of coming up with a can and emptying through the spout a pint or a quart of milk is completely out of date. It is too dangerous. There are places where that probably can be done and where dangers may be avoided, but there are too many posibilities of contamination in a city to have that permitted. I certainly hope that the day is not so far off when no milk will be sold in the cities except milk that has gone through all the necessary processes to remove the possibility of contamination or disease and that milk will be sold in sealed containers to the consumer. As I say, I welcome the Bill because I think it is a big step in the right direction.

As a doctor, I cannot possibly permit any measure brought in to improve the milk supply generally to go through without adverting to the question of the purity of the milk supply. So long as we have cattle suffering from tuberculosis, the pooling of milk and the non-pasteurisation of milk we shall have impure milk and milk of an utterly unsatisfactory quality coming into the city. What steps does the Minister intend to take to deal with that situation? A number of Deputies spoke in support of pasteurisation. I am not sure whether, if we bring an amendment forward in that respect, they will support it. Again I repeat, so long as we have infected cattle, pooling of milk and pasteurisation of only certain quantities of milk we will not have a proper milk supply. That is a matter that must be tackled.

This Bill was introduced as a non-controversial measure and I had no idea this afternoon, when introducing the Bill, that we would have so much controversy on it. Somebody raised the hare of dirty milk and that hare has been chased all over the House for the past two or three hours.

This Bill has nothing to do with dirty milk, pasteurised milk or a clean milk supply. All these matters are dealt with under specific Acts. This Bill deals solely with the production of milk and the disposal of a surplus of milk. It is obvious that many Deputies who have spoken here this evening did not take the trouble to read the Bill. Had they done so their remarks would have been more relevant to it than they were over the past three hours.

Section 3 is the important section in the Bill. It deals with the disposal of certain moneys accumulated over the past few years through the medium of the levies collected from the milk producers. For a time some of that money was used in promoting a "drink more milk" scheme. That was not a success because of shortage of milk. In the case of the Dublin Milk Board the sums accumulated amount to £25,000; in the case of the Cork Milk Board they amount to £10,000. It is suggested now that these funds can be utilised for the purpose of helping the milk producers by way of new schemes such as artificial insemination, soil testing, lectures on the production of more milk and cleaner milk, and possibly a scheme for tuberculin tested cows, in an effort to eradicate tuberculosis. All those schemes can be included. It is a matter of the amount of money at our disposal. If there is sufficient money those schemes can be implemented. Anything that will help the producers to produce more milk is to be welcomed.

Section 5 deals with registered wholesalers and retailers purchasing milk from outside the district. There is a district in Dublin and another in Cork. The district in Cork comprises an area within a four miles radius of the General Post Office. If there is an individual outside that area who has a high grade dairy herd, such as a Jersey herd, he is permitted to take his milk into Cork City, even though he is outside the area. The same thing applies in Dublin. Registered dairy herd owners can send their milk in here because they are registered, even though they are outside what is known as the milk district.

Section 6 deals with the purchasing of milk from the creameries. It does happen on occasion that there is not a sufficient quantity of milk within an area and it is necessary to go outside. In that case an arrangement can be made with the creamery to supply the necessary milk for a short period.

Had the sections of the Bill been examined closely we would not this evening have spent our time running around the highways and the byways. The section that has caused all the trouble is Section 4. That section deals with emergency powers already in existence. Where there are emergency powers such as those mentioned in this section and those powers are regarded as necessary, it is the policy of the Government to embody such powers in legislation should the necessity and the opportunity arise. In this case the necessity arises now because we have seen over a period of years that these powers are necessary. Irrespective of whether or not the section is accepted or rejected, the powers will still remain and the Minister will and must retain the powers in order to dispose of surplus milk or provide for a shortage should it arise. Do those people who are anxious that the section should not pass as it stands suggest that the emergency powers should be revoked? Is it suggested that Emergency Power No. 247 should be revoked, the result of which would be to leave any surplus milk produced in Dublin on the hands of the producers? Is that the suggestion? I do not believe it is.

There is, of course, an ulterior motive behind the other suggestion that it is the intention at some date in the future that the Dublin Milk Board will go outside the milk district to break a milk strike should such an eventuality arise. The composition of the milk board is seven producers and six others, with a chairman. Is it seriously suggested that the chairman will give a casting vote against the other members of the board? Even if he did give a casting vote it would still have to be sanctioned by the Minister for Agriculture, and he is responsible to this House. Would any Minister for Agriculture take such an action against a decision of the board to go outside? This House must remember that if an emergency exists the Minister must take responsibility for supplying milk wherever it is needed without any reference to the milk board. Any Minister who stands here will take that responsibility. It is immaterial, therefore, whether that section is there or not because the Minister has the power already. The only reason why the section is put there is to embody the Emergency Powers Order already in existence in legislation.

I do not think any points of importance have been raised. We have travelled over ground that is not covered in the Bill. I repeat that this Bill was sanctioned by the previous Administration. Deputy Dillon denied that. The proposals for the Bill were approved by Deputy Dillon in 1949. They were approved for drafting on 9th November, 1949, so Deputy Dillon's memory is as short as his imagination is vivid.

On a point of order. That is not what Deputy Dillon said. What he said was that he had not seen the Bill in print—the Bill as drafted— before he left office.

Mr. Walsh

The Deputy was sitting with him and he probably knows all about it. There has been a demand for this Bill. We had a letter from the Cork Milk Board on 4th June, 1948. As far back as that they were looking for the Bill. More recently still, I had a letter from the Cork District Milk Board. This letter, which is dated the 29th January, 1952, is as follows:—

"My board is apprehensive that it may not be in a position to have its projected A 1 facilities established in time for the present season, and has directed me to ask you to convey to the Minister its earnest appeal for the use of his good offices with the Government towards ensuring priority in Dáil Eireann for all stages of the enabling legislation——the Milk (Regulation of Supply and Price) (Amendment) Bill, 1952.

The board greatly appreciates the attention which the Minister has so far given to the need for this legislation and feels that the Bill in its present form will enable the best handling of the Cork milk supply problem."

That is the letter from the Cork District Milk Board.

What date is that!

Mr. Walsh

The 29th January, 1952.

What representation is on the Cork Milk Board?

Mr. Walsh

The Cork District Milk Board consists of a chairman, five producer representatives, one wholesaler and two retailers.

And no consumer?

Mr. Walsh

No consumer.

I hope the Minister will rectify that.

Mr. Walsh

It might be a good job if Deputy Hickey were on the board.

Were the Creamery Milk Suppliers represented?

Mr. Walsh

Section 4 enables the Dublin and Cork District Milk Boards to dispose of a surplus when they have it. They may have to go outside those areas and set up depots to get rid of it. I had the experience this year, when coming back from the West, of arriving at a town in the Midlands where I was told by a deputation that there would be no milk the following morning. There was not a strike in that town, and this state of affairs did not obtain because the price of the milk was not sufficient. It was because there was a scarcity and shortage of milk. If I had not been passing at the time, the possibilities were that the milk would not have been available for the following day. Luckily, I was present, and was able to get in touch with the Department, with the result that nobody suffered since we made the milk available for the people on the following day. If we had such an occurrence outside the Dublin District Milk Board area, the board must go outside and set up those depots.

Somebody complained—I think it was Deputy Dillon—that at one time in Cork it was necessary to set up depots. It is suggested that they should be set up. An occasion may arise in any town at any time when the Dublin or Cork District Milk Board may be asked to take precautions arising out of a scarcity or shortage of milk in a particular area, with the result that depots may have to be set up. Occasions may also arise in the summer time when you have a surplus of milk in Dublin and Cork. In this event, the board must go in and make provision for the sale of the milk. It may happen, for instance, that you have one milk wholesaler who has a surplus of milk and another who has a shortage.

It is a question for the board to equate things and give each a sufficient supply. It may also happen that milk may have to be sent out of the City of Dublin because of a surplus during the summer time or taken, perhaps, to some chocolate crumb factory or creamery. But the board must get the powers to do these things. They already have them under an Emergency Powers Order, but we want to have them embodied in the Bill. That is what Section 4 is asking for and because of the necessity for Section 4, I am asking this House to agree to the Second Reading as it stands.

Could the Minister give us the reference to the Emergency Powers Order to which he has referred?

Mr. Walsh

No. 247 of 1942.

What facilities will be provided under this Bill for the Cork District Milk Board? What bulls will be used?

Mr. Walsh

With regard to the facilities at Cork for A.1, a suggestion has been made that high-yield milking strains be permitted into the district. We are setting up a substation that will be served by Clonakilty and in that station I would suggest to the Cork Milk Board provision be made for 1.A semen for pedigree stock from one of the stations.

That would be satisfactory.

Mr. Walsh

Provided, of course, it is carried out through the station. I think we will be able to meet the Cork District Milk Board in that way.

Would the Minister promise to give representations to the consumers on the Cork District Milk Board?

Mr. Walsh

I will consider it.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 27th February, 1952.