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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 26 Feb 1958

Vol. 165 No. 5

Committee on Finance. - Greyhound Industry Bill, 1957—Committee Stage.

Section 1 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 1:—

In sub-section (1), page 4, line 1, to delete "the Greyhound Industry Board" and substitute "Bord na gCon".

Amendment agreed to.
Section 2, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 3 and 4 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2:—

In sub-section (1), page 5, line 6, before "and" to insert "and that any consultation requisite under this Act in relation thereto has been effected".

Surely the Minister is offering some explanation on this amendment.

It is purely a drafting amendment, flowing from the requirements in a number of sections, for instance, Section 36 (1), that the board may, after consultation with the club, make certain regulations.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 3:—

In sub-section (2), before paragraph (b) to insert the following paragraph:—

(b) the production of a document purporting to be signed by the president of the club or the secretary of the club and certifying that any specified rule made by the club under this Act came into operation on a specified day shall be sufficient evidence that the rule came into operation on that day and no proof shall be required of the handwriting or official position of the person signing the document.

I think the amendment is self-explanatory. It is again a drafting amendment, analogous to the other two provisions of the sub-section.

Is it desirable to waive proof of the validity of this document? I take it the effect of this amendment is to spare either the president or the secretary of the club the necessity of attending court to prove that an alleged signature is his signature. Is it desirable to do that?

I do not see any objection to it. Sometimes, you know, I do follow the Deputy's good example. This amendment follows the model of sub-section (1) in the original Bill.

This is designed to bring sub-section (2) into line with sub-section (1)?

Yes. The wording is practically the same as in the old Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 4:—

To add to the section the following sub-section:—

(6) Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting or affecting the operation of Section 4 of the Documentary Evidence Act, 1925 (No. 24 of 1925).

This amendment is to ensure that nothing in Section 5 will be construed to limit or affect the operation of the Documentary Evidence Act of 1925 which provides, in Section 4, that Prima facie evidence of any rules, orders, regulations or by-laws to which this section applies may be given in all courts of justice and in all legal proceedings by the production of the copy of Iris Oifigiúil purporting to contain such rules. Were it not for that section, it might be pleaded that such production was not sufficient proof.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 5, as amended, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 5:—

In sub-section (1), page 5, lines 53 and 54, to delete "the Greyhound Industry Board" and substitute "Bord na gCon".

This is merely a change of title.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 6, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 7 and 8 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 9 stand part of the Bill."

I take it it is the Minister's intention to make all three appointments from the Irish Coursing Club. I want to know if all members of any branch of the Irish Coursing Club are eligible?

They must be members of the Standing Committee of the Irish Coursing Club.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 10 to 12, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 13 stand part of the Bill."

I understand that under this section it is the intention that committees will be set up to examine any aspects of the greyhound industry. I have in mind particularly the rules that govern coursing which, to my mind, are completely out of date and could not possibly be dealt with by the board itself and a special committee would be necessary. The same rules apply to open coursing and closed coursing, which are completely different sports. There is also this provision in the rules about the 50 mile limit which will have to be tackled very quickly. I cannot see any direct reference to the rules themselves in the Bill, and I should like to get an assurance from the Minister that the board will be in a position to set up a committee to examine any of these aspects.

Section 13 empowers the board to delegate all these functions to committees which may be set up to examine various aspects of the whole greyhound industry. It enables the board to act through a committee so that the whole board will not have to consider every small matter of detail that comes before it. The question of regulations arises later. This is merely a machinery section to enable the board to work expeditiously, efficiently and conveniently.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 14 and 15 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 16 stand part of the Bill."

This is a very important section and with particular reference to sub-section (c) (v), I hope that some very early steps will be taken regarding this matter of the preservation of hares and that it will be dealt with fairly quickly.

I am sure the board will be alert to the conservation of the hare population if it is going to be interested at all in greyhounds. This is merely an empowering section which gives the board the legal authority without which it could not operate.

It might be appropriate to mention in regard to the taking of this Bill by the Minister for Health that it is not surprising to discover he is quite unaware of the functions of the Minister for Agriculture in regard to the preservation of hares. If we had not the anomalous absurdity of the Minister for Health being dredged up from the Custom House to steer this Bill through, he probably could give Deputy Lemass the information the Deputy appears to seek.

In the last Government other Ministers introduced Bills, too.

Obviously Deputy Dillon has a cold and should not impose an undue strain on himself.

I do not know whether the Minister is more detestable as the Minister for Health or the Minister for Agriculture.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 17 to 19, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 20 stand part of the Bill."

What is this proviso which says:—

"(2) A condition prohibiting credit betting shall be attached to a totalisator licence granted to the board."

Is that anything more than a pious affirmation? I understand that at present the totalisator gives nobody credit and that, if you want to make a credit bet with a totalisator operating a race track, you have to deal with a private company which gives the better credit but which itself deals with the totalisator on a cash basis. Is there any case in which the existing totalisator gives anybody credit for any bet?

No, there is not, but one may attach as a condition to granting a licence to the board to operate a totalisator that it shall not open an office where a credit bet may be made with the ultimate intention that the bet would be laid off with the totalisator.

The totalisator at present operates no credit betting anywhere? Does it?

Therefore, this provision which is described in the White Paper as being one of the important changes in the Bill means that the totalisator licence granted to the board shall in fact function exactly as the totalisator licence granted to the existing company functions at the present time. There is no credit betting on the totalisator and there is not likely to be but there is no means of preventing a private company or an individual from taking credit bets and laying them off for cash on the totalisator as is at present done.

I spoke on this matter when Deputy Dillon was dealing with the previous Bill and I urged him at the time to bring in such a provision to prevent credit betting in connection with the tote. Theoretically Deputy Dillon is correct that facilities do not exist for credit betting with the tote but it is to everyone's knowledge that a company, Tote Investors Limited, has the co-operation of the totalisators set up under the 1929 Act. For instance, they have a special compartment at the end of the official tote and as such there is an obviously recognised co-operation between the two bodies. In regard to Section 20 (2), I would ask the Minister to consider whether the endorsement on the licence could be phrased in such a way that there would be no doubt whatsoever that credit betting in any form could not be carried out.

When this matter was before the House when I was Minister for Agriculture, I said it was a matter of complete indifference to me. I did not care whether there was credit betting or whether it was prohibited. I knew very little about it and cared less. I was quite prepared to be guided by the views expressed in a free vote of the House. That was my position in regard to this issue but I have a constitutional objection to cod and eye-wash. This sub-section which has been put in by the Minister for Health is cod and eye-wash. It is not effective. It does not do either one thing or the other. I do not think there is anything to prevent Deputy O'Malley appearing at a greyhound racing track, taking credit bets from all his friends and then going over to the tote and laying the offer in cash.

Nothing in this Section 20 will operate to prevent that transaction. Even though the tote on the Limerick track was prohibited from credit betting, they would not be giving credit betting. They would deal with the Deputy for cash and it is none of their business how the Deputy disposes of his winnings or his losses provided they have his cash. I think this sub-section is cod and eye-wash and meant to hang a mantle of rather revolting rectitude around the shoulders of the Minister. He wants to steal around sanctimoniously and say that he protected the people from the temptation of credit betting. It is all cod and the only reason I queried it is because it looks to me to be cod, fraud and sanctimonious rubbish.

If it is effective I do not care a hoot one way or the other but I object to cod, particularly sanctimonious cod, and it may be that the Minister in endeavouring to draft an effective instrument found it legislatively impossible to devise an effective instrument and so stuck this in to make it look nice.

I should like to point out that the Deputy has a completely wrong conception of this sub-section. The purpose of it meets my wish anyway and the wishes of Deputies on both sides of the House who spoke here before. In my opinion where the Deputy is confused is in the definition of credit betting. If Deputy Burke gives me £1 and I wish to put on £1 myself I give Deputy Burke credit for £1 but I am putting down my cash with the tote. If a track has a tote licence there will be a condition, so far as I can see, prohibiting credit betting in any form whatsoever.

The whole point is, if the Deputy will appreciate it, that cash passes between the person who makes the bet and the totalisator. It ill becomes Deputy Dillon as a member of the former Government which held up this House on another Bill, to be holding up this one. On the Gaming and Lottery Act we had Deputy Everett as Minister for Justice talking about the evils of an unfortunate old age pensioner going out to wager sixpence. On the one hand we had a member of the Government urging restraint and, on the other hand, the Minister for Agriculture saying that he could see no real harm in credit betting on the tote.

There is another aspect to this. Every Deputy interested in racing—be it horses or greyhounds—knows that there was a very serious outcry in this country some months ago when a certain horse who came under starter's orders was left at the post. The money for tote investors was not placed with the tote proper. No one needs any power of perception to see the injustice to the person who bets for cash and the advantage which may lie with the person who bets on credit.

This is as clear as mud.

I have no hesitation in saying that this section caters for the main objection which people had. The main objection is that they do not want the type of person who places bets on greyhounds to get into debt. You have a wealthier type in horse racing and there is a different set-up. I am satisfied that the sub-section caters for all the objections previously raised.

This prohibits credit betting on the tote and Tote Investors, Ltd., act as an agent for the investor who wants to avail of the credit facilities which Tote Investors will afford him. By arrangement with the totalisator board, bets may be placed in cash if necessary with the tote. The purpose of this sub-section (20) (2) is to ensure that there will be a condition attached to any totalisator licence which the Minister for Finance may issue, which will prohibit that sort of set-up. The Deputy tried to confuse the issue.

Is there anything in this sub-section which would prevent a firm being set up to-morrow with capital and being able to say: "We shall receive credit instructions from clients amounting to a wager of £100 on each of the six dogs in the race" and taking out 60 ten pound notes and presenting them to the tote and registering a bet of £100 on each of the six dogs in cash with the tote? I see nothing in this sub-section that prevents that. If that is still possible, then exactly the same type of credit betting proceedings on the totalisator on race tracks to-day is permitted. I fully perceive and am conscious of the fact that, if the House were to take a decision, by a free vote, to prohibit credit betting, it might be very difficult to draft a section to achieve that purpose I was quite prepared to do that if that was what was desired. I do not care a fiddle-de-dee if there is a credit section or not; I only want to avoid shameful cod. This sub-section (2) of Section 20 does not prevent the existing system which operates at present on horse-racing tracks.

I do not see how it does. I am putting it to the Minister—if a firm sets up to-morrow——

That is quite a different case.

——and calls itself Tote Investors (Dogs) Ltd., invites instructions from clients to lay wagers on credit, receives instructions amounting to £100 on each dog in a six-dog race, and from its own capital takes six £10 notes, tenders them to the totalisator, collects its winnings and deducts from those winnings a percentage as commission for their work, pays its clients who have won and at the end of the week collects its debts from the clients who have made losing wagers, my submission to the House is that there is nothing in sub-section (2) to prevent that procedure.

The Deputy, of course, is again confused; at least, I think he is confused. The first thing about Section 20 is that the board itself is going to run the totalisator and for that purpose will establish its machines on the greyhound racing tracks. Those operating the machine will take only bets which are tendered in cash.

I do not see where it says that.

The sub-section states: "A condition prohibiting credit betting shall be attached to a totalisator licence granted to the board." The board will be granted a licence by the Minister for Finance with a condition attached that a person may not bet on credit with the totalisator. And, if he is not allowed to bet on credit, then he must bet in cash or else he does not bet at all.

Can he not bet with cheques?

That is credit at one remove, and it is not cash.

It is certainly not credit. There is no use huffing and puffing—it is not credit.

Let me try to get back to the point that the totalisator licence will be granted by the Minister for Finance who will attach to that licence a prohibition on credit betting. The Deputy suggests that it is not possible to do this effectively and he has given us a number of hypothetical cases in support of his argument. He started off with Deputy Burke and Deputy O'Malley obliging each other, with Deputy Burke giving Deputy O'Malley £1, taking his chance that he would be paid in due course, and walking up to the totalisator and laying a bet of £2. That, of course, is a private transaction between two individuals. The Deputy himself saw there was not much force in that case because it would not stand examination. What we are concerned with, however, in this sub-section is to prevent a person or an organisation standing up in public, opening premises on greyhound racing tracks, and offering to provide credit facilities to enable people to use them as agents to place cash bets with the totalisator.

The first thing I would assume a Minister for Finance would do to ensure that there would be no credit betting with the tote at all would be to prohibit, or prevent, any facilities being offered on the greyhound racing tracks for making credit bets which would eventually be laid with the tote. That is comparatively simple. The Deputy also spoke about the case of six people who wanted to bet £10 on dogs which they fancied and they gave instructions to a company, an organisation, or I think he said a corporation, to place their bets for them. The company handling this transaction have a choice of two things. They can either hold themselves out as bookmakers, take the bets and hold them. The Deputy says they are not going to do that, that their clients want to have their money on the totalisator. If they want to do that, I assume that the company will be required to send somebody to the track with the money to place the bet with the totalisator, but the credit transaction will take place outside the track. It will not take place on the track.

We want to ensure that there will not be that sort of transaction on the track, a transaction of which the ultimate aim is to place bets with the totalisator. Outside the track, we cannot deal with it, but on the track we can ensure that facilities for credit betting on the tote will not be offered. Other questions might arise about whether a combination such as the Deputy has suggested might not come within the scope of the Gaming and Lotteries Act, but I do not want to go into that. It would be a very peculiar business undertaking which would provide the cash for a representative and send him to the track to make the bet with the tote and, at the same time, not get some sort of rake-off for that service, either from the totalisator or their clients. If the undertaking gets commission from its clients, nobody can object. If the clients say they prefer to take the odds offered by the totalisator rather than those offered by a bookmaker, the totalisator cannot make any arrangement with the undertaking to pay a commission, if a prohibition is adequately expressed as a condition for totalisator licences.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 21 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 6:—

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

The board shall grant a special operating licence in respect of private greyhound schooling tracks which were already operating as such for a period of five years at the commencement of this Act, and in respect of which application is made to the board to continue as such tracks.

As I read it, the section makes no provision for the continuation of the licences of schooling tracks, tracks that happened to be established some years ago and which have served a very useful purpose since, but which now will have to discontinue business in accordance with the legislation we are about to enact. These tracks were established for the most part in five or six centres throughout the country after the war, at a time when greyhound racing had commenced to develop and the price of dogs had commenced to increase substantially. At that time, transport was rather restricted and possibly that led in no small measure to the setting up of the tracks to which I have referred. Some of these were originally established for the purpose of having them operated eventually as licensed tracks, but they failed to get the necessary approval from the Irish Coursing Club, and were not allowed to operate. A number of them went by the board, but quite a few held on and continued. They have served a very useful purpose, in my opinion.

The average person who owns a dog is a person of rather limited means and by the time the dog is reared and ready to race, a good deal of money has been invested in the animal. It is a requirement of the track where the dog is raced for the purpose of getting his time officially recorded that he must be schooled in an official school. Any person who reads the report of the Advisory Body will see that, generally speaking, in recent years licensed tracks could not be sited within a distance of 50 miles of an existing track. That was one of the reasons given by the Irish Coursing Club on many occasions for being unable to license new tracks. In the district that I know best, Kerry and Limerick, the distance between the two tracks there is about 80 miles. That could mean that the owner of a dog would be obliged to incur the expense of hiring a car or paying rail fare in order to convey his dog to the track. That could mean that the owner would be put to a good deal of expense and, on arrival at the track, the trial might prove abortive.

The case that can be made for the continuance of these tracks is that, under existing legislation, the owner of a greyhound may school dogs on a private track run directly under his own control, whereas if the owner takes the dog to what is described as a commercial track, or a track run for profit, he is committing an offence and the person who owns and operates the track is certainly committing an offence. That does not make sense because it merely goes to show that if a person is well-off enough, he may have his own track and have the advantage of schooling his own dogs. If he is not sufficiently well-off, he is denied the facilities a breeder would normally get from one of these tracks. It is for that reason I have tabled this amendment and I hope the Minister will find it possible to accept it.

These tracks would, of course, have to come under the supervision of the board and be licensed under the direction of the board. The schooling arrangements would be subject to control in the same way as the schooling arrangements of the licensed tracks to which I have referred. The number involved is not very large. I would say probably not more than half a dozen. I understand that they are generally well sited throughout the country. We have two or three in the south. From inquiries, I know that there are similar tracks in the north and east as well. Such tracks would be a great fillip to the industry. They would be a big help to the ordinary owner who is, generally speaking, of the poorer class. If they are brought under the control of the board and licensed as schooling tracks, that would be a very good thing. I sincerely hope the Minister will accept this amendment because it is a very important one.

Deputy Moloney has an extremely good point in this amendment. The more localised tracks, both for racing and schooling, the better for the industry as a whole. Where there are local tracks, there is much more encouragement to the small man to breed greyhounds and to take more interest in the type of dog he is breeding. The backbone of the industry is the small breeder, the man with one bitch which produces four or five pups in the year, one of which he keeps. He will, of course, keep his animal in training, if there is a local track.

I shall have some comments to make with regard to racing tracks on the section when we come to it. I firmly believe that the more localised tracks you have, the greater number of small breeders you will have and the better animals, in the long run. I am convinced that the greyhound is an important asset in our commercial life. For that reason, anything we can do to improve the industry should be done.

I would suggest to Deputy Moloney that this amendment is not really necessary. The necessity for trial and schooling tracks is well recognised, provided that they are honestly run. However, in connection with them, a very great problem arises because the Advisory Committee, whose advice I am prepared to take in a matter of this sort, after the exhaustive inquiries they made, did have a problem.

"The problem of providing a solution of the difficulties in connection with ‘time-finding'..."

that is, an improvement in the dog's recorded time, etc., beyond what could reasonably be anticipated, having regard to the result of previous trials or races——

" aggravated by the existence of a large number of so-called ‘schooling' tracks, i.e., unlicensed tracks laid out on private grounds, the owners of which for a monetary consideration, afford facilities for ‘schooling' and for obtaining information regarding the potentialities of dogs destined to participate in the near future in graded races on licensed tracks...We realise that a greyhound owner cannot be debarred from providing a ‘schooling' track on his own grounds for his own dogs, but we are of opinion that unlicensed ‘schooling' tracks which operate for reward should be regarded in the same light as unlicensed racing tracks, and should be compelled by the Control Board in due course to cease operations."

From what is the Minister quoting?

From the report of the Advisory Committee on the greyhound industry—paragraph 68. Now, that paragraph does recognise the need for having schooling and trial tracks. I have not given the full quotation, but it also points to the fact that in many instances the information gained has been of much more benefit to the owner of the track than it has been to the owner of the dog. The board will have the power to license a track. There is nothing to prevent a trial or schooling track being licensed. I am assuming that, having regard to the use which is made of these tracks and the convenience which they are, as has been pointed out here, to the small owner and the small breeder, the board will in due course be prepared to license such tracks, provided it is satisfied, and it must be satisfied, that they are being honestly run.

There is nothing which would prohibit or stop the board from licensing a schooling or a trial track. The only point about it is, as I say, whether we should put in another provision which would coerce the board to grant a licence to all the existing tracks, no matter what their record may be or who may be associated with them. That would be wrong. It would be better to leave the matter as it stands. In due course, the greyhound owners and breeders, who are very interested in this matter, will no doubt make representations to the board that it is desirable that there should be in certain instances recognised training and schooling tracks.

That will cover it.

It is not as satisfactory as I would like but it is very hard to get anything entirely satisfactory. In view of the Minister's explanation and the assurance given in this matter, I feel I can ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That Section 22 stand part of the Bill."

Sections 57 and 58 of the Report of the Advisory Committee deal with the matter of unlicensed tracks and applications for new licences. At paragraph 58, page 25, they say:—

"In regard to the licensing of new tracks, some witnesses expressed the view that the establishment of a third track in the Dublin area would be justifiable. One of the reasons advanced in this connection was that owners of dogs have at times to wait several weeks before they succeed in getting an entry accepted on either of the existing Dublin tracks. While we are inclined to agree with the view regarding a third track, we do not feel in present circumstances in a position to make definite recommendations in the matter. We therefore commend the suggestion to the Control Board, for consideration in the future and in the light of the conditions then prevailing in the greyhound industry."

I am concerned with the position of the track which was established in Chapelizod. In the autumn of 1949, some £30,000 was expended in the provision of a first-class racing track there. A licence for this track was applied for to the Irish Coursing Club. This was refused and several other applications have since been turned down, on the ground that you cannot have a track within 50 miles of another track unless this other track agrees. In this case, the Harold's Cross track agreed, but Shelbourne Park—which, to my mind, was the track less likely to be affected—did not agree. As a result, Chapelizod opened as an unlicensed track, but those who ran dogs there were "warned off" so the track had to be subsidised by the owners since then.

Evidence was given on behalf of this track at the inquiry and I have the case they put forward. I think they approached the matter correctly and a lot of the things they recommended have actually been incorporated in the Bill. They have been subsidising their track since 1951 and, to date, over £60,000 has been spent. I have seen the audited accounts. Over £10,000 has been paid out in wages since 1953.

Chapelizod is really a village in the centre of Dublin. Employment is created there and it would be a good thing for the village, as well as for the industry as a whole, if this track were licensed. It caters for the entire Ballyfermot area and part of the north side, too. Under the Bill, as I see it, there is no indication as to whether they are likely to succeed in getting their licence or not. Furthermore, it is laughable to see a town like Arklow being refused permission to erect a track, although schemes are going ahead for a swimming pool and concert hall to improve tourist amenities. Yet they cannot have a racetrack because there is one in Enniscorthy. That is a matter that will have to be dealt with seriously.

To revert to the question of Chapelizod, if the licence is refused by the new board sub-section (3) says:

"Where the board proposes to refuse an application for a greyhound racetrack licence, the board shall serve notice of the proposal on the applicant and shall, if any representations are made in writing by the applicant within seven days, consider the representations."

That would indicate that that is their right of appeal, whereas, in Section 50, it is prescribed they have 21 days' notice to appeal to a committee which shall consist of a judge of the Supreme Court, High Court or Circuit Court or a practising barrister or solicitor of seven years' standing at least and two ordinary members.

I should like to know if that period of 21 days is in addition to the seven days provided in Section 3 or will these people be compelled to appeal under sub-section (3) of Section 22 first, before they make use of Section 50? The main reason I am bringing this up is that the report of the inquiry does not make any definite recommendation, in so far as Dublin is concerned. I should like to have the Minister's view on these points.

The point which Deputy Lemass has raised had better be left to the Greyhound Industry Board itself to decide. Although the report of the Advisory Committee does not specifically recommend that a licence should be granted to a third track in Dublin, it does indicate that the committee felt that it would be reasonable that such a licence should be granted. I would deprecate very strongly any attempt to confer on an unlicensed track the right to get a licence by legislation. I think any unlicensed track should follow the ordinary procedure and appeal to the board.

The net point to which Deputy Noel Lemass required an answer was whether the time for appeal included the seven days which is mentioned in sub-section (3) of Section 22. It is clear it is not. What the sub-section says is this: the board, having considered an application, is disposed to reject it; but before it is rejected, they must give the applicant the chance to make further representations and these further representations may be sufficient to ensure favourable consideration for the application. If, however, they turn down the applicant after having heard these additional representations, then his rights under Sections 50 and 51 begin to run.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 23 to 38, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 39 stand part of the Bill."

There is just one thing about this, regarding breeding in general. It is generally agreed that about 25 per cent. or 33 per cent. of the dogs standing in the official Stud Book have nothing at all to recommend them. I should like to feel that in Section 39, which deals with artificial insemination, a very rigid control would be exercised to ensure that the people who are getting a bitch served would be actually getting what they are buying.

I assume the regulations will be made to ensure that.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 40 to 47, inclusive, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 7:—

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

( ) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-sections (1) and (2) of this section, the maximum charges in respect of bookmakers carrying on their business in relation to a greyhound racetrack or part thereof shall not exceed ten times the maximum charges fixed, in relation to the track or part, by the regulations (or by other regulations for the time being in force) in respect of persons who are not such bookmakers.

Could the amendments not be taken together?

I shall leave it to the Deputy.

One is dependent upon the other.

Could we take amendment No. 8 before amendment No. 7?

What are you going to do —accept them?

No. Not at the moment anyhow.

Amendment No. 8 is an alternative to amendment No. 7.

Could we not retire to some quiet place and agree among ourselves? I think you want to make a speech about it.

Amendment No. 7.

Deputy Dillon has been wanting to make speeches all day.

I wanted to attend Clounanna for the Irish Cup to-day and were it not for the former Minister I would be there.

Deputy Briscoe has gone to the United States.

This amendment is watered down very much compared with the suggestions we made to the Minister on the last occasion and which he did not see fit to accept. I was very surprised to hear the Minister, in reply to Deputy Dillon, state that he did not at the moment propose to accept this amendment. I hope the reason for that remark was that he wished to hear what were the merits or the demerits of the amendment.

The Minister will recall that in the original Bill introduced by Deputy Dillon when he was Minister for Agriculture, there was no safeguard of any kind for the bookmaker. In other words, the tracks could impose more or less whatever charges they wished. To give Deputy Dillon his due, he did introduce an amendment. The wording of the amendment is now similar to the section before the House to-day.

On that occasion also we urged Deputy Dillon, then Minister for Agriculture, to go further and make it clear beyond yea or nay, by stating in specific terms the charges which could be made and which would be there for all time. At that time we pointed out it could happen that there could be a Minister having little interest in greyhound racing and little time for the bookmakers who might not think the slightest injustice existed if the maximum charges were exceeded by a considerable amount.

Therefore, in regard to the amendment I have now submitted, I have qualms of conscience that it is too reasonable, because I cater for the fact that the maximum charges in respect of bookmakers in relation to a greyhound racetrack shall not exceed ten times the maximum charges fixed. I now envisage that that could happen. I introduced the amendment in the hope that it would meet the Minister's previous objections in some way. It is most unlikely that the charges will be as high as ten times the maximum charges but I think that if it is written into this section now, then for all time it will be established and it will give great satisfaction and a sense of security to the bookmakers. While they cannot feel too happy with the amount mentioned by me, nevertheless I would recommend to them that it is in their own interest to have something specific mentioned such as I have here in the section.

What is happening to amendment No. 8?

That is the reason I suggested we should take amendment No. 7 and amendment No. 8 together.

I thought that was proposed because I should like——

We can, of course, if the Minister wishes, take them together.

What is the necessity for all this codology? Cannot the Minister get up and tell the man what he is going to do? He will have to do what the Minister tells him in the heel of the hunt.

Does the Deputy want me to conclude?

There has been nothing like the codology that has been going on between the Minister and Deputy O'Malley.

I do not understand the point of the last observation. It seems to me to be a very questionable one. However, people know Deputy Dillon is not himself to-day. I think that this is a rather unnecessary proposal. I think it will be found, when the question arises of compounding for the levy, to be one which the bookmakers themselves, the people principally concerned, will wish was not there. I feel that if we put this into the Bill it will require legislation to delete it in order to arrive at an agreement with the licensed bookmakers as to the terms upon which the board can dispense with the levy.

As the matter now stands, it would mean that a bookmaker would pay 32/6 or 35/- if he attends a Dublin track. If that represents the amount of the levy he would collect, he will not be doing very much business and I am afraid the board will not derive very much revenue from the bookmaker. The purpose of Section 48 is, in fact, to enable the board at some stated time to enter into a reasonable agreement with the bookmakers in order to enable the board to dispense altogether with the levy. I know there is a certain amount of uneasiness, and I might be prepared—I shall look into this in respect to other aspects of it—to accept the principle that the maximum charge should not exceed ten times the normal admission fee for a limited period, for a year or two years, to enable bookmakers to see where they stand and to enable the board to carry out some sort of reorganisation. But I would not be disposed to accept this proposal to-night in toto, and if the Deputy cares to withdraw it and give me an opportunity to look into it from that point of view and, if he cares to consult his friends in regard to it, then I may have something on Report Stage to meet him. I think, however, it would be very foolish from the point of view of the bookmakers that the particular provision in this amendment should be a permanent provision of the Act.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.